Day: August 13, 2013

First Impressions #1


People are genuinely friendly here on the Californian coast – not a single, ‘Have a nice day!’, with a cheesy grin, yet to be encountered. People have time to help, and sometimes go out of their way to help with advice or assistance in a store or cafe – especially when they hear we are fresh arrivals!

We are quite a novelty; British parents, coming from New Zealand with three Kiwi born children. We are going to have to get used to answering the same questions every time we meet people – or hand out cards with answers to FAQ’s.

Unchanging sky of blue. Quickly learning that my British (& New Zealand) disposition to talk about the weather is something I shall have to ditch, unless I wish to sound very repetitive and obvious, ‘It’s another lovely day!’ … But then maybe I could come up with one hundred different ways to define ‘sunny blue sky’ and all the subtle blends of that – like the Eskimos describe different types of snow.


Dry, desert like vegetation, palm trees, succulents. This is now the norm. Little rain here makes for a different landscape to the lush, vivid greens of New Zealand.

I am looking at spiders with more hesitation than in NZ, unsure yet of how to distinguish a poisonous species from a ‘safe’ one. The children are keenly interested too and I believe knowledge is power. So when a new species is encountered we are quick to ‘Google’, learn and discover!

I find myself looking at a treehouse with the fear of it harbouring a snake. Probably overly cautious here in the suburbs, but nevertheless…

We are enjoying the warm weather wardrobe. It’s so nice to walk around wearing little clothing!

There is a wonderful abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables here in Santa Barbara – and a good organics range too. If it wasn’t for the temptation of the Californian wines and craft beers I would be living exceptionally healthily (but then, everything in moderation!).


Reality hits

I’ve held it together for the day. In a strange house, with my three children, whilst hubbie had his first day in a new office. I’ve answered all the questions. I’ve calmed all the nerves. I’ve been a strong Mamma. I kissed my husband goodbye with a smile. I worked out the washer and did two loads, hung them out to dry in the sun, whilst dipping in and out the pool to watch over my youngest, not yet old enough to swim unsupervised. I cooked my children a healthy breakfast, of ‘dippie’ eggs, fresh from the chooks in the yard. I ran a bath, fixed technological glitches, mopped up puddles from wet togs fresh from the pool, read books, made cars, trains and planes talk in imaginary worlds, and still welcomed home hubbie with another smile. Then back out he went, to dance with the banks, an expat with no credit history in the US of A, knocking on doors, with money to invest. And then, then, I couldn’t hold back any longer. I needed to cry, to stop a while. To feel the ‘me’ buried deep beneath the smiles.

There she was. Hidden for a while, not lost forever. A few more weeks and her family will be settled in a permanent home for a year. Familiar possessions will arrive off a ship from New Zealand. Children will make friends, so will she. They’ll be time to run, time for yoga, time to be, her, again.