ain’t no sunshine . . . in California.

Apparently, I should change the theme of my blog.  It is becoming clear that I find it much easier to reference songs than integrate Cali slang with my CT vocabulary.  I was thinking that once I got out here, I would hear people speaking differently and the ideas would flow like California wine.  Instead, the only difference I have noticed is that people smile more while talking (and that they actually, get this, want to talk to you).  That part is the real adjustment for me.  I am so used to mindlessly enduring the obligatory conversational niceties while my “to do” list plays on repeat in the background.  Real conversations where genuine interest is shown?  Does. Not. Compute.

In case you were wondering, this post’s title is not exactly accurate.  There is sunshine in California, just not where I live.  I want to call my place “The House of Sand and Fog” because those words are succinctly the truth, but that story is so *SPOILER* tragic, I think I would do better to find another catchy descriptor.  I realize that it is in fact Florida that owns the title “the Sunshine State,” and “the Golden State” moniker probably has more to do with the gold rush and less to do with golden tans . . . but really, Southern California, I’ve been here a week.  There is no way to justify having fleetingly seen the sun TWICE in that time.

Deep breath. From a New England standpoint, I really shouldn’t be complaining about the weather.  I mean, it has been mid-seventies and largely free of humidity . . . I thought I saw a raindrop the other day, but it turned out to be spit (my own).

certainly not working on our tans.

So, I had a rough day yesterday, receiving the news from the moving company that my stuff was not scheduled for delivery until 8/26.   Awesome, because I enjoy living out of a suitcase and standing to eat my dinner.  Trust me when I tell you that what at first sounds cute and quaint (pizza picnic on the floor! wearing the same thing for 3 days! missing Teen Mom!) gets real stale after about a week.  This prolonged wait bums me out on a number of levels.  The obvious, “I want my freakin’ stuff” level, the equally obvious, “This place does not feel like a home with no furniture” level, and the slightly less obvious “I need to get on with making a life here” level.  There is a progression that I have to go through with this move to get to acceptance.  Before I can get going on other important things (like, ya know, finding a job), I need to settle in and set up shop. (I also need clothes that would be appropriate to wear to an interview.)  Until I can get past the unpacking step, I feel utterly stuck, stagnant.

You can imagine that I was not spewing glitter and rainbows when Nate and I stopped at Henry’s later on.  While the sight of deliciously affordable produce did lift my spirits some, it was our cashier that broke me out of the funk.  After beginning to scan our items, she looked at me and said, “You are, like, really pretty.”  I, of course, reflexively looked over my shoulder to see who she was talking to.  Then, upon the realization that she was speaking to me, I turned 9 shades of red and stammered out a thank you. (Meanwhile, Nate was doing a happy, happy sister wives dance behind me in line.)  Whether or not that cashier had forgotten to put in one of her contacts or if she was just stoned, I guess it doesn’t really matter.  She was kind to me for no other reason than to be kind, and I can’t help but smile about that.

Lastly, and in case people are curious about what I have been doing with my free time:

I planted a garden!!  Well, the best garden one can plant when the ground is made of rocks instead of dirt.

Succulents are mmm, mmmmm good! (I have a weird pica thing with plants and flowers.)

But mostly Nate and I just walk around, EAT, and watch these youtube videos . . .

Whole Foods Parking Lot – I hadn’t watched this one in a couple months, but once I showed it to Nate, it has been on nightly rotation again.  Really, dawg.

It’s so fluffy! – My obsession with Agnes continues.

this breakfast conquered both of us for the entire day. i never thought i would be hungry again.

loving the California trees!

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and i’m bound to keep on riding: the midnight rider takes carlsbad

The list of things I await from the east coast has grown one item shorter!  I couldn’t be happier to announce the Carlsbad arrival of one very special 2001 Ford Focus complete with all the *cute* lil deformities I remember from its CT days long, long ago . . . sigh . . . driver’s side door dent (adorable), hood with peeling paint (so darling), and rear bumper scrape (thanks Kevin).

I have to admit that having my car here is a little bittersweet.  First and foremost, I am relieved to see it (a little dirty from its voyage, but no worse for the wear).  Just having something on the west coast other than my suitcase gives me a sense of comfort.  In the same breath, there is a permanency to seeing my vehicle in the driveway.  Since reality refuses to halt its daily collision course with my brain, I’m sure I will continue to struggle with (and get a handle on) the idea that this patch of earth is my new home.

For right now, though, there is cause to celebrate!  And the few personal items I had packed in my car are pretty hilarious out of their usual context.  My DVD player sans TV, throw pillows sans couch, shoe rack sans my shoe collection . . . I swear, solid thinking went into deciding what would travel with that vehicle.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the outstanding work of both Carmoza Auto Transport and Kelly’s Auto Transport (you rock, Lane)!!

omg! don't you just want to run over and hug it and then take a shower because it's so dirty?!?

i smile just looking at these giant blobs of plastic-y goodness!

time to bounce.

I had originally intended to post on my last night in CT . . . in some big, dramatic “end of days” tear-jerking moment that was to include oodles of wallowing and lamenting.  Due to a shotty wireless connection at my parents’ house and my own inability to put together coherent sentences on the eve of my departure, that plan was derailed.  Next, I had intended to post upon arrival here in CA . . . in some big, dramatic “what the eff did I just do” tear-jerking moment that was to include oodles of disbelief and terror.  Let’s just say that I am glad I didn’t record my thoughts of that moment because it probably would have sounded something like this:

“Why would anyone want to live in this sunshine-y hellhole with all its smiling jerks and its fruit trees?  I’m so tired, and I’m not sure how I have managed to gain 3 hours while simultaneously losing all of my marbles.  I want my furniture and my skull collection and my mommy/daddy.”

Now, it is not that my lack of perspective here is completely unjustified.  Change on the level that I have been experiencing it would throw even the coolest of cucumbers.  Of course, I am a notorious hot cucumber (um, ew), and these past few weeks have had my dormant adjustment disorder twitching.  I tend to be a catastrophic thinker realist, and because of that (and my annoying ability to see everything in the big picture), it is so easy to breakdown into an overwhelmed, huddled mass on the floor of a completely unfurnished living room in the 92008.  Not that anything like that happened . . .

After a refreshing night’s sleep (a.k.a. passing out on an air mattress in the same clothes I wore on the airplane), the view looks better from here.  Now, I am not going to lie to you and tell you that I have lost ANY of my New England cynicism yet – nice people continue to make me feel suspicious.  One of Nate’s swim families picked us up from the airport (with a handmade sign), took us out for food, and gave us a welcome basket the size of our entire kitchen.  The whole time I am sideways glancing them through squinty, distrustful eyes, wondering what their motivation is.  I had to remind myself that this will be a bit of a culture shock for me . . . and that Nate’s swim families are genuinely nice people who don’t mind taking time out of their day to help.  (For those who don’t know, last time I was out here, they threw Nate and I an amazing wedding shower!)

wasn't kidding about that welcome sign.

guests of honor at our marvelous CA wedding shower - April 2011

I know that once I can make this place feel like a home (and not a college dorm room with a severe organizational problem . . . sorry Nate), then it will be.  I am certainly still in the twilight of disbelief . . . Do I really live in California?  Can I really see palm trees from my window?  Can I really be all the way across the country from my family and friends?  I guess I can afford some wallowing time, but I have to grab this opportunity and make it awesome.  So, I think I’ll stand up (from the living room floor, obviously – there are no chairs here) and get going on this new life of mine.  (Gross.  Did you hear how optimistic that sounded??  Won’t be long before I start drinking the SoCal Kool-Aid.)

Almost forgot! Nate stocked the fridge with my beverage of choice (not Kool-Aid) . . . can’t think of any girls out there that swoon for ginger ale, but swoon I did.