Today is my 1 year anniversary of living in California. In some ways, it has seemed like the longest year of my life. In other ways, it has flown by. Regardless of how long it has seemed, 1 year has passed away from our families and we survived. Here's how we're doing.
For the first 6 months, I cried almost every day. I was painfully homesick. I prayed for a way to go back to Tennessee where JD could keep his current job. I was pretty miserable. It wasn't until after my first trip back home that I started to feel at home here. Now, I still miss my family, but I really feel rooted in our new home and in our new community. It feels good to like where I live and finally feel at home here. Now if only our entire family would pack up and move to Los Angeles, things would be perfect.
Almost immediately after moving here, I made friends. We started out meeting at playgrounds so our kids could play, but then we grew real friendships. We lend parenting advice, coffee creamer, and shoulders to cry on when needed. We get together so we can talk. We fill in for faraway family members at holiday dinners. We watch each other's kids. I can honestly say it is because of my friends that I have adjusted to California so well. Without them, this would be a big ol' lonely state.
There is not a lot to be desired about our town. It's small so I have to drive out of town to do any shopping other than Target and the grocery store. There are only a handful of restaurants here and they are hit or miss in the deliciousness department. And there is a lot of crime in the surrounding areas. But, we live walking distance from the clean beach, the fishing pier, and about 10 playgrounds/parks. For the girls, this area is really great and they are thrilled with all of the stuff they get to experience weekly. JD and I often joke about how different our L.A. experience would be if we didn't have children. We would live downtown, check out the nightlife, and eat at world class restaurants. But since we do have these precious girls, our L.A. experience is much more family friendly.
It truly is paradise here. 9 months out of the year it never gets warmer than 70 degrees and is always breezy and sunny. The nights and mornings are chilly, the afternoons sunny. We love it.
What We Don't Love
The cost of living is ridiculous in California. JD makes a lot more than he did in Tennessee, but our rent is 3x what our mortgage was back east, gas is $1+ a gallon more here, and food costs are sky high. Thankfully we live walking distance to so much fun stuff because after we pay rent, buy gas, and eat, we have nothing left. Kidding, sort of.
We really, really miss our church back home. We found a great church here, but it is 45 minutes away and it's just not the same as the church I attended since I was 12. Honestly, if we are regularly homesick about anything it is our church in Tennessee. Sigh.
Traffic is still the worst thing about living here. We hate it.
In a nutshell, we are doing pretty great. We really like California and feel pretty blessed to live here. I am kind of proud of us for moving across country and setting up house with our little family in a brand new place without any major meltdowns. 1 year down, wonder how many more to go....