It has been five weeks of ups and downs, adjusting to living in a new country and I’m finding it a little exhausting. About 2 weeks ago I was ready to hop on a plane and return to Australia but I remembered the wisdom of friends who have relocated overseas before and they prepared me saying it is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I was definitely struggling but knew it would pass and now I’m feeling a little more in control. Just a little. It makes it just a little harder as a mum (sorry … a ‘mom’), trying to get kids settled as so much is not in your control but they are adjusting really well.
The three big kids finally started school and have brilliant teachers which is a load off my mind and Elliott started preschool which is a huge milestone and he is loving it. Poor Matilda fell off the monkey bars on day two at school and fractured her arm so we were thrown in the deep end of the pool with the US medical system. Thank goodness for Google and their health insurance benefits for employees.
Doing the grocery shopping is taking a little less time now I’m more familiar with products I like and where to find them. But I still find I’m in the car way too much driving up and down the main street to get to the various shops and then to and from school and preschool. Thankfully I now feel very comfortable with driving and don’t need to keep chanting ‘tighty righty’ or ‘lefty loosey’ every time I approach a turn. But I do keep turning on my windscreen wipers instead of the indicator!
We have started our search for our more permanent residence over here and it appeals to me to find somewhere which requires less driving. I have found a simply beautiful area not too far from where we currently are but it means the kids would have to change schools again. Decisions. Decisions.
We have enjoyed a few trips to San Francisco and we all love the city and the fog in the bay. Heath Ceramics was one of the places I was keen to visit and it was such a huge space full of beautifully crafted bowls, plates, platters, vases etc. My souvenir of the day was a small sugar bowl but I’m keen to return for a vase I had my eye on. Heath Ceramics makes gorgeous tiles which make me want to build brand new all over again!
There has been more success on the search for a good cup of coffee. It has cheered me up to no end to find a few places which make coffee I enjoy. Simple pleasures. There is a Blue Bottle Coffee bar in the Heath Ceramics showroom which just made this little pocket of San Fran a one stop shop!
A few weekends ago we all headed out for pancakes at Plow in San Francisco. The area reminded me of Surry Hills in Sydney and the line up outside reminded me of breakfast at Bills. I had my first American bottomless coffee here. My coffee cup just kept getting topped up and I don’t know how much caffeine I consumed but it put a skip in my step!
We are living in the south bay area which I think is ideal as we jump on the big highways (or are they freeways?) and head north to the big smoke or we can drive south to beautiful country side. This last weekend we drove south into Santa Cruz County and took the kids apple picking.
Biting into a fresh apple straight from the tree was everything I had imagined it to be. The apples were so sweet and crunchy and we could have bought more than our $6 worth if we had remembered to stop at the ATM on the way. Thankfully the pie shop took credit so we bought apple slushies for the kids and a big apple pie to take home for dessert.
Cooking wise I have been mostly making our family favourites. Joel is being spoilt at Google with a huge variety of delicious food for breakfast, lunch etc and comes home not wanting to eat much (and yes it feels like he has betrayed me) so my focus has been cooking food the kids love. Hopefully the familiar food gives them some comfort when everything else around them is a little different. But my cookbook collection has started growing here thanks to Amazon and their speedy delivery to my door so I’m keen to slowly start experimenting. Friday night pizzas continue and we have added Taco Tuesday to our weekly menu because I can’t resist all the tortillas, avocados and limes here.
Out of the five weeks we have been here though the absoloute highlight was dining at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse. It has gone straight to number one on my favourite restaurant list. All I had to do was walk in the door on a foggy evening in Berkeley and I was sold. It could not have been a more perfect evening. We went upstairs to the cafe and it was bustling. The lighting was low and the walk past the wood-fired oven with the copper pans and chefs carefully arranging salads on plates was a feast for the eyes.
The food was everything I imagined – simple, thoughtful and delicious. This place alone makes me think moving here was the right thing to do. I think California and all the beautiful California cuisine is simply gorgeous. Despite the ups and downs of relocating I think I could make this place home – well for now.