Michael’s company arranged a visit to California for us, our orientation visit. We decided it was best to go earlier than later as we were not too sure how my recuperation would be after my upcoming December surgery. You would think that as this was mine and the kid’s first trip to California we would have a zillion photos to post. Nope—hardly took any, the only sight-seeing event we did was to park near the Golden Gate Bridge for a quick photo.
I had never been to California and have always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean so Michael decided to book our first night there on the coast, south of the San Francisco airport. We had a room right on the beach and saw not only the sunset, but also saw the moon-set, magical!
The next day we took a drive through San Francisco before heading to our hotel in the area where we will be living for the year. We spent much of the time with our relocation helper and looking at houses and meeting people. Luckily I knew one of the local home educators (she is from their originally, but lived here in the UK not too far from us) so we were able to meet up with a few people who all had kids the same age as my two. Michael’s US boss invited us out to eat with Michael’s US colleagues, so that was nice to meet everyone. We also met up with one of the UK guys who just moved out in October to work over there as well.
It really is a small world—1st I knew the home educator and then it turns out one of the kids that is in the same badminton club as our two is also moving out to the same place! Her dad works in one of the other departments and accepted the year in the States as well. What are the chances of that?
When we weren’t looking around at the official things, we did manage sometime in the hotel pool and in the book shops. One of the most important things on the kid’s agenda was to see the two local libraries. They were not disappointed. I have been shocked and dismayed here in the UK about the lack of selection of children’s books, driving Michael to distraction at times. When he saw the children’s sections, he finally understood what I was on about—they are huge. Hazel nearly keeled over with joy when she learned she could takes 100 books from one and 75 books from the other library.
Overall I would say it was a positive visit. The children were shocked by the brownness of California—but we will be in a very arid area which has seen record droughts the past three years. I was shocked by the traffic—it was mind boggling as to where all the cars had come from and where they were going. It is also the most expensive suburban area in America, so we will need to be very careful financially, but these are all things that we will get used to. The one thing that I think we all loved the most were the huge strawberries picked that week—delicious!