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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Air Freight, Apartments, Ball games and exploring!

So. Another week has gone by. Three weeks already.

I am finding it easier and easier to fill the days. This concerns me as when I do get a job I will have a constant huge to do list of things I havent got the time to do because I am working. Bit like I used to have then?

Friday our air freight came. They said between half 8 and half 10 they would arrive... they arrived at quarter past 8. How is that for service?

There was 9 boxes. I wasnt entirely sure what had arrived and this was both exciting and nerve wracking! As it turned out there was most of our clothes and our shoes. My dresses and our coats were not in with the air freight. The coat thing is not such an issue but the dresses? Well.. I wont be off out anywhere until they arrive. Cant wear my sparkly heels with jeans and a t-shirt!

It would seem that he has more clothes than me. His take up 2 shelves. Mine take up 1 and a half. I do however have more shoes but that is a given.

There are 4 boxes we have left packed. All of the board games, bedding, towels and cuddly toys. None of which is required at this time. Oh and they packed our globe. Very useful. Not.

All of the air freight.
The stuff we have left packed.
The wardrobe after

Friday I saw rain. Yes, this was the first time I had seen rain out here since we arrived. It didnt last very long but I went out and watched it on the balcony. I love the smell of rain when it hasn't rained for a while.

Saturday we went out apartment hunting. Went round all 4 apartment communities near us. We were trying to decided between this community that we are currently in or another apartment community. We ended up deciding on the other apartment community for a number of reasons. Firstly the person we were speaking to was much more helpful but additionally the actual apartment which was in a nicer location and had a better layout.

The apartment has two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one of which can be accessed without walking through a bedroom), two big closets, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, oven, microwave, garage and a parking space. Oh and the balcony is accessible from the lounge/diner and both the bedrooms. The gym is not as big as this community that we are on now.

Have to say that we were put off with the community we are currently in after the woman was in a rush to tell us stuff, the apartment which was available was right up by the golf course which would have been nice had there been a view however, the apartment was on the ground floor so it was a hill view and you had the noisy air conditioning units next to the balcony. Additionally the apartment next door had eviction notices posted all over it. Not a good sign!

As we do not have a credit record in the USA it all had to be referred to the manager (as to whether we could rent the place) and we found out yesterday that yes it had been accepted. Its really odd moving to another country. It's like starting your life again. We are off to sign leases and hopefully arrange a time when I can go back in and do some measurements!

Rest of Saturday was spent doing bits and pieces. Went to Michael's (craft store) where I dreamt of all the craft activities I could do, Barnes& Noble where I wanted to take home all of the books and he had his hair cut finally!

Sunday was a lazy lie in. We then headed out for the day to Balboa Park, Mission Beach and La Jolla. I shall let the pictures do the talking...

Botanical Gardens In Balboa Park

One of the buildings in Balboa Park

Another building in Balboa Park

Sculpture in the park

Mission Beach- the Mission Bay end.

Mission Beach

Belmont Park at Mission Beach

La Jolla

Seals at La Jolla

Caves at La Jolla

Yesterday evening we went to a baseball game! San Diego Padres Vs Chicago Cubs. A very American experience! The Padres won! It was not a huge win. Padres had 2 homeruns... Cubs none. The baseball tickets were free from his work! Very nice indeed. We figured out that had we paid for the tickets and for parking and food it would easily have been 200$ for the experience!

Outside of Petco Park

Our view

After the first home run.

scoreboard... and no the score didnt change at all..

At the end!
It has been a busy week. Our certificates arrived last night as he had left them back in the UK! So we will be going to get our social security numbers this week!

Things are now moving along. Things feel less scary and much more settled!

I know that once we move into the new place (22nd October) things will feel much more settled. Still before that it is my birthday. How is it possible that I am turning 31 next week?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Two weeks in

So it has been two weeks now since we arrived. Three weeks since my last day at work. Well, two weeks TOMORROW evening.... and three weeks tomorrow lunchtime since I left work.

The first week of being on my own was certainly challenging. There is only so much housework you can do and even laundry is not never ending. When I was working I had a never ending to do list of things I had to do. Yet now? Well. I seem to have a very short to do list and some of it is out of my control right now.

Most people would love being able to bask in the sunshine without the need to work. I however am weird and proud of it. I find that I can do just sitting around. I like to be doing stuff and seeing people.

My emails are responded to within 48 hours, all my internet stuff is up to date, my photos uploaded quickly and all the other things which I dont normally have time for is in order!

I have met two lovely ladies, who are the wives of colleagues that he works with. One of which has been out here for 6 weeks already. I did ask how she kept sane and she explained it was the wine. The wine is indeed very cheap in comparison to the United Kingdom. My favourite brand works out at 3.19$ a bottle. It is approximately 1 dollar 60 cents to the pound. I dont know anywhere in the UK where I could get a bottle of wine which does not resemble paint stripper for 2 quid!

The weekend arriving was just what I needed. I was in desparate need to see more than just the immediate area. Not that there is anything wrong with the area of course! It's more than adequate and is clean and feels safe. Despite the occasional beggar finding their way there... or some random man saying you look good. Whole different story.

We went for a meal at Applebee's on the Friday night. I had been to an Applebee's a couple of times before and had always been pretty satisfied with the food. This time? Well while the appetizer was nice, I was not so impressed with the main meal.

Saturday we had to seek out a bank to pay in our cheque. The bank in question is popular in the United Kingdom. However, in the San Diego area there are only 2 or 3 branches and the one in the Downtown area was not open on a Saturday. So to Chula Vista we headed.

While down there we decided to take a look at the malls. The first one was really not that great (Chula Vista Center for anyone who is interested) so we were not there long before heading to the Las Americas Premium Outlets.

We pulled up in the car park and this is what the Sat Nav showed:

The blue arrow was us. Yes, we were right next to the border between United State and Mexico.

As was demonstrated when we got out of the car and saw this:
Yes, that wall is the border, the other side you can see the Mexican flag flying.

We didnt get to Mexico this time. But I think being that close has convinced him that we do indeed need to get there some point given that it is so close. Of course, we cant do that in a hire car!

We had a successful shop there and then headed to another mall called Plaza Bonita to finish the spree off. Three malls in one day is really my limit and even then I skip 90% of the shops.

I was actually quite spoilt all in all. None of the items were even that expensive.

Sunday we decided on a road trip, our original plan had been to just go to Palm Springs. But road trips are always subject to change. I had seen a sign for Temecula. He had been there before, but I hadnt... so we headed there, and discovered the old town which he had not seen before.

It was a lot hotter there than in San Diego, which was actually quite odd given that it was not far away at all. It was a really nice place which you COULD spend a whole day in, but as our plan had been to just go to Palm Springs we decided after an hour to head onwards.

Except. I saw a sign for a place called Idyllwild which he had been to previously. So we headed there.


It was another beautiful village but we didnt stay long. It was gone 1... and it was still an hour or so to drive before we reached Palm Springs.

En route to Palm Springs:

We soon arrived in Palm Springs, It was a lot hotter there than in San Diego. San Diego has temperatures of around 73-75 degrees (don't ask me what that is in celcius I think the approximate calculation is to minus 30 and then divide by 2 that would make it about 21.5 degrees).

Palm Springs however:

In Palm Springs we had a wander around and had some food. There didnt seem to be a whole lot to do there, but it was a nice atmosphere and the heat was very nice. I think it would be a lovely place to kick back and relax for a couple of days by a pool with some very inexpensive alcohol.

Palm Springs:

We took the quick route back.... and by 6pm when we were back at the apartment we were completely exhausted.

It was a fun... but very busy weekend. A mini holiday/vacation of sorts.

This week. Well, we are TRYING to start to get organised more... and move forward. This has not been without issues. Details to follow next time.... Once we have got somewhere!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

So far

So. I am here... on the other side of the giant pond.

Today is the second day I have been on my own in the apartment as a lady of leisure. But more on that later.

We flew out here last Wednesday. I dont know about anyone else but flying to me is boring. I guess I am one of those people who doesnt sit still for 11 hours straight. Don't worry I did get up and do some exercise. I still end up with stiff knees.

Arriving into San Diego airport was straight forward. Getting through immigration however was not an easy task. Not because we had to plead and beg to get in but because there was huge queues and we were at the end of the queue (we had to fill in a different form as we were entering under and L1 and L2 visa and not the ESTA). We couldnt fill in all of the details when we first arrived as they were above us in the overhead lockers on the plane.

When we finally got to the desk it was a bit complicated by the fact that the lady who saw us wasnt quite sure what to do in respect of L1 and L2 visas... joys.

Of course given the time we had waited to get through immigration there was no issue with baggage. There was only 14 or so bags left and 4 of those were ours.

Walking out the door of the airport the heat hit us. I realised then that wearing a jumper and jeans was not necessary in San Diego in September. We got the car and drove to Carl's Jr for a burger! YUM. Its funny as the car still smells of it now...

It was 10pm or thereabouts that we got to our apartment. Exhausted was not the word. We had been on the go from 7am UK time, thats 11pm US time. So 23 hours. OUCH.

Our first full day we headed out to explore a little. There is a gym and pool by the apartments which I intend to use. In fact I used the gym yesterday. I will not be the size of a house if I have anything to do with it.

As for shops, restaurants and services nearby? There is a ton! There are three supermarkets- Trader Joe's, Ralph's and Sprouts. A shedload of restaurants, pharmacy, optician, Bestbuy, Staples, Cinema, Post office. In fact I would say there is probably more than what I had local to my flat in the UK.

3pm on our first day there was a powercut. I thought I had done something and slightly panicked as to what it was... then I realised it was the whole block. Eventually I found out that it was the majority of Southern California, some of Arizona and some of Mexico.

The powercut lasted til 1am. Had it not been for the air conditioning coming on I dont think we would have known given that we went to bed at half 9. Well we were jet lagged and there was nothing we could do in the dark. We had been lucky to have had 3 candles to help with some light! Dinner had been cheese sandwiches, crips and sweets (better known here as chips and candy!).

We had a few days of time together still even though the first full day had been a bit blah because of the powercut so we did what we did best. We went to malls, Escondido, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Shelter Island, Seaport Village, Coronado and Pacific Beach. Had some lovely meals too.

So yesterday when he had to start work... I was not looking forward to it and funnily enough neither was he. He had decided he didnt want to work.

My first day on my own was pretty good. I had online stuff to do. Spoke to my mum and a couple of other friends. Had lots of emails to reply, had the task of transferring stuff from one laptop to the other, start on the mega mail pile, have a tidy up and go to the supermarket.

Today... well I need to try and fix an issue on the laptop. Somehow its duplicated all my music on Itunes which is not a good thing. I may well wait until I have spoken to someone in the know. Need to pop to the Post Office and have letters to write. But thats it. I am slightly concerned by just HOW I am going to keep myself occupied.

If I could work... I would. First I need my social security number, this should be available next week then I need to apply for a work permit. Getting a job is the next thing after. This realistically will have to wait until we have a more permanent place to live. After all I dont drive.

Moving to a new country is like starting your life from scratch... you are right back at the bottom unless you have a work transfer.

I need to practice the fine art of filling my day. Verdict so far? Mixed. As I thought it would be. Roll on the weekend I say!

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Move to USA? Easy right?


It looks like it's been an easy journey but really it hasn't.

Back in 2008 it almost happened, then the job got pulled and since then its been a constant battle. In March I gave a time limit. After all, you can't put a time limit on something happening which can be near impossible.

The thing about USA is that you have to have a job to get a visa or be sponsored. There are many different visas and the UK is not part of the Green Card Lottery. If it had been Australia, Canada or New Zealand we could have got to one of those on the points system. Or should I say he could but I would have been eligible to go as a spouse.

Strangely as soon as the time limit was put in place things happened. He got called into the office and asked if he wanted to do a 3 month transfer to San Diego (which he did). Then whilst out there he went for a permanent job, was told of impending redundancy and got offered the permanent job.

When he returned on 2nd July there were many conversations. Whether to go for USA, whether to go for redundancy. Given that it had been something he had been wanting so long you would think it would be an easy decision. However, faced with the decision it's a lot to think about. How many people really would jump and move?

In the end we left it to fate. Went for the visa and decided that whatever happened that day would dictate our future. Basically if the visas got accepted we would go.  Which is what happened.

The time since has been crazy. It's been a real rollercoaster. So much to think about, so much to do and very little time. Seriously, how is it that we are going on Wednesday?

I have experienced EVERY emotion under the sun. Often many at once. Whilst its a great opportunity and we will get to see a lot there are so many what if's running through my head. Yesterday while preparing for the leaving party I was nervous, excited, apprehensive, scared, sad, happy all at once.

I wont miss my Eastleigh, I won't  miss Worthing, I wont miss my flat or my job. It's all my friends and family that I will miss. This past week I have seen so many people. Had the time of my life with them. If only you could pick everyone up and take them with you wherever you went.

Still, I know that I will keep in contact with everyone. I know that when I feel lonely I only have to open my computer and log on and keep in contact with them via facebook, Email and when I have a new laptop (one without the N and G key missing and has a webcam) skype too. Oh and of course there are letters and postcards sent the good old fashioned way.

Fifteen years ago things would have been different. Moving to a whole other country and continent would have meant not having much contact at all with people. Just letters and an occasional phone call at extortionate rates!

I will be coming back for a visit (I am almost certain I will come back for a few weeks in March), also its possible we will come back after a year to 18 months to live. Don't even ask where we will live then. I am torn between two areas an hour and 15 minutes apart. Somewhere in the middle perhaps? Also there is the prospect of many people coming to visit us! I hope so!

I saw a quote the other day which was from Sex and the City. I found it very apt and so I will share:

“After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away."

The people I love will always be in my heart, I will always be in contact with them and yes, they will only be a plane ride away.

To my friends and family. Thank you for being you. For all that you have done, for all the experiences and fantastic memories. I may not be just down the road or contactable by text message but I will be in your computer and just a plane ride away.

Wednesday will be a VERY emotional day indeed for me. I am however strong and I will make a go of this. NO regrets.