We’ve been here a week now, and the flurry of unpacking and getting settled is beginning to die down a bit.
Our drive up here went pretty smoothly. Four days of driving two cars (Michael drove my truck, hauling a small U-Haul, and I drove his car), and we never got separated. Four nights in crappy motels (me in one room with half the kids, him in another room with half the kids and a dog). I think it was our second day of driving that my truck broke down, but a local mechanic actually came to the motel we were staying at and fixed it (replacing the alternator) right there in the parking lot, in the rain. That was in Northern California, and I swear, the people seem to get nicer the farther north you go. That was really the only glitch we had. The kids did well with the drive; we had plenty of stuff to keep them busy, and we made pit stops fairly often. Scout, our 5-year old Chocolate Lab, was an awesome traveler, which totally surprised us all. We saw some of the most breathtaking scenery along the way, including Shasta Dam and Lake Shasta (it was too foggy to see Mt. Shasta).
The movers arrived with our stuff last Sunday, and I’ve spent the past week getting the household set up. I’ve unpacked pretty much everything we need for the short term, and the rest stays boxed up until we eventually buy a house and move again.
The house we’re renting is very nice, in a very nice neighborhood. It’s totally not me, though. Very cookie-cutter, everything is uniform and overseen by an HOA.
I’m not complaining; I feel very fortunate. It’s hard to feel like we’re “home,” though, since this is temporary. I can’t wait to start exploring Oregon and house hunting, which we’ll probably undertake after the first of the year.
The kids are adjusting pretty well, although they’ve been fairly house-bound because we don’t know anyone here. They do take Scout for walks, and have taken their bikes out to explore the neighborhood a couple of times. Now that I’m done with most of the unpacking, we need to get back to homeschooling, which I intend to do this coming week. Oregon seems to be a very homeschool-friendly state, with lots of homeschooling resources, but the legal requirements are different from California, so I’m trying to navigate all of that. Also, trying to figure out what to do with Joey has been stressful, as I will homeschool him just for the rest of this school year, and put him back in school when we buy a house and settle somewhere permanently – so I have to make sure that he meets all of the high school freshman credit requirements this year. I’d really like to find some stuff outside of home for the kids to be involved in, to broaden their experiences and get them out and around other people – but I already find myself falling into a rabbit hole of overwhelming options. Since there are so many of them, and they each have different interests, it’s going to be difficult to coordinate outside activities in such a way that I’m not constantly driving all over the place.
It’s gorgeous up here. Trees, trees, and more trees. Green everywhere. And actual fall colors! Such a change from hot, dry, dead, brown SoCal. It’s chilly to downright cold. We’ve had a fair amount of rain already, and I’m loving it. It’s usually foggy in the mornings, with blankets of fog creating these stunning pictures –
The people up here are so nice. It really is a different vibe. In SoCal, for instance, driving is every man for himself, everyone hurrying to get wherever they’re going, driving like their destination is more important than everyone else’s (and I don’t exclude myself from this). The drivers here seem way more mellow and just courteous. People in stores are very friendly and polite. I’m not walking around thinking everyone’s an asshole. I’m really seeing how cynical and defensive existing in the rat race of the OC has made me, and I’m afraid it’s going to blow my cover of being an outsider!
I miss my friends, I miss walking up the street to have a drink or knit with a friend, I miss Kevin (though we text or talk on the phone every day – and he’s coming up for Thanksgiving!), I miss the familiarity of SoCal somewhat, but I have not felt homesick. Maybe I’ve been too busy – maybe it will hit me soon. Or maybe it won’t. Mostly, I feel a sense of contentment. I think we made the right move.