It has been an entire month since we have relocated to the west coast. Would you believe it if I told you that it feels like we have lived in La Jolla for years now? We have been incredibly busy immersing ourselves in our new lives here and boy has it taken up a lot of our time!
Firstmost worth mentioning is the completely different vibe and lifestyle that is embedded in the daily lives of the locals. Unlike New York City, where everyone's schedule is full for months in advance, La Jollans do not compete in the game of "who is busiest". In fact, they go with the flow and make plans just a couple of days in advance. No major notice is needed and somehow it all works out harmoniously.
Secondly, the folks in La Jolla are the warmest and most welcoming people we have met. They are not only willing to introduce us to others they know, but they are also eager to do so. We have been introduced to so many people. In fact, I had to cancel plans this week with a new connection because our schedule was beginning to get too inundated (no worries, I will reschedule!). We have already been on a double date, two parent-only social events, a small house party, and plenty of dates with parents who have children similar to our children's ages. We have been invited to dinner next week where we will be introduced to yet another family and have a housewarming party to attend the following week as well. We have even been invited to an "after-party" that sounds like it could bring a wild night our way! I never thought it would be this easy to begin meeting people in a new city. Yet, the openness and kindness of the people here allowed us to jump right into a new social life.
Let's talk about the kind of kindness the people here imbue. Our son celebrated his birthday last month. He has made a new circle of friends through his high school sport's team and spent a lot of time with these new friends during August. On his birthday he spent the last part of the day with his new friends at a friend's house. The mother of this friend, who I have yet to meet, bought our son a birthday cake and together with his new friends sang him into his new year ahead. In my experiences, this is an unheard-of gesture but as I spend more time here, I realize it is pretty typical behavior in our new community. The residents here are pretty awesome.
We had some bumps getting our kids into the water. Keep in mind, our kids have been swimming in the ocean their entire lives. Unfortunately, they quickly learned about the stingray population on the nearby coast and refused to swim despite everyone's encouragement that they'd be just fine as long as they "shuffle". A couple of weeks ago we finally made a breakthrough and personally witnessed a miracle when all three of them got in the ocean and playfully jumped into the waves as they have done since they were infants. For a moment, I was truly concerned that we moved to a beach town and that ironically our children would never swim in the ocean! This was a big hurdle in our home and thankfully we are past it. I, on the other hand, refuse to get in the water. Not because of a fear of stingrays but simply because the water temperature is too frigid for me. I love swimming in the sea and have found it quite torturous to stare at pristine, aqua waters without getting in past my knees. Perhaps I'll need to invest in a wet suit soon.
Our children have impressed us the most in their ability to transition so flawlessly. Our boys have signed up for sports that they have never participated in and our daughter has been accepted into competitive dance teams. The kids spent the first few weeks of August in their appropriate camps, meeting new friends, and most importantly getting around independently. In New York City we never allowed them to commute further than our local park. This freedom was given only to our boys because there are too many creepy men lurking on New York City streets to allow an eleven-year-old girl to walk alone. Even our boys were never permitted to get around the city on the subway, or even an uber, because of safety concerns. Here, they are free to roam as they wish and they zip to school and extracurricular activities on their electric scooters while also meeting friends at various nearby destinations on their own.
I am still learning to feel comfortable behind the wheel. Mastering confident driving is probably my biggest obstacle right now. I have driven to the village and around La Jolla on my own (which is a huge accomplishment considering I haven't driven in thirteen years!). It's hard not to feel comfortable on the roads here as there are stop signs at every turn and the speed limit is at a constant limit of 25 mph but I am still becoming accustomed to this new skillset. I would, however, like to expand my horizons and get a sense of independence on the roads beyond La Jolla too. It's been one month. Baby steps.
The weather is incredible. I often need a layer with me, even in August. My body has been accustomed to summer temperatures that reach the nineties so seventy degrees feels quite chilly at times!
Life has been different indeed. I am forced to learn not to expect fast responses and not to plan far ahead. But these are lessons I welcome entirely. I learned that if my children have so quickly transformed their sense of fashion and their new interests to adapt to west coast life, I too have an opportunity to be malleable and push myself to new heights. They have inspired me and left me in awe over how quickly they adapted.
Instead of pigeons, we now watch hummingbirds and cardinals flutter their wings. Instead of the Hudson River, we have the Pacific Ocean on our horizon. Instead of black clothing and heels, I'm in flats and colorful dresses. Instead of blown-out hair and polished nails, I don my curls proudly and wave my hands in their natural state.
The thing that is most pressing in my mind about this massive move is that had we not made it we would have always convinced ourselves that New York City was the right place for us. And NYC was the perfect place for us at the time and could have been for decades to come. When we don't know what we are missing, we are safely protected in a state of ignorance that convinces us that our situation is the best one for us. In truth though, there are many circumstances that have positive impacts on all of us human beings. The most dangerous risk is staying complacent or convincing ourselves that we need to remain on a certain path which really limits our potential and ability to experience life at its greatest capacity, wouldn't you agree? Picking up and moving is not easy. It was a terribly difficult decision for us. We're just one month in and I can already tell that this will be one of the best decisions we ever made. I hope to move again, and again, and again in my lifetime. Now that I have discovered this big secret, I know that although we are very likely to be happy in San Diego for years to come, there is a whole world full of other wonderful places that we could be happy in too. With each move, comes new changes, new experiences, and most excitedly a new me!