Hello from LaLa Land! WE DID IT!! Whoohooooo!!
What a few weeks it’s been. The amount we have all experienced – all the changes and newness – has been so monumental, it’s hard to believe we’ve only been here a month.
In that time, the kids have all started school, the animals arrived, we moved into our house, Daniel has been going to work and I have driven the entire length and breadth of LA, freeways galore, on the wrong side of the road and come very close to taking out a few wing mirrors en route! And the sun has shone every blessed moment!
So where to start?
We have been thrust in to a teen movie is all I can say. Goodbye school uniform, hello shopping trip! Gone are the days of brown pleated skirts, shirts and ties, socks and shoes and the perfect ponytail. We are talking shorts, t-shirts, flip flops and not a ponytail in sight! Can’t imagine I’ll be receiving the traditional “head lice is going around, please make sure your daughter wears her hair in tight plaits” email any time soon.
Jessica is obsessed with volleyball and made the squad… so it’s all about having enough volleyball shorts to cope with the week ahead. And those shorts are short girlfriend! She has to take optional courses and she’s signed up for very cool Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts subjects which she loves. PE alternates between Yoga, Swimming, Badminton and other funky things. She’s got her first school “retreat” coming up and she’s off to some fun location just North of Santa Barbara where she’ll do kayaking and camping.
Tamsin calls her teachers by their first names. Goodbye Miss Younger, Hello Lil. Yes, Lil. No more classrooms, it’s called, “Homeroom,” and “core” is no longer the weak area you work on post three children in a Pilates class. Core is a mix of a few subjects, can’t say I’ve worked out exactly which but I think it includes English?? On a Friday afternoon, her last two lessons are optional courses and she’s signed up for Rock Band (who knew??) and one where you make movie trailers. For P.E she has the choice of Martial Arts or Yoga and hasn’t yet decided which to choose.
Harry is a man of few words. He confesses to being happy here, finding it a bit hot (no sympathy mate, that’s what we moved here for) and he gets up at 6am to shower every day before school, that has to mean he cares. American High School, here we come.
Harry and Jess both have a huge amount of homework and all subjects are taught so differently so they find that very intense. But so far, they really enjoy the school, the people and the new opportunities / courses / facilities that come with it.
We moved in to the house…. I just love it. We have barely any furniture but I don’t care. It’s all been ordered and I’m just so happy to be here that it really doesn’t matter. We are so close to the cafes, shops and the beach of Santa Monica, it makes up for everything.
We’ve certainly had our hilarious moments… there are definitely times when we feel like total foreigners. The funniest moment to date, we went school clothes shopping in American Apparel and the salesman looked at Jessica and asked her if she needed a “Fanny Pack.” Not a question she was expecting, understood or knew how to answer! Translation: Bum Bag / purse belt.
In true Jewish style, we had a family Batmitzvah the day we were due to move in. The ceremony was at 4.30pm and at 3pm one of the beds hadn’t been delivered and there was no way we could move in. So at 3.45, we were checking in to the Loews Hotel, with all the animals! I found myself calling room service and ordering dinner for the dogs as I didn’t know what else to do! Not sure if that was a moment where my standards were really low or really high! All I know is, on moving day in a foreign country with too many animals and children than I knew what to do with, we made it to the Batty, pressed and dressed! Phew!
Because the weather is so beautiful, we’re outdoors all the time. Biking, running with the dogs to the beach and mountain biking.
It seems that overnight I have been thrust in to a completely different world. A world where my children have lockers – some of them are outdoor ones (too funny) and the Back to School stationary shop includes an entire aisle of locker decorations… oh yes, it’s true…. And it turns out that in 6th Grade, (Tammy) it’s all about the locker decoration. You can buy locker wallpapers, carpets, chandeliers, shelves, and some practical things like pencil holders. Thankfully, my little Sarum Hall come Channing girl couldn’t quite let go of her British rigidity and didn’t go all out. You can imagine my pride and relief. Then she spoke to a friend, changed her mind and bought a locker chandelier! No words. All we need now is Zac Effron to jump out of a locker and start singing High School Musical!
The sun hasn’t stopped shining and I’m so enjoying having some time to myself that I haven’t had in such a long a time. I really miss everyone but thank goodness for Face Time etc so it’s easy to keep in touch.
In terms of the Spanish, I feel a moral duty to let you all know that you should all ask for refunds on your kids’ Spanish lessons. Learning how to communicate what colour your eyes, how many pets you have and what your favourite subject is will not get you anywhere! What these children really need to learn is how to say, “When are you going to fix the pipe in the master bathroom because it’s still leaking in the guest bedroom? You told me this would be done last week and it’s affecting the paintwork.” Get the gist?
We had our first Rosh Hashanah here. It turns out that only grandparents understand the word “shul” and if we say “synagogue” we are deemed even more posh and formal than Kate Middleton. The word is Temple and it’s not Balinese.
There’s so much to say, I can’t possibly put it all into an email although I’m trying my best. This is the biggest adventure of our lives. It’s challenging, overwhelming, exhausting, exciting, funny, weird and brilliant fun all at the same time. We have all been thrown completely out of our comfort zones and have to find our own ways, learn new ropes, make new friends, in many ways we are all in the same boat and in many ways we’re on our own. My comfort zone of not being a morning person has been ripped away like a nasty band aid. I’m up at 6am every day and have actually been going to Yoga class at 7.40am. Wonders will never cease!
So far, we’re rising to the challenge and we’re happy.
Shana Tova to all my Jewish friends. Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year.
I’m very tired and obviously have to be up at the crack of dawn for the 6.51 bus so I hope this all makes sense. It’s a bit of a brain dump!
Final comment – my dog pooed on my brand new stair carpet. It being LA and all that, some young, lithe, Mexicano came over five minutes later – on a Sunday – and removed all traces of the “imperfection.” Gd Bless the United States of America!
Love AC xxx