Wow, last week marked a whole year here over on the west side of the U.S for us. It seems like it flew by. This year has been bittersweet as we welcomed a whole baby, the kids made some amazing strides and achievements at school, and have some pretty cool neighbors. The weather here has been very different than what we are used to in the Midwest. Now the heat, of course St. Louis summers are no joke, we are pretty used to it, but being in fear of wildfires flaring up, record-breaking rains in this part of the state, and earthquakes, naw fam. We were blessed to have missed the large earthquakes that happened last July as we were traveling to STL for vacation but supposedly we experienced an earthquake here just yesterday evening. I thank God I didn’t feel it but it’s alarming that it was 5.7 magnitude, which isn’t light. I’ll break down some of the details of our various experiences so far in Cali.
School – I am so pleased with the amount of compassion that the teachers have for their students here. I am also amazed at how MANY students there are per class. In STL, I know the ideal number is to be, say, around the 24:1 student-teacher ratio. The classrooms that we have seen are quite small, no windows, and I believe one of the kids’ class had 30+ students. Can you imagine? I’m losing my mind trying to keep 4 kids in order, let alone over 30. I was an active member of the PTA and appreciated how candid they were in sharing what the fundraised dollars went to (events, teacher/student supplies, etc). And I still could not believe how present the parents were. From standing in front of the school or sitting in the carpool lane waiting for school to release for the day, to the school events and awards ceremonies, to the field trips where over 20 parents signed up. Truly incredible and that’s the way it should be at all schools. The most impressive things that occurred were the kids’ achievements. Marshall, who has never been much of a talker but always made friends easily, went from recognizing a couple sight words to being the first one in his class to pass all the sight word levels in his class. Michael has received an achievement award and he received an award for being on one of the top levels for reading comprehension of first grade. And Miss Mariah, who has always been pretty vocal & rambunctious, used those tools for a more positive spin and earned her spot as a Student Council representative for fourth grade AND pushed herself and prayed with the goal of achieving honor roll, in which she did even better and achieved Principal’s Honor Roll. I pray that their scholastic interests continue as this distance learning stuff has been quite an adventure. I’ll talk about that topic on a later post though. And last, the parent pick-up line. Let me tell you if the power of the Holy spirit wasn’t in me on some days, I would’ve flipped out lol. For one, the line is super long so heaven forbid you get there later than 25 minutes before school lets out. Second, some people are rude and there was a situation where a car was so much in a rush that he swerve in front of me and almost hit my car AND as well as the crossing guard that was letting kids cross the walkway zone. The episode of Black-ish really hit this on the nose. And third, having a baby in the car while you’re sitting there waiting is no picnic. There’s been times where, if Miles is not sleep, I have to hop out the driver side and open his door to feed him while standing in the street or calm him down from screaming his head off cause he felt the car stop moving.
Work – Work for me has been great. Being remote has taken quite the load off of my previous lifestyle of having to spend 3+ hours of my day every day in the car and not having time to give my kids the attention they need and deserve after school due to time constraints and being exhausted. A positive from the stay-at-home order was that I had the chance to see my husband more hours of the day. He even accused me of trying to make him gain weight by making him lunch some days. Nevertheless, it felt good to, at least, have the opportunity to do so. Mike has settled into his job as well and enjoys going into the office. Well, except for the traffic.
Traffic – Speaking of traffic, man, it’s a monster. For my STL folks, we thought 40 or 270 was a beast during rush hour? Imagine if it’s rush hour, every day, all day. No matter what time. It could be 10am on a Sunday morning and you’ll be like where is everybody going?!! So many people here and everybody has somewhere important they have to be so when the lanes open up, people are flying down the highway. I’ve watched quite a few high-speed chases on TV recently down in the LA area and these folks are fast and last a long time. It’s almost like the cops have to train with Nascar in order to keep up and do so in a safe manner to protect the bystanding citizens.
Coronavirus has paused all of our lives as we had so much hope to do so many things this year. For one, I’m not expecting, so I was ready to boogie. I wanted to get one some carnival rides, maybe make a Disneyland visit, take the kids to the beach more often, check out Nickelodeon SlimeFest and Kids’ Choice Awards, and even something as simple as drive to San Diego or other parts to sightsee. It’s like going on vacation in the Caribbean but it rains the whole time. We have all of this cool stuff around us but not being able to enjoy it seems like such a waste of opportunity. We all have to enjoy life. But I have faith that things will get better and we will be back to attending concerts, events, and other stuff in no time, just slightly in a different manner than before.
In summary, I’m loving it here but things are bittersweet cause I do miss my family and friends (my villagers). We have been so used to hosting events and holidays at our house or hanging out on a random weekend with our buddies or even having a date night, which was in turn an excuse for the kids to have the chance to spend the night over their grandparents house (i.e. their favorite place/best place ever). It has been a real adjustment to not be able to popup and surprise my cousins, or bring gifts to my friends for their birthday, or share a good laugh with my aunts and uncles. But that means now they have to make an excuse to come visit and have a blast out here in Cali with me (wink, wink, nudge). Thanks for all your support during this first year! Don’t forget us and keep tuning in.
Peace & love,
Yo! Mama Mesh
P.S. Shopping here is the bomb-diggety! You can shop til you drop and do it again tomorrow :)