A lot can happen in a few days. The big news of last week is that we have managed to get both our girls into a school near to our new apartment and more importantly, it's a school we like. It was touch and go for a while for L as it looked like there wasn't room but on Friday after my third visit to the school district office, she was enrolled. So Friday was E's first day and tomorrow L goes too. A relief for them as well as me as I think they are really sick of shopping and boring offices or meetings and traipsing after me up and down hill. And I'd like to get on with boring stuff (like cleaning!) without two unimpressed girls in tow.
Meanwhile, yesterday we headed properly out of town for the first time since we arrived and went to visit friends in Napa Valley. It was lovely to see some people I knew and catch up with them, and to see where they live. We went for a beautiful walk through the edges of the town and vineyards, the countryside was stunning, and the light spectacular. This doesn't really capture it.
Then after dinner we headed off to see a high school volley ball match which was really exciting and loud and probably our most thoroughly American experience to date.
Today, we have been shopping again. To Target to get more very dull items like an ironing board, a hoover, a kitchen bin. You get the picture. Shopping wasn't meant to be like this and Tom and I still find making decisions hard. It's partly because we just have to make so many and they are fundamentally so boring. Steam iron or non-steam iron? Bagless or bagged vacuum? How big a bin do we need? Doesn't set the world alight does it? Still I think we may be heading to the end of this phase and I cannot wait. I loathe shopping malls - always have and have always done my best to avoid them. I also loathe dull shopping. Who wants to waste time thinking about loo rolls or floor cleaner.
And the other major development is that I drove. I have driven on the right before but always in my own right-hand drive which while it presents a few problems, at least you know where the hand brake and gear stick and most crucially rear view mirror are. It's amazing how unthinking and instinctive a lot of driving is. I couldn't work out why I felt so confused at first until I realised I hadn't worked out that to look back I had to look in a different place on the windscreen. And I have several times tried to open the door when reaching for the handbrake. Thankfully we're driving an automatic because the hills are crazy and changing gear with a different hand would also be a challenge. Still we have Jane (satnav) telling us where to go and so far we haven't gone too far wrong or hit anything.