The thing about moving in to a new environment, is that eventually ... gradually ... and perhaps without warning, you will start to feel homesick for the place from which you came. It's like a tickle at first. But with time, it will become a more noticeable ache of longing.
It's happened to me when I'm standing in our new house, trying to cook on our 50-year old electric stove, and thoroughly missing our modern stainless steel gas cook top that we left in California. It's happened when I walk around our leave-strewn yard, and remember our meticulously manicured lawn of California. Much like California, we currently live on a street where people take great pride in the condition of their yards. And we will, too.
It's just that right now, our attention has largely been focused on other matters which is why we haven't cut our grass in the two months that we've lived here. Of course, to cut the grass, we need to buy a lawnmower since the one that we owned, we gave to our gardener.
It happened to me one day last week when I picked up some beautiful avocados in the grocery store and then, turned to find some cilantro so I could make guacamole. I searched high and low before stumbling upon a small overpriced pack, that contained two measly sprigs.
Right there, in the grocery store, I audibly gasped when it hit me.
I'M NOT IN CALIFORNIA ANYMORE.
I'm not in the land of year-round awesome produce.
I'm not going to be able to buy massive bundles of cilantro, any old time I want, for $0.50. For that matter, I'm not going to be able to GROW massive bundles of cilantro, in that small sunny spot beneath our bedroom window, any time of the year.
How am I going to make salsa?
It happens to me when I'm driving on the narrow and winding roads to work and comparing them to the spacious freeways of California. I can already imagine that when the first snow falls, I'm going to careen straight in to a ditch.
It happened to me last month when I took Henry to a pediatrician after he crushed his finger under a jar of soup. I'm still not entirely sure how he did this, but as I walked in to our new pediatrician's office, I noticed that in contrast to our bright and modern pediatrician's office of California, this office was small, dim and dated. And the people who worked there didn't flash big smiles of life-long recognition and tell the kids, "WOW, you are growing so big!!"
It happened earlier this week when I had a dentist appointment and got terribly lost on the way there. And it happened again when I took the children to their pediatric dentist appointment and their new dentist, had Elizabeth in tears about how deformed her teeth would be if she kept sucking her thumb. And then, despite Henry's cries, he put one hand on our son's head and one under his chin and SHOVED his mouth together so he could evaluate his bite. Charlie grabbed Henry out of the chair and snapped at the dentist, "That's it, you're DONE!" while I wondered why I hadn't done the same exact thing?
Our pediatric dentist in California was the most wonderful, gentle soul.
She'd never traumatize one of her patients.
Let alone two.
It happens when I want to go to Home Depot and Target. And instead of that outing taking me five minutes from my house, it takes me 20 minutes to get from one store to the next. And then, another 20 minutes to get home. Unless I get stuck in traffic and then it will take me an hour.
Lest anyone think I'm complaining ... we really do love it here.
We really are thankful for the change and for the new experience.
We really are optimistic about all of the things that we are going to see and learn and do.
But we are extremely sensitive to how DIFFERENT things are here. And recently, we've been missing our house in California. We've been missing our doctors and our dentists and our stores and our roads. We've been missing our friends and our neighbors. We've been missing the familiarity of knowing how to get from one place to the next and the shortest distance from A to B. We've been missing that life when our children were not in school and we could take them anywhere and everywhere, whenever.
Yesterday, my homesickness for California came to a head.
Yesterday, after having been up several hours the night before with a sick child, I decided to drive the kids to school since there was no way they'd make the school bus. My plan was to drop them off on the way to work. More specifically, my plan was to drop them off in the "Kiss & Ride" area, which is essentially an area where you pull through, the kids jump out, and you drive off.
But I was driving Charlie's truck. And the door to the backseat, where the children were sitting, is a "suicide door" which cannot be opened unless the passenger door is opened first. So I jumped out of the car and ran around to the side to help let them out. And that's when a woman who was working the "Kiss & Ride" lane came RUNNING at me and yelling, "GET BACK IN THE CAR! GET BACK IN THE CAR! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GET OUT OF THE CAR!" and I nodded and said, "OK, I'll get back in the car, I just want to help my kindergartners out because they aren't able to open the door." And she said, "I'll do it! You, get back in the car! HURRY!"
Okay. Now wait a minute.
There were about five cars in front of me, that were still unloading passengers. Those cars hadn't moved. There were about 10 cars behind me, waiting to pull through the Kiss & Ride. While I understand that people aren't supposed to get of their cars, I honestly didn't know that anyone would be there to help my children get out and if I didn't help them, they'd be crawling out the window. And the fact that I did get out, shouldn't have caused such an uproar since there were several cars in front of me that were stopped.
Regardless, as my children were shuffled in to school, I did my best to show that I was expeditiously moving back to the driver's seat, and hey just because I have California plates on my vehicle, I'm keen on what's happening!
Rush! Rush! Rush! I Get It!
So I jogged to the curb, stepped off the curb, took a few steps to the car and the next thing I know, I'm laying FACE DOWN in the broken asphalt. BOOM. Like a ton of bricks I went down.
There was no warning. There was no stumble, no trip, no "Whoa ... I'm going down, brace myself!" One second I'm on my feet, a split second later, I'm on the ground.
This isn't the first time I've fallen in my life. I remember falling plenty of times when I was a kid. But it hurts a lot more when you're older and there's another 100 pounds of mass propelling towards the ground.
Since I was on my way to work, I was very nicely dressed. I had on my favorite Talbots pants, with hose, my shiny Dansko shoes, a silk blouse and my black wool peacoat. In retrospect, I think my foot rolled when I stepped in to a pothole. And instead of jumping up and dusting myself off, I laid there as the pain ricocheted through my entire body.
The Kiss & Ride lady looks over the hood of the car and continues yelling at me, "GET IN YOUR CAR! GET IN YOUR CAR!" And forgive me, Father in Heaven, if my body hadn't been in such an excruciating state, I would have put out her lights. What did she think? That I was laying in the chunked up asphalt taking a nap?! I agonizingly dragged myself in to the driver seat, accelerated out of the Kiss & Ride lane and directly in to a parking space.
That's where I conducted the first assessment of my injuries.
I looked down and could see that my favorite pants were torn all the way through the fabric, through my hose, to my skin which is bleeding. The extremely sensitive palms and the tops of my hands are ripped and gushing blood. My ankle, which I have sprained at least three other times, is throbbing. From the depths of my soul, I start to cry and I can. not. stop.
The pain is unbelievable. Worse perhaps than ... well, any pain that I can remember feeling in my adult life. I reach for my cell phone and call Charlie. After I cry about what has happened and the STUPID POTHOLES, there were no STUPID POT HOLES in SAN DIEGO, my husband tells me that maybe the reason I'm so upset is that this has been a very tough year and everything is coming to the surface?
"NO! That's not it!" I sob, "It's because I've got GRAVEL embedded in my knees, knuckles and chin!" And, well, OK. If I'm being perfectly honest, maybe there has been some stuff simmering under the surface.
Instead of driving to work, I drive home. And that's where I conducted the second assessment of my injuries. Charlie gently helped me to change in to different clothes. We look at my right ankle which had ballooned up to twice the size of my left ankle, was already deeply bruised and painful to the touch. I spent the rest of the day (and night) (and most of today) with my foot iced and palms wrapped in gauze.
Today, I was at the doctor's office where I was diagnosed with a severe sprain AND pink eye. I was issued a tetanus shot for the open wounds on my hands and administered an antibiotic drop for my eyes. I was told to stay off my feet for the next five to seven days and use crutches when walking. I look and feel like a cripple. Which I suppose is only appropriate since 2010 has successfully kicked my posterior from one side of the country to the other.
The good news is, just today, Charlie unpacked the box that held our boo-boo bunny.
Already, I'm feeling better. Although, I could use about 25 more.