11 Days

We've lived in Los Angeles for 11 days.

Our stuff has been here for 9 days.

I left my Dot Spot home 20 days ago.

My Girls said goodbye to their Gram 15 days ago.

I left a dearest friend and Oklahoma 14 days ago.

Yes, two weeks ago, we started out on this journey of grad school [again]. I can't help but compare it to our first adventure with grad school that took us to the University of Chicago and Hyde Park. I remember after we'd been there for a week, my little family [which then consisted of Jake and eighteen-month-old Cora] was taking an evening stroll through our neighborhood. We were passing our church building, and I told Jake I felt like I was cheating on Oklahoma for how much I loved Chicago already. It instantly felt like home, and my only complaint was the family who lived right above us and how they let their children run around way into the wee hours of the morning (it was really frustrating, especially for a light sleeper who was with child).

I wish the second time around brought with it such instant comfort. In reality, I've been stuck in a rut. I hate admitting that. I'm usually so good at just rolling with it, but I'm quite certain I've slipped into a bit of a depression. One I've kept hoping would turn out to be crazy hormones. Perhaps it's a little of both. Hyde Park and Chicago were so much easier to explore. We walked everywhere we wanted in our neighborhood and took public transit almost everywhere else.

It's obviously not that easy in Los Angeles. We're in a good part of the city, not too far from many things. And I'm grateful for the rent we're paying for UCLA graduate housing. It gets us in a good spot and easily saves us at least $1,000 per month compared to the market value of comparable apartments. We can walk to quite a few things, but most of the things we can walk to aren't really places I want to go too often. I mean, I guess I could make it super cool to hang out at the grocery store. After the exploring that we've done - that usually takes us to the beach - I've decided that if I could handpick a spot for me on the west side of L.A., it would be Santa Monica. What I couldn't walk to would be easily accessible by bike. I'm trying to get over this hurdle.

I felt like I'd explored everything I could in Oklahoma City, but it was easy to live there. It was easy to go take part in all my faves, and then go back to my cozy home in my lovely neighborhood. Maybe part of my rut is a lack of hardwood floors. ;) Seriously, though, I haven't lived in a dwelling this new….maybe ever? I think it's newer than our first apartment at Cokesbury on the campus of OCU. It's nice for grad school housing. But it's not at all charming. And this city isn't very charming. There's a lot to see and do, but it doesn't have the lovely architecture of Hyde Park, and the lovely old homes in Mesta Park. Besides the ocean, there isn't much eye candy for me. And I'm all about aesthetics. It's mostly a lot of getting from point A to point B. There is a life-sized cow sculpture in the front yard of a home on the way to Cora's school. It's quirky. I love it. I'm glad it's there.

Because I can't quite handpick the spot in this city I want to be in (and I've quickly come to understand that being in the right spot in this city is pretty important for its enjoyment - just like any city: I didn't love where we first lived in OKC when we moved back from Chicago because of the whole car dependence thing), I'm trying to find things that aren't superficial to keep busy with. I don't want to wish away the next 4-5 years that we'll be here for school. They're part of my life, my life will be happening in all of those years. But there is something difficult about going from being somewhat established/comfortable, minus Jake's crazy hours at work and basically non-existence at home, to being anonymous. From an old bungalow to sterile grad housing. From a school we LOVED to a school that's good so far, but to which I'm still warming up. I don't want to think, "We've been here for almost two weeks, only 206-258 weeks left."

I think it will help when Jake is in school. We had to move here pretty early for Cora to start school, but Jake doesn't start until the end of September. I'm used to being the queen of my castle with occasional visits from the king who's usually gone on business. I haven't been letting my freak flag fly the way it usually does. The way it needs to.

Okay, now that everyone knows I'm having a bit of a hard time, I want to share some things I've found enjoyable here:

1. There is a magnolia tree outside my bedroom window.
2. We're a family of four living in less than a thousand square feet, and it's working. Still some things to figure out, but we were a family of three in Chicago bursting at the seams in 1,300 square feet. I like the direction we're heading towards minimalism.
3. The smell (in most places). I don't know what plants/trees are emitting it, but when I walk outside of our complex, there is a deliciously sweet smell in the air.
4. The weather. Wow. Perfection.
5. The ocean. I can't even tell you how happy I am to be close. Here's my first post from Chicago. I tried to pretend like Lake Michigan was the ocean. I have the real deal here.
6. Jake's PhD program. This was his top pick. He's here, we're here. I'm excited for him.
7. I got some dreamy new dishes. This was a really big deal. I left all my Fiesta in Oklahoma. All of the bright vibrant, glossy stoneware. I wanted white. All white. And that's what I got. I initially wanted Wedgwood White, but then I found out that this charming English china maker outsourced the making of this line to Indonesia. I could have spent quite a bit of time trying to collect older pieces of the collection with the "Made in England" stamp on the back, but I found the Apilco Tuileries collection, and it had the same low lovely profile of Wedgwood White, but instead of a British company that now produces its ware in Indonesia, it's a French company that still produces its goods in France. I don't know why that was so important to me. It was a huge decision for indecisive me. Now I just need to find the perfect reclaimed wood shelf to display it on. I didn't think the shelf part would be so hard.

I think it's been strange trying to let myself catch up. I went from "We applied to 8 schools for PhD programs" to "We're moving to L.A.!" Then we went into get Dot ready to sell mode. Then we sold her in less than 24 hours. Packing, closing, preparing to leave friends who are all kinds of wrapped up in my heart. Driving halfway across the country, signing a lease on an apartment we'd never seen, working through the randomly complicated details of getting our stuff here, enrolling Cora in school, settling in. So many things. Big things. And there's a check by all of them. It's a relief, but it's weird to not be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next big task that I need to tackle. Is this where I breathe? Is this where I finally take the time to figure out if I want to go back to school too? Years. That's how long it's been on my mind.

I had it narrowed down to midwifery or architecture/historic preservation. Could it be more opposite? Maybe. I'm passionate about both things. Empowering women and birthing mothers in the birthing process. Studying/creating/designing/repurposing spaces - adding beauty and usefulness to our built environment - which I've always been so incredibly fascinated by. I've been leaning towards architecture/historic preservation. It floats my boat. My favorite textbook in college was my art history text, and my favorite chapter was the one dealing with architecture, specifically the section on green architecture, and by green architecture, the author was talking about repurposing old structures to have new uses and remain viable rather than be demolished. (My second favorite textbooks where ethics/human rights. And the class I got the highest grade in was psychology. I never missed a question on a test, and on one test, the scantron machine misread the last 15 question of my exam, and marked them wrong. When I showed my professor, she'd already set the curve to the person who'd missed the next highest amount of questions, which gave me like 115% on that exam. Social work, public policy, urban planning, and PA school have all been on my list as well.) I'm still holding out to see how all of our schedules will work out to see if it finally feels right to get down the business of working towards a career I want to spend the rest of my life doing.


  1. It'll get better. Maybe not all of it, but at least parts of it.

    Check this out, a fellow Okie who went west:

    1. Thanks for sharing the link. I spent a little time on her site and found a link to a tour of her home. It was ridiculously dreamy and sort of made me want to head for the hills. ;)



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