I left California 27 years ago. I wanted to figure out what this mysterious place 'back East' was and not be afraid of snow (walking in it, driving in it, dealing with it regularly instead of on the chance jaunt to Lake Tahoe) and other unknown phenomena.
Now I am, we are, back and living in what I, in all the peregrinations for college, school and jobs and the desire to live in the town with the best school district for Charlie, had forgotten is my favorite place to be, Berkeley. I grew up in adjacent Oakland where my great-grandparents and grandparents had settled in the early 20th century and have always been drawn north to Berkeley, with its campus, streets with independent businesses (bookstores included), cafés and a whole lot more.
This time around, I'm not exactly planning on sitting in those cafés with an espresso and a book but, as my late mother-in-law liked to say as she gestured vaguely in the direction of New York from her kitchen sequestered deep in the Jersey suburbs, 'we like to know it's there.'
As widely reported, it has been snowing, a lot, on the East Coast and very cold. Since our arrival in California on Christmas Day, Charlie and Jim (reflecting on the fact that, for the first time in his life, he is living in a place quite distant from any snow zone) have been riding bikes every day, at least for 13 or 15 miles.
Sometimes twice a day.
Onto the Bay Bridge.
Charlie joined my family for 20 minutes to eat New Year's lunch in a restaurant (something he hasn't done in about 5 years).
He's gotten a shave at a local place after years of only going to Vince the barber.
On Friday, Charlie met his new pediatrician and did great though he didn't want to have his ears examined.
On Monday, we are meeting with the special education director to talk about a school placement.
This is not to say that the transition has been/is (it's most certainly still going on) seamless. The first night, Charlie refused to sleep in his new bedroom and slept on the couch. Saturday and Sunday night, in part because of an excess of chow fun and some ice cream and jet lag and various other factors (as ever) there were behavior storms. We've got a weekend ahead and no firm sense of when Charlie might actually be back in school and how he'll handle that.
When in his new room (which he is now sleeping in) and using his iPad, instead of telling me 'Mommy stairs' (as in 'Mom go downstairs until I ask you for something else'), Charlie has been saying 'Mommy lie down' (as in 'Mom go lie down on the couch until I ask you for something else'). It's a small change but I would have thought he would have used 'Mommy stairs,' over-generalizing his use of the phrase.
We've none of our furniture aside from some things my parents put in our house as everything is still in transit. Charlie hasn't seemed to mind.
I haven't really, either. 27 years have taught me what's essential for living.