The view from every window in our new place!
We live in Los Angeles now, which if I had to guess is a whole lot like living on Mars. Unless Martians like to walk to dinner or the store or anywhere for that matter, then LA is surely nothing like Mars. If Martians walked their kids to get a back-to-school burger up the road would they get lots of dirty, confused, irritated, surprised looks from their fellow citizens driving around in Mars-Mobiles? Just wondering.
This move to California was supposed to feel like a homecoming, but if I'm being honest it's felt more like our family unit was dropped at random into a foreign, foreign land. In fact, I haven't felt this alien-ish since returning home from my mission nearly ten years ago when I looked around at the family I had craved for 18 months in the home where all my memories were made and was devastated to find that I was an outsider. And while my family had everything perfectly orchestrated so that a successful post-mish transition was possible, the odds have been seriously stacked against us with this move. A few weeks ago when we walked into our new place for the first time there were boards over windows that didn't pass code, burned out light's around every corner, the last tenant's dirt and grime still in every cupboard, drawer and crevice, a laundry list of broken apartment items and all I could see out my broken windows was a homeless man sleeping next to a stinky dumpster behind a 7-11. James and I took turns being seriously, completely bummed that we were spending a whole-freakin-lot of money to live in a place that had caution tape around the Jacuzzi. Yep, serious.
I cried for probably two days straight but then got so busy trying to create "home" again that I just worked and cleaned and organized and really had no time for tears or words or anything else because gosh darn it this place needed help! Luckily James is still home from work because it's taken both of us working around the clock to get this place to where it is now, which is far from perfect but holy hannah there are lights that work and my dream table in the dining area and the new map we found for the kids' room hung proudly over their color-coordinated books. We've hung hooks and built bookcases, cleaned out closets and put up pictures. The beds are made and there are towels in the bathrooms and we even found a rug for under our new entertainment center--what! what! We've visited just about every box store West LA has to offer and we are now proud owners of a gorgeous space-ship, also known as a Dyson vacuum! Thank goodness James has had a break between the Court and S&C, having him here has been the only reason we've made it through.
I've become somewhat of a moving expert and if there's one thing I know for sure it's that moving is never easy. Even when it's a good thing. Even when you're excited. Even when there's no winter in your new landscape (hallelujah choir, see ya in February for sure!) It's just not ever easy. Because all of the sudden you're in this new place far, far away from all your friends, your favorite restaurants, your usual grocery store, your corner laundromat and you're trying to tell yourself, "Self, this is awesome. You love starting from scratch in the friends department, again. And you love Craigslist-bingeing for new-to-you furniture. And you love sending your children into school with strangers." Sure, sometimes those inner conversations are less sarcastic than that, but oftentimes the first little bit is just a roller coaster of emotions and being sassy to yourself is better than being sassy to the office staff at your kid's new school, am I right?
But if my post-mish self has taught me anything it's that it doesn't take long before a foreign place that's filled with love feels like home sweet home. I've proved that same principle over and over as us little Wigs have moved to Provo, Sacramento, Cambridge, the Bronx, Stanford, LA: take one and Manhattan and I have total faith and hope that LA: take two will be no different. Sunny SoCal will feel like a part of us in no time. In fact, with things feeling a little more settled inside our home it's been a little easier for things to feel more settled in my heart. For example, the other day it started sprinkling mid-afternoon quite unexpectedly and I got a big whiff of cool California rain on the hot pavement and I just stood there breathing it in. California rain is my favorite smell in the universe and cannot be duplicated. Gosh, that moment felt like home. And today when I was picking up Talmage from school I could smell the Eucalyptus trees on my path and thought, Wow I'm lucky that this will be my daily walk to get my boy. I have a washer and dryer in my hallway, an extra freezer in my kitchen, and let's not forget that this place is 1200 square feet, which is nearly 3 times the size of our last place! Also, shout out to Central air. Whoa, that's good! My parents have already surprised the boys with a mid-week visit, we met Grandma Winnie for a weekend in Disneyland and I have a new van I can drive wherever the heck I want to see all my West Coast family members. Now that's a beautiful thing!
As I mentioned earlier, the first thing I saw when I looked out our shabby windows for the first time was an ugly view of dumpsters and filth. But my little boys? They were ecstatic and beautifully naive, running from room to room screaming, "We can see the temple from every window in our house! This is the best place we've ever lived! In our last place we were close to the temple, but in this place we can actually see it from our bedroom!" (They also said, "We are so lucky to live next to 7/11! This is so exciting! Sour Patch Slurpees everyday!") They were right (about the temple, not the slurpees!) Why wasn't that the first thing I noticed? The Los Angeles temple is sitting on a hill right outside our window, providing beauty and warmth and so much perspective. James mentioned yesterday that as he looks out our window he's seeing the dumpster less and the temple more and I couldn't agree more. The temple has been our literal reminder to look up from the world and remember what's really important in life--our family, our faith, our eternity. I can already tell that the view from our window will be our favorite feature of this apartment and will lead us to "look up" in so many other parts of our life. I'm excited to see what this new chapter has in store for us.
Me: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Me: No, I'm asking you silly. Where would you live?
Ev: No, my answoh is you. It doesn't mattew whewe we wiv as wong as I wiv with you. As wong as we'we togethoh.
The real deal view! Hello dumpster, hello Staples, hello temple!