Three years ago today we were winging our way to the USA. The start of a new job for DH. The start of a new life.
We only had five months in Colorado, and there were some really hard times during that period, homesick, lonely times, but we also had some great times. We saw beautiful places, met some really nice people... I had one of the best summers of my life (minus the stress DH was suffering).
(More pics from Colorado here and some of Fort Collins too.)
But that job came to a close somewhat more quickly than anyone anticipated. The company restructured and I realised why the locals looked at me as they did when I said who Nathan was working for. Pretty much everyone in Fort Collins seems to have been laid off by this particular mob, or their partner has or a brother or sister or good buddy.
I still wish that we had had more time there - we had started settling in and were ready to face a cold winter. We had a great place to live right by a creek. We had good neighbours. But the job disappeared and another job appeared on the horizon, but we had to spend a few weeks in Canada in the meantime, getting new visas and also being tourists.
Canada was totally grand, if a little cold, it being December and all when we were there. I'd go back in a heartbeat, though I'd like to see everything mantled in green (not just Vancouver and Victoria). More pics in this collection.
So we moved to California, where we lived for two years (less 18 days). We made good friends in California. I settled into a lovely lifestyle of doing pretty much what I pleased when I pleased. I could ride my bike around, doing shopping, or hop on a bus and go off to do more shopping, or (eventually) get in the car to go further afield.
And when we got our own car, we went further afield. We drove to Yosemite. (But in winter, so imagine a bit of snow on the surrounding mountains. DH was still wearing a tshirt at that lookout, I had thermals and the biggest fuzzy pullover you ever did see.)
We drove to the Grand Canyon and U-tah! (Pics from a number of the days can be found here.)
We drove to Yellowstone! (Illustrated by a pic of the Grand Tetons ;-)
But things that made a greater impression on me were things like the Campbell Farmers' Market. Egads, that was (still is, I presume) good! I'd trundle over with some cash and come home with $60 of vegies and fruit and flowers in my little red trolley.
Having a LYS 10 minutes away. By foot. Not having to drive there. Having lots of buddies there. Dragging along Nathan's interns before we go out for a meal. Dropping in for a chat and a bit of knitting. Can't beat that!
Being able to walk and ride around - yes we did choose our location carefully. Most things we needed were within a short cycling distance. Admittedly we are an easy ride away from good things here too but the local supermarkets are lacking somewhat in range for the sorts of foods I need. Now the local farmers' market is a 15 minute drive away, not a 10 minute walk (15 minutes coming home with a large load on board). And the local church does not have a massive pipe organ, alas for DH!
Having access to the latest and greatest (whatever) if we chose to take advantage of it. Even things like yarn and quilting material. Yes we have lovely yarn here too but our market is so much smaller that we don't have the variety available in the US (and why yes, I did bring various yarns home with me, I keep finding them tucked away in storage tubs and gloating happily over them). Quilting material here is different, often cheap fabric, and the Good Stuff (eg Michael Miller fabrics) is usually $20+ a metre.
Would I do it again?
In a heartbeat, only if I was doing it over, I'd've started the mammograms a bit earlier - in Oz, they start screening at 50 not 40. If I'd started at 40, I would've not been in the current pickle (but I would've been doing it in the US). I'd still love to live in Europe for a year or two. But I like being at home with all the advantages of home (not the least of which is free or very low cost healthcare). This place will most likely always be my Home but I am happy to travel and experience other places.
America, you were grand. I wish I'd seen more of you, gotten to Portland (OR) and up to Seattle, seen more of the Rockies in full bloom and in snow, gotten to Maryland Sheep and Wool, but as it was, I saw a lot of your beauty. But my home is grand too and soon I'll be able to travel more and show off some of the local sights.