0 In California Diaries

Our first Thanksgivings

I remember being a kid and watching Thanksgivings films. Of course, during Christmas, because I don’t think anybody really understands Thanksgivings in Spain, so that’s when all these films usually play on TV. As you can imagine, I had romanticized everything that had to do with that evening: the turkey drama, family disputes, reconciliations, bringing a homeless guy to your in-laws elitist dinner who then turns to be an angel or something like that… Oh and I also have to mention one of my favorites: “The Addams Family Values“, the film that taught me pretty much all I know about the story behind thanksgivings.

Thanksgivings totally lived up to my expectations. I was over the moon when our hosts invited us to their family dinner for Thanksgivings. It was truly wonderful. Our hosts and their families are such kind souls, on top of very interesting people to talk to. Like the tradition mandates, we ate lots of turkey (oh, that stuffing!) and we also got to reflect on all that happened in 2017 that we are thankful for. All of us were supposed to pick a Sharpie (that’s how they call markers over here) and write on our placemats. I am extremely thankful for everything that has happened this year, so after dinner I ended up completely filling my placemat with messages. By the way, curious fact: one of the sides –I forgot how they called it– was literally Stamppot. Take a look at the second photo!

Before the dinner, we had a few hours to kill, so we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, mainly to spot the Fall colors and to look at pretty houses we will never be able to afford –and possibly neither would their inhabitants, should they have to buy the same house now that the prices have skyrocketed. I think I already mentioned this, but biking here is a treat: the streets are huge and most of the time you have them all to yourself. There are stop signs at every corner (let us not discuss the efficiency of this) and drivers respect them religiously, so I feel safer than I ever did biking in the Netherlands. Even the other day when I biked to Menlo Park and on the way back I think I accidentally merged into the highway for about 5 minutes…

Here are a few pictures. The last one I took from my bike only two days ago, as I cycled back from downtown. Look at all the trees and plants! ♥

Do you know what I love most here? The skies. Even when cloudy. The clouds are just so beautiful!


So far this here doesn’t feel like “life” to me yet. I never thought this would happen, but I am officially homesick. I miss everybody back home in the Netherlands. I miss Nijmegen, my old home, and my sea town in Spain. I love our little cottage and I am thankful we have a home, but I feel I won’t be settled until we can move into an apartment where I can have my own space, even if tiny. So far, everything feels “temporary” in my life. There is no past here, only future.

To add up, I am working my butt off. Seriously, I am working 24/7. Job hunting here is just another league and I’ve been extremely focused on getting myself out there, building a network, learning new skills, creating a resume, a website, business cards, etc! Ok, I have to confess: I love it, I love the adrenaline rush of facing all these new situations everyday, and that is what’s keeping me going. I have come out of a long denial: I am a workaholic.

I have to force myself to relax some times. So, before going full burnout mode ON, I decided I needed to find inner peace. I designated one hour a day for grounding. For connecting with nature and with my thoughts, and absorb sunlight vitamins. To spend an hour every morning outside with my coffee and a book. This –sitting here in our garden– is what brings the most clarity to my life right now. I bought myself a lovely list-based diary for my Birthday. At first, I was blocked and could not complete the “what makes me happy” list, but after only a few minutes outside, it all started flowing and I felt that I regained balance and I could finally breathe. You can read my happiness list if you scroll down. As you can see, it’s all tiny things. Because happiness really is the little things ♥

In the next weeks, I’ll be writing about weird US things, about career paths here, and Flo will write his first guest post!

♥ Ingrid ♥



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