Monday, May 10, 2010

367 Days In - A Year

Tuesday was Chris and my one year “Arrived in L.A.” anniversary.

One whole year.

Away from family, missing friends, striking out in a new land.

But settling; slowly but surely, settling.

Following the big-day of rings, and flowers, and a church, and a white dress, my husband and I packed up our London flat, moved this and that into storage, hopped off round the world for a few months and then stayed with different relatives whilst visa was acquired, flights were booked and (as you know) we found our feet in the promised land of the western frontier.

So now, here in our little flat, where the sun streams in the windows, and neighbours chat over fences, we are in our first marital home. One and half years after the wedding.

In our first home, we thought it only proper to get our first pet. With no cat-flap and too many dog-on-lead laws our conclusion was that a hamster would make the perfect companion. She is a Russian Dwarf hamster.

We called her Moscow. She is solitary, and feisty, loves us when we feed her seeds, hates it when we clean her cage. She entertains us.

Then to fully establish the flat’s position as “home”, we held a small but significant dinner party. Chose food, let wine breath, lit candles.

I took surprising delight in visiting Costco and filling cupboards with 20 tins of pineapple chunks, and 15 packets of pasta.

We ordered the LA Sunday Times, and joined Netflix.

But living with borrowed furniture and limited personal belongings, it is the little things that make it feel like home.

On moving day our boxes sat, as they invariably do, around the edge of the room, promising a new start. In the midst of borrowed crockery and newly purchased lamps, one forgotten box, that had been shipped over the sea months before our plane tickets had been booked, that had sat abandoned in the dusty garage for almost a year, now shone not with the hope of things to come, but with the warm familiarity of home.

The content was limited and unpretentious: coasters and coffee mugs, a rug and a chess board, a small bowl from Peru, a demon mask from Thailand.

The mugs we drink from every day, coasters are scattered on various surfaces, the mask hangs on our wall.

Out on the patio, the herbs are growing well; in our kitchen Branston baked beans rest after their flight from England in Chris’ dad’s suitcase.

Everything is coming together nicely.