California Dreaming: Hello from the other side* (of the Atlantic)

* credit Adele.

As my lovely co-author, Jassy Davis of Gin & Crumpets fame, recently reminded me, it’s five years since we got our hands on the first sample copies of The Contented Calf Cookbook. Five years! Wow. It feels simultaneously both like a lifetime ago and yet just a blink of an eye.

Five years ago

I had a two year old, a cookbook about to be launched and seemingly the time, energy and head space to blog regularly. Oh, and I was in the first trimester of pregnancy with our second daughter. Before a year had passed, I launched the cookbook, hosted a stand at The Baby Show 8 months pregnant (I figured I was in very good hands, should I go into early labour!) and then gave birth to our second daughter. I was busy, I was motoring, I was go go go…

And now?

Five years on, where do you find me?

To blatantly steal again from Adele: “I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be“.

With Hubby having spent much of his childhood overseas, international travel was always somewhat on the cards for us, but it was not at the forefront of our minds. However, about two and a half years ago, I think I had a mini-mid-life crisis. Essentially, everything was great. We loved our house, we loved our garden, we loved our town, we loved our neighbours, we had made lovely local friends, Hubby enjoyed his job, I was forging ahead with Contented Calf, Daughter One had started a lovely school which she was enjoying. Our house was big enough that the girls could grow up in it, but small enough that when they left the nest we wouldn’t rattle around in it. We were really happy with our life. (But no, of course it wasn’t always sunny as per the pics.)

England garden - flowers England garden - poppy England garden - tree house

And so…. I had a mild panic, thinking that this (really wonderful, happy, fulfilling) life we had could be the end of the unknown for us. I could see our future, and the path we would take to get there. And it was really great, and made me really happy. But I just couldn’t take it. Not just then.

So Hubby started looking for international roles within his company, and everything snowballed pretty fast! After he accepted a role in Spring 2014, two months later we packed up the house, got on a plane and arrived in California.

Moving - boxes Moving - container Moving - flight

And two months after that our stuff arrived – both very comforting and very unsettling. So great to finally have the house filled with our things that would make it OUR home. But very confronting that this was real. We weren’t just on an extended holiday. This was going to be our life. Our real life. We’d upped-sticks, travelled to the other side of the world, away from all our family, the house we loved, and the friends we loved to start anew. What HAD we done? (Slightly manic laughs were a regular occurrence around this time.)

California: Settling in - container California: Settling in - boxes

Real California living

And whilst the drudgery of ‘real life’ follows you wherever you go (even to California), and there is a whole lot of this….

California: Messy house California: Messy house California: Messy house California: Messy house California: Messy house California: Messy house

But a blessed life

…. we do get a whole lot of this too. Could be worse, hey?

Happy californiaHappy california Happy california  Happy california Happy california Happy californiaHappy california

I just want to soak it all in, absorb every moment, remember every view. I am constantly telling the girls to ‘take a mind picture’ (not just an actual one), because I want them to imprint these memories on their brains. As I tell them, one day they’ll be grandmothers sitting in an armchair saying to their grandchildren “when I was a little girl, I used to live in California”. They think I’m very annoying and slightly crazy. But I know I’m right.

But back to Contented Calf, turns out an international move and relocation with two small children takes a fair amount of time, energy and head space, hence the appalling lack of posts over the past two years. However, with 4YO now in pre-K, I think I could be back. You might just hear a little bit more from me. We’ll see…

Good Night UK, Good Afternoon US. Wishing you all well from California.

Elena x


This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 and is filed under Breastfeeding, California, Cookbook, Identity, Parenthood, Travel