California dreaming

I finally made it to California! Current location: Laguna Niguel, Orange County, an hour from the Mexican border.

See photos here.

The flight was fine, not as horrendous as everyone warned me. I fell asleep acouple hours in. Interestingly, when I went to sleep I had a pillow, and when I woke up I did not. So either I ate it – a distinct possibility considering the quality of AirNZ food – or the guy next to me stole it. He did look pretty shifty.

In the customs line I met a wonderful girl from Germany who was just as nervous as I was and we bonded over our terror. The Customs Officer asked me why I was travelling alone, which Margaret told me later is a standard question because young women come here and try to get married so they can stay. I make jokes when I’m nervous, so I blurted out that I was alone because no one liked me and NZ had me deported. Not a good idea to make jokes in the US customs line. The guy raised one eyebrow at me, stamped my passport and yelled “next!”

Thankfully Margaret was waiting right by the exit and waved madly at me as I came through. The freeways from LA to OC were interesting, 8 lanes on either side. But the traffic is really good, certainly not nutbars changing lanes all over the place like Wellington.

The Arkleys’ house is gorgeous, I don’t ever want to leave. Margaret has loads of bird feeders in the yard and I can sit and watch the Hummingbirds zip in and out. They sound like large grumpy bumblebees.

There’s a green belt accross the road and loads of bunnies run round on it, even during the day. Sometimes one comes over to nibble on Margaret’s lawn and she has to go out and chase it away.

Yesterday we went shopping all day, lots of big department stores – WalMart and CostCo and Target. I heart Target ALOT. I can’t believe how cheap everything is here, even with the currency conversion. Food, clothing, makeup, even things like power and water. It is so expensive to live in NZ!

Today we went to Dana Point, which is the next city over from Laguna Niguel. Went for a walk along the gorgeous harbour, and upped my wildlife count significantly: lizards, crabs, fish, pelicans, and squirrels! Yay for squirrels, they are epicly cute.

Unfortunately I went and got myself sunburnt, so I now I am white and pink striped. SO attractive. The sun here isn’t like back home, it’s very gentle and you don’t feel it burning at all, there’s no warning. Still, I should have known! Not very smart. Now I look even more like a foreigner.

Bizarre conversations I have overheard:

In Dana Point: “…and then, get this, he gave George some money because he thought he was homeless!”  “Oh My God, no way. Shut UP.”

In Target: A young man and woman stop an older lady, who obviously doesn’t know them, and the man goes:

Man: “M’am, we’ve just got a little survey here, could you answer this quick question. This lady and I have been friends for a long time, I’ve known her since childhood, there’s never been anything between us. The other night I stayed over at her place in the guest room, and now her boyfriend’s really angry at both of us. What do you think about that? Do you think that’s inappropriate behaviour from us? Or from him?”

Older lady: “Well, I um.. that depends on wether he knows you or not.”

Man: “Yeh, he knows me”

Older lady: “Then I woulda thought that was OK…”

Man: “Thank you very much, M’am.”

WHAT? Um…. so what are you gonna do now, go back to the boyfriend and say, “well some lady in Target thought it was ok…”

Anyway it’s 2am now and sleep isn’t coming – I probably overslept last night I think. Plus I’m so hot! It’s about 18 degrees, and the sunburn doens’t help. I guess it’s the early hours of the morning when you start to feel a bit small and think oookay, I’m on the other side of the world. I’ve let go of all my comfort zones completely. I feel weightless, which is lovely and scary at the same time. I thought I’d feel disoriented but I don’t, really, I just feel like I’m having a really nice dream.

Off to Canada in a few days!

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