Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another episode of "Life in the Valley"

We've been here for over four years now, but I still occasionally have moments where I shake my head and mutter, "We're not in Pennsylvania anymore..."

  • The former owners' "tree guy" stopped by (again) to ask about trimming the large tree in our front yard. I have clearly but nicely (I *thought*) told him that we were not interested in his services, and last time he came by, I told him that he was welcome to do the work for free (convey your point with humor, right?!)  This time he tried to hug me REPEATEDLY and said, "for you, I will do for free." Um, NOOOOOOO.
  • I volunteer at our kids' elementary school once a week.  A number of 1st and 2nd graders are identified (through test scores and teacher recommendations) and get a little extra help with reading and such.  Many times these kids speak only Spanish at home, so their English vocabulary/exposure may be fairly limited, so simple tasks like matching words/picture may be slightly harder (words like bud, quilt, fog, etc.).  I also need to remind myself that we're just in a different climate, so plants, weather, etc. are also different.  Today, one of the worksheets we did together had a sketch of green beans - both of "my" kids identified them as mesquite pods.  Neither of them knew what beets were, and both completed a sentence where a boy was giving something to a girl with "beans" ("Why yes, a pot of charro beans would be lovely, thank you!!")
  • A friend lives one school district over; it is a smaller community. Her son attends public school, and consistently is a top scorer.  He also repeatedly gets notice of violations because his somewhat wavy hair starts to brush the tops of his ears.  They were also off yesterday for Mexican Constitution Day (of course no vacation for Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day...)  This is the same school that had the theme "Keep Christ in Christmas" for their float in the community holiday parade last year.
  • I still long for more variety in our restaurant choices, particularly in regard to ethnic food.  Olive Garden ≠ Italian! There are Mexican restaurants on virtually every corner, but how about Vietnamese, Portuguese, Thai, or even plain old American diner fare? Well, we *ARE* getting a Cracker Barrel and Popeye's soon ;)
To be fair, I will say that I do enjoy the fresh citrus, generally mild winters, proximity to the beach, having a pool, and the lower costs of housing... but I don't know if this white chick will ever truly fit in.

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