Put Down Roots

It’s been 10 months since we moved to Silicon Valley, and looking back I’m glad we took the risk to move 2,000 miles with our family. The things that have gotten me through the tough times of adjusting to the California way of life have been going old school with eating meal together, gardening and canning. Moving to California feels like moving to another country. It’s what I think moving to Canada would be like only warmer here. They speak the same language, but there are small instances you can’t put your finger on that are just different. It feels weird. It feel awkward. The move among other things has been challenging and life changing. My back yard has become my sanctuary. My friends jokingly refer to me as the Martha Stewart of California. I am in love with gardening, cooking and creating in the backyard of my home.

It’s been a place where my daughter has finally learned to swim. We’ve invested in a swimming coach 2 times a week to come to our home and her transformation has been amazing as seen in the video below.

In March, my backyard became a place of protection and where I sought refuge from the world when we miscarried our baby. My vegetable garden in particular became a place that gave me inspiration and comfort helping me through those very dark times. I was able to re-discover my love of gardening currently experimenting with strawberries, tomatillos and back eyed peas which I can’t wait to add to a soup maybe all at the same time, who knows. Finally, 3 months later I feel like I’m me again after such a huge loss to our family and I owe that to all the time I spent working through my emotions and feelings channeling them into my gardening.

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This is one of our three tomatillo plants. We’ve loved watching the bees pollinate the plants. It’s a science experiment in the making for Ryleigh.

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This is one of two of our raised beds. This picture was taken in February. There are remnants of onions and herbs left over from our winter garden. We’ve already harvested beans and peppers from this bed here. The second one is filled with cucumbers, cilantro and strawberries which my daughter loves picking.

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We have 6 different tomato plants. I’m looking forward to making homemade tomato sauce, salsa and canning tomatoes this year.

In this home, we’ve went back to basics and reconnected as a family. We’ve made jam together, juiced together after spending a lazy Sunday at the farmer’s market and squeezed fresh oranges and lemons from the amazing fruit trees. Just last week I discovered that we have a plum tree and excitedly began researching recipes for making plum jelly and compote. I’ve started painting again and creating again. This year has been one of the most challenging of our lives, but it’s also been the most satisfying. It’s the first time in 5 years since the death of Greg’s father that we’ve been able to slow down and just enjoy well, life. I guess that’s California living.

With all the stress and turmoil that we’ve personally went through, this home, has been a place for us to put down roots and explore California as well as ourselves. Mostly importantly, this home has allowed us to make new memories.

This week I learned that our landlord might not renew our lease for another year. Renting especially in this California market is absolutely new to me. We’ve been homeowners having lived in our Oklahoma house for 7 years together. Before that I owned 2 other homes. I like stability and consistency for ourselves and my daughter especially after the heartache we have went through losing our baby. We don’t want to leave this home, but I need stability in our lives as our daughter starts her kindergarten with the friends she made at the Little Acorn Preschool. I need to put down roots. I’m protecting my family so we are faced with a choice one that I really don’t want to make. I don’t want to move to a new place. I can’t hope that we can live here for another year without the security that a lease brings. I need to know that my daughter will finish her kindergarden year with the same teacher and class she started. We only just got here and began making memories. I feel deflated, sad and violated which is why we are considering moving back to Oklahoma to our old house and to a life that I know offers roots even if not in the location we want or need.

After talking to the owner of the property management company, I told him if the lease was not renewed, we would move home. I think it’s hard for him to understand. He doesn’t know the love we’ve put into this place and how much we’ve enjoyed living in this home. That’s why I’ve decided to write a personal letter to the homeowner. I’m including a link to this article to explain what her home really means to us. We love your home. It’s what’s keeping us here in Mountain View. It has allowed us to put down roots even during such a sad and stressful time as when we lost our baby.

I hope the homeowner reads our letter which I’m mailing out this afternoon and maybe reads this blog post to understand how much she has meant to us this last 10 months. Thank you for letting us love your home and put down roots. Here’s hoping to make another year of memories.

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2 Comments

  • June 4, 2014 - 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jessica. I didn’t know you were facing so many stresses. I hope things work out for you. I’d be interested in seeing you try to pinpoint the little differences that you say make living in California different from Oklahoma. And perhaps you’ve written about the reasons you think Mountain View is better for you than your hometown but, if so, I didn’t see it and that would be interesting to hear about, too. Regards from me.

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