Repat Update // 01
Well, here we are. A week and a half into this repatriation gig. That one flew by us. A few things of note as to how things are goin down -Everyone is soo nice. And that is an understatement. We could hardly believe it those first couple days. We got so many 'hi's and 'hello's and 'hope you have a great day's from people we weren't interacting with at all. People genuinely wanted to know how we were doing and would look us in the eye and smile! I can compliment people without getting a worried look (this one, you just wouldn't believe) AND I even got complimented back! That's just reference, not boasting. Compliments flying out of everywhere. People held doors open for us and offered help when it was clear we were lost/couldn't find our account number (HE OFFERED TO LOOK IT UP. That hasn't happened in the past two years of our lives.). We don't know many people here yet so we indulged when checkout counters turned into chats about what brought us here - servers, the dress shoe lady and the AT&T guy, who brought us over to Tropisueño when we told him we needed Mexican food immediately. Then! There's the technology. We're still stuck in 2012 technological references, taking a big step back during our time in Belgium, but eeeeverything is digital now. That cell phone purchasing conversation was quite funny since we were trying to understand and make it harder. He'd laugh and show me the one touch button for each of my questions. We got a text message while we sat at the margarita bar when our table was ready. And tabs! We forgot how easy tabs are. I haven't even gotten any change yet - I saw a quarter in a tip jar and mildly flipped out. This part makes it harder when I pass musicians in the streets because there are amazing musicians in the streets - we're talking orchestras at times. It's funny to think which friends in different countries will get which references here. We should discuss..I had my nails done and all was right with the world again. If you didn't know, apparently it is not possible to explain how great a mani/pedi girls date is to Europeans. Let us not take this lightly.Also, it's the beautiful people here. I have a theory // it's the combination of the American confidence + the ridiculously, but justifiably ridiculous, gorgeous state of California + the perfectly eclectic and free-spirited atmosphere of San Francisco. Well, and probably the hills too. Those hills are shaping up our backsides like whoa. (locals - when will we get used to this?! I think it's time.)My ring desperately needed to be cleaned after two years of Euro gunk so we popped in. Did I mention how nice people are?! We now have a guy. ha! He's so sweet. He cleaned and inspected with only a little snark and judgment at how much he had to clean off and gave us a take-home cleaner. Then, wouldn't let us give him anything! Apparently we looked like we had just gotten engaged, so we'll take it! wink. I'm supposed to pop in for a quick clean every two weeks to avoid this situation. A ring guy..again. Welcome back to America. (weirdly, Antwerp, Belgium is the diamond capital of the world and, silly us, we thought we'd be taken care of there!)Ah! Lest I forget. We found our home! We actually found our home and our convertible to put into our new garage on the same day, so it was quite epic of an afternoon. Apartment shopping is crazy hard here. Every viewing we showed up to, there were minimum five other peeps to vie for it. We lucked out with our favorite one, somehow. Maybe we're just super giddy since we just got here, because our realtor wrote a smiley next to my phone number and didn't call anyone else on her list. She didn't even credit check before she called to say it was ours. 'I just knew' our little Italian lady kept repeating. We bonded over her hometown of Lucca, Italy and my obsession with her country. After we signed, the three of us hugged. I wouldn't believe me either. It's just all icing. All of this.My hair has been doing this thing where it's perfectly shiny and unmanageable, because, you know, it's healthy. I really thought it would take a few weeks to cleanse it of the calcium-thick water from the past two years. But, no. apparently it's immediate. Good thing I chopped it off right before we came, so I drastically reduced the number of hairstyles I know how to do. Does anyone have tips on the top-down driving scarf hair wrap thing - Thelma+Louise style? I got my first 'Geaux Tigers' in 20 months. Not that I was counting. This also meant that I was beaming for the rest of the day.I actually had to look up Reverse Culture Shock because we were waiting to feel some sort of ting and neither of us were even close.We very well could be in the Honeymoon phase (but aren't we kinda always?). I still have to get a job (I know. I really do, Mama Jo. Can we blame it on Justin and I'll be your favorite again?!) and we have all of the waiting-on-the-stuff and the moving-in-of-the-stuff, so maybe it's still to come? But, in the meantime, we have SF to occupy us, so we're little worried about the next phase.Aaaaand it could also be the hotel life. A girl could get used to maid service while she heads to the gym and call down service for valet to bring the car round. (Even if she can't drive yet because she forgot to take her driver's license out of the 6-9 week shipment pile!)I do have to say that I feel a little out of my league here. Even sitting down to write this, I wondered what new eyes would take from this. That being said, I feel challenged and inspired. Have you seen these SF blogs? sheesh. The taste and the talent! I'm so looking forward to a culture that believes in inspiration and not imitation; encouragement and not competition. I'm ready to start fresh and leave behind those that pitifully copied our ideas. That, amongst other frustrations with non-working systems and a lack of customer care (hence the freak out^^ of contact with kind people.) has made us stoked about moving on from Belgium. I'll miss The Mediterranean like crazy and our littlest friend who won't remember us by the time we meet again when she's two. But it feels like a breath of fresh air here. Literally and figuratively.Plus, San Francisco seems to be the perfect landing pad from Europe. The city is quite international - we hear different languages all over the place. We even find ourselves prepping to speak French out of habit. I saw a Bretagne shirt and 'pardon' came out naturally. The accents are nondescript so we don't have the shock had we defaulted back to Texas and it's the perfect combination of city surrounded by nature for these adventurous city kids.Thank you, THANK YOU for every single recommendation you sent over. We're overwhelmed in the best possible way at all of the support and excitement for our new home. It means so much to us having you share in this whole spectacular thing.So. Those are my thoughts. When I asked Justin about his, I got - 'There's Mexican food everywhere, but where all the breakfast tacos at?!'
Are/were you a repat? Does any of this sound familiar?