This top picture is a view from Semiahmoo strip, where, at the end of this (behind me) is a little ferry that travels during the summer months from Marine Park pier to this dock. Off to the side is a quaint little beach, another dock, and beyond that, another little beach for digging and sea-shell collecting. This was a really fun spot we found, with a beautiful drive to get there, and the perfect little spot for our Saturday lunch. We'll definitely go back in the summer, when the ferry is running everyday.
The clear days in our pictures are deceiving. It's still winter, which although that doesn't mean dumps of snow--what I'm used to-- but just gloomy day after gloomy day, morning til' night dreary gray, and rain, rain, rain. When the sun appears (especially on the weekend) you grab your shoes and get outside. You don't know when it will be back.
Living in Blaine, and in the Pacific Northwest in general, still feels a little unreal, even though we've 'lived' three full weeks here, and have been gone from Lincoln four weeks. It still feels like we're on vacation, somehow, only with the kids in tow and all our stuff in the closets. Even though we downsized a lot before we packed up the truck, we still feel like we have too much, as there are boxes still left to unpack, and nowhere, nowhere to put them.
A lot of the unpacked boxes that have taken residency under the bed are pictures and art for the wall that we're not allowed to put on the walls. We view this apartment as very temporary (1 year), and with a hefty price-tag out of our deposit for holes, we just don't think it's worth it. White, boring walls it is. My thought? Who cares, less to pack later.
the border lineup; beyond, the coast
Life also feels a lot slower here. We went from a Midwestern town of 250,000 that felt very small-townish to me (I always ran into someone I knew everywhere I went), to a real small town of 5,000 that is close to very large cities in either direction, with traffic up the wazoo. But it's still so different. For example, on the drive to see friends who live 25 minutes away, we drove through our town, through the countryside (2 deer on the side of the road), miles of raspberry farms, a state park area where there were people on horseback, the border (packed), and then a big city. All within 25 miles, and 45 minutes. I love the window view on all of this.
However, our little corner feels small, slow, relaxed, and just...easy. It feels really easy to live here. It's not very expensive, we've met a few people who really love living here, and we're already regulars at the library and Big Al's. We can walk anywhere in town, and everything shuts down at 6PM. I've even noticed how slow people talk here. Getting together with friends, crossing the border, or driving to a local spot to hike, sight-see, whatever, there is a lot of waiting. Waiting in the car, waiting for Stefan to get home from work. Waiting for it to stop raining. Or...not.
I am pretty particular that my kids get outside 6 out of the 7 days a week (there is always one day a week that we hunker down at home) for at least an hour, usually more. This might include a walk, a trip to a new place, digging in the dirt somewhere, or a planned weekend hike or bike ride with the entire family. It's important to us that we all get regular exercise, and that we see the world around us--literally--and enjoy whatever area we're living in. We did this in Lincoln, and we are very excited to do it here, too.
The other day it was raining all day long, big drops (not just the little spritz-y mist that happens regularly here) and I was sick of staying inside. I didn't run that morning, either, and the kids were getting ornery. I asked them if they wanted to go in the jogger while I pushed them on a run and they were excited to get ready and go. We got dumped on, and I was soaked by the middle of it (not to mention the other adventure of the jogger completely breaking down before I got back home). I only went two miles because I'm easing into my Vibrams, but within that time, drenched. I got so many weird stares I felt completely outside of the culture. It was bizarre.
No one, and I mean no one, goes outside when it's rainy. This is similar to the attitude of going outside when it's snowy in Nebraska. I just can't do that. You dress for the weather, and you get out and do it, you'll be fine, and you can always go back home when you're done. I had to laugh at how these Pacific Northwesters aren't nearly as hardcore as they're made out to be, stereotypically speaking, if they can't go out in a little rain. There is absolutely no way they could survive in southern heat and humidity. Or a frigid winter. Or both in one week, if you're in Nebraska. I thought the temperature, with the rain, was cooling and wonderful.
The kids have been pretty adaptable, but not without missing their grandparents and their friends, getting antsy during the day with me, and really having a hard time going to bed (first time change, then daylight savings) and not getting enough sleep. They go back and forth from saying things like "we don't like it here!" (taking a walk in the rain, ahem) to "We LOVE it here!" (after spending a morning digging and playing at the beach).
The other day I went to a local women's bible study, with the promise of the children being taken care of by a babysitter for 2 hours. It was bliss. It was the first time I'd been away from them in almost a month, and it was great...for all of us. (I also enjoyed the study, and the women!) As we slowly get more connected to others here in the area, we'll soon be in that phase of play dates, home school gathering opportunities, church activities, and more, we'll find a babysitter or two, I'm sure of it. For now, we're getting more and more settled everyday and easing into our new life devoid of familiarity and with a completely different landscape. Sometimes it's really boring, and dull, and gray, but mostly, I've been reflecting on how Stefan and I have reached this goal that we've had for years, and how good that feels, and what's next on the horizon, and I have to smile.