“I am packing my belongings in the shawl my mother use to wear when she went to the market and I am going from my valley”
One of my favorite books is Richard Llewellyn’s “How Green Was My Valley”. That opening line comes to mind as Lisa and I near the end of our stay here in Loma Linda, California. Our “valley” for the past three months has not been a Welsh mining community as depicted in the book nor did my mother even have a shawl that I know of – in fact, the San Bernardino Valley (where we have lived since early December) is the antithesis of the world Llewellyn created. Where his was one with soot filled skies and harsh winters, our winter here in southern California has seemed like paradise in comparison. And yet we are excited to begin thinking about home as we prepare to go from our valley here in California’s “Inland Empire”. We are not looking forward to the two thousand mile drive ahead of us – but it will probably seem like a quicker trip knowing we are finally going home.
We left Owensboro December 7th and will not get home until around March 12th. In some ways this assignment has seemed much longer than our four and half month stay in central Pennsylvania. Much of that has to do with being away at Christmas coupled with Lisa’s two-week delay in starting work which was frustrating, to say the least, and made those first two weeks (which included Christmas) even more painful and slow.
Finally, we managed to work our way into a routine and have adjusted to the pace and living conditions of the Pacific coast. I have described it as ‘easy living’ and Loma Linda would really be a nice place to retire. We will miss the palm trees, orange groves, blue skies, green grass and mountain vistas. We will not miss the $4.50 gas prices, ambulance sirens going to the hospital two blocks away at all hours of the night, the radio obsession with the Lakers (it is all they talk about), or the spandex wearing -vegetable eating – bicycle riding – tofu loving – granola eaters. (I believe I can get away with saying that if I end my diatribe with a “bless their hearts”).
Lisa had a job offer in Santa Rosa, which is about seven hours north of Loma Linda above San Francisco. The job would have started March 11th but was for four weeks or longer. That would just not work out for us as our first grandchild is on his way and we didn’t think Conner Jack would wait until the middle of April for us to get home. So she declined their offer. We are interested in a possible job in Washington DC. Her recruiter was very excited about her putting in for that job which will begin in May. We are somewhat familiar with the area and think it would be an interesting assignment. But for now, we are happy about being home for at least a month with our family.
We managed to finally get to “California Adventure” which is the Disney theme park adjacent to “Disneyland”. It was absolutely fantastic. We visited Disneyland several years ago and were really unsure if the $87 per person cost would be worth it. It really was. The newest area is called “Cars Land” and it is an exact life-size replica of “Radiator Springs” from the Pixar movie. Even though Disneyland and California Adventure do not have the luxury of size that Disney World enjoys, they utilize their space amazingly well at both parks. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Finally – it is good to say: We will see you soon!
Steve and Lisa