Settling in at Camp Cucamonga

Today was one of those days where something marvelous happened at every turn. The weather was incredible – a cool 80~something after a heat wave that saw temps above 100F. It was getting late in the evening, and I was thinking “oh I will just write a new blog post this weekend,” but quickly snapped out of it and sat down at the computer & began to type because I want to remember this day vividly.

As you might imagine, things have been quite busy around here. Busy doing something that feels vaguely familiar but strange at the same time…settling into a new home. After I flew into Southern California, Andrew and I quickly hit the pavement in search of a place to live. After day one, we were feeling frustrated. Each of the six places we toured had potential, but there was just something holding us back from filling out a rental application for any of them. That frustration coupled with being in a completely new place, Andrew being back to work ((albeit training)), sent both of us on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

What if we don’t find a place we love? What if I don’t find a job? Can we afford any of these places on one salary for a while? Will we be able to manage life here with just one car? All these questions and more were crushing my soul. We jumped into this decision feet first, and started to wonder if it was right.

Thinking back to that poignant first weekend makes me appreciate how far we’ve come in just a couple of weeks. Andrew and I had some deep conversations about the situation and about our new life here. We ventured back out to look at another apartment, this time in Rancho Cucamonga; immediately fell in love with everything about the apartment and the complex, signed a lease and had the keys by Monday. Since then, virtually everything has fallen into place so poetically. I did some painting in the apartment while Andrew spent three days in Portland for work. If you could have seen me in this apartment on my own for three days/nights, you would have thought a crazy person moved in. All I had here with me was four pieces of luggage, a twin air mattress, a pillow and my long gray wool winter coat for a blanket. And of course the painting supplies, like a ladder, rollers, drop cloth, blue tape. Thank goodness for Spotify – it kept me company that first partial week in an empty apartment.

marys iphone synced 9.18.14 1429
^^ this was a common scene the first days in SoCal

Later that week, Andrew and I met up in Seattle to get his car and our belongings out of storage and make the West Coast road trip. Can you believe it is 2,200 miles between Redmond/Seattle area and Rancho Cucamonga?! We basically went from the top left corner of the USA to the bottom left corner. Luckily, we didn’t really have anything to rush down to California right away for, so we decided we would split up the trip over 3 days. Andrew drove the 16′ Penske truck containing our life’s possessions, and I drove his hurse car. It was a gorgeous drive with no real issues. We arrived at the apartment this past Sunday afternoon to 104F temps. Perfect for unloading a moving truck! Good thing we have a garage, because apart from the furniture, we stacked everything into it in about 2 hours time. Ever since, we’ve been unpacking, decorating, and naturally getting acquainted with all of this crap we put in storage for a year. By the way, I’m so happy to see my bicycle again!

Practically every day this week, we took a break from unpacking ((and working in Andrew’s case)) and ventured out to get groceries or visit Target 16 times. It seemed we would always notice something new, and when we would return to this little one-bedroom apartment of ours, we’d have huge smiles on our faces because it is just so dang cute here. Have I mentioned we have a dishwasher?! That alone is pretty thrilling. Andrew thinks this is the coolest apartment in which we’ve ever lived together, and I have to agree. Every new day has brought a bit more happiness and pleasure for our new life here.

route 66
^^ we live mere blocks away from THE MOTHER ROAD

This morning I woke up intending to meet up with someone in LA for a hike, but the thought of getting back in the car for a three-hour round trip was too much. OK and also I may or may not be terrified to drive on the California freeways. Instead I began puttering around on my phone, looking for a deal on towels I want from Target. This led me to discover their Cartwheel app. OH MY GOSH MY FELLOW TARGET ENTHUSIASTS – DO YOU HAVE THIS APP?? WHY HASN’T ANYONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS APP?! It is a game changer. Check it out for yourself if you shop there regularly. I did find a deal for the towels, and just when I thought it was all downhill from there, the day continued to shine brightly.

We walked to the local library to get ourselves that all-important library card, which we put to immediate use finding three books to check out between the two of us. It is a gorgeous new building filled not only with books and media, but lots of chairs, reading nooks and computers.

There is a Friday farmer’s market at the outdoor shopping center, across the street from our complex and also very close to the library. The juiciest freshly picked Valencia oranges; gorgeous red beets; roasted corn with about a billion different toppings. It was a tiny market compared to what I’m used to, but I fell hard for it nonetheless. We came away with some fruits and veg, vowing to be frequent customers as much as our schedules will allow. Later in the day, we stopped into a nearby grocery shop where an entire section was devoted to British imports. Someone was very excited about those fully stocked shelves, among all the other cool food items carried.


These things that made my day so enthralling may seem incredibly simple, but when you are in a new place, the most basic pleasures can make a world of difference. It is certainly a new lifestyle to get used to. I still need to find a job. We wish our families were here to see our surroundings. We have so much more ground to explore. But getting settled into our little apartment is bringing us both such joy. We are having positive experiences at every turn and finding all we need and more, in Rancho Cucamonga & the surrounding neighborhoods, and that is incredibly gratifying in these early moments.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharon says:

    So happy hearing how excited and comfortable you’ve already become in your new town! don’t worry, Airfare watch is turned on!!!

  2. So glad to hear you are settling in and making a lovely home for yourselves. And so close to Route 66 – hope there’ll be a few roadtrips πŸ˜‰

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