Santa Barbara the second leg of our trip has gone by so fast and now we are in LAX waiting for our plane to Oslo I have a few minutes to reflect.
It’s small for a Southern California town, but larger than most towns in New Zealand so it always feels like a bit of a paradox to me, but the weather’s been amazing and the activities educational and fun at the same time. We move at the speed of our kids, always.
My parents moved here 15 years ago and love it, it’s been a very benign place to retire and they are close to friends here. I’m jealous of that a little bit. They rent us a house on Veronica Lane, we stayed here last April for our US month long excursion (travel is a theme for us lately!) and we are then free to make noise, have screaming children, and stay up till 11pm. Crazy times. Oh and the sushi at Arigato, I forgot how much I love Unagi! Salt Water Eel covered in a sugary sauce.
This house reminds me of all the bounty in Santa Barbara even though it’s stuck in years of drought. The ocean mist sets down on everything as if it had rained.
We went to the Natural History Museum the first week, right after my brother Jacob arrived from Washington (the kids love their Uncle Jake!) and saw the delivery of Sue, the Tyrannasaurus Rex in large boxes (get out of the way, family!) and the 2 day old Butterfly Exhibit. We were so lucky, the next weekend it was cloudy and cold and no butterflies were flying, but the Sue Exhibit was up and running.
I did my first run past the beach (ironically I didn’t ever touch the sand of a Santa Barbara beach this time around, argh!) and then up a hilly trail (huff puff) and then over toward Lazy Acres, our favourite grocery store. Imagine a store full to the gills with Natural and Health foods and Lazy Acres is the poster child. How many kinds of organic, cage-free eggs do you want? Never fear Lazy Acres has em and more.
Our time in Santa Barbara was filled with the usual work and teach routine (it’s never ever the same from day to day, and I feel I’m getting used to this as time goes by, just not used to the kids tantrums over school work). When we are prepared the kids have so much more fun, lesson learned.
Another story of this leg of the trip is what I will call the “Search for the Purple Pants”. Ha. I mentioned that I was looking for some, in addition to some new swim trunks, and the family jumped in with both feet! Mum arrived with the first pair and they didn’t fit me but fit my brother instead. The next day she arrived with Purple pants of the exact proper size. They go well with the “Santorini” shoes I bought at the walking shoe store – the kind of shoes you would wear to a nice dinner in Santorini. Something we probably won’t be doing unless some miracle happens (kids being able to stay up late being this said miracle).
Our rule now is one thing in, one thing out, which means like a body that replaces its cells every seven years, we will have all new stuff at the end of two years of this adventure. I hope, actually, to give more than I get so my backpack gets lighter. My suitcase bag is 15kg and my back pack about 10kg (has two lappies which bumps up the weight).
One thing we hadn’t considered is pick-pockets and we now have a solution: Taunt them with bait. 🙂 I have a dummy wallet and two real wallets so if one is stolen, hopefully the dummy one which is much easier to get, two more remain to take its place. I’m preparing myself for the inevitability that something will get lost/stolen, I don’t want it to be a laptop (gasp!) but it might end up being that. I make sure to back it up to Dropbox and the external drives I bought and back up using Time Machine. No more losing files like I did a month ago which set me back about a week on a project!
It’s funny what you are afraid of – for me it’s not losing the stuff that scares me it’s conflict. How would I confront someone if I caught them in the act? How would it feel to not notice someone stealing my livelihood?! And then the inconvenience of trying to replace the things that have been lost/stolen that also bothers me a lot. I hate wasting time, but then again, time is all we have, deal with what comes. Still working on that.
Speaking of projects I’m very thankful we’re still so busy we have more work than we can finish; how did we get so lucky? Well the more important question for me has been how can I stay in the place where I’m grateful for all the work. This isn’t a pleasure cruise but I wouldn’t mind a little R&R. Who am I kidding?! 🙂 I’m back to reading Bruce Lee’s “Striking Thoughts” and the man was a freakin genius. Life is like a combination lock, you don’t simply turn the dial one direction to open the safe, you have to go backwards and forwards. It’s the same thing with a Rubick’s Cube – you can only solve the puzzle by messing it up a little bit and then fixing it all again. You have to let go of where you started, and let go of that place where everything was secure, clean and tidy.
If you play it safe, go one direction, you never solve the puzzle or open the safe. Boom that hit me like a ton of bricks when I read that on the bus from Santa Barbara to LAX this morning.
I’ve checked in with work, we are waiting for the plane to Oslo (thanks so much TSA for practically stripping us naked so we can get on a plane), and it’s been a long day here but I’d much rather be 10 hours early than 1 minute late.
Bring on Oslo!

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Nathaniel Flick