marshmallow oaties

By Gabrielle. Image by Katharina.

Well, hello. Here I am waving to you from Oakland, California!!

We made it. We arrived Monday night. My siblings and nephews (Jordan and Jared and Liz and Sara and Henry and Moses) met us at the airport (SFO) with cheers and a welcome sign. So fun!! My kids could not have been happier.

The Aunts hung out with all the kids (and the luggage + bags — 32 pieces total!), while my brother Jared took me and Ben Blair to rent a van. It’s a huge extended cab van that fits all our luggage. It’s kind of hilarious and awesome at the same time. We have felt like our very own tour group driving it around this week.

We got to the house at about 9:00 PM on Monday night. The sun set as we drove from the airport and we listened to a California mix Ralph had burned to a CD. The lights of the city and the bridges were spectacular. We were feeling a particular mix of satisfaction and expectation, of relief and excitement, and of exhaustion but general awe at this move. Everyone was happy.

The best thing we did to make these first couple of days in California smooth? We hired a wonderful assistant here in Oakland, named Jessica, to prep the house for us. We asked her to set up utilities in our name, and make an internet installation appointment. And we knew we’d be exhausted after our 20 hour traveling day and want to collapse immediately, so we asked Jessica to prep the beds, and fill the fridge with food. (Note: the house is currently furnished, but not with our belongings from Colorado. More on that when I introduce the house in a later post.)

When we arrived, the house was ready and welcoming. We spent some time exploring our new digs, brought in the luggage, oohed and aahed over the contents of the refrigerator, climbed into pjs, and fell asleep within minutes.

Long satisfied sigh.

For the grocery list we sent to Jessica, we asked the kids to name the foods they were craving most from America, and added a few basic staples. Friends, it was mostly junk food! But man oh man it was fun to chow down on so many old familiar favorites when we woke up the next day. Which, by the way, happened at about 3:00 AM California time. (Hah! Hello, Jet lag.)

There’s something so powerful and beautiful about familiar food. It felt like a celebration. Want to see what made the list?

– Marshmellow Oaties (These are the fake Lucky Charms you can find at places like Whole Foods, but my kids like them more than the real thing.)
– Cheerios
– Izze sodas in grapefruit, peach, pear, and clementine — bottles, not cans.
– Carrot Juice
– Root beer
– Vanilla Ice Cream
– Chocolate Milk
– Graham Crackers
– Tings
– Smart Puffs
– Creamsicles
– Fudgesicles
– Ice Cream Sandwiches
– Tortilla Chips
– Salsa
– Frozen Corndogs
– Baby Carrots
– Tillamook Cheddar Cheese
– Flour Tortillas
– Hotdogs
– Hot Dog Buns
– Mustard
– Ketchup
– Eggs
– 2% Milk
– Butter
– Nectarines
– Green Seedless Grapes

What do you think? Would any of this make your list (or your child’s list) if you were homesick?

P.S. — The Marshmellow Oaties, corndogs, and creamsicles were gone first!