This is the time of year that California really shines (and in the autumn again). It’s warm but not hot yet, jasmine is in full bloom, and wherever you go, that heady scent fills the air, occasionally mixed with the more tangy smell of eucalyptus. There are a few eucalyptus trees right outside my balcony, and I love the freshness they exude. It seems like now that we’ve moved I’m looking at everything with fresh eyes, which is strange, as we’re not in a completely new environment. Out running, I’m discovering new territory, a new route every time. It’s interesting to see that although we live in downtown, amidst the usual square-shapedness of suburban America, only a few steps away is the altogether different landscape of Los Altos Hills. It’s hilly, and very reminiscent of England with windy roads and occasional narrow passages. But unlike in England, these roads are not flanked by vertical hedges, but have comfortable paths along the side, perfect for running, and I guess perfect for riding your horse home. Judging by the look of the houses, which could better be described as country estates, it’s not unusual to have your own paddock and stables next door. It’s a very exclusive area, breathtakingly beautiful (I will try and take my camera with me on my next run, the IPod pictures don’t to this area justice) and yet not glamorous or landscaped into tastelessness. It’s stunning here, with a very rural, almost Mediterranean feel. I love it. And last week our local farmer’s market opened its doors, and will be held once a week until late autumn, pretty much outside my front door. What bliss to just walk a few steps and pick from such a gorgeous array of produce – this is nothing like the sad and overpriced country farmers markets I remember from the UK! There is fruit, vegetables, food stalls and even free kids’ activities, which they can do while you shop – although mine wouldn’t miss out on the food on offer, and usually taste their way across the market, grabbing free samples wherever they can!
In short, I think I’ve really settled into my life here. Before we left the UK, a couple of people said to me it would take a year to adjust, and now I find that that’s absolutely true. And even though I can’t wait to see all my friends back “home” when we go this summer, I know I’ll miss my new home and my friends here, and will be looking forward to coming back here. And that thought makes me very happy indeed…

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