Saturday, February 9, 2013

I hear it before I see it - the whup whup whup of the blade as the helicopter approaches the neighborhood - spotlight shining on rooftops and alleys, searching. It circles a couple of times, often accompanied on the ground by squad cars, who have cordoned off a block or three - then disappears into the night.  Flashing lights dim and then, the streets are business as usual.  Just one of the adjustments to my new, temporary home in San Pedro, California.

Don't get me wrong.  I feel perfectly safe  - five floors up with a view of the action from my terrace; as well as on the ground, where almost everyone I've encountered has been kind and nice - including the SPPD foot patrol.  It's all good and I'm really happy to be here.

It's been a fairly easy adjustment - literally welcomed by ALL of my West Coast family within five minutes of arriving in the Western Veterinary Group parking lot.  Checked Emmy into the kennel for the night and headed off for a quick bite at the Hot 'n Tot. So good to see everyone, and to meet our "newest", six month old Hannah.

After a quick salad (which I was craving after days on the road), my Uncle helped lug some boxes into my new digs - a fairly new, industrial-style studio loft with concrete floors, granite counters, floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the harbor.  Southern exposure, a spacious terrace and fabulous "California" closet complete what feels like the perfect Pedro pied-a-terre.  Left to settle in... I unpacked a bit, make the bed and try to sleep. Hard without Emmy by my side.

Day one - what has become a weekend tradition - breakfast with Uncle Norm at a hidden jewel... each local, small,  and great food.  Haven't been disappointed yet!  A quick tour of the 'hood, introduction to main streets, landmarks and a bit of history to help understand where I've landed.  Grabbed the pup and had another quick tour of where I'd be working.  Spent the rest of the day shopping and cooking for the week.

The last five weeks seem to have flown by - and have been so fun!  Finding my way around was a challenge for the first ten days - not wanting to always depend on the GPS, I tried, unsuccessfully at times, to find my own way.  But learn I have, and now only get lost when I want to.  (I did hit a wall at the end of week five and have been told by a number of friends who have relocated, that this is normal...) 

Work days are spent trying to support the staff of Western Vet Group in any little way I can - not a huge contribution, but interesting to me, this business of a multi-doctor (5+) practice, with a support staff of techs and front-of-house client managers who take great pride in what they do and how they serve their community, through providing extraordinary animal care to all sorts of pups, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes and more!

Days off provide me with the gift of time to discover the area around me, get to know family I never see, catch up with West Coast friends in their time zone, investigate places to walk leash-free with Emmy, and delve a bit into the area's art and food scene. (more on the latter in the next installment)  I've seen dolphins frolicking in the surf, cruise ships from around the world, caught my first glimpse of the "HOLLYWOOD" sign, continue to cook a bit, watched a movie crew set up for filming in the street below,  and do my best to reach out to dear, life-long friends back East (and around the world) on a daily basis via FaceBook, email and FaceTime.

As I sit on the terrace, watching the sun slip into the western sky on the eve of my 52nd birthday, I am grateful for these opportunities - to travel a bit, spend time with family, learn about something new, and ponder the possibilities for the future...  cheers!

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