OK, we’re BACK in the US of A!

Erin & Will's wedding

Wow, this one didn’t get posted – catching up now!  Dated June 21, 2011:

This is week 2 since we’ve returned, and are still laptop-less.  We’re using Chris’ OLD, OLD  Dell laptop, the one that’s missing an “h” key, and the “r” key is flaky.  The plus side is that Angry Birds in loaded on it now with Google Chrome for those of you who like games.

This will be a brief post as it’s still a bit awkward to blog directly on WordPress.  I really have kudos for Windows Live Writer.  It did make blogging and posting so much easier.  Not enough plusses, however, to buy MS stock however.

Our return began at the Dusseldorf International Airport – where we headed to the gate and bumped into – of ALL people – the Shelefs!  They were last seen by us in Tel Aviv, Israel a couple of months before!  Amy saw someone who looked like Shir and called out to her (it was Shir’s hair!), and when the girl in pink turned around and looked up – they were in a BFF embrace!  Tzvia, Reuven and Ron were nearby, and it turned out that we were all on the same flight.  The Shelefs were returning to the States, too!  They’d just packed up the week before, and spent their last night doing the final packing!

We were welcomed at the San Francisco International Airport by Chris and Mark, holding

Tzvia, a Friend / Restaurant Owner, and Reuven

a Welcome Back sign as we exited the Baggage Claim, Passport and Customs areas!  Massive noise and picture-taking ensued.  THEN the Shelefs exited!  MORE noise and picture-taking!!!

The first days back, we immediately plunged into — shopping!  Amy had outgrown most of her clothes, and even sadly gave up her favorite purple long-sleeved shirt (dedicated to her good friend Ellie!).  We shopped for fancy clothes to wear to Erin & Will’s wedding (pix on another post), daily wear,  shoes,  and stockings.  Next were the electronics – iPhone, Motorola Flip-Out phone, MacBook (Amy), MacBookPro (Chris), a color wifi network printer, and all the other little gadgets we needed.  Then, the next few days were spent with families, friends, sleepovers for Amy, and working with my mom, a master flower designer, on Erin & Will’s wedding flowers.  It was a truly poignant and fun wedding, befitting the couple very well.  Amy anticipated the colors by dying her hair bright neon purple three days before the wedding (I did the paint job)!

Geoff, Amy and Berlin At Erin & Will's wedding Jun 2011

This week Amy’s Technology and PE camp began (TAPE), and she’s learning about applications to create presentation works on the MacBook.  It goes from 9-noon M-F, and her gymnastics practices are TTh 2:30-6:30 pm.  That leaves me with lots of time to blow glass at PALY, work on my blog (once I get my Vaio back it’ll be easier), drink coffee, meet up with people, and plan out what to do next.  Suggestions gladly taken!

Currently, Amy and I are living at the Mountain View Navy Lodge till the end of the month.  July 1st, the Navy Lodge will close down for renovation, so we’ll be vagabonding again – well, maybe not.  I rather like having a kitchen no matter how small or infrequently we use it!  So, am considering a residence inn like Ramada’s or Marriott’s for the two weeks we have before moving into a 2-bdrm Cupertino apartment.  Yes, it does allow dogs or cats, and not more than two of them, thank goodness!  The Cupertino middle school is ranked and rated by parents highly.

Pros and cons of an apartment –

This one’s on the 3rd floor – a definite Con.

Fitness center in complex – a definite Pro!

A small green park lawn across from front of complex – Pro (green) and Con (small)

Two parking spaces – def Pro!

Smaller than we are used to for a home (1165 sf) – Con

Two bedrooms are on opposite sides of the unit – Pro

Fireplace – Pro (ambiance) and Con (small, cute)

Not much of a backyard – def Con (poor Hodi!)

We tried for a number of days to find something in Palo Alto, but the homes were either too small, run down, or not a great location.  The rents were all around $3,200 – 4,000 / month.  I actually saw one that was as low as $2,350 / month, but included the landlord’s high school son to stay with us.  That wasn’t a problem, since we typically host visiting students anyway, but the house was awkward to get in and out as it was on a main street (Middlefield Road).  Craigslist gave us the most number of hits, but even then it was only four listings at a time.  Real estate and rental agents just didn’t have anything that fit our criteria, though it was pretty basic – 2+bdrms, 1.5+baths, garage or carpark, at least 1,000 sf, and some place for a puppy.

Our Welcome Back party at Kathleen’s house, my sister, who graciously offered and helped us setup.  Alas, it was less than a week’s notice and too soon for most people, but we still got quite an attendance – especially the younger students around Amy’s and Isabelle’s ages!  They asked some really good traveling questions!  We hope to have another Round the World party once we’re settled down in our new place.  Stay tuned!

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