Moving to Another Country: Culture Shock?

Posted on by Susan Posted in Life, Travel | Leave a comment

I thought it’s time for an update on our recent move from Canada to the United States, now that we have been here for almost two months. How has it been two months already?

On the one hand, it seems to me that there is so much I could tell you, but on the other hand it’s all details that bother no one except us. But some things have happened in the past few weeks, including a signed lease for our next apartment. :)

Where are we?

Still in San Diego, still close to the office (to cut down on hubby’s commute time). Trader Joe’s in walking distance to the new place. Score!

How do we like it so far?

This is definitely one of the most frequent questions we get. Ok. Let me start.

It’s nice. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome to have sunshine almost every day. I love palm trees. I love the ocean. I love the variety of foodie finds in grocery stores. I love Mexican food. I love burgers, especially the grass-fed beef burgers from Burger Lounge.

There are some things that bug me, but that is to be expected, as with any move to a new place, there are some bumps on the road and challenges ahead. Call it culture shock , if you want. ;)

It’s silly things, really, NBD. Pushy sales people that have NO clue what they’re talking about (I’m talking to you, Stride Rite lady, that’s trying to sell me a shoe for my toddler that’s about an inch too long…). Or people that drive right in my behind. I’ll get over it. But you may hear me talk about it. #sorrynotsorry

How am I feeling?

OK, this one’s tricky.

On the one hand I am incredibly grateful to be able to experience living in such a beautiful place

On the other hand, I am incredibly exhausted. We have so many things to take care of, and as usual (it happened in Canada, and it happened here again), something went wrong during the process (not our fault). Moving to a new country is no piece of cake, especially if you have a family to take care of. If you’re young and single, no problem, you can just go and explore, meet new friends over a glass of beer and get settled. However, if you have a little one, you don’t really get that option. San Diego is very family friendly, but I find that it’s tricky to make new friends if you have a little one in tow. I’m planning to attend a few more meetups, though, to get out of the house and have some social interaction for me and the little guy, once we are in our new neighborhood. Can’t wait to get settled into our new place in T-2 days!

Things I didn’t expect:

  • Hills/mountains. For some reason I assumed San Diego would be flat. 8-O
  • The distances to get around. Vancouver was pretty confined, space-wise, so San Diego is definitely much more sprawled out.
  • What you see is NOT what you get. I’m referring mostly to our apartment hunt. Most complexes call themselves “luxury rental homes” or something like that. Yeah, I think I have a different view on that. Don’t get me wrong, our new place will be fine. But it’s just a standard (big for our standards, normal for Americans) apartment. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s all about making a sale.

Favorite spots so far:

  • Old Town (touristy, but yummy food, nice music, and great for shopping gifts and souvenirs) and Embarcadero (a stroll along the water is always nice, isn’t it?)
  • Encinitas: This is my type of town. Has beaches, walkability to restaurants and stores, and it’s outdoorsy and cute! <3
  • La Jolla Shores: fantastically wide and family friendly beach, perfect for long walks in the sand
  • Solana Beach Farmers Market: We picked up the most delicious organic strawberries I’ve had in a very long time. Yum!
We’ve seen a few more places around here, but obviously we have only been in San Diego for 2 short months, so we are still actively exploring.
This whole move to the US has definitely been a challenging and interesting time for us. I have always been interested in the States, and I’ve even majored in US Cultural History, when studying in Germany. I never thought I would be living here one day. And here I am, with a 5 year stopover in beautiful Vancouver, BC, our little family actually ended up in sunny California.

Have you ever moved to a different country? What was the biggest challenge you had? 

Any San Diego blog readers? What are some fun places to check out? Next up on our list is Balboa Park (been there once, but only at a playground) for a hike and a visit to the Zoo, and North Park.

California Adventures

Posted on by Susan Posted in Fun, Travel | 4 Comments

Hey Friends, long time no see!

How are you doing?

We’ve had some big life changes lately, which is the reason why I’ve gone missing from the blogosphere in recent weeks. If you follow me on the blog or twitter, you already know that we moved to Southern California a couple of weeks ago.

Yep, we’re officially beach bums now!

So far we’ve made a few trips to get to know the area from Downtown San Diego (Gaslamp Quarter & Embarcadero), to the coastal neighborhoods from La Jolla to Oceanside. Also checked out a few stores, the beach and a few parks in our new neighborhood.

Oh, and then there’s the weather. No more rain boots for this mama, oh yeah! :D

This is our new (although temporary) neighborhood:

Now we’re just trying to figure out our new California life here in San Diego, and hopefully I’ll be able to share some more of our shenanigans on the blog soon.

Things I’m especially excited about:

  • Sunshine!
  • Beaches and parks
  • A gym membership – we toured one this morning and the little guy loved the child care area! Everybody wins!
  • Yoga! Good thing San Diego is filled with yoga studios! Hope I can find something for downward facing toddlers, too! :)
  • Shopping – oh, the opportunities are endless! Everything from cheap to high end!
  • New fun foodie finds, such as Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter that I’ve been stalking from Canada on other food blogs since it first appeared:
  • fresh, local, organic produce (we’re hoping to join a CSA) and farmers markets
Is there something I forgot? Probably.
Anyway, I really hope you join me on my new California adventures and come back here soon. I’m planning to be back posting 1 – 2 x a week, but I just needed some time to take it all in.
And if you are from Southern California or have been here, please leave a comment or shoot me an email with any tips you might have about family fun, food, fun neighborhoods to explore, etc . I’d love to hear from you!
xo, Susan

Time Travels Part 2: Sweden

Posted on by Susan Posted in Food, Travel | Leave a comment

Hi friends! How are you?

I thought it’s only fitting to post my second recap of our summer vacation on the first day back to school. :) It really feels like it was such a long time ago, even though it’s just been a few weeks since we were there, so Time Travels seemed like a good title for our vacation recaps.

If you remember, the first part of our trip was to Germany, where we enjoyed good food, beer and the company of our lovely friends and family! After a few short days, we moved on to Sweden.

We had fun adventures in and around Stockholm! :D

Trying to squeeze into a mouse-sized hole at Junibacken, BBQ and burgers!

We enjoyed the beautiful West Coast.

Picturesque, isn't it?

Had some snuggle time.


We also spent a day at Skansen, which is an outdoor museum/zoo in Stockholm.

Walking around Skansen made us hungry! Snack to the rescue: waffle topped with shrimp salad

Discovered some funky foods.

Fried Elk meat? Interesting…

And of course we enjoyed some Swedish food with the family:

Croustader filled with shrimp salad and roe, pork tenderloin with chanterelles and roasted veggies


Punschparfait and vino!!

I know I’ve said it many times before, but I simply cannot grasp how quick time flies!

I actually found chanterelles at Whole Foods yesterday and I’m looking forward to recreating the pork tenderloin dish. I’ll share the recipe with you if it turns out good!

But right now I’m remembering our little Europe trip with this post, while getting ready for my last two courses to finish my degree. It’s back to school for this mama!

Part 1 of our Europe trip can be found at Time Travels Part 1: Germany.

See you soon!