Well, as of New Years Day 2010, we have been in Arizona for two months. After our travels to the west coast last year, Ray and I decided to relocate by the winter of 2009. We originally set our sights on San Diego. Opportunity presented itself here in Chandler, Arizona, so we jumped on the chance to move out to the west coast. We are a short 5 hour drive to San Diego, so we have the best of all worlds! After driving across the country from NY to AZ, 5 hours is nothing! We took a few months to organize and plan, squaring away last minute work and clearing out our apartments in Long Island. It was a challenge fitting our belongings into the Jeep, but we managed. We left our televisions, bicycle, and furniture behind. We left NY on a Thursday night and arrived to the 1st city in Arizona on Saturday night. We stayed at a hotel in Ohio and again in Holbrook, AZ. Ray would have driven straight through, but I needed to stretch my legs and release my crankiness from sitting in the car all day. I thought I would be nervous, but I surprisingly wasn't. My excitement overwhelmed any nerves that popped up. This is a move I had been thinking of for the last few years, and it was finally my time. Finally my time to be free of the New York rat-race and oppressive winters. Time for Ray and I to start fresh and see the world.
Every day, I look around me and take it all in. I still can't get over the incredible mountain views that surround me daily. My favorite time to take a drive is around sunset, (which is now approximately 5pm-5:30ish). The colors of the sunset are amazing- deep purples, reds, pinks, orange, and yellow in the horizon cascading the mountains and palm trees... It is absolutely breathtaking.
We ended up renting a charming 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo style apartment in a well-managed and maintained complex called San Ventura. There are 2 pools and jacuzzis, a clubhouse with billiards, and a 24/7 gym. Our apartment is unit #2120. The street is Ray Road. We looked at these elements as signs from the Universe pointing us into the right direction. 2120 jumbled up is 2012, which has great spiritual significance. And, if you are reading this, you probably know why Ray Rd. is ironic for us.
We have enjoyed decorating the apartment, but still have more projects to tackle. We found awesome shabby chic pieces that make me feel like I am close to a beach. I always tell Ray I want it to resemble a cottage in East Hampton... So far, the apartment is evoking our personalities pretty accurately- touches of beach, fashion, Buddha, and nature.
I particularly LOVE the fact that we have a laundry room. In NY I had to shlep my laundry to Ray's house or my parents house. This is a major convenience and such a pleasure! Our balcony has stunning views of the stars and moon at night and a church reminiscent of Greece. Ray picked up a telescope at a garage sale, so we are able to check out the details of the sky at night. It seems that the moon and stars are much more abundant, clear, and closer here than in NY. We love to study the nooks and crannies in the moon. The stars shine so bright and actually blink.
We have made a little friend. Her name is "El Gato". She is an outdoor cat that roams around our apartment. She has grey and white stripes and light green eyes. Her tail is missing. I hope she wasn't hurt in an accident- maybe she was just born this way. To me, this adds to her character and cuteness. She waits for me and Ray on our doorstep many days. She purrs and meows at us. I am already attached to her, and she is not even mine!! I named her "El Gato" because I don't know her actual name. I think she is drawn to the homeade teas that Ray is always making with organic herbs. I guess she will have to do until we adopt a puppy one day!!
One thing that I have noticed about Arizona is the embracing of healthy lifestyles. Maybe it is the weather making it conducive to year-round activity. Or maybe it is just the open-mindedness of it's residents. Who knows. But, I LOVE it!! There are bicycle lanes on most of the main roads. It is commonplace to see a mom riding a bicycle with her children. Back in NY, we had to dodge cars and stares from people on our bike rides. There are corporate and privately-owned gyms on every corner. Take your pick! Houses boast sustainable energy sources and edible organic gardens. Agave, Aloe, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruits, and herbs grow here in the wild. Our own aloe plant is doing great! She gets plenty of sunlight on the balcony, and her leaves have spread out beautifully resembling a starburst. Ray likes to put the aloe in our smoothies and baths. There are a plethera of holistic and naturopathic doctors at your disposal. Way more accessible than in NY.
The shopping here in Arizona has been so dangerous for me!!! There are great consignment shops everywhere and garage sales galore!!! Since Arizona has been recently developed, there are tons of strip malls. This can be good or bad, depending on your perception of it. I personally love privately owned boutiques versus corporate stores. Strip malls are sterile to me. No charm. But, a select few in Chandler, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, and Ocotillo that I have seen adorn the strip malls with Juliet balconies, fountains,brick pathways, and outdoor cafes, making it much more palpable.
We have met some amazing people here. My girlfriends here are not Arizona natives. Come to think of it, most people we come across here are transplants, just like us. It feels so great making new connections with people, and I already feel like I've been friends with these girls for a while! Ray is working with a group of guys to establish a band. I am so proud of his talent. Their 1st song is done and sounds awesome. Overall, people here in Arizona are much more laid back than in the Northeast. I make conversations with cashiers and random people everywhere I go. I know I am a yenta, but it seems as though people here WANT to connect with others. There is no suspicion or underlying motives. The overall energy is great. Just what I needed...
I don't miss New York (sorry Mom and Dad). The weather here has spanned from 55-85 since we arrived here. We are in the "winter" time here now and it has steadily been between 50-65 degrees daily. NOT TOO SHABBYY!!! I can certainly get used to this!!! I am excited to lay by the pool again soon!!! I am looking forward to all Arizona has in store for us...