My Little Sunnyvale

IMG_6202I live in a nice, semi-little town of 147,055 people.  After all, it’s called Sunnyvale, which conjures up great images of a sunny little town, doesn’t it? It fits my personality and I love living here for so many reasons.

It’s not fancy and it’s not pretentious. It’s the Heart of Silicon Valley and things work really well here.  The city streets are nicely laid out and it’s easy to get around the 24 square miles that make up this city, even at rush hour. There are beautiful parks and public tennis courts and golf courses, a library, and a quaint, little downtown. If you need emergency assistance, help is on it’s way literally within minutes.  The CalTrain runs through the downtown and connects all the cities up and down the South Bay, Peninsula and into San Francisco.  There is a lot of growth happening around the city and hopefully one day our downtown will be completely revitalized. We’ve been waiting for over 10 years for them to finish the project and hopefully the lawyers finally figure out how to call a truce and get on with things that are long past due.

We have great community sports teams, schools, churches, theaters, public services and places to shop.  We have great diversity, with 26 different languages spoken at home from our elementary school students.

I love my neighbors and knowing that we all support one another and watch out for each others’ kids. We carpool together and have potluck dinners and our kids play in the park together.  We work together to teach our kids right from wrong and support one another when there are disagreements. We tailgate together at Stanford Football games and go to each others’ kids events.  We share stories and learn from each other, because there isn’t a parenting manual and usually our friends know best or have been there, done that, or going through it right now too. I love that we’re going through this life journey together.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, there are still good old fashioned families like ours, who love being home and hanging out and BBQing, volunteering in our schools and in our community, and driving kids to and from their various events.

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The parents enjoy chatting with each other and catching up on the field, on the courts and at the school events, and even waving as we pass each other.  Even though we’re busy, we still make time to connect and help one another, and for this I am thankful.

I am thankful for all the moms and dads who share the journey with me and help me to raise my kids. Like the dad who brought Charlie home from practice tonight and came in my kitchen to discuss whether we should let our boys bike to practice or not. I enjoyed the discussion and sharing ideas about whether this was a good idea or not. I liked that we listened to each other and decided to wait giving them this freedom and to continue carpooling to protect their safety.  I love that Juliana went to a friend’s house to bake cookies for another friend’s birthday today. And I love that Christian got a ride home from a friend after his practice.

I am thankful for the public schools and the teachers and administrators who are very passionate and willing to help teach our kids and go the extra mile, even sponsoring and chaperoning trips to Japan! How cool is this?

I love that Sunnyvale is our home and that we have built a foundation here, filled with love, neighbors and a community of friends who I enjoy seeing and running into across town everyday.

What do you love about your community and where you live? What part do you contribute to making your town great?

I hope you had a good day and are living it up, right now, right where you are.  Are you??  😉

Good Old Fashioned Service

I love good service. I love the kindness and connection that comes from people who love what they do and genuinely share their gifts and talents.

Today I had a nail stuck in my tire. I hate it when that happens. I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. I googled how to remove a nail or screw and watched a youtube video, showing me how to repair my tire from home. I was almost tempted to do it myself. I thought it might be cool to learn something new. But then thought, if I didn’t do it right, I would have been stuck. So instead I went on yelp and looked for tire repairs near my house. I read a great review about an honest company and chose them just because other people trusted them and liked the people that worked there. 

This company was great.  I drove up without an appointment and they told me to pull my car up to the service bay. A guy came out and started jacking up the front of my car right away. He removed the lug nuts and took off the wheel in 2 minutes.  He took the screw out and sprayed water in the spot and nothing bubbled up. Yay! Good news – no puncture!  

He put the wheel back on and when his assistant came over to write up the charges, he said there weren’t any because there wasn’t a leak to repair.  Seriously?  No charges?  He didn’t even charge me for looking at it and removing the wheel.  I was surprised and thankful. While I was looking for a tip to give him, he disappeared.  I only had $2 or $20 in my wallet and I wanted to give him at least $10. I guess I’ll have to go back tomorrow to thank him.  The name of the company is Godinez Tires in Sunnyvale if you ever need good, honest service. And they have birds and chickens outside for your entertainment!

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The second great service we received was with our family dentist. Dr. Randall Murray is one of the nicest people I know. He is so kind and his leadership shines throughout his office. Everyone is friendly and loving and patient and kind. I’m not even exaggerating. When I called this morning with a broken tooth issue, the receptionist was so sweet and found a spot for us this afternoon. She had a big smile when she greeted us. As we waited in the waiting room, the hygienist came out to see how we were doing, sharing stories about the World Cup, giving the kids hugs and just hanging out with us for a few minutes.  Also while we were waiting, an oral surgeon dressed in his scrubs walked in with his patient to introduce her to Dr. Murray. He wanted to be sure she would be well taken care of. These are the type of people Dr. Murray associates with. He finds colleagues who are kind and caring and professional like he is. He referred us to our orthodontist, who is also just like him. They take the time to make a human, real connection, sharing their passion and talents and communicating with us in a way as if they are our friends and partners.  This is a great feeling and does create an awesome connection.  I never feel like he’s in a hurry or burdened by our requests. As he was looking at Juliana’s tooth, I mentioned that I would like him to check Charlie’s tooth too, as he had mentioned a chip but wasn’t complaining with pain. Dr. Murray took the time to look at his tooth, and realized right away that it would need work. By this time it was 4:15 and we were the last patient. He could have easily asked us to come back, but instead he decided to fix his tooth too right away without an appointment.  He said he had a cancellation and was happy to fix it. He went the extra mile and took care of us. We shared stories about our kids and summer vacation and graduation celebrations.  We sure got lucky to find such a great dentist and friend.  

I’m thankful for good old fashioned service where people still care.  

 

Pay It Forward

Today the Volleyball Girls got together to celebrate our spring and summer birthdays. We have been playing together for probably five to six years. We met at Dish Dash, one of the best restaurants in Sunnyvale. One of our friends brought her mama, which we all encouraged and invited to join us of course. Mama’s are always welcome.

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We enjoyed conversations and delicious food and got up to switch seats so that we could all have a chance to socialize together. As we were preparing to receive and split the bill, we were delivered a surprise. Dana’s mama picked up the tab and treated all of us to lunch today. What a sweet surprise.

I love this idea of taking care of others when you are able to share your gifts of time, talents and financial blessings. She seemed happy and proud and we were all shocked and thankful.

Life is good. Thank you.

Sunnyvale

The town I live in fits my spirit. It’s called Sunnyvale and doesn’t it just sound like a happy city?

It makes me think of sunshine and conjures up the feeling of a small old town, which it once was, filled with orchards and open space.

I like this place because it is a large, multicultural, caring community with great parks and a responsive and kind public safety team.

Today I was up early before sunrise to drop Juliana off for a field trip. I came home and went for a walk and watched the sunrise and watched our city come alive.

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20140315-214128.jpgThese ducks were looking for breakfast in the park.

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Love the look, feel and smell of lavender.

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Good morning, sunshine!

Baseball opening ceremonies were today too and it couldn’t have been a more perfect day.

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The youngest t-ball player threw the first pitch to the oldest player in the league. Can you see the ball in the air?

Let the games begin! I love this season and being out on the field with the kids and friends and beautiful weather.

After Charlie’s baseball ceremony, I headed over to the tennis courts to co-host our match. I love watching our team play almost as much as I love playing. It was 83 degrees and hot today, so I was thankful to be an observer and cheerleader. The ladies won and played some great tennis.

As I was leaving, I noticed this field next to the courts that I absolutely love. Check it out and you’ll see part of the reason why I love Sunnyvale…

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And ending the day, here is the pink sky moon rise in Sunnyvale. Good night.

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What do you love about the city you live in?

Our Shipment Arrived!

Today was a big day. Our belongings from Holland traveled over the ocean and to the Port of Oakland, where a truck unloaded our container and brought our belongings back to us. It felt like a chaotic Christmas day, with boxes filled with gifts and wrapping paper everywhere, and everyone excited and a little off schedule.

The movers assembled our couches and bicycles and placed the boxes in the appropriate rooms, even helping to hang up some clothes. They broke down the boxes and took all the trash with them. They also helped us to remove our old couches that we’ve had since we lived in San Francisco and gave them to a new home.

If you have to do an international relocation, I highly recommend hiring Crown Relocation Services to help you with the transition. They are very professional, efficient, have a great, professional staff, and take care of you every step of the way. I was very impressed with their services and highly recommend them.

So now that Christmas is over, I have to try and assimilate all the gifts into their new places. Our house is very small and we don’t have a lot of extra room. This is no easy task! Every room is filled with boxes and stuff now. I think I need a professional organizer to come and help me sort and purge and organize. Luckily, one’s arriving tomorrow. My parents are coming to town and I’m sure they’ll want to help me. Lucky me. My mom is really good at making space and keeping a tidy house. I’m sure she’ll have some best practices to share.

So not only did we have the movers here all morning and my house is now a disaster, and company arriving tomorrow, my washing machine decided to leak. I was getting ready to go to some school and church meetings (still in my grungy clothes from this morning and not glamorous at all) and went in the garage to find a puddle, or should I say a stream of water covering part of the floor. Of course, a stack of our boxes was in the direct way of the river and was wet on the bottom. So in the course of 20 minutes before my meeting, I emptied out the wet box, moved the other boxes, contacted Sears Repair guys who were just out earlier this month, chatted on the phone with a friend and started serving dinner to the little ones who were waiting. We had a house full of friends tonight. I guess we’re just not ready to let go of summer. It didn’t help that it was 80 degrees out and felt like summer, so we just went with it. I kept looking around like I was on a crazy farm, and just kissed Jeff goodbye, telling him to just flow with it all, and walked out to leave for the two separate meetings at different locations while not tripping on any of the bicycles that were covering my yard. Can you visualize it?

I think I love days like this, chaos and all, although a little less clutter may have eased things up a bit. Oh, and I also made a trip to the orthodontist with Juliana and picked her up from practice. I actually had an hour between dropping her back off at school and picking her up again, and was able to assemble dinner during that time with limited counter space due to all the loot from Christmas covering it! Phew… I’m re-tired just writing it all down! What a day.

My day was full and I’m so thankful and exhausted. I’m happy to have my stuff. I’m glad my kids are involved in sports and are happily settling into their new routines. I’m glad that the neighborhood kids want to hang out at my house as this was always my dream. I’m glad that Jeff was home with me today to handle all of the moving and unpacking and kid patrol, and clean up, as well as that he took time to squeeze in a lunch date at one of our favorite Thai restaurants with the hour we had before early kid pickup. I’m thankful that my kids have the opportunities to be part of this wonderful community we call home. I am happy and tired and ready for bed.

Namaste.

(P.S…this post never posted last month as I found it in my drafts, so I’m posting now!)

Day 10: Memories

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Today was a day filled with community. My sisters and I and the kids went to church and connected with our friends. We enjoyed an hour of sitting together quietly.

After church, we worked together to feed the kids and prepare for our going away party at the park.

I loved being at the park today and spending time with so many friends and family. I realized how many connections we’ve made here over the past 11 years and I’m so thankful. I grew up in a town where everyone knew each other and I feel like we have that here now too. That’s a cool thing. I took pictures of everyone I could so that I can carry the memories with me.

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Taco truck guys were a big hit!

Day 31: Going Home

Avila Bay from HWY101N
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We are on our way back home, driving up “the” 101. Home has been so many places and and I’m glad that my kids will get to experience a new home soon.
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San Luis Obispo – our future home?!?

I think moving will be so good for us. It’ll help the kids to be more comfortable with change and to adapt to new environments, especially when it comes time for college. They are going to get practice making new friends, trying new foods, speaking another language, going to a new school, and establishing new routines.

My little travelers have done pretty well on all our trips for vacations and visiting family in different time zones, sleeping in strange places that I think they are becoming adaptable. I hope they are getting practice for the big move!

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Sleepy Dutch Traveler