Monday, 12 October 2015


Reader Hazel got the chance to live on another continent for over a year… find out how she settled in the USA and what she'll miss about it now that she's home again!

Hazel says:
Living in California for 16 months was the best experience of my life. As my family knew that Dad was only working there temporarily, we treated it as a very long holiday. We lived in a huge rental house, drove a rental car and joined few groups apart from music lessons, so it was easier to travel. We visited eleven states and saw many natural wonders on our road trips, such as the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Crater Lake, Natural Arches, the Rocky Mountains and volcanoes like Mt St Helen's. We also saw some amazing wildlife: grey whales with their calves, golden eagles, wild buffalo, elephant seals, dolphins, overwintering monarch butterfly colonies and even osprey!

Although I had a brilliant time in Cali, I had a life waiting in England that I was eager to get back to. When the movers were packing up my family's belongings at the end of our stay, it felt like I was in a dream. As did driving to San Francisco airport, even with twelve suitcases in the boot! But when the plane touched down in London after the long flight, I couldn't help feeling excited.

At first, moving back to our old house, everything felt strange. It seemed so small, and the roads seemed utterly tiny. Now, after two weeks back home, it all feels completely normal, like we never left. We kept some furniture in the house while we were away, so although the bulk of it - and all our books - will take at least another month to get here, we have enough to live with. My brother and I are home educated so we don't have to worry about returning to school, but we do many activities here. I have been asked to join three orchestras in September and I'll be able to go on with my music lessons, badminton and Irish dancing. My brother and I have already started going to a conservation group that we used to go to and I am finally going to set up a book blog, something I've wanted to do for months.

At first I thought it might be hard to reintegrate with old classes and join new ones, but I think I've returned home slightly wiser, and I am confident everything will work out fine. I'm looking forward to making new friends, as well as spending time with those who always stayed in touch! Seeing the different cultures in America was interesting - I learnt a lot about American history and literature. I'll miss the hot Californian sunshine, the huge libraries, the sweet fruit and my amazing piano teacher. But I missed so much about England too… our wonderful neighbours, my two great friends, my flute teacher, the garden birds and the food… real pork sausages, crunchy apples and edible chocolate! Living in California was an experience I will never forget, but I am truly happy to be home.

Hazel wrote a post for DREAMCATCHER about moving to Cali in May 2014… click on the link if you'd like to read more!
Cathy says:
Wow… what an experience! I love Hazel's story, and as for those pictures… stunning! Have you ever dreamed of living somewhere faraway? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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