This is an extract from some of the emails I have been sending friends since I arrived on the West Coast at the end of February.
Since we arrived in Morgan Hill, I have explored all the shops in the small high street- they are very eclectic shops; there is everything from a knitting shop, to jewelery, one of a kind clothing shops, nick-nac shops and a large independent book store (with an in-store book-club!) There are also several restaurants (fish, Mexican, Italian, BBQ, a breakfast bar, coffee shop and a couple of bars). There is also a small local newspaper which is published twice a week, and a regular Saturday farmers market, and a fish and meat store- all locally run. Obviously there are the chain stores, a Safeway supermarket, and even a new Trader Joes (yay!) but they are a little further away, but within a mile or two.
Just to help those of you who are not geographically inclined, Morgan Hill is about 20 miles south of San Jose, and 70 miles south of San Francisco. We are also about an hour from the coast, and the nearest big coastal town you may recognize is Santa Cruz.
One of the strangest things for me so far is the time difference between here and the East coast. The TV stations talk about 'this evening' at 6 pm their time, when is it still only mid afternoon here! Our favorite TV programs are on at different times too :-)
We are getting used to living in 705 sq feet- it is very easy to keep clean and tidy! We have everything we need and are trying hard not to buy anything that duplicates what we already have. We are pretty sure we'd like a smaller house here, but it is hard to find- they all seem to be bigger than we expected, but not cheaper unfortunately!
Pepper is very content to sleep outside on the enclosed patio in our apartment as the sun doesn't hit it until late afternoon. She is also less bothered when we leave her, and is back to eating normally. She does like to potter around the apartment complex which is landscaped beautifully, and has lots of grass and bushes to explore. A few nights go she could smell an opossum but could not see it, even though I could, as it was balanced frozen on top of a six foot high fence and we walked right past it!