1. Pack and organize efficiently!
    1. We have things in two locations of storage, plus what we have in the house. Sometimes we know where things are, sometimes we don’t. While it was fun to go “shopping” for maternity clothes in storage because it didn’t cost me anything, I also spent 2 hours trying to find the power cord to my Cricut, which was packed in a different box. I definitely wish I had been more focused the week we packed.
    2. Label, Label, Label. Nothing is worse than opening 10 boxes labeled Kitchen when you’re trying to find ONE stock pot. Label the room, then a summary of the contents. Kitchen- Pots and Pans or Master Bedroom – Office Supplies
    3. You have to pack differently if you’re moving directly to your forever home versus storing temporarily. Also, watch that Marie Kondo documentary before you start packing. There is nothing worse than the feeling of, “Why did I move this crap?”
  2. Driver’s licenses are not treated the same
    1. California has different laws when it comes to getting a driver’s license. In order to get a REAL ID, yes that’s what it’s called, you will need your social security card, birth certificate or passport, and proof of residency.
    2. In Texas, there are two forms of your birth certificate, a long form, and a short form. California won’t accept the short form. So I ordered a long form of my birth certificate and my passport at the same time. Strangely, the passport office accepted my short form birth certificate. My passport arrived first and I was able to get my driver’s license!
    3. I missed two questions on the test: One about the speed limit you drive in the rain (drive the speed limit safest for the conditions) and the other about legal u-turns (You can only make a legal U-turn in a residential area). In California, you also have to pull into the bike lane in order to make a right turn, which is not something I’m used to. You can also have your license suspended for using your phone while driving! So if you come to visit, connect to Bluetooth!
  3. If you’re a teacher, submit documentation early
    1. The California Teacher Credentialing website clearly states it can take up to 50 business days to process a credential. In Texas, we call it our certification. My biggest hiccup was because once I moved, they required I re-do my fingerprinting in California, rather than accepting the fingerprint cards I had done in Houston. So far I’ve invested $130 into making sure the Department of Justice has my fingerprints.
    2. Do not expect to have the same certificate/credential transfer. In Texas, I am certified for English Language Arts and Reading grades 7-12 with my ESL supplemental. In California, I hold a Single Subject English credential which allows me to teach Pre-K through 12th grade, but no EL accommodation. Insanity! But considering how much of the Texas ESL test was just Texas law, I’m not surprised it didn’t transfer. Also, I have no intentions of going elementary. That’s a different breed of educator.
  4. Healthcare is subsidized, yay! It’s also a hot mess of bureaucracy
    1. Cameron has healthcare through his new company, but it was way too pricy to add me and Colbito. Through Covered California, the government assesses your income and needs and subsidizes your healthcare costs accordingly.
    2. If you are expecting, they automatically make you sign up for MediCal, the California healthcare for all. We applied really early in Texas, so we have BlueShield California for cheaper than my health care through the Texas Teacher Retirement System.
    3. I spent 4 hours on the phone with 3 different insurance organizations on Monday. Our personal insurance agent said, “This is the idiotic bureaucracy you can expect if Healthcare for all really passes.” Not sure if I agree, but it was an intriguing perspective.
  5. People might be genuinely more friendly here, but don’t expect any southern or Mexican food to be the same.
    1. The food isn’t bad, but don’t go into a restaurant expecting it to taste like Tex-Mex or your neighborhood southern fried chicken and barbeque, goods are not as advertised.
    2. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good! There are some awesome locals making really good food. We tried a Mexican restaurant called Descando with an hibachi style grill but it was repurposed as a taco bar. It was so cool to watch my chile relleno grilled with melted cheese before me, rather than fried or baked behind the scenes.
    3. I’m most curious about Harper Barbeque, one because it shares a family name, and two because they are promising central Texas-style barbeque, and I happen to be an expert. They can be followed at @harperbarbeque on Instagram. Anything else I’ve tried wasn’t even close to home but the promise of a piece of the Hill Country might make me a happier Californian.
    4. There isn’t a grocery store remotely similar to HEB. You have to make multiple stops for different items depending on price/availability/brand. The only thing familiar is that Ralph’s is basically Randall’s and they carry similar products to Kroger. I did research and they’re all owned by Safeway.

https://www.instagram.com/harperbarbecue

Just an amazing souvenir from my Harper family reunion.

Five more tips for not murdering everyone around you during the process of moving… and finding a job.

  1. Make a to-do list every day
    1. Even if it is just to do laundry, wash your face, and go on a walk. Give yourself a daily purpose.
  2. Have goals for the day, week, and month
    1. Being able to see something outside the moment you’re in will make a huge difference in your perspective
  3. Take time to center
    1. Things can, and will, get overwhelming. Take moments to breathe and absorb the moment you’re in rather than be overwhelmed by the situation as a whole
  4. Do things that bring you happiness
    1. Have I been playing pop-punk covers in my car? Yes, I have. Fall Out Boy’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody is GOLD. Ok, maybe bronze, but I love it. Unapologetically choose to be happy and do happy things.
  5. Contact your village often
    1. Sorry not sorry to my Texas girls I’ve been texting all day every day. But you know what? I feel like your village keeps you centered.

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