Welcome To The OC

4th July Newport Beach
4th July Newport Beach

Oh hi there! Remember me? Yes, I’m the British one who used to live in Beijing, told you all I was moving to California, then disappeared! Sorry, I just got too distracted by all the sun, sea, sand and palm trees in my new home… woops. 🙂

But I’m back. Everything and nothing has happened in the last 2 months. So here’s a little round up.

It was goodbye to Beijing!

Forbidden City, Beijing

I will probably write a whole post about this at some point (probably.  I still have a list of about 50 blog posts to write from our time in China!) but it was a fond farewell to Beijing with beautiful blue sky for much of the last 2 weeks.

We moved to California and I made it through immigration.

Dog and Beach Cruiser, Newport Beach

Honestly, passing through immigration was a breeze. I was worried we’d be waiting for ages as this was my first time entering since being granted permanent residence, and I had to go to a special area.  All of the immigration staff were really great and we barely had to wait at all. I realize that I am lucky in that I had a very uncomplicated case and a clear reason why I was able to live in the US (married to an American), but immigration staff are human too and I was grateful to them for making my entry to the US a really pleasant experience.

I’ve been jogging, practising yoga, cycling on my beach cruiser and hanging out on the beach.

I wish this was my dog :-)
I wish this was my dog 🙂

Living by the beach is amazing. It didn’t take long to get that Beijing Smog (official name) out of my lungs and I actually found myself enjoying, like actually properly enjoying, jogging for the first time in my life. I’ve built up a great tan already (for me anyway) and I got a great deal on a month long pass at a nearby yoga studio. Sadly my fitness went slightly back down hill around 2 weeks ago when I made a poor decision (see below) but I’m getting back into it again now!

I had a wisdom tooth extraction

Nothing to do with teeth
Nothing to do with teeth

This might go down into the books as one of the worst decisions ever. I decided to have a wisdom tooth extracted 2 weeks ago. The evil tooth in question had only ever partially come through, due to lack of room. In the UK I was told to leave it, but two international dentists in Beijing told me to extract it. It had been aching a bit so I thought I’d better get it taken out. I ended up being one of the 5% of people who get dry socket, a painful condition where the blood clot doesn’t form/or gets dislodged causing the nerve to be exposed. I’m over it now but I still wish I’d never had it done. I actually think that if I was in the UK, where we don’t pay for our healthcare at the point of purchase, I would have been told not to take it out. The difference in healthcare is one of the weirdest things about the US for me. There are a lot of misconceptions in the US (including by the American doctors themselves) about how our NHS runs and it’s irritating! Save the NHS, England, please!!

We decided not to move to LA but to stay in Newport Beach

Chilling on the balcony

Much to our surprise, we didn’t end up moving to LA but decided to stay in beautiful Newport Beach, Orange County (where Justin grew up). We love LA and looked at a few apartments there, but didn’t see anything that stood out. We wanted to be in Santa Monica but couldn’t get within walking distance to the beach or shops if we were to stick within our budget (Santa Monica is expensive), at least if we wanted a half decent place anyway. We also looked in hipsterville on the East side but, again, we couldn’t quite find something in the right location. Then we looked at one place in Newport Beach. It’s 2 minutes walk to the beautiful beach and we can see the harbour from our living room and bedroom. We also have a huge balcony and can easily cycle to places on our bikes- which is good, as we don’t have a car yet! We were sold (or whatever the renting equivalent would be).


Hmmm what else?

LA Dodgers stadium.
LA Dodgers stadium.

Well it was my birthday last weekend and I got to hike, go to the beach, go stand up paddle boarding (just like last year!) and go to my first LA Dodgers game (loved it!). I had to go to the Social Security office THREE TIMES to get my social security number and I still don’t have the card (but, again, the staff there were great. Not so much the guy on the phone though who didn’t seem to think I could get a social security number… duh!). Next I need to get my California driving license, but first we actually need to buy a car. I’m also hoping that one day my actual residency card will show up as some people don’t seem to understand the stamp in my passport is equal to the same thing (allowing me to live and work here FOREVER!) until the card arrives.

Well that’s a round up of the last couple of months! I also changed my instagram name as Joella in Beijing didn’t really work anymore! Check out the link here to follow along.

What have you been up to this summer?

13 thoughts on “Welcome To The OC

  1. I’m glad going through immigration was a breeze. My experience with immigration in Japan & the U.K. is that it would be a flip of the coin whether the agents would be friendly or not. I’ve found that customs agents/officers in the U.K. can be really nasty – and those in Japan can be anal (in a Japanese way).

    Is Newport Beach closer to Anaheim than L.A.? If so, it might be easier to get to an Angels game than a Dodgers game.

    As for my summer, the highlight was my graduation ceremony last month in Leeds, which was amazing. I went to amazing parade in New York last month as well.

    1. Thanks Rashaad. Yes, I know what you mean about immigration- they can be really mean sometimes. I was really surprised how nice they were to me here as I’ve even had problems in the US just coming as a tourist before. They could be really annoying in China sometimes- inspecting my passport like they thought the photo was not me (but it’s only from a couple of years ago!). Newport is indeed closer to the Angels. I like the Angels but I’m a Dodger’s fan haha. Oh congratulations on your graduation ceremony. Hope you had a great day!

  2. Love this update!!! <3 So happy for you. Funny, I nearly moved there a few years ago. We looked at apartments and I got a job offer… in that order and realized I couldn't afford to live out there, lol. We loved Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, and the dog park at Huntington Beach. AND THE FOOD!! There was decent hiking too. But that traffic – ugh! lol. Love your 4th of July outfit! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Katie! Oh I wish you had moved here! That would have been fun to meet up. I know exactly what you mean though- it is all so expensive here! I think it helps that we have always lived in expensive places like London, so we are used to spending 99% of our wages on rent haha! But I did half heartedly try to convince Justin we should move to a cheaper state (I forget where now) where we could get a huge 3 bed house for the price of a tiny apartment here. But I guess the beach won haha! 🙂

  3. Welcome to the OC!! We’re neighbors! I live in Aliso Viejo which is just about 10 minutes south of Newport! If you haven’t made it down to Laguna Beach yet, YOU MUST. We have the most beautiful beaches in the world! My favorites are Wood’s Cove, Victoria, and Tablerock. And for Mexican food, don’t miss Carmelita’s which is just across from Main Beach! 🙂

  4. I just found your blog through Heart My Backpack, and I loved this post! I live in Huntington Beach, so let me know if you ever need any tips (although I doubt it if your hubby grew up in Newport!). Maybe we’ll run into each other at Fashion Island one day!

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