Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day Two (Tues 11/17) and Day Three (Wed 11/18)


On Tuesday, I slept in while my cousins went to school. That 2 hour time difference really takes some time to get use to! They got up at 7:15am in order to make their beds, get dressed and eat breakfast; all before leaving for school...that is 5:15am Minnesota time! Because it was chilly outside, they decided to drive to school instead of walking. Can you believe that they thought 32 degrees was cold? Cousin Robert went outside and saw his breathe. I guess that they just aren't use to that like we are in Minnesota in November.

I did find out where Dublin, California was because it isn't a city in California that many people have heard of. Dublin is located in an area called the East Bay...If you look at the map below, you will see the San Francisco Bay and all the cities around it. Many people who live around this area use the Bay as a point of reference when they describe where they live. So my cousins live east of the Bay or in the East Bay (the spot with an "A" is where they live).

Tuesday afternoon, Aunt Lisa came home from work to pick me up, so that I could see where Matthew goes to school. His school is named John Green Elementary School. It is a pretty new school, only 3 years old. Matthew is in 5th grade and he has 3 teachers...4 if you include his P.E. teacher...and 5 if you count music. That is a lot of teachers and he isn't even in middle or high school yet.

After the bell rang at 2:15, all of the kids left the classroom C-12 and I got to go in and tak a look around. Matthew showed me his desk in his main class (or homeroom). It was a nice classroom and Matthew's desk was very clean!

Matthew's school looked so strange because they didn't have any hallways. All of the classroom doors opened up to the outside. In fact, if you need to use the bathroom, you have to walk outside to get to it. Can you imagine what would happen if it rained? You will get wet...yuck!

When we arrived back at home, Matthew needed to start homework because he had to go with Aunt Lisa to Robert's hockey practice, which was in San Jose (look at the map above and see if you can locate where San Jose is). Because Aunt Lisa was driving carpool, they thought it would be best if I stayed home. They had to pick up one of Robert's teammates - so between all those boys and their hockey gear, there wasn't much room in the car. But that was ok, for it was going to be a late practice and they wouldn't get back home until 9:30pm. I wanted to get a good night sleep and get use to this time change...I want to be come a true Californian!


I went to bed at 8:30pm last night (that would have been 10:30 Minnesota Time) and I immediately fell asleep, but woke up when Matthew and Robert got home from practice at 9:45pm. But they quickly got ready for bed too and the house was quiet again by 10:45pm. I slept in again this morning because I knew that I couldn't go to school with either Matthew or Robert, because both of them had tests. So, I got familar with their house.

Matthew's house had 2 floors. They sleep on the top floor and have their kitchen on the first floor. After looking around some more, I noticed that they didn't have a basement. When Matthew got home from school, I asked him.

"Why isn't there a basement in your house?" I asked.

"Houses in California do not have basements because of the earthquakes; because if there was a big earthquake the house could come apart and fall into the basement. We have felt a few since we have lived in California. Most have felt like the earth jumps or like a "thud" of a giant stomping. One time, when Robert and my dad were in San Jose for a hockey practice, my mom and I were up stairs. All of the sudden it felt like the house was on a wave of the ocean - it felt really strange. That earthquake measured a magnitude 5 (I think) which is big but didn't cause any damage. Most of the time when we feel something they are like a 2.5-4 and those are called "trembolers" because they really are not that big."

We looked at an earthquake website and found a map that showed the most current earthquakes. Matthew told me that Aunt Lisa likes to visit this website after they feel an earthquake so that she can find out how big it was and where it was located. I don't think that I would like to live in an area with earthquakes because there isn't any warning when one is going to happen. Like, in Minnesota when we have a tornado or a very bad thunderstorm, there are sirens and we can go to the basement so that we will be safe. But not for a earthquake.

Tonight both Robert and Matthew have hockey practice. Cousin Robert's hockey practice is in San Jose (in the South Bay) and he gets to ride down there with one of his hockey friends. Below is a practice of me with Robert. He is on the San Jose Jr. Sharks Bantam AAA team. They are getting ready to play some games in Los Angeles this coming weekend.

Aunt Lisa is taking Matthew to his and I get to go watch. Matthew plays on a team called the Tri-Valley Blue Devils and practices at a rink in Dublin...nice an close to home.

Playing hockey is very different in California - you have to play in a rink because there is no outdoor ice in the winter time. Robert and Matthew were born in Minnesota and started skating while they lived there, so when they moved,  they were very excited to find a lot of hockey in California.

Well, that is all I have to write about today. I am going to watch Matthew's practice. Hope everyone is doing well. Good night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Arrival Day - Monday, November 16

On Thursday, November 12, I boarded the white envelope, which was sealed up, and departed for Dublin, California where my Cousin Matthew, Cousin Robert, Aunt Lisa and Uncle Steve live. It was a long way - over 2100 miles. I think that I must have been an at least one airplane as I felt like I was going up and down a lot. Finally, after my envelope was sorted and placed with the other mail going to California, I was put on a mail truck and headed out for Dublin, California. On Monday, November 16, the envelope I was riding in was put in the mail box of my relatives...and I couldn't wait until the envelope would be removed from the mailbox and opened up. I couldn't wait to stretch my arms and legs!

Finally, I was out! Boy, was that sun bright...and warm! My cousin Matthew came to get me and brought me into his house. My relatives live on a little street named Millbury. It only had four houses on it. Since Matthew had just gotten home from school, he needed to have a snack (which was a bag of Cheez-its...which he shared some with me) and then he started his homework. He has to read at least 30 minutes a night. He also did his spelling. When he was done, he had to go outside and pack his hockey bag (hockey in California? yep, both cousins play hockey).

Here we are outside. Look - their trees are just turning colors...and the grass is still green. Matthew told me that in the summer time it can feel like a desert here. They don't get much rain and the temperatures are very hot (like 80-115 degrees) and all the grassy hills around them turn brown (so they call summer the brown season). In the wintertime, they get a lot of rain and the temperature are cooler (mornings can get as low as 30 degrees and the afternoons are between 45-65 degrees), so the grass starts to get green again. After Matthew packed his hockey bag, he took me out into his back yard.
It was so cool. Matthew had an orange tree (photo on the left - oranges still are green and have not ripened), a grapefruit tree (not pictured) and a lemon tree (photo on the right - lemons are ripe). California grows a lot of the fruits and vegetables that we get in the grocery stores. In the springtime, cherries, plums, peaches and nectarines ripen in the valleys. In the summer times, green vegetable and melons ripen. In the fall, apples and the citrus fruits (like the oranges and the lemons) ripen. Matthew told me that he and his family go to the farmer's market on the weekends where he gets to sample a lot of the fruits and vegetable that the farmer bring to sell. Maybe we will go to one while I am here visiting.

Yawn...well, I am getting tired, even though it is 2 hours earlier here on the West Coast. When it is 8 o'clock at night in Minnesota, it is just 6 o'clock and we are eating dinner. That is kind of funny, isn't it. Well...time for me to take a little nap while cousin Matthew goes to hockey. Good night.