Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Scary Part of Town.

"Salinas, California has the highest murder rate per capita in the United States."
I can't tell you how many times this has been said to us since we have moved here. We have also received a lot of advice on which parts of town to live in and which parts we should avoid. There are even parts of this town that some residents haven't been to in years. And this is a small town!

The other day, I asked Gavin to show me the "scary" part of town. I think its East Salinas. As we drove through, I did not have one ounce of fear or worry. I even went to the Rite Aid to grab something. I did get the feeling that little white girls don't frequent that Rite Aid by many of the looks that I got from other customers, but I wasn't afraid. I'm not worried about someone shooting me in Rite Aid for no reason. The East side (why is it always the East side?) reminded me a lot of what it looks like when you drive through parts of Mexico. Apparently, there is a lot of gang activity which is the reason for the high murder rate. I kept wondering if I should be afraid of something, since we've been told so many times about how bad Salinas is. But, the fear never came. Gavin and I started talking a bit about why we are not afraid. Maybe we are just naive and stupid. Probably because we know the Lord will always protect us, or if He decided to allow something to happen to us, it would be for greater purpose. OR..its because we SPENT THE LAST 13 YEARS LIVING IN TACOMA!

We started talking about all of the things that happened to us while we lived in Tacoma. I don't think we ever realized the crazy amount of things that happened that should have made us full of fear and anxiety! We made a list.

1. In college, while I was home alone at the Garfield house, a drunk homeless man came pounding on my front door (which was almost entirely windows). He was convinced that he had lived in that house as a child and was begging me to let him in and take a look. I politely talked to him through the door then ran upstairs and called a friend (thanks Brice!) and he came and took the guy somewhere.
2. Also in college, Gavin stayed out super late playing video games with some friends and on the drive home at a stop sign, a man was out in his yard. He stormed over to Gavin's car and started yelling at him about something and pounded on his car window. He motioned to Gavin to roll down the window, but instead Gavin sped off. The guy jumped into his own car and started chasing Gavin! It was about 2am and the dude was totally drunk. After running a red light, Gavin lost him, but was pretty shaken up. He slept with a baseball bat that night.
3. My purse was stolen 3 times. Once from a deli, once from an Arby's and once from my car outside of the YMCA.
4. In our first house in Parkland, a hit and run accident occurred right outside of our house.
5. Our lawn caught on fire by a firework in middle of the day in June (when the 4th of July really begins in Parkland).
6. A 6'5" tall man who had recently been released from prison frequently began dropping by our house. Tony, always needed money for groceries for the kids, the electric bill, the car, etc. But when we would offer to go get the groceries or go pay his bill to help, the story would change and he wanted the cash. After a couple of months we talked with a few of our neighbors about our issues with Tony. The next day, Tony came by to "have a talk" with Gavin outside. I'm pretty sure he would have punched Gavin had Gavin not been holding a baby.
7. Our car was stolen.
8. In our first apartment a few months after we had been married, we were woken up by sirens and police lights. Our entire apartment complex was surrounded by police cars because an armed robber had led them on a high speed chase and was now hiding under a car in our parking lot.
9. Someone drove into our cul-de-sac and exploded a pipe bomb at 2am and then drove off.
10. Our car stereo was stolen twice. Once when the car was stolen and once in the mall parking lot.
11. We were kept awake by a party being held at our neighbors. Around 2am I looked outside and saw the neighbor's children watching their parents playing drinking games. I think I remember a kid who looked around 10, holding the beer bong for one of the adults.
12. Multiple times, I went to park in my garage and there were homeless men sleeping/drinkng/hanging out and blocking my garage door. I would then park in front of the house.
13. Every couple of weeks we would be awoken by the street racing down 6th Ave on Saturday night.
14. One night at home we heard a woman screaming outside, "Don't hurt me! Don't hurt me!" We ran outside and it was a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting in their car. We called the police, but the woman ended up just walking away down the street and not letting anyone help her.
15. I received a phone call from my neighbor, Jen asking me if I was home. She said that there were two people having sex in a car parked outside of our house. They arrived in separate vehicles and apparently thought our street was the perfect place for that. She called the police.
16. A woman came knocking on our door asking for gas money after midnight. We didn't have any cash on us, so we couldn't help and she didn't want us to drive her to the gas station. A couple of days later we drove by where she lived and saw that they had been evicted from the house and all of their belongings were out in the yard. They were dealing/doing drugs.
17. We were constantly driving by nearby houses that were being quarantined for meth production/use.
18. Our car window was bashed in twice. Once, outside of our house. Once, at the YMCA.
19. Gavin's subaru was broken into and his bluetooth headset was taken...along with all of his loose change.

And that, my friends is why we are not afraid.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

To Catch a Creepy Dude

To celebrate our dog's first birthday we decided to go to the beach. My mom and her two yellow labs showed up as well as my sister and her big sun hat. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves as the dogs ran up and down the sand nearly knocking over everyone in their path. Noelle was laughing the whole time, dancing and jumping in the waves with the new friend she made within minutes of being there. Jude discovered he liked to eat sand and pour it all over his head but stayed clear of the waves. As we took in all the beach has to offer a friendly guy saw our dogs as a neat photo opportunity. However, we found it a little strange that my sister was conveniently in the background of all the dog shots. He said he was a tourist, asked for directions and went on his way. Later on I saw him taking more pictures...of my family...from super far away!! I followed him up the dune and stalked him until he took his camera out to snap another photo...again of my family from another angle! I went up to him and asked him what he was taking pictures of. He said "people". I firmly told him I didn't not want him to take pictures of my family and that he could go to jail for this. I also told him that if this is a problem then he needs to seek help because it is sick. I made him delete all the pictures of my family (there were quite a few) and told him that if I saw him taking pictures of people again that I would call the cops and throw his camera in the ocean. He sheepishly apologized and went home.

The moral of the story is if you see a greasy dude snapping pictures of scenery that also includes people as the center shot, he might be a creepy dude who needs to be threatened with imprisonment.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Its been...1 month!!

Wow. Time really is flying by...
Here is a quick update of what we have been up to...

Gavin is still searching high and low for a job.
We are still staying at the family ranch just out of town.
We are enjoying every last bit of sunshine and all of us have some nice color added to our skin (2 of us are a lovely "tan" and 2 of us are more of a "pink").
We have started volunteering with the high school group at the church and are LOVING every minute of it.
Gavin has been leading worship and it has been such a joy to see him doing that again.
Our kids are dirtier than they ever have been before in their lives from playing outside so much.
Our dog is continuing her pursuit to baffle us by eating every possible thing that is within her reach. We can now add: frisbee, 2 squirt guns, walnuts, tshirt, pinecone, garden hose, and buzz light year stuffed toy to the ongoing list.
We laugh weekly at our jobless, homeless, almost penniless selves who get to lounge by the pool thanks to Gavin's folks having a membership at the local country club.
We have no idea what we are doing. We are praying that the Lord will not wait until the 11th hour to test our faith, but have a feeling that is what is about to happen.

Here are a few "observations" that I've had since we've been here...
*California drivers are REALLY different from Washington drivers. Wow. I have thought I was going to die a handful of times already.
*Being this close to Disneyland and not having the funds to go quite yet is torturous.
*I am WAY too reliant on the internet. We still don't have it at the ranch...which is also somewhat torturous.
*In-N-Out really is a great burger. BUT Flipping Out in Tacoma is better...
*People drink alcohol here as much as people drink coffee in Tacoma.
*Jude MUST be sunscreened BEFORE going out in the sun, not 5 minutes after he's been out.
*People around here do not wear tennis shoes/running shoes/sneakers, unless they are actually working out.
*I hear a lot of complaining about "fog". I don't think I have seen any real fog since we've been here...

Can't wait to have internet so we can skype/facebook/blog/google ALL WE WANT! We miss our friends SO much. We have peace. We love being together and on an adventure together!