We quickly settled into life in San Diego. I loved my job, the kids loved school and life was wonderful. The biggest adjustment for us was the cost of living. I had drastically underestimated the cost of living in San Diego compared to the cost of living in Rosemary. We did live in one of the nicer neighborhoods in San Diego. I had come to the States for roughly the same wage that I was making in Canada but our rent was $1,200 a month while my mortgage payment in Rosemary was about $250 a month. Everything else was much cheaper but not cheap enough to make up for the difference in housing. Food was cheaper, clothes were much cheaper, gas was cheaper and we didn't even turn on our furnace for the first three years we lived here.
We arrived in San Diego early July (I think about July 5, 1992) and then the kids started school in late August. What a culture shock that was for Kira. She had finished fourth grade in Rosemary in a class of about eight kids. The entire school from kindergarten to twelfth grade had less than a hundred kids. When she showed up to Adobe Bluffs Elementary School there were over a thousand. Her eyes were like saucers. It was even worse because Adobe Bluffs was still under construction so at the beginning of the year Adobe Bluffs met in trailers behind Sunset Hills Elementary School and there were kids from both schools running everywhere. Finally a very wise teacher saw Kira's glazed over look and she very tenderly asked Kira if she would help out a new Chinese girl who couldn't speak English. That was all Kira needed, her little motherly instinct took over and she helped this new girl get registered and find her class. Kira was in fifth grade, Brandon in third grade and Ben was starting first grade. That was tough because in Canada many kids never even took Kindergarten and the ones who did were just expected to learn the alphabet. In San Diego on the other hand everyone graduated kindergarten knowing how to read. Ben had a lot of catching up to do.
The other concern was that the Poway School District is ranked one of the best school districts in the States and many kids who transfer into the school district are a year behind their peers. Our kids had to take tests to make sure they could transfer straight into the grades we wanted them to. Little did they realize that Canada has an excellent school system and our kids did just fine. The school was quite surprised but we weren't.