When I started this blog what feels like a million years ago, I had the dream day job – I was a video game and tech journalist with the biggest site in South Africa. It was a dream come true, where I spent my days writing about video games, traveling around the world to play video games, reviewing some of the latest and greatest technology and I even got to attend E3 and Gamescom. I always told people it was the dream job, even though the pay wasn’t great and it turned playing some games into a slog.
I have been largely absent from this blog. In large part, it’s because I’m avoiding talking about some stuff, and I don’t want to share parts here until I can share all the things. But I had a wonderful day on the 4th of July, and it felt momentous in a way. I’m hoping that other moms with young kids can identify, and maybe get a little bit of hope.
Earlier in the week, I asked my mom when things got easier. I know that parenting is always hard, and that “momlife” is a perpetual struggle. But I also remembered having a blast on family vacations. I remembered going for coffee and a scone with my mom, sitting and talking (although I can’t remember WHAT we used to talk about).
Most of you know by now that when we made our move from South Africa to Arizona in 2017, we used the I-130 visa to do so. This is a special kind of green card that’s issued to family members of US citizens, such as partners and children. Harley already had her American citizenship, so it was only Dean who needed the green card, which you can read more about over here.
But I often get emails and other messages from you all. You ask about other ways to get to the US if you don’t have a partner who is a citizen. And for a long time, I honestly didn’t have any answers other than to try for the Green Card lottery, or maybe see if you can get a job that will do the work for you. But now I have a solution that will work for some of you. Granted, it’s not a fit for everyone, but there is indeed a way to buy your way in.
For those who haven’t noticed, I actually have a YouTube channel running. Over there, I read kid’s books out loud. In my head, the content is for two distinct groups. It’s for the parents who are curious about which books are worthwhile, or perhaps might be wondering about some best practices when reading aloud to a kid. It’s also for kids, to be able to watch a video of their new favorite book read out loud. Go subscribe. Please. PLEASE!
I realized that I might not have mentioned this to you all enough, so I figured I’d tell you a bit more about the book I read in the video that went live this past Sunday. It’s called The Monster at the End of this Book, and it was one of my all-time favorites when I was a kid. It’s also one of Harley’s favorites, so it was an easy choice to share. There are even apps for it, where it becomes an interactive storytelling experience.
LA has never been my favorite city. Maybe it’s because I grew up in NYC and there’s some east coast vs west coast rivalry ingrained in me. Maybe it’s because it’s a driving city instead of a walking city. Or maybe it’s that ridiculous pollution that meant I always got sick on every visit I made there. I’d been to LA numerous times for work, and while I had found parts that I liked about it, it simply wasn’t my favorite place.
But the hubster’s best friend is from Iceland (the same one who went with us to Knysna), and he gave us a list of cities where we could rendezvous, and LA was the one we could drive to that seems intriguing. So we agreed to a week in LA to hang out, catch up, and maybe take in some of the sights. Of course our almost 3-year-old was along for the ride. I searched every guide I could find on the internet, claiming to have the best places in LA for a toddler. We went to most of them. So now, here’s MY guide on the best things to do for a week in LA with a toddler.