Some things about relocating would never spring to mind; but a change in the weather, perhaps, is something quite obvious. I knew I was in for a difference; I’ve been used to bitter winters and humid summers for a long time, and, after all, Mark Twain allegedly prepared me for what I’d experience only slightly north of here, but I was to be surprised. While friends and family expected I’d be sweltering in some Palm Springs-like artificial oasis in the middle of the desert, I quite literally shivered through my first nights on California’s Central Coast. It was, quite simply, just so unexpected. To find myself reaching out for an extra blanket or turning up the heat in the middle of May; looking forward to paddling in the Pacific to find it is utterly freezing, chilling to the bone; or managing to see swimsuits and overcoats within minutes of each other during a visit to the beach. If you’re not used to it, well, it defies analysis. Preparing for it means shopping expeditions; flip-flops and overshirts, cotton shorts and flannel jammies in equal quantities.However, even if the climate doesn’t catch you off guard, there’s some thoroughly remarkable experiences to be had, every day. I now know what an artichoke is. The little makeshift shacks right on the edge of Highway 101, selling their cherries, are a delight. Enjoy garlic? Well, there’s plenty here to be had. And, after several months of being told by fast food restaurants that “tomatoes are available only by request”, and, even when requested, a poor harvest had left them bland at best and bitter at worst, I can step out on the back porch now, salt cellar in hand, pluck a beautifully-ripened tomato straight off the miniature vine on the table out there and thoroughly savor it. That’s an experience I wasn’t prepared for – writing it down here simply can’t do it justice.