We’ve officially been back in the US for just over 6 months now. The time has definitely gone by quickly. In some ways settling back into a more “normal” lifestyle has been easy and in other ways I’m still kind of struggling.
Making a Home
My kitchen is mostly the way I want it. I could always have more gadgets, but I’m trying to keep some of the minimalism I grew to love while we traveled. I do need a few more things to get to my former baking glory, but I’ve been taking time on that because lately I haven’t really had the energy to do a lot of baking. See below under “health” for more on that one.
At the end of January, we took another big step in our resettling efforts and adopted a kitten from the shelter. Her name is Amber, and she’s been a very welcome addition to our family. She has tons of personality, is very loving, adores playing fetch (sometimes too much), and keeps us entertained.
Life just seems more complete with a pet in the home.
I miss having a dog and have gone back and forth on whether or not I want to adopt one. So far we’re sticking with just the cat since their independence makes taking short trips without a fuss more reasonable.
We recently received the one box we had in storage at a friend’s house, so it feels like the circle has come to a close. We had only stored things that had sentimental value or were important documents.
As you may have read, returning to the US and addressing some health issues has ended up being quite the process. My blood pressure continues to be uncontrolled. In working that up, we discovered I have obstructive sleep apnea. Now that’s being treated with a CPAP machine. My diabetes is finally under much better control now, though, so that’s a bonus.
With the CPAP, I’m getting better quality sleep so I’m not exhaustipated all the time. It had gotten to the point where I was ready to go to bed by 6 PM every night and was barely functioning beginning at around 3 PM.
That’s just no way to live.
Tigger has been in therapy to explore her gender issues. She sees the doctor next month and will discuss beginning medical transitioning. She continues to do really well with her anxiety, and having Amber for companionship has definitely helped especially since I’m gone all day for work.
I settled into my job pretty quickly and have enjoyed it for the most part. I do miss being able to work in my sweats and being able to take a nap if I want. I sometimes also miss only having to work for a few hours a day.
At the same time I also enjoy getting a regular paycheck every 2 weeks and being paid for holidays without having to work on those days.
There are definite pluses to employment.
I also enjoy having work that is meaningful. It’s nice to feel you have a purpose and can help others.
Tigger has begun looking for a part-time job. There are lots of potential employers within walking distance of our apartment, so that’s pretty handy.
Now that I have more energy, I’m signed up to take some more art classes, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Especially painting classes. My first class starts soon, and I’m really excited to get started with that.
I’ve also been wanting to take some Krav Maga classes for a long time, and conveniently there is a studio just down the street. That starts next month.
Tigger has decided to pursue improving her drawing skills, and she’s signed up for a drawing class at the local community college. I’ve been trying to get her into drawing classes since she was 7, so I think I’m more excited than she is.
The Big Question
I’m pretty sure most people are wondering if we miss our travel lifestyle. For Tigger that’s a big no. She liked traveling and appreciates the experiences she had, but the settled life suits her much more.
For me, there are parts I miss and parts I don’t. I don’t deal well with monotony and routine, and constantly having new things to see and experience was really good for me. We have taken time to explore more of our state and local places, but it just isn’t the same. While the Pacific Northwest is absolutely gorgeous, our architecture just can’t compete with the Old World sights in Europe.
I miss being just a couple of hours away from being in a new country and having multiple countries to choose from. I miss being able to hop on a train to travel instead of having to fly, and I especially miss how easy it is to fly in Europe. Flying in the US is a royal pain in the butt, and it’s even worse now with the TSA’s new pat-down policy.
Partly because of having very little energy, I haven’t really been outside the house much other than for work, so that means no new friendships either. But I’m building relationships with coworkers, so that’s feeling a little better. Community was a big thing I missed while traveling.
I do enjoy the freedom of having a car and not constantly being in some stage of planning. I especially enjoy being able to access all my favorite foods as well as trying some new ones.
While it is nice being able to communicate with everyone I meet, I do miss constantly learning new words in a foreign language and the challenges that came with living in a new country.
For the most part, though, it’s been good to be back home. I’m enjoying many aspects of it.
We’ll see if I’m still feeling the same when Tigger turns 18, though.