W E : A R E : H O M E
The past 16 months has been enthralling, astounding, eye-opening, and a little bit exhausting. Now, we are back. Almost as if we had never left. Yet, so much has changed within us. I can no longer view things the same. My perspective has changed.
I remember feeling this way when I returned home from Ecuador after volunteering for about 3 months in orphanages. I swore I would live a simpler life and never complain. Unfortunately, it faded and I fell back into the American ways of living.
Soon my closet was filled with newly purchased clothes, my shoes starting piling up, and I just had to have those adorable earrings. My thoughts of appreciation turned sour and I became critical and negative.
16 : Months
This time, this time is different. I lived a minimal life for a longer period. My wardrobe consisted of the same twenty-something items while teaching for a year in Korea. I gave up on satisfying my cravings which created a whole new meaning to eating. I saw villages hidden in mountains along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam. I witnessed the simplicity of how the Thai lived. People in Cambodia displayed complete gratitude and genuine happiness for what little they have.
Returning : Home
After all this, I was sure I’d be hit hard with reverse culture shock upon returning home. I may still be in the Honeymoon phase but I haven’t felt any major shock yet. I’ve been in complete bliss since arriving back to the United States (besides trying to acclimate to the cold).
James and I landed on US soil on November 14th in Hawaii, the vacation wasn’t over quite yet. We arrived to the snowy mainland on the 3rd of December.
It’s been a month-ish since we’ve returned. I haven’t missed much from the faraway world we spent so many days in but since returning here’s how my perspective on a few things have changed.
Time becomes a very precious thing when you realize how little of it you have. Our plans involved staying in Idaho for the holidays, catching up with family, and enjoying the comforts of home.
We thought we had a little longer than a month for all of it but then reality kicked in and our time here is getting cut a little shorter than what we expected.
This has made every moment that more special. I cherish the conversations I’ve had with both my and James’ family.
I am loving the game nights and the abundance of homemade meals. I’m in awe of how much my nieces and nephews have changed and am truly amazed how intelligent and mature they’ve become!
I want to I need to soak in because I know I won’t have a time like this again. A time when I literally have no commitments, nothing deserving of my distraction (… OK, maybe job searching). It is a time where I can freely say, “This is the beginning of anything I want”.
My parents were left with boxes and boxes full of unknown items I packed when we moved out of Salt Lake City preparing for South Korea.
I ignored it for a week. Then committed an entire day to sort through e v e r y t h i n g. I quickly realized all the items I could (finally) get rid of and the essentials now look very different then they did a year and a half ago.
The things I decided to keep minimized and the for sale, giveaway, and trash piles grew.
It’s really nice knowing my boxes are filled with apartment essentials. Although it’s been so lovely being home I’m very ready for a place to feel settled in, unpack my things, and call my own for a while. In January James and I will be moving to Portland, Oregon!
Our situation is unique. We haven’t really followed the traditional blueprint for life and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
However, you don’t need a huge change to make a change. You don’t need to leave the country to gain the freedom of a new beginning. You have the power within you right now to be where you want to be. It’s never easy. It’s scary. As happy as I am with my no-commitments-life right now, it doesn’t make the decision process any easier.
We all have family. We all have time. We all have things. Use the things you have now to make any change, big or small, you’ve been wanting to make. Most importantly, enjoy the family, the time, and the things you do have.