Friday, August 12, 2011

The Reality of the Situation

A group of colorful bike racks in a Carbondale, Colorado city parking lot.
I'm back in Oregon this week. I don't just mean back from vacation, I mean as of this week, I'm really here, back from Italy too. This is the first week where the reality of our situation - living here permanently again - has really sunk in. A few people have mentioned to me that things seem to be going pretty well with our return. It's true, they have been going surprisingly well. The adjustment has been much easier than anticipated in many ways. But I don't think it was until this week that "reality" hit.

Here are a few things I've noticed this week:

Travel. For the first time in two and a half years, I don't have a vacation coming up in the next couple of months.  No visits to new countries on the horizon, no next trip in the works. Just a stretch of several months with no vacation time left at work and no firm plans yet for future travel. It is odd. I found myself hurrying at work to get something done before I left for... nowhere. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I've gotten used to working to that next deadline of time off. Even moving back, I had three weeks here and then we left again to visit Colorado.  It's not bad, it's just different and something I need to get used to. This reminds me I need to get some plans on the calendar, if only for some weekend excursions. I love to travel too much!

Transport. We are down to one vehicle, living in a place where we've always had two. When we moved to Italy, we sold our car and had a friend keep our truck. We had always planned on buying another car when we returned, but several months ago I started wondering if we needed to. We had been living in Italy with one car, I could ride my bike to work (I used to commute by bike all the time), and our town is small enough to easily get around. Between bike, bus and scooter I figured we could get by. After returning home from Italy, we had a rental car for several weeks, which was returned the day before we left for Colorado. This week is the first week we are truly living with one vehicle. It's a different feeling to bike to work because I have to rather than because I want to. It's different to ask if a friend can drive because I don't have a car. Not bad, just a little uncomfortable at the moment. Not to mention that I have discovered that my body is not in the best shape to go from riding zero miles to 60 miles (6 mile commute each way) in a week. I couldn't quite make it through the week, I caught a ride on Wednesday to give my legs a break.

Finances. We've gone from a completely unique financial mindset in Italy (two years = no regrets), to a temporary mindset moving home (get our lives set up ASAP), to me starting a part time schedule next week. Back to reality, and getting ourselves on a long-term budget once again. We didn't go hog-wild while on our assignment, but the "no regrets" mentality did change our handling of money. That can't stay in place forever without serious consequences. I tend toward being financially conservative so my budget-minded, practical side keeps me in line, but my impulsive, emotional side is feeling the tension of restraint. Working part time is nothing new and living on a budget is nothing new... It's just like the bike though, we're out of shape and it's a little uncomfortable at the moment.

So there you have it in a nutsell: Reality has set in. When first moving back, it was all about the physical changes that come with location. Now I'm feeling real changes that make me internally uncomfortable. I know I'll get used to this new reality, but that doesn't eliminate the discomfort of changing habits. It only makes it manageable.


  1. Well, it all takes time, doesn't it? Biking is going to get easier and easier for you, although I know it might be hard in the rain...what happened to your scooter? As far as travel goes, it must be time to make some plans. The City by the Bay is waiting for you!

  2. Welcome back Kat. Your differences become you.

  3. So proud of you and your reentry plan. You have chosen to look it square in the eye and do the hard work. Tough to do but in the long run, life changing...

  4. it's a process i'm sure. slowly but surely you'll settle in to new and exciting patterns.

  5. I know it's a huge shift for you. I'm sure you'll get back into a routine in no time. But maybe routine is not the right word! You still want adventure I'm sure.

  6. Sounds like a lot of adjustment to do Kat. I'm sure things will settle down pretty quickly and I admire you for foregoing the second car!

  7. I applaud you for a 6 mile bike ride. I don't think I could do that. Changes are always so strange-and you're facing a lot of them. I find after a few months of internal, one day I sort of look around and think "hey, I like this". It always surprises me.
    Love that bike rack image...great colours.

  8. Kat, I totally love what you wrote here. It resembles so much our life style - since moving to the States we have always had only one car, and apart from some very few times when we had to juggle (my husband at the college taking a class while I was teaching, both in completely different places in the evening) it works pretty well. It saves a lot of money (my husband walks to work). And we're very conservative money-wise, which is fine with me. Yes, the travel... when you travel here you're still in the same country unless it involves many hours on a plane. Back home, seven hours in a car brought us to Tuscany, here it's not even Los Angeles (or Bandon, OR, take your pick - and that's definitely the place I prefer). No long weekend in Italy... sigh. Eventually your life style will no longer feel uncomfortable - and I know that you will make the very best of it.

  9. I love the picture you've posted with this! I love close-up, colorful images... it's a very unique shot.


What's your view of the world? I love to hear yours too!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.