Well, it’s been two weeks.
have settled are settling in. We have phones, we have jobs, we set alarms and pack lunches. We throw things in the dryer and take showers inside.
Things are familiar and strange all at once.
People keep asking how it feels to be back. I keep answering “I don’t know, ask me in a month”.
So, maybe I should wait a few more weeks and write this post then???
nah, I’ve never been one to practice patience. So, here goes some 1st impressions:
- people are awesome! We are so blessed with and grateful for amazing people in our lives. It is so good to see you - and the little people some of you have made while we were gone (they.are.talking.now – whoa). Also, we are completely blown away by the generosity of our community. Y’all have pitched in to make our transition all that easier: just the other day, I was talking on a phone loaned to me, while sitting in a car loaned to me, with all new-to-me clothes on my body – including a “city bra” (aka not a swimsuit) and some undies (they were actually new but still gifted).
- people are (too?) awesome On the flip side (diamond.shoes.too.tight), I had a total meltdown the first weekend in town because I was trying to figure out how to see EVERYONE ASAP with the annoying limit of the # of waking hours in the day. So, I “compromised” and stopped sleeping, basically. That was no bueno. My mood – and my social skills — suffered. I was told, kindly, that perhaps after a few years in the wild, I ought to domesticate myself a bit. My oldest, bestest friend totally busted me, “I can feel you being busy from my house”. And, then, I yelled “I AM NICE!” at my sister. Yup. It was clearly time for a break(down). No biggie. I knew this breakdown was coming. And, come it did. Once I admitted the challenges and limits I was facing, it was actually kinda funny. Perhaps it’s the way we’ve been living (9pm is known as “cruisers midnight”) or just a simple fact of getting older. Turns out I prefer my slow-pokey life of going to bed before 10pm to my old life in Austin of going out at 10pm. I’d rather visit with you in the outdoors for a walk’n'talk or swim and be able to hear what you’ve been up to than pound shots at a smoky bar. Perhaps placing quality over quantity has it’s downside: our visits may take longer to schedule or be fewer and far-betweener. But, not “squeezing in” my time with you, awesome person, is a risk I’m willing to take – and I hope you’ll understand and perhaps prefer it this way, too.
- work is fun! aside from the awesome opportunity to hang with friends and family in Austin, we are also refilling our cruising kitty. Both of us have the good fortune to work with Fantastic Fest - where they actually pay us to create an amazing festival with super-talented and creative people. You know that cliché, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, there’s a reason people say it. And, bonus, we made the first DEPOSIT in our bank account in a very long time. That was fun!
- Kemah is just fine. You might just be checking in because you want to know how everyone’s favorite Mother Jones crew member is doing. Well, Kemah is fine. He took everything in on his first car ride in two years from Freeport to Austin (squirrel! cow! train!). He has been loving going on walks (but I think he does miss swimming). He does have a bit of separation challenges but luckily, he loves hanging out with his Grandparents when we are out and about. Also, he had a super funny adjustment experience his first morning: in bed at about 8am, in Austin, we pulled the sheets off his face and he looked around, wild-eyed, at the walls and ceiling (!) in our bedroom. he had a look on his face like a college student the morning after a tequila binge that said “where am I? how’d I get here? and who am I in bed with?”. Luckily, he seemed to piece it together. And, that’s been the worst of his adjustments (so far, so good!).
- walking distance is totally relative, car culture rules & it’s just automatic: I immediately noticed upon arrival that Freeport, Texas is the 1st port we’ve been in since leaving the States that didn’t have normal living stuff* in walking distance or cabs readily available to whisk you away to the local market or chandlery. We tried walking the .5 mile to the local hardware store but were stopped by our dock mate who kindly insisted upon giving us a ride. When we went to close the back hatch on his SUV, he was careful to instruct us not to do it by hand or we’d break it – umm, okay. You just push a button, of course. (because that’s totally natural) *speaking of what’s totally natural, the only thing in walking distance from our marina is the Dollar General & the “by donation” bar. Think it’s any coincidence that the cheapest, booziest spots in town are the closest thing to the saltiest, live-aboard dock (our dock) in town???
- also relative? humidity. It feels soooo dry to us (like 3 extra ooo’s dry). Like fish out of water – we’re gonna drown from the lack of water in the air dry. But, I get that other people don’t feel this way – ’cause they haven’t had as much practice wearing a sweat-suit in the sopa that is Central America. I’m enjoying wearing my hair down, going on pleasant walks in the middle of the day and feeling the difference between standing in the sun vs. standing in the shade (there’s a difference!). Also, I’ve answered the question of “why do I have all this lotion on the boat!?!”. So, that’s a bonus.
- also relative? problems. I know, I know: every person’s problems are unique and real. But, they’re also relative. And, I’ve been noticing some “problems” – big and small – I haven’t been exposed to in a while. Like traffic (while sitting in a car). Like how people have so much (new) stuff but complain about the mess, debt and waste. Like how you can drink the water out of the tap – but people complain about the chlorine they don’t want in it. Like how we were told “the government takes all your money here!” by someone who went to a public school, while we all stood inside a store built to code, alongside a decent road, with regular garbage service and a fire department that will come if you’re in need . . . hmmm.
- shoes are for the birds! actually, that makes no sense whatsoever. Which is coincidentally how I feel about straightjackets for feet, which is what every store seems to sell. On a related note, apparently going barefoot for two years has made my feet really, really strong aka really, really wide. Like, I had them measured and they are measuring between a wide and DOUBLEWIDE. Lord help me.
- we’re not anonymous any more. part of the fun of being away from home is discovering new places and people without any pre-conceived notions. In other words, things are new – and so are you! While travelling, it’s super rare and super weird to hear your name called out from down the street – after all, no one knows it. But, just two weeks back in Austin I’ve actually had a couple situations where I’ve heard my name called out from a passing car or from across a room. That’s new – and fun. And, cause for me to wear more mascara and stop picking my nose in public
- old patterns are still there. here’s a fun fact about me: I can’t sleep at night unless the closet doors in my bedroom are closed. I forgot that until I slept in a bedroom (not cabin) again. That is the tip of the Old Patterns Iceberg.
- we are so fortunate and so grateful. my mama always said there’s a difference between being lucky and being fortunate, as in luck is random and fortune implies choice (+ luck?). I’d say she’s right (because she is most certainly reading this). We are so lucky that we have the opportunity to live the life we do: everyone in our family (including us) is in good health and supportive of what we do. In contrast, we know folks that would love to take off into the wild blue yonder but have family obligations (which they are lovingly providing) which keep them from starting – or staying – out. I also consider us to be very fortunate: we have worked hard to stretch our luck and right wrong choices (like racking up debt or yelling at sisters). We think and (try to act) creatively about how we want to design our life. Also, given our experiences (which haven’t all been good) we choose to bring a sense of adventure, optimism and play to our lives. This has made our time “out there” as opposed to “at home” not “opposed” but rather chapters in the same book. At least, that’s how I feel right now (on our boat, on a weekend away from Austin, while writing this) . . .
Thanks for hanging in there with us while we bumble around in and out of Austin, on and off the seas. I’m looking forward to keeping up with our “So Many Beaches” blog, even if we’re not so close to the coast. Y’all in?