What it takes to get settled


mid-march along the five, grapevine
joylani 130pxWell, we are still settling. While there have been many interviews, neither of us has yet to land a job, and I find myself doing something I never thought I would: living with my in-laws. The plan was always to stay here when we first arrived home, but staying has definitely turned into living and Matt and I have claimed the little nook in the sunny corner of the upstairs, also known as his sister’s room. The walls are still baby blue, but we’ve taken down the last of the tennis team photos and stashed the bulletin board that is plastered in stickers and mementos safely in the closet for the time being. Our big bed takes up most of the room, but in what’s left of it we have room to maneuver over to the closet where (dramatic pause) we have what seems like a ton of clothes hanging–suits, dresses, all the things we haven’t needed but now we do.

I love being unpacked, walking downstairs to a well-stocked kitchen in the morning and throughout the day, and sleeping in not just the same bed every night, but my own bed. There are probably just as many things that both Matt and I miss about traveling as there are things that we are glad about being at home. It is a well known fact that you can’t have it all, but you can be happy with what you do have, and we are. (But that doesn’t mean we won’t take off again sometime…somewhere…later.)

There is a lot more that I would like to have happen before I can actually say “we are settled,” but most of that is pending on finding jobs, so it is just waiting to happen…like my plans to find a fabulous Danish sofa and expertly put together a homey apartment to put it in. In other areas, however, I feel pretty up-to-speed—something which all this time off (ha!) has contributed to. We finally made that first trip up to Arcata. I had already seen everyone in my family except for my dad, so with another week without work, and it being about time I saw him, Matt and I drove the six hours up to Arcata for a fun weekend with my parents and little sister. (Long drives are a lot different when you are the one who has to drive.) I also got a chance to finally meet up with my friend Melissa, who I hadn’t seen since the beginning of our trip in Europe. Between Hawaii, California, and two weddings, we have seen a lot of friends and family. It’s refreshing to be close, accessible, to them again.

Some days I despair that we will never find jobs, and other times (when I am done emailing out resumes) I absolutely love this continuum of open time to do whatever and keep hanging out with Matt during the day, enjoy sitting in my sunny spot on the corner of the bed, cook a meal, or take a walk in the hills. And I wonder how much longer I will be able to enjoy this. I hold on a little bit more appreciatively to the day I have, not sure when I will start working again. In the meantime, the weather is getting warmer and it has been nice to fully witness the change from one season to the next. The trees are full with new green leaves, and things are moving on.

And a few thoughts:

There are two things that I tend to do (or think about doing), and one that I marvel over.

  1. Collecting small change and bills. This was a necessity in several places we visited, and definitely so in Argentina. The habit carried over throughout South America, and now I find I still have a stack of ones in my wallet. Not to mention the coin pocket hat is bulging with quarters (good for the candy machines at Fry’s).

  2. Throwing toilet paper in the trash can. Also a necessity in South America. For my first month or so back home, I found myself giving a sideways glance and sigh each time I saw a trashcan next to a toilet. But now my exasperation turns to relief as I remember I don’t have to do that anymore.

  3. Hot water in the sink. I never realized how amazing this is until I didn’t have it for almost 2 years straight. It’s great. Sometimes I take an extra long time washing my hands just to revel in the novelty of hot water in the sink.

In the mean time, I’ve finally gotten the last of my South America posts up. You can read about what I thought about Copacabana, Mass on Christmas Eve, and Christmas in the hospital. Also, for those of you who remember our coke-drinking spree in South America, i wanted to share that I have tried coke just once since we have been back, and it’s just not the same. But I have had about twenty jillion cans of rootbeer to fill the gap.

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