Buying Time

At "home" on my mom's front porch...

It’s been ages since I last posted, and I think it has something to do with the feeling of being on “vacation” while staying with my folks in the states. Hmmm…let’s ponder that thought…is this vacation? I suppose it is, but it’s also one of the many homes I consider myself to have.  Can one be “on vacation” at home?

Over the past year, my concepts of “home” and “vacation” have been turned upside down since I gave up full-time employment and moved to a new country.  To make matters even more complicated, I’ve actually spent almost as much time back in the states as in Germany since we left Scotland in February. And during the time that I have been in Germany, I’m not working so living there also feels a bit like being on vacation. Not that I’m complaining. I suppose this lack of routine (and obvious productivity) would drive some people mad, but for me I’ve relished the abundance of free time that comes along with unemployment. I always feel a little embarrassed to admit to people just how much I’m enjoying not working, but I console myself with the realization that I’ve had some sort of job – either part-time or full-time – since I was 16 years old. I worked part-time during high school, and had several part-time jobs during college. With the exception of one, maybe two, summer breaks during college, I’ve always been working. I once tallied up all the jobs I’ve ever had, ranging from barista, waitress, sales clerk to a news reporter (and loads more), and it’s enough to fill several resumes. I know I’m not unique and a lot of people could say the same thing, but I’m enjoying this break from employment and I’ve decided I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I haven’t spent this much time with my parents since before college, and I’ve been able to be around for important milestones in friends’ lives like weddings and births. It can’t last forever and I know it – change will come. But for now, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to make up for time lost that always accompanies living abroad.

So what have I been up to? Well, carving pumpkins for one. I carved and painted the pumpkin above for my mom’s front porch, and this little guy to the left with some of my close friends from high school during their annual pumpkin carving party. Even though The Mr. and I can’t be with them during most of the year, they always make sure we’re included and are excited to see us when we are in town. The Mr. left more than a week ago to go back to Germany for work, but yesterday I met the gang again for breakfast at one of the best joints around (I ordered my fave: chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter and veggie scramble….yum….) and we went to a viewing of Back to the Future. My friend Ray rocked a side pony and glitter socks and a multi-colored sweater, and I went for skinny leg trousers, leg warmers and a jean shirt. Good times. And they gave me some lovely birthday pressies! A CD, Animaniacs DVDs, a David Sedaris book, awesome socks that were hand-knitted…yep, these guys are the bomb.

Wonkers, now renamed Wanda

What else? Well, I worked pretty diligently for a week to find this kitty a home. She wandered onto my parents’ property and wouldn’t leave, desperate for food and love. Finally, one of my Facebook friends that I came to know through waitressing years ago offered to take her. I was so relieved. If I hadn’t found her a home, I would have taken her to the local shelter which is totally overwhelmed with animals and has a high euthanasia rate.  But I’m now happy to report she’s been spayed, is getting along much better with the other cat in residence (lots of hissing on both sides but no actual fights – hurray!), and seems to be settling in well to her new life.

I also got a haircut. This normally wouldn’t be so exciting, but I took the plunge and now have bangs after many, many years without. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve never been a particularly adventurous person when it comes to my hair, but I can understand why some people love getting a drastic new look. As long as you like how it turns out, it can be really fun to do something different. This is a photo of me on the day it was cut. It will never, ever, look this good again I’m sure, but thankfully I also like the way it looks when it’s just blown dry to its natural curly state.

And I’ve/we’ve (before the Mr. left) been up to loads of other stuff, too. We had a cookout with family (originally intended to be a weenie roast, but Indiana’s experiencing a drought), dinner with friends, visited a creamery and orchard, attended a family reunion….I held a good friend’s baby for the first time over a chili lunch and attended a “Welcome Home” party for a little girl adopted for China. And on Wednesday I’m going to Chicago to attend a close friend’s wedding and meet their new child for the first time. I’ve come to realize that these experiences are priceless, and frankly, no job in the world could pay me enough money to make up for missing them.

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About bittenbythebug

I love travel and have always been fascinated by other cultures. Back in 2004, I began my life as an expat in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fast forward 5 1/2 amazing years later to 2010 and the new chapter in my expat adventure: Würzburg, Germany.
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6 Responses to Buying Time

  1. Fenella says:

    great to have another post from you!

    Really missed you last weekend when Caro and I were touring SW England. We spent Saturday in Bath with Claudia. We did a bit of reminiscing about other past trips with friends, and you and your “Lambies!!” did come up.

    I chopped my hair off, too. Big dramatic cut that thankfully i do like and lots of people have said suits me much better, including my boss! Pics have been slow in coming but are on the way. It’s above the ears now.

    What is the difference between a cook-out and a weenie roast? And why would a drought affect that? Too bad you can’t have fireworks on your birthday anymore.

    And good for you enjoying your time off. I would definitely enjoy the leisure time i think for a while, but only if there was financial security. It’s not fun when one is laid off and not sure where the next paycheque comes from.

    miss you,
    F

    • Aww, jealous! I wish I could have been there. Are you going to post any photos on Facebook?

      A cook-out is just cooking on a grill, while a weenie roast is a big bonfire and you cook your own hot dog, marshmallows, etc. The grass, etc. is so dry up here due to the drought that there’s a fire ban in place. So we had to improvise with the grill.

      Yes, this time off from working is definitely a luxury, and wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable if it was involuntary – that’s for sure. I guess that’s another reason (apart from the lack of productivity) that I feel guilty. But I just remind myself that it won’t last forever. I’ll either eventually get a job (once I learn German better), or maybe we’ll start a family. We’ll see!

  2. Bonnie says:

    I don’t think I have EVER seen you with straight hair. It’s startling. It looks great in that picture but also looked great curly on Saturday. I love having you here and hope we get together again before you head back!

    • I had it straightened for the first time ever in Scotland in ’99. It was pretty startlingly – I felt sort of like a drowned rat! But now I really enjoy having it done whenever I go to a salon. I don’t have the patience to spend as much time as they do making it that way!

      I hope we can get together again, too. Maybe dinner on Nov. 2nd or 3rd? Send me a message and let’s set something up!

  3. Lindsey says:

    I love the new haircut! I hadn’t realized you were still in Indiana. Do you have a date set for when you return to Germany? I ask because I have a birthday card and now I question where to send it. 🙂

    As someone who has been unemployed a lot in the last couple of years – sometimes involuntarily, and sometimes between things – it is an odd feeling after always working full time. But it’s also amazing how much your days and weeks can fill up and you always feel busy. And I don’t even have kids! Enjoy it, Holly!

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