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.
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.