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Adjusting to Life at Home

The strangest thing about being home is how normal it all felt at first. After nearly 2 days of travel, a friend picked us up in our own minivan and we drove up Interstate 93 to go home. It felt like coming home after a 2-week vacation.

I had to work my senses to notice of the differences: white noise level is high, our refrigerator is positively huge, traffic jam, hot. I was excited in Whole Foods for corn, cherries, and skirt steak. But I was at peace. Contented. And entirely devoid of emotional turbulence.

Am I such an old bastard that I feel nothing coming home after living on an island for a year? Is a year mentally equivalent to two weeks as far as memory goes?

But as the days worn on, we started to realize that perhaps we have changed. For one thing, we don’t have — neither can we comprehend — the level of anxiety apparent in many people around us. And we’re the ones who don’t have jobs, income, or medical insurance.

And we were in no hurry to buy. Other than food, we haven’t bought anything in spite of having lived for a year in a place without a shopping mall.

Finally, we’re looking at our old life from a slightly different perspective and questioning our old habits. That was one of our goals for the year away: to remove ourselves from our normal surrounding to gain some perspective. Hopefully we’ll be able to expunge the bad that we couldn’t see, and embrace the good that we took for granted.

The true test will come 6 months from now. We’ll know then whether this year had made a difference.

  1. Carol Lidington #

    Welcome home, Winston & family! It’s been fascinating to follow your adventures over the past year!

    July 28, 2012
  2. Wow, welcome back Winston. I would have thought driving back home on I-93 for the first time in a year might have felt like an out of body experience. I am grateful to you for you sharing this experience of a lifetime here on this blog.

    July 28, 2012
  3. Joe #

    So, does this mean we can look forward to a 6-month update? Can you keep the blog dormant and check in every so often? Maybe you should keep it alive for another 7 years, when you’ll be due for another one, right? It would be interesting if there were a way to link up your blog with others who have done similar sabbaticals–maybe it could be a way for so many of us to vicariously escape, as we have done through your blog over the last year. Whatever you decide to do, it’s been an inspiration, and appears to have been worth every minute of it.

    July 28, 2012
  4. “to remove ourselves from our normal surrounding to gain some perspective” – that’s great, Winston! Hope to hear from you soon and more than for 6 months:-)
    Welcome home and be happy!

    July 28, 2012
  5. Thanks for the adventure, Winston. Where to next? 😉

    July 28, 2012
  6. Hi to you and your family.
    Seven years ago I took my family, including two children, ages 5 and 8, to Turkey for a year (I had a Fulbright). That year totally changed our lives. I ended up leaving a marriage that was holding me back, and am now fully immersed in my career as an artist. However, the job I though I might transition into never materialized (perhaps due to the recession, but being away for a year didn’t help).
    My kids are fabulous. They are flexible, creative, and fun. I attribute this in part to removing them from their suburban existence for that year. However, doing it again at this point would be difficult. They are not children now, but teens with views to be considered. That idealistic sabbatical every seven years doesn’t take into account the family members who have a say in the matter.
    It’s an amazing thing to think we may have influenced our children with our decisions to live in a different culture.
    My best to your family.
    Kloe Among the Turks

    May 28, 2013
    • Thanks for your comments. I don’t know if we’ll able to do it again in 6 years when the kids are older. It is more difficult for sure with a family and even more difficult with kids. An adventurous life not be the right thing for some children. I’m glad your experience was positive for your kids, and it was for mine.

      May 28, 2013

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