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Still here

May 21, 2013

I recently realized that is has been quite a while since I last wrote in my blog. It is not because nothing is going on; it is because a great deal was going on with work. I also got my own apartment and managed to socialize a few times (but mostly worked. I have some long days. Welcome back, my friend says).

I’m still trying to figure out this whole work-life balance thing, and with a position like I am working in, at times, such a thing sometimes simply does not exist. We have very, very busy times, where I get home and all I want to do is go to sleep, never mind trying to find time to go to the grocery store, do laundry, etc. (Laundry is becoming a challenge now with my new apartment, because I no longer have laundry facilities IN my apartment. On the other hand, I am not hand-washing my clothing). I also have been trying to avoid certain foods which I love (and now no longer have to avoid entirely, but use caution when eating. My body is still mad, it seems).

Still, it is not that I have not thought about my blog. Merely wondered whether it still has a purpose, this place for me to put down my thoughts, now in a less consistent fashion. My experiences are no longer quite as interesting: I am not traveling (for now…I will when I have savings and vacation time), and although my life still does veer into the absurd, I am often not able to sit down at the computer (now more and more my work computer, for a number of reasons) to write down what I am experiencing, nor do I know whether people are interested in reading anymore. Do people want to hear about the rather mundane, or about how I am adjusting, the things that come to mind?

Yet here I am, still writing. I am nearly five months back in the U.S. In some ways, my Peace Corps experience seems to far away; other days I am reminded of how recently I returned. Like the day a new friend took me to Bed Bath and Beyond and to Target. We took our time going through the stores, as I always do now. I don’t rush when I am not at work; when I am at work, I rush as little as possible. I have reclaimed my time and am still trying to live in the moment as much as possible. She later told me that she did not remember the last time she went to the store and did not rush through. I remain committed to living in the moment as much as possible, of enjoying the area in which I live (when I can) and simple pleasures like having my own apartment again – for which I am paying the rent, I am putting up my artwork and photos, I am purchasing (and putting together) furnishings. It is a good feeling, to have this kind of “ownership” of my space again, rather than constantly feeling like a guest or intruder of someone else’s.

It is also still somewhat unreal, and can be overwhelming, when I step into certain stores, whether they be grocery or clothing. I tried entering a Macy’s and quickly exited – it was just too much. I make my way slowly through the grocery store, every time, because there are so many products (most of which I ignore). I still don’t cook a great deal: the only thing I have used my stove for is to make a frozen pizza (An oven! For the first time in three years!) and turkey bacon. I still have boxes in my living and dining rooms, which leaves me feeling as if I am still unsettled, and at times I wonder when I will move again or get to leave town on some sort of trip. I sigh when I see photos that friends post on Facebook from their travels or from where they live – I miss being overseas. As much as I missed the U.S. and like living here again, part of me still wants to be somewhere else.

I wonder if that aspect will ever leave me, or be satisfied by the occasional trip I plan to take when I have vacation time. Will I end up living a standard life, now that I am back in corporate America, or will I find a way to keep it more interesting? How long will I last where I am, since I am so used to change, and will I be able to get involved in things that help me feel as if I have more meaning than just going to work every day? Of course, these things are all too overwhelming to tackle at once. I am trying to take things one step at a time, and wait until I get used to something before adding more challenges to the mix. So I remind myself to stay in the moment and take each day as it comes, and perhaps at some point I will be ready to address some of my other questions.

In the meantime, I’m still here, and may as well keep writing (when I have something to say).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2013 8:00 am

    Thank you for your update. Hope you get your balance. I know how it feels to live in more than one world… greetings, Marina

  2. R. Strina permalink
    May 27, 2013 8:54 am

    Hi Karin,
    Thank you AGAIN for sharing your experience with us. I for one think it’s great that you plan on continuing to write on the blog – having followed your blog entries while you were in Ukraine as well as in Suriname, I now wish I had continued my ‘group’ emails (I didn’t set up a blog, but sent out group emails in certain time intervals)… anyway, a lot of what you are describing now being back in the U.S. is similar to what I experienced returning to Minnesota and starting the job at WKFS. Wishing you continued success at your new job and finding a way to balance work life and the life around it. Sending my greetings to you, friends & family, Renate

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