Sunday, October 9, 2016

Re-acclimating to life on land....

Hello Everyone,

I want to start off with a huge thank you to our family and all of the help and support they gave us on coming home.  It was so amazing.  Everyone had a HUGE part in making our transition home incredible.  They moved us out of storage and into our home, not only moved boxes but helped us unpack and put things away... they went to Costco, Safeway, and Ikea and set up furniture in our rooms for us so that we had beds to sleep on and food to eat.  We were so overwhelmed and tired from leaving the boat that I can't tell you how much that meant to me to have these huge items checked off.  It was one part of coming home that I was dreading.  I had been moving and packing and cleaning the boat for a month so it was so amazing to not have to do it again when we arrived.  The kids had 5 days to acclimate and jump into school.  We had to register them and get their classes and then a little school shopping but not much.  Everything was done prior to us arrive and everyone in Family Circus was so happy to be able to just be at the house and get used to being home.  It was way more overwhelming than I ever imagined.  SO THANK YOU TO ALL MY AMAZING, LOVELY FAMILY AND EXTENDED FAMILY WHO HELPED US TO MOVE BACK IN.  It melted and warmed my heart more than you will ever know!

We have been able to go to my sister Morgan's house in Petaluma and see all the hard work they have put into their amazing plot of land.  I love all the animals and the improvements they have made.  It is a little slice of heaven and something that I would love to have in the future.  I can see why it is a staycation for them.  It is so wonderful and peaceful that you can truly relax on the front porch in the rocking chair while watching the animals and horse gallop around.  According to all the kids little Mollie Mae is growing up in paradise.

We are up in Shasta spending time with my sister Piper and her kids.  It has been so nice to be able to call and have a weekend to meet up and spend time together.  Shasta is in the middle for us so it is a great meeting point so that we can see the kids and the cousins can be together.  I have missed all the little nieces and nephews and am so glad that I can spend time with them so that they get to know their aunty again.  I love all the little cuddles and messy kisses... it is hard to get my fill.

 Applesauce in the making...

This feels so strange.  We are currently up in Mt. Shasta with Oma and I finally feel like I could open this page.  For so many years this was my life line to my family and friends and in a way the blog itself was a friend that made me feel still attached to home.  As I opened it this morning I find myself detached and not knowing what to write, I feel sad that it is not such a part of me any longer.  I feel that I have had a very difficult time emotionally coming back to our old life.  Don't get me wrong I love it and am so excited to be back but it has been more difficult than I ever had imagined.  I am constantly in state of a tear shed and an emotional rollercoaster at home.  I put on a brave face when I am out of the house but at home the kids often say, "mom's crying again... "  I know it is short and I will get over this... the problem is that I can't tell you WHY I am crying or sad... I think it is just the shake up of losing the screen saver vacation life we lived for 2 years.  I miss the closeness of our family, the relaxed state we were all in.  I feel like I am more tense and anxious now and have a very difficult time with time management and multitasking.  This new part of me is disappointing to me because I feel like I used to be superwoman that could do everything at once and now I am just a shell of who I used to be.  I know it will all come back but it is something that I will need to work on.  I am not saying I am lazy but it is just a new me that I am learning to mold into something that I like.  I feel a little lost.  I thought when I got back home I would just step into my old life and everything would be so simple and familiar.  In my case I don't feel that it is true.  I feel disconnected and not as much a part of the community as when I had left.  Even though we were gone for only 2 years, in many ways nothing had changed in our community and you feel as if you had stepped back thru a time warp, but something is amiss and the feelings aren't the same.  I am chalking that up to the life experiences we went through on the boat and how, even though you don't feel that you are changing as a person, your ideals, facing your fears, growing stronger and weaker at the same time, in many ways that I can't express (because I don't understand them yet).  I often feel myself choking back tears that seem to come out of know where and for seems to be no reason at all.  I know that things will come around full circle and be back to normal and crazy... but for now I am just surfing a new wave and looking for the changes in weather so to speak as they come along. 

In regards to the kids and their experiences in joining land life again.... it seems for them it has been a seamless process.  They always say that kids are so moldable and flexible and will adapt to so many situations given the opportunity.  I have to admit that I am always amazed at these guys and how they seem to take charge and go with the flow.  They had some fears about coming back to their home and going back into a full time school commitment and all the pressures that come with that.   With anticipation and anxiety all wrapped up into one they trudged on to school.  Some showing their worries more than others and in their own ways. 

Alexia and Tristan had wonderful friends to come back to and help them with the transition and all the new set of rules that they needed to learn from social media to school.  Over all for both of them they are having a blast, love the school, their classes, teachers (finally... hee hee the ones they had for the last 2 years were a bit grumpy) and having their friends around.  Alexia is still very interested in wine making and her and Chris have started to make wine at home. 

Both Alexia and Tristan have the travel bug so they both have signed up for trips through the school for spring break.  Alexia will be going on a historical tour of Washington D.C and Tristan will be traveling to Ecuador to help the environment and plant trees.  They are both so excited to get back out there and see more of what the world has to offer... Who knows with the upcoming election it may be safer in Ecuador and Washington D.C. may be more of a jungle.

In terms of how they have changed from our adventure... I am not quite sure if it is an impact of the trip or just who they are but what I can say is they all get along so well.  Yes, there are the occasional pokes or jokes about each other but for the most part they have become best friends with each other and really look out for each other.  They all have a different perspective of the world and what poverty really is and how happy you can be without the material items that we used to have too much of.  Now when I say finish your plate because there are kids starving out there... they understand that it is true.  They know how lucky they are just to have a roof over their, floor underneath and a bed to sleep in (with a blanket) and a fully stocked grocery store down the road.  They often comment how nice it is to have running water, a shower and a refrigerator and freezer that works all the time.  They are responsible in doing their own laundry and are often helping around the house or asking if I need help.  They are more likely to step out of their comfort zones and participate in something that they are unsure of, just to try it.  They feel they are more independent and confident enough to be on their own or venture out on their own.  They don't feel it necessary to have friends around at all times, they are used to being by themselves and are just fine.  They are much more easy going and non judge mental.  They are used to all kinds of people and realize that you never know the story behind someone and their choices so who are we to judge them.  They enjoy conversations with adults and are often sitting with us when people stop by and like to take part in conversations and be a part of the group.  They are often talking about world issues that they have read about and seem to have more interest in the global world around them not just our immediate area they are in.  They are asking questions and want to know more about finances, how mortgages, credit cards, debt and other economic issues and how they impact them or how and when they can and will start their own accounts.  

Overall, to me they just seem more mature, attentive and appreciative to their surroundings and how we impact our world and what they can do or not do to have an impact on it.  We often had these conversations on the boat.... I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to maintain these or if the interest would still be there when we got home so I am glad that we still get to dive into some of these issues with them.  They are still kids and like to hibernate in their rooms, listening to music and watching movies at times... Alexia still likes to write and Tristan is focusing on school and we are enjoying the down time of just being home and not being scheduled.  I believe this has helped our transition enormously by keeping our life as simple as possible and not being over scheduled.  We love to spend the time with the kids and they still need the down time after school just to chill.  Coming back to land life is full of noise and overstimulation from what we were used to and it is somewhat exhausting.  We don't mind it and are having a great time but it does makes us more tired than it used to.  So the down time is wonderful to have.

Amaia and Alina have both readjusted great.  They are really enjoying their classes and teachers and have been able to adjust to the school rules along the way.  Alina has only participated in school thru a transitional kindergarten program so a full day of school was all new to her.  She didn't know what to expect, how to act, or what to do... all of her worries seem to disappear after the first day of school and she had 3 girls in her class that she knew from TK and our daisy troop before we left.  It was really nice to have them in class with her to help her relax.  Amaia was put into class with one of her best friends (Fiona) and so she was really looking forward to it.  She had a lot of anxiety before school started about whether she would be prepared enough or smart enough for 4th grade.  I tried to reassure her that the amount of school we did she would be fine.  I also tried to explain that she learned so much just being out and discovering through our trip than she would ever know, but still in her mind she was unsure.  First day of school she walked with Fiona and when we got to class she immediately went for the books grabbed a few and sat down. 

I believe it was her way of being a fly on the wall and she was in her comfort place.  By then end of the first day the girls were champs and were convinced they were fine and would be successful in school and that it wasn't such a scary place.  They are both on a soccer team and are making new friends and have really stepped back into our old life beautifully.  They are really happy to be home.

Mykaela is home with us and starting a few jobs and registering for school winter term.  She will be finishing her AA degree and then starting school to be an sonography technician.  It is nice to have her home with us and seeing her smile and dance and spend time with the kids.  They all really missed her as well and it is nice to have her home and bonding with them again.

Kava announced right before we got home that he proposed to Ariel.  We are so excited to have her join our family.  She is just a doll that we treasure and the kids are all super stoked to have a new sister.  We all just love her and seeing Kava sooooo happy and excited is worth its weight in gold.

Chris is on a mission right now looking for a job.  It is amazing how many appointments and meetings he is setting up with people all over trying to find a fit for him and our family values.  He truly would love to find a balance that keeps our family time and work time balanced for him.  We love the family dinners together every night and still keep that as an important part of our day.  

We have a new member of the family now.  We adopted Bula Bear from a rescue in Modesto and he is now our new dog.  He is half German Shepard and have Siberian Husky.  We just adore him and he is flourishing with us.  The kids are having the best time with him and he is just the best puppy to have.  He loves being with the kids and everyone, is smart and affectionate and loves people.  The hardest part for us is that he is only 3 months so without those puppy shots we can't take him out of the house.  The kids are anxious to be able to take him out for walks and traveling with us.  My sister brought our cat Oliver back that she loved to have in their family while we were gone.  I feel bad for having to ask for him back but we missed him so much and the kids were looking forward to having him home.  

We are getting the house set up back to the way we had it.  Have stripped the backyard, bought a trampoline, made a garden and got some chickens and I just started our pond up again and will be getting some fish for it this week.

We have been very busy making our home again but also taking our time and working on the things that bring us joy and putting off the ones that don't.  I am volunteering up at the little girls school once in awhile, going on my walks in the mornings with the moms and dads taking the kids to school.  

There are a few new families in the hood and it has been so much fun getting to know them and spending time with the kids.  I really treasure our little extended neighborhood family and our spontaneous get togethers for dinner, a coffee or a quick glass of wine.  It takes a village these days to raise our kids and after seeing how happy and adjusted so many of the village kids are I really appreciate the comfort our children have in all these homes up and down the street and their sense of security and belonging that will encourage their independence and confidence for years to come.

Thank you for following us on our adventures across the Pacific.  It is sad that that adventure has come to an end but a new one is already stirring.  We did sell the boat so she will continue on with a new family Chris and Sayo and their little girls.  I am so excited for them to be able to have an amazing adventure and give their kids the the opportunity to live life outside of the box.  It was truly amazing for us and something that we would like to do in the future maybe even for half the year... maybe we just continue to charter for now and see where life takes us.

Chris and I have dreams now of vineyards, lavender, alpacas and tractors... Alexia is still enthusiastic about making wine and becoming a vintner so we are hoping to be able to help her achieve her dreams... The kids love animals and farm life and so it would be nice in a few years to be able to share my upbringing with them.  We will see what life brings but for now we are dreaming big or going home... either way we win and you never know we made the last one come true... crossing fingers.

Hugs and Love,