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Thoughts on Returning: Part Three

by Going Slowly


We're back in Minnesota, now, and our time in New England is rapidly becoming a distant, fuzzy memory; some days, it feels as though we only imagined it. Our return has brought the pain of an ongoing family disagreement to the forefront of our minds—the drama bleeds into every area of our lives, making it difficult to see the good in anything.

At the moment, it feels like our entire existence is in flux. Though we're back "home", we live neither here nor there, hopping from one family member's home to another, house-sitting for friends, never truly feeling settled, always living in someone else's space. Our house is rented on a two year lease (which we hope will end in its purchase); we don't want to go back, and we aren't going to.

We've considered getting an apartment, but the idea of doing that feels like stagnating. The last thing we want is to expend our energies settling somewhere we ultimately don't want to be, getting lulled into waiting until "next month" or "next year", to start our homesteading dreams. We don't want our lives to slip by, unrecorded, uncelebrated, and unused to their utmost potential.


Life feels really, really hard right now. I know we're better off than ninety something percent of the world, but acclimating to US has been extremely difficult, busy and stressful. I can scarcely find the time to write our book, let alone take a few pictures here and there, read a book for five minutes, cook nice meals, or any of the other things that keep me a happy, sane, balanced person.

Though I find myself inordinately busy trying to keep up with the sweeping current of life, at the end of each day, I often have a hard time pinning down what exactly I did. It's become all too easy to slip into a "what the hell am I doing with my life?" mindset, where hours, days, months pass in a flash. Even the seasons are becoming a blur!

Vermont is beginning to feel like a dream. Was it really that wonderful out there? Did we really fall in love with a piece of land? Shouldn't we do more research? Shouldn't we do more hunting before making a decision?

What I want more than anything right now is to stop moving. I want to stop traveling. I want to regain control over the speed of my life. I want a place of our own, somewhere where we can settle in and dig some roots.


On the work front, I've found myself questioning my abilities as a programmer. Attempting to keep up with the ever-constant march of technology can be overwhelming. I am completely re-tooling my company, a time consuming process of learning new programming languages, design patterns, source control systems, web frameworks, orms, and markup languages—it's a dizzying array of new tools and syntaxes.

I am also migrating my entire business to the Apple ecosystem, fighting to rewire my brain to its idiosyncrasies. At the moment, I'm living in my worst nightmare of complete inefficiency and ineptitude. At the worst of times it feels like my hands have been cut off, at the best, like I'm wearing a huge pair of mittens.

Meanwhile, my longing to be alone in the woods with Tara grows every day.


Heaping more stress onto an already chaotic time filled with culture shock and feelings of displacement, Tyler accidentally kicked a hand-tiller while we were working in the garden the other day. One of its sharp tines punctured a hole between his toes, digging in to the bone.

I'd never before seen such a disturbingly contorted look of pain on his face (I hope I never see it again). The look shook me to my core, and I found myself short of breath in tandem with his sharp inhalations, eyes as wide as his with horror. I was petrified and floundering as I followed his hobbling run into the house.

Our insurance is the extortion kind, the one where we pay $200+ a month for the sole purpose of mitigating total financial disaster. We have a $5,000 deductible. Needless to say, Tyler refused to go the the emergency room. Instead, I cleaned out the wound with shaky hands, digging out the dirt while he spent some quality time, as he puts it, "dissociating from his body" (while listening to Tool and doing deep breathing).

Thankfully, it's healing nicely without infection.


We really should be grateful to be where we are right now. We are dry. We are clean. We are safe. We have money in the bank. We have each other. We are slipping through these terrible economic times unscathed. We are strong, smart, and resourceful, and I know full well our lives will feel better at some point. In the meantime, though, it's rough.

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"What I want more than anything right now is to stop moving. I want to stop traveling. I want regain control over the speed of my life. I want a place of our own, somewhere where we can settle in and dig some roots. " - Tara, that's so how I feel...

And btw, Canada has free healthcare :P
Posted by Magalie on September 26th, 2011 at 5:09 PM
In Quebec, Canada, there is also much job in programming and the possibility to find a nice place to have a garden, wood, 4 seasons, not so far from the city... ; )
Posted by Andrée Fournier on September 27th, 2011 at 3:25 PM
We just moved back in our house a few weeks ago and even though we were only out of it for a year I have never been so happy to be settled, so I can relate to you guys and Maggie on this. I would never have this kind of appreciation for our home if we hadnt been nomads there is that:) Selfishly I must say that I am glad that you are not settled yet and you guys are coming to see us. WE ARE SO FREAKIN EXCITED!!!!! See you in a week:):)
Posted by Natasha on September 27th, 2011 at 4:04 PM
Ouch!! On all fronts. Sorry you're having such a rough time of it lately. Sending positive energy your way & hoping you find more peaceful times in the near future.

Vermont IS THAT WONDERFUL!! And, we're going to be the first state to offer universal health care (already in the works and due for full implementation by 2012). In the meantime, if you move here & need healthcare, our state has a fantastic health care and insurance system. You get full coverage, no high deductibles, just pay a monthly premium from $0 on up, based upon income. It's been a lifesaver for us & makes us even more grateful that we live in this state.

Posted by Sheila on September 30th, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Sounds like you are going through a difficult time, but you will come out the other side better and stronger.

Tyler, I just switched back to Mac after a while away - new contract where they gave me a MacBook Pro - I spend a lot of my time in a Linux VM though. Fortunately most of the tools I use are cross platform - Emacs, PHP Storm, IntelliJ, Chrome, Bash shell - but I feel your pain, getting used to the Mac keyboard again is a pain. :)

The grass can look greener on the other side, and sometimes it really is, but moving countries inevitably moves you away from people you love.
Posted by Tony on October 1st, 2011 at 8:59 AM