Transitioning into the “American Way”

hand-lettered-wisdom-from-william-morris-by-lisaIf you are a regular reader of our blog you may have noticed our lack in writing. When we were living in Asia, there was so much going on in our daily life where it was fun to share the ins and outs and encounters of being an expat. When we were traveling and everyday was a nutty adventure full of two crazy Americans surviving in the extreme heat of Southeast Asia and trying to figure out with our horrible math skills how much money we were throwing down in Europe. Our daily adventures are just not too exciting and I am pretty sure that they aren’t as fun to read about.

But now, we are back in America, trying to figure out life and in all honesty, it isn’t that much fun to share about what is going on. Our attitude sways from day to day. Our minds and ideas of what is going to happen in the next few months are all over the place. To lay it down simply, it isn’t very “us”… or the “us” our bloggers and family see.

Adam and I have an awesome relationship. We discuss and discuss and discuss pros and cons, options and ideas as to what we are going to do…we have always been this way. Usually we preface the conversation with…”I have an idea, don’t freak out…” then we discuss. Well, really one of us talks forever about our idea, then it becomes a discussion after the idea is out. As of today, it seems that we share the “meldowns (even though I am hormonal)”. We have a lot to figure out and it is really hard. We are doing our best to be positive and it is common that one of us is lifting the other one up. If I am down in the dumps, Adam is the positive one and vice versa…on days when we are both a bit negative…watch out! (j/k)

This is and has been our todo list since September.

Step 1: Get a job We have been job searching nonstop. I am about to give up as my 6 month pregnant self really sticks out at interviews… however I do check the school boards’ website daily and apply for things I am certified to teach. Adam is looking all over Central Florida for something that interests him. There does seem to be a lot out there, it is just finding one that is a fit for both you and the employeer.

But here is the kicker, we don’t really want to be in Florida anyway (We have no idea where we want to be, but know it isn’t necessarily here.) With Gavin, our baby arriving soon, we know we need to stay in town for his birth. We have a great midwife and good insurance, so leaving the state, would not be the responsible thing to do until after he is born. We have spent the last 4 years making decisions based on where we want to be and for constant change, and now that frame of mind is shifting a bit So, we continue hunting.

Step 2: Get an apartment This has to be one of the hardest things for us right now. Adam and I are very independent, like to cook and take care of ourselves. And, I am itching to get Gavin’s space ready. Apartment hunting is absolutely the most annoying thing, second to getting a job. Apartments are location focused and built together in certain areas of town. In Central Florida, the mass transit and walkability is almost nonexistent. The apartments are all in areas we are not really interested to live in. So, we have looked at renting small condos in areas we would like to live in…but the price is so much higher, and the condos are smaller. Then we have the nagging question, is it worth it to pay more and live in an area that will make you happier and give you more opportunity to walk around and be outside, or pay less and live in an area you don’t really want to be in but save a little more. And don’t even get me started on the stupid pet deposits and then added monthly rent for our 4 lb. little angel.

In addition, I have pretty much accepted that we will be getting a one bedroom, so Gavin’s room will have to wait until we move a second time. I know you are thinking to yourself, it isn’t a big deal…but it is something that I want. I want to decorate and focus on this little guy. Maybe because we haven’t really had a permanent home in so long that I want him to have one.

Step 3: Get a car  My Mom has been wonderful and allowing us to use her car since we have been back. We know that this is definitely the 3rd thing on our list to take care of. We have no idea what kind we want, but making the decision and investment is a bit scary. It has been awhile since we have owned one.

I really must have been happily blinded by the idea of coming back the states to an easy transition. I must have forgotten all of the emotions etc. that we went through the first time we came back. Being an expat and living abroad creates this weird mental state when moving back to a “traditional American life.” I am sure you can find many blogs on the adjustment. It is hard to look for a home because the idea of being locked into a one year lease seems like forever! Looking for a job is even more difficult because the idea of “living to work” and spending 40 hours a week being stuck in a job you don’t necessarily love, but need in order to pay rent, simply sucks.  The idea of investing in any furniture or well anything, just seems silly.

The idea of having monthly bills is something we haven’t had in awhile either. With the American Way, you end up with rent, renters insurance, car, car insurance, cell phone bills, internet bills, electric and water bills, gym memberships on top of the student loans and everything else. Living abroad we have only really had to pay a very minimal amount of bills and well it just seems like the list is really long now.

Our entire life consists of 2 small carry on suitcases and 4 reusable shopping bags. At each of the three homes we are staying at, we have a few things always left behind and can’t wait to put them all in one home, our home, so we never have to go wondering, “whose house did I leave that at.”

It is really difficult and is getting old hopping from house to house. We appreciate more than anything our families for helping us out. I am sure it isn’t super easy having us pop in and out as well. They all know us very well and know what keeps us happy. They know how much happier we would be taking care 100% of ourselves. With Gavin coming in 3 months, we really want to get settled sooner than later. We know it will happen. We are doers. With the holidays behind us, it now gives us more time to truly focus on this job hunt and apply like mad.

Our goal is to be out on our own by the middle of February. That gives us 4 weeks….


  1. I’m hopping randomly around your blog….
    I think somewhere along the line I commented how much you two remind me of my daughter and her fiancé. (she is at UCF, her fiancé is at Embry Riddle, but that’s now.) When they came back from a year traveling all the countries you did, (esp So.East Asia) they lived an entire year here In Vero, part time with me and part time with his family. Last fall they both went back to school and now have an apt in Daytona from which she commutes..
    Their transition to “home” wasn’t easy either, but it has all worked out over time, just like it’s doing for you. The wedding is for sometime after their respective graduations next spring:. they’ll both be 25 then and have the type of relationship you describe…no plan either one of them hatches is too outlandish for the other, and they talk, make lists, plan, and set goals SO well together!
    Anyway, sorry this got so long winded! I love your generation of young couples! So different than when I was in college (mid to late 70s) when women were making those first tentative steps towards real equality in jobs and relationships. It warms my heart to know your generation continues in our footsteps!


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