Thursday, December 3, 2015

Steiner Ranch, Austin, Texas, USA

This is Elise.  So here we are back at home.  Everything is familiar but strange to me now as I look at it all with different eyes.  It took us over nine months to get to Santiago, Chile and we are home in the blink of an eye.  I felt like I had been sucked back through a time warp.  We arrive in Dallas Fort Worth airport on Thanksgiving morning and use the ladies room to freshen up.  They were the cleanest, nicest bathrooms I had seen in nine months.  We get a breakfast sandwich.  It isn't just a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.  It's apple wood smoked bacon, chipolte aged cheddar and a farm fresh egg.  I am not used to so much description and choices.  Everything is so big.  I do enjoy having ice in my drink again.  It's been so long since I had an iced drink, I don't even miss it anymore.  Everyone is very polite and professional.  Immigration and customs went smoothly.  If I had known they weren't going to search my bag, there are some things I would have brought back.
As I walk around my house I think "This is a nice house.  Is it really mine?"  The toilets, fixtures, faucets, everything is made with so much more quality.  I wondered if the renters had gotten a bigger TV because it seemed so large.  But no,  it's the same TV I thought was smaller than our neighbor's.  The house seems too big, with too many lights.
I have to go to Verizon to get cell phone service and they have stacks of new tablets and phones just sitting there with no bars on the windows or armed security.  So unheard of in the poverty stricken countries we have been in.  I see everyone walking around with big, new phones and my eyes bugged out when I saw how much they cost.  Does everyone have $800 to spend on these things?
My body seems to not like the food here.  By the end of the trip I was able to eat bread and other wheat products without any ill effects.  Here my hands and feet hurt.  My eyes look swollen.  I don't even know what I am eating that is bad for me.  I only know that when we were traveling, I was able to eat whatever I wanted.  I was eating white bread, empananas, whole milk and sugar with my coffee, all without a thought to portion control, fat content, or calorie content.  I also didn't exercise other than just walking around.  After a few days here I had to go buy some probiotics again because I am so bloated and gassy.  It's funny because here I am eating salads and mostly organic but I am running into problems.  On my trip I gave no thought to organic or healthy.  I just ate what was around.
I asked at the girls public school about getting them re enrolled.  They asked for some homeschooling records to place them.  I had never heard anything about having to keep records before.  I guess now they would have to be tested to re enroll.  For now, I am going to keep the flexibility of homeschooling.
Texans are very nice and friendly people.  It certainly is much easier doing everything in English.
Overall I am very happy we did the trip and it was worth every penny we spent.  I am actually depressed it is over and planning our next step.  We never stayed anywhere long enough to get the kids in school and really settle in.  That is what I want to do next.
I just read Mike's post about selling "Black Beauty" and got very sad.  It was an amazing trip and that vehicle holds some amazing memories for me.  We gained so much from the trip but we also had to experience a lot of loss.  We had to give away pets and possessions along the way.  For me the trip was like life but condensed.  I experienced tremendous ups and downs.  When it was over I looked back at the good times but regretted all the things I had wanted to do but somehow didn't.  Some people had said we were running away when we started this trip.  I found it to be the exact opposite.  I was running towards life full speed in all it's messy, imperfect beauty.

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