In case you don’t keep obsessive track of my life’s goings ons (how dare you!) I’ll give you a quick rundown of my recent past:
June: I joined a ship in the Mediterranean. The Guns stayed home and went to some classes for a new career and also closed on our first home (post forthcoming).
July: Still on the ship on my own. The Guns moves into our home. By himself. He wins 10 million points.
August/September: The Guns joins me on the ship. A very sweet friend watches our home for us. The Guns spends much of his time on the ship studying for a licensing exam.
October: The Guns comes home. Passes his exam, gets new job, continues to set up house. I am still on the ship,spending my free time daydreaming about being home in our new house.
November: I return home. To a new house. And I don’t know what to do.
How do you grocery shop? It takes longer than 2 minutes to get pretty much anywhere? How do I fill my pantry? What am I having for breakfast? The recipe for eggs benedict is a few pages long? Wait, forget breakfast, what about dinner? I can’t just show up and pick out some food? Leaving my towel on the floor does NOT mean it will be replaced by a new one? How many surfaces in our home require me to clean them? Oh all of them? What? We have to make plans with our friends if we want to see them? I CAN SIT ON HIGH SPEED INTERNET ALL DAY WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT OR LOOKING FOR A COFFEE SHOP? And in related news, what DOES the fox say?
It has been a lot to take in.
And no one understands this except other ship folk who’ve left the ship life. And I haven’t even officially left. I’ve already signed on to do a couple of short contracts (to fill in or train a new person), but even though I’m going back here’s the difference: I’m now staying in my house, not someone else’s guest room. Sure I helped with housework and cooking (well… we helped, The Guns might have done more than me) when we were houseguests, but ultimately it wasn’t my job to decide what to do in the area of homemaking. And sure, I have my husband to help me, but since he’s spending his days working and, to be frank, I’m not, it is mostly falling on me (as it should in this situation- and this situation is not “because I’m a woman.” so let’s make that clear right now) and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. I’m relearning all the things I learned when I moved away to college, and again when I moved into my first non-campus housing, and again when I got married and moved in with my husband. And I’m finding it hard to believe how hard it is.
All I could think about for months was “I can’t wait to be home. In my new home.” And it is pretty awesome. But I’m also feeling flabbergasted by things like remembering what day is trash pick up, and is it ok to make waffles with olive oil instead of vegetable oil (it’s not great but it’s ok, true story), and all of this is sort of normal except for the fact that I’m 27 years old, not a college freshman.
I guess this is what they call culture shock, but I call it coming out of captivity. The unforeseen effects of coming back to land. So many times I felt a little bit trapped on the ship, and now, like we are so apt to do when we experience a new freedom, I’m missing the comfort and trappings (pun intended) of my former life. I miss my eggs benedict, even though I’m super glad to be able to eat breakfast in my pajamas now.
I guess I’m going to have to work on my hollandaise sauce.
Have you ever come out of captivity?