The title of this post is the new subtitle of my blog. I changed it because it fits what I anticipate the next few months of my life to be--transient.
It started with leaving Viet Nam. After a few days of debriefing in Pennsylvania, I recieved many warm welcomes in Grand Rapids, MI, where I spent two weeks. I did all manner of things there--attended bachelorette parties and bridal showers, picked berries and baked, ran and swam, hung out with friends and family, watched the friends episodes about Chandler and Monica's wedding and participated in the actual beautiful wedding of one of my best friends. The whole time I was in Grand Rapids, I was waiting for the infamous reverse culture shock to attack, but felt strangely lacking in anything like it--other than the occasional need to stop myself from slipping in a bit of random Vinglish. Everything seemed pretty much just as I left it; in fact, sometimes I started to wonder if I had ever left.
Then, after a crazy, nonsensical bit of traveling (Michigan to Denver via car, then a flight to Alamosa), yesterday afternoon I arrived safely--albiet tiredly--to Rainbow Trout Ranch in Southern Colorado. It seems like a great place, but has honestly been pretty overwhelming so far. As I'm coming in in the middle of the season, training is less formal and more the on-the-fly, watch-other-people-out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye type. Last night I had my first try at country line dancing and today I've learned how to do daily cabin cleaning. People are friendly, but as with job training, making friends is a little more challenging when entering into an already established group (and I guess being an introvert doesn't exactly help).
Work aside, I'm incredibly excited to be back in the Southwest! This part of Colorado is gorgeous, cool (for me, actually cold!), quiet (other than my co-workers), and unpopulated to the point that most Vietnamese would probably consider every venture highly dangerous. I, personally, am appreciating the danger, and am eagerly anticipating the horseback riding I hope to do on my first day off.
However, in case you are doubtful of my description of Colorado as idyllic to the point to the point of perfection, there are a few earthly things about the heavenly place. For instance, I couldn't wear my contacts all morning because my eyes were burning, assumably due to the dry climate, which is particularly shocking to my system after the tropical climate of Viet Nam. I find myself embarassingly out of breath when I merely walk from cabin to cabin in this 9,000 ft. altitude, and on the twenty-minute run I took today, I re-encountered the weird, coppery taste I used to always get in my mouth on runs, as well as the now-unfamiliar burning sensation that takes over my legs when they encounter hills. This was not completely terrible, though; it brought back great memories from my high school cross country days in Arizona.
So I guess all-in-all, the transient life seems to be treating me pretty well. (If nothing else, I am eating very well.) When I told one of my old friends about my schedule until the new year, he responded, "Oh, so you're still avoiding the real world." I won't deny the fact that this statement irked me to no end, even though it is not the first time I have encountered such a response. I guess I can see where these people are coming from in one sense, but in another, I rebel against this notion of the "real world." Who's to say what's real and what's not? I have experienced one part of the world that my friend will probably never experience, but just because the experience is foreign to him does not make it unreal. And what is reality but learning and interacting with others?
I won't deny that the transient lifestyle I am leading for a time is a priviledge that many people do not have the chance to experience--either because they actually can't or simply won't. However, this fact just makes me want to appreciate every bit of it more. Don't get me wrong, transience is rarely as glamorous as people think--it's often lonely and usually looks a lot like...well, the "real world."
When I bid my friend farewell, I told him to have fun with the real world. And that's what I aim to do too. Because, really, that's about all any of us can do. :)