Where in the world…?

is Carmen Sandiego?  Wasn’t that the best computer game growing up?  Well I certainly am not Carmen Sandiego but I have recently gotten the question ‘where in the world are you, Maureen?’ which prompted me to write this informational post about where the heck I am and what I’m doing.  I will also begin by saying THANK YOU to everyone for not really delving in too deep with the list of interview questions upon my return home about what I am going to do, is it hard being back, and what are you doing with your life? I have gotten some of these questions but in mild doses so it’s  been ok.    Here is the rest of that list, coming from me:

Where are you? Capistrano Beach, California

Who do you live with? My parents!

How long do you plan on living there? I have no plan!   As long as I need to. (and as long as we can all keep our sanity)

Did you come back with red or any other color hair? No!  The photo above attests to that.

Where do you want to live? Good question!  L.A.?   Having been toying with the idea of Northern Cali but still can’t get used to thinking about those colder temps.

What do you want to do? Something that is fulfilling and challenging, that makes me happy and that pays the rent.  Ideally that would translate as a job in the cultural arts, international education, or project coordination for an interesting social project that encompassed some of my passions and experience.

Do you miss anything from Portugal yet? Yes, the people.  A bit of the daily walking and the beautiful buildings that surround you wherever you go.

What about culture shock? It’s been better than I anticipated.  It’s definitely there but either I’m managing it better than times past or just focusing on the things I’d like to and trying to ignore the rest.  Given, I’m not really living and breathing the reality of the working world just yet either so that could contribute to the ease of entry.  Also, I was ready to come back.  I was ready to see the smiley Californians and drive my car (which comes at the expense of costly insurance, oil changes, and traffic).  Living -not just traveling- elsewhere allows you to experience a different lifestyle, appreciate it’s advantages and disadvantages and just really recognize everything is a compromise.  It’s hard to have it all so the good comes with some bad and you just have to live with it or go live on an island and even then…you’d get tired of coconuts.

Some of the little things that have surprised me range from: receiving the bill at a restaurant without having asked for it, the random conversations that take place at the check-out counter at any retail store, the State Law signs in the bathroom mandating that you must wash your hands before returning to work, the quantity of super-sized vehicles on the road, the laundry list of ingredients on most grocery store food products as well as the variety of selection for such product like: full fat -half fat – low fat – a tiny bit of fat – and no fat.  The rediscovery of slang and random expressions whose literal meaning has nothing to do with the applied meaning.  I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them now.

Do you plan on keeping up this blog? Yes!  I do.  I hope to continue to find the inspiration to write and be disciplined about posting here whenever I can.

What else? My friend, Cynthia Morris, just published an e-book this week titled, “The Graceful Return: Relish Your Journey After You’ve Come Home.” If you’ve come home from a long journey away, it gives you some great tips on how to integrate your experience into your new life back at home as well as how to manage the transition.  Cynthia said I was her guinea pig and let me ‘preview’ the book before it was finished.  I contributed some of my thoughts and feedback about the process before I officially ‘moved’ home.  Check the link I gave above for more info and if you enjoy following the traveler’s journey, check her personal blog, Journey JuJu.

Some of the things I have done in this short time back to keep Portugal alive in me is simply staying in close contact with the people I love as well as writing a few travel articles about Lisbon that allowed me to journey back there and reminisce about my special spots (will post them when they are published).  I’ve worked on a few Portuguese-English translation projects which help keep my language skills active (Was also pleasantly surprised to tune into a Portuguese radio station the other day as I passed through San Jose, CA).  I also have loads of pictures and am happy to share- just let me know if you are interested in viewing.

So I hope that covers the basics.  I’ve really enjoyed having time to slowly reacquaint myself with my environs and my community of friends and family at a leisurely pace.  See you soon!

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~ by maureenmoore on September 23, 2009.

3 Responses to “Where in the world…?”

  1. HI “Carmen”!
    I know where you are in this posting’s photo . . . the intersection of Miller Ave., with Montford to the west and La Goma to the east. And that’s fog-shrouded Mt. Tam, the Sleeping Maiden (Mt. Tamalpais to the rest of the world), in the background. How do I know such specifics? I took the photo.
    Thanks for continuing with your writing. Auntie TFJ
    P.S. Very happy that you’re considering Northern California . . .

  2. Living -not just traveling- elsewhere allows you to experience a different lifestyle, appreciate it’s advantages and disadvantages and just really recognize everything is a compromise. It’s hard to have it all so the good comes with some bad and you just have to live with it or go live on an island and even then…you’d get tired of coconuts.
    LOVED THIS QUOTE, HAHA. AND I LOVE YOU MY MO, IF I HAVEN’T SAID SO LATELY. LET’S TALK SOON!!! YOUR, STILL IN EUROPE, LA-FRIEND 🙂 V

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