The more things change, the more things … change

by Rebecca A. Watson on December 30, 2013

in change, Germany, holidays, life, moving, Recovery

I’ve spent the last week and a half in what I consider to be my soul’s home, Santa Cruz. Although I have moved a few times in my life, I’ve never really left a place that I loved. At least not until I left here and moved to Germany.

While there are a few things I wasn’t keen on (street harassment and broad-daylight shootings to name a few), on the whole I have been looking forward to coming back to Santa Cruz for the past few months. I craved tacos, the ocean and the redwoods.

santa cruz pacific birds

First day back!

One of the first places we stopped was Staff of Life, where I overheard someone asking their friend about a “blue aura cleanse.” The bulk honey also had a sign that assured purchasers that they’d done everything to locally source honey but due to the drought, had to seek outside sources. The distributor of said honey, however, was local.

It made me smile but it also made me kind of shocked in a way too. I’m pretty sure that if I was still living here I probably wouldn’t have even thought these things odd, but now that I’m away, yes maybe it was a little over the top. Or perhaps I wasn’t as immune to it anymore.

What I’m trying to say here is things have changed. I’m guessing most of it is just me (although I did read that the sun’s poles are reversing, so maybe that’s it too) but regardless, it’s shaking me up a little bit.

For the most part I think it’s a good thing, but it still kind of sucks to go through. I feel like a two-year-old and a old guru. One part of me is just standing here observing all of it go down, accepting, knowing it’s for the best; the other part of me is throwing a tantrum, literally flailing my arms and sobbing as if that will make everything go back to the way it was.


Different Relationship Values. This week I had a full-on anxiety attack at the thought of visiting friends that, five months ago, I would’ve enjoyed without much worry.

On the flip side, the feeling of coming home I had when visiting my husband’s family is nothing short of remarkable. It’s not that I didn’t feel welcome before, but this time it felt special — relaxed without any work or worry.

One of my close friends explained it pretty well: I’m an introvert. Spending time with people costs me energy. I’m looking to spend it wisely. When I’ve got a limited amount of time, it becomes more obvious which relationships I value and which ones drain me of more than I’ve got to give.

Reverse Culture Shock. Last week we were chatting with friends of ours who now live in Costa Rica and come back to visit once a year. I asked how well they thought they fit in here, if it still felt like home. The reply didn’t shock me: Not really.

I got to spend some time with a few good friends and eaten some damn good Mexican food (and sushi and vegetarian), but really, I’m ready to go back to Germany. No, I don’t fit in there, but I feel out of place in Santa Cruz as well. And I think that’s much harder for me to deal with because I had this picture of how great my life was, and would still be when I got here.

Plus my girl Hannah isn't here to go on 14-mile hikes with me.

Plus my girl Hannah isn’t here to go on 14-mile hikes with me.

I’m pretty sure this is part of reverse culture shock, which I really can’t do anything about except see it for what it is and try not to be too crabby about the whole thing. And remember that I’m going home (I just called Freiburg home!?!) in a few days.

The Holidays. I don’t care who you are, you will find or deal with something stressful around the this time of year.

Whether you’re traveling (which we did), buying gifts (we brought back LOADS of German chocolate because seriously: How could we not share that goodness with friends?), dealing with family issues (while the hubby’s side of things is pretty good, it’s not all roses on my side),  or just driving (a friend of ours came to a complete stop on the highway because a driver was in his lane…this is par for the course this time of year).

The thing about these holidays is that this is the first time I’ve not had my usual coping methods to deal with them. Yes, I’ve been working out and seeing a counselor but the big one has left a gaping hole in my ability to deal:

holiday booze

Not Drinking. How many of you have gone through a holiday season without drinking? I’m not just talking to the folks who might be “problem drinkers.” I’m talking to everyone. Isn’t booze pretty prevalent this time of year?

There’s nothing wrong with having a cocktail and sipping on homebrew. I’m not hating. What I am pointing out is that there is a serious amount of emotional shit going on this time of year and drinking is a very easy way to ignore it. Even one glass of wine can turn the volume down. And since it’s New Years, hell! Why not have another anyway?

But that doesn’t go away. And sometimes continuing to have a drink a day keeps the volume low, making it easier to blur it out of our field of vision. This year, my vision is crystal clear. And sometimes that makes me a little uneasy. But like Sante always says, this too shall pass.

And this time I know it’s not gonna show up when I least expect it, making me into a blubbering idiot on the phone to our cable guy while I attempt to explain things in German. Not that that has ever happened before.

I'm here to fix deine cable.

I’m here to fix deine cable.

I’m pretty sure there are loads of other changes I could add to this list. My body has changed because I’ve been running. My career has morphed because I wasn’t able to work for five months. My wardrobe got an update because rocking hoodies in Europe is not nearly as acceptable as it was in Santa Cruz.

And as much as I love a good change, my last big change (moving to California) taught me something. There is nothing wrong with a little routine. Nesting is nice. Having a base makes success easier.

So while I’m still trying to accept the changes, I’m happy that I’m missing Germany. That’s my home now and I’m looking forward to the life, adventures and successes we’ll have there. I’m also looking forward to the calm space I’ve been creating and will continue to cultivate in 2014.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly December 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Home is where your stuff is.


Dede December 31, 2013 at 1:51 am

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and thought it was time to say hello. I’ve enjoyed reading every post. You are a gifted writer. I can’t wait to see what the new year holds for you!


Ms. Becca December 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

Welcome Dede! Thanks for leaving the comment, the compliment and introducing yourself 🙂 I am happy you’re reading! Happy new year to you!

Kelly, oh man…stuff. I have a very complicated relationship with it. I have a tattoo that says “The things you own end up owning you.” But I realize it’s kind of necessary unless you want to live a nomadic life. I tossed a lot of stuff when I moved to CA. And a lot when we moved to Germany. I try not to have too much of it. But yeah, i guess you’re right 😉


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