We have completed our first Post-Peace Corps Road Trip which gradually brought us closer (mentally and geographically) to home. We arrived in Oregon about a week ago and have just barely gotten started on reconnecting with all our friends and family. We’ve been reacquainting ourselves with many of the things we have missed over the past two years: strawberries, hiking, appliances, driving, sushi…

The scariest part about being back in America is how easy it is to forget that we were away at all. Sometimes it feels like we just time traveled, skipping over the past two years. What we once lived and breathed- our daily reality- is now just a memory. Sometimes it really feels too distant.

On the surface, our readjustment has been a breeze. But we certainly see things with new eyes now that we’re back. The way people behave and some of the habits people have suddenly seems “so American” because we’ve had the chance to analyze and reflect on our culture from the outside. We always have a little comparison going on in the back of our minds- how much more space we have in the car, how many more errands we can get done before lunch, how much colder we are, how much more helpful the customer service reps are, how quickly we spent the equivalent of one month’s living allowance…

One thing I didn’t expect to be so different when we returned, are the subtle smells. As soon as I step outside, I am reminded that even though the smell of the Oregon outdoors is immediately and unequivocally familiar, its absence from me for the past two years is also apparent. Even the parking structure at the mall smelled so familiar yet new- it was weird.

So where do we go from here? Well, right now, we’re each spend about two weeks with our respective parents. Then we’ll spend the next two weeks all together in Hawaii to reunite with that side of the family!

If you’re interested in seeing more photos from our road trip and first week in Oregon, head over to our new travel blog, Intentional Travelers or click on an image below:

Road Trip: Florida/Tennesse
A Weekend in Chicago
Why We Love Our Oregon Home
Best of Birmingham