Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To My Friends

Alright. This post has to happen because until it does, I can't move on with my writing life! (Or my life period, for that matter.)

So here's how we're gonna do this--the question no one actually cares to ask but can't seem to stop themselves from asking: "How's the adjustment back from your mission going?"

First matter of business, I feel super weird about the fact that I have a blog. I keep waiting thinking maybe it'll go away or maybe I'll remember why I started it in the first place. Ha. No such luck. So instead I'll just keep it going for the moment, for my friends or anybody who cares.

Second item: on Thursday last, in the middle of the cleaning-supplies aisle in the grocery store, I burst into tears. Like, BURST into tears. I was somewhere between the OxiClean and shoe polish. The butter is so expensive in America, and all the produce is organized maniacally like a factory, and the entire width of the yogurt "aisle" is shorter than my arm, and apparently sometime in the last year and a half they stopped making the only kind of laundry detergent that I liked. Also, everyone around me is speaking English.

I mean, I tried to pull myself together. No one except crazy people burst into tears in the middle of the OxiClean and shoe polish. I am not crazy. I just can't find the food I like because it's all in France!

So to summarize: I am currently incapable of grocery shopping.

Then we've got the daily "I just said what?" moments: Today a guy showed up at my door. More like I showed up at my door and he was outside plugging his phone into our porch wall (??), so I let him in, and he commented on how I was wearing two different colors of socks. I retorted, "They're gray and black. Gray and black aren't colors." Yep I actually said that. No social tact.

This is, of course, to say nothing of the fact that I suddenly have a streak of benevolence-bordering-on-affection for bugs, white eggshells creep me out, I want to use exclamation marks all the time!, and I still reach for the flush button on the top-center of the toilet.

What is to be said about this. Well, it took me two months to write. Talk about a blockage. I'm not entirely sure how one goes about breaking an 18-month writing hiatus, but likewise I'm not entirely sure how one goes about saying something about those 18 months that could wrap a pretty little bow on it all and let it be tucked away somewhere nice on a shelf to sit for the rest of forever. I think I'm hesitant to let go. Once you think through everything and set those thinks down on paper, the book is written. So I imagine this will be the work of the next few years--working out what my mission meant then and what it means now and what words are the hooks that untangle it all.

So thanks for being patient with me.


  1. What words are hooks that untangle it all!! Amazing thought! Six year I've been home and maybe one hook untangled a few things but for now I still write to try and figure it out. I continue to think about it daily and EVERY TIME i go to the grocery store I feel guilty to be among so much food. If you ever need someone who doesn't believe in pretty bows to package up missions then come sit with me and talk a while.

    1. Thank you Anna--same heart. I think I probably will think of my mission every day for the rest of my life, and it's good to know I'm not the only one! We should sit and talk a while. Last time it left me with things to think about for two years.

  2. This: "and what words are the hooks that untangle it all." It's a wonderful phrase. Really, really good writing. (Oh! I see someone else liked it, too!)

    I have a lot to say, actually. It's strange, but I thought of you yesterday as I was driving home from wherever I was. I thought, "I need to write to Carolyn." And I don't even really know you very well. But I thought of you and wondered how you were doing and what you were doing. I imagined that you were having a difficult time adjusting to this big, flashy country of ours, and though I've never had to come home after living abroad, I do know what it's like to feel out of place. My suggestion to you is to try really hard to write about it, whether it's here or in your journal. I think working through everything with words will prove to be extremely therapeutic and helpful -- especially for you. So do it! Force yourself to write a little bit every day. Write until the words start flowing. They will come, and they will be a comfort to you.

  3. I can do your grocery shopping.