welcome to the real world

i give up.

i’ve been meaning to write a lot of stuff here for a while. i wanted to write about the last couple of days in transit from bolivia. i wanted to write about adjusting to real life back here in america. i wanted to write about every little thing that’s happened between arriving in La Paz and now. it’s been about two months now, and i’ve done none of that. the trip is over. has been for a while now. and life goes on. there’s all sorts of stuff that happens on a day to day basis that i want to write in the blog about, but i always feel like i can’t since i still need to catch up on the past before i write about the present. well, i’m tired of putting it off, so here’s a wrap-up of the last two months, so i can just start writing about the present.

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our last half day in la paz pretty much flew by. we bought plane tickets back home. we shopped for souvenirs like crazy rushing around from shop to shop. finally, after packing everything for the final time, we went to sleep. the next morning, we flew out of La Paz. the view from the plane was incredible. La Paz, surrounded by mountains, is a great city to look at from above. the rest of the day was a blur of airports, airplanes, and boredom. our flight had two different stops on its way to miami. at each stop there were long delays and it was an incredible relief when we finally arrived. but our hellish day wasn’t over yet. it was difficult finding a hotel, and then we were stuck waiting for an hour for a shuttle and then it took us ages to finally find a place to eat. our first meal back in America was at Denny’s with two random travelers who we met.

the next day i flew off to SF while caryn flew to NY to see her family for thanksgiving. in the plane, it was really hard for me to believe that i was actually coming home. that in just a few hours i would be landing in SF and seeing my family again. i was excited and nervous and overwhelmed. the minutes crawled by. finally, the plane landed and my brother drove me back home. it was SO weird. driving on 280, the freeway that i’ve driven on at least once a week for most of my life. all the familiar exits. seeing my brother again. i felt like i was living in a dream.

back at home i had dinner with my parents and brother. it was really good to see them again. my parents had made this cool collage poster of some of my trip photos, and even nicer of them was that they had printed out all my journal entries and had them bound at kinko’s. i couldnt believe it. that must have been a ridiculous amount of work. the thing weighed a ton! not only that, but they were nice enough to make one for caryn too. after dinner, i was exhausted and went to sleep. sleeping in my old room from when i was a kid was pretty weird.

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readjusting to reality has been really weird. the first couple of weeks especially were pretty bizarre. it felt so weird to be doing all the old things that i used to do. driving a car, using a microwave, and talking on a cellphone. all of these things that used to be so normal and just a standard part of life, now seemed a bit foreign and odd. it’s really strange to slowly settle back into your old life. in some ways, everything seems so comfortable and welcoming. doing things like getting coffee at the local coffeeshop, or going to grocery store, or anything else… on one hand i kind of missed all these things and i was glad to do them again. but at the same time… i was really hesitant. it seemed almost wrong for me to want to do all these things. i almost didnt want to like these things anymore because they were just so normal. doing them again meant that life would revert back to usual and that’s not necessarily something i wanted. i didnt want all the normal day-to-day things to become my life again. i wanted more foreign countries and crazy adventures. but i couldnt do anything about it. i was being sucked back in.

the other really weird thing in the first two weeks was seeing people again. honestly, i was really nervous about seeing all my friends after so long. the first couple of times i hung out with people, things were a bit awkward and weird. i kind of felt like i just wasnt on the same wavelength as anyone. but after a bit, that feeling passed. friendships picked up where they left off. everything went back to normal… whatever that means. it’s funny, seeing people after coming back. a lot of people, especially people i dont know very well, seem like they feel obligated to ask about the trip. it’s pretty obvious they dont really care, and are just asking to be polite, and i almost want to say “hey, dont worry a bout it. you dont have to ask”. but they ask. and they always ask one follow up question, which usually is “which country is your favorite”. *sigh*… i’m so sick of that… well, i mean, i have no problem if the person really cares, but the thing is that the person is usually asking just to be polite. nowadays, instead of explaining that it’s impossible to pick a favorite etc etc etc… i just say Japan. it makes things easier on everyone involved.

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so, two weeks went by. and scarily enough, life became normal again. while i was gone, i was so worried about how long it would take for me to adjust to regular life. i had assumed it would take ages. months. but it didnt. all it took was two weeks and it almost felt like i had never left. in fact, in some ways my trip seemed so bizarre and dream-like that it almost seemed like it had never happened. could i really have done all those crazy things? was that really my life? or just a movie i watched?

of course, there were some differences between my life now and my life before i left. i have no job now. i have no car since i sold it before the trip. i live with my parents since i cant afford rent. it’s funny, it’s almost like being back in highschool. living in my old room and having to ask my parents if i can borrow their car if i want to go anywhere. i’m a little kid all over again.

i mentioned earlier that i had a family emergency back home. i wont go into what it is here since my family probably wouldnt like to have their lives broadcast all over the internet, but i will mention that it’s been really rough. In some ways, i never feel completely at ease. any time when my mind isn’t occupied with other thoughts, it’s filled with worry and stress.

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let’s see.. what else? my cousin went out of town for two weeks so i got to spend that time living at her house and taking care of her new puppy, McPoopersen. it was really nice to be up in sf and not have to drive up every time i want to do anything. also, it was actually really cool to watch the dog during that time. the dog is tiny and super fun.

new years this year was kind of hectic. i had dinner at Luna Park with Caryn, Jamie, Tom, Catherine, and some other people. then around 10pm, caryn and i hopped in a car and raced back down to SJ to celebrate NY with my family. at 1am, we hopped in a car again and came up to SF to celebrate some more. a lot of driving for one night, but it was pretty fun.

i spent some time trying to find contract work online. i searched craigslist and some other sites. it was rough. i would bid on contracts and then be outbid by people in india or russia who were willing to work for next to nothing. after spending hours and hours researching online, placing bids, returning phone calls and emails i only managed to land one contract… and that was for a measily $175. to make matters worse, i underestimated how long the project might take, and ended up spending about 20 hours on it. so basically, i earned about minimum wage. *sigh*

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so i guess that’s it. where does that leave me? i need to find a job. FAST. or at least some contract work. i need to buy a car. and then, i need to move back to SF. hopefully, it wont take ages for all this stuff to happen.

if you’re subscribed to this blog only because you wanted to read about round the world travel, feel free to unsubscribe now. if you want to be re-subscribed when i go traveling again, you can email me and i’ll do that. or, if you’re interested in reading about life here in SF, read on.

*v

6 thoughts on “welcome to the real world”

  1. Vlad, here I am finally putting up my posts from Myanmar, about 8 months after I was there. It IS really hard to have the motivation to update stuff when you’re no longer on the road. I’m going to have a whole new site redesign for phase 2 of my trip. I need to ask you about some of your African travel and now I guess you’ll have to just be jealous of my trip this coming summer since I was so jealous of your time when I get back home. I find answering questions on travel boards and reading guidebooks keeps me happy in the meantime.

  2. RE contract work … check your inbox. Or are looking for something other than CR/mtbr? Either way I’d be good to hear from ya.

    – Mike

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