Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land

All this blank space is intimidating, so I've been reticent while trying to come up with something witty to grab people's attention. Alas, nothing comes to mind, so I'll just have to plunge in with my usual ungainliness until I (hopefully) hit my stride. I figure this blog is more for me to air out my own thoughts and put them down somewhere rather than trying to impress anyone who happens to surf by.

To start, I guess I never thought I would have "Inland Empire" anywhere near my profile, thinking that I'd escape from SoCal right after college. Having grown up in the Bay Area, the un-PC, image-driven, conservative, southern part of the state seemed the last place I'd want to put down roots. But after moving back to the U.S. from Colombia, having quit teaching with a finality that scared me, I took a job at an educational publishing company deep in the bowels of Orange County. And while I still marveled at the insane displays of wealth (and waste) and the way people flocked to malls and Disneyland with cult-like intensity, I never managed to motivate myself to move.

I did finally manage to extricate myself out from behind the Orange Curtain, and now commute 120 miles a day (round trip) to work and back. Why put myself through the torture of infamous Southern California traffic on five (yes, count 'em, five) different highways each day when I used to have a commute of less than 10 minutes? Part of the reason is that I couldn't really afford anything within 10 minutes of anywhere in the OC, but the main reason is perhaps the reason most things happen in this world: love.

Now before you have to stop reading and go vomit, know that I won't be putting little hearts on all my entries or posting pictures of my significant other with captions like "soul mate" or "my sweetie." I've somehow managed to graduate from the knight-in-shining-armor-fairytale-ending kind of love and land smack dab in the middle of a family of three preteen/teenage boys, complete with two ex-wives, a menagerie of animals ranging from dogs to tarantulas, and all the dirt and noise that you can imagine. I went from a life of simply wondering if I had enough energy to drag myself to the gym, to a life that starts at 4:00 AM and doesn't finish until after work, grocery shopping, baseball practice, laundry, dinner, and homework are all completed. I'm lucky and grateful that my boyfriend continues to take on the dinner duties, as we'd otherwise be subsisting on canned soup and popsicles, with the occasional basket of cherry tomatoes thrown in.

That said, it's been quite fulfilling being part of this crazy clan, even if I am told on a regular basis that I throw like a girl and I take things too personally. And while I am often reminded of the boys from The Lord of the Flies when I am around them, this gang is pretty durn cool. They might even convince me to stick around a little longer in this strange place.

No comments: