I don’t often give personal updates, but the frequency of my articles have dropped quite a bit as of late. I thought I would give just a brief update on what is going on with TCP.
To say that this is a busy time in our lives would be an understatement.
My family and I have been back in the United States for just over 8 weeks. We spent 4 years living abroad, 2 years in the Middle East (Turkey) and 2 years on an island in the North Atlantic (Terceira Island, Azores). I was working as a U.S. Air Force Family Medicine physician. After 11 years with the military in a Reserves and Active Duty role, my commitment was complete. I have no regrets, but I am glad to be done with the military for a number of reasons, the largest of which is that I am now free to pursue my personal, family, and Permaculture goals with no extraneous limitations.
This year is a year of transition for us. Just moving back to our home country is quite a big transition. My two oldest children don’t remember anything about life in the U.S., and my youngest two have never even lived in the U.S. before. All of them are having to deal with adjusting to a new culture, yet again. It is fascinating to see all the things my wife and I just “know” about our culture that we learned as children, but that our children don’t understand because they haven’t grown up in America. This is stressful for both them and us. My wife and I are also dealing with our own reverse culture shock, which I have written about a bit in a previous article. We are so glad to be back in the USA, but we are also still adjusting to our home culture again. I have had to forgo some of my typical writing time each day to be present with my family during this time of transition, and this has been healthy for all of us.
I have also stepped out of Family Medicine and into Emergency Medicine. There are a number of reasons for this transition. While I have loved practicing military Family Medicine, civilian Family Medicine is quite a bit different. I really cherished the relationships with my patients and their families, and I think this is the biggest aspect of Family Medicine I will miss. I like the faster pace and mostly higher acuity of care in Emergency Medicine. I really like working a shift where I do not have to take my work home with me and I don’t have to take call. And while I am very excited about transitioning to a new job and a new schedule, this process has taken up a lot of my time.
We decided to rent a house for this year of transition as well. While I am tired of living a transient life, this was a good decision for many reasons. Our household goods just arrived from the Azores… this only took four months! We have been digging out of boxes for the last few days. This is what I call a “good stressful” time. We are glad to be able to start to make this rental house a home, but the amount of work and exhaustion it takes to unpack a truck full of boxes is rather stressful. Again, this has also been taking up a lot of my time.
I am almost giddy with the fact that we are planning on purchasing land within this year. We are actually waiting to get final word from the bank on our pre-approval. There are a number of small, but surmountable, glitches with trying to get a mortgage after not living in the U.S. for 4 years.This process has actually been taking up quite a bit of my time as well, but it is slowly moving forward. We’ve gone out to look at land a few times, but we are waiting to look in earnest until the loan pre-approval is complete.
Education is another thing I am focusing on during this year of transition. My schedule affords me the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling if I desire. I am planning on using this year to get some real practical, hands-on education before we purchase our land. I have spent the last decade reading about Permaculture and sustainable/regenerative agriculture. I have been able to implement these ideas on small, transient scales. However, we are on the brink of finally settling down with a sizable plot of land. I want to spend some time with others who have vastly more practical experience than I have. I’ll actually write another article here soon outlining the course I will be attending. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!
So there it is. There are multiple more transitions occurring right now, but these are the main ones that are taking me away from writing as much as I typically do, and this is why I wanted to share them with you. But I am hopeful that these transitions are taking us a step closer to our goals of living a fulfilled life. That makes this path worth walking.
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- Pastoral Landscape by Alvan Fisher, 1854 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoral#mediaviewer/File:Pastoral_Landscape_by_Alvan_Fisher,_1854.jpg