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Very Random reflections on 8+ months away…

It now, finally, feels like a long time since we were home. For most of the trip it felt like we were just getting going. I’m not sure it’s the time duration we’ve hit; or the fact we’ve been sitting still and have more time to reflect. Maybe it’s we have no firm upcoming plans. I’ll never know.

The only thing I regularly miss are family/friends.

I occasionally miss the incredible selection and conveniences of US, but far less than I’d imagined.

I haven’t read so much since I was a kid on summer vacation. (I’ve replaced shopping with library books it seems). I am averaging 2 1/2 books a week in 2020.

The “stuff” in US is quite cheap in comparison to many countries. Even in poor countries basics are not nearly as inexpensive as you’d think.

Reconfirmed: Americans know far far less about rest of world than it knows about us. Pretty much everywhere people pay close attention to US elections. We’ve yet to have a tv that didn’t show us the Simpsons and the Big Bang Theory, random I know. US movies dominate, still, everywhere we’ve been. Virtually everyone has heard of Boston, often from various random shows. One person in South Africa knew of Boston from a long-ago “Survivor” contestant. Given the fact Boston really isn’t a big city, population wise, it’s weird. The metro area is 9th largest in US. Can you name 9 cities in India? Or China? Or Nigeria? Even France? I’ll bet most of you can’t. I couldn’t for most of those places either.

I haven’t driven a car since we left and don’t miss it a lick.

I haven’t been to a hair dresser since August. I’m far more grey than I realized. I haven’t decided what to do about that upon return, though. (My stylist moved away and the salon closed too, which is pushing me to doing nothing:)

We have only had a stand-alone clothes dryer in 2 apartments – both in NZ. (A few places had combined washer/dryers). The level of that inconvenience is proportion to local humidity levels and size of apartment:) I didn’t realize quite how rare it was to have one.

I have bought myself virtually no clothes in 8 months. (At home I bought way, way too many!). Last week I finally broke down and tried online ordering 2 things here as I was beyond sick of my pants. I still haven’t bought new shoes. I miss the variety of options I had at home, but not nearly as much as I had worried.

I hadn’t washed sheets, towels, or vacuumed until our lockdown. Didn’t miss that….

It feels completely normal to be with each other 24/7. It’s new to you all at home, but that has not been a big difference for us in the lockdown.

Nate has decided he likes history. Jack really can spend all his free time coding.

You can readily find pizza and spaghetti/tomato sauce everywhere we’ve been – both in restaurants and in markets.

I don’t miss being super busy or all my committees, which is very surprising to me. Lockdown has been far easier for me than expected. Having a lovely view makes a huge difference. I do wish we could always have a panoramic view from our sink.

4 replies on “Very Random reflections on 8+ months away…”

Lauren,

What a marvelous commentary! Being locked down is no fun at all, but having that view is highly energizing. Great reflections, and the sort of things that I do hope the boys are doing and writing down in journals. In twenty or thirty years, they’ll love going back to see what they were thinking and feeling these days. Stay safe, and please keep the comments coming! Hugs to all!

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Wise and important reflections. Thank you! Many people are ruminating on their lives while we shelter in place and you have a unique perspective from which to think. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide to do the earth a favor and put up a clothesline! (For those rare Massachusetts days when it’s warm enough to dry clothes, but not too humid!)

We miss you in book group.

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We do have a drying rack in our laundry area at home and use it for some things – but just don’t have room to do all and it makes our basement super humid! Miss you all st book club!!

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Good post, as well as the prior one from Steve.
A few quick responses : prices… as an owner of a food business, Americans pay far too little for food.
So many have nil appreciation for nutrition, buy empty calories, and we see the health consequences

Lock down : a little less restrictive here, but we are comfortably settled at the lake
It’s dawned on me in the last week or so that
1) our food distribution company was “built” for the current situation, local and transparent
There are pending shortages of proteins (packing plants shutting down due to COVID 19), feedlots pressured (no driving, no demand for ethanol to be blended, byproduct of ethanol is cheap cattle feed) …. but our sources are not “factory farms”
Restaurants mostly shut down, some have pivoted to carry out, but the business will not be the same going forward
People will learn, or re-learn how to cook
2) our remodel in ’14 included provisions for teleconferencing
I’m doing this roughly 1-2 hrs a day all week, most managers working from home
I’m saving an hour plus on each day I don’t go to town
3) blessed to be living where we do, except that “out of towner’s” came and failed to observe “social distance” and the park shut down trails !!! grrrr
Related is following news that people are looking to relocate out of big cities, no large gatherings, what’s the point ?
4) shopping : we aren’t much for shopping as entertainment anyway, but going forward, talking national trends, malls and department stores are so “20th Century” Penny’s skipping bond payments, Macy’s having massive lay offs, others looking at Chapter 11. Amazon wins. In the last few months I’ve bought everything from N95 masks to thermometers, to supplements and sundries.
Aside : a manager who did not see future in eCommerce at one of our companies is on his way out, it’s growing !!! I’ve been an advocate of eComm for a long long time
5) Consumer behavior : basics vs “frivolous” … who really needs a new pair of nike’s ?
Cruise lines ? USS Petri Dish ?
Travel : enjoy your trip, foreign travel (as well as domestic) will drop dramatically
6) online education : a project I’ve been involved with for over a decade – from sailing against the wind – to very much with wind at our back … !!!
7) new motto : “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”― L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

Stay safe and healthy
Ciao
Chip

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