I’m Still Alive

It has been a looooooooooooooooooong time since I last wrote! Troy and I made it back the US safe and sound about a month ago. I have to say, it has been strange being back here. I miss the sounds of Little India and all the head scarves, though there are plenty of people wearing hoodies and ski caps here in Oregon, so that almost makes up for it. I also miss the warmer weather. I enjoyed the cold for a couple weeks, but it’s been a month now and I’ve had my fill. lol. I still can’t believe I’ve only been in the US for a month. It seems so much longer than that. Time feels like it’s going much faster here, but in reality it appears to be slower. At the same time, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get things done. I usually had a little bit of free time in Malaysia, but here I don’t ever seem to have time so slow down during the day. Life in Malaysia felt slower and went by faster. I miss it there.

In some ways, being back in the US seems more hectic and chaotic. Life was much simpler back in Malaysia, though that may be because I didn’t have to unpack 5 thousand boxes and help Troy look for a house. Wal-Mart is nice, but it is so freakin huge! Makes me miss Sri Kota and Carrefour. It almost seems overwhelming to go grocery shopping now because there is an exponentially larger selection to choose from…….and most of it is unhealthy. I miss the corner fruit stand where I could just walk to and pick from a selection of super fresh fruits. We bought a bag of mandarin oranges from Costco last week and within a few days several of them were rotten. The local farmer’s markets have closed up for the winter, but I look forward to checking them out in the spring.

On a positive note, the roads here are much better than Malaysia, that’s for sure. Oregon has several one-way streets and that has tripped me up a few times, but I was able to get to Troy’s realtor’s office really fast and without the chaos it would have been in Kuala Lumpur. I did drive past it the first time and thought I could just go around the block to get back to it, but that’s when I ran into the one-way roads and had to guess my way around. Troy got super annoyed and told me to just use my GPS to get there (he was waiting for me and it was a few minutes before we were supposed to meet the realtor). I didn’t want to use the GPS because I can actually get around here without getting too lost, but I finally gave in and used it after driving past the building a second time. lol. (And for those who are wondering, we weren’t late. I showed up with one minute to spare). Another time I went to the DMV to get an Oregon license plate and got there and home without any problems. It was really nice.

One of the things that has struck me since getting back is all the stuff I have. I have a lot of stuff. Most of it is back in storage right now. Troy and I are still roommates since I don’t have a job. We have a very tiny apartment that stresses us both out, but Troy is going to buy a house soon and that should make things better. If I can get financial aid for next semester (part of why I’m still unemployed), then I’m going to go to school full-time and not work at all. If the school will still only give me a loan, then I’ll probably stick to part time and get a job. Either way, with rent as high as it is here, it would be difficult for me to do both work and school and make rent, so I’ll be splitting rent with Troy. We’ve been trying to find a house that would work for a roommate situation and we’ve found a few that would work, but there have always been drawbacks, like being able to hear the freeway through the walls, nonexistent kitchens, awful floor plans, the spare rooms being very tiny (which is a problem for me), the neighborhoods not being all that great and having crappy yards (Troy really wants a nice yard). So, we’re still looking. Troy wants me to go look on my own, but I’ve been okay with a lot more houses than he has been and he’s the one buying the house, so I told him it would be better if we went together since he’s the ultimate decision-maker on this one. He’s trying to find a house he can make a profit on or at least break even when he sells it in 4 years, so he’s been pretty picky about the whole process. He did almost put an offer in on one last week, but he doesn’t LOVE the house and kept talking about backing out after making the offer, so we decided it would be best to look around some more. We looked Saturday, Monday and are going back out today. Fun times. I’m tired of looking at houses.

So, yeah, we’re both in this tiny apartment while we’re waiting for him to find the perfect house and there are boxes everywhere. I took all day yesterday and finished repacking what was in the living room and putting away the stuff in the hall closet. I also completely cleaned and organized Troy’s bedroom. Why his room? Well, the past 3-4 days he has been having asthma attacks and trouble breathing. Seriously, our rooms have no adjoining walls, but it wakes me up in the middle of the night when he’s coughing and wheezing. He was frantic a couple nights ago because his inhaler went dry and he didn’t have another one. Or so he thought. He lost one while snorkeling in Thailand (yeah, my thoughts, exactly) and bought a couple extra and I stole one so I could be sure we took an extra on every trip after that. Well, I still had it in my hiking pack. Problem was, I didn’t know where the pack was. haha. I was prepared to tear the house apart to find it, but decided that praying would be much easier. Said a prayer and within 5 minutes I found it. Troy hadn’t believed me when I said I had one, so he was very surprised (and relieved) when I gave it to him. After spending most of Monday night trying different ways to stop an asthma attack, I decided I needed to do a deep clean. I’ve cleaned everything as I take it out of the boxes, but I wasn’t thinking about all the dust and garbage being spread around as I open new boxes. So, I cleaned every surface in the apartment and did a detailed cleaning of his bedroom. He was so happy when he got home from work that he took me out to dinner and was going to stop for ice cream, but I was too full. I had originally told him he got to cook dinner because I was so tired and sore and that I didn’t want chicken or rice, so he opted to take me out instead. lol.

One thing that frustrated me about yesterday was the trip to the pharmacy. We stopped by Walgreen’s on the way to dinner so Troy could get some new meds. He’d gone to the doctor yesterday to see about getting another prescription for an inhaler since the one he had was empty and he’d just gotten it a few weeks ago. The doctor was great and gave him a new prescription as well as some other stuff that will hopefully help him not be so sick, but when we went to Walgreen’s, we couldn’t get half of it. Troy’s stupid insurance company won’t let him get the inhaler or all of the meds the doctor prescribed. The doctor wrote him a 90-day script, but the insurance company would only allow a 30-day fill. So dumb. Troy’s pretty upset about the inhaler mess (something about a patent change with O2 instead of CO2 and the insurance only covering CO2, which they don’t make anymore? i’m not entirely sure what was going on with that, just that they wouldn’t let him have one) and is going to call his insurance company AGAIN today to see if he can get his inhaler. I think it’s stupid they won’t let him have it. We’re both pretty certain his insurance company is being stupid because of this new healthcare disaster, but who knows.

Other than that, life has been pretty quiet. I spend my days trying to make this place more livable and doing homework. I’m happy to have a dishwasher back, but it seems to take so much longer to do dishes and I ended up hand-washing half of it just to get it done. I was excited to have my washer and dryer back, until I used the washer and it acted like it was on crack. Dang thing wobbled out of the laundry area and into the kitchen. lol. I told the repair guy that it was dancing around the room and he laughed. It’s pretty accurate, though. Crazy, drug-induced dancing. Thankfully I found my warranty papers and it’s still covered until April of next year, so the repairs are all free. The shocks have gone bad, so once they get the shocks they’ll come back and fix it. They were going to come tomorrow, but they only ordered one shock, so now they have to wait for the other three to come in. We have an appointment scheduled for Monday and I’m hoping the parts come in before then. Otherwise I’ll have to wait until Thursday. The laundry facility for out complex is across the sidewalk from our door, so it’s not a far walk, but the washing machines are pretty dirty. They were all filled with leaves and sticks last weekend and Troy was a gentleman and cleaned it all out so I wouldn’t jack up my back.

I’ve been having a lot of problems with my back since we got here. Too much lifting and bending at awkward angles. There was one day I couldn’t do anything at all because my back hurt too much. It’s frustrating when there is so much to be done and not being able to do it. But the house is pretty much as done as it can be, so I don’t have to worry about that so much anymore. I laid on the floor for a while last night and did some of my physical therapy exercises and that helped. I’ve been neglecting my exercises mostly because there hasn’t been room on the floor for me to lay down and do them, but things are organized and cleaned up now, so I have plenty of room to to my exercises. Yay! Now I just need to get off my lazy bum and do them. haha

For lack of a cohesive transition, I’ll just jump right into a summary of my Utah visit. It was nice to be home for a few weeks before moving to Oregon. It was a really great trip and I got to spend a lot of time with my family. I was also able to do my History midterm (100%!!), which I’d been stressing about. The midterm was smack in the middle of the date range we’d been given for when we’d be flying back to the US, so I was pretty nervous about missing it. Thankfully, Troy was able to tell the lady we wanted to fly back at the beginning of the range we’d been given and they were happy to arrange that for us. I was able to arrive in Utah a few days before my midterm and have time to adjust a little before going to take my test. Other than that, I did a lot of running errands and just doing random things with my family. It was really nice and I’m glad I was able to go. The only down side was that my uncle died while I was there, though it was nice that I was able to see him the hour he died. I got to be there for the funeral and then go out to the ranch my dad spent half of his growing up life on. We haven’t been out there since I was a teenager, so it was one of those silver lining things.

One of the other nice things about being in Utah was that I got to spend my birthday with my family. Minus Chris, who is in England. I haven’t spent a birthday in Utah since 2004. In 2005 I was visiting my brother in Miami and after 2006 I was either in Virginia or Oklahoma. I almost got to spend my 2007 birthday in Utah, but we changed our plans and didn’t leave for Utah until a few days after. So, it’s been a long time. I really enjoyed being able to have our traditional birthday dinner at Pancho & Lefty’s. My sister’s birthday is 20 days before mine, so we had a combined birthday dinner, though I got the birthday song and free ice cream since my sister had done that with friends on her birthday.  It was a lot of fun and I’m really happy we were able to do that.

Overall, I’m a bit torn about being back in the US. I love the exotic life and atmosphere of Malaysia and the friends I made there, but I like how familiar things are in the US. I also like being closer to my family. Instead of a 14 hours time difference and 27-hour flight, there is a 1 hour time difference and 5 hour flight. Much easier. I’m also happy about the dishwasher. Now that all the dishes are cleaned off after being boxed for a year, it’s much nicer using the dishwasher. Once my washing machine gets fixed I’ll be happy about that, too. I can get TONS more laundry done at once with this machine than the one in Malaysia. Oh! And the shower! I love being able to take an instant hot shower instead of having to flip a switch and wait 25 minutes.

That being said, there is still a part of me that yearns to go back. I’m not entirely sure why. Even though we had some strange things to deal with (no hot water in the kitchen, non-existent customer service, language barrier), I loved it there. I loved the parks and the heat and the beautiful buildings. I loved all the Muslim women in their beautiful headscarves. I loved the history and most of the culture. I loved how unique it was there. It was a really great experience and I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to live there. I don’t know when I’ll ever have the opportunity to go back, but I do want to.