Saturday, June 18, 2011

Culture Shock Hits the Ecovillage's Poster Child...

...or, Miss Whiny-pants vents a bit.

And you may ask yourself

What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself

~Talking Heads, Once In a Lifetime

I'm home from a two week trip to California and Oregon, and am suffering from culture shock. Culture shock, weather shock, grocery store name it, I'm spazzing out about it.

One would think that after 12 years of ecovillage life in the rural Midwest I'd be somewhat accustomed to wild mood swings following visits to the "outside world." But each time I feel less like either place is home, and more adrift and lost than ever. The Bay Area feels even faster, more expensive and relentless than it did 12 years ago. And Rutledge, Missouri seems hotter, sweatier and more enmeshed than ever. What's a girl to do?

My Northern California experiences leave me breathless and wanting more of the life I used to have - dinner at Chez Panisse (thanks Kate!); shopping at Monterey Market, where one can choose (for example) from five (five!) types of organic strawberries, all grown in California; a breathtaking drive up Highway 1, with stops along the way at a variety of beaches and redwood forests; walking to small, local restaurants; hanging with friends. Even the music on the radio was a welcome change - there was actually a choice broader than Classic Rock vs. Jesus.


The good news: fresh raspberries, fireflies, great interns, an ever-changing array of wildflowers. My husband and my dog love me. The Mercantile guests provide a refreshing change of perspective. My women's group is happy to have me home (shameless plug: read an article I wrote about the group here).

The bad news: I am tired, and feel desperately in need of a change. I need more fun, more creativity, and more JUICE.

Am I considering buying a gas-guzzling SUV, campaigning for Sarah Palin or carrying Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child? Nope. But something's gotta change. And soon.

Stay tuned.