Throwback Thursdays: “Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas Anymore.”
6.28.2011 Throwback Thursdays 3.5.2020
Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas Anymore
The idea behind diving deep into my Archives of 9 years ago was to shed some light on not only how much life has changed since then, but also my feelings on it all. I didn’t know the blog would wind up being my own personal online diary, where I could go back and reference points in my life where some of the best and worst moments happened. So todays entry follows that same narrative, a post written 3 weeks after we had moved here to Florida. Everything in BOLD is my response and reaction to it today. Enjoy!
I wake up some days, and I feel like something is off. I feel like I woke up in someone else’s home, and that I borrowed their bed to sleep in for the night. Then there are some days I wake up and I can’t believe I live here, and I can’t wait to start my day. I would ask what is wrong with me, but because some of you may actually tell me the answer to that, I just try to get used to it all. Yes, I still feel like this, 9 years later. Why? Sometimes home is where you grew up, and sometimes it’s the people you have known all your life. So much change happened in our lives in those moments that it’s almost painful to revisit. We were ready for that move and also in way over our head, and that’s the gut honest truth. I don’t know if you’re ever fully prepared for anything like that, but it changed us, and our family dynamic, that if I was given the choice to move at that time again, I would opt for another one instead. It took years upon years to feel not only comfortable in Florida but comfortable in my own skin again. Everything that kept me grounded and settled was left in Wisconsin.
I am trying to find my purpose right now, and that has been a bit of a challenge. I worked almost a full-time job for the last 5 years, and before that I was a full-time at home Mom. Since January I have been prepping for this move, so I have had a main goal and purpose for the last 6 months. Now here, living the dream, I feel almost guilty walking into a Disney Park with no real purpose but to enjoy. Craig has gone back to full-time since the move, so I try to keep the kids out of the house so he can have some quiet while he works. I am doing my best, but some days, it is just cheaper to stay home and swim. I love this blog, I love everything about it. I love being able to meet up with new people, and make connections that I would have normally never had the chance to. I love that I have inspired some of you to follow your dreams- it is SUCH an honor when someone says that. I feel I have some purpose being able to bring you fun things we have discovered here in FL, and share with you our Disney days. But again, I am trying hard to adapt to it all. Purpose…that’s a tough one for all of us, isn’t it? I think sometimes I forget to just “BE.” I am always looking for that next person to connect with or that next adventure to take that I sometimes sincerely forget how to slow down and STOP. Routine has become much better, which helps my focus, and now it’s just helping the kids with theirs. Even though I took a break from the blog back when, I always loved it. I am not a best selling writer, but maybe one day I could be. I enjoy it, and its keeping that at the forefront every day that is sometimes challenging for me. I wind up beating myself up quite a bit for some of the hardships with the schools and experiences for my girls. The guilt is palpable and doesn’t seem to away, just quiets down at times.
Maybe I am trying to avoid the fear I have that this won’t go on forever, that it may all just eventually end. I have had that in my past, where you have that moment of “This is too good to be true, this can’t be real” and I get that a lot here. I have yet to still grasp that we are indeed here- because of the lack of things and such in our home, sometimes Craig feels it has the “feel” of a vacation rental. Like we are just passing through, even though we know we aren’t. Am I just paranoid? Is God telling me something that I am just not listening to? I have no idea. Relocation can bring on MANY insecurities that you had no idea you even had inside you. SO MANY INSECURITIES!!! Half the time I felt like a horrible mother for thinking my kids could handle the schools here, and the rest of the time I felt horrible for trying to make something of a career that people hated me for. Trying to let go of what others thought, said, posted, became this small type of defense mechanism that I tried to get good at. I still work on that to this day.
I am trying to get used to leaving our home without stressing out. I really am not fond of 192, only because the traffic lights seem to be red FOREVER. I am learning that I would rather pay the quarter on the tollway then deal with the business and lights of other main roads. On top of that, our van is STILL giving us problems. It will be great for a couple of weeks, and it started to actually SHAKE on Craig today while he was running an errand at lunch. We can never get it to do it for someone looking to fix it, so I am stressing out a bit about that. Believe it or not, I can find WDW so quickly and easily, that it is almost comforting at this point because I know what I am doing there. When I am in WDW, I feel like I am home and that everything is ok. It’s actually after I leave property and have to find my way home among the craziness of traffic that I’m not used to, yet. I know, I have only been here 3 weeks, it will all come in time, but these moments of fear really get to me. First of all, only a quarter? Tolls have gone up considerably since then. Second, 192 is still horrible and it’s not just the red lights, it’s the horrendous traffic. Accidents every day keep me away from it now. We eventually got rid of the van, and got a new car.
I sometimes ask myself “What would you be doing in WI right now if you were there?” and honestly, the answer would probably be “nothing.” During the summer, I would swim with the girls, go to Bristol Renn Faire, hang out with my parents, and just chill out. Being here seems like an endless Disney vacation, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a very different thing. So when your life is ABOUT the Theme Parks, you can’t be surprised that it always feels like a vacation- THIS I had to understand and make peace with. Also when you move, you think you will take your routines and habits with you, which is just not reasonable. It’s a new home, in a new city, in a new state, with new places to food shop and fill your gas tank-EVERYTHING is different. You almost have to wipe the slate clean with a cross country move because it IS going to be life changing and brand new. I should’ve embraced the change more and then maybe it would have been a bit more fluid. To many times I thought “Well, what would it be like in WI” and that was just realistic thinking but pointless. Being open to the new is my advice- let that old go.
I find that I want to spend more money here than I ever wanted to in WI- when you don’t have the ease of buying it because it’s “Out of sight, out of mind” it’s easier to hold onto your money. But attending the Parks every other day, especially the kids, are tempted to want and want when we go to visit. They have the same allowance they had when we lived in WI, so they have had to learn to budget it for what they truly want to buy. Occasionally I will pony up money for something unique and special, but when you can buy a case of Coke or Water in the store for what they charge for one bottle in the Parks, that part has gotten much easier. When we are in WDW, we FEEL like we are on vacation. When you feel like that, you also feel like you should have the vacation money to go with it- but we don’t. We have the “Living on a Budget” money and have to live within our means to enjoy the house we have in the state we wanted to live in. A common issue many new transplants face living a theme park life- you are tempted by every souvenir on the planet. With every Festival and Faire, it’s a special pin, a popcorn bucket, a shirt, or ears. Yes, oh yes, it is addicting as hell. Of course it is, we are surrounded by it.
I won’t lie to you, I have had those moments of “What was I thinking?” and then one of you sends a kind comment, or a meet and greet appears out of nowhere, or my husband hugs me and lets me know it will be ok. I know, why should I be comforted, when this was our dream? I can’t say this enough, NOTHING comes without a price. Nothing comes without sacrifice and hard work, nor the sharp edge of reality. There are things I DO miss about WI, but because they were of the safe and comfort nature. I am happy to have so much to do here and I am never bored, but I do miss the small things like running to the store I knew so well up the street, or the Mall that I could run in and know where everything was. I miss running to Bath and Body for my lotions, or even the gas station because it was familiar to me. Here, everything is unfamiliar and, at times, can just be nerve wracking. Again, it has taken many, many years to feel comfortable on getting around my area and Disney. I don’t think Craig or Emily want to be in Florida at all, that they have been waiting to exhale for some time now. Yes, others have helped along the way to make me and us feel better about the move, but it was a huge turning point in our lives, and so even though I shared it with you, it still is a very personal thing for us.
My hope, is that with time, this all gets easier. I want to get the kids in their schools and for them to be happy about it, and for Emily to not be teased because of her eye. Summer is easy in a sense because I get to protect them both before the really hard stuff starts, and I want NOTHING but for them to be OK. If my dream, our dream, hurts them in any way in the educational department, I will truly feel like I have failed them, and I just can’t let that happen. Yep, I would feel later that I failed them. Still do. Schools here are terrible, and I just didn’t know what we were all in for. I am just glad they are both out of school now and that hellish chapter is over.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy we did this. I haven’t lived in a home in years, and I am happy that my family has been blessed with many new things, places, and people. I just feel like I am truly Dorothy in the land of Oz right now, but there is no going back to Kansas anymore. Oz is home now, and I am happy it is, I just wish I could get used to it a lot faster than I am. If I have learned anything in this Relocation so far, is that every day is filled with a different road, person, and experience. I am trying to dance on the Yellow Brick Road as much as I can, and even when I stumble, I know I have a lot of support to keep moving forward with. As Dorothy sings “If happy little bluebirds fly, why oh why can’t I?” The irony that I would quote from one of my all-time favorite movies and then later drive through Kansas in 2018 and check out the OZ Museum is honestly pretty cool. Listen, I’m not saying this was all doom and gloom, I am being honest that some of my choices were crap. I’m ok to admit that because the good Lord made me human, and humans make mistakes. Life has it’s Seasons, and that was a rough one for us. BUT there have been beautiful ones since then, and we all know you have to “Keep Moving Forward.” Keep moving on my loves!
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