I've changed. Of that I have absolutely no doubt. Living in Barcelona has changed me in more ways than I can count. And I'm constantly curious about what changes are permenant and what ones are based solely on my current environment.
I live the life mas tranquila in Barcelona. I don't function at the cheetah's pace but perhaps more of a quick snail's pace these days. I still get things done but live my life without the same pressures that I had self induced in the States. There is no need to have 5 loads of laundry, dishes washed, beds made and so much more before 7AM. It's ok if it doesn't get done til mid day. That is sooooo not the old Julie mentality where if I hadn't accomplished everything I needed to before 9AM then the day was an utter failure. I've learned to take the days as they come and to get done what I can and save the rest for another day.
But the moment I set foot on American soil I find that changes. I'm back to the old Julie. The Julie who is up at the crack of dawn with a list of stuff that needs to get done NOW. I'm not sure though if this is the old Julie, or if it is the knowledge that I only have a few precious weeks in which to spend time with loved ones and I just want to get the "other" stuff out of the way so I can enjoy that time. It's really hard to tell. And I probably won't know for sure til we move back for good.
It's not only the old Julie that must accomplish everything, but it's also the go-go-go pace of life that is back. Yesterday I was driving (ahhhh driving, I've missed you) and I got stuck in traffic. I didn't just chill out and wait for it to subside figuring I'll get there when I get there. No, I sat behind the wheel yelling (to no one in particular since the windows were closed) at all the drivers who don't seem to get the concept of driving and why for god's sake are you in the high speed lane if you are only going to drive 55? And for what reason are you not switching lanes asshole if I'm flashing my lights at you - don't you get that I want you to move over so I can pass by??? Yup, the mass-hole is back. With a vengenance. And when I actually had time to reflect back on those moments I realized I've learned nothing in Barcelona about slowing down.
Ok, I've actually learned how to do it, but knowledge and implementation are two different things. Is it that it's just going to take more time living in Barcelona? Or is it that I'm just hard wired to be this way? Or could it be how I conform to my environment? I have had no choice in Barcelona but to chill and let things happen as they happen... nothing gets done quickly and with all stores closed between 2-5, I have no choice but to take a step back and chill.
What I guess I'm most curious about when the time comes to move back is what habits resurface into my life that I had essentially quit. We have seen that my old driving habits have come back and so I'm going to guess those aren't going anywhere. But will I still feel the need to get up at the crack of dawn to get a million things accomplished or will I have learned to take my life slower like I do in Barcelona? Will I need to keep up with the Jones's or will I just accept that we are who we are and be satisfied with that? Will we still spend as much time as a family or will we spend more time with friends (which believe me, I also enjoy...but realized we didn't have a good balance of family/friend time)? Will I continue to work hard at keeping healthy and in shape or will having to drive to the gym deter me from going? And of course, Josh's favorite... will I learn to be more thrifty and to buy less crap because, well, we don't need more crap or will my old shopping habits come back just as quickly as my driving ones (Josh right now is praying that they don't come back)?
I guess like anything else, only time will tell. But being home is a great way to reflect on things that have changed in the last 2 1/2 years and the habits that I'm glad I've moved on from and the ones that just reinforce the fact that this is who I am when I'm here and nothing is going to change that. And in the end, that's ok...after all, old habits die hard.