I am sitting in a hotel room with a very big stomachache.

Jonathan and I traveled west to save money on our dogs teeth cleaning and ended up in Dixon, Illinois. We were so excited to see what we consider to be normal sized people and normal types of stores and restaurants… and affordable housing and food. We reminisced about what life was like back in North Carolina…while at the same time I struggled internally with all of the things that I am happy to have left there.

We found a carryout order sheet in the hotel drawer and ordered a fried appetizer combo filled with fried mushrooms cheese, pickles, and fries. At first it was amazing. I haven’t eaten food like that in like, a year.

But soon after only a few bites, really, my stomach started yelling at me to stop.

How soon we forget the effects of such things that we are not used to. And as I sit here with my stomach upset I wonder how was this ever normal? And what does this say about what my new normal is?

I guess I am somewhat proud to announce that we did not even finish half of the appetizer (though I hate wasting food).

Tomorrow while the dogs are getting their procedures done Jonathan and I will go out and explore the town of Dixon. Jonathan has already said ten times at least that he wants to move here one day. It is a small quiet town with not much going on. The vet tech even laughed when I asked her if she had any suggestions for what we could do while we are here.

Yet there is a strong sense of familiarity, like it’s the closest thing to where we used to live. I think we both miss “home” more than we ever admit. We are making the best out of where we are and whatever comes. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the wonderful people we have formed relationships with here. But sometimes the lack of “normal” is overwhelming. So many new things all the time. Such a large place to get to know.

But eating this fried food has helped me to realize that perhaps going back would not seem normal either.

Here’s to making our new normal… whatever that may be….