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The ebb and flow of life here in Oregon is slower, a little more laid back than Phoenix. I think it's being closer to nature. When you live in a place that isn't manufactured, but actually integrates with nature, you can't help but reflect that in your daily life. People are out walking dogs, and willing to say hello and talk for a bit. Back home people are nice, but generally you have to be the one to extend the initial greeting and that's about all you would get from the interaction.

It's also super easy to get dairy substitutes and vegan options here, which I find very exciting. I went to a vegan coffee shop the other day, and the muffins were amazing. I am allergic to dairy, and it's become super irritating to me. I hate being the person with issues and having to explain or ask what's in things. So not having to say anything at all is a nice change. While I am resistant to becoming a full blown Vegan, I really like certain things about it. I jokingly say I'm a meat eating vegan. I've thought about creating a moniker for people like me....maybe I'd call us Me-Gans, but I'd probably offend someone.

That's another thing here...I've run into quite a few people who act like they are tolerant, but they aren't as tolerant as they think they are, or would like you to believe. Personally, I can still like you even if you don't agree with me, as long as you aren't obnoxious about it. I think we can agree to disagree. However, here, heaven forbid if you have a differing view on any hot button topic. They become visibly offended. While this doesn't represent everyone here, I feel like I have to be somewhat careful in testing out the conversations with new people. I'm starting to feel like I'm living in a strange version of The Emperor's New Clothes, and not the Disney version.

All that being said, I'm sure it's just an adjustment period. I think it's to be expected since I just stepped out of cookie cutter-ville. It was the land of suburbia...planned communities and soccer moms. Even I could admit that, on the surface, we all looked somewhat alike, and I admit, I kind of liked the comfort of that.

It's a rainy day today, and we are ensconced at home with the heater on, a sure sign that we are not completely acclimated yet. As mentioned, I'm still feeling a little like a fish out of water, while my husband thinks everything is the best ever and is happily running amok. I think he's finally realizing that I may not be as happy as he is, however, I find myself starting to have a more positive view of things. I think this is partly linked to the fact that I am finally starting to feel better. That, along with several beautiful sunny days, is definitely improving my mood.

Last night my husband and son lit the fire in the fireplace. It was wonderful! All of us snuggled around the fireplace with dogs and blankets. It made for a cozy scene straight out of a Norman Rockwell picture. Moments later however, things took a turn. It wasn't until the smoke detectors went off throughout the house and everyone was scurrying around in a panic, that we remembered that flues existed. It was funny, and fairly typical of us. All of us were racing around slinging open doors and windows, and fanning the various smoke detectors. Dogs were howling... it was quite chaotic. I'm sure the neighbors were probably wondering what in the world was going on.

We all ended up laughing. It is, and will continue to be, a funny memory. Leaving our comfort zone has created daily learning opportunities!

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