Getting used to Fahrenheit

It’s been two months now since we moved back, and I’m still getting used to Fahrenheit. I didn’t realize how much I’d adapted mentally to Celsius, since I never really totally understood it beyond “over 10 is ok, over 15 is nice, over 20 is warm, over 25 is hot.”

But really, that’s what you do in Fahrenheit too. “In the 30s and 40s” is cold, 50s ok, 60s nice, 70s warm, 80s hot. It took me awhile to remember this mental shorthand, so I kept all my weather apps in Celsius, and confused my colleagues by saying thing like “oh, 18 tomorrow, great!”

Adapting to pounds has been just as tricky, at least for food purchases. Ordering groceries online means I don’t get to see things first, and I’m always surprised how small 5 pounds of something actually is. Bébé just went to the doctor and he weighs 24 pounds and I’m like… so is that good? Though really, I have no idea what children are supposed to weigh in either pounds or kilos, so I just plugged it into the growth chart and was reassured that he’s following his normal curve. (At least he has managed to avoid bulking up on American food, unlike his parents!)

Centimeters never clicked for me anyway, so talking in feet and inches is at least one thing I’m totally fine with (besides with bébé for the same reason as weight). And I kept baking with American recipes in France, sometimes converting, sometimes using cups and spoons a friend sent over, so that’s been okay. Except milk and juice and things that come in pints and gallons. Bébé’s bottles are in milliliters, so I keep forgetting to do the math before going to the store and either get only enough to last two days, or waaaay too much. And since it isn’t the bricks of everlasting milk like in France, getting too much means we’re wasting quite a bit, which I hate.

Anyway, I just thought it was kind of funny how hard it was 8 years ago to get used to new measurements, and here I am going through the same thing again! An unexpected element of reverse culture shock.

Already two weeks in Massachusetts

… and I can almost spell it without looking it up! (Seriously, how are you supposed to know how to spell it without having grown up here??)

The move up to MA from MD went well. A wonderful and amazing friend drove up with us to help out the first few days. I’m not sure how we’d have done it otherwise, without either actually killing each other or filing for divorce. Moving states is apparently more stressful than moving countries for this family. So hopefully we’ll stick around in Massachusetts for awhile (yay! Didn’t look it up that time!)

We had a week to get settled before I started work, and my husband had an interview that week as well. And he got the job! In terms of timeline for his job hunt, it was a little quicker than mine, but still everything happened once we were physically in the States. So really, we could have spent those last few weeks in France drinking way more wine and sending a lot less applications…

I kept up my weekly DIY last week and made bread for the first time in 8 years (because who bothers to make homemade bread in France?). I made overnight oatmeal during the week, which I’m going to count because this weekend was absolutely gorgeous so I was out exploring rather than spending much time in the kitchen.

Since I can walk to work, my husband will be able to take the bus into Boston for work, and bébé with be at a daycare we can both get to on a bus to/from work, we don’t have a car (we only rented one for the week of the move). So we’ve mostly been exploring our new town on foot, which is just a few miles west of Boston. There’s a trail along the river that goes straight into Boston that I walk along to get to work, and we had a nice family stroll there this weekend. We also checked out a church in a very pretty 20th century building, the library, and a local park. We’ve been meeting lots of friendly people all over the place, so I’m feeling fairly pleased with our choice of town. I did just sign up for Zipcar though, since I know we’re going to want to explore further out in the coming weeks, especially if the weather stays so nice.

Getting used to a new state after being abroad for so long is hard because I can’t use the same references and landmarks. I don’t know what’s good, what’s bad, what’s dangerous, what’s acceptable, etc. But a big reason I took the job I was offered was how insanely nice everyone seemed, and how open and adaptable they were about work/life fit. Support is important when you’re abroad, but I think it’s even more important when you come back. And the support and understanding I’ve gotten after only a week at my new job has made such a huge difference in feeling more settled. Having never worked in the States (besides waitressing and the university computer lab), I can’t say if it’s like that everywhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not like that at most places. So I feel super lucky that this is the kind of job I was able to find!