Bricolage– I’ve always liked the word. To do it yourself. To create from what is available. To tinker, fiddle, and make do.

An old friend asked me if I was suffering any culture shock coming back to Oregon. I had to think about that question. The big difference between Oregon and England is that one is relatively rought and rugged and somewhat untamed, while the other is throughly developed and cultured and developed. Our feelings in England is that we’re still figuring out the game, and how to enjoy all the villages and history and culture and connections and authorities moving through. In Oregon, our main impression is that of potential, and the ability to build and grow and expand and have and enjoy the environment.

The funny thing is that England is challenging to us, but so is Oregon. I just got done spending two days weed-whacking the beach lot we own in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. It was hard work, and I felt very sore afterwards, and I began to think that I need a vacation from this vacation. At the same time, I spent two days thinking about the lot and what we might build there. Nothing makes sense for it in the present, but in the future we might have a house there, or yurts, or boats, or many things. In a sense, bricolage.

The challenge of Oregon is that these opportunities abound. No sales tax, relatively inexpensive new and used goods (boats, cars, etc.). It’s easy to get caught up in going seven directions at once, and feeling exhausted trying to keep up. That was part of the reason we liquidated so much before going to the UK, except for the beach lot.

In England, our lives are more focused (small flat, no car, work, bicycling to work, 34 foot sailboat), but we don’t have a yard, or land, or many things to care for. That gives us more time for the big thing, the sailboat, and working on mastering our sailing skills. That alone is a healthy, focusing, life-long challenge, and maybe why I like the focus of living in London.

So, that’s the culture shock– so many opportunities, but how to choose. We’ll be back here in the future, and the lot will have something on it that is fun and rewarding to us. Maybe a retirement place, or maybe just to be sold to finance something else.

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