Episode #53: Real Talk – Life Back in the States

Real talk with Caitlin Ball, posing in front of the Eiffel Tower

If you know me, you know my husband and I spent the last six years living in Switzerland. Now that we’re back…everyone wants to know how it’s going. Here are some of my top take aways as I consider the transition from Switzerland to California. (Prepare for some real talk!)

Real Talk on Home Ownership

After a bit of shuffling around & vacationing we were able to purchase a home, and we’ve started moving in. Technically we live there now, but there are still boxes here, there, and everywhere!

A few thoughts on home ownership – I get why people DON’T go that route! It’s a lot of work to keep up with everything when there is never a landlord to call. It’s also tempting to fill your house with so much stuff, and we’re trying to fight that bug. All that aside, however, it’s so fun to have a home that is ours!

Europe showed us that you can live in a smaller space, with less stuff, and fully relish every moment. We intend to keep doing just that!

I have lots of renovations I would love to do (especially in the kitchen), but I’m so grateful to live in our new home, with all it’s quirks and funny little characteristics.

Real Talk on So Many (Loud) Messages

Everything from my son’s daycare to Target to the grocery store seem to be selling the message of more, More, MORE! (More toys, more stuff, more food and diet options.)

I’ve been finding that I definitely need to be checking in with myself to make sure that I don’t get sucked in. And then, of course, there are the commercials and media that are always sharing about diets, losing weight, and “fixing” your body!

On top of all that, America is kind of loud. I think I feel that way for two reasons:

American’s typically talk louder in public places than people in European countries.

When we lived in Switzerland I didn’t understand the language so it was easier for me to treat it a bit like white noise. I definitely know English, and I’m seriously having trouble tuning it out!

Real Talk on Serving Sizes

Wow! In the US it’s more affordable to eat out, and the portion sizes are so much larger! I find it really hard to finish the portions I’m being served. I also feel bad when I’m not able to bring it home (if I’m not headed straight home or the food won’t pack well).

In Switzerland, restaurant portion sizes were usually around the amount I actually wanted to eat. I’m definitely understanding why so many of my American clients would bring up eating out as a struggle.

I’ve been trying to split meals, order lunch sized portions, and find other creative ways to enjoy my meals out. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed with the size or obligated to try and actually eat it all.

The access to so many baked goods has been super fun too. It’s also brought me back to the need to release restrictions and enjoy things. (Back to step one!)

At first I was eating multiple bagels a week (I love them and didn’t have as much access), and now that’s starting to taper off a bit. I know I can get them any time, and I trust that my body will let me know when I actually want a bagel. It will also tell me when I’d rather have a smoothie or something that will energize me in a different way.

Real Talk on Sports & Transportation

America has so many sports! I’m more of an out-and-about person, especially on Sundays, but I’ve been having to adapt a bit to my husband and friends who want to celebrate their favorite teams.

It’s one more area I think I’ll be working to find a happy balance!

And speaking of being out and about…

Public transportation in Europe was so CLEAN and easy to use. BART…not so much.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment to get used to streets that need to be repaired, public transportation that’s less than ideal, and the general level of dirtiness. I’ve heard a number of people who have spent time in Europe comment on these differences, and I’d have to say they may be one of the more noticeable (and difficult) day to day challenges of coming back to America.

Real Talk on Simple Exchanges with Family & Friends

I hadn’t realized how much I missed simple, easy interactions with people.

Those things just didn’t happen as much in Switzerland (a combination of the culture and the language barrier). I love that I can chat with people at the store or on the street, and that people really do notice you and enjoy chatting about their day.

I already have a “Starbucks guy” and he knows my order when I walk in! Those little things have brought me so much joy, and I love it!

And in addition to all those fun little exchanges, we’re closer to family too. Seeing Cooper with real family has been phenomenal – he can sense the deep love they have for him and it just lights him up. As a mom, that is absolutely priceless. In fact, I was able to go to New York last week and enjoy every moment, because I know that between his dad and all his family, he was well taken care of. It’s so different than using a childcare service or nanny!

The biggest reason we came back home was this – the ability to be near our family and be blessed by their presence.

Next week is going to be all about dealing with food intolerances, and I can’t wait for you to hear from our amazing guest, Susie Garden! If you want to be sure you don’t miss it, you can join the Intuitive Foodies Community — I’ll post an audiogram and link to the episode when it goes live!

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  1. Oooh, I can relate to some of these including being surprised at the big serving sizes when eating out in the US! How lovely though to be in a place so close to family, especially family who can be around and love on your son!

    xo – Krista

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