Moving day is coming. We are entering our final month in South Asia. We are scheduled to fly out the first week of August. This little apartment has been our home for a few months shy of 5 years. It is the only house my boys remember.
There are, always, in these transition seasons a mix of emotions. This is no exception. There is a lot to look forward to. There is a lot to say farewell to also. And then there's the packing. Remember my resolution to only take 2 boxes of books? I've already weighed the ones I picked off the shelves….and they are way over 100 pounds. I have some work to do.
The boys have taken to packing little bags and suitcases during their rest time in the afternoon. They have a stockpile of toys all tucked away in their "trunkis" just waiting to roll through the airport. They were missing clothes for a while and I found them stashed away in suitcases, ready to go. We're still working on time concepts…so Silas, in particular, seems to always think we're moving "tomorrow."
One of the things I love about our transitional life is that it helps me think about what I really want to hang onto long term. There's no way to just shuffle it from one place to the next without seriously considering if it is worth the trouble to hang on to it. This helps me keep things more lightweight. And I think that's helpful in today's world.
Here's a little jewel I carted across the ocean and hope will still hang in my kitchen when I am old.
Friends of ours came to Louisville one week way back when. The husbands took a class together and every day at lunch we would all gather around our little table to talk theology in that sweet yellow kitchen. Michelle, ever an artist, painted our kitchen as a thank you gift for our hospitality. Still one of my favorite gifts I've received.
I don't think any watercolor artists have visited my house lately, so my hopes of a repeat gift are slim. But I did pull out that ole Waterlogue app this week to make myself a little reminder of all the fellowship these five years have brought around my South Asia table. This frame will join the other in Europe. A reminder to me of the days in this season of life, so full of friendships that I will miss.
I thought it was time for a few tidbits from our life. I wish you could see us in action over here. Not our smoothest season…but definitely full of spice!
1. Euro 2016 inspired some serious soccer playing in our world.
I had to make them take their shin guards off to sleep last night. I think we're heading to the right country.
2. We have been on generator power for 27+ hours now. This means no oven, fridge, washing machine, hot water, toaster, hair dryer, air conditioner. And it is raining. So we feel kind of soggy. Our stove top is gas, so we can cook. The generator allows enough power for one light and one fan, per room. This is great. I am trying to practice gratitude. Lots of people live with this kind of power all the time.
What is causing me the most stress though is that if you forget and turn on more lights or fans or accidentally try to put a piece of toast in…the whole system blows and you have to reset. You get 3 "resets" before they cut your generator power totally. We're on number two. Yikes. So I am diving onto light switches that little fingers flip and patrolling fan speeds compulsively.
3. I got to see an old college friend last week. It was seriously refreshing. We realized that we've known each other for 18 years now. Long friendships are such a gift.
4. We're having a renaissance of Manner's Monday in our house.
You all definitely know by now that I do love a good podcast. My list is ever longer these days. I have a friend from home who recently started her own little show. And I admit that when I listened to the first episode full of the banter of two hilarious friends that I grew up with, I sat on my bed 7,000 miles away and felt like I'd gone home.
Not long ago, she interviewed another home town girl, who just released a new Lettering Prayer Journal. It's definitely on my to-give list this year! While I am a long way from calligraphy pens and shipping, the episode inspired me to take up my colored pens and spend a bit more time meditating on the Word as I write verses out. Maybe one day, I'll order that calligraphy pen.
What I love about both these stories...a podcast by a friend, a lettering prayer journal...is the bravery I think it took to try something new. To put themselves out there to sink or swim in a new area. I wouldn't list bravery on my top qualities. But I admire it. It encourages me to be braver.
If you want to hear a new story or two, listen up. And who knows...you might hear a familiar voice or two:)
We jumped through the last waves, loaded up the bags and made it to our 3 AM flight.
We did. We accidentally booked a red eye.
We were all awake from 11:30 PM last night until 8 AM this morning with only a brief nap by the Ash-man. The boys fell asleep within 5 minutes of the car ride home. During the adventure, we had one vomiting child. The stroller was confiscated for the 1.5 hour line in immigration. And we almost missed our connecting flight. We literally ran to our gate, and definitely were "those people" who skip line in the security check. But, we made it. It might have been a little intense.
This is the stuff that family memories are made of though, right?!
Today I had to go to a government office to try and get a rather illusive document that we need for our visa application. When this document finally arrives with every signature and stamp in place, I will probably kiss the hand that delivers it.
But today, it remained illusive.
I took the early train across town alone in hopes of getting it all worked out by 10am. This false expectation was, perhaps, part of the problem.To write the details of this painfully inefficient ordeal would be...well, painful. Let's just say, we've been working on this for weeks. Hubs bears the brunt of the work. And I suppose today I proved that he does so with good reason.
In one of my better cultural moments, after being unable to ascertain a sufficient course of action after several inquiries, I burst into tears in a room of around 20 asian men. They were shocked, shocked and distressed, by my outburst.
We are not talking about a few tears, or even an angry-tearful exchange in light of my frustrations. We are talking --uncontrollable tears streaming down my face no matter how helpful, chivalrous and efficient the onlookers then became. Everyone in the crowded room quickly became fully aware of the weeping lady. It. Was. Awful.
Eventually, I was assisted in every way possible, including a personal escort across the 8 lanes of traffic I needed to cross to purchase a demand draft and get a notary stamp. The very kind gentleman stopped the 8 lanes by holding up his hand, as I walked sobbing beside him. I'm not exaggerating, friends. It was terrible.
By the time hubs showed up, 3 kids in tow with his own form (which had been postponed and the cause of our separate exchanges) my eyes were dry. Though it took all my self restraint.
Needless to say, I waited in the car while hubs completed the rest of the paperwork.
Have I mentioned we are leaving for a mini-vacation at the beach next week?
Have I mentioned that things have gotten a little competitive around our boy-house this summer? We've instituted family game times with the express purpose of learning how to lose well. It is hard on these little men. They just love to win.
Believe it or not, we are making serious progress in the post-game congratulations and finishing a game even when losing looks inevitable. This is tough work. I am finding though that no matter how many game days we have: these boys were made to compete. I can't drive that out of them. They just need to be taught to do it in the right way. Gracious winning is as tough as losing.
Today, a book was written about the winning hockey tournament game from the parking lot. Shew. Still got some work to do.
Title: HOCKEY, How Jude Won the championship against Yuvan by nine to ten.
Does anyone else completely forget what baby stages are like until they arrive again? I had forgotten about this phase.
Asher took the internal cues though and is fully embracing the age of destruction.
If I let him play in the cabinets to buy myself 5 minutes to cook, the price he requires is 10 minutes in post-play clean up time. It's like baby bartering.
This morning within a 10 minute span, he poured out the spaghetti noodles, moved to the fridge where he dumped out the pomegranate seeds and then ran off with the cocoa tin. I would like to write that he doesn't seem aware that he's wreaking such havoc...but honestly, it appears to be part of the appeal.