Sunday, May 15, 2016

Re-Entry Observations

Some 'randomness' to start the week off right....

  • Butter stays solid without refrigeration in Colorado.
  • Chips don't get stale if the bag is left open BUT bread gets hard if the bag is left open.
  • Toilet seats are cold in the morning.
  • Speaking of toilets, you can flush paper here. (Caught myself looking for a trashcan in someone's powder room the other day in which to put my toilet paper. That would have been awkward.)
  • The check-out person has no need to touch my credit card....I can swipe it myself...or insert it into the chip reader--which by the way beeps loudly when you need to remove your card.
  • You have to bring your own cart out to the car.
  • There aren't any guards at any of the stores. Cameras suffice. The kids say America must work on the 'honor system.'
  • Water and Sanitation fees are WAY higher here. But then again, you can also drink from the tap.
  • You can cross 'the paint' on the road...mostly. 
  • You can return things...even if you kinda used them. A.MAZ.ING.
  • Decision-fatigue is a real thing. (Just stick with the 'flavor' of Cheerios you know!)
  • It is quiet at night.
  • Hello--daylight savings! It is light out until 8ish!
  • I still reach for the emergency brake where it was in my SUV in Nicaragua. 
  • Left is HOT, Right is COLD--they're not both cold.
  • If you spill sugar or something sweet on the counter--it is not covered with ants within minutes.
  • Irony: expensive avocados and mangos (tiny expensive avocados and mangos) and cheap apples and berries. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bicycles and Memory Investments and A Little Bit of Screaming

Well, you've heard me say [whine, complain, lament] about how we have very little furniture. It is true. We have a budget that we need to adhere to and therefore, it will be a slow process of accumulation.  However, we have spent money on Sunday Fundays and recently we bought used bikes for all five us. So you may ask [wonder, criticize, admonish] us why we have routed funds to 'those' things instead of furniture. 

The answer, I believe, is grounded in relationship and family investment. This time of transition is tough. For all of us--in different ways. Many things have changed. Many things are still unknown. Yet, our anchor is the Lord because He is unchanging. He is faithful. He has given us each other and so we huddle up as a family and work through the transition. Sunday Fundays and outdoor activities, like biking (or indoor activities like movie nights or nerf wars or Wii), are ways to continue to connect as a family. That connection allows us to work through the bumps and blockades of transition TOGETHER in a healthy way. 

I wasn't able to really put all this in words until last night when a friend pointed out that we are INVESTING in MEMORIES (thanks Amber). YES! We ARE investing in memories. The material investment of furniture and decor (and new clothes) can wait.

So, let me leave you with a visual description of a memory my kids will likely carry with them throughout life. 

I mentioned--we all just bought used bikes. That included me

Let me share with you that I haven't ridden a bike since I was about 19 years old...and that didn't go well.  In fact, Jeff and I decided that for the sake our friendship at the time, we shouldn't bike together...perhaps EVER again. 

Before that, when I learned ride a bike as a child, I consistently crashed into the same stump of a tree EVERY time I tried to ride past it. Not kidding. It was pathetic. 

The first time I got a ten-speed bike, I wiped out on a patch of sand and slid into on-coming traffic. 

All that to say, bike riding is NOT in my skill set. You know what though, I LOVE my kids! They wanted to ride to the park to do 'school in the park' the other day. They were all excited that we ALL had bikes. So, I donned the only helmet that was left--which was a toddler-sized helmet. (Oh, and do you know when the last time I wore a helmet was....NEVER...because 'back in my day' we didn't wear helmets.) And OFF WE WENT! 

As we encountered the first downhill leg of our journey, I screamed all the way down, "I AM GOING TOO FAST! I HATE GOING FAST!!!!!!"  The kids thought this was hilarious! Glad I could provide some humor to this wretched field trip! 

We rode again today. I didn't scream this time. I am making progress. It is ALL a process after all.

[Enjoy some snapshots of this expedition below.]

My Bike. It has 18 gears. I know how to use 2 of them.

School in the Park

My Toddler-Sized Helmet. Notice the Goodwill price tag--classy!

Seeing this view on the way home makes me smile. T
he kids like to stop and just look--which makes me happy and
gives me a chance to kinda catch my breath.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I think it's because...

"So, can you, um....."
"Hey Andrew, can you do the, um, the...."
"Ella, did you get the the the...."
"Noah, where did you put, um..."
"Does anyone know what...."

That's right. I didn't finish my sentences. Seems to be a regular occurrence with me. It is driving my kids CRAZY!

So, I can't blame it on pregnancy brain. I don't have toddlers anymore, so probably not accurate to blame "Mommy Brain".  I am forty years old...but I think it is a little early to be blaming this issue on age. I am blaming it on TRANSITION.

Let me tell you friends, TRANSITION is no joke! My mind is in a million different places at once. (Ok, as a female, it is often in about 100,000 places but still...). I am not sure I can explain it all! It is a bizarre phenomenon. I even spell simple, often-used words incorrectly. I tried to do a little research about it. I didn't come up with much. Perhaps there is a neuro-scientist out there that wants to study the effects of cross-cultural re-entry on the brain--and for an added level of study--the female brain in particular!

I have been far less organized than usual (some of you may be giggling with delight over this!) My house is a M-E-S-S most of the time thanks to my (and everyone's) inability to completely finish a task. Here are some pictures (read totally revealing photos) to prove it and subsequently thrust me into a full-blown 'smashing the pride' moment. [Ok, granted, to defend myself, we have very little furniture or practical methods of organization. The majority of what we own right now is Rubbermaid bins. I use a Rubbermaid bin as my bedside table, file cabinet, desk and shoe bin. Jeff is using a plastic bag as a sock drawer.]

The state of my bedroom (and house at large) on any given moment. 

Life in transition. It is messy. REALLY MESSY--physically and emotionally. My mind is still processing our departure from Nicaragua. I have many default instincts based on living in a tropical country for five years. (I checked my shoes for cockroaches the other day--I have yet to see anything more than tiny house spiders in our home--not too many insects live at 7200 feet.) I am still processing our arrival to Colorado. It is a totally new place for us and I am still in a bit of 'awe' that we live here. I've made more U-turns than I'd like to admit. The GPS has had to 'recalculate' quite often.  In fact, I talk to myself about directions while I am driving. Andrew finally said the other day while driving with me, "Mom, are you talking to ME and asking ME questions? Or are you JUST talking to YOURSELF?!? Because I can't tell and it is starting to frustrate me!"

Transition has also zapped me of much of my creativity, as well as my humor. I WANT to blog about our re-entry. Yet, I get stuck. My thoughts go everywhere at once.

I have little bandwidth for relationship outside my immediate family. I want to be a part of community (I certainly miss my Nica Community something' fierce) but I don't have the emotional capacity to 'enter in.' Like many things, it takes time, I am learning.

As someone who depends on and needs order and routine, this transition gig is tough. It is yet another opportunity to lean hard into God. It is an opportunity to extend grace to myself and accept God's grace for the day. It is an opportunity to grow in flexibility and patience (with myself). It is an opportunity to LEARN TO ACCEPT THE PROCESS.  There are lessons to be learned in the process. There is growth in the process. There is BEAUTY in the process.

If this was too random or disorganized...I think it's because....OF TRANSITION. Just sayin'.