Another Year Older, A Lot Stronger

I find birthdays to be a good time to evaluate my life, where I have been and where I am going.  As I turn 35, I am going to allow myself some time to be damn proud of myself over what I have done since I turned 34.  Yeah, I have made mistakes, big ones.  I still am surprised some days that I am allowed to be a mother, a wife, surprised that some people choose to call me their friend, that my family shows me so much love.  However, I think that this past year for me was based on strength and I feel that overall, I am STRONG!

We saw our marriage through the toughest patch we have yet encountered.  We successfully packed up our home, going through each and every possession and either packing it in luggage or shipping boxes, selling it, giving it to friends, donating it, or trashing it.  We said good-bye to so many people and so many things we cherish. We moved our little family to the other side of the globe, and have completed all the necessary paperwork to give ourselves a legal life here.  We have bought all new ‘necessities’ to create a new home.  We took up residency in another country, where the boys and I have to re-learn every little thing we do, differently—how people speak, what they say and mean, what foods we eat, how we celebrate holidays and special times in our lives, how we drive, how we do business, where we go and what we do each day….  We saw our son through a significant surgery, while we packed up his things and moved him out of his home as he recovered. 

All of these require strength.  We are all here.  We are all healthy.  We are all figuring it out.  We get down, but we keep trying.  We have made friends.  I am remaining close to my family and friends that are now far away and still rely on them for support.  My husband and my sons love me, and I know how to make each of them smile.  So, yeah, I think I had a good year.  I think I showed strength.  I think I deserve some time to be proud!

I still cry, several times a week in fact.  We did not get any of those houses we applied for.  In fact, we actually were called yesterday morning to say we did get the final one we had been waiting to hear from.  We all got so excited; I cried tears of joy; my mind starting planning and organizing everything I needed to do in the next five days to get us ready.  Then, early in the afternoon, we received another call that the house was no longer available.  The owner had agreed to rent it to us, but this afternoon had decided to take his house off the market and renovate it.  Just like that—-poof!  We are back to square one.  The process of renting in this country is shocking to me, and even though, I am back to starting another search, it is a process I hope not to repeat soon.  It sucks!!!! 

Steve started work on Wednesday last week, and is glad to be back teaching.  He is very positive about the job and is dealing with the long commute well so far, as are we.  People are coming back after their holiday vacations (or holiday holidays, as I guess they would say here!), and now that Steve is back to work, the boys and I are starting to get a few invitations during the days, and groups are starting back up again to give us ways to entertain ourselves.  We have definitely passed by the lonely period of previous weeks, which is great. 

I took Drew to the Chipmunks movie last week.   It was fun to have a ‘date’ with my baby, although the movie was pretty painful to sit through!  I also took him to the dentist for a check up.  Another completely different experience in the medical field.  When they called us back, it was the dentist himself and the hygienist, and the entire cleaning and check up was done by the dentist.   And it took all of seven minutes!  The only thing similar was the cost—without any private coverage, $95.

My birthday on Saturday was a truly lovely, blessed day.  Thanks to technology, friends and family near and far absolutely showered me with loving wishes and brought joy to my heart.  My boys were so precious and excited in the morning, and at about 7:15, we had a celebration in our bed.  Drew sang his little heart out looking me right in the face and was adorable.  I opened some fun presents and then he started ‘wrapping’ whatever he could find in the house in blankets and bringing it to me as ‘more presents’.  He also brought me ‘more cards’, finding previous letters from my parents to bring me.  Some friends here let us bring our boys over to play with their boys (all four really enjoy each other) and they watched them all so that Steve could take me out to breakfast.  We went to a cafe on a harbor, and got to sit outside looking at the bay, watching the boats and relishing the sea breeze floating past.  It was a gorgeous day and a great way to relax and enjoy each other.  Then I was able to talk to my parents and one brother on Skype.   Then we went down the street to our neighbours’ bbq for their 2-year-old’s birthday.  Again, I enjoyed just being outside ALL day, and they were kind enough to get me a cake as well, and had everyone sing to their daughter and then to me.   The next day, I was fortunate enough to have the feeling continue, as it was the 21st in the U.S. now and warm loving messages on facebook, email and Skype continued to fill my heart.  I am so blessed to have people that love me so much—it is unbelievable to me! 

Drew has been asking me this past week to move back to Colorado.  He told me he misses his grandparents; he misses ‘his life’ and friends.  It makes me feel awful.  One day we had a heartwarming talk about it all though.  I reminded him of all the fun things we get to do here that we couldn’t do in Colorado—the beach, the water, the different animals.  We talked about new friends he has made here, and that made him pause and ask me ‘How do you make friends?’, which brought up more interesting conversation.  I also told him how most people are either just American or just Australian and that we have the great fortune to be both, to get both experiences and that makes us very lucky.  He seemed to like that. 

Now, back to the housing search…….I need to talk about all the strength I have gained this past year, because if I don’t, I will focus on the feeling that I believe I will truly go crazy if we are not able in the next few weeks to settle in to a ‘home’ our own, have privacy, be able to feel comfortable, be ourselves.  I can’t allow myself to think like that—-I need strength!!

(It is Tuesday morning here, and after I finished this, I went to get Zach out of bed, as he had been singing for awhile.  Drew is still cosy in his bed and it is raining buckets here—has been for the last two days and when it rains here, it RAINS.  Zach greeted me with a smile that could light up a room, and in his almost-2-year-old voice said ‘Beautiful morning’, repeating a song I often use when I greet them in the mornings.  That, right there, is where I get my strength.)

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