I started off this week with a positive attitude and a good feeling and it is holding. Last week was definitely one of, if not THE toughest I have had since we arrived here—just kept feeling down in the dumps and homesick, lonely and isolated all week. The boys were in bad moods, too, likely due to the upheaval and change in their lives; Drew did not want to live the house for any reason, and I think we were just all in a tough spot. I am sure the fact that it rained from Thursday through Saturday did not help our cause.
However, on Sunday, I felt us all experience a collective change. The house has really come together; the boxes are unpacked and pictures are on the walls. The sun came out and that morning we took a lovely family walk, exploring our area and finding a nearby ‘main’ street with lots of cafes and shops; it reminded me of Old Town Louisville/Lafayette. We got to relax and rest some, and just spent a mellow day together. Of course, I still miss home and all the people there more than I can express and likely always will. But I am not stuck in that feeling this week. Again, I am thankful for technology enabling me to show vulnerability and then feel the support and love from others through cyberspace.
One thing I have wanted to do for awhile is learn how to meditate. Since my brain is always in overdrive and constantly churning, I feel this practice could be really good for me—help me learn to slow down and live in the moment a bit more. I found a book on it when we got to Australia and am now trying to focus on reading it and trying out the practices. So far I really enjoy it, although I have a REALLY hard time slowing down my thoughts! I hope to take an actual class one day…..
Yesterday my beautiful Drew started preschool. Wow! I know he would have started a program back in August if we had stayed in the U.S., and that the school year here started in January, so he is doing this a month later than other Australian children, and about six months later than U.S. children, but it still feels like it is too soon! How did this happen?! I realized last night that this is only the beginning, from now on, each year he will spend progressively more and more time away from me and the family, and then one day….he will go. Waahhhh!
However, should I feel guilty about the fact that I have REALLY enjoyed these past two days?! What a dichotomy! I can tell Zach has too! And, probably most importantly, Drew has too. That reminds me that it is not too soon—it is time. We are all enjoying this space from each other, for now.
Again, I want to recount his first day, so I don’t forget it. He was so excited that morning, and Steve went with us as well. As we got out of the car, he got very visibly nervous and held my hand and walked bravely in. It is all open air and primarily outside, under cover, and it was a gorgeous day (especially in the shade, somewhat blistering in the sun). The teacher started to show him how to unpack his backpack, where to put it, where to put his lunch, and his afternoon tea, and then she told him she’d show him where to put his shoes. He said he already knew where, and got them off and ran them right over to a basket near the backpacks that I hadn’t even noticed. He then grabbed his hat out of his backpack, noticing that all the other kids had one on (it is a rule here at schools that when playing outside, hats are a must), and was off to play, hardly even noticing us again.
Zach and I did all the grocery shopping for the week at two big, new stores, and he was the best behaved he has EVER been in a store. I had been pretty nervous because typically Drew is pretty well behaved on errands and Zach is a tiny terror. What a switch! When we got home, he ran through the house excitedly, just couldn’t stop zipping around and enjoying all the toys on his own. When we picked Drew up, Drew said to me “Why are you here?” and walked away! He then told me he felt it was too soon to be picked up, although he was clearly exhausted. That evening was a bit rough, but not horrible, and he really slept in this morning. He struggled a bit getting going—he and Zach were both at each other and Steve had to take away their train because they couldn’t stop fighting over it, resulting in a lot of screaming and tears. He told me he didn’t want to go today and I told him that was fine, to get in the car and come run errands with Zach and me. That quickly made him change his mind, and he did well again this morning. This time Zach wanted to stay and play, so we did for a few minutes and Drew enjoyed showing me some of his new skills on all the playground equipment. Zach ran away from me when I told him it was time to go—always cracks me up! But then again, complete angel during our errands and I accomplished SO much!
I am finding my way around much better this week than last. Last Thursday, in the pouring rain, I just kept making one wrong turn after another, angering other drivers in the crazy traffic each time—-it was not empowering. But today, I took a ‘wrong’ turn and realized it was actually a correct turn, just to go in another direction, which I could figure out. Fun! I am also starting to sleep and able to exercise—both very necessary for my mental health!
Steve’s car broke down yesterday and we are considering trying to go down to one car for awhile. It could work for now and be quite a savings. At our bank today, I learned that we have been spending an average of about $50 a month on transaction fees! All because it’s an account Steve has had for years that he reactivated when we moved back and no one felt the need to refresh us on how it worked. This guy today was so helpful and I told him it is amazing how much money can be wasted when moving overseas just on silly mistakes, because you don’t know any better—really mind boggling.
However, all of those other issues are getting worked out in a good way. It is looking very realistic that we may get our money back on the flights to Melbourne, and, if we do, we found another airline where we would spend not much more and hopefully still be able to take the trip. The people on e-bay who sold us the bed apparently just made a mistake, were very contrite and came over yesterday to pick it up and refund our money.
One funny parting note (well, funny to me): I have been wondering for ages why dish towels here are called tea towels and as I was folding some today, fresh from the laundry, it hit me—it is because everything else food-related is called tea, as I have already mentioned. So now, in addition to morning tea, afternoon tea, and tea, you can wipe up all your messes and dry your hands on your tea towel!