“Are You a Yank?”

Asked the toothless older gentleman in the church parking lot after answering my questions.  This was my “You sound funny; you’re no local” reminder for the week.  I finally had gotten around to searching for yoga classes in Brisbane, something I love but had been put on the back burner for way too long.  I found a class to try this past Wednesday night, mapped out how to get there, got dinner on the table for Steve and the boys and headed out for an evening class—ahh luxury!  (Of course I left later than I’d intended, because the boys were thrown for a loop that I wasn’t eating dinner with them and Drew didn’t have another hand to hold during grace, so obviously I had to stay for that!)

The class description online had said there was parking at the church where the class is held.  In my silly American head, I pictured a large church parking lot.  I pulled up to find this church tightly squeezed onto the corner of a very busy intersection, and pulled into a tiny lot that seemed only able to fit the six or so cars already there.  I saw another car parked oddly, across from the other cars and parallel to the street, just left of the footpath, so I maneuvered myself around to park behind it.  As I got out, I called out to this man who had parked in an even weirder place across from me and asked if I was parked ok.  In a very difficult to understand accent, he said I was fine as long as multiple cars could fit behind me and to my left and that I had room to pull back out onto the street via the footpath to my right.  That completely confused me but I worked it out, and then told him I was looking for a yoga class.  He told me where to go and then said brusquely, “You a Yank?”  I didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended, and just laughed a bit, said “Yes, yes I am” and thanked him for his help.  That absolutely cracks me up that completely unknown strangers will find out where I am from using that terminology! 

Yoga was great—so good for my body, mind and spirit, but overall I am worn out and completely done with all these illnesses.  I have no reason to complain—people here are just too good to me and yet I continue to whine.  When I was so homesick last week, I again used Facebook to reach out and say that, and a new girlfriend here invited me out for that Friday night.  It was her and one other girl and we had a blast!  They took me to a trendy busy place in a trendy busy part of Brisbane and we had delicious, healthy Italian food and great cocktails—lychee mojitos—yum!  We even were approached by men!  I had no idea what was happening at first.  It has been so long since I’ve been hit on that I had pretty much forgotten about it and just figured I’d had permanently tattooed on my forehead “Married, middle aged, run down mother of two.  Do not approach.  Too tired for coherent conversation and completely clueless as to whatever other fun, kinky things may be on your mind.”  I thought it was obvious to most people.  So I was mentioning my husband and sons in conversation, as I normally do, and suddenly, the men were gone….huh?  I’d thought we were all having a nice chat! 

(A sidebar funny story in a related topic:  Ironically, I had my first female exam over here just before going out that night, so I had to be dressed for a night on the town to see a new doctor to check out ‘my naughty bits.’  Lovely.  When she initially told me to get undressed just the lower half and tell her when to come back, I thought maybe they do exams differently over here and asked ‘Don’t you need to check the upper half as well?’  She said that for the sake of modesty, she usually has patients do the lower half, then get those clothes back on, take off the upper half and then do that exam.  I couldn’t believe it!  I said ‘Yeah, I’ve had two kids.  Can I just take it all off and we get the exam done?’  Why would I stay there twice as long out of modesty?!  Sometimes, it’s just too darn proper around here.  I swear I’m the only woman in the locker room at the swimming pool who gets changed in the main room while changing the kids.  I think they all go off into little stalls.  Like I have time to do that and convince my boys either to stay put and not destroy anything while I’m gone or squeeze them in there with me!  Nope—we’re doing it all at once and if you don’t like it, don’t look at us!)

I agreed to go out that Friday because I am determined to say yes to whatever opportunities come up for me, but I shouldn’t have because we already had a strangely packed weekend.  That’s the way—feast or famine and you have to take advantage when it’s a feast because you will recover eventually.  The next morning we took Drew to soccer and then went to a family morning tea for our playgroup.  It was gorgeous weather.  Then we left for the Gold Coast and although the water is still too cold (heck, it was chilly period by that time of the late afternoon), the boys had a ball playing in the sand.  Then our dear friends (basically, family—our dear friend in Boulder whose mother lives here and has been a gem to us) watched the boys while went to celebrate a friend’s 40th.  We met wonderful people there and had a great time at our first adult party since we left Colorado.  But two nights out in a row—-holy moly!  I am not cut out for that anymore!   See above description!

On Sunday we took the boys to the beach again and then I had a quick trip to a bakery with Drew for his first good behavior reward.  Then we headed out to Steve’s family for a delayed Father’s Day lunch.  I could barely stay awake! 

Tuesday this week my boss was nice enough to give me the day off so I could spend the morning at Drew’s school, something they have invited all parents to take a turn doing.  It was such a beautiful experience!  His age is amazing—-the kids all WANT to be with their parents, or any parent, any chance they get.  Drew attached himself to my hip the entire time and was so proud of me there playing with him and doing all his usual school activities.  A few of the other kids liked being around us as well.  It wore me out.  My favorite part was when lunchtime drew near and the teachers settled the kids down to ‘read’ books individually before one of the teachers read aloud.  Drew handed his book to me to read to him and suddenly 10 other kids were shoving their books in my lap asking me to read and then all swarmed around me as I read the one book we had time for.  Then a little girl crawled up on my lap to listen to the teacher’s book and sing songs and Drew had her move after a few minutes so he could lie across my lap.  We left at lunchtime and he thrilled in telling all the kids he wasn’t staying because we were ‘going somewhere else by ourselves together to eat.’

It was all beautiful until Mommy got nuts and tried to accomplish too much.  We ended up doing more walking than I’d planned for and we had to rush our lunch in order to get to the doctor on time to make sure his foot was healing (it’s fine).  Then I decided to take advantage of a Target sale and get everything he needed as far as summer clothes, and after we finished, while we were there and I had only one kid, I decided to get the grocery shopping done—nutso!  He behaved remarkably well through it all but lost it at bedtime that night.  I was worn out and lost it as well and we ended up both bawling and I apologized for pushing him too hard that day.  Why do I do these things? 

The next day Zach got sick again (croup, again) and I have not really slept since.  Poor guy literally coughed the entire night last night.  Thursday was a rough day, all of us at home and not behaving well.  I wanted to zone out and watch the delayed American Today Show, so pulled out finger-paints as a surprise, thinking they could do that and I could actually watch some of the show—again, what was I thinking?  It was pretty cute though and at least the mess was easy to clean up.  I hadn’t been able to get up to jog that morning, so when Steve got home, I ran out the door as quick as I could.  I was probably too tired to go and my body wondered why suddenly at 5:00 in the evening instead of 6:30 in the morning, but I promise it was the best thing I could have done for my mental sanity.

Today I finally got Drew back into swimming lessons and Zach and I watched while he coughed the whole time.  I am sure I got dirty looks from other parents just for being there, but I just had tunnel vision for Drew and Zach.  If I’d stayed home again, Drew would have trashed the house and we likely would have killed each other.  We needed to be there and that’s that. 

It seems to be a pattern that it’s always related to illness and lack of sleep, but I am just so sad and lonely and feeling isolated this week.  Clearly, with all we are doing and how often we see people and all the lovely invitations we are getting, I have no reason to be, but I am and I can’t shake it.  Our one year mark is approaching and everyone who told me it gets really hard at about a year was not kidding.  I don’t know why.  I know I wanted a change in our lives and I enjoy this better than if I had never done anything new.  It is a good life here, good for families, good lifestyle, high standard of living—I do believe better than the U.S. in comparison to what is happening there.  So why do I get so sad….??

Maybe it’s that I feel like our life there is so far away by now but our life here just doesn’t seem to be coming together as much as we both feel it should.  Maybe it’s because I look around at our sparse, crappy furniture and miss just having ‘stuff’, things I used to use regularly or even just at certain times that I at least knew I had when I wanted them.  Maybe I miss phone calls.  I am very blessed—my dear friend skyped me that day as soon as she saw my sad Facebook post and that meant so much.  I do get emails regularly from friends and family but it’s not the same as hearing their voices.  Most everything over here now is worked out by text and I miss actual phone calls.  Who knows why—whenever I do actually talk on the phone, the boys swarm at me and there’s no point anyway. 

I miss something that I can’t even put my finger on and I miss it so much it hurts.

I have realized lately, through people telling me that they read my blog, that the knowledge that this has a small audience affects what I write.   Today I don’t care.  It’s long.  It’s rambling.  I’m whining and I acknowledge that it’s for no good reason.  But I’m sad.  I’m tired.  And these are my thoughts. 

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