What a Difference a Year Makes!

Well, we did it. We hit the one year mark. It seems absolutely crazy to me for some reason that it’s been a year and it’s had me emotional for a few days (what else is new, I know). It has been a good week, and I do feel I’ve come out of the rut of homesickness I was wallowing in, which is a relief. Our weekend last week was pretty mellow. Precious Zach finally started sleeping well again on Sunday, so I think we mostly used the time to recuperate and get some rest and clean up a bit. I have had four nights of absolutely fantastic sleep now and I have loved it! The week has been pretty mellow, too. Steve got Zach’s cold and had to miss his footy night on Tuesday but got to go out for a movie with his brother tonight. He is very excited that he now has 2 weeks off from his students. Yesterday, however, I felt the boys and I had a pretty major accomplishment. Our good friend here invited us to meet in the city (that’s how they say it here—previously I would have said ‘downtown’ but the actual city is so tiny here and you get one kilometer or two away from the skyscrapers and they start naming everything different suburbs. It makes for a lot of little tiny suburbs to remember because there’s really nothing separating them and there are LOTS!) to go to the Queensland Museum. Isn’t that funny? I would have thought it would be the Brisbane Museum, but no, it’s the main one for the whole state and it’s about half the size of Denver’s. Anyway, the boys and I took the train in and met them ‘downtown’ all by ourselves! I was so proud that I’d gotten all 3 of us to the train and on it on time and in one piece. Then, I was about to ask someone at the station where we got off how to find the museum, but when I got up from slathering sunscreen on the boys, I looked up and there it was—right across the street! At that very instant I received a text from Steve telling me that we’d been here a year now and he is so proud of my attitude and all I’ve accomplished and he loves me very much. Well, my eyes just started watering right there in the middle of it all! All in all we had a great day, and it worked out to be a fun outing. I’m not sure if the boys liked the train rides more, or the museum more; that’s a tough call. And today we all had a really lovely time at our playgroup. It felt like a good solid connection day for me; I really enjoyed the women I engaged with and felt comfortable. That’s how yesterday felt too. All of that is truly wonderful for my emotional stability. It even helps deal with the fact that I’m not sure my boys listened to me once the entire day today. I probably could have left for the day and they would not have noticed—crazy buggers. But as I said above, my crazy mind keeps churning this week. I keep thinking about this time, exactly one year ago—I have for the entire month actually. I’ve been thinking about the week we moved out of our house while Drew was recuperating from his little surgery, how we had our garage sale a couple weeks before that and saw so many of our treasures leave in the hands of strangers. I will forever remember my Zach crying as another little boy wheeled his toy lawn mower down the street to his house; I felt like the worst person on earth then. Some of it was bittersweet, though, as some of our treasures went to friends who I feel like we helped a little bit and who I hope think of us when they use them. I was glad to see my skis go to a younger former coworker who’d just moved to Colorado and was learning to ski. It made it more poignant on this end to accept help from friends both new and old knowing how we’d been able to help a few people out just weeks before. I think about our time spent at a friend’s house after our house sold, continuing to sell off our stuff and wrap up our jobs, using the suitcases that held our necessities for the next four months, really six months until we got to finally unpack what little we shipped. I think of the time spent with family and of the look on my Dad’s face when we said good-bye at the airport—I remember writing about that look when I first decided to start a blog. Wow, has it really been a year? It makes me cry every time I think about all that. It was such a time of endings, of un-settling, of good-byes. It was so sad. We stepped on to that plane having NO idea what the coming days, weeks, months, year would bring. Along with the sale of our home and cars and worldly possessions, we quit jobs, stopped health insurance, and closed accounts. We left behind terrified family members and skeptical and concerned friends. We were moving across the globe with no jobs, no place to live, nothing to speak of in the way of possessions, along with two little children. I find it utterly incredible what this last year has done for/to us. We each have jobs in a different country; we have one decent car (and one I’m scared to drive because it barely runs). We all have newer mattresses than we’ve ever had and we have a pretty cool TV. That about sums it up as far as our stuff. But, all four of us have grown SO much as a family unit. I think we’ve all had behavior issues and moments of regressing to a younger age; yes, all of us! However, it seems like we’ve all learned that as long as we are together, we can be anywhere. That is what matters. That is home. I feel like I’ve truly and finally become a grown up (well, partly—a year can’t do that much!). I know much more about myself as a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and person. I know what I need in each day to stay sane. I think I’ve become less judgmental (yes, less of a bitch), more tolerant, more understanding of the new kid in the room, the person who may not understand what everyone else is saying or doing. I know I’ve become stronger, less embarrassed, less timid, less self-conscious, more outgoing, and more humble. I know more about what all three of my boys need from me and how to provide that while still taking care of myself. Even when I look back at this time last year with sadness, I know I was sadder than I needed to be. Yes, I still miss my stuff, but I’m less attached to stuff now. One of my closest friends in Colorado said the truest statement to me around this time last year: She told me that you never lose your friends; you never really say good-bye. Moving is only a benefit because your true friends will always be your friends and moving only allows you to make more friends. She was so right! I was worried that everyone would forget about me, would move on with their lives and not think about the one person who was gone. I have learned that isn’t true. It’s very sad not seeing close family and friends and it always will be for me. It’s hard missing family birthdays and holidays and easy get togethers. But I know that wherever I am, they are still my family and I love them just as much as they love me and that will never change. The same holds true for friends. Our far away friends still think about us and connect with us no matter where we are—I haven’t lost them; I never really said good-bye. I still miss them terribly and I cry as I write this thinking of them, but family and friends, we are always with each other really. And, I have been meeting amazing people here, learning incredible things. Heck, I’ve practically learned a new language! I know I haven’t gotten past the hard parts of moving away. I know there will be several more lows, along with the highs. But as my sweet mother reminded me recently—the sweet moments would be less sweet if there weren’t the bitter moments to compare them to. Life is made up of both. I have been so intrigued by a dear friend of mine who died a few years ago from cancer. She was Buddhist and some of their teachings seem incredible to me. They teach not to shy away from pain, from suffering, from hard times, but to embrace them because they make up our spirits and nourish us just as much as the happy, joyful times do. Isn’t that an incredible thought—embrace the hard times?! However, having said all that, I do hope this next 12 months are a bit quieter than the previous 12! All that matters at this moment is that we have made it through the first year! Cheers!

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