Baby Steps…

I hate when it seems that honesty is not the best policy.  When I bumped that parked car about 6 weeks ago, if I had just kept on driving, I likely would never have heard of the incident again, and the owners would likely not even have noticed the paint damage right away and really would have been just fine, even if they had.  However, since I stopped, wrote an apology note and gave my name and number, we now owe $600 to pay for their paint damage and will have higher insurance premiums as a result.  Lovely.

My high over our school holidays has dissipated and left me in a bit of a funk these last couple weeks.  I keep trying to remind myself that of all the really important things in life, my life is fully blessed and beautiful and I should not see it any other way, ever.  I wasn’t trying to run a marathon recently only to have my leg blown off near the finish line, never to walk again.  I didn’t drop my kid off at school one day after a morning struggle to get out the door and then never see him again.  All four of us are completely healthy, and always have been for the most part.   But I still get whiny and mopey, so hopefully by venting here, I can be done with my silly little issues and get back to counting my blessings. 

I miss the U.S.A.  I miss Americans!  Some days I just wish that I could be around people who talk normal, who use words that I use, the way I use them—-just somebody, just for a day!  I wish driving didn’t confuse me, that I could grab coins out of my wallet with no hesitation as to their value, that I could talk about having a ‘quarter’ to my kids and not stop to realize that they likely will never use a quarter or know what one is.  Blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine. 

Drew had a ‘Cross Country’ at school recently.  Yep, a Cross Country.  Not field day, not a cross country meet, just a cross country.  Know what that is?  Me neither.  He told me it was coming, but kept calling it a ‘Country Course’ and since he isn’t always the best with dates, I didn’t believe him that it was that day.  Instead I packed his school sports shirt just to appease him, but told him we’d wait until we got to school to put it on.  Turns out that he got his date correct, and that there was a big Cross Country meet on at the school where the different grades ran around a specified course in a race.  Although for his class, it wasn’t a race with a winner—just to have fun.  Lame.  Somebody’s gotta win—why not recognize it? 

Well, short story long, I missed his race because I had plans that day and didn’t know what was going on.  He was disappointed to find out I wasn’t coming to it, and I was crushed that I hadn’t realized and made an effort to be there.  I asked his teachers how I was supposed to know about it and was informed that it would have been in the school newsletter.  I asked if there would have been an explanation of what a Cross Country was for foreign families and they giggled and said No.  Nice. 

There are about 5 Mother’s Day fundraisers at the school next week, and Drew has been very anxious and insistent that I come to the $5 mother’s pampering session by the kids next Friday morning.  Steve has allowed me to bring Zach by his work for an hour, so I can go and then go pick up Zach for his swimming lesson.  Drew is thrilled but it is a pain in the rear for me to accomplish and just makes me wish there was help closer.  Two mothers that I would feel comfortable asking and who are conveniently located are trying to arrange childcare themselves that day to go to the same event.

The 23rd of April was the anniversary of my uncle’s death, which left a lot of us feeling down and me feeling far away.  I also heard that week that my pregnant sister-in-law had a worrisome ultrasound, which again left me feeling helpless and worried.  Thankfully, we heard this week that she is fine.

I’ve had quite a struggle career-wise too.  I’m not sure what  to pursue and it seems so time consuming and confusing to research possibilities, although I am trying.  I would really like to learn to teach yoga, and got a bit deflated this week when I finally did the research and found out that it will cost about $3400 and take about six months or so to get certified.  I don’t know why I thought it would be easier than that.  I am still looking into it though, because I am feeling strongly led towards it, and I have heard it may be possible to get government assistance with the fees.

And darn Boulder!  The place completely spoiled me in terms of food and fitness.  Even in the U.S. it was difficult to find as many healthy, tasty fresh food options as it was there, and here, it is severely lacking.  The kids’ menus at restaurants and the food served to children at daycare give me a physical reaction just reading about them.  And, I just cannot find fitness classes as challenging and invigorating as the butt-whippings I used to receive at the Y!  I have tried one gym, one boot camp, and two different yoga instructors, all leaving me flat.  Right now, I challenge myself best on my own.  Although, I did get to jog with a new friend last week who completely whipped my butt and for that I am so thankful—it felt great!  I just felt bad for cramping her style in such a big way!  At least within the U.S. when you mention you’re from Boulder, people know instantly that you’re likely a food snob and a fitness freak.  Here, they don’t even know it exists and just think you must eat terribly and be fat because you’re American.

And my fitness and food struggles lead me to my social struggles.  That is probably the hardest.  I miss my girls!  I realize what a struggle it must have been for Steve to be without his mates while in the U.S. and I have been thinking lately that Australian male mateship is comparable to American female girlfriendism—you need it to survive!  Sometimes I think I am shriveling up and wasting away without my girls.  The Y was a big part of that for me.  Three times a week, I got to sweat for an hour with lovely ladies and talk smack the entire time—I never realized how much that contributed to my mental health!  Well, I guess I did; I just didn’t realize how hard it would be to live without it.  And then off to playdates with other close friends right afterward each day, or the ones from class.  It wasn’t until my first counseling session that I realized how much more social my days were before this move—quite a change. 

But I am working at it.  I am working REALLY hard at it and have made good progress, considering.  I just sometimes get tired of working SO hard and wish it would come a bit easier.  Our social situation here just seemed to dry up after our Colorado/Aussie friends went back home, unless you count kids’ birthday parties.  Woot, woot!  Friendships definitely take time, although they seem to form a bit quicker when you sweat while you gab!  Or when you just stumble upon the ones that seem instantly to have so much in common with you, not even realizing that geography and cultural background was part of that, and just instantly click.  And then, of course, you have your pre-kid ones around you who know you for just you as well…..And speaking of kids’ birthday parties, how do you handle it when they started getting invited to random school classmates’ parties?  Are you supposed to just drop them off with a family completely unknown to you?  Is the whole family supposed to go to a party for a kid in a family we have never met?  Why don’t they specify on these invitations what the protocol is—or is that another cultural thing and I’m just foreign and clueless?

And you need strong friendships; I do anyway, because as rewarding and beautiful as parenting is, it’s hard work.  Right now I have one child who complains vehemently about EVERY meal I set down in front of him and asks instead for chocolate.  I want to slap him!  Or cry—well I do cry, sometimes.  And another child who I simply CANNOT convince to get ready and out the door to be on time to school each day, no matter what I try.  That’s brought some tears, too.  Especially when we limp in last every day while all the supermoms I’m surrounded by casually make their way out as we’re coming in, smiling, chatting with friends and completely relaxed, probably talking about how much their kids love vegetables.  Grrr! 

But like I said, all in all things are good.  Just send some prayers that I can last 7 more months until a visit!  It seems SO far away right now—especially after making it for more than 9!!  Holy moly that’s a long time without your peeps and comforts.  We have our new neighbors coming over in a few minutes for a drink; I’m running my 8k race next weekend and I’m hoping to get to tagalong with some new friends when I do, at least to say Hello to, act like a local.  Plus I’m thinking seriously about trying a 14k next month.  Baby steps—one step back but always at least two forward.  We’ll get there…

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