Category Archives: homesick

Lost & Lonely Musings

Why do I feel lonely and lost these days? Why can’t I seem to figure out what my professional contribution to society can be? Why do I not seem to have friends here that I really connect with, who get me and who I get? Why am I so homesick?

I have three beautiful, happy boys who bring me joy—they truly do. But as any parent knows, they also whine a lot, they seem dissatisfied with much of what I work so hard to do for them; the two older ones argue with almost everything I say and with each other, seemingly constantly sometimes. I find myself stopping to listen and smile when I hear them playing well together—it seems more rare these days and I can’t seem to defuse their frustrations with each other effectively, no matter what parenting articles I read.

Unlike so many mothers whom I have always greatly admired and felt somewhat jealous of, I need more in my life than full time mothering. I lose myself when I only attend to everyone else’s needs. I need appreciation for a job well done. I need recognition, measurable progress in what I’ve accomplished each day. I wish I didn’t, but I can’t really get around the fact that I do.

I think that’s why my work/career/professional struggles are getting me down so much lately. For 14 years before this move to Australia, I worked in retirement communities. I was good at it. I enjoyed it. I was respected in my field and I made good money.

Since I’ve come here, I just can’t figure out how to get back into that field. Now, I realize I haven’t tried as hard as I should. Life gets in the way. I’ve sent online enquiries to senior living companies asking about their jobs in marketing and sales, with no response. I’ve sent a few online applications for activities/recreation/volunteer positions, with no response. I’ve called one nearby community and asked to volunteer—no return call. I’ve asked the few people I’ve met who work in the field about the positions, and they don’t seem to know anything about them—maybe they don’t exist here?

I keep telling myself the best way to find out is to just drive around and walk into communities and ask. But, I’ve always had a kid in tow, or was about to have a kid in tow, so I just never got around to it.

Friends at home say I’m awesome for moving to a new country and learning a new profession and starting my own business. But it doesn’t feel very awesome. I learned the new profession partially out of necessity. I never wanted to run my own business. I don’t enjoy it and it’s not going well. In fact, right now, it seems to be failing miserably. I’m paying to do it. Try as I might, I can’t get people interested in it.

I do love yoga—it’s been a passion of mine for years, and the more I learn about it, the more passionate about it I feel. But people in this area, just don’t seem to get it. Yoga is not as popular around here—I don’t even know many people who do it, or who are physically active as a priority at all. I think that’s partly why I feel disconnected from the friends I’ve made.  I’ve rarely been to a yoga class here with more than a handful of people in it, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I can’t get many people interested in my classes, much less my classes for their children.

I just have a hard time fitting in with people who don’t prioritize healthy eating for their families, who don’t prioritize fitness on a regular basis and who don’t get the purpose of yoga. I hope that doesn’t make me sound snobby. I don’t intend it to. I’ve made friends for the past 4+ years with people who are different to me in those core areas, but have other things in common—being a mother, living in a foreign country, but I just don’t feel connected, so I’m guessing that’s the reason why…??? I could be totally off base. I do admit I have met a few people who are health and fitness oriented and am still not clicking with them either.

It often seems to me that people don’t like me over here. I never seemed to have that problem before moving. It is very likely all in my head, but I just seem to rub people the wrong way when I don’t intend to…??

I know I could connect well with my husband, but he’s frustrated in his job, too and we don’t see each other until late in the evening when we’re pretty much too tired to talk about much. He is wonderful and we do try. We both know we need time together. But it’s difficult, because that costs money. And when I’m not making any money, I feel bad spending $80 to go out for two hours together and get a drink each and an appetizer to share—bleah!

I keep meditating and reading about creating my own joy, realizing that my life is just as it should be in this moment and to find peace in the present. I’m honestly trying! For whatever reason, it’s meant to be right now that I’m paying to try and teach yoga, that I’m contributing nothing meaningful to my community in terms of professional employment and that I’m working my tail off for no positive outcome. That’s hard to embrace! But I will keep trying…..For now these musings of a crazy person just help me to get it off my chest.

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A Marmot Out of the Mountains??

Wow—ever since I last wrote about our trip (seems like ages ago), all has been well barring major homesickness on my part. I realize this has happened every year at this time, 4 years in a row now—even the very first couple months we were here. Although it was slightly less so last year, because we were planning to head over to the U.S.—we left on the 6th of December.
Fall and the winter holidays are a tough time to be away! SO much to miss! I start out missing college football Saturdays, changing leaves, and visits to pumpkin patches filled with all the wonderful fall crops—like winter squashes, gourds, hay, cornstalks, etc. I miss all those decorations in shops and people’s houses. For some reason missing those intensifies the fact that I miss country music, which is a year round thing….weird.
This year it all intensified the day of my first experience at a school fete. Fete is Australian for carnival or fair, and Drew’s school has one as its major fundraiser every other year (they say every 2nd year here—I’m just going to point some of these out to drive home that SO much is different in the way we talk!). It was a fun, interesting day, which had a great community feel to it. There were rides, unhealthy food booths (called stalls here), contests, entertainment, etc. It was really cute.

School fete fun on the Dodgem Cars (not bumper cars!)
School fete fun on the Dodgem Cars (not bumper cars!)

Well my head had been itchy for a week or more and we couldn’t figure out why. Steve looked at my hair a couple times and didn’t see anything abnormal, so we kind of just wrote it off to a strangely dry scalp during this very dry season, even though I’ve never had that problem before, living all my life in semi-desert climate. Again….weird. That day it itched really badly, under my hat on an extremely hot, sweaty day. After we got home and Steve was bathing the boys (still pronounced with the short “a” sound over here, which to me makes a noun into a verb and is very odd) and suddenly yelled out that Drew had head lice! He said Drew started scratching his head like crazy after he got out of the tub (a word not used here. Neither is bathe. It’s all bath—for the noun, the verb, where it takes place, etc.), so he checked him and found the bugs. We then discovered them on Zach and of course on me.
Now my only memory of lice as a child in a dry, largely bug-free climate, is waiting in line for some school employee to comb through our hair once early in my school years. That’s it. That’s what my Mom remembered as well. I knew people all around here talk about it A LOT—they’ve all had it, as kids and sometimes as parents as well, and notes have come home in school bags before, but I still naively figured it was something that Really only happened in movies. I’d heard it was more common in girls, because of their often longer hair, so just hoped we’d escape it.
Well, those nasty little bugs are Real and they are Disgusting! That night I actually caught them crawling around in my hair—I could pull one out on its own and watch it wriggling in my fingers! Terrifying! That started my complaining to Steve—he just wanted to sleep and for me to be quiet.
The next day we bought special combs, and read up on treatments online. Steve decided he’d like us to treat it naturally because the most popular treatment is a very scary known carcinogen that apparently should not be used on people under 100 pounds or under 6 years old. Yikes!
We did our treatments and thought we were doing well. Then our neighbor showed us the eggs, called nits, in the boys’ hair. They are tiny, white disgusting things that stick onto the hair shaft and are SO hard to get out! We had Multitudes of them and didn’t even know!! We shaved the boys’ heads. They needed summer haircuts anyway. Steve, too. They were fine after that—thankfully, because searching through hair for those nits plays serious mind games on me.
Mine, however, seemingly would be eradicated, but then come back every few days. I guess in my mass of hair, those nasty little nits could just hide too well and survive the natural treatments. I had an overdue haircut scheduled that I was So looking forward to (I adore getting my hair cut. That’s all I ever have done to it and I go 4 times a year.), but I had to cancel—you are not allowed to come if you have nits.
At the 3-week mark, they reappeared again; my haircut was rescheduled for a few days away and I tearfully begged for the nasty chemicals. That opened the floodgates and the homesickness just unleashed! (By the way, my terrified husband did relent and agree to the chemicals that night, when he couldn’t stop by ocean of tears; I got my hair cut the following week and I have been clear since. He even got them one day as well and used the chemicals on himself immediately. If I never do again, it will be too soon. So, so wrong and gross!)
Halloween came a week after the lice hit and I just don’t like the holiday, my formerly favorite holiday, over here. I miss it in the States A Lot! An American friend here disagrees with me, but my perspective is that it’s much more focused on scary over here and missing the cute parts, which, of course, are my favorite. I don’t like scary. I should be thrilled that it’s taken off so much here, astronomically since we arrived 3 years ago—but I’m not. I just don’t like the direction it’s heading. Most people dress up as something scary (you basically see witches, skeletons and zombies)—even the youngest children. Parents dress up little bitty kids like dead things—zombies with face paint and fake blood and all. I don’t like it.
Our town even started a safe trick-or-treat street last year and we went to that and I would see kids I recognized from school and think, “Oh, how cute—she’s a cowgirl!” Then she’d turn around and be painted like a zombie.
There’s not even much chocolate. The main candy given out now are these horrible gummy disgusting pieces of candy (lollies) shaped like body parts—ears, tongues, teeth, etc. 
People still don’t trick-or-treat around their neighborhoods and several parents I talked to opt out “because their kids don’t like scary stuff and they feel they’re too young for it at this point.” These are kids aged 6 and 4 or so—the perfect age to be creative and let their imaginations run wild—the ages I feel Halloween is best for! When it’s done the way I like it anyway….

How we do Halloween--Purple people eater, m&m, and policeman :)
How we do Halloween–Purple people eater, m&m, and policeman 🙂

Of course the schools don’t celebrate it—as they don’t celebrate any holiday really, except for Christmas and Easter. I am sad that my kids don’t get to grow up with classroom parties for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. I’m sad there’s no such thing as Spirit Week at schools here. And, obviously no history lessons about the pilgrims and plays depicting the first Thanksgiving. They’re having a school experience that is foreign to me and I feel left out and a bit lost. Once that homesick ball starts rolling……
Thanksgiving of course, is right on the heels of Halloween, which, for obvious reasons, is non-existent and then Christmas of course is not long after. It’s a triple holiday punch in the gut! The days are getting longer and hotter, instead of shorter and cooler, but it’s not the weather differences that get to me. Christmas overall is different—from decorations to church services to community celebrations. Some are great. Some bug me. The sports are all different. I even got annoyed the other day at my sons’ new Little Athletics track and field program, just noticing how differently people dress here and the fact that they say Warm up and Warm down instead of Warm up and Cool down. So weird!
I guess the past couple months have just reinforced that I still often feel like a fish out of water (or maybe more appropriately, a marmot out of the mountains?). After three years, I thought I’d feel more like a local, would be more fluent in the language, etc. I really changed everything when we came here—I don’t even work with seniors anymore, the career I had for the 14 years of my previous working life. Sometimes it really feels like I’ve led two different, completely separate lives—there’s the American Kathleen, that no one here has met, and the Australian Mommy to Drew and Zach, that my longtime friends and family have nothing in common with. It’s such a strange feeling.
My boys now tell me when I say things “wrong.” I don’t like that. I served butternut squash the other night at dinner and they told me it’s actually called pumpkin. Bleah! It happens regularly now.
I even pulled out on the right (as in wrong) side of the road the other day—thankfully by myself in a rural area! And I sometimes still fumble with the money—forgetting that I actually have quite a bit of cash because all the $1 and $2 are in coins not bills (a word not used—it’s notes here). It makes me wonder—when do these “new” ways of doing things become ingrained enough in my brain to surpass the “old” ways?
I Really like a Lot about living here, as anyone who’s read my previous crazy ramblings knows. There’s just So much I miss as well. No easy fix.
Thanksgiving, although again bringing feelings of homesickness, was really beautiful for us here last weekend. It’s odd that there’s no public holiday, but we were able to bring together pretty much every other part-American family we’ve met over here to share a traditional dinner and the Saturday evening was just fantastic. It was people who feel just like me and we were all together, making the most of our holiday, despite missing loved ones and traditions. Just gorgeous.

Our bird cooking outside on a gorgeous day
Our bird cooking outside on a gorgeous day
Everyone brought their traditional favorites.  :)
Everyone brought their traditional favorites. 🙂
Here's all the Americans we could find! Happy Thanksgiving!
Here’s all the Americans we could find! Happy Thanksgiving!

And, overall, things have been really good, and I have nothing to complain about. It’s been a bit tight financially getting this new yoga business going, but not bad as business has grown steadily, and I do really enjoy it as well. Steve earned a temporary promotion that will impact our finances in a big way next year, and allows us to get a 2nd, more spacious car. 
The boys are doing really well. Zach finishes preschool next week and is all set to be a big kindergartner (Preppie) next year. They are both becoming great swimmers and Drew had his school swimming carnival yesterday (what we would call a swim meet, but for every kid in the school—it’s just fantastic).
For the most part, I feel I do a better job focusing on the positive and being thankful for the amazing abundance in my life. But it does help just to vent sometimes……of course as parents, we keep a brave, happy face always for our kids, and it’s nice to get it out here in my blog, and then put the smile back on and keep plugging along, working it out as I go.

A Heart Torn in Two, Yet So Incredibly Full: How Can That Be?

“Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” This is what my son told me at the Denver airport last Saturday afternoon when I asked him what the Dr. Seuss quote was that Nana had just texted me that she had told him in a special conversation that morning. He remembered it so easily, after hearing it from her just that one time. He knew just what I was asking and told me in a very sincere, earnest voice. Such wonderful advice, yet deceivingly hard to follow.

"A bit" tired from his trip!
“A bit” tired from his trip!

I know I have nothing to complain about. People all over this world are going through seriously tough stuff and my family and I just came off a blissful, relaxing 5-week vacation filled with love and laughter and beauty in all its forms. Yet, I’ve still felt a bit melancholy this week. Yes, “a bit.” Apparently, that is an Australian phrase that I have adopted “a bit” too easily, a fact which some girlfriends picked up on after about 20 minutes of being around me and spent the next month teasing me about! Man, I love those girls.
It’s not that I don’t like it here. In fact, I consider my family exceptionally blessed to have citizenship in two amazing countries, both with abundant freedoms, incredible opportunities, wonderful lifestyles and gorgeous people. Most people in this world don’t have the benefit of the choices we have.
I’m just melancholy because I wish there was only a 4-hour flight separating the two countries, at a cost of around $400 per ticket. And because, even though, technically, we all speak the same language, I just wish SOMETHING else was the same, ANYTHING. Just give me the same seasons, or the same holidays or driving on the same side of the road, or the same sports…..anything? Anything? Just one thing that I feel an affinity for, a comfort and security in knowing it’s what I know, what I’m comfortable with, where I’m not SO foreign and clueless. Well we all know that’s not possible and that’s why I’m just “a bit” sad this week.
So how do I give a quick recap of our spectacular adventure? We started off with relatively smooth travel until arriving in the midst of a crazy Dallas ice storm, which result in Steve managing to drive us 17 miles in 2 ½ hours (over 4 times the amount of time it would typically take) after 30 hours of travelling to reach a dear friend’s house late that Friday night, the same day we left.
Once that was over, we enjoyed fresh, hot, home-cooked food with kind, generous friends whom we hadn’t seen in years. We rested. We visited. We stayed an extra day because Dallas had come to a standstill. We left on Sunday for San Antonio after a homemade hot breakfast and a packed lunch in our rental car, not knowing when or if we’ll ever see these friends again. She and I both believe we will—it just seems to happen.
Eating Dallas ice
Eating Dallas ice

We then spent 4 days sightseeing, resting, enjoying time off together as a foursome, doing whatever we wanted to do whenever we wanted to do. We caught up with more friends that we hadn’t seen in years, met each other’s families and therefore we all made new friends. We laughed. We ate. Chips and salsa. Guacamole. Margaritas. Microbrews. Our staples for the entire trip. We shopped. Again, said goodbye hoping to meet again one day.
We arrived in Denver at 7:30 the following Thursday morning and I couldn’t hug my parents tight enough. We were finally all together! We played in the little snow that was leftover from a previous storm without coats on, enjoying a beautiful sunny day. We hibernated. We just hung out, were together. Finally, the following evening my brother’s family came over and we meet the new baby cousin. The older cousins hadn’t skipped a beat and enjoyed each other like they’d seen each other yesterday. After all, when I told my niece how great it was to see her, she said, “We see you on the computer.” We do, and I am incredibly thankful for that! I’m so grateful we did not make this move 20 years ago!
Saturday afternoon we started catching up with friends. More chips and salsa. More good beer. More laughter. More hugs. More of that weird feeling like no time had passed at all. We’d never even left.
Here’s a bit of a highlight reel (boy, I do say it a lot!!):
-I got to spend an afternoon with just my brother and our 4 kids, just hanging out. It was beautiful.
Cute cousins at the park
Cute cousins at the park
Big boy in a helicopter ;)
Big boy in a helicopter 😉

-My Mom took us to the hospital where she volunteers to see the Flight for Life Center and we all got to sit in the helicopter (that was more of a boy highlight, mainly the big boy!).
-I got a night out with my girlfriends in Boulder, where I tried seven different types of salsa and lost count of my margaritas. Then I got to spend the night with one of them and meet a bunch of them again the next morning at the gym where the whipped my butt and reminded me how crazy fit they all are! I hadn’t had a girly overnight in over 2 years and it did wonders for me. Girlfriends are a true necessity!
-Speaking of girlfriends, I saw several! And their kids! Gorgeous mini-versions of them and their spouses, with time to just visit and chat while the kids played. And eat. Chips and salsa.
-The 4 of us went to Red Rocks one day to explore and Drew lost his 6th tooth while eating an apple in the car. The tooth fairy found him at our friend’s house that night—she definitely redeemed herself from the time she forgot to come!
-We went to Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo on a FREEZING cold night that was still enchanting, not only because of the amazing light displays, but because we were with my parents, my brother’s family, and dear friends.
-The boys went ice skating for the first time. They sledded. They built a snowman as well as the snow crocodile and snow caterpillar they had planned ahead of time. They skied (first time for Zach and first time on a chairlift for both). It turns out Drew is an adrenalin junkie in snow as well as in water, and Zach is just a tough guy. He persists; he’s careful and he learns how to do what he wants to do.
Ice skating--duh!
Ice skating–duh!

-We spent 5 nights midway through the month at a friend’s house in Boulder while they were out of town, so we not only got to soak up all beautiful Boulder has to offer (shopping, vegetarian food, chips and salsa, microbrews), but we had our own space, which really helped on such a long trip.
-I got to lay on a blanket out in the sun on a gorgeous day and just BE with a dear friend. We got to escape together and climb a Rocky Mountain (a small one, but still—man I miss hiking! I know there’s hiking here, but unless you’re from the mountains, you cannot possibly understand that it is just not the same. It’s like saying Colorado has water and beaches. Sure, there are both of those, but come on! They’re not real!).
-Steve and I got to jog together 3 times, shop together twice, have a morning coffee date and one date night where we ate chips and salsa and drank margaritas. See the pattern? 😉
-On Christmas Day, my parents had all 3 of their children and all 4 of their grandchildren in the same house. It was beautiful.
-We rang in the New Year in a cozy mountain cabin with lovely friends.
-I got to ski with my Dad on a warm, perfectly sunny powder day. I hadn’t realized how much I miss that, too! Man, those mountains are gorgeous! They take my breath away. I think I actually did ski some runs shouting “Whoooooooo!” the whole way down! There was just nothing else to say.
-We got to enjoy après ski at a great bar with a live band where I watched my Dad step pretty darn far outside his comfort zone to dance with my Mom who just can’t keep her feet still.
Apres ski cuties
Apres ski cuties

-I got to be with my Dad on his last day of work ever and share in that poignant life-changing moment for both of my parents.
-I got to introduce my Mom to a dear friend and mentor of mine and enjoy a special ladies morning out.
-We got to explore two seemingly endless Denver museums with friends and family.
Fast forward 12 years...yikes!
Fast forward 12 years…yikes!

-We swam in an indoor pool and sat outside in a hot tub with a mountain view.
-People came out of the woodwork asking to see us and made tremendous effort to accommodate us and make that happen.
Cherish every moment
Cherish every moment

-I had another night out with two of the most special people in the world to me.
-I got to celebrate my upcoming birthday with so many people that I love, smiling and laughing together. That was beautiful, too.

And then we left.
So much beauty, so much love, so much laughter, so much soul-filling joy crammed in to 5 weeks. How is it possible? How do you come down from an experience like that? I started sobbing as our plane lifted off into the air from Denver. Knowing I won’t see that beautiful place and all the beautiful people there for close to two years just tore my heart apart. I still tear up every time I think about it. This is a HARD move!
But, guess what? Then we came back. And a friend picked us up from the airport. And another friend dropped off our car and had mowed our lawn the day before. And another friend dropped off a meal for us that night, knowing we’d be tired. And another friend had our mail and took care of the house for us. And another friend housesat for us and cleaned our house and did our laundry for us. And it’s beautiful here. And people are happy to see us. And we are happy to see them!
I was all set to write tonight about what I miss about home and what I like about here, to compare it all and remind myself that I like both places.

Serenity:  I love the hush that falls over all the world when it snows.
Serenity: I love the hush that falls over all the world when it snows.

However, my heart took me in a different direction. But I think it got me to the same place. What I take away from this experience is how INCREDIBLY BLESSED my family and I are! Our cups truly runneth over. Just writing about the number of friends we have and remembering the experiences we shared with each of them on that trip, and the kindnesses the ones here showed to us upon our return and during our absence, absolutely blows my mind. I feel it should be mathematically impossible to cherish this many people. But I do! I wouldn’t trade a single one of them.
This move is hard, incredibly hard. But it’s also blessed me in numerous ways. It’s opened my eyes and taught me about what is truly important in this life. It’s all about love and cherishing each other. I think my heart will always feel ripped in two. I’m not sure there’s any other way. But as long as it’s as full as it is, I can handle the tearing.

Trying to Embrace Impermanence

bike2
It was Father’s Day here last Sunday and it was heartwarming to witness the boys’ excitement over treating their Dad and the beautiful, simple, honest gifts they made him. As with Mother’s Day, Drew’s school went all out. The Prep classes held a Motor Show for the students and the fathers, inviting the fathers to exhibit their family car or anything else “cool” with a motor that they felt like bringing. Of course, all we have is a 2001 Corolla hatchback, so Steve thought he’d just attend the event, not exhibit. But Drew was SO excited and proud of our car that we decided to go all out.
I gave him a day off school that day because we had a follow up appointment with his ear doctor (everything is fine!) and afterwards, my two babies and I had a day out shopping for clothes for them and a nice lunch out. It was so special. We also bought streamers, balloons and ribbon to decorate our car and had a ball that afternoon getting it all ready to show. Drew was bursting with excitement and pride as he and Steve drove off to the show; Steve not so much. 😉 I loved it!
They gave the Dads write ups about what they loved about them, as well as their paintings of something with a motor—Drew’s was of a submarine. The next day, the school hosted a breakfast (they charge us for all of this, by the way; it’s not a gift) for the fathers and kids and then the kids brought home little handmade gifts. Zach’s daycare also had them do handmade gifts and cards where they answered questions about their Dads.

The boys' statements of love about their Daddy
The boys’ statements of love about their Daddy

Dads day
We then had a lovely, lazy morning at the farmers markets and then combined forces for a joint BBQ with our neighbors that evening. The weekend was also made especially celebratory for me by the safe, healthy arrival of our first nephew, Nick, on our Saturday/U.S. Friday. I am so grateful after all my brother and sister-in-law went through during her pregnancy that they had a healthy, beautiful boy and are now beginning their new journey as a family of four.
After such a wonderful, family-oriented week complete with gorgeous weather, the next week proved surprisingly difficult. Sunday night, Zach started coughing most of the night and could only seem to get some solid rest when I draped him over me and sat propped up in his bed. That left me exhausted to start the week and sadly, made me inordinately grouchy and emotional as well. I stayed home with him that day, the benefit being precious snuggle time with him and the chance to follow my Buffaloes first game online. The benefit was even greater when they actually finally won and Zach enjoyed playing our musical buffalo and singing the fight song with me for each touchdown.  I so love and miss college football!
Zach did pretty well during each day but didn’t sleep well at night for four nights, then got one good one and now two more less- than- ideal ones. Steve and I both felt extremely tired and overwhelmed and started to take it out on each other, which we both know we shouldn’t do. Thankfully, we got through it and had a really good discussion on Friday.
However, everything combined that week to make me feel extremely homesick. I miss my family SO much that I really don’t know if I can handle it. There are two sets of nearby friends that have grandparents visiting them right now and watching them all together has been making me so sad. One set traveled from South Africa, which involves about a day and a half of travel. Knowing how excited my friend was to see her parents, and then seeing her Mom with her at school pickup when the little granddaughter literally jumped up and down with excitement, made my eyes brim with tears. I am insanely jealous.
I don’t like the thought of not being able to hold my nephew and hang out with them and the cousins play together. REALLY unfortunately, this comes at a time when I am truly starting to enjoy it and feel settled here. I like the slower, less busy feeling lifestyle. I like the financial security and the opportunity we have to explore and do things we enjoy. This week I started sitting down to a cup of tea with the boys after school and I cherish that time to sit and visit with them like that. I like that I have been having some success at figuring out different career paths for myself and acknowledge that I likely would not have enjoyed such self-exploration without this opportunity. While I miss a LOT about home, especially at this time of year (football season, fall leaves and pumpkin patches to scratch the surface), I realize that I have enjoyed all of those wonders for over 30 years, and it is amazing to have a chance to enjoy all the natural beauty around me here.
I think I’ve said before—if it was only an issue of being near family, there would be no issue and it would be obvious where we’d be. But, it doesn’t just come down to that. So, then I start thinking, “Do we live near family and have to work more and be busier and have a more hectic life, as a tradeoff for the benefit of being near family?” I thought, “What if we move to a place like Oregon or Savannah, GA– places we’ve thought about trying out?” Then we’d likely see them at least 3 times a year. Once every 18 months is NOT enough and like I’ve said before, NO ONE visits us here, and no one passes through to see by chance. It’s a very isolated feeling. Then I think, “What if we move to the U.S. somewhere while we still have my parents around, and then move back here?” I can’t stomach the thought of losing them, but I know from watching them go through it when I was young, and now watching my friends go through it, that it is a reality I will have to face.
Then I think, “But I want to just settle! I want roots somewhere! I don’t want to keep picking up everything and going and what if we don’t like wherever we choose in the U.S. and go again, or bounce back and forth between countries? I want to stay put!”
And then I received a huge, blessed lesson that came in the form of my children’s yoga teacher training yesterday. It was a concept I’d learned before, and have not yet been able to fully embrace, but I re-learned it at a time when I really needed to and that is grace. The lesson is: Embrace impermanence. That’s it. So simple and yet so hard to do. But strangely, it calmed me down, for now anyway. And it’s so true. There are no guarantees in life and we know what we hear about the best laid plans…..I need to embrace life in the moment, make plans as we go along, but always be ready for change. Our family will be fine if we never move again and we will be fine if we move to six new cities within the next 10 years, as long as we love and support each other.
Also, what I’ve written here before that my dear friend in Colorado taught me before I left, still rings true, and each day I realize it more and more: Starting over is not that big of a deal. The only thing moving can do is add to your numbers of friends. Your true friends are always with you wherever you go and you will only make more when you go to new places.
So, if we decide in the next couple years that we need to be near family for now, fine. And if we decide three years after that, that there’s another place we’d rather be, fine. And if we decide to stay right here in this rental house in Mitchelton for the next 20 years, that’s fine, too. And there we go—I’m fine. I miss my family more than words can express, but I’m fine.
As for the yoga training, it was just beautiful and it made me so excited for future possibilities and filled me with the desire to bring yoga to all children! What a cheese ball, I know! The whole day felt slightly selfish, but mostly awesome to have the chance and the support to spend a whole day pursuing my own interests. It took me back to my “career” days, when I’d come back from conferences full of new knowledge and ready to put numerous new ideas into play. I am going to try and start volunteering to lead some short classes at my playgroup and my boys’ school and daycare and look forward to the next level of training in November. It feels wonderful to be so excited about something and feel empowered and equipped with the tools to actually see some success in it. Here’s hoping!
Sweet Steve brought the boys in towards the end of our day to participate in a full children’s yoga class with me. It was gorgeous. I bought a cd of some of the music and they have been singing songs about love and kindness ever since. I love how they enjoy yoga with me one day and are now both outside hammering wood together to make a box with their father. If our kids could receive the best of both of us and none of our negatives, wouldn’t that just be perfect?
This morning I trotted all that karmic joy out for a jog (which I’d decided not to do since Zach kept me up part of the night again, but then he was up so early in the morning, it was easier just to get out for a bit!), and fell victim to an Australian attack that I thought only existed in legend! I was swooped and nailed hard on the head by an evil, giant magpie! It was crazy—thankfully I always wear a hat, or I may be bald right now. So scary! Now, living here, I’d heard all about these weird birds and this little habit they have while nesting. Steve reads the online report of spots to avoid and apparently, I was headed to a very safe place. It’s funny—cyclists around here were these crazy zip ties hanging out of their helmets to scare them off and I have just always thought they looked hilarious and were a bit overzealous in protecting themselves. Runners and walkers never seem to do anything different, so I always assumed I’d be fine. I still had to get home and came close to peeing my pants every time I saw a bird fly by the rest of the way. I got home and said to Steve, “Now what do I do?” He told me to just deal with it; the season ends in December. I swear these Aussies are tough people! I remember we dealt with plovers that would swoop on us during nesting season in Alaska, but that was in a national park. I think if this were happening in a major American city, people would shoot the birds! I’m serious! He told me he remembers in primary school not being allowed out into their playground for a while one year because a nesting bird was so bad. Instead of getting rid of the bird, they kept the kids away! He said kids would dare other brave kids to walk under the tree and get attacked and not flinch. Crazy people, I’m tellin’ ya!

Daddy's magpie-scaring helmet
Daddy’s magpie-scaring helmet

I need to wrap this up. I’ll close with some kids’ news. First, Drew was seen by the speech therapist at school last week, and she apparently said he is making more sounds correctly than he was when she initially recommended he be seen, but we’ll get a full report in a couple weeks. Doing this through the school system seems to be a long process. However, while his doctor thought it was a good idea when I told him about it, he hasn’t recommended that we seek therapy privately and hasn’t brought it up on his own as a major issue, so I feel ok about it all.
Lastly, today, on another gorgeous day, we took the boys for a bike ride along a path at a cute coastal town. It was a great place for them to get some good practice. Zach is getting pretty fast on his balance bike and Drew is getting really confident on his bike. I just love to look at his face when he starts off. It shows such determination, focus and then huge pride as he succeeds. That is such a beautiful look to watch on our children’s faces.
The look I love
The look I love