It’s never a good idea to write too much when you’ve just moved somewhere. Your mind feels different, your bed feels strange, you can’t remember where you put your socks or where to find the silverware. The coffee tastes different even though you brought it from home, and the sounds outside the window aren’t familiar enough yet to soothe you to sleep.
Jake has jumped into his life in Vienna with both feet. Maybe it’s the city or maybe it’s just because he’s eight, but everything he sees, he wants to do. Rollerblading, skateboards, bikes, scooter, ping-pong, violin, piano, guitar. This is what I was hoping for!
He also wants to buy everything he sees. Not so much hoping for that. He is taking it all in, loving third grade and helping in the classroom, and doesn’t mention Zambia except for when he Skypes with his friend, Neel. Or misses Indian food.
Eli’s little mind and heart are constantly working to register all he’s gained with all that he’s lost. For him, it’s so important to have his treasures, his toys, his stuffed animals, and some bridge between his new life and his old one. He’s been mourning the things he left behind; “animals,” “our neighborhood,” “the country” “Ms. Hilda. I miss that she was always here when I came home from school.” But he also says “Mom, Vienna is better than I thought it would be.” He loves riding the trams, going to water parks, bratwurst, and ice cream. This new hobby is not so bad either.
I think we are surviving but transitions are always hard. I will always miss Zambia because of the memories we made there with our little boys. At the same time, every time I go into our apartment, I’m ecstatic to be in Vienna! There is a heated towel rack and heated floors in my bathroom! Bright lights with outlets that actually work! I can see churches from the dining room window! I’m connected to my home and the space I’m living in, perhaps it’s shallow but these things matter to me.
I would talk about Mike, but that’s his own story to tell. To move, look for new jobs, and reinvent yourself is not easy, even less so when you’re in a country where the language is not English and your support network is far away. He does a great job at Mr. Mom and Mr. Clean, but that’s not really the answer, either.
It’s been almost two months and the adjustment continues through its highs and lows. I keep going, thinking about my beautiful life and the tremendous gifts that are Mike, Jake, and Eli. I know it doesn’t matter where we’re living or how wonderful the city, as long as my family is with me I’m where I’m supposed to be. We’ve learned over and over that we can’t control our circumstances, but it’s how we deal with the good and bad that determines whether we are successes or failures.
I keep this blog because it’s my way of keeping peace with my life. That the memories are real, and that through the good and the bad, we lived these moments, without regret. We are settling in, one day at a time.