We’re wrapping up winter vacation and have had a couple days close to home.
Today we were talking about what we like the most about living abroad.
We realized that there are several benefits and several costs, but we’re still ahead in terms of benefits.
I would have thought that what we liked most was having to do with travel and seeing Europe. But our responses were varied, and yes, that is a huge benefit but it wasn’t our top pick. What we like the most is the opportunity to be on this journey as a family and having more time together with less distractions. Jeff’s commute is shorter. The kids are all at one school with the same drop off and pick up times, so there is less time back and forth between locations. As for sports, they practice right at school, so there is no driving all over town at competing hours and there is no traffic between school and home. When one kid has practice and the others don’t, there is a comfortable building for the rest of us to stay in and chat with friends, buy a snack or coffee from the cafeteria, and/or go to the library to work on homework or read. Basically there is warmth and entertainment and ease. In the evenings, I am home more than I was back in California. I’m not out hosting Stella & Dot trunk shows, not attending PEO or PTA meetings, and our family is together for dinner most nights. The stores are all closed by 5 or 6, except for Thursday evenings, so there is never any errand to run at night. And even the grocery stores are closed by 7 or 8, so it forces you to be prepared. No late night Target runs!! All of this is HUGE, and I had no idea. I AM content.
Our living space feels larger here than in the US, probably because of the floor plan even though some rooms are smaller. Jeff has a dedicated office and each kid his own room. There are also three levels to the house which gives us room to spread out and not disrupt each other as easily. I think this makes a difference too, to our happiness quotient. Now if we only had a garage and bigger yard, it would be even better, but I guess we can’t have it all.
We are enjoying time together, and not just traveling, but the simple things like baking, cooking, eating, playing, riding bikes, exercising, and even doing chores together. We work together and play together and I’m really liking how this works, for now. I know it won’t last forever so I’m just soaking it all in and enjoying the moments the best I can (in between the tantrums, and bickering and loud noises that come with the territory!!). Again, it’s perfectly imperfect… And I like it. When does school start again?!?
Tonight the kids and I rode over to the mall on our bikes, in the dewy, wet, cold fog. We had to get a few things and Jeff needed the car to find a place to buy propane for our new hand-me-down grill!! Yay! We haven’t grilled in 5 months and boy have we missed it!! Thank you Kim and Jeff for sharing yours with us before you move off to Singapore!!
Our first night of grilling – now if I can learn what the cuts of meat are at the grocery store, we might even enjoy a Really good BBQ!
What do you like best so far? So far as what? That’s for you to ponder and decide…