3 Months Ago…

Three months ago today we moved back home. I’m feeling much happier today about our decision. Almost every day the sky is blue and the sun is shining and warm. If for no other reason, this makes me smile. I feel content just because of the weather. Every morning I ride my bakfiets to take Charlie to school and I smile. I love this new ritual and truly appreciate the daily experience.

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We have reconnected with friends, established new routines and have “normal” schedules now. Even though I don’t like the busyness of Silicon Valley and the daily obligations and time commitments, I am at the same time also thankful for this community and the opportunities my family has here.

I still miss what we left behind but I am happy here. My takeaway is that you have to create your happiness wherever you go and keep redefining yourself as circumstances change. This is exciting too because it keeps things new and refreshing. For now, I’m happy rebuilding, reconnecting, resettling and enjoying the journey back home.

Challenging Days

Oops! Yesterday I wrote and forgot to publish my piece as it sat in draft mode all night and day until I looked and discovered my error.

And tonight I began to write after a challenging day, and all I wrote was the title and it accidentally went off into cyberspace before I was ready. Maybe that’s enough said. Maybe when you opened the post you laughed and thought about your own challenging days and wished it was blank like mine.

Believe me. My day was nothing but blank nor quiet nor still. It was a challenging day for several reasons and not one of my best parenting days. I actually sucked at it today and made several mistakes. Luckily I have cool kids who are growing up with me and we are learning together as we figure out this new way of working and living together. I know you have to go through the struggles sometimes in order to grow and become more self aware. That’s the positive spin on it. But when you’re in the thick of it, man is it tough! To all the parents of teenagers, I’m sending you a hug and strength to keep the peace and love alive thru the challenging years in your house.

Now I understand why Kris called the ages of 4-12, the Golden years. Wow, they were good. And as my mama used to say, “little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems.” Well, they’re not that big but definitely more challenging than when they were little.

Here’s to a hopefully more peaceful and less laborious Labor Day weekend! Aahhhh…. Namaste.

Carmel-By-The-Sea

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One of the things I loved most about being an expat was my sense of adventure and curiosity for learning and exploring. I was never bored. I want to keep that spirit with me in my now “normal” life and continue to explore the beauty that surrounds me.

California is one of the best places on earth! Today brought us to Carmel with Michele and her kids. To watch our kids just play together and enjoy one another is such a joy in itself, not to mention the beautiful surroundings and just being with one of my best friends. Thank you Michele for inviting me to join you this week!!

Life is good!

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Beautiful flowers and plants in Carmel.

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Sun setting over the ocean.

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Evening sky.

Goodnight my friends. What did you explore today?

Stuff and More Stuff and Finding Space for Stuff

How much stuff do you really need and why is it so hard to throw stuff away? And have you ever noticed how long it takes just to sort stuff to decide what you actually need and what you should pitch? That’s what we did today. Moved books and boxes of boring stuff that have been sitting for so long taking up space. We need to make new space for when our shipment arrives in a few weeks and we’re moving bedrooms and my office to make room for growing kids. This takes time and it’s incredibly tedious and boring. We worked on stuff all day and are still not done. I think it drove me a bit crazy.

I did so well with limited stuff when we moved away, even though I missed having the stuff around me like easy access to Sharpies and scotch tape, paper products and pens. Seriously? How many pens and pads of papers and sticky notes does one family need? I’m sure not as many as we are hoarding. And for some reason I don’t want to throw them away because they’re still good (and taking up space) and you never know when you might need them. How can I change my thinking? It just so happens that as soon as I throw them away, I’ll need them… probably not really, but that’s what I tell myself in order to hold on to the 5 pairs of scissors and 10 pads of post-its and the list goes on.

We sorted through 2 kitchen junk drawers, my office desk drawer, the craft drawer, shelves of books, the entire pantry, and all the miscellaneous cables, wires and old electronic items that we’ve been collecting over the years.

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We’re sorting through papers and photos and just plain sorting and purging and categorizing.

Are we done yet? I wish.

I think the secret is to stop buying and bringing in more stuff. I’ll let you know if it works and if you have a secret solution or process that works for you, please do share! I could use all the help and space I can get.

Aaaahhhhh…. stuff it! 😉

One Year Ago Today…

One year ago today we were on an airplane, beginning our magical journey to the Netherlands. We were at the airport, crying as we said goodbye and filled with a bit of anxiety, not knowing what to expect exactly.

As we were coming back home a couple weeks ago, I cried again before we landed, so sad to be leaving behind the life we built and enjoyed overseas. I’ve been busy every day since we’ve returned, however I don’t feel quite right or settled yet, even though I’m having fun and am happy to see friends and family again. I feel like I’m on the outside looking in, and everything looks and feels familiar but in a different way. I’m hyper aware and that feels a little strange too. For example, I notice things I would have never paid attention to before like the sheer size of Safeway and the American flag flying everywhere.

I think moving back in the summer time was a great idea, but not having any structure or camps set up for the kids has presented a few challenges. I’m working on that and things are getting better already. I’m sure I’ll feel more normal, next year!! Lets just hope it doesn’t take that long.

How long does it normally take to resettle? Anyone know? I’m sure it depends… I’ll just try and be patient and not worry about it. For now, I just feel mixed.

Namaste.

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Mid-state Fairgrounds, Paso Robles