It’s the question we get asked the most. People want to know how our transition has been and how we are enjoying life back in the United States.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. I’m not sure if I should be honest (“It’s been really busy and really crazy but we somehow are hanging in there and sneaking in a bit of fun”) or just be polite and positive (“We’re doing great!) Either way I spin it, it would only be a small portion of truth. To explain what the last few months have been like would take hours. And obviously, most people who ask us how we are doing don’t have hours to listen to the laundry list of happenings and emotions.
In a few words, though, here is what we have been up to:
Transitioning: Moving back to the States takes time. There are many boring (but necessary) tasks like getting new driver’s licenses, plates for our car, choosing cell phones, getting our kitchen stocked, etc. Moving life for a family of 8 to a new country means many hours spent doing things we would rather not be doing.
Decision Making: We’ve had a mot of decisions to make. We had to buy a car. We had to decide how to spend the summer. We have had to try to plan out our fall. There have been many long (and often interrupted) talks as we try to be wise with our time, talents, and money.
Interviewing: The big “next step” in our life is still in process. It has been a lengthy ordeal (starting generally in November and specifically in January). We’re still not done. This has meant many hours filling our paperwork, tracking down specific documents, interviewing via Skype, and more. It is all worth it, but again, it takes time.
Reconnecting: We have enjoyed getting to reconnect with family and friends, both in person and on the phone. We have loved being back with our church and feel so blessed to be a part of an amazing fellowship of believers. Jason and the boys enjoyed a weekend father/son camping trip with a number of other families and I enjoyed an amazing five days in Memphis reconnecting with friends from college and from our time in Indonesia. What a soul-filling time it was (and admittedly, a nice break after being a single mom for five weeks).
Studying: My class in educational therapy has stared and I am enjoying being a student again (minus having to look up things like the current APA format for papers!) I am enjoying what I am learning and I look forward to a much deeper look into things during the residency portion of my class at the end of the month.
Unpacking: We’re still sorting through the things we brought back from Indonesia as well as working through paperwork for our small shipment that will come in early fall. It’s especially difficult since we are staying with family for the summer and don’t want to truly unpack until we move into our house in September. But being able to find things is highly desirable and this has meant a lot of shuffling things around.
Missing: With being Stateside for almost two months, I am definitely missing Indonesia. It comes in waves and I find it hard to really make sense of all the mixed emotions. I suppose it is only normal to grieve for a place we called home for the last six years while also looking forward to what God has for us in the future. And we’re all missing Rendang.
Photographing: More and more I am realizing how alive I feel when I spend time with my camera. Whether it is taking pictures on my morning walk or watching friends snuggle as a family in front of me, capturing the beauty I see with my camera is so filling. I love capturing small moments in time for people to enjoy for years to come. I am especially looking forward to a wedding I am shooting this weekend and as long as baby behaves himself and doesn’t arrive while I am at the wedding, I will get to photograph the birth of a beautiful friend’s little man.
Buying: Lots of stuff. It’s amazing when you realize how many little (and big) things you need to just “do life.” Whether its a major purchase (like a car) or a smaller purchase (like running shoes for the whole family), it all takes time. Lots of it.
Sorting: There have many many details and things to sort out — phones, insurance, doctors, etc. I will be so thankful when all of that stuff is done and we can feel like we have officially settled. And although I had to wait for two hours, I can finally say that as of today I am officially a North Carolina resident.
Praying: Lots of it. Not much more to say than that I am glad that David gave us such an example in the Psalms of honest prayer. I love that I can pour out my heart in all honestness and He knows and loves me still.
Planning: We’re gearing up for a month-long road trip to visit many friends and family. Planning for eight people to be on the road for a month is no easy feat! We’re working on finalizing our itinerary and then we need to get working and making definite plans with all of you who have said you’d like to see us.
Writing: Although I haven’t been writing in this space much, I have been doing quite a bit more writing over at THE DAILY DIGI. You can look HERE for a list of my recent posts (scroll to the bottom). Some of my favorite ones are Memories Don’t Have to be Planned, No Manners Meal, Flour Bombs, and Ice Coffee Pops.
Baking: Although I haven’t gotten to do a ton of cooking, I have loved being back in an American kitchen where so many yummy things can be made!
Worrying: I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t also mention the worrying I have been doing. I try to turn it right into praying, but sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all that has to be done and with all the unknowns of the future. This life of faith is filled with many amazing stories of God’s provision and His unswerving love for us, but it is not — in any way — easy. I let it get to me sometimes and I start to fret over many things. I’ve been working on memorizing the Sermon on the Mount so that I have something to fight the fear with. I’m partway through chapter 6 and I love to let the words flow through my thoughts.