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April 15, 2005

Maintaining Routine and New Experiences

So, I'm waking up slowly, sipping coffee and checking my blog and e-mail while the kids eat breakfast and play quietly. You know how important it is to maintain routines during transition times. *eg*

Woke up in the middle of the night famished, and was thankful for Mom B's stash of chocolate on top of the fridge. The boys woke this morning around 5:30, and we started breakfast then. Mom B prepared the coffee maker before going to bed last night (she's that sort of planning person *grin*) and so all I had to do was flip the switch to start coffee this morning.

I talked with my Dad at length last night. But I was exhausted and Mom wasn't home, so I'm going to call today. My sister called, but I was a zombie on the phone. I'm looking forward to having a real conversation with her today. My brother is still out of the country.

In our first twenty-four hours in the States we visited a library (no cards yet, though J8 was very purposeful in asking the librarian "Do you have the fifth book in the Prydian Chronicles?" He hasn't been to a library since he was old enough to remember it.)

We got driver's licenses! Dealt with a weird bureaucrat in one place and several very kind and sweet state workers in another place. We walked in a minute after closing, and they still were pleasant and helped us get our licenses. Pictures are horrid, though. And neither of us are ready to actually drive. It's been 3.5 years for Hubby, though I did get to drive a little bit a year ago.

Our first meal in the States was a sentimental trip to the Waffle House. Scattered, smothered and covered. Last night we hit Taco Bell. Even though we paid the same for a meal there as we would have for a fast food meal in Kyiv, I still had sticker shock.

I'm avoiding going into a grocery store. My Mom B stocked her pantry with goodies for us and the boys, including several types of breakfast cereal. She has a better selection in her pantry than Billa, the "big" grocery store in Kyiv.

I find myself comparing/contrasting everything between here and Kyiv. Not necessarily judging better or worse--but I do feel the need to verbalize the differences I see. Hubby is doing it, too. So far we've seen the south part of the county--an area that was less "home" to us than the rest of the city/county. Mom B. has told us about so many changes in Sarasota, and we're not quite ready to see them. I cried when I saw the Denny's downtown was gone. We had so many dates there.

Mailed our taxes.

Did two loads of laundry. Washed, dried, folded. Ran the washer at the same time as the dishwasher, coffee maker, and computer without tripping the fuse. The clothes dried in no time. I'm starting to think that it wasn't entirely my fault that I could never catch up on laundry. I think it had something to do with my miniscule washer, no dryer, and electrical restrictions. Feels good to have more clean clothes than dirty clothes.

Looking for a minivan. Ack. We have a small nest egg from selling our minivan three years ago. It doesn't look like it will go far in buying a replacement. I fought with the carseat, trying to get C4 hooked up.

Making doctor and dentist appointments. People are so nice.

I know I haven't really blogged about our plans, our transitions, our decisions, leaving Kyiv, the next chapter and all--and haven't even really e-mailed my close friends about it. But it feels like I need to just take one step at a time.

I'm looking forward to worshipping in English. We won't be able to make it to our home church this week, though. (No vehicle, a city north of here. . .) I think I'm glad, though. I think seeing so many people we know would be too much too fast.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to post all of these feelings and impressions online during this transition. Ah, well.

The air smells so green. I felt embraced by the world last night, the smells, the warm breeze, the sunset. All overwhelming.

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Comments

Hello, my friend! So glad to see you back in the land of blogging and glad to hear you all made it back to the States safely.

To loosely paraphrase someone else (you) - give yourself some time. Everyone should understand your need to assimilate slowly.

I hope it all goes well. And for the record, I'm glad to read about your feelings on transition. :)

Posted by: Megan at April 15, 2005 08:51 AM

I'm sure it must be very weird and somewhat difficult for you. I'm sure it will all get easier over time. Us blog readers should be the last people you worry about though.

Posted by: Paul Baxter at April 15, 2005 09:17 AM

Glad you're back safely! Have fun reconnecting with family and friends!! Relax (at least) a little =]

Posted by: Lenise at April 15, 2005 12:36 PM

Erma Bombeck is reputed to have said, "If you look like your passport photo you are too ill to travel." Perhaps something similar could be said about driver license photos? [grin] Don't worry about how you look; just drive carefully!

Glad you are safely here and easing into the transitions.

Posted by: FLGrandma at April 15, 2005 01:16 PM

I am glad you had a safe trip.

Posted by: VeganMomma at April 15, 2005 01:47 PM

Welcome back to the U.S.! Hope things go well for you as you transition.

Posted by: Amy at April 15, 2005 02:51 PM

Welcome back! Hope your transition goes smoothly.

Posted by: Amie at April 15, 2005 03:35 PM

Welcome back. I'd love to hear all about why and how and for how long what next--whenever you're ready to blog.

Posted by: Sherry at April 15, 2005 04:00 PM

WELCOME BACK TO NORTH AMERICA!!
Loved hearing your stories.

Posted by: Carol at April 15, 2005 05:45 PM

I sure can relate to some of your re-entry feelings! Sounds like you have prepared yourselves well. Please know that I'm praying for you and your family as you go through this transition time of enjoyment/endurance. Looking forward to hearing about the new chapter in your life, and your perspective on all aspects!

Posted by: tina at April 15, 2005 10:35 PM

Welcome back! Thanks for sharing about your transition time.
And I hear you received a little tea package from my brother-in-law.... Enjoy! ;-)

Posted by: Anne at April 15, 2005 10:39 PM

Thanks for the welcome homes! It feels weird and good and peaceful and stressful and everything all at once. One of the best things I learned when we went through our cross-cultural training 5 years ago was the idea of the Enjoyment/Endurance paradox. From that I came to accept that it is okay (and normal) to feel two or more contradictory things at the same time. So I'm okay feeling happy and sad and excited and weirded out and tense and relaxed. . . *L*

Posted by: TulipGirl at April 16, 2005 09:17 AM

What a wonderful surprise to see a notice that new posts are up again at TulipGirl! Bienvenidos, hermana!

Gotta run...gotta see if su esposo is also doing the blogging thing over at Le Sabot. Gotta take both of you out of the "on hiatus" category. Blogger's work is never done. Later! ;-)

Posted by: Eric at April 17, 2005 07:47 PM

Wow! I didn't expect to find any posts when I checked here...let alone such richness of detail. Keep it up! Although I can't even imagine how you are getting all that done--from laundry for 6 to driver's licenses to car shopping? Good grief! Take your vitamins. :-)

Posted by: Kathy at April 18, 2005 11:54 AM

Welcome back! :)

Posted by: Stephanie at April 19, 2005 09:35 AM

Welcome back! I see where you're priorities are, going to the library immediately after getting back :)

When my brother came back from India this past Christmas after having been gone for 2 1/2 years, the thing that he thought was the strangest was how little traffic was on the roads and how orderly it all was.

Posted by: kathryn at April 20, 2005 01:06 AM

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