It’s Friday morning here and the kids are giving me grief for not submitting my final Gisborne blog post (!). We have been running around trying to see friends and say our goodbyes, while also getting the house packed up and things ready on the home front for our return. We’re fitting in final hikes, and final morning sunrises. We leave Gisborne on Sunday and will travel to Indonesia for a couple weeks before returning to Washington at the very end of the month to move back into our house on the 1st.
Over these last few weeks I have been asking myself quite regularly:
- What did I learn here?
- What am I taking away from a year away?
- Did I bring my crazy with me?
- Am I different? Or am I the same person I have always been and will I slip back into the person I was just as soon as we get back?
I think the obvious answer and simplest one to answer is that of course I remain the same person. Of course I brought my crazy with me – I just had fewer outlets to let her loose here so she was a little less busy. 🙂 And while I have some new habits and behaviors that I will bring with me, like being more gentle with the environment, and being a bit more laid back, none of these is dramatic. What I learned, what I needed to absorb, was something that just took a bit longer to realize.
And it was only when the new American doctors started to arrive in the last couple of weeks that I even realized what the lesson had been. As I saw these new folks arriving, I saw myself again a year ago.
I saw the similar need to know everything (how do I do this, where do I find this, how do I get this done … ) and the similar need to have quick solutions for everything (I want my house clean – who solves that? I want my vacations planned – where should I go, where should I stay?) I wanted all the answers, all the solutions, and I wanted them immediately.
But I also wanted the bigger things to happen quickly too:
- I wanted Jesse’s back to be healed, quickly
- I didn’t want to be homesick, beyond maybe a week or two
- I wanted my kids to feel at home here and have a full roster of friends, immediately
- I wanted to be healthier, happier, and at ease – by tonight
I was so impatient, in such a hurry.
And even though I could recognize that I was impatient, I still continued to resist the time it would take. Dammit, I was going to make all these things happen on my time, and it would be done and done. And we would quickly be able to enjoy all the time and experiences we were going to have here.
Well, that didn’t happen. *GRIN*
As we have all been told, these things take time. Eventually I learned that with the right amount of time, without the push and the jamming into place, things can be so much better than I had even expected.
My kids did make good friends, on their own time. Jesse did get better and stronger, over time and with the help of several practitioners. We did find a house that became a home, with friends and neighbors, but it took several months and a couple of tries. And I did become a lot healthier, but not right away. I had to meet one person who taught me one thing, who then introduced me to another, who taught me something else, and eventually it all came together.
While my ‘DC born and raised’ self wanted to do more all the time, I learned to be bored (even if I didn’t love being bored,) and I learned to sit quietly in daily meditation.
And while there are aspects of returning to Washington that worry me (e.g. how will I maintain my boundaries when there are so many more demands of us in DC,) I know that I am in a much better place (happier, healthier, stronger,) to handle them than when I arrived in NZ.
There are so many things we have to look forward to back home, and I can’t wait to get to them … but all in good time.
Transition is a process too. I know this now too.
Change is super easy – we’re changing houses. We’re boarding a flight, we’re buying new cars, and we’re moving again. But the emotions that come along with those changes, for five very different humans; that is what transition is all about.
And that will take time to make sure each of us is settled and ok again.
We’ll check in from Bali over the next couple of weeks before we close this blog down. Thank you so much for coming along for the ride – and for having supported us and cheered us on. I would do it again and again, and would encourage anyone considering a year abroad to give it a go!
The world, and the humans on it, are spectacular!
And seeing and meeting a few of them has been the privilege of my life.
xo – fred