I like to think that I know best when it comes to my kids. I know what the cries mean, I know what the faces mean, I know when they are tired, hungry, need to pee, etc. I had this plan to “help my child” acclimate to our new environment because I thought I “knew” that was best. I had planned to start working the beginning of February and would take the month of January to get established, play school, and do “mom” stuff; not that I knew what that was really…
We tried doing “school time” at home. That quickly ended. I am not a teacher; I don’t pretend to have the patience of a teacher. I believe teachers (the good ones anyway) should be in the running for sainthood simply because they do not strangle our children by 3pm. I mean I can barely handle the one and they deal with 20 at the same time? There would not be enough wine in the world to peel me from the rafters after a day with 20 kids. Heck come 5pm, I am cracking open the bottle. I miss Odie asking me “is it 5 already?” I think of her every time it’s time for wine simply because she was one of those people that had the ability to be so kind and patient to kids no matter what… again another candidate for sainthood.
I digress, my son quickly informed me that I “was not school.” That is when I knew I had to get him to preschool and he needed friends. On top of the fact that he would ask to go play at Chick-fil-a on a daily basis and that was not an option. I started calling all around town asking for a spot for both kids to attend daycare/preschool and thankfully there was one location that did not have a waiting list a mile long.
This morning was our first day of preschool. He was pumped! We arrive to the school, get both kids out of the car and as we are waiting for someone to unlock the door he looks at me and says “Bye mom!” “Whoa wait a minute boy! I plan on walking you in and saying goodbye.” He says “well I am just saying goodbye because I am going to school and you are going to work.” This put my heart at ease knowing he was so ready and happy. With his Star Wars lunchbox he headed off and I was able to walk away in peace. Dropping off Mia was another story… I about lost it but that’s a story for another day.
Sometimes we think we know best. We make a plan and we KNOW that is how it will go. Other times we are humbled by circumstances that show us we aren’t in control and that we need to roll with it and more times than not it all works out. God always has a plan.
I had left a place which claims “Smiling faces. Beautiful places.” to go to the “Land of Smiles.” Thailand lived up to their name but upon returning to the south I have found people aren’t as friendly as I remember. At the same time I am not sure if this lack of friendliness and helpfulness is a southern problem or a societal problem.
Yes, yes you can but it isn’t easy. Good lord it isn’t easy. Packing wasn’t so bad but saying goodbye to everything and everyone we knew and loved was heartbreaking. The night before we left, I wept like I never would have imagined. I couldn’t believe how the expat to Bangkok would forever change our lives, our opinions, our perceptions, everything really… It was by far one of the best decisions we ever made.
Repatriation… I have recently been told it is as hard as expatriating… Something I was completely oblivious to and with only 63 days left in country so many things are swirling around in my mind.
Will I miss the sounds of the city? Will I miss the noise which constantly berates my ear drums? The dull roar of the cars driving by, the horns, the tuktuk mufflers, and the whistles. The flashing lights from the big screen billboards that reflect in the windows of the high rise next to me and on a dark night can illuminate my entire apartment, will that “night light” be missed?
Part of me thinks that when I get home the quiet will be deafening. I won’t even know what to do with the silence of winter. How will that affect me? Will it bring on a sense of loneliness or will it be a long awaited relief? Will my ears ring from the silence or will I still hear these damn whistles in the cold southern night because they are forever ingrained into my subconscious?
Can you really ever go home again? Will it be different? Will the culture shock that we just got “over” here and accepted as the norm make the culture shock of the States that much more difficult? Will we recognize it as familiar? Will we be accepted back into the fold or will we stick out like a sore thumb? Have my world views changed so much that I will never be the same American that I was before? Will I ever be able to look at home the same way again? Will our “American” problems ever be something I can comprehend again with what I have seen here; the poverty, the crime, the hurt experienced by so many people just trying to make it through the day to feed their family?
These questions are just coming up as my time here abroad ends. I’m ready to come home but I am concerned about the unknown. How will my family adjust? Will we be sad to leave everything we know behind? Will we be happy to finally be home? Will our brains feel like they might explode from hearing a language we understand? Will my son be able to comprehend that he can’t eat pineapple everyday (due to having seasons) or that chicken and rice isn’t the usual lunch time meal for kids his age? How long will it take to feel normal again?
There are so many unknowns. Questions which can only be answered with time…. Time I am more than willing to spend with my new family figuring it all out together. I supposed it is just our next big adventure.