The New Normal (aka “Settled”)

Writing this post has been rolling around in my head for weeks (along with another post I’ve seriously been writing, rewriting, trashing, then wanting to write again for months).  For our family it’s a significant milestone in our lives and gives me great satisfaction-we finally feel like we’ve found our new normal.  After months of feeling like we were living Groundhog Day and having every emotion in the book hit us over and over again we gained that little bit of peace over being settled, over finding normal.

Some of this realization came around Christmas when I honestly was quite excited to be celebrating here.  Sure I missed plenty of traditions and absolutely missed family and friends, but ultimately I really wanted to celebrate Christmas here. I wanted to go to Christmas Eve service at our church here (a first for a church as we finally have more permanent space after the church has moved from place to place for 10 years). I wanted to wake up in our house and have our boys open their presents here. I wanted to go to the fish and chips place on Christmas Eve for a second year in a row.  I wanted to make a ridiculous amount of food in my little kitchen for our family.  I wanted it all to happen here.

A few weeks later I was washing dishes I realized that we spent ALL of 2012 in Asia.  Every single moment of every single day was spent in Asia.  Every day I woke up and went to sleep in Asia.  Every day I ate my meals in Asia.  Every day I cared for my children and home in Asia.  I figured out how to shop and cook. I figured out what our household routine needs to look like. I figured out how to drive on the left side of the road from the right side of the car (something I’ve now done in 2 countries).  I figured out the system at the hospital (probably because we had to take our kids so frequently!). I figured out how to send mail and packages home.  Over time instead of feeling like everything took so much brain power, energy, and time I figured out how to actually live here, not simply survive.  And it’s a really great feeling.

Finding normal has not come without some mixed feelings.  Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on my life in the US. Or I feel guilty that finding my new normal, and liking it, would make people at home feel unloved or like I no longer care for them.  We had a good life in Murfreesboro.  We’re building a good life here.  It’s not an easy life by any stretch of the imagination with our new normal including a lot of stressors we just didn’t have at home and with general life activities being more time and energy consuming.  We will always miss people and things at home.  We will always have times we wish we could be there instead of here. But ultimately I’m thankful God has brought us through the past 15+ months to a place of peace and excitement over where and how we live.

Slowly over time the way we used to do life has gotten a little more blurry, more faded into the background of the history of our family.  I don’t remember so well how much this or that cost at the store. I had to show the boys a picture of a dishwasher online because they couldn’t remember what one looked like. I don’t remember how we arranged this or that in our old house.  And I honestly don’t even remember how I spent my days. I’m okay with not remembering all the little details of day-to-day life there.  What is important now is that I know all the little details of day-to-day life here.  I’ll figure out life there once again when we’re back and have to transition that direction.  We’ll continue building a life here, as crazy as it is, and thank God for being with us just as much in our new normal as He was in our old normal.

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