Resettlement

So here we are.  Back home.  In “America,” as Logan calls it.

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The jet lag did them in, but otherwise they seemed to adjust quickly

For three of the five of us it’s a place we don’t know, so there is some adjusting to do. Luckily, those three are little, adaptable, and easy-going (for the most part), so the twenty-four hour travel journey, followed up by an international move, a new home, a new school, and new friends and activities didn’t phase them much. Yes, we miss Thailand (BIG time — and probably me the most), but the kids are really enjoying a change of pace and getting to reconnect with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. They are also learning a thing or two about the seasons, the concept of having neighbors, the luxury of having a back yard to play in, that there are public services like water fountains provided in parks and airports (and you can actually drink the water that comes from them), what real trick-or-treating is, what a chimney is and how Santa makes his way down it, what a postman (oh, and a mailbox) looks like.  It’s the little things, really.  Every once in awhile they ask for the beach, or to swim, or for certain friends in Bangkok.  And sometimes they ask for “gai thawt” (fried chicken) with “kaow niaow” (sticky rice).  But for the most part, they seem to have adjusted well.  It’s the times I get nostalgic and show them pictures of our time in Thailand that I can tell from their reactions that they miss it, too, but perhaps not in the way that I do.

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Logan was not phased by his first day in a new school and Kateyln assumed she was going, too

I found Thailand hard to leave on a number of levels – the warmth of the people, the ease of life, the year-round warm weather that allowed beach trips every month, the food, the ability to travel elsewhere in region so easily.  And then there were the people we had to say goodbye to – our friends, school mates, teachers, work colleagues and the people who worked in our home.  Uncle Noodle and the tuk-tuk tea shop lady along our street.  After all, we did see them nearly every day for almost four years.  I started to get emotional a day or two before we departed Thailand. I had an all-out emotional melt-down taking Logan to preschool the last day and saying goodbye to his teachers and other parents.  On our way back to the U.S., we stopped off in Oahu for a few days (highly recommended, by the way), and I continued to be emotional.  In fact, I didn’t really stop being emotional for a short time after that.  Now I feel adjusted, but still nostalgic for our time in Thailand.

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Definitely not in Thailand anymore . . .

It took me awhile to clear my head, but I finally realized why it was so particularly hard for me to let go.  Leaving Thailand meant leaving behind a stage in our children’s lives – a young and innocent stage, a stage of their “firsts” (words, steps, day of school).  It meant leaving behind the place where two of our daughters were born and a place that nearly fully shaped the first four years of our son’s life.  It meant that our children were growing up.  And I was learning that I was going to have to start accepting that. And that is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with as a parent this year.  Not the tantrums, not the lack of sleep, not the constant demands of three little ones all at one time.  It’s the fact that they are growing up and things won’t be the way they are today come tomorrow.

The day-to-day of being a parent seems to go by so slowly, but the years go by quickly. So never forget to cherish today.  Live in today.  Be patient in solving their problems because tomorrow, it may be a problem that they can solve on their own.

Also, I am going to need to invest in Kleenex stock next year when Logan starts kindergarten.

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A Holiday of Firsts

One of our goals this holiday season was to expose Logan and Katelyn to as many “firsts” as possible. It was busy, but it was awesome! We present to you the first . . .

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas from Grand Rapids, Michigan!

IMG_8455 IMG_8499There may have only been a dusting of snow, but we managed to sled, snowmobile, and skip rocks on the ice this holiday season!  Happy to be enjoying time with family, but looking forward to returning home to Bangkok soon.  Happy Holidays to all!

Holidays the American Way

We are beyond happy and excited to be home visiting family and enjoying the delights of the USA this holiday season.  What’s not to love about visiting DC’s most awesome Smithsonian museums – dinosaurs, planes, space shuttles, model trains and all – or heading out to a farm with good friends, enjoying festive toddler-sized dinners with cousins, running wild through the National Zoo, visiting fire stations, watching parades, eating mounds of sweets, frolicking in the snow, choosing and cutting down our very own Christmas tree?  Yes folks, we are doing it all, and it is wonderful.

That being said, there are a few things we have had to adjust to when it comes to spending time at home this winter:

1. Instead of getting out the door with shorts, t-shirt and crocs for Logan and a onesie for Kate we have to bundle up.  I’m talking warm socks, real shoes (!), two long-sleeve t-shirts, a sweater, fleece-lined pants, jacket, gloves, and maybe a hat.  And that’s just Logan.  The same routine goes for Kate, but with a more feminine flare.  Then I attempt to put on pants, a sweater, socks, tennis shoes, and a jacket.  Then Kate spits up.  Start again.  Then Logan has a dirty diaper.  Start again.  Finally, we are ready to walk out the door 45 minutes after we started getting dressed and both kids are crying because they hate winter attire.  Geesh.  How does anyone ever make it out of the house with kids in cold weather? #sothankfulforBangkokweather

2. Driving, driving and more driving.  From my parents’ house to DC – about 40 minutes each way.  From my parents’ house to one of my best friend’s house – about one hour each way.  From Walter’s mom’s house to his sister’s house – about 20 minutes each way.  Yes, the kids are sick of driving, but they are being good sports about it.  In Bangkok, I strap Kate in the ergo, Logan in the stroller, head down the elevator, and within 10-15 minutes we are at:  a) the pediatrician, or b) the grocery store, or c) a shopping mall, or d) the embassy (aka daddy’s work), or e) Logan’s school, or f) lots and lots of restaurants, or g) the skytrain.  You get the point.  Also, I get many weird looks for wearing Kate in a carrier instead of using a stroller in the suburbs.  #sohappytoliveinabigcity

3. Two hours early for our domestic flights and we still almost miss them!  Yikes.  We totally forgot how difficult air travel was in the USA!  Shoes – off, belts – off, baby carriers -off.  An airport train at Dulles that doesn’t get you anywhere near your gate.  Three gigantic suitcases, two car seats, and a stroller are probably not adding to the ease and efficiency of our travel.  Thankfully, we have managed to make all of our flights just as the are boarding.  Guess I can’t complain too much.  #wemissyouThaiAirwaysandAirAsia

4. The size . . . of everything!  Portions and grocery stores, especially.  I walked into Meijer two days ago and was completely overwhelmed.  They just don’t have mac n cheese, they have an ENTIRE SECTION dedicated to mac n cheese.  The same goes for animal crackers.  A half-aisle just for ice cream made from candy bars.  People, this is what makes America great . . . but it is totally insane.  You can get anything and everything.  All in one store and for affordable prices.  I forgot how easy it was to do one-stop shopping in the USA.  I also realize how Americans are getting fat fast compared to the rest of the world . . . #ohVillaMarketyouhavegrownonme

We miss you, Thailand, but not enough to come back just yet.  Two more weeks and we still have carriage rides in the snow, a trip to see even more cousins in Laguna Niguel, CA’s Legoland,  oh right – and a little something called Christmas, left to enjoy.  More from us in 2013.  Until then, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!