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People often ask how we are adjusting (or rather, readjusting?). And though I don’t ever quite know how to answer, I thought I’d make an attempt.
The short answer is that we are doing well. God has been so very gracious to us in the spot He’s given our family, in the community He’s planted us in, in the church and friends and neighbors He’s provided. As far as huge transitions go, we have had about the softest landing we could’ve hoped for.
The kids (and I!) love their little public school (which is only a couple blocks from Schlitterbaan for those Texans among us- haha!). We love our neighborhood, and the fact that our house, and yard, are both constantly teeming with neighbor kiddos. In most ways, Burke and Pi are settling in and reacclimating like champs.
One huge (unexpected) bonus to this move is that we pretty much love living in New Braunfels- the cutest town in Texas hill country. Exploring Austin and San Antonio (which are both super close, and both so fun) have been icing on the cake; we definitely lucked out in location!
And sweet Bohden is the darling-est, smiley-est, cuddly-est little bear in the world. He hates sleep (weasel!), but it doesn’t seem to affect his sweet demeanor during his waking hours even a smidge. He is absolutely adored- surely in the running for the title of “most kissed baby in the world.” The addition of him to our family, and the proliferation of coo’s and snuggles and baby belly laughs that he adds to our home, has been such grace to us these last few months.
I guess the part that is hardest to explain is that, even in this most-ideal-ever transition- one that has far exceeded our hopes for community, friendship, and fellowship- moving away from Saipan has still been SO HARD.
Most days, it’s a gentle hard- one where we miss the beach, or the excessive amounts of family time, or Thursday Takeout on the Beach, or constantly having a big trip on the docket, or hiking down to see the baby sharks at Bird Island, or cheap sushi, or ‘island time.’ Even though we’ve tried to limit the noise and the chaos, life here is just louder and crazier (even in its most streamlined, bare bones, guard-the-schedule form). And we miss the quiet something fierce.
Some days, of course, the dull ache of Saipan-sick becomes more poignant and more pronounced (facebook ‘on this days’ are killing me). There has been more than one ugly cry, and the thought, “Did we make a mistake coming back?” is never too far from the surface (especially since Bohden’s doctor appointments have been going so great- though, it’s hard to underestimate the relief it has been to have every kind of doctor he could possibly need on hand).
Also, reverse culture shock is its own beast. In Saipan, when I felt completely clueless culturally, that made sense to me. Because- not my culture. But here, when I don’t remember cultural nuances, it feels terrible- like I should know, and why don’t I? Burke said the other day, “I feel a little bit proud of our life, and also a little bit lonely because none of my friends here understand what the last few years were like.” And I feel the same way. Proud, and also lonely- like an outlier that doesn’t quite fit anywhere. Not in Saipan, but not here either.
So there you have it- a much too long answer for a really simple question. Maybe I could’ve just said “Moving back has been great, and also so hard.” Haha. I’m hopeful that we continue to find our rhythm here and that the next few months are heavier on the ‘finally reacclimating!” and lighter on the heart ache-y and raw. 😉
ps- Any tips for readjusting to American culture after a stint abroad are much appreciated.