Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quite the Lovely Evening

Adding to the all-important "to do" list
It's quite the lovely evening here in northern Minnesota. It's actually what everyone imagines a northern Minnesota evening to be. If one has ever imagined about it I guess. It's about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Slight breeze. A Minnesota Twins baseball game is playing on the radio in the background. My dad is tinkering on his fishing boat. A mosquito is buzzing around my head and I just pulled a wood tick off my back, which always weirds me out. Anyway, this is our current reality, just thought I would let you in on it.

Its been about 2 ½ weeks since I last wrote. Let's back up a bit. Our last few days in India went relatively smooth. Sarah successfully packed us up and Jayson finished training in a new Freedom Firm staff. I know I will sound cliché, but it's oh so true... I had been so grateful for our friends these last 2 ½ years in India, but I really didn't feel the magnitude of how great our friendships were until we were saying our goodbyes, until we gave our last hugs, until I saw their tears and mine, until they prayed with us, until I read their cards, until we were driving away, until I felt a deep sense of loss as I was driving down the mountain for the last time. The nature of goodbyes are a bit awful really, I always feel stormy inside. I miss you dear friends.

Buckingham, Ketchum, and Palm families

Thank you Sarah

Freedom Firm staff at the farewell

Our plane ride was rather uneventful. Lots of sitting, lots of TV watching on the planes. I would like to kiss whomever put those sweet personal TV's on British Airways flights. I have loved them since I met them nearly 10 years ago. Our trip was extended a bit at the end by 4 hours, but after 30 plus hours of travel already, it all kind of blurs together.

Photos of the journey home

We have been a bit reclusive these last 10 days. Well, I have been. Jayson has been forced (with gratitude) to enter into the world with a few interviews and a trip down to Minneapolis. We have enjoyed the peace of my parent's house. The first few days back I was at an all time of high of coo-cooness. It was the combination of being tired from the actual move, the grotesque jet-lag, trying to get my head around what had just happened and knowing the future is a bit of a blank slate. I feel better now. I still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful. In a few days we are heading down to Chicago to meet with some dear friends, Dave and Glenda, to help us start wading through all that we have done and been through in regards to India and Freedom Firm. These friends of ours are wise, insightful, show great hospitality, and validate well. Dave actually officiated our wedding. We are thankful for them.

We will continue on from Chicago to St. Louis to see Jayson's folks and sister's family. Then on to Nashville to see Jayson's other sister. We will be on the road for about 11 days and we are glad for it. Yesterday, I had to go to the bank for about a 10 minute meeting and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about taking the kids with me. And the thought I had was, I would rather take the kids on a 40 hour plane/taxi ride/journey than take them to the bank. Some of those kinds of feelings take up a large part of my re-entry back. I don't make a lot of sense right now. I am not super fun or light to be around. That's okay for now. The kids are reeling as well. From the outside, they probably look fine, but they have their own sort of transitioning as well. They all have had super weird tummies since we got back, picking up all sorts of new kinds of bacteria to get used to. They are in a bit of slow motion, taking everything in. They are wanting to tell people their stories, where they have just come from, what they have just been through, but are finding it difficult. That's okay for now too. Jayson has one foot in transitioning and one foot in finding a job. Which is also sort of weird. He's a bit wonky as well. Oh well, what's a family of six that just moved back from India to do... Be wonky, eat ice-cream, and try to put one foot in front of the other. Until after the road trip...  

Jovie was sad to say goodbye to Naseema
Last day at Hebron School
It was sad saying goodbye

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Goodbye for Now

Just some fun kid pictures for you, from their last weeks of school

“All my bags are packed I'm ready to go....
I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again.”
(John Denver - Again, mad lyric skills)

Happy Mothers Day!  Mom, I will be home in three days.  Well, this is the last night we will be in our house.  Internet is being shut off tomorrow and we are delivering the mattresses and appliances we sold.  Bon voyage Sangeetha Cottage.  We will be staying at a hotel tomorrow night, so we can have a jump start on moving out of our house.  The kids have school Monday and Tuesday  and we will be tying up loose ends.  Then Tuesday around 6:00 p.m., we will jump into the vehicle and drive through the night to catch a plane in Bangalore on Wednesday morning.  We will fly for awhile, then get into Minneapolis, Wednesday evening.  

On Wednesday, I went to Bangalore to pick up Sarah.  Hip hip hooray!  It was a sixteen hour trip to pick her up (eight hours each way), but oh so worth it.  Sarah came to help us pack up, keep us moving in a forward motion, telling us when to go lay down, love on our kids, and let me talk about all that’s going on inside.  You are such a gem Sarah. 

Yesterday, the kids went to friends’ houses and Sarah and I packed 13 suitcases.  Actually I did not pack a single suitcase, I merely placed things in front of her. Jayson has had kind of a crazy week - a new staff and his wife moved to Ooty from England and Jayson has been fast and furious in orientation and running him through job responsibilities and helping them find a place to live.  He’s been so crazy finishing up that I am so glad Sarah is here, because I am sure that I would have been doing all the packing and kid stuff by myself, which would of left me curled up in a suitcase and sucking my thumb.  


We’ve had a good week of goodbyes.  It’s a bit of an ironic statement.  Goodbyes are always a bit dreadful.  I need to take really deep breaths, and just when I think I am going to keep it together, it’s like Niagara Falls on my face.  Oh well, what’s a girl to do.  I am all a bit mixed inside, you can tell by just reading my blog right now, I am kind of all over the map.  That’s okay.  I will write when we get back and am coherent enough to put a sentence or two together - not that I really can right now, but just wanted to say goodbye, for now. 

Freedom Firm leaving party

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday, Monday, So Good to Me

Note JJ's legs. Who sleeps like that?!?

Monday, Monday, so good to me,
Monday, Monday, it was all I hoped it would be.  

That was the Mamas and the Papas folks, coming live from Udhagamandalam, India.  I really don’t know that song at all.  I know the Monday, Monday bit, but that’s it.  I had to look the lyrics up.  I am telling you this just in case you were wondering when and where I had acquired such vast lyric knowledge of the Mamas and Papas.  It would be rather disappointing if you wanted me to be on your Trivial Pursuit team because you once remembered me quoting the Mamas and the Papas.  Just keepin’ it real folks.  I am done calling you folks from now on.  

So, we borrowed a camera. A cute little green camera. It’s been fun to have one back in our lives after a monthlong escapade without one (I did not forget a space...did you know “monthlong” is one word?).  It felt a bit wrong not to have one in our last days of living in India.  It also felt wrong to have such disastrous hair.  So, the other night, after a long, long day of nonsense, Jayson cut my hair.  In the bathroom.  I am sure my mom is a bit horrified, but my hair was even more horrifying. My vanity got the best of me, because I was thinking that all the pictures I would be taking in the last days of India, I would not look at my darling friends’ faces and remembering them with fondness, but I would be looking at my hair.  I know, I know, I am dealing with loads of emotions, mine and my families, packing, sorting, thinking about our current beginning of unemployment, but I also thinking of my hair.  And you and I are just going to have to deal with it. 

When we moved to India, my kids were at an age that we kind of just packed up, shoved them in a plane and left the country.  I mean it wasn’t that drastic, we talked about it, they helped pick out toys they wanted to bring, etc... But this time around I feel like I am having to be way more intentional, feeling the reality of Jayson’s and my decision to leave effecting them greatly.  I know that whole bit about “kids are resilient” and that if their family remains strong, that is so incredibly helpful for their process of transition.  Yes, yes, I agree.  But they still have great big emotions.  Sad emotions and happy emotions.  And we still have to walk that road with them and not tell them to just go and play with Legos.  James and Ani have both asked why they can feel both happy and sad feelings at the same time.  I didn’t know what to tell them really, other than you just have live feeling both sometimes and know that it’s okay.  (Btw, Ani is brilliant at both crying and laughing at the same time.)  Jovie, out of all of us, is the most bi-cultural (I am pretty sure that is not a word, but just go with it) and in some ways I grieve the most for her in leaving.  Also not sure what to do with that.  Wondering if somehow her comfortability with India will serve others and her well in the future.  And Sydney, well, she told her teacher the other day that when she finds her prince and they get married, she will come back and wave to her in India.  Enough said from Sydney, really.

We’ve had a bit of car oopsie lately.  Not really oopsie.  More like headache.  Not a nightmare, but definitely draining.  So, after many attempts of trying to hand off our car, Jayson finalized the deal on Thursday.  Whew.  The plan was to borrow the buyer’s car until we leave.  Well, the car was, how do I put this needed some work.  I kind of felt like I was driving on ice and India. I know nothing about cars, but I want to say that the axel was probably twisted and turned beyond all recognition.  The first day we had it I got two flat tires on two different tires.  Every time we turned, I kind of felt like the car was just going to give up and die.  Lame.  A bit stressful, a bit dangerous.  After two days, I  told Jayson that we needed something different.  We borrowed a friend’s vehicle for the night, and then this morning a hired vehicle came to pick us up for school.  Having a hired car and driver sounds a bit posh, but posh is probably not how I felt this morning.  I asked the kids when we were walking up to school how they thought it was going to be having the car for the week.  Ani said, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to get used to plugging my nose and covering my ears...”  Making memories I guess...
Second flat tire on the first oopsie car.
If current vehicle proves not to work, this is what we'll aim for.
We’ll blog again on Sunday night, two days before we leave Ooty...  Until then.  Happy Monday.