I added the "ing" to transition in the title because I'm realizing that it's something that is never truly done. In this crazy life we lead (who signed me up for this anyway?!), there is always something to transition from or to, whether it be a new living situation, a new language (or even a dialect shift in the current language), a new school, etc etc etc. The list goes on!
In the midst of the craziness, one thing that has remained constant, is the resiliency of these 4 amazing little people and for that I am super thankful. The transitions of our life that still have me kicking and screaming (on a good day), have become very normal to them. No, that does not make goodbye easy. Pretty sure that part gets harder every time.
But the flexibility and resiliency required for this life we lead- they've got that part down. And that is such a blessing from the Lord that I do not take for granted for one minute.
It's the days leading up to and from the transition that get me. The packing, the sorting, the "mom can i keep this bag of rocks?" type questions. The days where every room of my house look like this. Footlockers piled everywhere, "give away, throw away, keep" piles on top of the footlockers.
And did I say "my house"? Because I guess in reality that is not the case either. It's a temporary dwelling that we call home simply because the 6 of us are there, and most days, that is enough, but in the midst of transition it often makes me want to pull my hair out!
And, of course, in the midst of transition days, there is usually some sort of crisis, medical or dental or otherwise, that leads to additional stress in one way or another. One year, I had to have a 3 procedure root canal on an abscessed tooth that delayed our return for almost a month. Another time, we were scrambling to get Naomi's "tummy issues" taken care of in a timely manner. This year was no exception.
At a last minute dental visit, my sweet Uncle Tom pointed out that sweet Anabelle had a smile that was more than a little crooked. Not because that's just the way she smiled as I thought...
No, my sweet little thumb sucker, had quite a severe crossbite that needed to be corrected fairly quickly. So off we went to the orthodontist to get a spacer put in to correct that bite (and hopefully end the thumb sucking)
We talked it up big the night before explaining that we were going to fix her teeth and that sucking her thumb was not good and the spacer would help her stop doing that. Sweet angel called me from her room that night and asked me if she could suck her thumb "just one more night". How could I say no?!
At the orthodontist the next day, she was SUCH a champ! Didn't blink an eye as they messed with her mouth, took impressions and got everything set up. And she hasn't sucked her thumb since! She didn't even try. She even explained to people that sucking her thumb messed up her teeth and that's why she has a spacer.
Over the next few weeks during all the packing and craziness we had 3-4 more visits to the orthodontist (stupid thing kept falling out) and she traveled back to Jordan with spacer intact and just got it out a few weeks ago. Bite fixed. Thumb-sucking fixed. All in the midst of craziness. I'm telling you these girl are champs.
Returning to our overseas home always has lots of mixed feelings. We're truly happy to be back in our home with our stuff and reunite with friends and Mia puppy!!....
but there is also the bittersweet-ness of missing American family and friends. And jet lag is never fun...
The biggest adjustment for me is usually figuring out how to cook and clean again. Until you've lived here, you can never truly understand how different cleaning is. It's different on a regular day, but add a dust storm to the mix and whew! I'm ready to head back to the states where doors and windows closed mean that they are actually sealed.
A storm like this coming in overnight...
combined with the American family not checking the weather to know it was coming and leaving all windows open through the night to keep the house cool, does not equal a happy momma!
The above picture is about day 3 when we could finally see across the street again. But each fan definitely had to be taken apart and cleaned!
Figuring out cooking always takes me by surprise a bit as well. Yes, we've lived in this part of the world for almost 13 years but how quickly you forget when surrounded by American conveniences!
In case you missed it, my post from last year HERE addresses most of my complaints with the grocery store here. But, ah, how quickly we forget...
Thankfully I have some great helpers.
(a requirement when you have more than one cart- again see previous
rant post about the push-ability of grocery carts here)
And oh how I miss massive Costco bags of triple washed spinach!!
Washing of fruits and veggies is a massive undertaking.
It took some time, but we got the kitchen organized and back in working order. Pretty much just in time to discover that we needed to try a gluten free diet with Naomi. Good thing we got the kitchen in working order, because I have spent A LOT of time in there this fall!!
Thankfully I discovered some great freezer-crockpot recipes that have helped with the crazy evenings and dinner prep...
Naomi is feeling great now. Bottom line, we've discovered that gluten combined with stress is not a great combo for her. She does ok with gluten during school breaks and low stress times. N has also started swimming this fall which she has LOVED. Mom and dad don't necessarily love that all extracurriculars here tend to occur in the evenings but we are making it work!
Another part of our transition back to life here was school for all. Abbey and Maddie were (freakishly- yes, I'm raising nerds) excited about receiving their homeschool books in the US and they took up one entire trunk coming back.
They've done great getting back into the swing of things.
I was a little more concerned about Naomi and Anabelle having been in English speaking school in the states and having to transition back to school in all Arabic.
I should clarify that i wasn't too concerned about Anabelle. She has been talking about going to "Naomi's school" for almost a year and was super excited.
The first day was just an hour visit where I got to go to. She loved it.
The next day, the REAL start of school, she was bouncing off the walls excited. Naomi was tentatively excited as well.
"THE BUS, THE BUS!"
(almost forget to say goodbye to mom. Oh my heart!)
Naomi has done GREAT transitioning back to Arabic. She works twice a week with her tutor and is speaking and reading more and more. I'd say being able to label the parts and systems of the body in Arabic is not so bad!
(her teachers also sing her praises as having some of the best Arabic script in the class)
And Anabelle came home a few weeks ago having written her name in Arabic for the first time and was quite proud. She even pronounces it with an "Arab speaking English" accent. "AH-NA-BEEELE"
They were very excited for "costume day" on Halloween. No, it's not celebrated here overall, but some school get in on the fun...
Anabelle was apparently one of several Elsa's in her class....
In the middle of our craziness, we had the blessing of having Annie (my mom) come for a visit so I could accompany Jason to a meeting in the US. Knowing she was coming definitely made the goodbyes a bit easier in August!
She didn't exactly have a smooth flight and her suitcase arrived several days late (like I said, whose idea was all this transition?!), but she did make it! We discovered a new local restaurant together. Yummy!
And of course, we had to let her experience IKEA in Jordan...
It's been a crazy busy, hectic, transition-y fall, but by God's grace we are surviving and the younger ones in the house even seem to be thriving, praise the Lord. Me? I'm getting there, but the older I get, the more I think this transition business is for the birds!!
I guess in reality though, as believers, we are constantly in a state of transition and the true worry should come when we begin to see this world as our permanent home because it is not. That doesn't necessarily make the transition easier, but it does help me keep an eternal perspective and embrace the moments with these 5 crazy people I'm doing life with. Wherever they are- that is where my heart and my home is at that moment.
"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."