The Hot Pot Blog

July 31, 2012

The House is Quiet Again

Georgetown fountain riverfront park with grandparents

Too quiet.

For most of this summer we’ve had friends and family constantly coming and going through our front door.  The sheets for the guest room bed have gone through the wash more times than I can remember.  There have been so many people here showering Will in hugs, kisses and undivided attention that I don’t think he knows what to do anymore without an ever-present audience of adoring fans.

We’re in the process right now of coming down from the hectic, busy bustle of the last week.

As we were busy preparing for Will’s  birthday party super-chill cookout last week, we found out that our apartment may or may not be at the center of a legal dispute.  Since we’ve been paying rent to the Oakwood/Marriott corporations since the day we moved in, we were “technically not supposed to see” the three different “pay or vacate by Friday” notices taped to our front door but “legal” forbade anyone from explaining why we were getting them and whether we would, in fact, wake up on Saturday morning to someone drilling out the locks.

Friday, less than 24 hours after finding out we would not be kicked out of our apartment and 24 hours before Will’s birthday bbq, I happened to walk into the closet full of our UAB and HHE stockpiles.  The carpet squished under my feet.  Water was streaming down the wall.

We were able to salvage most of our belongings in the closet and move them temporarily to an empty apartment; my parents helped to wipe down our gigantic tins of soy sauce and break down soggy boxes before immediately pivoting back to welcoming my sister and her boyfriend to D.C., cake-baking and other assort first birthday preparations.

Saturday we welcomed more relatives to town.  We cooked way too much food, ate way too much food and watched Will dab at his smash cake.

Sunday we said goodbye to my parents, took our relatives to the National Mall and out to dinner.

Monday morning we hastily said good bye to everyone and ran out the door for Will’s 1 year well check and shots.  That afternoon workmen came to repair the closet, filling the house with paint fumes.  This morning they replaced the carpeting.

Now it’s time for more appointments, more shopping, more last minute meet-ups with friends and pack-out.

But last night, for the first time in awhile, we left the dirty dishes in the sink and the toys on the floor where they lay.

Last Import-22

I’ve been gathering my thoughts, working on a few different, perhaps Life Lessons-ish posts on the topics below:

1. Sending my parents off to the airport is quickly becoming one of my least favorite parts of this weird and wild life we live.  Will’s babyhood is so fleeting and every time I have to separate him from his adoring grandparents, my heart breaks just a little bit more.  It’s what I call “the grandparent guilt–” mine, not theirs.  This was something I wasn’t prepared for before having Will.

How do you cope?

2. We spent the weekend hanging out with a few members of my extended family for the first time since before we left for China.  They are wonderful, kind, funny and amazing people; people whose lives are so radically different from ours that it’s easier to not talk about it and just pretend that living overseas is exactly the same as life in the suburbs of New York.

Do you too feel the distance between your life and the lives of the people you should supposedly be closest to?  Does it get easier or harder the longer you live far away?

3. Chris and I have been talking a lot lately about comfort zones and the people we know who are either very open-minded or close-minded regardless of background and past experiences.

My husband grew up as a foreign service kid.  To him, living overseas is as normal as he knows.  He freely admits that while it might seem like he’s quite adventurous taking a job that has us moving every two to three years, in reality he’s living well within his comfort zone.  It’s those times when he travels back to Wisconsin with me or meets members of my family who could care less about current events that he feels like a fish out of water.

Me, on the other hand, I don’t know what my comfort zone is anymore.  I’m sure I must operate mostly within it, but perhaps the borders keep shifting so constantly that I scarcely notice anymore when I brush up against them.

Do you feel like you still get out of your comfort zone, even after months, years, decades living overseas or moving around across the country?

7 responses to “The House is Quiet Again”

  1. Not sure I can answer all of this without tears since I’m a stage just after all of these thoughts and the reality of being away is very emotional right now:

    1. My heart is breaking everyday that the kids are asking to go to their grandmother’s house that we just visiting prior to leaving the States. And when I tell them we’d have to get back on all those airplanes to do so, they ask if she can come here to which I start to cry and say ‘not for another 1.5 years’ even though they have no idea how long that is. It hurts a lot when they’re being especially cute or so damn smart and doing the kinds of innocent things we adore and will quickly lose, and I can’t capture it on camera or video (or I don’t want to miss the moment trying), knowing how much our families will miss of their childhood – this amazing toddler stage that is so full of wonder.

    2. I have been living away from my family and friends since my mid-20’s and there is a great distance that I’ve stopped trying to bridge. I relate to people about how things are with them and only approach the topic of travel and foreign places only when they ask. I’m used to it but a part of me longs to have more of a connection every time we’re together.

    3. Tough one for me to answer. I’ve been nomadic most of my single adult life but now with family I’m feeling like fish out of water at home and abroad. Moving overseas used to be a piece of cake but now there are so many considerations with kids and I’m finding that at 2.5yo all they want is their routine and the familiar which makes it hard to believe we’re doing the right thing. Yet when we were back home, we felt like fish out of water because very few people can understand our lifestyle. So here we are.

    Sorry to be such a downer but you caught me in the midst of a difficult adjustment to post, but I think you for touching a cord in me and allowing me to share in this with you. I’ll be thinking about you guys a lot over your impending transition. Hugs.

    • Dani says:

      Oh man, I wish I could just give you a giant hug right now! It’s our kids that make things sooo hard isn’t it? Not in the logistical sense but in the guilt/responsibility/are-we-doing-the-right-thing? sense. If it’s any consolation, my husband and his sister grew up in the foreign service and they are really close, probably because for many years they could relate best to only each other. I imagine your kids will be the same way and having each other must be such a comfort when everything else is so different. Hope things get settled soon and that you guys get to enjoy Laos without the guilt before long, we’ll be thinking about you!

  2. Ana Gaby says:

    I used to love living out of my “comfort zone” being away from family and doing my own thing. Now with Evan and Josh with us I crave the company and love of those who really care about us and them. I think living overseas is my comfort zone, when I go back to MX I love seing my friends and family but I feel so out of place! I think about what my life would be like if I lived there and I just can’t picture it. When are you guys leaving?

    • Dani says:

      Glad to hear you feel the same way!! We leave in 1 week, 6 days, and 10 hours…not that we’re counting down or anything 🙂 🙂

  3. […] I responded to a fellow blogger in the comments on my last post, we’ve got 1 week, 6 days, and 7 hours until we leave.  That sounds a whole lot better than […]

  4. sara says:

    Living overseas and moving around still feels like I’m pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. In a good way though. A way that still makes life feel fresh. The kids make the adventure all the more exciting and interesting. My kids make life lively. At the ages they are now, it’s fun to see the world from their perspective. I love how they adapt and become comfortable quickly (more quickly than I). I am constantly learning from my kids.

    • Dani says:

      That is so neat to hear you say how fun it is to watch the kids adapt and process everything around them. I’ve been thinking a lot about toddlers lately craving routines and familiarity so it’s good to hear that after that stage comes a time when changes are not quite so jarring. Looking forward to it!

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