I woke up early this morning. I have no idea why...it's Saturday. I could be sleeping in. But I also love a quiet solitary morning with a cup of coffee all to myself. I rarely get that these days since most mornings are busy getting kids up, dressed, on bikes, to school, then back with Brandtley who is by my side until Jackson gets home.
I opened blogger and realized I have not posted at all in February. How did time slip by like that?
Matthew just got home yesterday and we stayed up til 2am talking. (again, I could be sleeping in right now) I find that hard to believe - stay up til 2am just to talk? To someone I talk to on a daily basis? As an introvert, I'm comfortable with silence. And I definitely like my sleep.
As I thought about these two seemingly unrelated things, I realized it's been a long two weeks. Matthew's been gone for most of them. It's been gray and dreary. By the way, it's almost always gray here this time of year. Daylight hours are short (but already lengthening since December - we no longer bike to school in total darkness at 8am!). The sun doesn't rise to the top of the sky, if you see it at all through the clouds. We've been in the slog of life...school, grocery, language school, laundry, more laundry, cooking, more cooking. The kids felt crummy with a virus. We made our first sick visit to a German doctor. On a bus. And navigated expat insurance from the viewpoint of an expat for the first time. Our car has been in the shop for a week. Not that I'd drive it anyway...which is why it's been in the shop for a week, because I didn't want to pick it up. I had some low points with a bad attitude. We hit our first wall of behavioral issues with the kids as language class got hard and I was pulled aside by both of their teachers separately after each of their classes. I had at least 6 phone calls in German (this seems small but it is no small thing), and received multiple school flyers & "routine" correspondence from the school. Again, "routine" is no small thing. I have yet to figure out what my responsibility is, despite having translated the words that are on the pages. I went back to work (this actually was a high point & pulled me out of my funk more than one afternoon this week as I made phone calls in English and had full, informative, educated conversations in which I understood not only the vocabulary but also context & culture).
And I guess I don't like to write about hard things. Nothing was horrible. Nothing came crashing down. But I also don't feel like there's much to say. Sometimes I'm just tired.
I navigated past my own blog pages this morning to the list of other blogs I follow and found a recent post by a fellow expat "friend" whom I have never met. She and her husband moved to another country in Europe with their 3 young children about 2 months before we did. And sometime during these two weeks of my silence, she posted. Such a beautiful description of exactly this. Exactly what I didn't realize I was living. This mountain climb of experience that has points where you "put your head down and will your feet to keep pacing one tiny step at a time". That despite having learned to manage the laundry and the (gluten free) cooking, that this is no day hike. It's a hidden mountain that just as you think you've got this, will surprise you.
Reading her words brought me relief, and I am grateful for the perspective. And that the peak is worth the pain.
And as I thought about this, I realized the pictures from the overlooks are what I'm posting. What we all like to post. They make the hike worth it. Who has the energy to video themselves when gasping for breath & focusing on their feet shuffling up a trail? Instead, we focus on the gorgeous views from the stopping points along the way. The points when we rest and take in with amazement where we are and the unique experiences provided by that.
I will continue to post the beautiful, fun adventures. But I needed to express the in-between too. And it was time.