Thursday, October 01, 2015

10 Things I Learned In September (2015 Edition)


Last month I was writing about my monthly lessons from Germany.  This month I am writing it from my new home in a different city in Central Asia.  Don't you love the view from my roof?  We even have snow on some of the mountains, but thankfully our days are still sunny and warm but not too warm.   Once again, I am linking up with other bloggers and Emily at Chatting at the Sky in what we have learned this month.

So here are some of the things I am learning in this new season in this new place.


1. You have to take time to process change otherwise your emotions will catch up with you. 

This month the tears have flowed as I process all this change.  Most of the time, I have been able to process it on my own terms and in my own way.  Other times it has crept up on me as I learn about living in this new place with out the kids.  Thankfully, I have a very understanding team.

2. Cultural Shock can happen even if you are still in the same country but a different city.

Cultural shock hit me fast and hard last week as I was just trying to get a few simple things done.  I was missing my friends in the capital city, and the local workers who have always helped me get things done in this land.  I was also feeling restricted as I didn't feel free to go exploring on my own, and my husband was gone.   I speak the local language, but the accent and a few words are different here which makes it a bit more challenging to communicate.   Now that my husband is home, I am hoping to explore a bit more and feel more comfortable in moving around this new city.  

I also have to remember that you can have cultural shock even in your own country.  When I first moved to Tennessee after marrying my husband,  this Iowa girl had a really hard time.  Looking back, I realize I was going through cultural shock since so many things were different.  I was in a different stage of life, and I was starting graduate school.   And of course, the southern culture is slightly different than the midwestern one. 




3. Sometimes the best place to put your refrigerator is in the hallway.

We moved into a smaller place.  I thought I had purged before we moved, but I find myself still purging.  The space is just right for my husband and I, but figuring out where to put things was a bit challenging.   A few other interesting things about my house are that my shower is right off of my kitchen and my pantry is a book shelf in our living area right next to the kitchen. 

But I LOVE IT!!!  It feels cozy.  The views from our windows are gorgeous, and we get lots of sunlight. 



4. My favorite area at our new home is the sitting area on the roof. 

This is a perfect place to read and have a cup of tea.   It is also a good place to get some vitamin D after being inside most of the day teaching.   The challenge is figuring out the best times to sit out here because it can get lots of sun, and there is no shade.

5. I can wear color on the street.

In the capital city, I always wore a long, brown coat with my headscarf when I was out and about.  Here I still have to wear my headscarf, but color in my clothes is okay.   I am finding that I need to make a few adjustments to my wardrobe but not too many.  It has been fun to bring out some of the outfits that I wore when we lived in the country north of here.  

6. Sometimes you need to call in prayer support.

Last weekend, I was not dealing well with life and being away from all my family.  I couldn't get see past the cloud of emotion.   Thankfully, I have friends who are willing to pray for me.  All I had to do was ask.  Knowing they were praying for me also gave me a good shove in the direction of taking steps to process what I was going through.  It also gave me accountability.  

7.  Sometimes being alone when you feel alone is just what you need.

I know that sounds counterproductive, but for me and my personality, it was just what I needed.  Last Friday,  I spent the day alone praying, reading, exercising, cooking, and cleaning.   Life felt more normal doing these ordinary tasks.  And you know what, I didn't feel alone.  God was there with me that day.   Sometimes you just need to regroup and being alone did that for me.

8.  Parenting from afar takes flexibility and planning.

My weekend here is Thursday/Friday.  My kids' weekend is Saturday/Sunday.   This means we talk on their weekend which can take some creativity.  Skype and Facebook messenger have been a blessing in helping us stay connected.  It is also good to have a plan of when to talk.  My son is super busy at his new school so I am trying to be available when he has time.  He was super sweet on my birthday of making an extra effort of talking to me on even though it was not a convenient time for him.   

I am still figuring out how to best get them to open up and how much to mother from afar and how much to let them figure life out on their own.   It is a work in progress just as it would be if they were here in my presence.   I am learning to treasure our talks and look forward to these talks each week.  I am also finding that sending random notes and pictures though out the week can help them not feel so alone in their new place.  

9.  You Can Have a great birthday even without your Family physically present.

My team here showered me with love on my birthday.  My downstairs neighbors made me breakfast. My 5th grade student brought me cookies.  We celebrated with more cookies at lunch.  I talked to all of my family on Skype.   Another family had me over for supper and apple pie to celebrate.  Their daughters made me cards and a cute pencil holder.  I felt loved.  

10.  My husband being gone on business is much different when it is just me.

My husband has to be gone off and on for work.  In the past though, I had the kids.  We missed him but were able to do some fun things together to make the time go by faster.  We would work on a project, have people over, and usually watched too much TV.  

This time, I really missed him.  It was like something was not complete with him gone.  It didn't help that we had just went through a bunch of changes.   It did help that I am enjoying my job at the school, and my team made an extra effort to reach out to me.  My husband returned on Monday, and I was never so glad to see him again that I burst out in tears as I hugged him.   It was also nice that he bought me back some chocolate chips and new speaker for our new place.  :)  

Being an empty nester is much better with my honey around, wouldn't you agree? 

What have you learned this month?  Has this been an easy or hard month for you?  What has been a joy for you?   I would love to hear about your lessons in the comment section.

2 comments:

Chris and Julie Medley said...

Thanks, TJ, for your insightful list!

Here is mine:

1. Celebrating a birthday 2 weeks early may seem convenient to the 12-year old, but it makes the actual day seem very anticlimactic. Perhaps better planning by this mother would have made it more celebratory. I'll know next time.

2. You can say, "No" to a theoretical kitten a million times, but put a starving, adorable 7-week old kitten in front of a dad, and ,"Okay" is all that can come out! We really didn't want another cat, but our cute new pet is lots of fun.

3. Telling someone that you prayed for them is a big encouragement. Two of my kids took the SAT last weekend, and the reminders from many friends that they were praying meant so much!

God is so good to continue to teach us new things!

TJ said...

Thanks for sharing.