Jet lag is in full force and along with the lack of sleep, the cold and the adjustments have come a range of emotions. But the overwhelming feeling from this week is one of gratitude. There are so many little things I’m grateful for. With each box I open up, I pull the lid off a memory, a regret or two, or an almost-forgotten treasure. And it has been wonderful to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.
The regrets have come in the form of the kids’ clothing. When we first left, we intended to be back much sooner. I saved dozens of items of clothing that no one will wear now–all kinds of cute outfits that will no longer fit. They’re just things, but it brings a twinge of sadness, nonetheless.
Some things have been just plain fun to open up–like our old photo albums and a bunch of clothing I left here and haven’t worn in almost two years. When we left, I was pregnant, with the expectation of being too large to wear most of my clothes for the duration of our time in Canada. After the miscarriage, I needed only the few items of clothing I had brought with me. So I recycled the same couple of pairs of jeans for most of our time there. In less than a week back here, I’ve actually worn three or four different pairs of pants. How refreshing!
And there’s the kitchen. It’s so nice to have all my own things so close at hand and get back into the routine of cooking and baking here.
This week, I’m grateful for so much:
171. Old friends.
172. New friends.
173. Speaking Mandarin. Sounds funny, but I enjoy the challenge of language learning, and I enjoy speaking Mandarin. Back at the market, I remembered just about all of my fruit and vegetable vocabulary. Just one pronunciation problem slipped me up, but I still came home with what I went to market for.
174. My lovely new kitchen.
175. My “old” kitchen things. Everyone joins me, for example, in appreciation of our handy-dandy apple slicer.
176. Fruit we haven’t tasted in a long time, like pomello and truly fresh pineapple.
177. Buckwheat (soba) noodles. Gluten-free and so yummy!
178. We have begun to appreciate just how well JavaMan did at finding us this apartment. Everything is close at hand and very convenient. Our old place here was great too, and we miss it a little, but it wasn’t as practical for the area we needed to locate in now.
179. IKEA. While we lived in Toronto, we lived near IKEA and furnished our home with a number of items from the store, but while we were in Canada, we didn’t set foot in the store once. What would we buy? Certainly nothing we would want to bring back across an ocean. But our city has a store here, and for old times’ sake (and as somewhere to keep warm for a few hours), we visited the store on Saturday. We walked out without buying a thing, but we had a lovely time window shopping.
180. Being together. JavaMan will start work soon, but it has been nice to have the time to settle in and just be together again. We were apart for three weeks. It’s good to be a family again under our own roof.
181. Our landlord. We’ve had a couple of problems since moving in (like a water heater with only 3 minutes of hot water), and our landlord has been very responsive and cheerful about it all.
182. Internet. We were without it for a few days while traveling and until it was hooked up on Friday. It’s easy to take it for granted, but the break from it was good too.
183. My own cell phone. I didn’t bother to get a phone in Canada, although a few times, I wished I’d had one. Here, it’s hard to live without, and we won’t be getting a home phone.
184. My children. There was a pretty major disappointment just before we arrived. We were unable to locate puppy. We left him with a friend who subsequently left town, apparently without a trace. Our kids–especially Sprout–were very upset and disappointed. But they’ve warmed to their new home and rediscovering their toys and treasures, and have even begun making new friends with very few tears over what we “don’t have.”
185. Warmth. We made a project today of getting books and games put away in the homeschool room and clearing out enough bins to consolidate a bin for each child’s clothing until the dressers and wardrobes arrive. Pumpkin took the temperature in the homeschool room at one point and declared it was 1 degree Celsius. It’s sad to realize that some people live in that kind of reality all the time, and a good lesson in appreciating just how blessed we are that we can usually say we are warm and secure.
186. I’ve made a quilt for each of my children, and they’re all here. We were concerned about the ones that spent two winters in the south of China, since the climate is damp. A number of things are being laundered, since they smell a little musty, but by and large, things fared very well.
187. The long-range forecast. It promises to get warmer here. It will be good to shed some layers indoors. Today I wore a fleece shirt, a long sweater and a ski vest. Comfy.
188. Technology. There are always a few things I don’t know how to say or a question I’m not sure how to ask. Our favorite trick when buying things is to take a picture of the item with us. Today, JavaMan took a picture of tomato paste from the internet and I took his phone to the market. I returned with the item I wanted, and we had chili for lunch!
189. Homeschool. What other lifestyle would afford our kids the flexibility we have right now? We are doing some math online with Dreambox and studying Chinese. That’s it for now, and probably until the temperature cooperates.
190. An online community of homeschoolers. Now that there are no homeschoolers close to me, I appreciate my online buddies even more! (Thanks Jimmie for your advice!)
What are you thankful for this week?