For a variety of reasons, being it anything from lack of strong internet to lack of a computer, I have been absent in my writing. Oh, sure, I've written plenty in my head, but does it count if you don't put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to a keyboard?
We have now officially departed Managua. We left last month after a rather hectic pack-out, mostly as our timeline has changed rather significantly. We are no longer spending 11 months in the VA area, but will head almost directly to post. These changes are good overall, but do mean that we have to speed things up, and compress a lot into less time.
Since we won't have as much time in the States as we originally had planned, we had all of the kids leave post early and have had a few extra trips during our home leave (mandated vacation for Peter, which I actually do love). Cait left Managua first (along with her gato) to get orientation underway for college, and Nicholas and Kelsey also left a few days later. We (brilliantly) figured moving the pets and kids out first would give us a leg up on organizing the move, and that could not have been more than accurate. I also realized that being Managua is very car-necessary (for getting kids places), had the kids not left early, I would have spent a good bit of time just driving them places. I love them, and love getting them places, but when the clock is ticking...well, it was just lovely that the grandparents hosted for a couple of weeks!
Despite having to rearrange aspects of our move rather quickly, overall things went very smoothly. The movers were good (no, great!), we ended up getting rid of at least 1,300 lbs of stuff (a good reminder of how much we don't need), and the whole process seemed far smoother than previous moves. While we sold a few items, we gave the bulk of it away to a friend who runs a local organization for children and families. He distributes the donations nearly as soon as he gets them and then posts photos to let us know how the clothing, shoes, food (half a can of beans, he'll take it!) was being utilized. There were a few sad moments during the move (leaving our friends, the house, Illeana...), but seeing the looks on the children's faces as they received new clothes or a treat of honey...so uplifting.
Since leaving Managua, we've visited Tennessee, Virginia (a week in Chincoteague), Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, when not staying with friends (incredible hosts) in Maryland. It's been a lovely chance to reconnect with those here, while trying to prepare for the move to Turkey in less than a month. The move itself has been a bit more stressful for the kids (particularly Nick, who really misses Nicaragua) than we anticipated, and we are still in the throes of picking out schools. As we have yet to be able to make a decision, I have finally come to the conclusion that the worst case scenario would be online school until we can figure out what works best. For whatever reason, picking a school in Managua from afar seemed so much easier...
Given, though, that we have to get ourselves ready, get the pets ready, both Peter and I have classes to take, Cait has to get off to college, Kelsey has to have eye surgery (new excitement today!), and we might throw together an extra shipment, I am just taking this move day-by-day. I can't even look forward to the weekend, as I'm so afraid I'll miss something scheduled for tomorrow or Thursday, and throw things off even more. So, for now, it's time for another cup of coffee, and then to work on Cait's college budget, getting her prepped for school, working on rental cars for various trips, hotel reservations, meeting up with friends, and just trying to keep it all straight. Here's to a happy Tuesday for all, and more updates soon, and best of all, more time to write once we land in Turkey.