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December 30, 2016

Sometimes one needs...

just a little bit of inspiration. Things have been off for me for the past few months for a variety of reasons. I could chalk it up to any number of factors: another international move, first child going off to college (actually least stressful item), new schools for other kids (meh..in the long run, not so bad), adjusting to a new post (perhaps the ease of adjustment?) or any number of other things that have happened.

The reality is, I've been in a funk...a very weird funk that is inexplicable in many ways. Our current post is lovely. Our sponsors have been amazing. Our kids have found friends easily, Cait has adjusted to college so well, and moving here a year early turned out to be for the best. No "What do we do about the car?!" stress, etc. Yet, still...

No, it's not the weather. I love winter, plain and simple. I love cold, crisp days, and the wonder of a new world that a generous snowfall can create. I love the fun outdoors time it creates for the whole family, and the way it (sometimes) makes everyone slow down and appreciate nature a bit more. I think, perhaps, it was just too much at once.

We moved without much of a break this summer. Too much was up in the air, pet stresses (how much did we really have to do, and how much would it cost?), school decisions, vacation plagued by the stress of the unknown. I could go on and on, but the details are boring and only stressful to us. After all, most of you who are reading this likely deal with the same issues on a regular basis. And, really, we are lucky to deal with this type of stress. We have a lifestyle that we love, that entails so many benefits, but it can throw stress our way. Sometimes I think I just forget and try to bury the little stressors  instead of remembering to deal with them.

I finally realized this week, that I simply needed to get away from it all. We, as a family, needed to get away from everything, even if travel in and of itself could be stressful. I can't say that our trip started off well. I was in a deep funk, and spent three hours in the car alternately nodding off and brooding. We finally arrived at our hotel in Cappadocia, and after a little room switching around, suddenly started to...well, chill.

My mood finally started to shift ever so slightly. We were in a totally new place, had a lovely hotel room (two of them in fact, one for us and one for the kids), and decided to wander over to a restaurant/art gallery for dinner. As the hostess started to list the daily menu, I looked around. I took in the natural wonder of the cafe in a cave, lit by lamps made from hollowed out gourds. A sip of local Turkish wine, a taste of the tomato soup and a sampling of the mezze, and suddenly I really felt the stress start to lift. 

Yes, we were all tired from the drive, but we were all together and able to take a trip and enjoy a sumptuous dinner in a lovely cafe only steps from our hotel. I realized that I had let all of the stress of the move(s), stress that I had been holding onto since before we left Managua, simply take over. I hadn't fully let go of it, and who knew (okay, a friend did...) that we just needed time away. Time away to do nothing but be on a vacation of sorts.

So, a trip three hours away seemed to do the trick. For three days we explored, ate insanely good food, were frustrated by pounding rain, amazed by gorgeous snowfalls, and stunned by the history that surrounds us here. Really, there's nothing like hearing your 18 year old relay her art history knowledge to explain the significance of frescoes (a thousand years old or more) to your 8 year old (and she also reminds the 8 year old how lucky he is to be living in his 4th country since his birth).

With that, here's to a new year, and me resolving to get my act together and remember why we are here. I'm going to give myself more time in January and February to really get settled, finalize a few projects,  figure out what I do next, whether it be volunteer or work opportunities, and really delve back into writing. I can't forget to remember to explore, though. There's just so much to do...and this week's trip was such a good reminder that if I don't really get my act together, the chances will pass us by before I know it. 




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Mutlu Yıllar and best wishes for finding and holding on to those moments of exhaling!

Hi Jen, I am a prospective FSO. My "pack" would consist of my wife, my 1 year old son, a dog and a cat. How easy did you find moving, especially with animals? It is one of the logistical items that really gives me pause in potentially joining.

Thanks, Nomads!

FSO Prospect, good question! In fact, probably a bit long for a comment, and realize this might be a good writing topic. Look for a blog post soon on your question!

Sweet! That is much appreciated. I am just visualizing taking my dog out of the crate after a transatlantic journey, with severe PTSD. She is a rescue, that is already scared of her shadow most days.

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