looking back on the journey

My four-year-old just ate her third cream cracker covered in artificial jam and started her second viewing of an alphabet cartoon. It’s educational so I’m okay with it. She’s occupied for thirty minutes and Sugar Baby is sleeping so this might be my only chance today to think clearly  so I’m going to take it.

I’ve ruminated on the journey I’ve been on– moving to the other side of the world; having our fourth child; losing my mind, then getting it back (somewhat).  It’s not been what I’ve expected in many ways.

We have been in India for 2.5 years and it’s been quite the adventure. One I never dreamed of and one I’ve fought. Hard. Before we came and even after we arrived I fought it because I knew it would mean a different life for me than the one I had envisioned. And the fighting added to the struggle instead of making it easier. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Wrestling with something for years takes a toll on a soul. At least it did on me and those around me.

But it feels like I’ve had an internal shift. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have what I call too-much-culture days when I need to recharge in the privacy of my own home for a few days.The differences between here and home are vast. But those types of days are not as frequent and they don’t completely undo me like they once did. And by undo me I mean anxiety, depression and sometimes panic attacks. THAT kind of undo.

Life is better now. Not easier, but better because I’ve given up trying to control everything.

So why was life such a challenge here at first, you ask? So imagine you are an overly critical American who has moved to India and had your worldview challenged at every turn. You have no control over anything (or so it seemed). When you have to cook solely with a microwave for several weeks and don’t know where to buy chicken or cheese because there are only a few stores where you can buy meat AND groceries and we live nowhere near them. Where I couldn’t even cook a proper meal for my family, keep my house clean or drive a car anywhere. And the monsoon rains arrived with us and I thought I might melt from the heat, humidity, frequent power outages and no inverter to even run fans. And not to mention the sensory overload every time I walked out of the house. Yes, I became a bit critical those first years.

Okay, very critical. And alone. Life had challenges I felt unprepared for and quite frankly didn’t want. I don’t like hard places, most of us don’t. BUT…

While I would not relive our first two years here for any amount of dollars or rupees, I can say now that I’m glad I lived through them and they are a part of who I am. And hopefully I’m a bit stronger for it. Hopefully. Now that’s progress if you ask me.

So that’s where I am as we approach the halfway point in year three. And I still need to find a place around that sells tender (not chewy) chicken and possibly bacon (I miss bacon!). And we still have mosquitoes biting us at night and I still try not to make eye contact with roaming wildlife. But on a positive note I have working AC’s, mosquito wands that zap and decent cheese. I think I can manage with that.

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