Slump and Stuff

I started a post last week about being in a pretty deep slump. And I wouldn’t say I’m out of it, just that I’m coping, or at least finding ways to cope better. There is a handy chart somewhere that shows the different phases of adjusting to life in a new place. Initial honeymoon phase, then a period of culture shock, then you slowly adjust. There’s more to it but that’s the general gist.

I probably experienced a similar feeling in Tbilisi but I either don’t remember it or I’ve subconsciously blocked it out, the way we don’t recall the worst parts of child birth or newborns. Because if we did remember how bad it was, why in the world would we ever sign up to do it again?! I know this just a normal part of things and that it will get better. Right?

Let’s focus on the positives. We got our stuff! Our HHE (household effects – 5400 pounds of toys, clothes, furniture and books) and our UAB (unaccompanied air shipment). Normally JR and I would have both been at home the day everything arrived, but I wasn’t able to take off so he coordinated the delivery. He sent me updates throughout the day. At first I was thinking, oh this is going pretty smoothly, and also I really lucked out not dealing with it all. Then the pictures started to give me intense anxiety.

This truck arrived with all of our worldly possessions.

Here come the boxes.

William was an excellent supervisor. 


I bet you are wondering, why did they pack so much food? Does it make sense to pack food that will sit in boxes and storage containers in 100+ degree temps for more than 4 months? Just know that I am wondering the same thing.

I also cracked up laughing when I opened the box that my former Tbilisi colleagues packed for me. They packed out my work desk and made sure to include 4 McDonalds ketchup packets. It’s the little things in life, you know?


Because everyone needs a cooler in your bedroom. 

 


JR was focused on the top priorities, which included immediately unpacking and displaying his Halloween decor.

 


He was also busy shaming me for a bit of over purchasing I did YEARS ago before we packed out for Kosovo and Georgia (I know you can relate, KBS!)

The anxiety only increased when I arrived home and basically walked into an episode of Hoarders. There was stuff everywhere. Every surface, almost every available floor space, I mean just everywhere. Our treadmill doesn’t fit anywhere except our living room. It’d be one thing if we used it for it’s actual purpose, but I like to use it for clothes and storage so having it in the living room is really quite inconvenient.

My first priority was making a path to the beds and clearing them off so everyone could sleep that night. After the kids were in bed, JR and I were working on our bedroom. I grabbed our duvet from the top of the dresser and turned to put it on the bed. This huge, heavy mirror that sits propped up against the wall on top of the dresser came crashing down, rebounding off the dresser and then slamming down on the floor. Not awesome.

Even worse, I had just set up these two acrylic jewelry holders I liked and placed my rings in them. The holders lay in pieces on the floor and my rings were scattered. We found two pretty quickly but my wedding band was missing. I was so upset. There were open boxes and piles of stuff everywhere. I was convinced we wouldn’t find it. Frustrated, I told JR I was going to sleep and we’d deal with more in the morning.

A few hours later during the night I woke up to a loud crash. I was convinced the mirror fell down again but when I turned on the light I couldn’t see that anything had happened. JR started looking around and opened his closet door to reveal that the entire shelf and hanging bar had collapsed in a pile on the ground. He looked at me and then just quickly shut the door and said, “that can wait until the morning.”

Over the next few days we made progress little by little, including finding my wedding band! While I wish we weren’t still hauling our gigantic living room furniture all over the world, it is so comfortable and it makes us feel like we are at home. The kids are playing happily with all of their toys and loving the playroom set up. Now that we are in an apartment we don’t have an obvious place for our outdoor toys, so all 37 of them are parked outside our front door and crowding the walkway. No doubt the neighbors are loving this and wondering who allowed the circus to move in. All we need is a few spare tires and a broken refrigerator to really complete the look.

Hopefully my sister doesn’t mind the mess because she arrives TOMORROW!

 

 

 

#SheilaandJoeinKosovo

We had our very first (and likely only) visitors recently – my parents came to Kosovo!  They flew through DC and Istanbul and arrived tired but very excited, especially when they saw Abby waiting for them at the airport!

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Waiting patiently for her grandparents to arrive and feeling special for being up past bedtime!

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On Sunday,  we walked downtown and showed them around Pristina.  We took them out to dinner at Pinocchio, because it’s our favorite place and we knew they would like it.  It turned out that our Ambassador had dinner plans there as well, so my parents were able to meet her, which was a nice treat.  Monday morning we woke up pretty early to start our road trip.  4 adults, 1 baby,  a stroller and about 6 bags made for a pretty tight fit in our car, but we managed!

We drove through Albania and Macedonia to get to our final destination – Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It took us around 8 1/2 hours with several stops, and although we were all tired by the time we arrived, it was well worth it.  The city is beautiful.

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The next morning we did the walking tour of the Old City walls.  It’s pretty incredible to walk around and see the views of the water, ruins from the 1991 bombing there, and all the history.

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We spent the rest of our time eating, exploring, and enjoying our great apartment located right beside the city walls.  If you’re looking for a place to stay in Dubrovnik, I highly recommend Dubrovnik Apartment Source.   JR and I did walking tour of the old town at night, and we also rented sea kayaks for a few hours.  One really great thing about traveling with family is that you have built-in babysitters!

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We had a really fantastic time and I was sad to leave.  On our way back to Kosovo, rather than driving around the Bay of Kotor, we took a short ten-minute ferry ride (and only 4.50 Euro!) across instead.

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We had a few more days with my parents before they had to leave and we filled them with another trip to Pinocchio, a visit to Bondsteel, and quality time with Abby.  Oh – and baby girl showed us her first teeth!

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It was so nice to have family here and I was really sad to say goodbye.   I continue to be grateful for video chats and e-mail to stay in touch, and I’m really looking forward to our next visit home!