The other day, I was talking to a friend about what we're doing these days. The only thing that comes to mind is "adjusting". I really didn't know what to say beyond that because I have no idea what the adjustments are. I can't put into words what I'm doing every day, I just know my body is tired, so there must be an adjustment going on, right?
I am an analytical person by nature, so when someone asks me a question, I feel compelled to answer that question as honestly and thoroughly as possible, even if the answer comes days later. I've been alive long enough, however, to know that people don't really care enough to wait days for an answer. My OCD kicks in when I'm asked a question I don't know how to answer, and I think about it until I can. Therefore, I pondered the question, "What adjustments are y'all making?" until I could put a few of the adjustments into words.
First, Zane and I are trying to get used to U.S. time zones. For the first week, Zane thought that midnight was 8 a.m. (breakfast time in Addis) and 5 a.m. was noon (lunch time in Addis). It wasn't until two nights ago, that Zane slept (pretty much) through the night. It felt great to have a full night's sleep!
Secondly, Zane is getting used to foreign foods. We've gone from barley cereal, wheat cereal, and an occasional bowl of pasta stars to peas, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cheese crackers, and his favorite, french vanilla yogurt. I'm learning to hide vegetables and fruits in things like potatoes and yogurt. I guess I can say I'm officially a mom now.
Thirdly, I have been adjusting to life in an apartment in Houston rather than our house in New Orleans. Our apartment is beautiful and the area is awesome for us to explore. We have a pool, onsite cyber cafe with great macchiatos, and near-by nature trails for walking and riding bikes. We love the area; however, so much of me is still in New Orleans. Zane's room that I completed weeks before we left still sits untouched in our house in New Orleans. Our dogs, Callie and Gracie, are staying with Grandmom (Mark's mom) in Richmond.
In addition to this, my job as 7th grade language arts teacher has been replaced by the job of homemaker and mom. It was strange to let August go by without decorating my classroom, writing names on popsicle sticks, and organizing my agenda for the new school year. I even had my usual "beginning of school" dreams while I was in Addis. I dreamed that my principal did not fill my position and she needed me to come back from Africa to teach until she found a replacement, and I dreamed about lesson planning with Becky, my partner teacher and dressing up to read a story to the kids.
Lastly, I feel like my family for the past 8 years is in New Orleans living life without us. We can't pick up the phone at 5 p.m. on a Friday night and ask the Palmers to meet us at Superior Grill at 6. We don't drive by the Carvers' yellow house on the way to Lebanon's when we're craving hummus and gyro wraps. We can't rag on Georgia to the Simons on Sunday morning in Sunday school, and we can't spontaneously go out to eat with the Flores after church. We're not driving to church three days a week for meetings and praise team practice with Robert and the band. No more late Sunday nights drinking coffee with the Pucketts or pretending to diet with Rachel while I sneak a Starbucks scone. It's weird. My normal is in New Orleans, so I guess we're adjusting to the new normal.
My grandparents, whom I admire very much, have never let changing seasons of life keep them from experiencing the fullness and joy life has to offer. My entire life, they have traveled all across the United States to see friends, family members, co-workers, and anyone they've ever met really. When you meet them, you immediately become their friend. People are priority to them, and you know that when you are in their presence. There is no boundary that is too big to keep Honey and Grandaddy from loving someone and making a special effort to come see them. In fact, they just returned to Houston from a 6-7 stop trip over the weekend where they spent time with Grandaddy's ailing sister, had lunch with former missionaries they knew, stayed the night with my other set of grandparents, played forty-two with old friends, among many other joys. In their 80's now, they never let life pass them by, and they never live with regret.
I want to be like Honey and Grandaddy. God is giving me an opportunity with our new move to stay connected to loved ones in Louisiana. As my life continues, I pray that God will give me the thoughtfulness and selflessness of my grandparents to maintain friendships with people wherever we may live. What a legacy they have left for me, and I pray to leave that legacy for Zane. While we're on earth, the most important relationship we have aside from Jesus Christ is the ones we have with the people he has put in our path. I hope that people see the love of Christ through me, as it is seen through my grandparents in their efforts to keep close ties to the people they've encountered.