Wednesday, August 12, 2015

balance

i'm in a facebook group for americans living in denmark. recently someone posted this article called 'expat re-entry blues'... meaning, the range of negative emotions a person might feel going back to their life abroad after having visited their home country and all the comfortable familiarities or some other country and all its newness and differences.  "seems timely" wrote the poster, and, clearly,  i couldn't agree more.  we had (nearly) three wonderful months visiting family and friends and even pretend-living back in our old city of madison.  it's hard to not feel 'blue' leaving all that wonderfulness behind.  at the same time though, i really can't attribute many negative feelings to being back here.  i will admit that on my first day picking william up from school and noticing out of the corner of my eye, heads turn whenever i'd open up my mouth and say something in english to him with a great big american accent, i felt frustrated at feeling once again like the odd man out.  but, i don't know... today i didn't really care. tomorrow it might bother me again, or it might not.  it's a shifting thing, how much like outsiders we feel and how much we mind when we feel it.  but after this trip back home and then coming home after having been home (what? huh?) i'm thinking that i can be happy in both places.  and when i say that, what i'm really feeling is happiness in the moment. i'm not even thinking about long-range happiness when i say that.  but rather that i can put my feelings about one home aside and enjoy the one i'm in, when i'm in it... and, at least the way i'm able to do this, is that "east is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet" (thank you r. kipling) ... in my mind at least, i cannot dwell too much on one country if i'm to enjoy the other.  i spent plenty of time doing this in the 'homesick' phase of moving to a new country and finally my brain put an end to it or i got cancer and thought more about the importance of the here and now and became more patient with big, potentially life-changing events like test results or maybe i just adjusted to denmark and its quirky ways and settled in or all of the above but now it seems to come much easier.  the last few days of our time in the u.s. (and only those) were unpleasantly interrupted with thoughts of leaving but it hasn't taken long to feel 'settled in' once more now that we're back, to feel happy in the moment and so fortunate that we have the opportunity to have a life over here right now.

henry and i took the bus into town today for a quick shopping trip (note henry's shoes in some of the pictures below)...

and walked through an 'international market' set up on a main square...


and noticed that a little piece of home made its way to the roskilde train station while we were away...


on our way home, the bus detoured right before our stop so we ended up near the grocery store.  we got off at that stop and i suggested to henry we eat lunch out-- our favorite (and our only real eating out experience in denmark these days)-- falafel and french fries.  afterwards, as we were walking home, he told me there was a water park nearby and brought me here...


(reminds me of a few instances in the u.s. of cultural unfamiliarity.  what comes to mind-- his reaction to cotton candy: "mama, how do you eat this?")

but yes, this is a water park.  there is indeed water at the log crossing...


no matter...

and it really is the perfect park for a boy to practice his balancing skills...














on the way home...

today we both rode our bikes to pick up the big brother and found him running around with something he'd fashioned together in the fantasy workshop...

noticing that the door to his new classroom was still open, i made him stand by his desk for a picture...

and we ate dinner in the common house today for the first time in over three months and while the boys played outside after dinner, greg and i sat talking, thankful not to have any dishes to do, even while in the u.s. i don't begrudge a single dish.  

now for a little henry time: 
video

5 comments:

Lee I said...

I love Henry in the water park.

nina said...

re: living in (or being from) two countries: What bothers me is that I cannot carry over one home to the other. It's this or that, never both.

Sara said...

I find it's the transitions in and out, to and from country to country after living someplace for a while that are always the hardest. I often found I didn't quite know where I fit, but finding a way to be content wherever I was definitely helped.

And with regard to Nina's comment, I always found it strange when living in Germany with the Army how much people tried to make posts/shops/dining on post/AFN TV just like home. It just never is the same, though it was sometimes nice to retreat to our American "bubble".

greg|regan said...

We tried carrying a little over this time Nina-- we've got Bucky Badger and the capital adorning things like our fridge and window corners and t-shirts. But otherwise, yes, it's one or the other. The place I'm not in cannot seem to occupy more than 10% of my brain without me feeling a little bummed out.

Sara, I've often thought I could use a "Little America" over here now and then. =)

Kat said...

I love how you interpret your boys!