I saw something that made me cry the other day. Do you want to know what it was?
An orange leaf, an emblem of my “saudade.”
The leaves in Houston, at least most of them, don’t change colour so I’m missing home – my glorious driveway and my very own autumn forest.
I miss the seasons and I miss – sit down for this – pants. I don’t think I can fit them but I miss jeans and cute boots and the brisk autumn air.
I am disoriented to time and place. I have to tell myself, “it is October”, “you are driving South”, “you are looking East”, “your neighbours have guns”, “they’re not rude they’re just not Canadian.” Oh and, “no one cares that you’re Canadian.”
I haven’t posted much lately because I have a bad case of the 3-month-transition blues and I don’t want to complain too much lest that inadvertently defines me, which it doesn’t. Truthfully, much of this transition is unexpected, unanticipated, and I feel a little foolish for not seeing it coming.
I never expected so many subtle cultural differences – the way people ask things, make plans, drive, chit-chat. I detect an underlying attitude here that the way things are done is the best way, so no need to consider any other options. And I’m sitting here saying, but! But!! There’s a rough edge here compared to Canada, so innocuous interactions still take a bit of skin. I have to brace myself every time I leave the house and even when I’m welcomed by new “friends,” it’s still new and inherently uncomfortable. And don’t get me started about the school system. I’d like to shake Texas by the shoulders and scream, DO YOU REALLY THINK GIVING KIDS A RATING FOR EVERY DAMN THING IS A GOOD IDEA? Instead I tell my children, you are smart no matter your percentage. You are an athlete because you love the sport. Your future is not dependent on this test, this day or this school. God’s got a plan for you that will happen and you will be perfectly equipped for it. (So there, Texas.)
I went to a Life Way women’s event last weekend with Lysa TerKeurst and Ellie Holcomb and it was awesome. But I went alone.
There’s a spouses’ association through my husband’s company, so I went to that. It was great to meet all the ladies seasoned in moving and transitioning – and let me tell you, it was quality visiting time with some very nice bags and shoes – but they’re not my friends (yet). (I think I’m going to offer to host a clothing swap!!!) This morning, one of the neighbourhood moms originally from Venezuela assured me that new experiences make your life richer. True. But then I returned to my empty house. I’m putting myself out there, I’m saying yes to every invitation, I’m making overtures, I’m in Bible studies, I’m looking for a church. It’s not for lack of effort that I find myself in this state and I’m just wondering, is this normal? You who have made big international moves, did you hit some walls? Did you have valleys? Tell me about your hills too because this girl needs some hope.
In a few years, when I meet women who are at my current stage, I’m going to tell them: even if you do everything right and willingly made the move and had a great attitude and love change, you’re still going to be caught off-guard sometimes with longing for the way things were. You’re going to have days where you declare, I hate this place, even though you don’t. I know you are grateful to be here, Sister, you can still complain to me. Now let me tell you about better days…