Since I didn’t have to prep my cold cut platters, I went into the sanctuary for the second half of the services and immediately started crying. I do that at lot at church. I think it has something to do with processing the deep loss of Leaving Church after so many decades of dedication. (We only go once in a while now, to give the kids a taste in case they like it and to take Communion which is all rite-and-ritual and kinda pagany–I do love it so!)
Anyway, this Sunday I realized that while I’m sure I still have a nice deep well of Leaving Church sorrow, I was also tearing up because I am so damn depleted from this expat living thing. I just want to buy a coke with ice in less than 15 minutes; buy clothes that don’t look like pregnancy-smocks with leggings; and for godsake be able to pick up paper cups on a Sunday! The closer we get to our sabbatical, the more on-edge I become. It reminds me of how we used to completely max out on being parents about 45 minutes before the babysitter arrived.
The toughest thing about living here–other than the vitamin D depletion– is a leathal cocktail of one part too-small adult-friends community + two parts “family time” with the children. Recently the small community has shrunk even more, and the kids have had approximately one million days off from school. Yeah, it’s a deadly combination.
In past month I’ve said goodbye to:
-our BFF Family, who moved to Portland, OR.
-my favorite soulsister/artist in CPH.
-a pastoral collegue who actually “gets” me.
-the only other American family in the kid’s folkskole.
-6 of the kid’s friends. (There’s 2 left.)
I’m trying hard to see the benefits of this expansive web of friendship that now lies all over the world. But my deep communitarian roots are showing, and all this bon voyaging is wearing at me until “I feel thin and stretched, like butter spread over too much bread.” (Frodo, I believe.)
On the other hand, I am longing for solitude right now. Paul is Stateside for week doing the Microsurf thing, and I’m at home alone with the girls. Today when I got to church my enjoyable pal Joel asked me how I was. I sighed and absentmindedly said,
“My children never stop talking.”
This literally cracked him up. He’s child-free and apparently not accustomed to parents saying unflattering things about their beloved offspring. And yet, the sorry truth of it is that Eden and Cate talk non-stop: in English, in Danish, and I swear in some sort of alien language they learned from Dr. Who. And that’s when they haven’t had sugar. Post-Sunday School Cupcakes, this is what Cate did under her breathe the whole way home on the bus today:
“It’s chilly outside. Chilly Willy. That’s a good name for a penguin. Chilly Will was a Penguin. Chillywillychwillywillypenguinchillyoustside for penguinsnamedchillywillychilly…”
And she’s the quiet one.
So rather than whine and rant any further, let me just say this about that…
In my dream world I live the life of a hermit, on a deserted beach where the temperature is a constant 83 and breezy. Even tho I am all solitary and sh*t, I get to go out to lunch for big salads 3 days a week with my soulsisters…and there is a guitarist who lives outside my door with his band and they play amazing songs on demand. Oh, and there’s a bathtub with super soft bamboo towels. And superfast internet. And conjugal visits. Yeah, that sounds about right.
Where do you escape when life wears you down? What’s your dream world? Do tell…