You can have more than one home. You can carry your roots with you, and decide where they grow. Henning Mankell
At last we meet again, dear Blog.
I am horror-stricken to see that my last entry was in September, almost 6 months ago. Especially when there has been SO much going on…SO many wonderful memories!
Admittedly, I know that it has been because of all of this “SO much” that I have not been as dedicated. Our life has officially finished its slow descent up the roller coaster, and has flown off of the other side, ripping and racing, high and low, side to side, without enough pause to focus on some of the little things that I was able to observe and admire on my initial ride up.
They are those kinds of speeds that are exhausting, but invigorating. They leave us wishful for a break, but yet make us feel like we are finally in our element…we are finally feeling alive.
So, maybe my negligence on this blog has actually been a sign of its own?
Maybe it has revealed that gone are the early days of exhausted confusion, of an entirely new and life-changing form of education in the simple and small things, of the desire to “just get through the day” without making a total fool of ourselves or worse yet, without making a catastrophic mistake with respect to our children’s school or activities or health (due to simply not understanding clearly yet)….
Gone is what I believe was our survival strategy—making it from one day to the next.
And gone with all that is the time that it left free for absorbing it all, and for chronicling our adventure, as a result of simply not knowing enough to be actively involved in as much as we otherwise would be in the U.S.
In all honesty, I think our family needed to have those breaks in the beginning. We needed time to slow down a bit, to allow us to enjoy each other and thoroughly enjoy our new city. We needed that quiet time outdoors, in the woods, on the water…time for reflection and growth. Sometimes it was only minutes within an otherwise crazy day, but it was necessary.
But as of recently, we also reached a place where we were ready for the next step…for more engagement within the community.
And so I believe we have entered a new phase. The birth of settlement, understanding, comfortability…and the resulting typical family of 5 active schedule!
Having lived here for two years with 3 growing children, now at 8, 4 and 2, school, the familiarity with the city and the resulting awareness of extra-curricular activities have a way of compounding, which has been wonderful for our energetic party of five as a whole. Swimming, tennis, cheerleading, gymnastics, art classes, summer camps, birthday parties, violin, etc have enabled Maddie and Greyson to put their high-energy, spirited, and competitive natures to good use, and have allowed us to meet so many more wonderful people in the process.
This entire ex-pat journey has lead me to ponder and think about (quite a bit) what makes a place a home. I often wondered, at what point will we reach that tipping point, where Valdivia would go from a “station in life” to a “second home.” (I say second, because we will always have our first home (-:).
Would we know while we were here? Would we not really know until we have to leave?
Home is where the heart is…this is true. But what makes up the heart?
Family and friends, to be SURE.
But also, WE DO. Our heart keeps us alive, but in order to do that, we need to keep our hearts alive. And we do that in part through living a life enriched with self-care and self-growth.
So, I also believe home to be a place where you are free to evolve, maybe even metamorphose….professionally, educationally, spiritually, athletically, musically, socially, linguistically, artistically, etc….any and all of it.
And if you find yourself and your family experiencing any sort of positive metamorphosis in a location in the world that you have come to understand like the back of your hand, alongside people and teachers that you have come to adore, then that place will naturally hold a very special place in your heart…and become a home.
And so, with these life-altering levels of hands-on learning, a learning that has involved making mistakes, humbling ourselves not even daily, but often times hourly, realizing new skills and conquering fears, succeeding, and then just when we think we’ve got it, being put back in our place once more…all of it has resulted in a metamorphosis for each and every one of us. All of these little/big things, separate and together, whirling and swirling at crazy, tornadic speeds, have whirled and swirled so hard, and so fast, that they have whirled and swirled us into a home.
That crazy wolf didn’t blow our house down. We didn’t let him. He blew us a home, a new second, summer home. Build on a foundation of blood, sweat, tears, and triumph.
There is no stronger foundation.
And as such, I have been busy whirling and swirling myself, and my blog posting has been profoundly put on the back burner (though remaining in its consistent, #1 spot on my “to do” list!)
But alas, I knew if I waited any longer, that might be it, I might never do it again.
No way. I could never live with dropping out of documenting such a life journey, a life journey in our second home
So here we go…