Friday, January 28, 2011

Re-Entry Blues

I can hardly believe that we've been back from Nepal now for 2 months! I realized that I should probably change the name of my blog, now that I am not actually a "Mountain" Mama anymore for this season. :(
I don't have any clever ideas to replace it, though, so for now, it will just have to stay.

The fact that it has been far longer since my last post than between postings while navigating life in a third-world country is an indicator of the adjustment it has been. Honestly, it was a rough landing coming back! I knew, on some level, it would be jarring and that there would be hard things about coming back, but I wasn't prepared for the extent of what I felt and experienced coming back. It seemed so difficult to feel "normal" again, despite being in the place that has been home now for us for many years.

One challenge was the obvious jetlag. Jetlag is no fun. Jetlag with a toddler who is also jetlagging is really not fun! Then Isaiah caught a cold, which added to the poor sleep at night. A series of circumstances proceeded that just felt like they kept putting off any sense of "normalcy" or routine returning.

In hindsight, it was not a great choice to return right before Christmas. For one, I absolutely love Christmas and get all kinds of ideals in my head for it being a special celebration, and I just didn't have the energy to pull off much of anything, especially with none of us feeling that well. Also, LA is a particularly weird place at Christmas. We had some very good friends who stayed here for the holiday, but the Westside is a place that largely empties out for Christmas. So, going to services at our church felt strange and empty, and it felt like we were home quite awhile before we actually got to spend time with a lot of people we would normally see often here. I think I expected at least a lot of logistics to be easier getting back. I was thinking of the convenience of just getting in the car and driving to the store and buying whatever I needed. But, even those aspects of life felt surprisingly draining upon return. It was raining a lot when we got back, and considering that it only does that for a short stretch every year, the driving and traffic get bad. Parking lots and stores were chaotic and packed, and a lot of people just seemed "on edge."

Perhaps one of the most frustrating dynamics of returning at that time of year was the hyper-intensified commercialism. LA is always a place where the marketing and materialism is at an abnormally high level, but Christmas time gets worse. And, having just returned from a third-world country, it felt like a really extreme contrast and bit of a shock. Having come from a place where the majority of the population has little to no disposable income and most things are that of necessity, it just felt jarring to be surrounded by so much stuff that no one ever needs and people frantically running around to get it. I made the huge mistake of going to Toys'R'Us on Dec. 22 because I had a store credit I thought we could use to get a little present for Isaiah. Almost completely pushed me over the edge! There are so many challenges of raising kids in Nepal, but I just felt so aware of the snares of life here and not wanting my son to grow up thinking all this materialism is the norm. Bleh.

Just as I thought maybe I was starting to hit a stride and get back into some sense of routine and settling in here, I hit that last stretch of pregnancy that just knocked the wind out of me. I've felt so exhausted, and it has been frustrating to feel like I lost a month of time that seemed almost like an out of body experience when I was wanting to get settled and prepared for the next little one to come and soak up some time with just Isaiah.

We have been able to get a lot of things prepared around the apartment, and in many ways, we are in a "normal" pattern of life, but I have to say that I still feel sort of unsettled and struggling to sort through my thoughts and feelings and vision and plans for life. For sure, hormones of late pregnancy don't help! I just want to connect to a sense of a purpose and a firm place for us to stand here or wherever we are. I can't help but feel like there is a lot of life that I can't quite make sense out of right now, and it hard to see quite where we fit here. I feel a bit overwhelmed heading into a new season of expanding family (and sleep deprivation!) with so little energy and so much feeling beyond my control. I suppose that is actually a much needed place for me to be, though, as the reality is that I can't control life or make it all fit into place. Have been reminded AGAIN (seems like I need constant reminders of this!) that I need to ABIDE in Christ! I need to rely on Him for strength and to be my source. As I battle anxieties or fears or frustrations, I so deeply need to remember that what I need is HIM!