Moving Back and Wrapping Things Up

There’s less than a week remaining on our time in New Zealand.  I’m a big mix of emotions right now.  There are some times during the day when I feel OK but, if I’m being truthful, there are equally large parts of the time when I feel overwhelmed, sad, and some other emotion that I can’t quite put my finger on.

It’s been tough.  It still is tough.  It’s going to be tough.

Just having had a baby 6 weeks ago would have been enough to deal with.  Add in caring for a soon-to-be two-year-old (this Friday!), saying good-byes to so many friends here, Chris wrapping up his semester and finishing his book, and sorting through all of our earthly goods with the goal of whittling things down to 3 suitcases, 3 carry-on bags, and a small shipping container about the size of a large cedar chest, and it’s almost too much.

I try not to think about the long flight that’s coming up or the fact that we don’t have a house or a car sorted in Virginia.  We’ve got the first 5 weeks of housing covered, so that’s something to be thankful for (there are many things to be thankful for, truth be told).  And as an introvert, I try not to think about the possible downsides to spending 3 weeks with family, starting next week.  I love both sides of my family but sometimes, it’s hard for me to be around my own husband and kids, let alone around extended family members.  I’m praying that our time together will be one of enjoyment and fun and strengthening relationships and that, when needed, I’m able to slip away for a few moments to recharge my batteries.

People have remarked to me that they admire my organization at being able to sort through all of our things and get it down to just the 3 suitcases, carry-on bags, and teeny-tiny shipping container.  It’s half organization, half insanity.  Listing all of our earthly goods on that wretched site, TradeMe, and dealing with up to 40 emails a day with questions that are usually already answered if people would just read the listing (how big is it? where is pick-up? what’s the voltage? what’s the wattage? when did you buy it? is this new? can I get it shipped to Australia?) has been frustrating at times.  There’s a part of me that wants to simply toss everything out the window and let the street cleaners sweep it away.  It’s been a lesson to me on how much time, energy, money, and emotion can be wasted on stuff.  After 10 moves in 8 years of marriage, I’m tired of dealing with all of it.

This week is additionally busy because of birthdays.  Chris’ birthday is today and Joe’s birthday is on Friday.  I went out to the grocery store to buy ingredients.  Of course, Chris did not want a traditional cake.  He put in his birthday dessert request weeks ago.  And here I am up at 5am trying to salvage it because, wouldn’t you know it, the caramel layer refused to set up.  I think that it’s beyond redemption but I’m giving it my best shot.  If it doesn’t come together I’m faced with the prospect of either tossing the whole thing and starting from scratch (requiring another trip to the grocery) or tossing the whole thing and just making a cake (which would also require another trip to the grocery since I only have enough cake-making ingredients for Joe’s birthday).

Last of all, there’s the sadness of leaving this place.  When we first moved here, I felt for that first year that I wanted nothing more than to move back to America.  But at the year and a half point, I was torn in two about what we should do.  When Chris was offered his new job, we went back and forth on the pros vs cons.  In the end, I had to leave the decision up to him because it was too hard for me to make.  We both agreed that a lot of doors had been opened up for the job in Virginia and it seemed clear that we were meant to go back there.

I remind myself about all of those open doors when I’m beginning to doubt whether or not we made the right decision.  America is such a violent place.  I never felt that way until I lived outside of it.  I still hold that people are much the same the world over, but the American fascination with gun rights and gun ownership is something that I can’t understand.  I’ve been exposed to a different way of life, one where guns aren’t so prolific, and I’ve seen that it’s better that way.

In spite of all of my up and down feelings, I’ve got enough presence of mind to be able to take a step back and realize that this is an emotionally charged time.  Moving is stressful.  Having a baby is stressful.  Leaving your job is stressful.  Starting a new job is stressful.  Spending a lot of money (such as on a house and a car) is stressful.  We’re dealing with all of those things wrapped up into one big, supercharged situation right at the moment and it’s enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed and like they’re constantly on alert.  I told Chris just the other day that I feel as though I’m dealing with a crisis, even though everything that we’re going through right now is a good thing.

I know that, over time, the emotional strain that I’m facing at the moment will wear off.  In the meantime, I try not to be too grouchy.  I try to go easy on myself when I wonder if I’m doing enough or getting things sorted enough.  I try to be slow to speak and quick to apologize.  I’m also trying to get enough sleep and sneak in some time to work out and recharge.

Moving is stressful.  This move is looking to be the most stressful one that we’ve faced yet.  I’m praying that all will come together and go well, but even if things are bumpier than expected, I know that we’ll get through it.  There is an end in sight!

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8 comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Adding my comment a little late but… I am amazed that you made a cake! Way to go! Also: I would have thrown all of that stuff out the window weeks ago. I am in utter awe. And a six-week-old baby fresh out of a hospital stay. Wow. I realize that everyone does what they have to do, but wow.

    I’ve said it before, but since we’re in a similar situation, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your posts. “It’s been tough. It still is tough. It’s going to be tough.” is pretty much a mantra for me: it somehow makes things easier knowing things are supposed to be stressful. And you hit the nail on the head re: staying with family as an introvert. We’re on week 6 of 8 on our long-term family tour and I didn’t realize until you said it that I need more alone time!

  2. Kelly says:

    Hang in there Jenny! Your doing a wonderful job under such stressful conditions. Moving is difficult when it’s just down the street, never mind across the Globe.

    Take care and remember when things get too much to handle….a nice warm bubble bath and really good chocolate (Cadbury chocolate) always helps. 🙂

    Thinking of you at this time and wishing you and your family a safe arrival to your new home in the States.

  3. Christine says:

    You may not feel like it, but you are amazing! I can’t imagine moving with a 6 week old, let alone a 2 year old! You are right about so much happening at once, and that probably doesn’t help the emotions/stress level at the moment, but you will get there!

    I agree with you on the guns stuff.. I would love to move back to CA, but every time we seriously think about it, there are things that put me off. New Zealand is a wonderful place to live. BUT in saying that, you will make your new house into a fantastic home where ever you end up!

    Good luck with the packing, sorting, traveling and settling in!

  4. Katharine says:

    Having just moved again for what feels like the 100th time in the past decade I totally understand. The global moves are definitely the hardest. Good luck to you!

  5. Cristin says:

    My goodness, I am sending you all good thoughts! Good luck with everything, and there’s no crime in a store bought cake. 😉
    (Also, completely with you on the gun violence. That and health insurance will be the two things that make it hardest for me to decide to move back one day).

  6. Becca says:

    (((Hugs))) You’re amazing all the time, but especially under incredibly stressful circumstances. Hang in there! Years down the road, you’ll be able to say, “well, if I can do an international move with a toddler and newborn and find a car and set up house after selling all of our stuff, I can do anything!” Praying for you.

  7. Rebecca Jo says:

    whew lady… you are one tough cookie! I’m sure once you get there & settled, it will all work out, but in the meanwhile, you need to put on that Wonder Woman cape!

    & making a birthday cake in the middle of all this? You deserve a crown on top of the cape!

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