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Archive for September, 2010

“When the dust settles”

In the Foreign Service we have lots of transient friends. I find myself saying frequently to overwhelmed moving friends “don’t stress about keeping up right now, we will touch base when the dust settles”. It seems with 2 little ones and trying to dive in to get life established that it is taking longer and longer for the dust to settle as the yrs go on. There is the unpacking, that takes time, but really it’s more the getting back into routine and creating a new normal.

Kids are flexible and resilient, or so they say. I see flexibility and resilience but I also see struggle and resistance.  Jackson is very aware this time around of the friends and family we left. He is a social little guy and has been on the lookout for new friends but he misses his buddies. In addition he has added a fear of moving to his fear of monsters and the dark. At night he often has questions about when the packers will come again and if he will have to leave this house. Over the past 6 weeks or so we have seen behaviors that we never knew possible for him. Some maybe because he’s 3 but most seemed to be an outcry in his transition. Sounds dramatic but let me tell you it’s been dramatic around here. Culturally here kids are expected to be quiet and orderly. The grocery store and really any store we go into is SILENT minus some soft music. People speak very softly to each other. Imagine Jackson, Mr. Social and full of enthusiasm, experiencing his new world with constant shushing.  Recipe for some tension. We are all learning, slowly but surely. The Swiss will have to accept this American fireball of a little boy and he will have to learn when and where he needs to hold back a bit. So, I can say that for the last 4 days or so we have seen our Jackson coming back. Slowly he is softening into his normal self.

Owen’s transition has been smooth minus normal age appropriate stuff like being insane about getting down and trying to crawl, cruise, and ultimately conquer the world. He has also been in teething mode since arriving here. He is now eating table foods in addition to his baby food and he is feeling like he is so grown up having a little control with his feeding. He started signing “more” a couple of days ago and signs it with such vigor. I am so relieved that he learned it because it reduces so much of the fussing during our meals!

the face of teething

cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Seth has jumped into work here and helped them to make up for lost time with our delays. He has very interesting cases here. I know he enjoyed his work in Bogota and in particular he misses his colleagues but I think here he has more variety to his work. He will have to write more about that later. I don’t want to even hint at some of his stories because I know he will want to tell them.   Overall he is settling in and the best part is that his commute is like 15 mins max! Can’t beat that! On Friday nights we often take the tram down and meet him for dinner downtown. Downtown Bern is all of 10-15 mins away.

the view at the end of our street

My transition has been tough this time. I find myself being overwhelmed with my own transition and helping everyone else in the family to get settled. I have started going to a Wed morning playgroup and joined an expat mom’s group on yahoo to get connected. We have not yet settled into a church and that I find is where I normally do a lot of my networking.  I realize since we have done this before that it is all just a process to make friends and for this to feel like home. It takes time. I miss my girl friends and in particular realize now more than ever how I relied so much on times with girl friends to get advice and feedback on parenting and life in general.  I find some days I feel like living in such a beautiful place as Bern is similar to having a really good baby. I feel like I can never complain about having a bad day because people would just laugh like how could we possibly not just be in heaven living in Switzerland. It is gorgeous! I agree! And we are enjoying it tremendously. But it is lacking our friends and family so for a people person it can feel very lonely! Our car comes tomorrow so I should feel a little relief in terms of daily tasks like having to hike for groceries with 2 boys!   We had a visit from our friends the Towle’s from Bogota when we first arrived and the Bowen’s spent the past weekend with us so that has been nice to have some friends on our same continent!

Over the coming days I will backtrack and put up some posts to catch us up on home leave pictures and our first weeks in Switzerland. Oh yes, and the house. The dust is finally settling around here!

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