It’s been more than 7 years since I’ve posted and so much has happened within that time. I’ve gotten married, had two kids, quit my job and moved to South Africa. So where to start…
There really is no where like “home” and I miss it terribly. It’s been three and a half years and for three of those years, I have felt displaced. Having never known anywhere but New York and New Jersey as home, it’s been really hard to be away from the city I know best. I miss our East Village loft and the convenience of being able to walk out the door and just go anywhere. Never having much of a plan but always finding something interesting to do or interesting to see. I miss the abundance of different foods…anything you want at anytime of the day. If I felt like an everything bagel toasted, scooped out, with sausage, egg and cheese and a large ice coffee, it was down the street. A plate of sushi, ramen, and dumplings for lunch, that was also just a few blocks over. I miss it all…the people watching, the new stores to explore, the subway, the buses, the taxis…the chaos of it all. I miss the four seasons…spring, summer, fall and winter. I miss snow!
Yet, our kids (Finley and Becket) really know nothing else but South Africa as home. When we arrived Becket was just about to turn two and Finley was three. How could they possibly remember the city life? Shockingly though, Finley does remember and Becket lives vicrariously through her. It’s really sweet but they love it here…our house, their schools, their friends and therefore, I can finally say South Africa is now “home”.
My family means the world to me and not having them here has been hard. I miss their support. I miss their faces. It’s hard to be on the group family text and seeing pics of my parents with my siblings and their families. They go to lunch, dinner, recitals, shows, museums, parks, etc…and we are here. The kids have asked why can’t we live in NY so we can see our cousins but what they don’t realize is that what they are seeing is not everyday…it’s just that occasional outing. Sure at this point in life, everyone has their own agenda and lives but our family makes time for each other. It’s special. It’s rare. I always thought the cousins would grow up together but now Finley and Becket get to see their cousins twice a year. It doesn’t seem alot but to them, it’s become highlights in their lives. They look foward to it everytime. They reminensce about every detail from the summer or winter before and when they all see each other, it’s like we never left. I guess it’s true when they say family is just family. It’s amazing to see how the cousins just know that something is different. It’s an inate comfort. It’s natural. It’s family.
I miss my old friends. I miss our talks, our breakfasts, lunches, dinners, playdates, runs, vacations, all of it. Now if I’m lucky I get to see them once a year. Yet like our kids and their cousins….we always pick up exactly where we left off. It doesn’t make it easier though…
If it wasn’t for the amazing friends I have met since arriving Joburg, I would be devastated. They have made the transition easier, life easier and slowly they are becoming family.
No one ever tells you that after kids…your body just goes to shit! During my younger years, I solely relied on the fact that I had a fast metabolism even though I didn’t know I had it. You name it and I ate it! LOL Now for the past 5 years, I have been struggling to go back to my “ideal” weight. A weight I feel comfortable with, that last 10 lbs I need or want to lose. It’s social media that contributes to our insecurities and just like most women, I’m a victim. I know I shouldn’t look. I know I shouldn’t compare but I do. Trust me, I have done it all to see what could possibly be wrong….why can’t I lose the weight?! I have gone to my GP to see if I’m going through early menopause or have thyroid problems but nope I’m as healthy as can be. I went to a dietician to see if I have any allergies…none to serious to mention. So it all comes down to exercise and what I’m eating. I don’t want to say diet as I’m allergic to the word. I hear diet and I want to eat chips, chocolate, pizza, popcorn, etc. They don’t work for me. So slowly…….very slowly, I am trying to eat healthy. I need to. Our kids are young and they need me. When I look it that way, I can do this and hopefully, the weight will just melt off! LOL Oh and I forgot to mention, those darn stretch marks…but I can have surgery for that right? Just kidding!
So I have saved the best for last. It has taken me three and a half years for me to be able to finally say….I am HAPPY!
I am happy being a full time mom. This sentence has taken me five years to write. Growing up, my mom emphasized independence. Being Chinese, you know that means she drilled this mentality into me. That I shouldn’t rely on any man. That I should be able to do it all on my own. I needed to graduate college, get a job, make my own money. She did this because she never finished school. She married young. She was a young mother. So I got it and I tried my damnest to make her proud. I am proud to say that I did work hard. I enjoyed my various jobs and after 10 years in the workforce, I finally made a six figure income. I lived in the city. I paid rent. I paid for my metrocards, the gym, the dinners, the take outs, the bags, the boots, the leather jackets, the debt…all of it. So when you’re not working, not making your own money, not going out, not socializing, not buying and transported to a different country where you know no one…..it’s hard! You literally start with nothing, a clean slate. It’s not just the money but the mind. Your mind becomes blank. You’re a mom. You’re driven by routine. You’re against the clock. You’re in the car. You’re making lists. You’re making lunch. You’re making dinner. You’re making sure they have the right gear for the next day. What’s happening at school? When’s the next playdate? And while this is all happening….I am finally okay that I’m basically a single parent during the week. My husband travels….ALOT. I don’t say this maliciously, it’s just a fact… I can’t say I was always okay with it though but now I truly am. During the school week, it’s actually easier for me. Things get done on time and there are no distractions. The kids go to sleep on time and I have my time. Everything is on schedule = Happy Mom.
Their life becomes your life.
I had to go to a psychologist to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. I had to know that I was normal. I felt lonely. I felt useless. I felt incomplete. I felt lost. I felt nothing. I was sad. I was angry. I was melancholy. I was depressed.
In my mind, I felt I needed to do more. I wanted a job. I wanted to find balance. I wanted my own life apart from the kids. I didn’t just want to be a MOM.
Fast forward to today….I am just fine being a “MOM”.
Maybe it was the affirmation that I got from the psychologist. That I was normal. That I didn’t need meds. That I wasn’t going crazy. Maybe it’s because I know that South Africa is now home. That our kids are flourishing. I have friends. They have friends. We go back to the states twice a year. That for the first time in my life, I love cooking. I’m not a gourmet chef but I enjoy looking for recipes. I like sharing them. I like meal prepping. I love the new glass containers that make my fridge look clean! LOL I like working out?!?! Okay maybe that’s going to far!
Or it could just be life happening and me, finally realizing that if I worry about all the crap I can’t control I will miss out!
MY JOURNEY + THEIR JOURNEY = OUR JOURNEY