jane, stop this crazy thing

i keep getting asked, “so, how are you really doing?” like i might not be answering the question, “how are you doing?” honestly. the honest to goodness truth is, i’m doing just fine. i’m including a graph to help define “just fine” –

 

how-im-doin.png

now, i know that doesn’t look so good, looks pretty close to dismal maybe. But it is what it is. you know during the closing credits of the jetsons, when george yells, “jane, stop this crazy thing”? well, i’m pretty sure i know what he’s talking about. it’s not that i want to go home, or that i’m sorry we moved – it’s that it’s just so much, so fast.

i’ve already posted about the delayed flight, flying standby, bh going straight to singapore from bangkok and the kids and me coming on to chiang mai. which was a bit of a rocky start (if you haven’t noticed i have a tendency to minimize things, i learned that in our “are they the right kind of crazy to move to thailand” counseling session). you thought how brave and adventurous i was when we were here without bh – I got us out of the hotel, went to the zoo, the night bizarre, the internet café… well, the truth is, that while we did do those things, and while it may have seemed brave and adventurous, it was really just forward motion. i would have rather stayed holed up in our hotel room and cried. but what good would that have done, other than to further traumatize the kids. and we did spend a few mornings crying over breakfast – some very nice people who were also staying at the hotel were kind enough to check on us, maybe more to be sure the kids would be okay left in my care.

then bh got to town and we had to really think and act like this was our new home. we took care of the kids and school and got moved into our house. i drove a stick shift – on what i consider the wrong side of the road – in the middle of morning rush hour down and around the streets of chiang mai. and that really might go down as one of the most stressful and scariest things i’ve ever done in my entire life. we found furniture, the grocery store, the local market. i’m learning to shop by picture and that there are some places to shop that are more english friendly – not meaning they speak english, but that there is some english on the packages. i’m learning that things take more time. i’ve learned that i’m spoiled. i don’t like hanging clothes to dry or hand washing dishes. it’s not convenient and it takes time and your clothes aren’t really soft. i want furniture – now. i’m glad we have mattresses and a kitchen table and chairs. but i want some place else to sit in the house. i want my mattress off the floor. i want to be comfortable. and i want routine.

i want someone to talk to. i’m a bit of an extrovert. you know barbra streisand’s lyric, people, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. that was written for me, about me, i’m one of those people – well, not really feeling the luckiest people in the world part right now. and i got no people here. i mean none that aren’t family and forced to endure me because of their genetic makeup or because they said, “i do.” and not only that, the only other adult in the house is introverted. which – if i understand what an introvert means- it means he’s some kind of freak of nature – you know, like a weird mutation or something. he’s drawn me a graph to show me the difference between extrovert and introvert, i’ve done my best to recreate it.

 

intro-extro.png

 

lets say that the 0 – 7 are representative of how full up of conversation and interaction we are – with 6 being as full as you can get – and the 7 being there because i didn’t know how to make it go away. so, bh spends his entire day, either pretty full or totally full. i, however, start with plenty of space available and it’s not full until i close my eyes to go to sleep – and really, it might not be full then. this doesn’t really do his original diagram justice, but it gives you a good idea. the problems – well really it’s just one big problem – this causes are that he is all happy in his introverted little world, no one wants him to participate in any kind of conversation – it’s good, but then there’s me. sad little no.one.will.talk.to.me me. he tries, God love him. he uses exaggerated hand gestures, makes disturbing faces and he grunts, but those really aren’t good substitutes for conversation. so, i blog, a lot. maybe you noticed. and i check my email every chance i get. but it’s not the same. and the truth is, i want friends, but i hate making them. you know, the awkward small talk, the i’m not sure i’m gonna like this person, the i’m pretty sure they don’t like me. i know i’ve done it before, but once you’ve gotten past that you forget it and it’s like you’ve always been friends. it’s sort of like that mommy amnesia – the one where you forget how much it hurt to sit up in bed after a c-section so you go ahead and have another baby. that’s where i want to be, not having another baby – it took three, but now i remember the pain. i want to get to the you’ve always been friends place.

so, right this moment i would say life sucks. but it’s all part of it. i signed up for this. i know it’s where God wants our family and i know it will all be good. and i know i have a choice. i can move forward, get things done or i can curl up in a ball and cry. one is much easier than the other, but i think i’d miss out on all the misery fun.

not to mention the blog fodder.

26 thoughts on “jane, stop this crazy thing

  1. Pingback: Pages tagged "adventurous"

  2. Hi, I’ve been lurking on here for a couple of weeks…Someone else’s blog I read has you on their blogroll I think but I can’t remember how I found you. I just wanted to say hello today so that you get a flood of mail today!
    While my story can’t compare to yours (I moved from one english speaking 1st world country to another which is so similar some have suggested they become part of the same, I was a newly wed and didn’t have children to support as well) but I have moved country. I remember what it feels like to feel like a tree with dangling roots flapping around looking for earth. I found the first year so very very hard, but it got better! You are doing so well to be getting out there and getting into it as best you can. You have courage lady and you’re busy storing up a collection of Thai memories…all of which will help soooo much once you hit your first year. Then when you say “Last January…remember we went to the zoo” or whatever and it won’t be ALL memories of back home. Chin up if you can. Cry when you must but don’t give up. You’ll get there and life will get better!
    (Now please forgive this crazy stranger for being so forward while I go back to lurk land.)
    Embejo.

  3. Hi! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I live overseas, too, with my husband and kids. I’ve been impressed by your positivity, but I have to admit I was kind of waiting for the proverbial s-word to hit the fan. Because moving overseas is HARD. So I have a couple of words of experience to share with you:

    First, don’t worry. You will make friends, and that will make a huge difference. But it may be harder than you think because the population of people with whom you can vent in your native tongue will be limited, and let’s face it… back home, just because someone spoke the same language as you, it didn’t mean you would click or even have anything in common. But eventually you will find some friends and life will be fun again. And before you know it, you’ll feel a part of this community of nomads that move from place to place through foreign lands.

    You might want to read up on the stages of culture shock (because it’s a real, almost physical, ailment and knowing that it’s normal is very helpful in dealing with the symptoms) and if you plan to stay overseas for a while you might want to Google “Third Culture Kids.”

    Of course, you may have already done these things. And you sound very courageous and positive, and that will help a lot, too. So I’m sure you will end up benefiting from this experience. Being an expat is a transforming experience and totally worth the pain, but there is pain. The first few months are the hardest. Hang in there. It’ll be worth it in the end. And believe it or not, many people say that the hardest expat move is the move back home… but that’s another topic!

  4. Oh, SO there. I’m still a bit like that after 6 months here. I mean, I think what every chickadee needs is a bestie, to hang out with, get coffee, shop, talk, cry, moan, laugh. But one of the problems is that everyone seems to have that when you move somewhere new, and it can feel kind of hard to fit in. Not to mention the cultural differences you are going to find, but you’ll get there in the end, till then, lean on us, your blog buddies 🙂 xxxx

    Oh, SO impressed by the diagrams, WOW, not just a pretty face huh?

  5. Monica, I am so impressed by your bravery and willingness to jump out there in a new country. Also, it so wonderful the people you have met through your blog. They are so supportive and encouraging to you. For you mom in many ways this is certainly a brave new world. I know times may be hard right now; but, you will be successful in this move. Who knows, that friend might be in your cooking class or language class or even at the kids school. Keep up the great blog and work out your feelings and things will be good. You couldn’t have picked a more beautiful place to move. We all love you back home and we are behind you at least 100%. Love, Mom

  6. Even though I moved from Bangkok to St. Louis, a city I had spent a lot of time in, and even though I speak English fluently, the move was still very, very hard for me. The first time I drove in St. Louis (an automatic, on the wrong side of the road) I got very lost and pulled over in a parking lot somewhere and cried for a long time. It took me three hours to find my way back to my apartment, and I cried some more when I was in my boyfriend’s arms. Moving was really, really hard, and it took me a long time to settle in. I moved in the fall and winter kicked my butt. It took me a lot of time to make friends, to find work that I loved, to get the hang of living in America. So I guess what I’m trying to say is…it’s not supposed to be easy. And you’re doing wonderfully. And if you lived in Bangkok I’d take you out.

  7. Oh, wow, I could have written this too. You explained your feelings so well. Having recently moved overseas, I feel your pain. I wish I had some helpful information or advice, but I really don’t. I’m joining Bible studies too, trying to meet people, but it is HARD. I know all about the forward motion and wanting to just curl up in a ball instead. I’ve been lurking here as well and couldn’t let this post go by without say Hi. Hang in there. God is good.

  8. Monica,

    I am very proud of you. Your entire family will have a great experience to cheerish for years to come. I remember my move to Pearl. Even moving there was hard at first, so I can only imagine what your going through. Give it a little bit and you will be having a great time. Enjoy it while you can. 🙂

  9. Monica,

    I can totally relate to all of your emotions and what you are going through. I just recently made a similar move to support my husbands career. If you need a sympathetic ear feel free to bend mine. I spend most days in front of the computer waiting to hear “You’ve got mail”.

    Jenn

  10. SEE!!!! I knew you were not telling me the truth the other day when you said you were OK!!!!!

    Do you know the F*I*N*E acronym?

    I wish I could fly there right now! And strangle Michael if he draws another daigram! (With LOVE)

    Here is my sage mili wife advice. It’s the whole,”Hi!! My name is___________ and I AM going to be your best friend for the next __ years!”

    Cut out the small talk and get to the crux of the matter. You’ve got plenty of time for small talk later.

    I think I am a bit of an extrovert too. What do you think?

    I’m not having a whole lot of fun here either but maybe if one of us sinks into the pit of despair we might find the “Dread Pirate Roberts” aka Wesley the farm boy aka Carey Elwes!]

    Spaghetti dinner is tonight so I’ll be up late. Hope we can touch base!

    Miss you! And trying to constantly be in front of the computer to im!

  11. Welcome to Chiang Mai. It’s one of my favourite cities, and really super easy to get around and get the hang of. Lots to see, do, experience and convenient to Westerners. I know it doesn’t seem like it just now, but that city is a gem. I understand your need to share and talk, and there are plenty of ex-pats around. Just gotta walk about and find them.

    Acculturation takes awhile, sometimes a lifetime, but you’re in a land that’s really friendly and filled with vibrant life. May you feel blessed.

  12. Monica, I really feel for you. When I first moved to LA all I wanted was the routine to kick in and the unknown to go the hell away. It will happen and you will look back and think “Hmm all that lovely free time where did it go?”.

    As for making friends.. I think you summed it up perfectly – “i want friends, but i hate making them”. Unfortunately you have to bit the bullet and make the effort. WM is absolutely right with her advice – something I going to attempt to do myself…

    PS: I am printing off your first diagram and putting it on my door at work!

  13. Monica,

    I hope it may be helpful to know that culture shock includes moments of euphoria, too. I have learned this from my two experiences of living overseas. I hope there will be some great moments that you have with Thai people and with your family. I bet you and your family will never forget this experience and it will bring you closer together during times to come.

    We are looking to go to a new country this fall and we are excited, but bracing for the shock of adjustment again.

    In both China and the UAE, I sometimes have had to make myself leave the house, but I am usually glad when I do.

    We are all here for you.

  14. Monica, THANK YOU, no, triple-dog thank you, for telling it how it is just as it is, and not sugar coating or apologizing for your feelings. Of course I hope that life in your new city becomes more comfortable (furniture and friends and familiarity), but hurrah for your inspiring honesty.

  15. All I can say first is how much it’s glad to hear YOU, your heart through this ‘static’ web we live in now. (i felt like we were sitting in starbucks catching up on life) I have wanted to pick up the phone and call you so many times in the last couple of weeks.

    Keep your heart honest and open and friends will make their way to you. I’m jealous of the new friends you will make soon, I would like to experience this new world with you on the front lines.

    oH is trying to convince me we can afford to go to Australia soon. ha ha… btw, mr. oH and I are the SAME introvert/extrovert dynamics. I know that graph all to well. give bH our love too. I SOOOO understand. I need people so much. I love my cell phone.

    i look forward to hearing about your new friends over there. i still tell all my non-Texan friends about when you first moved to CO talking to the strangers in the stores here and how different it was from just CO to TX. this will be your greatest quest.

    i believe in you. miss you!!! sherilyn

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  20. You are the very first blog that I’ve found that documents moving from before the move to life afterward. Being right over your old mountains here in Salt Lake, I really feel like I could be reading my future life experiences. Thank you for keeping such a detailed blog. Your word therapy is my book of rules and guidelines.

    I was trying to explain to my husband that you had to take some sort of test. Did you have to take it to get your visa or was it something related to your husband’s work?

    I wish I would have discovered Wawee Coffee when I was in Chiang Mai. All I found was the Starbucks at the mall.

    • no, the test was for my husband’s work. it included a myers-briggs test and a few others. nothing to do with our visas.

      when I look back over the blog I am amazed at how well we survived everything. especially the kids! it has certainly been an adventure.

      I wouldn’t be too surprised if wawee wasn’t around when you were here. but it’s sort of like Starbucks in America. there’s one on every corner! 🙂

  21. Pingback: another day and doing better « transplanting me

  22. Monica, thanks for sharing this with me. Forward motion is now my mantra.

    Honestly, things are so much better. As soon as I write my next blog post, you will be greatly relieved. 🙂

  23. Pingback: i’m just fine | transplanting me

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