People living a life overseas are a special breed. We don’t so much make sense to the normal people do we?
My family is on the tail end of a whirlwind, six week “home” (finger quotes) visit and we’ve been reminded every moment of it what a ridiculous life we have chosen.
Seriously. Who does this?
By the time this trip is over we will have changed our entire existence eleven times, each one strung to the next by a 4 to 12 hour road trip on the hottest days of the summer in a car with two children and lukewarm air conditioning. We will have done countless heartfelt, emotionally charged, “we missed you so much” hellos only to turn right around for equally heartfelt, emotionally charged, “we’ll miss you so much” goodbyes.
We live out of suitcases which seem to be gaining weight as fast as we are.
Every few days we switch to another guest bed, couch, futon, air mattress or (on very special occasions) hotel.
We’ve learned how to use other people’s washing machines and we leave at least one sock or one pair of underwear at every stop (you’re welcome).
We’ve sat perched like a dog at a dinner table waiting for someone to ask for a China story and we’ve fine-tuned our skills of pretending we’re not disappointed when they don’t.
We’ve successfully dodged knock-down, drag-out political battles over issues we probably don’t care about, full on relational melodramas with people we barely know and annoyingly offensive jokes about Chinese food and cats.
Hygiene still matters but I’m not even sure what day yesterday was . . . let alone whether I showered or not.
For weeks we have been “ON”. Big smiles. Happy faces. Intentional eye contact from the moment we landed — and we had jet lag that day.
It’s exhausting being “home” — and to be honest the whole life overseas thing can feel equally chaotic at its most settled points.
BUT . . .
I’m learning that there is such a fine line between chaos and rhythm.
Trips “home” would feel like total mayhem to any normal person . . . but we covered that right? We are so not normal.
I love that the longer we do this the more pages there are in our story are filled with 3 am, jetlag induced Daddy-Daughter milkshakes at any place open.
It has been rich beyond words to pick up right where we left off with dozens of “hello again” friends and we’ve got this whole switching from cousins in one place to old friends in another thing to an art form.
We are expert packers, flexible sleepers, versatile launderers and accomplished lip biters.
We know how to deflect awkwardness and my kids intuitively sense when family at one stop would be horribly offended by things that were fun at the last.
Even in constant ON mode we find moments of OFF.
We are good at this. We have found our rhythm and in some confusing way a part of our stability IS the movement.
If that makes no sense at all . . . congratulations . . . you might be normal.
If it does . . . you’re probably living a life overseas.