I decided long ago that I wanted to live abroad. I've always liked exploring new places and making friends along the way. Many summer vacations sparked my interest in mountain air, lush lakes, fresh ocean breezes. And friends that became pen pals, usually just for a few months, but connections that sparked my curiosity in looking at things from a different perspective. Mostly because of what it showed me about myself.
Adjusting to life here took me awhile. I felt myself ramming up against a different rhythm at first, trying to continue the only way I knew how. But our old routines didn't work here.
After a few months I grew accustomed to a new flow. It still felt strange to me, but I made it work. I diligently planned our routes and schedules so that I could get the things we needed every day without causing too much stress for myself or the kids. Since we didn't have a car and were restricted to a dorm size refrigerator, we got used to making frequent stops for small quantities of food or other items we needed every day. Since we no longer had a yard, a daily trip to the park was also in order. It used to be a preoccupation to me, but now it just flows. It's now a natural part of the routine that carries us through our day.
a favorite game is trying to stay on stones of a certain color; they use the man hole covers to "refuel"
And I find myself a bit mystified at how comfortable I've become. At how much I enjoy the rhythm I've discovered here. It is so different than any way I've lived before, and it brings me joy. Routine daily living feels like a meditation. Zen and the art of grocery shopping, if you will.
It cannot be the place alone. I think it comes from the awareness of what's required from us in our daily actions. At least that is what I hope. I hope that when it's time for us to leave, I can take this with me.