We spent almost a year getting our brains around the idea of living in a new place, building excitement, answering a million questions about our plans, and frankly, keeping too busy with last hurrahs to think much about anything especially grown up (um, should we have closed some credit cards?). And then once we got here, the hard bits hit fast. Despite meeting warm, generous new friends in our orientation process, I’ve been achy for home. I have wanted Chipotle more than ever, and when I ordered nachos last week they were light and fluffy. To make matters worse, the Mexican shelf at the expat grocery store does not boast Cholula; instead I could choose from three different flavors of Doritos cheese dip in a jar. You read that right.
I have had a few days where I felt a lot like I did after Duncan was born. Deliriously happy to be doing this amazing new THING but also terrified and trapped. Everything, especially getting from point A to point B, feels a little hard: getting a stroller collapsed and thrown into a taxi, counting my money to make sure I can pay the driver, explaining where I am going in English to someone who doesn’t speak English, buckling up my child in a non-pediatrician approved middle seat, arriving at the destination, doing the complicated errand I’ve come to do, and then doing it all in reverse. BAHHHH! There are tears. Sometimes in the middle of a steaming sidewalk.
The good news is that last night we spent an hour in Dustin’s classroom, and as soon as we stepped inside, Duncan took off his Crocs. His toddler “home” instinct kicked in, and he knew right where to find the Arthur books and the tinker toys. His easy comfort gave me a lot of hope.
My friend Linet said something like, “Did you ever think?!?” on an island-y photo I posted this week, and it made me remember this move is like the biggest lottery ticket we could ever win. Except it’s less like the lottery and more like God reminding me that the world is frickin’ huge. Also, that every one of these Hong Kong locals is another unrepeatable miracle and beloved child — even the lady who cut me in line at Ikea and the cab driver who got lost and made me get out in the middle of nowhere, one hundred dollars poorer.
Here’s my avoid-depression-and-embrace-the-adventure PLAN: Next time I’m deserted by an angry cab driver or depressed about the Mexican food options, I’ll find my way to this window/paradise. It’s a pretty decent picture of hope.