Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Year

I'm one of those people who remember dates. Saturday marked a year since we landed in the States, having completed our term of service with MCC. How do I summarize the year? We still have little inkling of what we want to do. The year has been about survival--learning how to live in the States again. Finances have been tight. Time has been tight. We miss the laid-back work schedules we had in Moz. We are both processors and we haven't had much time to process because it seems like we keep going just trying to get things done--the dishes, laundry, groceries, spending time with Nadia and Luke and working.

Working. We've been struck by how much Americans work. Joel's first job he worked 60 hours a week and was asked to work more. He changed to a job where he works 4-10+/- hour days and I found a part time job. A part-time job that turned into a full time job, sapping my energy, my sleep and any chance I have for quiet reflection. It was supposed to be 24 hours a week. It's now 38 hours; Joel and I overlap working about 5 hours. I like my job; I just wish it was fewer hours.

Is this what life is in the US? People running ragged to just pay their bills? We have modest bills. Our 'extravagance' is going out for ice cream with our kids once a month. We feel disconnected with people. We miss the family our friends provided to us in Moz (once we found friends, they became family), regularly getting together with friends.

Now that it is warm out, we eat outside on our front porch every chance we get. People going past look on us with smiles that say, 'How charming'. We even have a name for it--Jenny's on the Veranda. I love the view from our porch--our yard, the field beyond and then the small woods. I love watching the wind sway the knee high grass and tickle the far away leaves on the trees. I love the quiet of the space and the green, the expanse and the lack of excess movement.

For the first time in years, we're planting flowers, a vegetable garden. The daffodils, tulips and hiasynths that came up in the spring were welcome colors in the brown dirt. Now we're waiting for daisies, day lilies, sun flowers, zinnias, cosmos, cleome and lavender to bloom. The local farmers market has started up again and what a pleasure it is to buy fresh vegetables in the open air from small vendors. They dote on Nadia--offering fresh peas, strawberries and radishes to try. She tells them we have radishes in our garden already.

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