I forget that there is never a point when "real" life begins or a point where I've "made it." I forget to recognize the small things (good things, great things, and hard things) in my everyday life.
When I notice myself straining ahead to the future, I stop, grab a pen and journal, and make a "These Are the Days Of" list to draw me back into life as it is. Here's today's list:
These Are the Days Of...
My entire life lived in a compact corner of a city. Within about five to ten minutes, I can walk from home to:
- The coffee shop where I meet up with my Thai tutor
- Dozens of food, drink, and dessert vendors
- Two pharmacies
- A veggie market
- A fruit market
- Two convenience stores
- Two 20 baht stores (the equivalent of the American dollar store, except everything is 50 cents)
- A car mechanic
- Two hair salons
- My daughter's preschool
As we go about the same stalls and markets and greet familiar faces day after day, I begin to feel like I live in a village, not a large, crowded city.
Noticing fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead. In ten years, I'll probably look back on photos of myself and think, "Darling, that was NOTHING!"
Learning to split things 50/50. As we pursued moving to Thailand, the thought of being a monolingual, stay-at-home expat mom/wife made me die inside. So, my husband and I decided to spend equal time studying Thai our first twelve months or so. Splitting our language learning, childcare, chores, etc. roughly equally is a crazy juggling act, but it's worth it.
Feeling weary every evening from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Immersion in a new culture, learning a new language, taking care of little kids, walking everywhere in crummy sandals…each of these things alone is enough to make a lady tired. Taken together, I find myself weary by the end of the day every day.
Eating fruit all day, every day. Miniature bananas, sweet pineapple, crispy rose apples, fragrant mangoes. Still haven't tried durian.
Learning patience. I wish I could become instantly conversational in Thai. Learning a new language just a few new sentence structures and a few new vocab words at a time is slow, hard work. Like raising children. Like building a lasting marriage. Like anything worthwhile.
Eating out daily. In the U.S. my family went weeks without eating out because it was too dang expensive. Now, we eat out every day because it's affordable and delicious. For example: a large, grilled, salt-encrusted, lemongrass stuffed fish with brown rice and veggie soup costs about $5. It feeds our whole family. It's one of the more expensive meals we buy. This is one of the huge perks of life in Bangkok.
Living in a dirty home. In the middle of all this, the last thing Michael and I ever want to do is clean. Our house is usually dirty. Especially the kitchen floor. Yuck. Note to self: look into how much it would cost to hire someone to clean the house for us.
~ The idea of making a "these are the days of..." list came from Emily Freeman's book, Simply Tuesday.