I'm feeling so weird the last days...as if another person has come and sort of overtaken my body, my mind, and my soul. It's not a bad thing, neccessarily, but it's a bit unnerving. I'm not sure where I begin and where I end, and because of that I feel a bit confused and disrupted...life feels a bit different.
There are just little things. Like, I have been baking nearly every day and creating different kinds of meals for dinner...not the normal Tera mix it all together and taste all those flavors on your tongue, but making marinades and trying different herbs and cooking with wine and adding fruit to sauces. I've made fruit bread, muffins, fudge, and special puddings. And it just feels kind of strange, this new kitchen goddess that has come to live within the confines of my body.
And then there are the naps. I haven't so much been tired, really, but every day I need to take a nap. I set my little timer for 20 minutes and usually reset it 3 times. I don't even really fall asleep, but lay in my bed with my eyes closed, listening to all the sounds of construction outside my window, smelling the thick, fresh tar as it becomes a road in which we can actually drive on. I lay there in my bed with no thoughts, just focusing on the moments as I rest. It makes me feel a bit old, and even older as I always have to get up to pee, cutting my nap a bit short, hurriedly running downstairs.
I haven't stopped thinking about our trip to the Consulate in Antwerpen. We had to renew Kaeden's passport and while there we noticed again the photo requirements for passports. I was completely surprised to notice that while I had to get retakes because my face wasn't completely showing centered, my hair covering my ears a bit, my eyebrows not completely visible, that muslim people ahve the right to wear their shawls and turbans, the rounds of their face contour just showing beyond their headgear. Things like this would never have bothered me in my past life, but today I feel a sort of fear lingering behind my eyelids. I have never been a judgemental person, but I recognize a form of this taking shape in my life. It seems as though little signs of this are peeping up everywhere I look. I'm not sure I am happy with these changes, but I am more aware. I'm aware of the problems religion delivers in any and all walks of life. And I don't agree with the rulings the government has made concerning rights of muslim people. Maybe next time I renew my passport I will wear a shawl...at least it wouldn't matter if I had a bad hair day. I'm just slightly more aware of the world around me.
I haven't been able to speak with my parents regularly as I normally do. Yes, my dad has a cell phone, but no, he doesn't always have service. I am used to calling my mom up just to chat anytime I get the urge. With them busily trying to repair the damages from the tornado, their business still closed, they still homeless, I don't have that connection and it makes me feel aware of the distance, the road each life takes, which is a differing path than the next person. I feel a bit loney for the bond with my parents that has been missing these past few weeks. And as they work to restore their home business, and life, I am here on the other side of the world, going through the daily business of life as always. It makes me realize just how apart we are, the giant leap I took to step back from my previous life and enter this here in Europe. I have it much easier than I did in the states. But maybe a bit too easy? I don't handle the stress of situations and life as easily as I have in the past.
My son informed me that all I ever do is yell at him. Which is somewhat true, when I think back to our days. It is hard to stay sane and calm when someone is always pushing your boundaries. So, I have made it my goal to be more patient, more understanding, a litle bit more relaxed. I haven't yelled nearly as often since I have become aware of his take on our relationship. But I still can't get him to listen, to follow-through, to make his effort in helping me achieve my goals, which ultimately help him. But I do not like the mom I have become, forever nagging, yelling, getting irritated an irate. I like this me better...just keeping check of myself and my emotions, and trying to recognize what it does to those around me. Our home has been a bit quieter and a bit more peaceful.
I've been thinking a lot about my trip home, to America, quickly approaching this summer. I have this little niggling feeling inside me every time I consider it. I don't know what the feeling is, I have never had it before. It isn't fear, it isn't excitement, it isn't happiness or pain. But it sits there all the time, working at me from inside out. I consider all the money, the time, the preparation for this voyage overseas, and it makes me wonder where I stand in my life. Will I ever be completely content in one life or another? Have I opened myself to the possibility that my home is now here in Europe, with my husband and my children, our home, car and pets? With no 24 hour shopping and few drive through fast food joints, with delicious fresh bread and Sunday outings, vacation plans and the high cost of fuel? The things I used to miss from home have been replaced by my substitutions here. The only thing holding me to America is my family, and this thought that I owe my due of being patriotic to the land which was my first home, the land which helped to create the person I am today. Yet, my ideals lie a bit more European at this point in my life. This niggling feeling...where do I stand as an American?
And finally, voetbal, als known as soccer. It has become a passion of mine. Especially with the European championships in full swing, I am so engrossed in all that is happening in the world of this sport. I watch the games, I play with my son, I read the news, I watch my competition...and I feel strange about all of this. Yes, as a girl I played soccer. I was on the first team our high school ever had. I enjoyed it, but wasn't passionate. I have never been passionate about a sport, but payed them all and enjoyed doing so. But now, I have this passion about a sport. My adrenaline roars as I consider the next game Nederland will be playing on Friday. Will we become European champions? I decorated my home, I created orange meals, I painted the flag on my face...and it's almost as if I believe this will all help Nederland to be their best, kick their balls a little harder, score a few more goals. It's just a game, a sport...but it's so much more...a country coming together in support of their land, their countrymen, the colors of teir royalty. And I fit in. I am a part.
So, what is different about me? It's just these little things, and a whole lot more. But in some small, weird way, I think I am finally adjusting. After 8 years, I feel a new sense of me. I feel as if maybe, just maybe, I am home. And that maybe, just maybe, I am where I belong.