23 June, 2015

Dealing with transition, from the trenches

All the double adaptors are packed, so the computer is
plugged in across the doorway.
I'm writing this from an almost empty house. I still have internet and electricity. I even have a microwave to heat the leftovers I brought for lunch from the family we're staying with. 

David left an hour ago with our pastor and his wife and the last of the 50 boxes we're storing in Australia. They're taking them to our storage container, which is an hour from here. Meanwhile I'm waiting for someone to come and collect the fridge and freezer which we've sold them.

The last load of our boxes going into storage.
There is nothing in the cupboards or on shelves or in drawers. Just furniture that we're giving away (and will be collected in the next few days) and a few odds and ends that we're  donating to the school's garage sale.

The boys are at school, their second last day.

It is an odd place to be. An oddly peaceful place to be.

I'm grateful for it. Grateful we've left enough time for this transition so that it isn't frantic.

It's complicated
Because our move, as you probably know, is complicated. Yesterday we had helpers pack our kitchen and not even that was simple. I found myself faced with questions from them like:

"Do you really want to keep these large ice-cream containers?" (We did.)

"What do you want to do with these unused mosquito coils?" (This one nearly undid me, I still don't know what happened with them.)

Boys' grief
Then I picked up our boys from school. One had just completed his school track and field competition and collected a bunch of firsts, plus age champion. So happy for him. But sad too, because he can't go on to represent the school next term in the inter school competitions. 

I held him on Sunday as he grieved the losses, the sports he's excelled at here (AFL, ARL, cricket) that he can't continue in Japan. And the unthinking comments he's overheard other children say, like, "Oh, I'll be first in that after you're gone." Or even talking in his presence like he's already gone.

I quelled the impulse to squash his sadness. It is sad. It is okay to feel that sadness. But after feeling it, it is right to think ahead and count the blessings that we know are coming his way.

More than just moving stuff
Dealing with transition is more than just moving stuff. It involves saying goodbyes (to people, as well as things and places), grieving losses, and thinking ahead.

Here are a couple of articles that flesh that out more fully:

Building a RAFT while transitioning: http://chinahopelive.net/2013/03/18/how-to-do-cross-cultural-transitions-right-build-a-raft

Dealing with the grief the boys are experiencing (me too): http://mmuser.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/depression-and-missionary-kids.html


Jamie Jo said...

My heart goes out to you, Wendy. This whole transition thing is for the birds. I can tell you from my own experience that a year makes a lot of difference. You will see things much more clearly a year from now. Just muddle your way through and try to keep your sense of joy and wonder and trust in God's provision. It's not going to be easy! Hang in there, my cyber friend. Hugs!

Wendy said...

Thanks Jamie. I've done this international move thing enough times (this is our 7th time) to know that even in a month things will be much easier. The practical side of packing up has gone really well, considering what it is. Coping with boys emotions is a bit newer, as they are, of course, older. Saying my own goodbyes has been painful, again. Especially a couple of newer relationships. In relationships that have weathered this journey before, I'm not quite so distraught about. Except one, which has been an old relationship that we put much more time into before...it's hard to say goodbye to that kind of face time.