25 July, 2018

Adjusting to new rhythms

Sundays are work days for us for these six months in Australia. I know many missionaries work on Sundays routinely, but not us. Our work in Japan is mostly done during the week and during office hours. So when we change countries, we change jobs and change major life rhythms too. It takes a lot of adjusting to.

The weekend just past looked like this:

Part of our new neighbourhood. Very different to where we live in Tokyo!
We spent a lot of the day preparing for our visit to a supporting church the next day. That
 included what we would say up the front (about 10 minutes), the powerpoint presentation we would use, the other visual aid we'd prepared, as well as the table display we'd prepared (books, leaflets, magazines, and a display board).

We didn't spend all day Saturday working, we took some time after
lunch to go wandering in nearby scrub. This isn't far from our house.
We left at 8.15, drove an hour, then spent 30 minutes getting set-up and settled, spoke during the service, spent an hour or so afterwards talking to people, then packing up, and driving home. 

It doesn't sound like a lot, but it was exhausting. 

In those short 30 minutes of set-up time we stumbled into another church who were meeting on the same premises (it's a Seventh Day Adventist church that has several halls that it rents out on Sundays to churches/sects without their own church building). Thankfully that error was quickly spotted by a leader who checked that we were in the right place. I guess we looked a bit odd, sporting a suitcase, a large display board (still in its carry case), and a long poster-cylinder.

We didn't just drive straight home, we grabbed some fast food for lunch and then half-way home stopped off to pick up our eldest son, who drove us the rest of the way, getting 50 more minutes of driving practise in (he needs 100 hours to go for a test). 

Soon after we arrived home some family who are holidaying in the area dropped in for a few hours to visit.

I was exhausted by the end of the day. I had to lie down straight after dinner as I felt a bit ill.

I hadn't factored this in. The fact that the weekend wasn't a restful time and that I needed mid-week (preferably early in the week) time off. I'd booked myself in for an optometrist's appointment for Monday morning, along with needing to do groceries after the weekend, and then without much break, take a boy to the doctor (the latter couldn't be scheduled later, he had an infection that needed attention). So by the end of Monday I sported a headache and wasn't in great shape.

Glad to be back in Australia?
People keep asking if we're glad to be back in Australia (some say "back home", which is another whole topic). I can't answer that question with a 100% positive "YES", because making any big change takes a lot of energy and has negatives attached to it. Making a big change as a family is even more gigantic than just doing it as a single or couple. Yes, there are many good things about being in Australia, but there are things about it that aren't so good, like adjusting to lots of change all at once.

As I said at the start of this post, one big change is our change in jobs. We're now spending weekends and other times talking about what we do in Japan. That's considerably different to writing and editing at my desk in Tokyo from Monday to Friday between 8.30 and 5. It's also different to teaching at a school and overseeing professional development and curriculum. The rhythm is different, the stressors are different. We need to be gentle on ourselves as we adjust to the changes.

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