Friday, August 29, 2014

The Internet is Overrated (Mostly) (Sometimes)


Every now and again I do a little Whole30 to reset my healthy eating habits, and it does the trick for awhile, before I slide blissfully back into Sugarville and need to do it again. I wonder if it is the same with home internet access. I went thirty days without it, and I have to admit that I wasn't scrambling to get online as much as I thought I would be. It was connected yesterday morning, and I haven't shown up here until today is nearly done. And honestly? I'm just here so the kids and I can go to Paris. I can't book a lap child from the app on my phone. It turns out that real life wins over internet life most of the time.

We are still waiting on the funds transfer we need to purchase furniture. We are still waiting on the things we shipped by sea to be delivered. We are not waiting on getting comfortable in our new city. Slowly but surely, this feels like normal life. (Though I'll be honest that, given that my life thus far has usually included a sofa, our home life isn't as normal as I'm accustomed to.)

I feel like this time we've had with less communication with the outside world has been really good for me. I love all our friends and family dearly, but it was a treat to focus on our little family mostly, to give all the time and energy that might have been spent on communication to settling in and getting everyone comfortable. It's felt like a vacation of sorts, or at least a vacation for introverts.

There are so many things I want to write about. They've been piling up, really, all these thoughts to share. This is, I think, what will bring me back here the most, that I simply have things that I feel are worth passing on. I've been reading so much wisdom. Zinashi has been challenging me to think deeper and harder about so many things. I've got stuff to say. So while I hope I won't sink as far into my attraction to the internet as I had sunk before, I will show up here more often than I have been.

See you soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


It's been two weeks and two days since we moved here. We will have internet service at home in twelve days. We will have homemade injera in one day. The rest - when the stuff we shipped by sea will arrive, when we will order our living room furniture, when Jarod and I will stop using our kids' beach towels and buy proper bath towels - is yet to be determined.

It feels more normal and more like home here every day. I am falling in love with our little house. I was already in love with this city, and it is not disappointing me. I feel like this all happened very fast, and it has taken time for the reality of living here to sink in, but today I ran errands in the city by myself, and it felt like normal life. Normal, amazing life.

See you again in twelve days, fine internet friends.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


One week ago, we were packing the last few items into our luggage, ready after a week of delay to finally board our flight and begin this new London life. It seems both much longer than that and much shorter.

We are settling in. We are taking care to have fun in the midst of all the work it takes to settle into life in a whole different place. There are ups and downs, but I feel like things are starting to even out for at least part of the day. I am making dinner at home, and we are back into the girls' usual bedtime routine, and both of those things help tremendously.

As much work as there is to do to get settled, life is also somehow slower. We don't have a lot of appointments to keep. We also don't have a dryer or a dishwasher, and I've found that as opposed to feeling as if it makes things harder, I feel like it makes things more peaceful. 

As we lack internet at home, updates will be few and far between for the next little while. But know that I am saving all the good stuff for later, and I promise to tell you everything that's worth typing. Until then, let's agree that no news is good news, all right?


PS - It's much easier to post to Instagram (find me there as marymuses) and Facebook (link in sidebar) from my phone, so please connect elsewhere if you just can't do without more frequent updates.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Departure Date, Finally


We sent our cats off on their flights last Wednesday, thinking we wouldn't be too far behind them. We had Priority Service for our visas, after all. It was to take just five business days to process them! But that didn't happen, and Friday we noted the end of the British Consulate business day and double checked the tracking numbers for our package, then knew that we wouldn't know anything more over the weekend. We wouldn't be taking our flight this evening.

It was a tough weekend for me. Maybe for all of us, though I can only speak for myself and relay that Zinashi asked about our cats several times, her brow creased with concern. We did fun things and hung out with fun people that we will miss, but it didn't budge the cloud of anxiety from above my head. Two days isn't long, except if you're hoping for news of the life-changing variety.

We found out this morning that the visas were processed, and shortly afterwards we received the shipping confirmation. Last time I checked, our visas (along with most of our precious documents that we sent as supporting evidence) were in Memphis. They will be here in the morning, and we will fly Wednesday evening. Our cats will have been alone exactly one week*. I've already ordered a radiator bed and a package of those horrible fur mice to make it up to them.

I know the flight will be no picnic, or at least the part where we have to deal with luggage and exhausted children won't be, but I also cannot wait to get going, to get there, to begin to get settled, to build our life. I know that life holds no guarantees, no matter how pure one's intentions, but I think this is going to be good.

*Because of the way paperwork must be done for pets to be admitted to the UK, delaying the cats' departure for an unknown period of time would have presented all sorts of complications. We decided to go ahead and send them, and they were settled into our new home with the help of a transport service and a representative from the relocation company that helped us find our place. I am forever grateful for the kindness of everyone as we've navigated this unexpected delay.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Conquering Delay

Sometimes when things do not go as planned, I wonder what is happening behind the scenes. What little thing must be done that it is undone? Waiting is never for nothing. I have waited enough times now to know that.

On my desktop computer, I have posted favorite quotes on little bits of colored note paper. On the far left is the simplest. It reads: Cunctando regitur mundus. In the book in which I first saw this Latin quote, it says that this means, "Waiting, one conquers all." When I google the translation, however, it says, "The world is ruled by delay." This seems terribly appropriate to our current situation.

The process of moving our family to London is starting to feel a lot like Elvie's adoption process. So many fits and starts, while at the same time, things are happening so fast. I keep reminding myself that I am familiar with this feeling, that I know this particular drill. I have done it before. It all turns out okay in the end.

Better than okay, actually.

This? Right here? Definitely better than okay.

But in the meantime, there was a flight that we were meant to take tonight that we are not on due to paperwork complications with our UK visas. There are numbers that we call and get nowhere. There is plenty of worry, which really doesn't help anything.

Also in the meantime, there is simply more time. This part is a gift. We have a few more days to sort through all our things, to say good-bye to this city and to our friends here. We can send our cats off on their flight ourselves* and finish up some small things that need to be attended to in our current apartment. Time spent waiting is often a gift, but I too often forget to see it that way. I'm trying not to forget right now.

We are hoping against all hope to leave on Monday. I don't know if this will happen or not, but I am hopeful.

I am doing my best, always, to be hopeful.

*The cats will be received by a representative from the relocation company we used. They will get to start living in our new house before we will, the lucky ducks. Er, cats.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Timing is Everything


I won't deny that it was quite a feat to depart for a two week trip halfway across the country shortly after I'd returned from my housing search* in London. But it started out well enough, even though Jarod was on a different flight than the children and me**, even though the San Diego airport is arranged in such a way that I had to exit the gate area we arrived in and go through security to a second gate area to get to our second flight. (Can we just pause here and agree that were Dante writing his Inferno now, one of the circles of hell would involve taking children through security by yourself?) There were some hiccups, but nothing that is worthy of whining about publicly.

I am so glad that we had already planned this trip before we knew we would be moving, because it gave us a chance to say good-bye, and also to invite people to either move to London to be our neighbors or to at least come stay with us for a bit. We intend to be back to the Midwest annually, but still - London is a touch farther away than San Francisco. We also had some important family events to attend, and it was just good to already have the trip in place when we found out that we would be moving. I'm not sure we would have stayed as long had we planned it after we knew of the move, and it was good to have two weeks with family and friends.


(You saw that coming, right?)

I think we may have stayed a day too long.

Notice anything different? Or...partially missing?

On Wednesday night, Elvie fell face first into the leg of a folding chair, cutting her lips and chipping a tooth.

On Thursday morning, just hours before we were due to depart, Zinashi woke up with her lip swollen enormously and the rest of her face joining in for the party. (You'll have to use your imagination, because I haven't asked Zinashi's permission to post a photo anywhere other than on Instagram.) It was misery.

But Elvie's tooth didn't have nerve exposed, so we could leave it until we could get to her home dentist. A little Benadryl reduced Zinashi's swelling enough that we felt comfortable taking her on the plane. So we got on our flights, and we made it home, and then we felt like this:

Fierce! RAWR.

We got to the dentist to get Elvie's tooth smoothed and sealed on Friday, and Zinashi's swelling went down completely with some rest. Thank goodness, because we have a lot to do. I keep telling the children to be careful, because I don't have time for any more emergencies. No emergencies, do you hear me, children? NONE!

I may be absent from this space until after the move is complete, and even if I do show up, I might not make much sense. We have to get our visas expedited and get on a plane (hopefully) on July 23rd. It's going to take a lot of work to get everything done. We will do it, but I think we'll be getting on that plane by the skin of our (chipped) teeth.

Feel free to wish us luck. We will most certainly need it.

*Also known on Instagram as "my solo vacation." I really need to write more about how refreshing and rejuvenating this was, despite the fact that I had a lot to accomplish in my time there.

**Insert long explanation about credit on an airline that doesn't fly to the Midwest, but does fly to a family member's home city. Were we not spending all our money moving to London, we would have taken flights together, but London is more important than me not having to take the children through security by myself.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two Years of Happy Luck

two years ago

Today, we celebrated two years of Elvie being part of our family. The celebration wasn't as big as we'd normally have - usually the honored child gets to choose what to do all day long - but we took a moment nevertheless to reflect on our good fortune in having Elvie as daughter and sister in our family. There was pie, and presents, and then a toddler that did not want to go to bed.

For these past two years, we have borne witness to the miracles that follow a girl who was born with a determined spirit and a joy unmatched by anyone else we know. To say that it is a privilege to be called her family is an understatement. These two years have been incredible. We are blessed and lucky, and our joy runs deep.

Thanks, Elvie, for being willing to be ours. We hope we make you as happy as you have made us.

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