We’ve now been in Lebanon a month. A month.
It feels like six. I don’t know how it works, but if you split your time between continents it does the bizarrest things to the felt passage of time.
And while things in week four are far easier than they were in week one, I still feel like I’m in the throws of transition. Maybe it’s like adjusting to new babies: at a month in you’re only realizing how whack things are and still have no idea how to adjust them, nor the energy to even think about doing so. (So I hear, anyway.)
I’m starting to notice that the hardest part of long-distance moves is developing new rhythms. The old way was just so natural. I knew my on-the-way-home grocery stop would exactly 12 minutes. I knew what roads to avoid at what time of day. I knew where to hide during a break so that I could be alone in my head without being interrupted.
But then the familiar left, and with it, all sense of rhythm and instinct. And I find myself flustered, and bumbling, and frustrated.
I don’t know when I can reliably take a shower, because it requires me to be to be home during at least 2 hours of government electricity (which is off half the day, though I never know which half). I don’t know when to do laundry, because it requires about 3 hours of government electricity, and I have to be home if we (surprise!) go dark in the middle of the load. Braving the grocery store (and the roads that get us there) is still a pretty big event, and difficult to force ourselves to tackle at the end of already-exhausting days. (Did I mention the work week is 6 days long here?)
All of this means I’m eating a lot of junk food, which exacerbates the felt lack of norms and rhythms.
I’ve moved enough to know it won’t last forever. It’s counter-intuitive, but trying harder doesn’t improve things any faster. It only frustrates things and makes me (even more) miserable.
So instead of berating myself for another week of lame dinners, missed blog posts, and destroyed-house-ness, I’m trying to go a little easy on myself and make time for things I enjoy. Today I’m stirring myself another cup of nescafe, enjoying the clouds and rain and cold (the upsides of this transition), and lingering a bit longer over Order of the Phoenix.
This is hard for me to do. I feel like it “shouldn’t be that big of a deal” to get through everyday life. I feel irresponsible for taking a break when there is so much to be done and so little I’ve accomplished. But I also think a little breathing room can go a long way.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one in transition right now. Which means I’m likely not the only one berating myself for not getting the “new” just right yet.
So maybe it’s time for a glass of wine and a soak in the tub, or a small dive into whatever helps each of us feel most feel like ourselves. The stopping helps. Really. It releases tension, for one. But there’s also something about the space in a stop that gives room for things to fall into place, which is a significant step toward new rhythms.
If you’re in need of one, take a stop with me, will you? I’d love to hear how it goes.