It's time. We are way overdue for a blog update on our family's latest adventures. We are no longer climbing over ancient ruins in Turkey or eating gelati in Italy, but life still seems to be going at a non-stop, eventful pace. So here, in our Holiday Inn Express room in South Dakota, I update you on our life.
Dan, Peter, and I landed on American soil on June 1st. We were exhausted. The overseas flight went pretty smoothly, considering I was very pregnant, Peter is two years old, and no overseas flights are ever very comfortable or easy. I wore my compression socks and visited the bathroom every hour like a good pregnant gal should. Peter threw up all over after gagging on German pasta salad during our in-flight dinner. And we were all able to catch a few zzzz's (just a few...very light zzzz's) during the 8 hour flight. When we landed in Baltimore and the USO welcomed everyone with "Welcome Home" signs and bagpipes, I cried like a baby...our first time back in the United States since August 22, 2010.
The next morning, Peter and I flew to Chicago, then Omaha. We said goodbye to Dan (I cried again) and Dan headed to Alabama for some training, then back to Turkey for a month and a half or so.
Our arrival in Omaha was INCREDIBLE (yep, I cried). It was so good to see our family and friends in person. It was so good to be home. In a weird way, it felt so comfortable and familiar, almost like we'd never left America and Turkey was just a dream.
Peter and I spent the next 2 months with my family in Lincoln while Dan finished up in Turkey.
Here are just a few nuggets from our first 2 months in America:
The keys to a "memorable" real estate experience:
a) buying your first home
b)...during your hormonal and emotionally unstable third trimester
c)....with a jet-lagged toddler in tow
d)...while your husband is in a different country
Yes, there were tears involved. But I am so blessed with amazing parents that drove the 4.5 hour trip with me over and over again to view countless houses until we found "the one". When I finally found a house, I called Dan in Turkey and said "Are you ready to trust me on this one? I think we should go for it." And my wonderful, trusting husband said yes. He still has not seen the inside of our future home.
We're currently on day 14 of hotel livin' while we wait for our house purchase to close.
*I told Dan that it was possible that we could "close" on our new house this Friday. Peter looked concerned and said "Not close! I want our new house to 'open'!") : ) We are all eager to move in! (We have been living out of suitcases since mid-May.)
Long term hotel living is similar to college. I'm always on the lookout for quarters to do laundry. Our dinner staples are Chef Boyardee, hot dogs, and Easy Mac. And thank goodness for paper plates and plastic silverware!
On the plus side: the maids clean our bathroom and make our bed, continental breakfast is waiting for us every morning, the Olympics keep us entertained every evening, and we've potty trained Peter during our extra free time.
Consumerism and Culture Shock:
One of my biggest adjustments to America has been the surplus of choices. When living on a small, Turkish base, we had a teeny tiny Commisary (grocery store) and BX ("everything else store"). There were very few options. We did a lot of on-line shopping and dreamed of Target.
My first several trips to Target were overwhelming. Literally, the amount of options made me feel dizzy and tired. The lights were so bright. There were so many people. Instead of 5 options for mascara, there were 35. I stood in the make-up aisle with eyes glazed over. Overwhelmed, I almost left empty handed, I just had to make a run for it. Then, last minute, I just despertately grabbed one and quickly left. When did shopping at Target become so stressful?!
I've also felt that way at Hy-Vee, our local grocery store. I froze in front of the massive wall of coffee creamers. America must've invented 75 new creamer flavors while I was overseas! I commented to the woman next to me "There are too many choices! It's stressful!"
She stared blankly at me, laughed politely, grabbed her creamer and left quickly. I thought about explaining "Wait...it's because I lived in Turkey..." but then decided to just let her go.
After a couple of months of American living, the surplus of options has become less overwhelming and more fun.
Mmmm...Runza, a Nebraska favorite, was my most missed food while in Turkey. And Subway, Jimmy John's, Dairy Queen...Yum! It's good to be home! The South Dakota State University Dairy Store makes some tasty homemade ice cream too! In fact, cookies and cream ice cream was invented at SDSU! I think I'm going to love living here. : )
I'm 35 weeks pregnant now! We've been blessed with a healthy pregnancy and are so excited to meet our new little one! He or she is quite the kicker and tumbler. And from the size of my belly, I'm guessing will be another healthy 9.5 pounder....we'll see! Our prayer requests for our little one:
1. A healthy, safe delivery for Baby B and Mama...we're prayerfully discerning and researching VBAC vs. another C-Section.
2. That our Household Goods Shipment (aka: all of our earthly belongings, including a carseat, crib, baby clothes, etc.) will arrive before our baby arrives.
What an abundant time of blessings and challenges! We are so happy to be back home in the USA and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to live overseas for two years. Once life quiets down a little, we plan to finish our blog posts on our travels throughout Turkey and Europe!