That seems to be the predominant question from friends and colleagues as I bump into people I haven't seen in a while. The answer is usually...'still digging through the boxes and stuff.' But, upon reflection, yeah, I think we are getting settled in.
This past week saw the Tai-Tai furiously organizing bathrooms, kitchen, living room and bedroom (still waiting for the kids to follow suit). So much so, that at one point last week, during a massive cleaning of the house, she exclaimed, 'I want my aiyee!' Well...
Myself, its been about learning of my role and the expectations of those around me...they seem to be somewhat in line, thankfully. I've been working on various organizing projects to help me learn whats going on and get a sense of what has been missed in the past. Slow progress, I guess.
At home, I have tried to organize what I could, but also try and take the time to relax and enjoy the new surroundings. The weekends seem to be filled with a day of getting the kid to soccer and popping in someplace for lunch. Nothings changed there...just like in GZ.
Last Saturday, we experienced a rainstorm of GZ magnitude. The sound outside was deafening as the water poured out of the rain gutters and on to the door step and garden. 'Did anyone ever clean the gutters when they lived here??' Sunday morning it was up on the ladder to check it out...and the answer was a definite, NO. After struggling climbing up and down the ladder, scooping out black goop with my hands and washing it down...then down the ladder to move it over a few feet and do it again, I decided to brave my fears and crawl up on the mighty rooftop to get a better vantage point of it all. A couple hours later, it was done.
I've also been working on the garden too...trying to get it back to a respectable green color. We've been watering everyday since the renters moved out and that had really seemed to bring it back after about a month...then I applied the fertilizer and BOOM...it began growing like crazy. It's almost back to where I would like to see it...but we still have plenty of work to do with plants, shrubs and the like.
Last night we hooked up with some old friends as they played in a hockey game. While I couldn't be there immediately due to a conference call at work, I arrived after the game was over (arrghgh). But, we had a wonderful dinner with all after everyone got cleaned up from their big game. The hard sell was placed on my to join in the league and start playing, which is incredibly tempting.
Tonight, I am hoping my schedule will allow expat daughter and I to head into town to see a favorite band play. I've admired them from afar for quite a few years and this is my first opportunity to get to hear them live...
So, yeah, things are becoming very domestic...we are getting settled in, slowly. We still have a mountain of stuff to go through in the basement and garage, but I think its managable at this time.
Slowly, we are getting moved in. Most boxes have been unpacked and the upstairs of our home is relatively organized and somewhat livable (I finally unloaded the boxes with my shoes last night). The downstairs, by contrast, is a disaster. Piles of books, furniture, stuff everywhere...and we won't even get into the garage yet (but at least I can fit my car in!).
So, a few observations on this expat move...
Far less emotional stress this time than last. It helps that I came back to a group and job that wanted and valued me. It also helped that we moved into a neighborhood that values individuals rather than the 'collective'.
Money spent is about the same. Sad to say, but when we moved back in 2001, we ended up writing checks for close to $30K in just a couple weeks with the purchase of beds, appliances, house, car, etc...moving into our new place. This time, we already had the cars and house...but, the money spent seems to have been the same with repairs and replacements of things in the house. Mind numbing when you see that much savings being sucked up ever so quickly...
Although we are moving into a completely new city and neighborhood this time around, it feels far less alien than our move did in 2001...I can't explain it. Clearly in 2001, we weren't ready to come home, so maybe that has something to do with it. Moving from a large metropolitan city to a small town may have been too much of a shock...although we are still in a small town, but its much closer to the city (although the city is still a tiny village compared to the Pearl River Delta cities).
Knock on wood...but, the allergies that always pestered me throughout the summer don't really be hitting me as much...except when I visit my Mum's house...which is sorta strange. Maybe I'm allergic to her...gaaahhhh..Nooooo.
It's the kids first day at school today...let's hope he has the same positive feelings about things that we seem to have thus far (with exception of the money spending!!).