My blog has been a bit quiet over the summer but life wasn’t quiet at all. Why? Because we only got our move confirmed by the end of June – from Tokyo, Japan to Muscat, Oman.
It didn’t come as a total surprise. It’s been brewing for a while but still – a move is only confirmed when it’s confirmed, isn’t it? And since we already had started the summer holidays it was all a bit different than our previous moves. Meaning we didn’t really have a chance for some proper good-byes. Thankfully most of the kids’ friends were still around so we could manage a little farewell for them. But for me, that was on the sideline this time. And it felt and still does feel a bit weird. I’m not a fan of big farewell parties but yes I would have loved a final coffee and/or dinner with some of my friends.
And you know how it is, those final things you want to do and place to go before you head off – even that didn’t work out. We had so much rain the weeks we were still there that outside options were rather limited. I just recently saw my page in my notebook “To do before we leave Tokyo”. Well, I might keep it for when we visit one day instead then.
Now, sitting in our temporary apartment in Muscat and looking back at those last weeks in Tokyo, our home for four years, it feels like a hard finish. The closing period of our life there feels like if a big band-aid has been ripped off in one go – short and a bit painful, leaving a little mark.
So while our last weeks in Tokyo were kind of frantic in regards to sorting, packing and such the first weeks here in Oman were … well, quiet. We are four weeks in and I’m slowly adjusting to the slower pace. It surely gets some getting used to though! The kids prefer it for now. Especially for my oldest Tokyo often felt too busy and crowded – well he is at the right place now. Things will change here too once the heat isn’t there anymore but for now, it’s pretty mellow.
Then again, the mellowness helps me (forces me) to slow down too. And while it feels a bit weird, like somebody forcing you to slow down, like when you are being cut off while driving it might be good for me. I tend to be on overdrive in the beginning of moves, wanting to organise and do a lot in a short time frame. And being an introvert that can easily lead to overwhelm-ness and exhaustion. So now, I take that step back.
But I don’t think it only has to do with living in a slow-paced country. After all, this is my seventh international move and I do believe that I learned and grew with each of them too. Having practised mindfulness the past years and paying more and more attention to what is really going on within me (and family members) certainly does play a big part in approaching things differently too.
Over the years the moves became less overwhelming, less stressful – and with every move, I feel more grounded and at ease overall.
I’m not saying I don’t experience those “argh it’s all too much” moments anymore – that would be a lie. I mean it’s still a move and every move is stressful in so many layers. Especially if you move cross-countries and cultures. And having children in the mix, whether they are babies, young kids or (pre)teens all add a different flavour to that experience.
But yes, the blow is not that big! I feel less rattled, know how to handle myself and my (and the family’s) emotions much better. Do I still lose it (and myself) at times? Do I feel it’s hard? I surely do, but that is part of this rollercoaster life we live, too. And I would not want to miss any of those steps just now.
Reflecting on these past weeks and previous moves showed me as well that I somehow created some “post-moving-habits”. Some of the key things I do with every move are that I
- keep doing exercise, it might be less but I keep myself active.
- carve time for myself, time to simply be and ponder about life.
- admit and share when I had a tough day. We all have rough days, no need to sugar coat it.
- focus on what is important for my family first – for me that means that once the kids are happy and settled I have more headspace to get myself settled.
- get general doctor contacts, etc sorted.
- cut back in my work and blog and yoga but I don’t drop it completely anymore. It’s easier to let it run on a smaller flame than to restart again.
- attend welcome and introduction mornings at school even if/when I feel it’s all too much (three kids make sure that there are more than enough of those). And trust me I often feel out of my comfort zone and would prefer to be just with me-myself and I. But, on the long run, all this helps me to at least know where and to whom to go to if I have questions.
- ask. This one is perhaps one of my most uncomfortable steps and something I barely ever did when I just started to move. But never forget that others around us experience(d) similar. And even if not, I barely met a person who would not be willing to help if you ask.
But here lies the issue, others need to know that we need some guidance, support or have questions! And for that so we need to be out there and share/ask! Does it make me uncomfortable at times? Heck yes! One of my most direct questions towards people I barely know must have been if I can buy tampons in my new location. Well, I was in need of something important for me and didn’t have time to wait and investigate on my own. Oh, and in case you want to know – yes it seems you can get them at times. Only not when there is an import shortage! And that one we seem to have these days. Ah well, I might not have gotten tampons but I now know to stock up on them! And I realized yet again that others are more than willing to help 🙂
Besides these general things I do my best to get all my senses involved when I’m out and about. I try to connect with something that happened throughout the day and share it on my Instagram account. Sometimes those are indeed just simple things like my workspace and where I did sports or something nice or interesting that caught my eye. At other times I connect the photo to a deeper context. But staying connected to my daily life has been the key for me to keep – and a times find – my ease. It helps me to stay connected and grounded to what is going on around me just then in that moment. And a moment of this feeling of “being here” is sometimes all we need (or get) during a day. To me it’s priceless.
Now I’m curious, how about you? Do you relate to (some) of my key points? Do you have other things on your list (mind) that I haven’t thought of?
Wherever you are these days, I wish you the very best,