6.13.2012

this is home...for now.

pretty window. one of the things i do love about this place.

Startling discovery:  My life isn't a movie, and I didn't show up to a stunningly appointed apartment in Kuwait. What?!

Kidding. :) I thought I knew what I was getting into...yeah, yeah...it wasn't going to be pretty perfection. But I wasn't prepared for our apartment. We live in the projects (shout out to my neighbors with mattresses on their porch! What up!) and the list of things that need to be fixed in this apartment is a mile long. I'll spare you the checklist, but I will say this table I'm currently using is one wiggle away from collapsing to the floor. Had we seen this place and signed on the line, I could handle it. But this one's hard...because we didn't choose this place. Someone else did, without even seeing it. Yet we're paying the insanely expensive rent. More than the mortgage on our 4-bedroom house in California...which we've sadly decided to sell, as carrying both this rent + that mortgage is tapping us out.

But we're doing everything we can to get to a new place...chosen by us. For now that means we continue to live out of boxes until we're told we can sign a different lease. (Note: this hasn't stopped me from unpacking a few things. And rearranging furniture. And making an IKEA trip. Whoops.)

I'll just put it all out there: this hasn't been easy. There have been moments in the past week--usually while trying to cook on a half-stove in a kitchen smaller than my old bathroom--where I've tearfully thought, "What were we thinking? Why did we think living abroad would be good for us?" I wistfully think of the romanticized picture of my friends' first newlywed years: it all looked so light-hearted and fun. Fights were simply about where to spend Christmas or who didn't wash the dishes. And then I look at our first year first six months: separated by an ocean for four months, six weeks of unemployment, deciding to sell our house...and ultimately moving to the Middle East. Holy smokes, it's been a lot of stress.

I stand there, stirring something, wondering if we cheated ourselves out of that easy, rose-colored first year of bliss, while in pursuit of some grand adventure. Usually at that point in my mind-wandering, something in the kitchen breaks or overflows, and I'm distracted enough to let these thoughts float out the sand-coated window, to be picked up another day.

But I know with every new experience, there come growing pains. Often people don't talk about these pains, because admitting you had a late-night bickering sesh with your husband about something more serious than dish duty...well, it doesn't make your life sound amazing. But that's life...contrary to popular "inspirational" posters cirulating on Pinterest...there are bad days. Every single day can't always be glam and amazing.

The bigger the experience, the more intense the growing pains. This is a huge experience, and these are just our growing pains, I tell myself. And I also like to think that in two years, once we've moved out of this apartment + transitional stage of life, these growing pains will have become some pretty hilarious stories.

Because who doesn't want to hear about the time you lived in a Middle Eastern ghetto, in a building where the elevator "down" button hung off the wall...wires exposed? And the washing machine routinely overflowed? That's a jackpot of good stories!

And lucky me...I'll be able to tell them. ;)

21 comments:

  1. life, man, life. seems like we've all just gotta keep on keeping on, it doesn't pause for no one.

    although one little throwaway line in there got me semi excited for you....they have IKEA there? Oh, that's definitely not how I pictured Kuwait. At least that is familiar.

    Now the issue i ponder now is...Kuwait has IKEA but New Zealand doesn't. What does that MEEEEEEEEEAN?!?!?!? ;)

    xx

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  2. @Haven:

    Yes! IKEA! They have a lot of western stores + restaurants, just few department stores (no Macys, Target and the like...and no craft stores). A new apartment we're dying to get into even has a Starbucks in the basement. Dreeeam hooome. ;)

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  3. As usual, thank you for sharing your experiences in an honest way. You're absolutely right about the first year of marriage, it's not as glamorous as everyone says. It's a period of adjustment and can be harder than any other year. Add in a foreign country and an apartment in the projects and it's even harder! You're really self aware though which makes me think you are going to be just fine!

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  4. The first year of marriage definitely is not all glitter and rainbows. Our first year, I was on the road and working late nights more often than not and was so miserable that it was making Chester miserable too. We would have stupid fights and it kind of sucked a lot of the joy out of that first year. Those aren't the kind of first year pictures that get posted on Facebook. Things got better, so hang in there (and I'll be jealous if you end up in a place with the 'Bucks in the basement!)

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  5. Hey I like what you did with the place! But where are you hiding your canister of glitter oh and the unicorns...where are they? hehe

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  6. Oh you are just so wonderful and honest my dear. Here's to hoping that wonky elevator lets you sneak in a kitten or two...

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  7. When I was a newlywed, we lived in Japan. In a tiny, sad little apartment. Hanging laundry out to dry was a nightmare because it would smell like car exhaust and would be crunchy when dry! . I learned to love it though (and miss it now!).

    In a few years, when you & Gabe are back home, you will look back at this time now and think, "How in the heck did we do it?"

    I love reading about your adventure abroad. It's also made me stop and remember all the great memories in my life from living abroad.

    Cheers! :)

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  8. This is minor in comparison to the first year of marriage, but when I graduated college I decided to do a year of AmeriCorps in a very, very rural area. I had a challenging year and spent a lot of time thinking I cheated myself out of that first great "adulthood" experience. The economy was great back then, and my friends were living in cities with decent paychecks, cute apartments, and a lot of happy hours. I was living far from people my own age, with a poverty-level stipend, an apartment with rodents, and the challenges that come with working with middle-schoolers labeled "at-risk". (For the record, I hate that label and these kids were some of the best kids I've ever met.) For a lot of that year, I thought I made a huge, huge mistake. But once I learned that I could handle the challenges, I had an amazing year. Looking back now (seven years later), I am so glad I did it. I got so much more out of it than I ever could have expected.



    And that's my long-winded way of saying that I'm cheering you on in your choice to live abroad and through the amazing-ness that comes with it and the challenges.

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  9. Ohhhh my goodness!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe you got roped into a lease that no one else ever looked at!! That seems incredibly rude to me. I hope you find the amazing place with a Starbucks basement!!! Imagine sipping Frappacinos and doing your laundry at the same time... how American that will feel! ;)

    I'm SO proud of you and excited that you have taken this journey, even if it is hard and confusing to know why you're there sometimes!! I think you and Gabe will grow so much stronger together through experiences like this, and will have an amazing marriage because of it. Who knows - maybe someday "regular" married life will be too boring for you too, and you'll be one of those families that takes their kids on a sailing trip around the world. Who knows!!

    I can just only imagine how amazing things will turn out for you - and I'm so excited to hear every bit of it!!

    Sending lots of love and wishes and GOOD LUCK for a new apartment!!!

    xxxxx

    PS - and those will DEFINITELY be funny stories to tell later (and now!). One of my apartments in Copenhagen was on a street with a Red Light a few doors down!!! And ohhhh boy did people make noise outside our place. Plus we were only on the second floor, so I was too scared to tell them too shut it! Yep, those were some sleepless nights! ;)

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  10. I don't think any year of marriage is ALL glitter & rainbows! It takes some rain to make those rainbows :-) Best wishes on your adventure, at least you're in it together!!

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  11. I can't even imagine how difficult what you're doing would be. Of course it's an amazing adventure, and I'm sure there will be so many crazy exciting things that happen, but I can understand the moments of doubt.
    I also love your honesty about the honeymoon stage not always being what you're led to believe. My hubs and I are right around 9 months of marriage, and let me tell you, it is HARD sometimes. People should be more honest about that. You may have just inspired a brutally honest blog post by yours truly :)

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  12. Thanks for that bit of honesty and truth. I've been having my own bit of crapiness today and although I was already starting to refocus on the positive, it's always good to see someone else model that too. And thank goodness for IKEA trips keeping us going!

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  13. Lol life isn't always rosy but we have to smile and pull ourselves through it and thank god for what we do have and for all we are grateful for on a regular basis ... yoga, meditation and my angels keep me in line and believe me they are working ! Good look sweetie xxx

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  14. those are going to be totally awesome stories to tell your kids someday. that's exactly the kinda stuff they'll wanna hear.

    and, "growing pains". i like it.

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  15. Hang in there girl! I can't imagine what a transition this must be for you!

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  16. You should make some honest pinterest posters! The insanely positive all the time posters kinda drive me crazy sometimes. Like "Keep calm and...how can I keep calm when the elevator button is broken and I'm not entirely sure the elevator will get me to the ground floor safely!" poster :)

    I look forward to your blog updates to see how you are faring in Kuwait. Keep us posted!

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  17. You're a trooper and the two of you will come out of this even stronger. I have a decorative plate that hangs in my kitchen which says: Everyday may not be good but there is something good in every day.

    This phrase helps me a lot...maybe it can help you too!

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  18. I hope you get to move as soon as possible. There are lots of good and affordable apartments in Kuwait. You could always rent a floor of a villa. I think I know the building you want to move into. That's a very crowded (noisy) area of Kuwait but with a Starbucks downstairs and a beach across the street the building is a good choice. :) They have had leak problems so check for mold and asks the neighbors what they think of the A/C, Elevators, Haras and building manager.

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  19. Um. I think there is magic in your home decorating. That photo belongs on everyone's pinterest boards and I bet no one would have even guessed that it was inside some project-like home in Kuwait. For real. Everything you touch is pretty. How do you do that? And the prettiest thing of all, your attitude. I don't think I even have to tell you to hang in there...but I'll say it anyway. Hang in there. After all is said and done, you've got an IKEA nearby. So, at the very least, there's that to celebrate.

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  20. I love how you see the good in things, and how you always seem to get the lessons in life. You are right - years from now this experience will be a great memory. xx

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  21. Move to Salmiya if you can!!! The you can walk on the beach walkway to Marina Mall when it gets cooler.

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