10.22.2012

i blinked...


...and just like that my time in the United States was up.

Three and a half weeks have never flown so fast, or been packed with so many memories, laughs and needed moments. It's unbelievable just how many birthdays and events (and truth: bottles of wine) I packed into just three weeks. It was a whirlwind in the best kind of way....even if it did involve 90+ hours in airports, airplanes and long car drives. Every time I thought about reaching for my iPad to blog, my heart just said, "No. No, no, no. This is all going by too fast. Put that away." So even if I was just bouncing my best friend's baby on my knee or taking a snuggly nap with my family's new kitten...I forced myself to be there.

The biggest takeaway from my trip was the reiteration from those I love that my feelings about living in Kuwait are valid. It is human to be uncomfortable in circumstances that put you far outside your norm. No one is expecting an obnoxiously fake, Pollyanna-esque approach to something that feels like a test or trial. It is okay to feel out of place, or to know yourself well enough to say that something just isn't for you.

But most of us have two gifts: the gift of time and the gift of home. Minutes to use, and a place we belong, no matter what. What you choose to do with those days, and within your four walls is up to you...but don't let months slip away unused and don't make "home" a place you dislike.

In other words...just because your feelings are valid, doesn't make all your reactions to those feelings wise. You can make the best...or you can make the worst of every situation.

Sometimes, in this new time and space...I've made the worst. These haven't been my finest four months...that is for sure. For example, there are still lingering boxes that need unpacking or frames that need hanging because I think, "What does it matter? I still won't feel like I belong here." Or moments in which I commiserate and make sarcastic comments to Gabe, without realizing that I've unintentionally sent the message that I'm deeply unhappy or that the life he provides is inadequate.

And so, the first real thing I chose to do upon returning was seriously check my sarcasm at the door. You know, check yourself before you wreck yourself...or whatever the kids say. Unfortunately there's no way I can show you a pastel, overexposed picture of me keeping my big mouth shut in an effort to be a better wife and person. But after conquering a little jetlag, I unpacked some boxes and finally decorated my kitchen with a few things from my old life, and a few things my family bought for me back home. Just making an effort to try to feel at home...to make the best of the days.

I did manage to take a picture of that. :)

Welcome home, me. ;)

 

19 comments:

  1. wow, i couldn't have said it any better. i too have been guilty of sarcastic comments and "the guilt trips" with johns traveling with the air force. it's easy to relish in your misery...eventhough my beau is definitely the glass half full type guy. with each day that passes i'm realizing that choosing to be happy, even in the shittiest of situations...is really a choice. and what a lame feeling it would be to look back and realize that you spent days, weeks or months being miserable.

    here's to being happy, bethany.

    thanks for another wonderful post.

    ~kathy from www.ohyessheblogs.com

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  2. Hubby and I are stuck in a place that doesn't feel like home...I absolutely know the feeling. But we too, have tried to be more intentional about making the best of our time here. We can look back on our newlywed years and remember how miserable we were or we can look back and remember how we made the most of our living arrangement.

    Solidarity, sista! ;)

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  3. well just look at all that pretty standing so wonderfully in the kitchen !!

    Well Kathy you put that so beautifully I don't how to respond. I'll raise my glass to happiness, laughter and smiles :)

    Love Chrissi xo

    www.christianaholt.blogspot.com

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  4. Welcome back - I've missed hearing from you. As always I appreciate the insight and grace in your post. To better days ahead!

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  5. I'm so glad you've decided to make some changes! For awhile my husband and I weren't sure how long we'd be living in Chicago and neither of us was thrilled about being here so we didn't take time to decorate or really make the apartment feel like home. Eventually I decided that I didn't care how long we'd be here, I was determined to make this apartment feel like home. And with time, it has and I am so glad I made that decision. It's hard to feel at home in a place you're not happy being in and it's even harder if you're actual physical home doesn't feel like home at all. It has made a huge difference for me to have my apartment decorated in our style.

    I hope those four walls feel like home soon!

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  6. My sarcasm & tears are getting the best of me...and we haven't even moved yet! Living apart these past few weeks has helped me put things in perspective but still can't wrap my mind around the fact that in less than two weeks we'll be moving to Mississippi. I know it will be ok and, quite honestly, if you can handle Kuwait then I can surely handle the state of Mississippi. Thank you for this post and thank you for always posting the best pictures - they ALWAYS make me smile!!

    Welcome back to blogland - you've been missed :-)

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  7. I just got back from my yearly visit home to the US as well. Time always flies when I'm there. I know the feeling of wanting two lives in two different places, and making through 3 years of expat life has been the result of making the conscious decision to choose joy over anything else. Hoping your transition back goes smoothly!

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  9. love your kitchen. and your honesty. it's so refreshing and relatable. :)

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  10. Welcome back, Bethany! Missed you, but totally knew you were way too busy soaking up your time back home.

    Sending you big hugs, and the very best of luck in feeling a bit more settled now that you're back in Kuwait.

    xoxo

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  11. I really need to follow your advice. I have somewhat of the opposite problem. I lived abroad for two years with my husband and while I thought I would be ecstatic upon our return to the US, I find myself having extreme difficulty transitioning back to life in CA. I miss our island home, friends, and life more than I care to admit and my poor husband must feel like he is failing to meet my emotional needs. I need to "check my sarcasm" at the door as well as my saddness and all around poor attitude. You've inspired me to try! Life is what you make it right?

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  12. You are amazing. While we are nowhere near Kuwait we are in a place that doesn't feel at all like home. Being away from people you care about is what makes it feel wrong.

    I'm so, so glad you got time with your family and friends. Hopefully one day in the not-so-distant future you'll be with all the people you care about in one place.

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  13. I feel what you are saying:) I am in the states right now and have been away from London for 3 weeks and will be here until November 10th. I need to start searching for jobs and havent been blogging but honestly, Ive been seeing so many friends and my sister gets married in 2 weeks, I just told myself enjoy it! Happy to hear you had a relaxing enjoyable time at home. I agree with making home your happy place. The kitchen looks adorable! My fiance moved into our flat, I havent even seen it yet, but I feel like it may not be my picture perfect house, but with us two {and our dog!} I agree, I will make it our home! Here is to a happy year ahead!!! xoxo

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  14. haha "whatever the kids say". I'm glad you're going to make your place more of a home. I bet you feel more welcome already :)

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  15. Welcome, welcome!
    All these things make up what life is all about. Sarcasm is a slip-up of mine as well. I think that is most important is that the person you love really knows you and the key is being able to realize "okay... she doesn't mean that," in partnering with your attempt to check your sarcasm at the door... like you stated.
    Lots of love your way!

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  16. The most important thing here is your honesty. You can't try and cover up how you really feel. And the second is acceptance... Keep adding those little homey touches. It will get better with time...

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  17. And I have to say, well done on the kitchen decorating. Adorable!
    It's hard to realize you aren't being the person you want to be, and sometimes it takes stepping outside of that situation to come to terms with it. So glad you had a wonderful, regenerating trip.
    <3

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  18. I can honestly say those moments when I realize that I can control more than I think I can and step up and take actions are the best parts of life. I hope you experience that same power and change

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  19. Nice refreshing kitchen. Adorable job. xo
    ~ Mehul
    Architectural Stone

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