missing tea + moving boxes.

This morning, just like every other morning, I opened the kitchen cabinet and reached for a small, red box of tea.

It wasn't there.

It wasn't there because we're moving back to the US with 8 days notice. (Yay, bring on our new home in California! Seriously, I welcome the crazed timeline.) And although I may be a procrastinator in almost every aspect of life, I am a fantastic mover who has already emptied the cabinets and placed everything in sorted, labeled boxes.

But something struck me in that tea-less moment. Our life has felt anything but normal, and yet this year of homesickness and occasional adventure has still managed to breed routine. Certain things go in certain places, the days flow in such a way, and the tea is always right above the stove.

Leaving is everything I've wanted for months, but it feels strange to leave behind our new normal. Gabe and I didn't live together before we were married; our entire relationship was long distance. This was our first home together--the only "normal" we've ever known. And so, our move feels a little more bittersweet than expected!

I will not miss:

...the way our kitchen floor floods every time I wash dishes.
...the tiny washing machine that always makes my clothes smell funny.
...the dryer that shrinks everything it touches.
...$18 broccoli.
...Skyping in for birthday parties.
...drawing snowflakes on my windows and pretending it feels like Christmas.
...paying a cab every time I want to go somewhere.
...130 degree days.
...a life without wine.
...constantly fearing I'm showing the tiniest bit of boob. Or shoulder. Or knee. Or the bottoms of my feet.

I will miss...

...sunrises over the Gulf right out my window. Our beach view is insane.
...my neighbor friend who has been a source of sanity, even if we don't see each other for a few weeks.
...our checkerboard floors, which I used to loathe but now love.
...the passing feeling that we're on an adventure.
...random camel sightings and calls to prayer.
...funny stories or weird experience from simply stepping outside our door.
...interacting with people who are so different than me.
...my side trips to Europe in an effort to stay sane.

Mostly, I'll miss the way this experience has brought lots of introspection. I've learned so much about myself, my husband and my marriage. We've never fought more than we did the first 3 months in Kuwait. It was ugly, but given the circumstances + our newlywed status...it was probably quite normal. But, that has passed. We've never been more in sync than we have in the last 5 months. It's as if life plodded forward enough for us to be retrospective...to appreciate how much we both gave one another this year: I loved him enough to leave behind a comfy life at home for his job in Kuwait...and he loved me through my lowest, most depressed days when I felt particularly unlovable. And we both fell in love with a little helpless kitten who has turned our world upside down more than a few times.

Not to be a cheeseball, but in hindsight...it has been quite deep and beautiful for two people who didn't expect to find deepness or beauty in the desert.

My only true sadness in leaving is breaking this awesome marital period. While I haven't been creatively or intellectually fulfilled in Kuwait, I've felt so safe and loved. It's like one glass was empty, the other full...and it forced me to learn a few lessons. I've discovered that my husband loves me even without my usual Pollyanna personality, and with a larger pants size. And, I've learned that life still goes on even if your apartment doesn't look like a Pinterest board. If there were any lessons I desperately needed to learn in life...discovering I am loved + worthy of love and learning to let go of perfection were at the top.

So for that...for this year of learning...I am so grateful.

For the ability to move forward, into a new normal...my heart is overwhelmed.

I cannot wait. Home, home, home. Here we come.


  1. I feel like living abroad with my husband has made us a team - we are constantly tacking life together and we only have each other. All of our other support systems are miles and flights away so we've learned to do things on our own. Our time overseas has really challenged us as a couple but I'm thankful for how close we've grown together because of it. It sounds like you've had similar sentiments.

    Thinking of you as you pull everything together in the next 8 days and so happy that you're heading where you'd like to be!

  2. I couldn't agree more with you and Jay. Moving abroad was the best thing that my husband and I did for our marriage. It bonded in new and unexpected ways just being out of our comfort zone and only being able to rely on each other. it sounds like you had a great year there (however challenging is may have been at times ; ) hope your move home goes smoothly!

  3. Congratulations on this new opportunity, Bethany! I am excited for you to return to the US and all of the joy that it will bring.

    I really appreciate you sharing your perspective on the good things that you have taken away from your time in Kuwait. While it may be a short stop on the journey of your lives together, it sounds like it was a very important one.

    Best wishes!

  4. Oh Bethany, I'm so happy for you but I'm also glad that you were able to reflect on your time abroad and know what positive changes it has brought for you and your family. I feel like a lot of people (me included) sometimes can't take that step back after a difficult situation to see what the purpose was (at least it takes us awhile). I'm sure these next 8 days are going to be crazy and I hope that the move goes at least semi-smoothly.

  5. So happy that you are coming home and that so much good has in fact come out of your year in Kuwait! I hope that packing up, flying home and getting settled goes smoothly!

  6. I already told you but I am so so so happy for you to be moving back home. But I'm also so happy that you are appreciating the lessons you've learned. My husband and I went through an especially difficult time just after we were married too and it is absolutely amazing to see how much he loved me even in those dark times. Enjoy your last couple of days and can't wait to see photos of this next stage of life!!

  7. I'm so very happy for you, Gabe, and Lucky. I know the 3 of you will continue to bond and create beautiful memories together regardless of where you live. I'm looking forward to following your blog and reading about your new American experiences. You're going to LOVE the prices of groceries though everyone else in American complains about them :)

  8. Congrats!

    I'm excited for you and the new stage in your life. It's great that you've been able to be so introspective and gain something valuable from this time. But honestly, I'm happy that now you can start on a new chapter that'll feature the you that was hidden away (both physically and creatively).

    Bon voyage!

    P.S. - I was abroad for a month (see here http://vintagezest.blogspot.com/p/travel.html) and was a bit bummed to not see too many posts from you when I got back. I kinda squealed when I saw this pop up on my feed. :)

  9. So happy that you're moving back! And I think those first few months after you're married are hard. Lots of arguments and adjustments. My husband and I went through the same thing.

    Can't wait to read about your new home in California!

  10. I am so excited for you and your new adventure! I know you have been homesick for a while now and moving to a new place will hopefully give you that spark of inspiration you have been craving. best of luck with the crazy quick move!

  11. I'm so excited for you both to be moving back! And for that sweet little kitten to be able to come home with you. :) I can't wait to see how you will love your new home in CA!

  12. oh Bethany! I can't wait to read your posts now that home is on the horizon~ God bless you both- your post about all those feelings was beautiful!
    xo beth (a Minnesota girl) :)

  13. I'm so excited for you!! I have such a hard time not getting sentimental about times and places, even if they have been so hard. Moving is a really hard experience for me because I get so sad! I'm so happy you have something amazing to look forward to, and it sounds like you don't have time to be sad!! Can't wait to hear about your new home and your new adventures.

  14. i'm beth from wisconsin and have been following you for quite some time now and love that you'll be back on american soil in just a week......how exciting !!!

    we moved soooooo many times, never internationally, and it always bonded us and our family closer.....such a gift now that i look back on it !!

  15. Safe travels. Glad that you can look at your Kuwait experience in a positive light and hope that it has helped shape you into a stronger woman and loving wife. All the best on this new adventure back home! Excited to follow along to see what the future holds!

  16. Love "life goes on, even if your apartment doesn't look like a Pinterest board .

    Happy trails. I started following you when you moved abroad. Looking forward to following you on your next stage!

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  17. Isn't it interesting how we wish for something so much, and then it happens it feels strangely bittersweet? Do happy for your news and the new adventure in store.

  18. Congrats! And hey, if you really miss the floors...install new flooring in your house ;)

    As for the fighting, I think that's 100% normal when two people go from a long-distance relationship to suddenly living together in a small space. I know my bf and I did the same thing when we moved in after a year in different cities!

    Can't wait to see how you decorate your new space :)

  19. Congratulations Bethany (and Gabe) and your cute little kitten! I'm so happy for you to have learned so much during your time in Kuwait :) You will always cherish the time you spent there!! I'm excited for you move to California, to read about your new "life" there and eager to see how you two will decorate and mesh your styles together in california :) *cheers* and happy travels Bethany!!

  20. bethany, this was so beautiful and real. so happy that you have seen the joy that has come through having to depend so much on each other and no one else. you have laid a wonderful foundation for the rest of your marriage. excited to have followed you on this journey, never would have guessed we would be collaborating! looking forward to photos of the place where the mountains touch the ocean:) happy moving!

  21. I love that moving abroad teaches you so much about yourself, and really makes you appreciated what you have (and sometimes don't have). Although it is the hardest experience (my own personal opinion), I think it has its purpose and at the end of the day, I truly believe it makes you a stronger person.
    I'm currently struggling with moving to a new country (Norway) and missing and endless number of things from Canada. There are days when I feel I can do this, and there are days when I'm so close to hopping on a plane and calling it quits, all in the name of happiness and comfort.

    I hope the next chapter brings you nothing but happiness, excitement, and lots and catch up time with family and friends! :)

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  23. Love "life goes on, even if your apartment doesn't look like a Pinterest board .
    Happy trails. I started following you when you moved abroad. Looking forward to following you on your next stage!



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