Thursday, August 1, 2013

A new start

Today marks the beginning of our last month in the US. This time, plus two days, in September we will be in another country on another continent. And while our family will lead separate lives for a couple of weeks, we will reunite on September 3rd to resume our common life. Leaving North America for North Africa is at once a daunting thought and an exciting adventure.

When I left Lebanon close to ten years ago, it did not occur to me that I would leave the US for another "hometown." Jeff and I talked about it, and dreamed about it, but until the offer came unexpectedly and the letter was signed, it was all a pie in the sky. Now the order of business is to pack, pack, pack and head out.

I have mixed feelings about all of this. For years I had been perfecting my skills in America. Navigating customer service agents, dodging extra fees, understanding the fine print, asking all the right questions, reading between the lines, advocating for myself and my family, and looking out for traps set out by consumerism. I understood the insurance system, learned about the banking system, and made it through immigration and naturalization. I finally feel "at home" in this once strange place. I feel confident in my abilities now to conduct everyday business in an educated manner. I know the rules, and I know what it takes to break them. But now, after having honed my mind and rounded my knowledge, I am leaving it all behind, and filing it away.

It is difficult to leave what you know. For me, it is even more difficult to leave what I worked so hard to get to know. I do not do "change" very easily. Actually, I tend to resist change. And yet it is the only constant. It has been a rough couple of weeks leading up to this post. I slept little and thought a lot. Jeff and I rehashed the same conversation nightly; his believing in the going, my doubting it. Over and over again I would question whether this is the right decision, the right time, the right place. Many times I went over the offer, the location, the opportunity. I wondered and pondered. Finally, I prayed, and found peace.

The change will be drastic. The adjustment will be shocking. But the experience will be worthwhile. We will all miss something as we leave our current state behind and start anew. JR will miss her friends, her grandparents, her usual surroundings, her toys, her bed. I will miss the routine, the predictability, the "known."

This time next year we may be back, or we may stay. This time next year things may be better, or worse. This time next year we may have had enough or we may want more. Not much is sure, but one thing is for certain: until next year comes, I will try to make the most of what will soon be a new reality. Who knows, I may even like it!

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