Thursday, July 5, 2012

A taste of ordinary

Wow.  So I knew I was majorly neglecting my blogging responsibilities, but almost two months?  Is it too cliche to ask, where has the time gone?

I mean, now that it's summertime there are so many important tasks vying for my attention.  Books that need read, pools requiring swimmers, reality TV shows begging for my viewership, and always, always children needing... well, children needing.

Today I woke up late (7:30) to Joel missing on a morning bike ride, Aiden coloring downstairs, and Finn whining in my doorway.  After providing four or five breakfasts to our continuously hungry boys we leisurely piled in the car, headed to Ikea.

Visiting Ikea always transports us back in time, to our first week here in Hungary.  Joel tells me the word terrifying is too strong, but I think it's a fairly accurate description of our first seven days (well, mine at least).  Terrified to board that plane, to drive, to shop, to stand in the Ikea food line with it's foreign menu, foreign money, foreign system.  I remember looking at each other with wide eyes, asking, "Did we just pay $100 for lunch?" (it was actually more like 10).

There is not much I like to revisit about that first week.  I keep thinking it will get funnier with time, and while many things have, that hasn't.  It was too real and we had too much at stake.

Fast forward 11 months...

We navigate the long, crowded food line with ease.  We know where the toys are, our boys' favorite Ikea meals, we've learned the absolute necessity of electronic entertainment if we hope to purchase anything.  We fill our car with the mass-produced treasures loading our cart, hop in and head happily down the road.  On our way home we near the McDonald's and with temperatures in the 90's the McFlurry temptation is almost impossible to resist.  As Joel finishes a phone call I pull the kids from the car, hold their hands across an empty street, and welcome the cool air as it filters through the open door.  With Finn in my arms and Aiden at my side I communicate our ice cream needs using a mixture of poor Hungarian, ridiculous hand gestures, and the ever-effective pointing.  But my heart isn't racing this time, I'm not worried anyone hates me for my wildly inept language skills, I don't flounder when they tell me the price, worried I'm somehow being swindled at every turn.

It's easy in a way I've never defined easy before.  Easy because it's what we know, because somehow we understand how things work here... easy because this is our new normal.  It doesn't mean that every day's a good one.  That I don't get lonely or nostalgic or sad.  But it's not scary now, and certainly not terrifying.

I've noticed in our time here that the lows are extra low, the highs extra high, but mostly, average is average, anywhere.  And almost a year in our days are mostly just that, average.  The boys racing cars along our tile floor, monotonous trips to the grocery store, dinners cooked, dishes washed, lazy afternoons on the deck.

And really it's what I love about this new life of ours.  Sure, the frequent trips to exotic and beautiful destinations don't hurt.  But I think when I look back on our time here it's the little moments I'll miss.  Finn peering through the window, shovel in hand, nose pressed against the glass.  Family bike rides to the sweets shop, cooling off with an ice cream cone.  Quiet dinners outside, swatting at flies and stabbing sausages.

It's what we lacked in the beginning, what we missed without knowing it.  A sense of the mundane, a taste of the ordinary.  The feeling of content, amongst all the intense emotions of those early days.  A feeling that surfaced so slowly I almost wondered if it existed here.

But it does.

And now we wait anxiously to show this world to our parents, to guide them through our every day.  It is fun to imagine them here.  Seeing things how we saw them for the first time, noticing people and places we've learned to just pass by.

Wondering what we ever found so terrifying about such an ordinary, and extraordinary, place.

1 comment:

Patti said...

You sure do bring your experience to life for me. Thanks!