Hello Dear Internet Diary (aka my parents),

Long time no see! There’s been lots happening in life lately, but little—nothing—showing up on this here blog. Reasons? Not because I’m busy, but because the simple act of sitting down to write about the current state of affairs seems far too overwhelming to contemplate. But here I am, and here goes a recap of life, lately:

We are in Atlanta. Living by the grace of God and other people’s generosity, in a mother-in-law suite attached to someone else’s home. It blows my mind that this is available to us, but it’s real, and we are–maybeperhaps–just beginning to figure it out. The first six weeks we were back in the States, Michael had a few classes in Atlanta and the three of us bounced around like a ping pong ball between Alabama and Tennessee. We are gloriously glad to be (semi-)settled, particularly because all that transition was hard on the Bean, leading to clinginess and unsettled sleep patterns. Michael starts class this week, and we are trying to ease ourselves into some semblance of routine.

It has been–and here’s the Dear Diary aspect of this post–a difficult transition for our family. It has been obvious that the Lord is leading us and He has abundantly provided for our needs, but there has been much uncertainty, little alone time, the stress of our different personalities responding to events in different ways, and (particularly on my part) grief for what we left behind. As we begin to settle into life in the States, I’ve realized that this season has placed me in a bit of a pressure cooker. Living overseas, we often talk about how life in a second culture (in the recent words of a friend) “lowers the water level” and reveals the ook and grit we’d prefer to keep hidden beneath the surface. For me–at least at this point–it seems that this year in America is placing me in a place of uncertainty and instability and revealing bits of me I’d prefer no one (least of all myself) to see.

Unknowingly, I’m realizing that I took quite a bit of pride in my ability to “live well” overseas. After six years, I could speak the language; had long-lasting friendships in the midst of the constant transition of ex-pat communities; knew how to cook and go to the market and just generally accomplish things; loved our apartment complex and loved how well our neighbors loved StellaB; and found our daily lives purposeful. This year, I am confused by Publix; feel anxious and awkward making small talk; have great friends near-by-ish but not in my vicinity (or at least my life stage); am intimidated by American fashions and styles; and–maybe this is the kicker to my pride!–am not an expert on anything in daily life.

I’d love to tie this all up with a pretty bow and summarize why this is healthy or how it’s going to help and change me, but right now I believe instead of feel all these things and so have no neat wrapping with which to package this. I’m grateful for where we are, but learning to deal with all of this is certainly a process.

Annnnnd Stella is crying to get up from her nap, so there’s my cue. Next time maybe I’ll have cute pictures to post, at least?

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