Yep, as many of you know already, because you know me, we have left St. Louis once again and are living in Iceland for the next 5 1/2 months. We only just found out we’d be coming a week before Christmas, so in the scramble to get everything sorted out we actually left our house several weeks ago so a renter could move in and have spent the time in between at a weekly rental with Eric’s parents, a friends’ house, and my parents house. We finally flew out of Nashville on Tuesday and arrived in Reykjavik on Thursday morning, local time. But in truth, our state of transience never really seemed to go away, even after we returned to the U.S. back in August. So much has been in flux or in a less-than-certain mode that truly settling in never happened. You see, the possibility that we might get to come to Iceland this semester always existed, and as a result (this just dawned on us the other day), Eric and I both felt frustrated and overwhelmed by the present and completely unable to settle into anything–not our house, not a routine, not any kind of contentment–throughout the fall. For me this took the form of hating my house, which seemed to never ever get clean or organized; going mad with the sense that my very active and mobile child was stealing all of my identity by monopolizing my time and energy (and messing up the house), and the inability to commit to certain activities in case I had to leave them. I also found out in September that I’m expecting again, so first-trimester discomfort and lack of energy, combined with several bouts of illness in the house, turned me into a whimpering little girl on several occasions.
And yet, it finally crystalized in my heart as the plane took off the other day, that all of this fostered in me a dependence on others like I have never ever experienced in my life (or at least as an adult). Up to this point, even after Everett was born, I had a fierce sense of independence and self-reliance; a determination to make it on my own and basically, to do whatever I wanted. Marriage changed this a little bit, but having a toddler (as opposed to a complacent, portable baby) changed it completely! With Eric using our only car 2-3 days out of the week, being alone with this adorable, crazy, into-everything little boy was breaking me down. Community, human contact, and conversation went from being things I loved and enjoyed to things I could not live without. And I had to surrender my notions of being a perfect, “got-it-all-together” kind of mom and do things like drop my kid off with friends at the last minute b/c I forgot about an appointment, let a friend come over and help me clean up because the task felt insurmountable, invite myself and my toddler over for a play date and gladly accept if a dinner invitation happened to follow. So even though I never really felt like I settled back in at our home in St. Louis, it was extra hard to leave this time around. It felt like much more than leaving a place and rather like leaving a version of myself in which I had grown comfortably reliant on others to remind me of who I am and where my limitations lie.
So now a task is before us–find community in this strange place. I’m already intimidated by the language barrier and the fact that our apartment is located in a part of town which which I am unfamiliar. But I am still relying on my husband and everyone at home to stay in touch, pray for us, and let me be sad and lonely sometimes.