Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reality sinks in quickly

I’d like to say that my first week and a half in El Salvador has been blissful and without stress… that a return to standardized married life has gone without a hitch… that I am comfortable and integrating seamlessly, but unfortunately that’s just not reality.

Every other time I’ve been here there has been a definite return date. I had the security of two jobs I enjoyed, a reliable car and a tiny, yet comfortable apartment. We had a routine. There was stability and familiarity and I was secure. Now I’ve quit my jobs, moved out of my apartment and have all but sold the car. I have nothing to go back to if this fails, and that terrifies me.

I had my first taste of the reality of family decision making as well. I’d bought a car and Mi Amor was financing a truck. The thought behind two vehicles, beyond giving me some much desired independence, was so I could work. Well, work has been put off for at least a few months because of some upcoming festivals, and we were met with an offer: if we gave back the new truck and sold my car at a profit, we could buy another truck (not new, but in great condition) and only owe $1000… bringing the car payments down $100/mo and owning the truck free and clear in a handful of months. Unfortunately, it made too much economic sense to keep my car, but that decision makes me feel trapped.

It’s crazy though. I mean, where would I go? In all actuality, that car would very likely be sitting there unused, but it was still some security for me.

To say I feel isolated already would be an understatement. I am trying to get going with my Spanish, but the language barrier paired with the fact that the only people I know are family members is already causing a bit of frustration. I have never felt so dependent on someone else and as much as Mi Amor loves me, he doesn’t quite get how difficult that is for me sometimes.

Then there’s the whole problem with the two of us adjusting to coupled life again… remembering to take someone else into consideration when you’re not used to having to do so can be a bit of a bugger too.

My main problem, and I’m guessing at this, is that I had this idea of what an amazing reunion we’d have, and life got in the way. I should have known it would be a struggle from the start… letting go of my life in the US was too easy. It should have been much more stressful. Evidently, the stress is just coming into play now.

On a few positive notes, the business is doing really, really well. I’m enjoying the novelty of water reservoirs, having little to no water pressure during the day, relatively chilly military-style showers and cheap cell phones. The oppressive heat and the mosquitoes, I could handle less of, but that’s another post all together.

La Hija loves having her daddy around as well, but is having some adjustment issues too. She’s over the language thing and is soaking up Spanish like a sponge. She does, however, miss her friends and family very much and asks to see them constantly.

As of right now, I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to be positive. I mean, come on. I’ve only been here for 10 days!!


Steve Cotton said...

Some times, we simply have to redefine success. You are in my prayers.

Live Simply Love Strongly said...

Be kind to yourself. Remember the task at hand is probably one of the most difficult you have ever faced. Building a new life for your family will take much time and effort. You CAN do this, and you WILL! Let go of the expectations you had about what you thought it would be like, so that you can embrace the reality and find some good in it. Is there a small achievable goal you can set today? Don't forget to give yourself credit for all your small successes. You are there! You have already done so much!

Anonymous said...

Um, why we got to be in cognito? Very Sincerely, The Trapper

aighmeigh said...

Steve, you are very right, and thank you.

LS, that's some wonderful advice and I will take it to heart. Expectation so often leads to disappointment, and that's not what I'm shooting for.

Trapper, not sure if I know what you mean... you can sign up for a blogger account and not be anonymous if you want! :)

chicadedios25 said...

Hey Hon,

I am sorry to hear you aren't adjusting like you thought you would.

Give it some time. Patience can change alot of things.

Hopefully you will get into the groove of daily life there soon.

You will be in my prayers.

You Know Me said...

I will offer no advice, as free advice is almost always worth exactly what you pay for it.

I can tell you, though, that I left the USA with two suitcases, a laptop case, and a day pack, and moved to a city in Mexico which I had never even visited. Nine months later, it being too hot for me where Ii was living, I relocated to a city up in the mountains with a more suitable climate.

I have approached the move as a grand adventure, taken the process of relocating one step at a time, always been mindful that I am an interloper, and always have endeavored to remain patient as I learn a new language and the ways and means of another country.

Relative to shopping, applications for visas, and other such things I preface my remarks by apologizing for the fact I don't speak Spanish well. The response is always "no te preocupes.

I also try to live by what the Beatles sang: "And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Saludos y feliz ano nuevo. Cuidate.

aighmeigh said...

Chica, thanks so much for your comforting words... I appreciate them.

YKM, I certainly need to start looking at this as an adventure, rather than... a task? a challenge? Whatever it is I'm doing, I need to rework it in my head! :)

La Gringa said...

You are there! If it is any comfort, the first couple of weeks were definitely the most stressful for me. We had to do so many things regarding residency, importing our dogs, cars, and other things, getting drivers licenses and license plates, opening a bank account, and I'm sure other things that I've forgotten. Nothing was easy and most of it didn't even make sense.

The dependency issue is something that I sometimes warn women to expect. Did I mention it to you? It was something completely new to me but not necessarily a bad thing and it is kind of the Latino way.

You sound good! Yes, it is a challenge. Of course it is, but you'll get through it. Remember that the important thing is that you are all together again.

PS: No mail yet! I imagine that if anyone tries to steal it, they'll be mightily disappointed. ;-)

It is I said...

Reading this blog brought me back to when I landed in Honduras. We (my husband and I) had been apart 7 months, when I got there. So I was used to being alone with the kids, and he was used to what I call the single life. Where he forgot he had a wife and children. And it took us a long time to get back on track. That was one of our major issues that we had to work through. Hopefully after this 4 month seperation while I am in the US, I hope that when I go back we wont have to go through the whole adjusting to one another again. (Especially since I left him with 4 of the kids, LOL)


aighmeigh said...

LG, the paperwork stress will be coming in the fall for us... right now we're doing the tourist visa thing. Evidently, we have to clear some things up with La Hija's birth certificate in the US, and get the proper paperwork to get married civilly here... and THEN we'll have the fun of dealing with getting resident visas! Of course, my hope is that I'll be working sooner rather than later and that they'll take care of that for me before all that other stuff goes down... that's a whole other headache! :)

The dependency thing is another story... I really detest it, so it's a great character builder. I spent 2 years living as a single mom, doing what I needed to do when I needed to do it and not living by anyone else's schedule other than La Hija's. This is definitely the hardest part for me... especially since Mi Amor is often working more than he is at home.

I'm bummed that your mail hasn't arrived yet... I will have to see if I can track down the form for any kinds tracking info. :\

Jennifer, I'm glad to know that it's not just us. It's such an odd experience, reuniting after such a long separation, and I knew getting back in the groove wouldn't be instantaneous... I just idealized it a bit more than I should have. It is comforting to know we are not alone in this!

Kathleen said...

I've been in shoes similar to yours. Kind of rocky times, but things will get better. Life is just different in other cultures. Now you know how it can be, both the good and the bad. It will happen again from time to time, but it won't be such a surprise next time.

aighmeigh said...

Kathleen, I'm very glad things have smoothed out at present, but it's good to know that I'll go through phases! It's so nice to hear from people who have been through this before... although it doesn't make the difficult parts any easier, it feels good to have the tools to prepare :)

Honduras Sprout said...

Wow! You made it. I'm behind on reading. You know...babies do that. lol.
I am so glad you made it and have been so honest with how you are adjusting. Somehow I have been afraid to keep it real in my blog sometimes.

This is the part I feel like I relate to so well when you said:

"I spent 2 years living as a single mom, doing what I needed to do when I needed to do it and not living by anyone else's schedule other than La Hija's".

I am still adjusting to this and it has been so challenging. Even more so now with not having a car and with the little one now.

Fortunately, I have found some great support through my church full of expats. Just went and had a movie night with a friend last night and it was so needed. I think being independent women, we need to feel that we still have some control.

The other thing that was hard to figure out how to make myself feel better, especially when you have a husband that isn't necessarily getting it. Suddenly I couldn't find a way to soothe my mind. And you mentioned about having the security of going back to something. It is a big leap to move. Huge.

I hope the transition does smooth out. I am only just starting to read up on what's been going on...

aighmeigh said...

Mama Sprout, the thing that I want to do the most upon my return is get involved with some groups with some English speakers. I need to meet some people so I can go out for a girls lunch. It would do wonders for my mind.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write with all that's going on with your beautiful new addition :)