April 18, 2016

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes...

... how do you measure, how long since I've blogged?
Sorry 'bout it.
It's been a.... well, it's been a minute.

Reader's Digest Catch Up:

- January -
Annual Trip to the coast, R&R, bliss.  Paid a wee bit more for a safari tent rather than bringing our own kit. The fan + beds + private hammock = Worth. It.

- February -
Longest. Month. Ever.
No, but really.  There were no national holidays or breaks of any sort the entire third quarter, so for the last two weeks of January and all four weeks of February, and into the first three weeks of March it was School.  More School. And More School.  All School.  All. The. Time. It was rough. We've built in a mid-term break for February next year. Because we all nearly lost our minds.
Also, we began packing our house up to prepare for a move to a new 'hood.
And we took our annual camping trip up and around Kilimanjaro to the Rongai Forrest, narrowly escaping death by Tanzania's Hottest Driest Season Ever. Or maybe that was the end of January... oh well.  What matters is: It. Was. Glorious.


- March -
We finalized our packing, and like the true crazy people we are, dedicated ourselves to loading up our car every day the entire week before spring break to take loads to the new house after school each day. There were fundis in and out, painting, fixing some electrical and plumbing, and we ended up eating take-away food every single night. #winning
We did the final push the first weekend before break and finished it all with the hopes and dreams and (again, crazy) aspirations of getting all unpacked and settled in by Tuesday so we could have an amazing and relaxing spring break.
We did take a day off to road-trip it to Arusha for some family time, and we spent a lot of time down by the river cooling off after days full of unpacking and cleaning in 95+ degree heat.
And of course Easter - the first time we've been able to do an outdoor egg hunt for O bear without dogs to destroy the eggs (though I did have to hide them just before the hunt for fear of the monkeys stealing them).


- Beyond the Pictures -
#thestruggleisreal my friends. Very real indeed. I'll be honest.  It's been rough. I'm ready for furlough.  I'm ready to stop. I'm ready for Calgon to take me away.

Since February/March of last year we decided to try to grow our family again. When nothing was happening for the first few months I got a little more serious about it, and as much as I hated to, I started tracking my cycles and temps and all that junk.  I hated it, but I felt like I kind of had to do it, to be armed with some sort of data we could take to a doctor (if we ever found one) about why we couldn't get pregnant.  I never had trouble getting pregnant previously, so we were baffled that with nearly an entire year of charting and timing and trying, nothing happened.
We finally saw an Australian OB in early February and he ordered some tests, but they all came back normal.  We left that appointment happy that everything was normal, but not so happy to not have any direction. We began considering another trip to South Africa for a fertility clinic, we talked about the ins and outs and the constant roller coaster of emotions (and hormones) that accompanied my period every month. It has been horrible.  Absolutely heartbreaking, frustrating and enough to drive me insane *on top of* living in a country with little-to-no specialized health services, without our 'people' to lean on, without enough internet strength to just Netflix binge on Gilmore Girls and without any Ben & Jerry's.  So we stopped.  We stopped trying, because of timing and also because of heartache and because I was just tired of it all. Plus, with the move happening and planning for our furlough and getting the school ready for us to be gone a bit early, things were nuts.  So I just stopped.

Don't get me wrong, we still want to grow our family. And we still find endless joy in our sweet little Obear and all the fun moments we have together. But this season has been hard. It's felt like the longest two years of my life.

I never thought I would say I was ready to go back for furlough, but I am. I thought two years would be fine, no big deal. And maybe it would have been.  Maybe if we'd been fully staffed at school last year, maybe if that miscarriage hadn't happened, maybe if we didn't struggle to conceive again, maybe if the power would just stay on, maybe if I could just magically learn Swahili, maybe if the car would just stop breaking, maybe if we could just be fully funded, maybe if... maybe if. But it hasn't been. It's been hard. And all that stuff on top of the already hard part of living in a (albeit amazing) developing country... there just aren't words.

Please don't take this as me complaining and whining. I love this life God has chosen for us and I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to live & serve in this beautiful country. Buuutt God also made furlough for a reason. And I'm ready.    :)

(but please, when you see me standing in the aisle at Target crying and rocking back and forth the fetal position, please don't remind me of how 'ready' I was and look at me with crazy eyes. Just pick a couple boxes of cereal out for me, pat me on the back and send me toward the checkout)

{And if you're wondering what in the world the big fuss is about living overseas, this is a great little bit about expat life by a fellow missionary and blogger, Rachel Pieh Jones. }