How have you changed in the past two years?
This is such an interesting question, mostly because I feel like I’ve undergone a ton of changes in the past few years. Over the past two years, I’ve lived on two continents. A year and a half ago, J and I moved back to the United States after nearly 4 years spent living in Europe. The move back to the US was pretty hard on it, as I wasn’t overly excited about moving back just yet. We moved back for a few reasons, namely my father’s health (he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s while we were overseas, and it’s slowly progressed), so we wanted to be back in the States to spend time with our families while they were still around. Luckily we did move home, as J’s father suffered a massive heart attack, and a subsequent quadruple bypass surgery on his heart shortly after we got home. So…I’m convinced God works in mysterious ways, and while I wasn’t happy about returning back to the States, it truly was the best decision for us.
But, over the past two years (and even more over the past four years), I feel like I’ve changed tremendously. I’ve gone from living abroad in a very “J and I together against the world” experience, and moved home to more of a support system of family. I’ve had to adapt to being back in the States, which was very hard for me, as I was used to not having familial obligations to deal with. I’m a very independent person, and when I feel like I’m being forced into something, I tend to push back and resist it. I also really struggled with moving away from some of my very dear friends that I would see regularly, to a town where my American friends were no longer living. My BFF had since moved to Texas, another was in Ohio, and I felt like we’d moved back to a town where I knew practically no one, and didn’t fit into any longer. I missed the city where we lived, the traveling we used to do, and the friends that I’d see on the regular.
Over time, it’s gotten better. I can finally say I’ve truly gotten used to being back in the States. I love our house here, and our lives here, and I know that when the opportunity to move abroad again comes along, it’ll be a hard decision to leave all this. I’ve made new friends, rekindled old friendships, and strengthened the bonds with my friends that no longer live “next door.” Southwest Airlines has become a new BFF, and I’m able to see them more than I would have while we lived overseas, so it’s a good thing. Plus, I think my patience has only increased since moving home, since I’ve been forced to deal with some obligations that I wouldn’t have had to handle had we still lived overseas. It’s been a struggle, but it’s been incredibly strengthening. And, I’m so incredibly blessed to be near our families, in case anything were to happen. It’s so good to know that, God forbid something happen, we’re only a two-hour drive away, as opposed to nearly a full day of travel away. That’s a blessing, for sure!
In the past two years, I’ve grown so much (primarily emotionally). I’ve learned patience, found new faith, and gained acceptance and appreciation for a situation that wasn’t my “first choice.” It’s been hard, but worth it, and I’d like to think that I’ve come out on top of the situation. I miss our lives back in the NL, but our lives here are equally good, if not better. While I might lose sight of that occasionally, I always remember that, even though we gave up some things to move home, we’ve gained so much more.