Life is made of busyness, joy and sadness. We are always in the midst of one or the other or some combination of the three.
We have been in Korea for six months now. During that time one of the initial stages of emotion is excitement to live in a new place, learn a new language, see new things, meet new people, learn new ways of doing things. [Last post was a rave abut the new school, titled, "What is so great abut GSIS?] But that fades as you deal with the chores of life: working, shopping, cleaning up.
Next you begin to feel the loss. Life is hard in a new place. Ingredients for your favorite food are not all available at the grocery store. The grocery store smell strongly of fish - which you can tolerate but do not enjoy. TV is mostly in Korean (of course). The language is interesting but you can only speak a few words and cannot talk in conversation. Ordering in restaurants is tedious and sometimes unsuccessful. People are kind but you question whether you can really be a friend with someone from a different culture because you think differently and have different values.
There are future stages, but we are in stage 2 now. Sensitive Kylie is mourning her friends from Toledo: Megan, Ellie, Jenny, Abby. She also misses the animals she loved so much like Tsehi, Tazarmina, Sally and others. When she comes home the house has 3 gerbils but they do not provide companionship like a cat or dog and they are definitely not animals you can pet and sleep with and snuggle. Kylie misses climbing trees, walking in the woods, playing in Salmon Creek, being outside.
Amy misses her friends like Lauren, Sarah, Sally, Grace, Lilly but she is also making friends. She does miss her cat, Sally, and especially having the time to sit and dream. Although in Toledo, Amy dreamed of one day living in an apartment, she now says that she never realized how nice life was in Toledo. In Toledo she had a big yard to play in, she had her own animals, she could bike to friends houses.
Beth misses time to visit with friends and play with her kids. She is so busy as a teacher that there is barely time to make meals so we choose to eat out. She is making friends but misses some wonderful ladies in Toledo, like Becky Oullette, Sean Brown, Terri van Vleck, Becky MacElhaney, Sue Martin, Lin Grey. She also misses her companion Tsehi, who used to follow her everywhere and always be ready for a pet or a snuggle and ecstatic each time Beth returned home from, well, from anywhere! We learned Tsehi ran away from her new home because for her the transition was also very difficult.
When you are in a season of mourning everything else pales in significance. You have a big grief in your lap and you feel so sad. Well intentioned friends deliver "words of comfort" or instructions on how to feel better, but it is un-comfort-able. You are legitimately sad and just need to be loved while you go through it. Don't give us assurance or advice; just bring a cup of coffee and sit with us. Give a hug, listen and let us talk. We want to be heard; valued; accepted; loved.