We decided that this summer we’ll take a four weeks’ vacation to California!
I hereby declare the planning stage to have begun 🤔
I knew it the second my precious and I entered the room on baby’s first day at preschool. I knew that there was going to be trouble. In the little cozy preschool room, 80 pct. of baby’s future little friends had runny noses that needed to be wiped off. I even wiped off a few, while I was thinking that these kids needed to stay home and not pass over their germs to others. On day two of our short 30 minute visit, the kids with the runny noses were still there, happily trolling around, and I felt a pang of positivity. Maybe they weren’t sick, maybe they were the kind of kids that have runny noses throughout their childhood, not entailing any contagious diseases? Or maybe Danish kids just have runny noses through fall and winter, not entailing any need for sick days? I was optimistic. On day four of another short visit to baby’s preschool, I suddenly felt extremely cold on the way home. So cold that I bought wool socks for the whole family and wool pants and slippers for baby. I was shivering outside, I was shivering inside our apartment. I was almost panicking: If this was how the cold felt in early October, how would December feel? The cold that I felt was a warning. On the night of day four, baby had a fever and a runny nose, whereas I started throwing up, which continued all night even when I didn’t have anything left in my body to throw up. I felt I time travelled back to the nights where baby’s siblings were the same age, as I alternated nursing with handing my feverish baby over to his dad, while I ran outside the bedroom to throw up in a plastic bag.
When I called the preschool the next day to let them know, we weren’t going to make it that day, they let us know that those two viruses were indeed going around the house. Is this how fall and winter time are going to play out for us, again? Well, if that’s the case, I guess I’m going to have to look for daycare programs with only one or two other kids to minimize our exposure to germs instead of the otherwise perfect preschool we managed to find. Sigh.
Me: “If I were on vacation, I would probably be super excited about how beautiful, cozy, and cool Copenhagen is with its outdoor dining cafes, trendy clothing stores, parks, canals, bridges, and biking community. Instead, I feel nothing. I don’t feel like a tourist, and I don’t feel like a local, what I do feel is a sense of not belonging and not really being here, like an out-of-body experience”
My 8-year-old: “Mom, I think I’ve got to take a break from thinking about my American friends all the time. I should think about my new friends”
Me: “I belong in our San Francisco life and I’m exhausted being away from home for three months; I need to go home now”
My husband: “Sometimes on my bike on the way home from work, it hits me: What the hell am I doing in this life, I don’t belong here”
Me: “What if nothing will ever feel like home again”? (Aka the expat curse)
My 12-year-old: “I like my new friends, but I feel I don’t belong with them. I belong with my American friends in our American life”
My 12-year-old: “It makes me feel comfortable speaking English with my friends, I don’t like the way Danish sounds, it sounds harder”
Me: “I can see us taking a second dig at expat life in the U.S.” to which my husband replied: “I’m working on ideas on how to get us back to the U.S. in a few years” followed by a collective huge sigh of relief
My 8-year-old, fifty times this week: “Mom, look, I found the costume I want to wear for Halloween” (vampire chearleader/voodoo doll/ghost bride — all costumes that we’ll never find in Denmark a few days before Halloween, when she finally makes up her mind)
I just realized how many different ways we use technology to reconnect with our American friends!
Tonight, one kid FaceTimed her friend while playing and chatting on Minecraft with her friend and two other friends, another kid played PlayStation while chatting with several friends through his headset, and I was on a phone call with a friend using WI-FI.
The kids also connect with their friends through Google Hangouts, Gmail, Animal Jam, and Musical.ly. I also use text on WI-FI, Skype, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and FaceTime.
So I guess we ended up enjoying Labor Day too here in Denmark! Despite the nine-hour time difference and being a weekday, we all got to hang out with our American friends, who had just woken up on their day off, when the kids got home from school.
Tonight we definitely feel less homesick, I freaking love technology!