Is it really true? Could I fiiiiiiinally be updating the blog after all this time? Yes, it's really happening, so quit pinching yourself and read up.
So what took me so long?
Well, for starters, I had to relocate my whole family. Give that a try sometime. Seriously, I'm stunned that we made it through all of the things that we had to go through to get to this point. You don't realize just how many little things you've got to do to simply START getting settled. I won't bore you with the minutia of that, at least not now though that might be a useful and informative post for some of my readers so I might just put that on the docket to do later. I had to take care of EVERYTHING because I was the US citizen bringing my immigrant husband over. Now that we're more set up,things are getting easier.
So what's been happening?
Jeremy got a job right away, lucky for us. And we got Raelynn into the VPK we wanted. Thanks to the insane cost of daycare though, I'm relegated to being a stay-at-home freelance writer, mommy, chauffeur, chef, seamstress, police officer, shopper, coupon clipper, maid and homemaker. That's an awful lot to put on my LinkedIn profile, so I usually stick to freelance writer. It's really different but much more enjoyable than I ever thought possible. One day, my kids will be grown and I can get back out into the rat race. Until then, I'll save us money by making whatever I can and not having it go directly to paying daycare fees.
Now, I'd like to answer the most common questions I get asked now that I am back:
1) How does Jeremy like America?
Sadly, while I'd hoped to make a sister blog to this blog (and much thanks to my friend Erin and her husband, Will, for their incredibly clever suggestion of "Return of the Broad (and her brood abroad)") I just don't have enough time to devote to writing something that I'm not getting paid to do. So I'll just be keeping this blog and hopefully updating it more often. Anyway, to answer, Jeremy loves it here. He loves how clean and peaceful it is. He loves the choices and freedoms and he's happy every day because he loves it here. He enjoys his job too.
2) How about Raelynn and Seoul? Do they like it?
Well, duh! My kids adore it here as much as Jeremy does. Quite honestly, it's awesome to watch the 3 of them experience things for the first time here. Like going to a fair at the park or celebrating Halloween. Seoul is a pretty happy baby so she seems to like everything (except when she meets her hero, a bird, in person and then flips out...). Raelynn is old enough to understand what's happened and thus seems to really enjoy the new things she encounters. When we first got to the US, I took Raelynn to the bathroom at a bank. As I'm helping her, she says, "Mommy, I love American bathrooms." I couldn't stop laughing, yet I agreed completely. You have no idea how refreshing toilets with real stalls and sinks with real soap are unless you've spent time living in China. NO IDEA.
3) What did you miss the most?
Aside from family and friends, I missed the freedoms most people here take for granted every day. I missed all the choices. The fresh, clean air. I even missed Florida itself, especially the nature and wildlife that just randomly passes by you each day. In Sanford, we always see cranes walking around the medians on the roads or in parking lots and it really takes my breath away. Of course, I also really missed the food here, which became too obvious after about a month of making up for lost time. Now I'm attending to that by hitting the gym 4 days a week.
4) Is there anything that's very different to you?
Oh yes. Like, everything. Everyone uses a smartphone for everything, and I'm no exception to that now. When I want or need to really write something though, I have to use my laptop because typing on such a small surface (plus autocorrect which likes to inject its' own zest here and there) drives me mad. Also, ATMs are so much more modern. And chip technology on your cards! I am always swiping when I should be inserting and vice versa. Prices. Things have gone up a bit since I was home last, except for gas. I couldn't believe how expensive IHOP was. I remember when a big breakfast with pancakes was $4.50. Now it's like $8. For IHOP! Jesus!
5) What's a typical day like for you now?
It's such a change from my old teaching job, which I do miss. But I'm much happier back in America and holding my many job titles mentioned above. We have only one car at this point so I'm in charge of driving everyone around. Jeremy's job is very close to our home, as is Raelynn's school, so it's not too annoying. We drop Jeremy off at work before 9am and then Seoul and I take Raelynn to school. If we have errands to run (post office, bank, supermarket or some place else) I usually get those done right after we drop her off. Seoul's a perfect companion most days. I've tried taking both girls in the afternoon and Raelynn gets upset about stuff I won't buy her at the supermarket, screaming and crying until I wish that a sinkhole would swallow me whole. I do a lot of coupon clipping as well as seek out rebates on my phone through various rebate apps, so some days, like today, I'll go to 2 different stores to get the groceries I need. If I'm not out stocking our pantry or handling our affairs, then I work on chores around the house and the best part, play with Seoul. We go get Raelynn around noon and then I fix us lunch. I put Seoul down for a nap after lunch, and when I'm done with that, I sit down with Raelynn to help her with her homework. Once she's busy with that, if I have any freelance projects, I get busy on those while Seoul sleeps and my writing juices are running. Once Seoul wakes up, I'll read to her and Raelynn. We'll also eat fruit or some kind of snack. Then when they're busy playing, I start getting dinner organized. Some nights, I make sure it is completely ready before we pick up Jeremy so that I can dash off to the gym once I get everyone home. Other nights, we eat together as a family. I bathe the kids and Jeremy cleans up the kitchen and the dishes. We have story time and most nights, Jeremy will call his parents on the video messenger on qq (a Chinese app, much like Skype meets Facebook). After that, I get Seoul to bed and Jeremy makes sure Raelynn gets ready for bed. Once Seoul's asleep, Raelynn will be waiting for me to come kiss her goodnight. Then Jeremy and I enjoy some time alone together without the kids interrupting our conversations. We talk about our days and watch TV. Sometimes we enjoy some wine and cheese, a perfect ending.
6) Does Jeremy miss his parents?
Of course he does! He worries a lot too because unfortunately, soon after we arrived in America, his father's health problems were becoming more of an issue. He was at high risk for a stroke and I told him he needed to change his diet and take blood thinners but he didn't listen. He wound up in the hospital again for about 2 weeks. He's doing much better now, but every time Jeremy calls them and they don't answer, he thinks the worst.
7) Do YOU miss his parents?
And this of course would be the most popular question. The one thing everyone wants to know. So? No, I don't miss them but since we've come here, I like them more. Much as I suspected. MIL's voice annoys me much less coming through the qq app. I made peace with MIL right before we moved too. Maybe it was all the baijiu I'd drank at a dinner his relatives took us all to the weekend we moved. Or maybe I finally realized she wasn't going to impede us from leaving. But it felt good to leave with a clean slate. You might think we wish we had her to watch the kids so I could take an office job too, but no. If they were here, I'd be even busier than I am now. Which is insane to imagine, tbh.
I am going to try to be more on top of this blog so I can tell you all about our first Halloween in the US, what it's like to make an international move with 2 small children (spoiler alert: it sucks but the end result is worth it), and much much more.