It’s cold, raining, and we missed the first TWO buses…

I recently made a social media post expressing the challenges of the first few weeks of living abroad with the family and it got quite a few comments.  It seems like telling the truth about hardships in life, as uncommon as that may be, is something most people can identify with and even appreciate. Get ready, there’s a buttload of truth coming you way.

As many of us have realized, social media is generally a place where participants most often post only the brightest shiniest happiest easiest look-how-great-my-life-is moments.  We view other people’s BEST and most AMAZING achievements, vacations, yoga poses, (the list goes on and on) and we, unintentionally, begin to judge ourselves by the impossible standards they set.  We start to believe that their ENTIRE LIVES are exactly like their BEST moments. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, really, who wants to post an “unmade” face with blemishes and half dressed kids in the background having a tantrum on the dirty kitchen floor while dinner burns?  Try this: google struggling mom in kitchen with kids. All you get is Donna Reed-esque perfect families…

When the truth is…

My goal from the beginning of our adventure was to express the truth about our experiences to the best of my ability (without posting anything my kids would be too embarrassed by later); to be honest about the joys AND the challenges of the choices we’ve made.  In a nutshell, as Sheryl Crow said in a song that has stayed close to my heart for years, “No one said this would be easy. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard…”

I make one post on IG/FB each day with a picture and a short write up about the day – this is my own journal/photo documentation of our travels, as well as a way to “rank” the days.  Each day gets up-to-5 stars. I post for myself as well as those who have expressed an interest in following along with our travels It’s gratifying to interact with my loved ones who aren’t close by, to read comments of support, to answer questions about strange fruits and where we are and how we are managing things.

We’ve been in Ecuador for a little over 3 weeks and I can, with brutal honesty, say it’s been the hardest three weeks of my life. The kids are insane. We’ve had more tantrums and screaming fits and meltdowns in three weeks than we’ve had in the last 3 years.  We had to go back to NAP TIME in an effort to help with behavior – it’s like having toddlers again. Are they hungry? Are they tired? Check. Check. Feed them. Nap them. Cross your fingers…

 I’m overwhelmed with the isolation that goes along with not understanding the language of the land.  I’m struggling in Spanish school – the pace is so quick and I haven’t been able to memorize the MASSIVE vocabulary necessary to really start to feel successful.  

I’m over stimulated every single day with requests and needs and attempts to make sure the young one eats enough protein to keep his mind working in human mode instead of reverting to lizard brain.  

I’m NEVER alone – unless I hide in the bedroom for a nap.  

I’m always cold – unless I’m in the shower and boy you better believe I take some long ass showers.  

I’m the tallest woman on the bus, on the sidewalk, everywhere I go.  I look different than almost every other person besides my own family.  I stick out like a sore thumb. The people, while they are kind and helpful in times of need, stare at me – like I don’t belong…

I miss my friends and loves – I miss my friends and loves like I miss breathing when I’m under water.  There are a few that border on desperate missing – the kind where your belly aches and you aren’t sure you can make it another moment without them.  

Loves

Y’all, the list goes on and on.  It’s. Fucking. Hard.

And now for the BUT – y’all knew it was coming, didn’t you?

All that – that giant self indulgent pitiful Anne of Green Gables “depths of despair” talk and there’s now a HUGE

I’m so glad I’m here.  I’ve been practicing yoga for about 6 years now.  I’ve been through trainings that tested every piece of who I am, what I believe, the choices I’ve made – all those trials were for this year. K. Pattabhi Jois said “do your practice and all is coming.” I’ve been practicing for THIS MOMENT.

Yoga says you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Even if you don’t like it…

So, I can feel overwhelmed and sad and sullen and lost, but it doesn’t last forever.  In fact, it lasts mere seconds, if I come to my breath and find even a MOMENT of stillness.  Impermanence. Anicca. Change. NOTHING EVER STAYS THE SAME. Not even for one moment. We breathe in.  We breathe out. We wake. We sleep. The sun rises and it sets. We are born and we die. Again, the list goes on and on and on.  

I CAN do this.  I AM doing this.  I will make it through each day with gratitude for the gift of this journey.  I will settle into a warm bed each night with the knowledge that this year is a once in a lifetime experience.  I will still feel ALL the feels, but I will not allow my mind to grasp so tightly. It’s ok for me to feel pain and loneliness and even despair.  It’s ok for my children to struggle to adapt to a new culture and routine and this much togetherness. This, too, shall pass. Just breathe in, breathe out…  

This entire album is AMAZING. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.


  

Published by fishinyogini

Mother of 2. Fishin fanatic. Herp Lover. Yoga teacher. Traveling to South America for a year of adventure.

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4 Comments

  1. Dana, I love how raw and real you are in this and all of your posts. I’m still so excited about this adventure for your family. But I feel your words so hard. The reminder to breathe in and out & that living in the moment is important because moments pass by so quickly. Sending a big hug to you and the family. Love you guys!

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  2. I love you dearly and admire your brutal honesty, as well as your bravery in this journey. Sending y’all some major good energy and good juju.❤️

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  3. I love you. I remember meeting you at 14 and thinking, “oh the places she will go”! My brave one, I cherish you. ❤

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