I should have seen it coming, and yet I didn’t. Almost a year of extreme emotions and yet somehow I thought we would land in Amsterdam and we would start our new lives like it was no big deal. I obviously haven’t learned from our previous experience of moving to Barcelona.
But that’s just it, I thought I had learned. When we arrived in Barcelona a little less than 5 years ago, it was hard, but I don’t remember having a meltdown on my FIRST DAY. I feel like it was at least a few days in before those feelings of desperation and loneliness set in. Of feeling completely helpless in a new place where you know no one, where everything is unfamiliar.
Sadly, I’m pretty sure I know what set this meltdown off. And I’m embarrassed by it because I’m tough enough to handle these situations by now and this should not have been a trigger, but it was. A few days before we arrived in Amsterdam, Josh told me he would be going to work on Monday, the day after we arrived. My understanding was that he was going to be home on Monday and help me get the kids ready for school and help me to get situated, find the grocery store, that kind of thing. But no, he was going to be going to work and I was on my own, on the first full day. And for some reason (I suppose an understandable reason), that was completely freaking me out. I was already angry of my impending situation and I wasn’t even there yet.
And yet, when the kids and I were flying here overnight Saturday/Sunday, I was in complete control. Ready to face the world. Ready for our new adventure in yet another unfamiliar place but yet excited at the prospects of what was to come. While I was disappointed that we weren’t moving back to the States as we had initially planned, I was also doing my best to fully embrace this new opportunity for us to once again live a life less ordinary.
We got off the plane and I just wanted to get there. To get started. I was actually feeling pretty good overall. I knew we had a lot to do and very little time to do it in since the kids started school the next day. It was raining, it should have been a sign. As I write this, one week later, today is the first day where it hasn’t rained the majority of the day. That’s for another entry. We found a taxi and headed towards “home”. The three of us were a little ambivalent, which was understandable, but also relieved to finally, after all these months, to be “there”.
We had been to the house before so we had an idea of what to expect. I had told Josh to only unpack the kitchen and the bedding – that’s it. Another set back there that threw me over the edge. It was stupid but it was a trigger. And to this day, I feel terrible because I know that he was trying his best and all I could do was tell him it was all wrong. How horrible is that? He was getting up at 6AM the past 2 days to try to unpack for us and all I could tell him was that it was wrong. I’m a bitch and I feel ashamed of the way I acted. He was so well meaning and I trashed it all and not in a nice way either.
But the damage was done at that moment. I hated it. I hated it here. I hated the house. With a passion. I hated everything about what was going on. And I began to cry. Not just a little crying but hysterical sobbing like someone I know had been murdered kind of crying. I couldn’t control it and I couldn’t stop. Every time Josh would approach me, I would lash out at him in intense anger that I could not control – I hated him too. After all, if it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be here. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s how I felt at that given moment.
Maybe it was the emotions of the last year finally coming out. I had had a small breakdown here and there over the last (almost) year but this was the first time I was finally grieving for the loss of my opportunity to return back to the US, for us leaving Barcelona, for how sad I had been for the last year and for so much more. It was also because I knew what was ahead – that moving to a new country is no easy feat and not for the weak of heart or mind. And I knew that day 1 was going to be a full on immersion into my new home country. In a nutshell, I was scared.
And I was overwhelmed. Again, for some reason I didn’t anticipate this despite having gone through it before. Perhaps it was because I had been through it before that I thought it would be easier only to find that in fact, it wasn’t.
In the end, it was a variety of factors that contributed this unbelievable breakdown. It wasn’t pretty but I’d like to think it’s all a part of the transitional progress when moving to another country. Given this is only my second time moving to another country, I don’t have a routine or expectations surrounding the process and maybe that is what caught me off guard, thinking that since I did it once, it would be easier this time around.
I should note that the kids did fabulous – a thousand times better than me. It was raining so they didn’t get to be outside at all but they were excited with the unpacking process and were concerned when they saw me totally meltdown. I’m sure it wasn’t a good example for them to see – so much for keeping those emotions to myself in order to help them transition. But they just focused on finding their things and getting themselves settled.
The good news is I’m feeling better. It’s been a week now but I’ve got a few other post to put up before I give my update on how the week went in a nutshell but know that we are here, we are doing ok, and while there is worse to come as far as entries go, we are getting settled with some bumps along the way, but we’re getting there…