Radio Silent

I’ve been a bit radio silent lately.  I can’t say why for sure.  One day a few weeks ago, something just snapped inside me.  At the time, it probably wasn’t something good.  But looking back, it’s given me some time to do some much needed reflecting on my life and the direction it’s heading.

A few weeks ago I was feeling so incredibly alone here.  And lost.  And depressed.  I was not in a good place – at all.  It took all my energy to get out of bed.  I was snapping at everyone.  I was most definitely not a fun person to be around.  I cried – a lot.  And I kept telling myself that this too shall pass.  That I had been in a similar situation when we moved to Barcelona and while it took a bit longer there to get myself to a better place (about 3 months), I did it and learned to love Barcelona.

And so I knew that this stage, while it felt more intense than the first time it happened, would go away (and for the most part it has). But in the meantime, everything was irritating me, especially social media. Now I’m the first to admit, I’m a social media addict.  Facebook is the first thing I check after my email every morning and the last thing I look at before I go to bed at night.  But like I said, something snapped.  It wasn’t any one thing or any one person – just suddenly social media lost it’s appeal to me.

I didn’t want to be on it.  I didn’t want to use it only I found that it has more of a hold of me than I would like.  Everyone and their brother seems to use Facebook messenger.  Suddenly I had no choice but to log on in order to get the messages that were appearing.  And so I started to resort back to the “old fashioned” method of communicating – email.  I’m not sure when email became old fashioned but I’ve been trying to put forth more effort in using that time I had on Facebook for actually communicating with people in a “normal” way.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been on Facebook at all, just not to the extent I was on it before –  not even close.  And it’s made me realize just how much social media has controlled my life in a sense.  In a way it’s a relief to no longer have that “burden”.  Maybe some of that time I was using can go towards that work I was saying I don’t seem to have enough time for lately.  And I’m finding that social media is losing it’s importance to me.  Those that want to be in touch with me know how they can reach me – they have my phone number and my email.  We whatsapp, we email and we talk on the phone.  I need that.  What I have loved about Facebook, I have started to resent – I love that I can go on and see what everyone is up to but at the same time, I feel as though I have lost the ability to communicate with all my friends the way we used to, making me feel at the same time, disconnected.

And it doesn’t mean that I don’t see all the positives that go along with social media.  You wouldn’t be reading this entry if it weren’t for it’s existence.  I get it and I utilize it.  But for now, I need to focus on the here and now.  I need to focus on my kids and their struggles in a new country, a new school and new friends.  I need to focus on helping Josh with his recovery.  And I need to focus on my adjustment here as well.

So if you don’t hear from me for a little while, you know how to reach me… I’m not ignoring you, just reshifting my focus away from social media for the time being in order to redirect my attention towards the things, like work, and people that need me now, including myself.

Besos,
Julie

And Then Along Came Saturday…

It started off well enough.  The kids were up earlier than I liked for a Saturday (we need to close their curtains at night – total fail on our part) but everyone was in a pretty good mood.  The weather was nice and I went for a nice long run and was feeling like I could take on the world.  I wanted to spend some time with just Aidan (he doesn’t get nearly enough one on one time) and knew he needed some stuff for his bike so asked him to go for a bike ride with me to get it.

It all started to fall apart at that moment.  You see, none of the Dutch kids here wear bike helmets. That’s a whole separate entry just on biking and helmets.  But Aidan, at 10 years old, is at that age where he notices this stuff and gets upset when he’s “different” than the others.  I say, it’s safe.  Helmet rule is not being changed any time soon.  Sorry my friend.  He didn’t take it well.

Commence tantrum.  Epic tantrum.  As we were riding bikes.  F-bombs being thrown from left to right, up and down.  Yes, he was.  He’s a rather “vocal” child sometimes.  And not Continue reading

Touchdown (and Breakdown) in Amsterdam!

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, Continue reading

Adding Insult to Injury

There is no way to truly describe our last 9 months in Barcelona.  Trying.  Frustrating.  Depressing. Scary.  Difficult.  Broken.  I could go on and on.  In the end, it was probably some of the most difficult months of our lives.  Living lives in 2 different countries with no idea of what our future held.  It’s a scary prospect when you don’t know where you are going to be in a matter of months and how to prepare for the unknown when really, you can’t prepare.

But to add insult to injury over the last 9 months, we’ve had everything that can go wrong has gone wrong.  Now don’t get me wrong (ok too many uses of that word in 2 sentences), I totally understand that these are first world problems.  But that doesn’t make them any less frustrating when we were already going thru an emotional rollercoaster.  But to just name a few things: Continue reading

On a More Positive Note…

My last post was negative. No getting around it. We all have bad days (weeks, months, etc).  It doesn’t matter where you live whether your home country or abroad.  Bad days happen.  But those days are just there to make us appreciate the good ones.
Like my other posts, I find this one cathartic.  Even more so than some of the others because it’s at this time of uncertainty where I need to remind myself of all the once in a lifetime, amazing things we have experienced over the last 4+ years.  Sure those experiences came at a price but I don’t for a moment have regrets on us having taken this journey.

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The View from the Other Side

Often times I feel like my life looks pretty glamorous, at least from the outside looking in.  I have posted countless entries on all the wonderful places we have visited and fun things we have done in the last few years.  All things that we would not have been able to do had we stayed in the US.  And yes, they have been pretty amazing.  I’ve also posted some things about how tough it can be sometimes too – though it’s usually something that is happening at a given moment, moments that pass. Continue reading

Learning About Loss

There are times when I debate whether a moment in our lives here is appropriate to share with the world.  The lines of blogging can be a bit blurred.  Some things can be just a little too personal and at the same time, these are the moments that mold us into the people we will become – whether good or bad.  And in this journey of ex-pat life, so many events have impacted our lives.  Loss is one of them and has come in several forms.
We all suffer from loss through out our lives in different ways.  Loss of a home (or country).  Loss of identity (common for expats), loss of friendships and more.  But worst of all is the loss of a life. It’s a painful lesson that everyone learns – no one is exempt no matter where you live or who you know.

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Getting Out of My Own Way

I had a meltdown last night.  It wasn’t pretty – yelling, tears, the works.  The last few months have been beyond overwhelming here and I hit my breaking point.  What pushed me over the edge?  Yesterday’s reason was work and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back during an already stressing week. And believe me, I’m not complaining that I have work to do – I’m thrilled actually to be so busy.  But today it just pushed me a little too far on top of everything else I have on my plate and I couldn’t take one more thing and so as a result I broke down. Continue reading

Resenting the Resentment

Josh is the hardest worker I know.  His work ethic is one that I’ve always idealized and have been so proud of.  Whenever I think I’m having a long work day, I think to him and realize that he’s likely accomplished 500 more tasks than I have plus juggled about 50 meetings and yet still has had time to respond to frivolous messages that I send to him.  Not only that, he’s a brilliant man.  A problem solver. An innovator.  And a team player. And so it came as no surprise to me when he was asked to become the interim CTO of Albumprinter. If anything, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Continue reading

Learning to Go with the Flow (Or as Josh Says – Focusing on the Right Box)

Josh is always telling me to “Focus on the right box” – it’s one of his favorite things to say – I think “7 Highly Effective Habits” might be his favorite book of all time.  I admit, I do have a habit of stressing out about things that are out of my control.  Take our current situation.  There are so many unknowns. We know it’s unlikely we are staying in Barcelona beyond the end of this school year but there is always a possibility that it could happen, just one more year.  If this job works out for Josh beyond an interim position, would we still be going home in July?  Would we move to Amsterdam?  Or would the kids and I stay in Barcelona and Josh commutes?  And then the next question – what do we want?  For me, at least, my wants change weekly, daily in fact. Continue reading