I’m still grasping at that mirage of ideas called routine. We’ve been home nearly a month, and I’m swinging from thing to thing, but not really “in the swing of things.” I have mini routines: like getting up, and plunking Cy on the bathroom counter and entertaining him with one toothbrush while I brush my teeth with the other, changing his diaper while he plays with his blocks, changing my clothes while I distract him with my makeup bag, then balancing him up on my hip as I wash dishes, make coffee, and snag a bowl of muesli. But I’m missing the over-arching structure. I never know when I can write these posts, for example. Tonight, I’m writing it after everyone is asleep. I’m imagining what I would tell you if we were chatting over coffee, but after a hot, hectic day and getting Cy down for the night, I’m also thinking longingly of bed.
I have a lot of day dreams. Being home with a child gives you a lot of time to think, even though there’s not a lot of time to do (anything not related to taking care of said child). Before I went to the U.S., I spent that time feeling homesick, mostly tired of the heat and mosquitos here, worried about the political situation, and missing family and friends. While there, I took advantage of every possible minute of California sunshine and cool nights, ate my weight in peaches and berries, luxuriated in the company of friends, and thought about what it would be like to be back home more permanently.
When we came back, though, I knew there were so many reasons to stay here in Thailand for quite a good deal longer. The homesickness faded, and what I was left with was a real intense need to reinvest in our life here. Though there’s no guarantee we can ever stay for longer than a year at a time (What if they don’t renew T’s visa for some reason? What if something happens to his job?), we have to push those questions aside and make roots somehow. We make contingency plans all the time, and save money for just such possibilities, but now we’re making different choices. Instead of continuing to put up with the cheap, sure-to-break-within-two-years couch, we’ll buy the well-made one meant to last. Instead of paying rent, we want that money to be towards a mortgage. We no longer want a home, we want our home.
Instead of always relying on take-out, I’m cooking and baking more again.
And I’m making a bigger effort to make more Thai friends. It’s so easy to make acquaintances. It’s so hard to find friends, especially when you’re home most of the day. Almost all my friends are at SOLD in Chiang Rai. Since I’m on hiatus, I hardly ever see them, and it’s so much more clear to me how few friends I have here in Chiang Mai. So I’m trying to change that. Becoming a hermit is easy, but what’s the point of living here if I don’t make a life here?
Every day, I go through our house and make little changes. Clean this spot here, re-organize that spot there, re-envision a new way to set things up, no longer putting up with the minor annoyances.
I plunked Cy on my vanity one afternoon and stared at myself in the mirror as he played with the items collected there. After losing much of my hair post-childbirth, some new hair growth had been coming in around my hairline, but it was coming in so slowly, and was so unkempt and unruly, it always made my hair look like a mess. I was so sick of seeing it, fighting with it, hating it, that I grabbed scissors (not even proper hair cutting scissors–I know, the horror!) and whacked it off, leaving a short but at least moderately even fringe.
I figured it might be one of the crazier things I’ve ever done, but I could always pin it back if it really didn’t work it. Turns out, I kind of like it.
I’m itching, but I’ve got a plan, and every day a little more falls into place. And in the meantime, there’s chai spiced scones.
Thing I Love About Cy Today: Honestly? So much! He is getting to be so much fun. Ten month old babies are awesome. He makes funny faces, engages in more interactive play, can entertain himself for long stretches, and is starting to show even more personality. He’s generally more chill, babbles constantly, is addicted to books, and becomes quite the comedian when bath time rolls around. When he’s in water, he’s got us in stitches. Here’s his Jack Nicholson impression:
Photo by Toby Keller
That’s his “I’m having so much fun I can’t contain myself” grin, I swear.