Life is moving very, very quickly for our family right now.
After flying out of Chengdu, Zachary and I were staying at my Mom & Dad's house in Florida. We had a ton of fun, and let me just say - we NEEDED that down time. It easily took one week for me to not feel so very ill (respiratory issues, etc.) from China's pollution, two weeks before I had some of my energy back (the pollution wears down your lungs and system, which makes you have no energy at all), three weeks before I felt like I was almost human again, and four weeks before I could have faced something like the move that I just went through.
While we were in Florida, we did a lot of Florida-ey things, of course...
And then, miracle of miracles, one evening we even got to see baby sea turtles emerge from their sandy nests on the beach and flap/scoop their way down to the water on their little brand-new-sea-turtle flippers.
Off and on, I've lived my whole life in Florida, and have still never had the privilege of seeing baby sea turtles hatching and going down to the water before. I've seen adult lady sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand, but never the babies hatching. It was a neat experience, and one that I wish James and Matthew could have shared. Alas, they were (and still are) both back in Chengdu, and they missed it.
Speaking of life back in Chengdu...
To say that it's been super crazy for James is an UNDERSTATEMENT. He went from basically zero to a thousand miles per hour (as it relates to leaving Chengdu and going to a new post) almost overnight. The stuff that most FS people have a YEAR to arrange and worry about he's had, you know, a week or two to do. Such as getting his orders, getting his orders fixed, getting his other orders (or whatever - it feels like there are about eleven billion sets of orders), worrying about paperwork for me going SMA, arranging packout, arranging the changes to packout, wrapping up things at work, wrapping up more things at work, writing an interim EER (you think normal EER season sucks? How about writing an interim EER IN ONE DAY?) for himself, filling out housing stuff for Tokyo, worrying about what needs to be done for dip visas for Tokyo, getting plane tickets so that he and Matthew can leave Chengdu (official travel arrangements - always super fun), going through the departure checklist for leaving post... you name it, he's had to do it in, you know, a week or two. And of course he's still doing his regular job, etc. BUSY TIMES.
I left Florida last week and drove (by myself, in my ancient car with 185,000 miles) from Florida up to the Northern Virginia area so that I could move into my apartment.
Because I'm going SMA for a little while so I can go to school this semester at Georgetown, once James got his orders I was able to schedule (with the folks who have our worldy possessions in storage) a time to go to the official storage facility (I actually had to be there in order for them to access our stuff, so it's a good thing I'm going to school here in the NoVa area and not in, I don't know, California or something), and to pull what I needed for my apartment out of our stored goods.
Dealing with the moving/storage people was AWESOME because, quite frankly, they're not government and thus they're not mired down in bureaucracy. Once I had State's permission to go and retrieve some of my belongings (/sarcasm, since, you know, IT'S MY STUFF, YO), the storage folks were 100% on the ball and totally and completely responsive and AWESOME.
I got to the storage facility at 9:00 am, we unloaded the crates and sorted our stuff into what would go with me into my apartment here and what would get placed back into storage, they re-packed the crates with what I wasn't taking with me, and the whole entire thing was done by 10:15 am. It was INSANE how efficient, fast, and pleasant the whole thing was.
Then I went to my new apartment, signed my lease, and the movers showed up with my stuff around noon. Since then I've been buying, you know, stuff I didn't have (plates. Salt and pepper. Cups to drink out of. Ketchup...) and trying to get the apartment into some semblance of order.
So now I'm here, in my apartment, and Zachary flies up this evening. Tomorrow morning we will register him at the local high school, tomorrow afternoon I have my orientation for my program at Georgetown, and Wedesday morning IT IS ON LIKE DONKEY KONG (my classes start). Tomorrow will be the first time I will have stepped foot on the campus, and the next morning I start classes. I have a very heavy load. We shall see what we shall see.
MEANWHILE, Matthew and James leave Chengdu this weekend. They will fly to Florida. After a little while, James will come up to DC and be with me and Zachary (while Zachary and I are both in school). Then a few weeks later James, Matthew, and Zachary will go on to Tokyo while I finish my semester here, and then I will go on to Tokyo.
Whew! Confusing. And crazy. I'll keep you posted...