Hello from Florida!
I haven't blogged in a while because, well, I don't usually blog during R&R breaks. Which is what we're on right now.
For the last several weeks, Matthew and Zachary and I have been in the U.S. James was able to join us a couple of weeks ago. So here we all are. Together. It's wonderful.
Unfortunately, we're only here for one more day.
James literally made it to Florida (the boys and I were already here, having left Chengdu the day school got out for the holidays) on Christmas Eve Day. I was a nervous WRECK that he would end up getting caught in bad weather while he was traveling, and would thus get stuck in an airport for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but we were very blessed in that he arrived on Christmas Eve Day, just barely in time to celebrate with us. He was jetlagged and exhausted, but we were all thrilled to be in the States, to be with our families, and to be together.
How to put this nicely? Oh, hell, I can't. I don't say things nicely, anyway, which is why I always get myself into trouble. So I guess I'll just come out and say it: Christmas in the States this year was FAR FAR FAR FAR better than Christmas in Chengdu, like what we did last year. Which sucked. This year, Christmas didn't suck. Didn't suck AT ALL.
Yeah, both of my boys were/are glad to be back.
Christmas Day provided me with many photo ops, which made me happy.
I can't even tell you how exhausted poor James was on Christmas Day. He powered through it - through the jetlag and everything - like a good husband and father.
My parents were forced to cook a huge Christmas spread full of food we cannot get in China. Like, you know, mashed potatoes and stuffing and cranberry sauce and yeast rolls.
It's very, very difficult for normal Americans to understand the depth and breadth of the items you cannot get in China.
So, anyway, that was Christmas.
New Year's was far less exciting, owing to the fact that I was desperately sick with the stomach flu and was vomiting everywhere. And actually, any and all womanly mystery that I may have held on to over these last zillions of years of marriage (and after birthing many babies, with James present every time) FLEW out the window as I lay on the bedroom floor, sobbing and wailing and VOMITING, right in front of James. Vomiting so hard and fast that I literally couldn't breathe in between violent heaves.
All RIGHT. IN. FRONT. OF. JAMES. Who sat, eyes wide in horror, tapping furiously on his iPad trying to figure out which hospital to try to take me to at 3 am.
(Spoiler: I lived. Without even needing to go to the hospital.)
Everything else over our R&R has been shopping and eating and smiling and being together as a family.
Which is why I haven't been online much. Haven't been blogging, haven't been returning emails, haven't been on Facebook.
Life looks very different from Florida than it does from Chengdu.
Tomorrow is our family's last day of R&R. Last day of the States. Last day of U.S. food. Etc.
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I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions. But I do believe in New Year's Revelations, which is where you think/write about what you learned over the past year.
Over the past year I have learned many things. The most important things I have learned - not that I didn't already know them, but they've become even more obvious over this last year - are:
1.) Going through incredibly painful, very difficult circumstances that would most certainly tear other relationships apart serve to actually strengthen our marriage, which is an amazing blessing, when you think about it. And...
2.) When we are going through horrible trials and my husband is forced to choose between family and anything else in this world, my husband chooses family. Always. ALWAYS. And, to me, this makes James a man of character and strength and morals, which is a rare find in this day and age. I am a lucky girl.
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James and I were walking along the beach today, just the two of us. The eighth (I think? I'm actually losing count...) DS panel for last year's summer bidders (which James is) has come and gone and no, we have no clue where we're going when our assignment to Chengdu is over this coming summer.
And as we were walking and talking about what in the world 2013 might end up looking like for us, James gave my hand a squeeze, shrugged his shoulders and said...