I knew it would be different here. I knew we wouldn’t get some of the same foods we get back home. I knew the living situation wouldn’t be exactly the same. Once we got off the plane, I knew the ease of shopping would be long gone (at least for a while). I knew the language would be different. Obviously.
I knew all of these things. Prepared myself for them. Anticipated it.
What I didn’t expect was it to affect me the way it did. Our first trip to the grocery store was the first of many moments that affected me in a strange way.
Now, I’m not typically a person that cries at the drop of a hat. In fact, I rarely cry in front of people. So when tears started welling up in my eyes at the grocery store, I felt so silly.
The reason I almost started crying: boxed milk. Yes, that’s correct. I cried over boxed milk. Now, I knew that milk came in boxes. I’ve been to countries where milk came in boxes. Drank that milk. Put that milk in my coffee. It was never an issue before.
But suddenly it wasn’t at all what I wanted. Suddenly my comfort zone felt like it was being pushed to the limits. Boxed milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It can sit out. Once opened, it can still sit out. Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of leaving milk sitting out, the thought of drinking warm milk or giving this milk to my kids…that just pushed me over the edge.
And Phil wasn’t very helpful. Poor guy. He didn’t realize the craziness that was going on inside of me. He was trying to be practical. You see, there was regular milk there too. It was smaller and more expensive. But it was there.
But my poor unsuspecting husband made us get the least expensive warm boxed milk. It wasn’t until we had gotten home, away from the people, away from our new friend that drove us to the store and showed us how to shop in France, that I finally couldn’t hold it in any longer.
The tears came. The sobs. I couldn’t stop. It was like the airport incident all over again. Phil was speechless. Eventually I told him I was crying about the boxed milk.
And then I laughed. You know, it IS funny. It’s funny and it’s ridiculous. They were sincere tears over something that was so different, something that didn’t matter to me back home because I didn’t know any different, but something that obviously struck a chord inside of me here. But in that moment I realized that it was more than just the milk. It was me adjusting to this newness. This differentness. It was me missing home and what I’m accustomed to.
But it was pretty funny. Crying over boxed milk.
Since moving here only days ago, I’ve realized that we are just going to have to do things a little bit differently. And slowly I’m adjusting. I’m certain there will be more tears over important and even silly things. And I’m sure that there will be more laughter about that as well. It’s the nature of where we are and what we’re doing.
And with that….here are some more things that we are doing just a little bit differently:
Bath time…er…I mean, shower time?
There are no tubs in this apartment. 3 bathrooms, 0 bath tubs. Now…I have 2 small kids that absolutely LOVE bath time. Not only do they love baths, they despise showers! So this is quite the adjustment. I’ve tried numerous things- moving the shower head lower, so they can take little toddler showers. No go.
Putting a wash cloth over the drain, so they can take mini baths. No go! The water still drains and they really don’t like sitting in 2 inch deep water. I guess it’s not the same!
We’re working on getting something that goes into the shower that they can bathe in. If you have any great suggestion- let me know!!
Along with the bath time for the toddlers is bath time for the new baby. Obviously the new baby isn’t here yet, but I like to look towards the future. Our sink is about the size of two bowls. Not even a newborn could fit in there. So without a bathtub and a sink that is too small….I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do when this new little one shows up (probably cry about it).
We have no highchair for the little guy. I tried putting his food on a blanket on the floor, hoping he’d sit there nicely and eat. I was wrong. He doesn’t sit. And then Jaelyn felt like he was getting a privilege she ought to have- so she insisted she eat on the floor as well. That turned into a fiasco when I heard my husband say “Jaelyn, don’t let your brother step in your bowl. Pax, get your foot out of your sisters bowl”.
My solution: tying him to the chair with a bandana and letting him sit on a stool!
Along with mealtime is portion sizes! My goodness are things tiny around here! We have gone through 4 of those boxed milk cartons since we've been here. And we've been here a total of 3 days. This bottle of juice...not a single serving like you would find in the States! 1 liter is not big enough for a family of 4!