We are not really doing all that well.
Let me rephrase that.
We are struggling a bit. Okay, sometimes a lot. We’re feeling sad and exhausted. It feels like we’re paddling upstream much of the time. Life seems really hard and we want some things we can’t have right now (the most glaring: communal living like we had at Abbey Lane).
(I just barked at one of my daughters who asked me, “What are you doing?” Seriously–I actually barked, well barked-growled.)
We are all just a teensy bit ON EDGE.
I haven’t blogged in a long time. 1.) because language school is consuming and 2.) add that with all the other things, and I’m exhausted and 3.) I don’t even know what to say.
And, if I’m honest, 4.) I don’t want to be that girl people pat on the shoulder and say, “Oh, I’m sure all of your little drama will all work out just fine. It always does!” to.
Because, when people say things like that, I want to clam up and never share any of my problems ever again.
But that’s kind of dumb. And really not fair to all the beautiful, wonderful people who DON’T say things like that but say things like, “I’m sorry you’re hurting, friend. I’m praying and I love you.”
I stop blogging and I stop doing newsletter updates because to try to help people actually understand what life is like for us right now feels daunting if not impossible.
So I don’t say anything at all.
(I just told another daughter to PLEASE stop humming and singing. This is awesome.)
I don’t even know where to start, so let’s start with language school.
It has been awesome. But so hard. We go to school from 8am to noon Monday through Friday. There are 8 levels at our school, and we did levels 1-4 together as a family.
It was pretty cool.
But we are all very different people with different learning styles and different personalities and different capacities for absorbing a new language.
The kids did the best (obviously–brain plasticity and all that). Then me (because this has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I love learning). Then Gabe (because he is not a fan of school in general, and unlike us, he has already been getting involved in tons of ministry stuff and meeting new people in the city and out in the provinces and barely had any time left to study).
After our Level 4 assessment, Gabe couldn’t continue to Level 5 without some remedial help, but he knew in his heart it was time for a break anyway. The director of our school had actually STRONGLY encouraged all of us to take a break, but we kind of smiled and ignored her brilliant advice.
Ava, while she did very well on her assessment and very well in class, had slowly become more and more discouraged. Her brain was too full, her joy was gone, and she spent the night before Level 5 started in tears. “I miss my friends at Abbey Lane.” (she had just skyped with some of them) “I don’t want to go to school tomorrow!”
I made her go anyway, and she was miserable, so we had some long, tearful family chats, and I told her she could stay home the next day, think about it, and we’d go from there.
She decided to quit. For some very good reasons. “I’m starting to really hate Khmer. I don’t want to hate Khmer.” And “I don’t want my whole childhood to just be spent learning Khmer. I want to learn other things too. Like Math. I want to read more books. I want to watch animal documentaries like I used to do. I just want to slow it down and not learn it so fast. It isn’t staying in my brain like I want it to.”
Sweet Ava has recently entered womanhood and has been mourning the passing of her childhood. She is very, very conscious about not wishing away one single minute of her life. At 13, she knows she is still young, but she feels things very, very deeply, and can just feel time racing by and is NOT ready to leave the nest. I know, she’s only 13, but if you are someone who feels things very, very deeply, you can understand.
(Crap. Our power just went out. It’s 8pm and very, very dark, and we have a lot of delicious food in our fridge and freezer for once. Jesus, please turn it back on soon!)
I cried at school for three days in a row. Our poor teachers.
The director and administrator at school called me into the office for a little counseling intervention. They are so sweet and kind. They assured me that this is normal, that the school isn’t geared toward kids anyway (which I knew), and again encouraged us to TAKE A BREAK. No one has ever gone through all 8 levels without a break, and everyone hits a wall at some point, and on and on.
This whole “you’re normal” thing has been confirmed and affirmed from many, many different people in the last few weeks. Pastor Rich & Pastor Mike (Rich is our pastor in Columbus, and he & Shalla spent 8 days with us–August 6-13–and Mike was our pastor before Rich and he was in Cambodia last week and stopped by for a visit.) had been especially firm on this. “You’ve been here SEVEN MONTHS. You have done A LOT. Most major life changes take at least TWO YEARS. Go easy on yourself. Get some rest. Celebrate the victories and all God has done in such a short amount of time.”
Clearly, there is a part of me that feels the need to do, do, do, achieve, achieve, achieve.
I think God is saying, “time to just BE. And be with ME.”
Then Nina. Oh, sweet 9-year-old Nina. One day last week it just SLAMMED me in the face. “She is nine. NINE.”
(The power just came back on. THANK YOU, JESUS. Nina, after 2 seconds of power, “I already feel cooler.” Fans are good.)
Oh, gosh. This is long. I promise to continue/finish the Account O’ Angst tomorrow. Thanks for listening, friends.