Don't underestimate the power of jet-lag on children, either. Goodness. We've had a rough few days, but everyone is getting better. Solo is leaving the non-stop cranks for sunny fields of cheerfulness, thankfully. And there is nothing like a little voice, shouting through the house at 4:00 am, "Can I please have some BREAD!!!"
But we are adjusting. There have been many hugs and kisses and so much love. My parents picked up all the required car seats and booster seats from their storage space, and they've done so much to welcome us. I have a new baby niece, which is amazing. We had dinner with her parents (my older brother and sister-in-law) on our second day here. And I have a baby niece or nephew on the way. A little Uncle Matty and Auntie Lara. It's pretty awesome to have a baby in the family that isn't mine! And we had some Auntie Becca squeezes and hugs. Did you know that she's in fashion design school? I'll have to do a post about some of her creations soon. I told her, "I love your hoodie," and she said, "Really?" with this mischievous glint in her eye. "What do you like about it?" I thought she was joking until she told me she'd designed and fabricated it. Wow.
The thing about reverse culture adjustment, or whatever you call it, is the understanding, always vibrating through you, that you should be more aware of the differences around you. But you just switch back to what you grew up with, except for moments of awareness. For instance, there are at least fifty six things in this room that have no part of my life in India. Soft chairs! A stove with four electric burners. A real oven. A microwave. Wood flooring. Cupboards. A fireplace. Ceramic dishes that we eat off of! Light switches that go up rather than down. Hot water coming out of the faucets. And I could go on and on. But instead of being continually in wonder, I just click back into life in North America. How strange.
I do have my moments. Mostly it's had to do with space. Space on the streets, which seem empty and uncluttered. Too empty. Is anyone alive?
And personal space. I stepped up to an ATM, to get in line behind the man who was there, standing about a foot behind him and to the left, looking over his shoulder without thought, until he shot me an alarmed glance. ATM etiquette! At my ATM in the closest village to mine, (we have to drive 20 minutes to get there) there is a security guard who lives there. If I arrive in the morning, he is singing and ringing a bell, burning incense for his puja, shirtless, wearing his nighttime dhoti. He gets dressed soon after, I assume, because the rest of the time he is wearing his uniform, and ready to help should I hesitate in my transaction. Push this button, he'll indicate, leaning over me and pushing a button on the touch screen.
I need to relearn ATM etiquette.
Yesterday we wandered around downtown a bit. We are in Victoria, a beautiful city where my parents live right on the water. I paused beside a bus stop to call back to Chinua, asking him if he had something. I didn't even realize that I had paused with my face just six inches from a man's face, a man who was waiting for the bus, until he leaped back in discomfort. Whoops. It may take a while to reset my personal space parameters.
Other than that, what are we loving?
Soft, cozy couches. I loooooovvvvee soft cozy couches.
Grandparents. Also fast internet.
Thrift stores. Yesterday we went looking for some much needed warm clothes, and found that the Value Village in Victoria is like a clothing heaven. There were books, too, more books than I've ever seen in one place in India. I was too overwhelmed to look for myself, but I happened to catch a glimpse of one of my favorite books of all time, so I got it for Kid A.
And then there is the Leafy kiddo. He has chosen to fixate on one aspect of the scenery here that is different for him. Since he recently watched "Over the Hedge," it is, you guessed it, Hedges! We don't really have hedges, where we live, at least, in India.
Every time we are in the car, he is a non-stop narrator of Hedge Activity. "A Hedge! A HEDGE! A hedge!" he says, over and over. I've learned that there are a lot of hedges in Vancouver and in Victoria, something I may not have known if it wasn't for my Leafy boy.