... is the e-mail that welcomed us early Tuesday morning. It was the e-mail we were anxiously awaiting to receive, yet after several months it was very bittersweet. Moreover, to have the words... "congratulations" and "Baghdad" used in the same sentence seemed an oxymoron, rather it should have read, "Congratulations ... you're getting out of Chennai", to be more apropos.
I never imagined myself ever looking forward to being separated from my husband. To wishing, no scratch that, accepting an unaccompanied tour. Not to sound like Tony Robbins here, but life IS all about timing and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself.
These past two years have been rough for us. Although we left Israel for Chennai full of excitement, with the brightest outlook, and ready for adventure, arriving with a lost bag and settling into a house we didn't like set the tone for our three year tour. Sure, we've had some amazing experiences and traveled to places we'd never get to while living in the States, but it isn't enough. Add in our daily calamities, the girls frustrations, and you start to realize that maybe it's time to take one for the team, and quietly exit stage left. To be brutally honest, I just got tired of waking up and wishing every day away. I was becoming depressed. And living here felt more like we were serving a prison sentence.
Living overseas for the past seven years at three different posts has given us a little perspective. We've lived in a 1st world country (Israel), a 2nd world country (Oman), and finally this 3rd world country. We've come to accept certain limitations and inconveniences. Nevertheless, the day to day obstacles and frustrations we've felt here in southern India have truly brought us to the breaking point.
Like New York City, there are those who love India and those who... well... don't, (with very few people falling in between the two extremes.) One generally isn't ambivalent. When you see our lifestyle via our blog through our photos and experiences, you'd think this place would be a virtual Shangri-la. But it's more than that. Once you begin scratching the well patina'd surface, you'll uncover the stark reality; it's a tough place to live and raise a family.
It was a joint decision to curtail. A tough decision. One that was not made without hours, days, weeks, and months of discussion. Endless deliberation. Heated consideration. In the beginning, the middle, and more importantly the end, it was a decision made in the best interest of our family.
I don't want to even remotely kid anyone, especially myself. I am well aware that Matt leaving for one year will not be easy on anyone... on him, definitely not on me, and certainly not the kids. However, his time in Iraq will be well spent. He will have the opportunities to get out from behind his desk and re-enter the fray; the exciting stuff that attracted him to this job in the first place. Me? Well, I get Starbucks, Trader Joe's, a little religion, a lot of convenience. And the kids have the fantastic opportunity to be near family and friends.
We get the best of everything we all want and need. We just sadly don't get to do it together. For one year. For one exciting year. For one LONG year.
But we're lucky. We have a strong marriage. We are closer than we've ever been. We know we can do this and be okay. And there's always Skype... thank goodness for Skype.
So we now have a lot more stresses to add to the ever growing pile. A move coming up in mid-June, just after school ends. Matt's possible extended 6-week TDY in DC for training. Selling off all of our "weighty" personal belongings and shelves of consumables. And the last few getaways to experience Incredible India.
Feel free now to ask your questions... shoot me an e-mail, write me on Facebook, tweet me on Twitter, or leave me a comment. I'm going to be relying on all of you for moral support to help me through the highs and lows of being a "single" mom to three kids and a dog as we make our way through one more nomadic year in Southern California. If you have any great leads on renting a place, if you love your car and think it could be a good fit for us, or if you just want to tell me how excited you are to have us living near you, I'm all ears.
But be kind... I'm on a high and I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...