…as my friend so aptly reminded me today.
We’re writing day 3 down as the roughest day in the books, at least on the logistical side of things and when it comes to my own mental and emotional state. I hesitate to share some of the more negative or challenging sides of an adventure like this, as it seems there is a trend on the internet (at least in my observation) of sharing the difficult details of life in order to be relatable or to convince others that life isn’t all sunshine and roses. It seems like a way to say, “see, I’m a hot mess!” We all know, of course, that life isn’t only the beautiful little squares we see on Instagram, and I don’t want to complain. But I also want to record some of the harder moments, both for the sake of honesty and for memory, as they often can lead to the sweetest victories.
To sum up today: I was a total grump (my family knows what that’s like better than anyone, I think! Hi, Mom), the jet lag really caught up to us, but me especially, I think, and diapers were nowhere to be found.
More than just saying I was grumpy, I will say that I think with the reality of this summer sinking in a bit more and a fuller idea of what Germany, and Munich, are like, I’ve been feeling a lot of culture shock, a great barrier from such a difference in languages, and a sense of isolation as I prepare for the next weeks with Travis gone for at least half of every week day. I’ve especially felt the difference in language, as it is hard for me to recognize even a few words or to find any sort of familiarity with the language. Thanks to my Latin and French training, romance languages feel recognizable, familiar, even, but German sounds, German letters, and German words confuse me to no end. I don’t like feeling like I can’t say anything to anyone and that all I can do when someone tries to talk to me, like the parish priest this morning, is smile and nod. I am sure that many will speak English if I began talking to them, but as I said before, I feel guilty asking another person to speak my language instead of attempting theirs. I know much of these feelings will subside, at least partially, as we continue to adjust and settle in, and as the exhaustion wears off, but I expect these are realities that many people feel when traveling to foreign countries.
On a lighter note, here we are enjoying our first sidewalk café gelato, the quintessential European experience in my book. The shop owner was the sweetest little German grandmother who came out with a wet washcloth once the children finished. She clearly has a firm hand from the look on John Henry’s face and the way he’s clutching the table!
Both children have been wonderful with the adjustment and the jet lag, but John Henry has definitely struggled a bit more than Edith. I love seeing her take in everything with such delight and excitement. She has had a few weepy moments, but generally has held up better emotionally than even I have in spite of the immense lack of sleep we have experienced these last few days. She thinks she is already a pro when it comes to public transportation and insists on standing on all of the various vehicles that we take. Earlier today, she told me she was going to get herself back to the ice cream place. She was going to take the tram and then the bus, which she was exactly right about.
We thought that we would stop by the grocery store after church to get a long list of food for the week and some essentials for the apartment, the greatest essential being diapers. Silly Americans that we are, we forgot that most things would likely be closed on a Sunday over here, took all four of us to the store, only to find literally all grocery stores, drug stores, etc. closed. So we carted everyone back to the apartment and Travis left on the mission. I sat at home for three hours, concluding that he must have gone back to the US to get diapers if it was taking him so long. He returned with cheese and bread and pretzels so that we wouldn’t starve before tomorrow, but no diapers. Thank goodness for yesterday’s providential encounter at the park with our newest Slovak friend who lives just a few houses down the street. We had exchanged numbers and texted her to see if we could have a few diapers to make it until the morning.
She responded promptly with a whole bag full of them, and the day ended with a fresh reminder that we are seen, that we are known, and that the Lord knows what we need long before we ask Him. I am starting this new week asking for grace, and anticipating it to appear in ways I would never expect it.