I haven’t really documented this, but Chris has been gone quite a bit throughout 2011 and 2012. From October-December 2011, he was in Kiev, Ukraine as part of his graduate school program. After learning the Russian language, he went to live with a host family, like an exchange student. It was a good experience and now that we are returning there as a family, he will be ahead of the curve with knowing where many resources for our family are, how the metro works, and general things about life in Ukraine. For example, telling me the people don’t make eye contact and smile like we do when out and about. Also, theirs is a cash society and they get irritated if you don’t give exact change for groceries, etc. Interesting. I am sure there will be more of those little fun facts soon!
After Kiev, Chris was home for about two weeks over Christmas. We then had to say farewell again as he returned to Eastern Europe to live in Baku, Azerbaijan for roughly eight weeks (Jan-March 2012). His job there was to be an intern at the U.S. Embassy. More understanding of how things work which will help him in his Kiev job at the U.S. Embassy.
He returned home mid-March and was home about one month before his most recent departure to Ohio. This one lasts four weeks. He is in another school to help him with the future Embassy job. More learning.
At this point, I am thinking Chris is all schooled up. He has been a full time student since September 2009. Back to the work force seems like a welcome change, instead of always having a looming test deadline, or research paper to write (although he handled it like a champ with high GPAs at both schools!).
We are eager for his return to us in two weeks. It isn’t fun doing life separately from the one you love, but it does help me appreciate him when we are back together again. Also, I am thankful that our separations were broken up into segments vs. one super long time away. I have military friends with much more difficult circumstances, longer separations, more kids, more responsibilities. It helps me put my situation into perspective.
After Chris’ return, it will be all about tying up loose ends and leaving as a family. Monterey has been a great place for us these 2 years, 9 months. We had a small, but dear, church family, and good friends to share everyday life. We got Niya here. The weather was dreamy, and so are the views. Kiev will be no contest in the natural beauty department. Chris says it will actually seem very horrid, especially after being in such a scenic part of our country for nearly three years. At least he’s honest. I can expect ugly.
I have many lists to conquer over the next three weeks. The passports and visas aren’t in yet. Will we take the cat to live in an apartment building when she’s been used to coming and going from the house at will? Did I get the school transcripts? Medical records? Did I purchase enough contact lenses? Should I buy the kids slippers here or there? Don’t forget new windshield wiper blades. Order non-perishable items for the next YEAR through the Commissary. Give away house plants, 100 refrigerator items, plus household chemicals. Sell bike trailer, Niya’s crib, and dresser. Redeem or give away local gift certificates/store credit. And on, and on it goes. Oh. Don’t forget the normal laundry, cleaning, lunch making, get the kids to school and bed on time. Yes, moving is a busy time. So here I sit, on the couch writing about it. I think I should get to bed, instead, so I am ready to conquer in the morning!