Fragments and First Impressions

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our POD arrived.  We spent the weekend hauling boxes and hampers up our driveway and into the garage because it was too steep for the truck to bring our container up near the house.  A hefty workout for the kids, but it felt like Christmas in September to be discovering the treasures and keepsakes that we’d stored and forgotten about.   We’ve lived fairly minimally over the years and the frequent moves (this is move # 10 in 16 years for our family) have kept the clutter down.  So, the boxes mounting in the garage were a bit overwhelming to be honest.  When you’ve lived without something for 5 years, you start to realize that actually, you probably don’t need most of it because you can’t remember much of it!

There is one sentimental box tho, that I knew I was looking for and told C to keep an eye out for it.  My loves in life are the Lord, my family, and my blue & white china!
Ok….there are some other things, but my dishes are up there!
I didn’t want traditional china, so didn’t register for every-day dishes when I was engaged.  Instead, before I got married, my daddy took me antique shopping and we bargained for beautiful blue & white miss-matched serving dishes, chargers, dinnerware, salad plates and tea cups & saucers.

C located the box as he unpacked the POD and handed me the oversized rubbermaid bin labeled “FRAGILE!  BLUE & WHITE CHINA! DO NOT STACK!  HANDLE WITH CARE!”
This sickening “crunch” as I lifted it from his hands was undeniable.  I peeled back the lid in horror to find shards of pottery and glass and fragmented porcelain in a rubble of broken beautiful pieces.  Much of my blue and white china didn’t survive the storage and move.

I needed a minute.

The vast majority of boxes in our POD I honestly don’t care much about.  An embarrassing amount I actually don’t remember.  We’ll be making some runs to Goodwill this week!
But my dishes!?  Why is this the only box we’ve (thus far) found damaged?

I have to think its another gracious lesson from God for me as a reminder to hold things loosely.  Im so richly and abundantly blessed!  We’ve been given a lovely home to call our own for the next year.  Our church family has warmly welcomed us with furniture on loan, a vehicle at our disposal, free extracurriculars for our kids, and sweet hands of friendship extended to us.  The temptation is always tho to take the blessings and begin to cling to the gift instead of the Giver.  The sentimental value of my dishes cannot be replaced.  The memory attached to them is precious to me.  But in the end, its still just “stuff”.
Stuff that’s going to burn, that has no eternal value.
The constant uprooting of our life tugs at my melancholy heartstrings at times, but Im grateful – I am – for reminders that our inheritance lies elsewhere and that when this all passes away, there is treasure that moth and rust (and moves) cannot destroy!

(….sidenote… mother made me save it.  Now, who has a “Pinterest” idea for some mosaic or something I can make outta this as a “reminder” to myself that broken is beautiful and a reminder to hold loosely to his gifts!?….)

We’re finding America strangely familiar.  Comfortable, convenient, but definitely dealing with a bit of reverse culture shock!  Here are some of the first impressions coming back to The ‘Merica:

~ Cars.  My kids are amazed that mommy knows how to drive!  I assure them Ive been doing this since before they were born, but some have never seen mommy behind the wheel!  Our littles think only bonafide taxi drivers are allowed to operate a vehicle!

~ No traffic!!  We’ve just come from a city which is rated in the top ten worst traffic cities in the world.  You don’t get anywhere quickly!  Wide lanes and short traffic lights here are a beautiful thing.

~Driver on the left side of the car and cars on the right side of the road feels completely backwards to us.  Gonna take some adjusting!

~Car seats and seat belts.  Eden is not a fan.  Restraints for the first time are making our happy little guy mad!

~ Everyone here calls you “honey” or “sugar”.  Warm welcome to the South!!

~ Convenience.  Dishwashers, clothes dryers, garbage disposals save you SO much time and simplify life!  And whoever invented seats for kids in grocery carts has my undying thanks.  Free refills on drinks, drive through banking and toaster waffles make this country great!

~ Drinkable sink water.  The kids are having a hard time with this one.  “You mean you can drink right out of the faucet?  Even in the bathroom?!!”

~ Shoes worn inside.  On this one, we think Asia’s got it right and we will not be adopting the western model.  It really is gross when you think of it!  Leave your shoes at the door please when you come to visit!

~ Target.  Its huge….that is all.

~ Clean and cool!  God bless America!  My house doesn’t need top-to-bottom cleaning every day here.  Bangkok’s pollution and city grit meant filth all the time.  And the 90-100 degree temps year round meant sweaty kids and 2-3 showers every day for everyone.  Things just don’t get as dirty and sweaty here in this brisk fall weather!

~ The great outdoors!  Bliss!  The sounds of birdsongs is foreign.  Shade, breeze and green lawns for my kids to play in…..forgot what that was like.  We are savoring the refreshment of beauty around us that we’ve missed!

  • Jessica says:

    So so sorry about your beautiful dishes! 🙁 I know that was super hard but thanks for sharing this! So so true that we need to hold things here with an open hand!
    It is so good to have to guy’s back and so close! Praying for your sweet family and the adjustment!

  • Heidi maxwell says:

    So glad for y’all to be in this season of life for the kids to learn how ‘Mericans live😁 And when we lived in Pennsylvania and now Minnesota we have also learned about taking our shoes off in the house. Although it’s an inconvenience I agree that it is the easiest way to keep a house clean with so many kids. Must be something that states with a lot of snow get use to doing.
    Welcome home!

  • Kristin says:

    Welcome back to the states! I love the write up on your days back for the family. I’ve lost or had valuable items break during moving too. It’s never the stuff you don’t care about. The sting is only there a short time. Chris and I have a car in Bangkok, but I never drive. I’ll hurt someone and the traffic is miserable. Public transport is fine for me. So my son is beyond himself when mommy is driving when we are in the states. I’m sure you realize the reverse culture shock will get worse. They write books on these things. They write that you have a good six months to a year and a half before you feel that you are not separating yourself from others. I find it all surreal personally.

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