Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keeping the Self-pity at Bay

My readers are aware that I do not love Venezuela. True, the country is beautiful and the weather is perfect (unless you dig seasons and changing leaves and snow) and we have a great apartment and some cool neighbors, but the government is abysmal and it is REALLY not safe here and there isn't much to do for the under 5 set.

When we discovered we were expecting a baby, I was thrilled. Not just because we wanted another child, but because that meant I was going to get a 3 month reprieve from Chavezland -- Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US of A sounded too good to be true. And, as it turns out, it was.

Of course I was/am sad about the baby and what might of been, but truly, I was/am mad. I wanted those 3 months (not away from Kenny) but away from Hugo and his increasing craziness. I wanted my boys to go trick-or-treating with kids who wore costumes and said "trick-or-treat" instead of hanging out with kids in street clothes carrying pillowcases and yelling "Halloween." I wanted Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings instead of having to make-do with mail-order ingredients. I wanted to play in the snow and go for walks on actual sidewalks and eat sour cream and cottage cheese. I wanted to go Christmas caroling with our new baby girl bundled up in a fuzzy, pink snowsuit and watch "The Sound of Music" and "It's a Wonderful Life" on network television for the millionth time. I wanted all of that, and so much more and I still do.

October is coming and I'm worried. I'm worried that I haven't dealt with the baby as well as I think I have. I'm worried that when we're still here when we weren't supposed to be I won't be as "okay" as I think I am. Mostly, I'm worried that I am not as pragmatic or rational as I give myself credit for being. My kids deserve not to have these fears realized so I have taken some dramatic steps. I have begun what I call "project embrace Venezuela." We have gotten out the guide book, there is only one, and scoured it for everything and anything that sounds remotely fun. We have already embarked on a few of these adventures and though we've had mixed results, we are feeling a little more friendly towards our current home. We are becoming scuba certified and planning a Thanksgiving trip to Bonaire, purportedly the best scuba diving locale in the world. We have decided to spend Christmas in the US after all and I am ecstatic with anticipation. And, perhaps most dramatic of all, I have taken a job with the US Embassy.

I never planned to work after we had kids, at least not until they were old enough to be in school full-time. But, I came back from UT and knew I needed a distraction. Working for the man is just about what I expected it would be, but I am enjoying the adult interaction and the feeling that I am contributing to the US Government's diplomatic mission in Caracas. The unexpected drawback to the job (apart from the salary - this is definitely not a get rich quick scheme) is that the Department of State blocks so I have been silent in my commenting and posting, though I continue to read all my favorites. Another drawback is that I miss my boys, but I love coming home to them and losing myself in the excitement of our reunion. My position is thankfully not full-time, but I think the job and my renewed determination to embrace this country is having the desired effect and if I'm lucky, October will ease quietly into our lives devoid of sadness and self-pity.
Gratuitous photos of come cool kids


heidiram said...

Oh Linsey! I am glad that you have found a distraction. It's tough. I only had one miscarriage . . . but every single solitary May 11th for the last 7 years I get a little emotional and teary just thinking about the baby that I lost.

Annemarie said...

Linsey, you are amazing. I love that you are doing your best to turn this around. Your upcoming scuba trip sounds so cool, and I'm happy for you that you'll get to be here for the holidays!

Ilene said...

I love your making lemonade.

I really do admire you.

Lauren in GA said...

Linsey, you have been on my mind so much. I love that you are doing what you can to put your mind in a better and more healthy place. Keeping self pity at bay is a tall order. I love that you are proactive. Great job getting out the guide book and learning to love things about your surroundings. When I feel sad I just want to hibernate. I love that you are thinking of your sweet boys.

Love the photos!

dana said...

Thank you for sharing all your feelings. It's always interesting to hear how people really feel inside. I'm glad you're trying to make some changes for you and for the family! I hope the new job fills your need. And yes, those are some cool kids. It's always fun to come home from them when you've been away for a bit.

Sandi said...

How great that you have taken positive steps in a non-positive situtation. You make me more grateful for what I have. I pray for you and your sweet family.

Tristan said...

I wondered where you have been! You are so amazing! What a great attitude. You are such an example to me. And I only have to live in Utah! ;)

The pictures of the boys are way cute!!

Lane said...

love you! These kids are too cool!

Katharine said...

I am so glad you have found a distraction. I have a dear friend that is dealing with a miscarriage right now and it is just so hard. I am so sorry that you have had to go through this so far away from home. Keep your spirits up and keep the great perspective your trying to foster. It will get better I promise. And remember your stint in V is not forever! It is short in the grand scheme of things. Miss you guys!

diane said...

You have an action plan which is important. Now all you can do is brace yourself. It always helps me to have things to look forward to. Well done.

Your boys are muy guapo.

Brown Sugar said...

I overloaded my school schedule to keep me distracted, but now I am just annoyed and sad. Let's not fight it or keep it at bay, lets through the best pity party EVER! Im thinking I need to join you on this scuba trip.

Cecily said...

I'd come brave Chavezland to hang out with you. Miss you much.

stephanie said...

I was reading your post and realizing that I am not very appreciative of what I have. I have been complaining that fall is coming too fast and I am not ready for winter. but as I read all of the things each of these seasons bring I remembered I love all of those occasions and would be terribly sad if I had to miss out.
On to even sadder subjects, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how painful that must be. it breaks my heart that you and many other women have to deal with this sort of loss. I hope things will start looking up.

Nate and Sina said...

That was a beautiful post. Thanks for so eloquently identifying the trials and joys your lifestyle and recent challenges have presented to you. You are still very pragmatic, even when coming in touch with your sensitive side.

Love you so very much!

RE: Scuba, supposedly the best scuba in the world is in the Maldives. What guide book are you reading?? Surely not the Lonely Planet? They couldn't claim such contradictory statements in the same publishing house could they?? I am scared of scuba diving and am working on learning to swim before our snorkel trip in the fall. Can't wait to hear all about your new found hobby.

Martababe said...

Linsey, you made me cry. You have to be one of the strongest person I know. Your post is amazing. I had to read it to my husband. Seriously, bless you, bless your husband and bless your children. I'm impressed with your willingness to admit your weaknesses and your willingness to move forward.

Jake said...

Linsey. I wish we were friends in real life. You impress me every time you post. This was a fabulous and honest essay. I am impressed with your self-awareness and the way you are pro-active and positive.

I spent time this summer with the only other person I know whose life sounds harder than yours (my friend, Natasha...the one I always tell you about... whose husband works in the Embassy in Saigon).

As she shared with me the MANY challenges of living in a Communist, third-world country; raising LDS children outside of the US; and trying to support her husband in his glamorous/challenging/out-of-the-ordinary career, I realized that there are only a handful of women who could do this. You are one!

Keep up the great work and keep posting about it. We are all learning from you.

the wrath of khandrea said...

interestingly, i came over here to see why you had been so quiet lately. now i know. and i second what everyone has said. you are determined, balanced and grounded in the things that matter most.

keep taking care of yourself. you can do this!!!

treen said...

While I certainly am not in another country with a crazy dictator, I do share the sentiment of strongly disliking where you currently live. Vicksburg Mississippi is definitely not on my list of favorite places, and there's NOTHING to do here. And I also recently came to the conclusion that I need to embrace and enjoy it here anyway. Best of luck to us both in that endeavor!

calibosmom said...

I envy your bravery and positive attitude. Stay safe and let me know about the Scuba trips. My husband and I want to take a dive trip soon and would love to know some great places to go. Have fun!!!

Hazen5 said...

So glad you are coming home for Christmas, that's just what you need!

Keep your head up kid!

Paige said...

Hi Linsey, I've been thinking about you a lot and what you've been going through after your hideous summer and wanted to see how you are! I came to see why you haven't updated in a while and now I know! How's your job? And the adorable boys? I never had a miscarriage but can only imagine how horrible it would be after you've invested so much in the baby. Anyway, thinking of you and hope everything is good. How long must you continue in chavezland? Where's the next post?

Loren said...

Who are all these random people?

Arianne said...

Been thinking of you and yesterday came across an email you sent me before I took the leap to D.C. Sounds like you've given yourself a similar pep talk. It's easier to bloom in some places than others. I hope the Lord eases that burden for you over the coming months.

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