We get excited about things. It’s a normal thing to do, but I would say our little family can be a little extreme. I’ve been known to throw mini-dance parties because I can’t contain giddiness. Rayna bangs her little hands on the table and does her own little dance when she sees food she likes, because it’s that thrilling. And Jeff might play it cool, but he has plans spinning in his head all the time, many of which he can’t stop thinking about because he’s just so stoked about the possibilities.
Here in Chile, I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of anticipating sweet things to come. The days and weeks leading up to the arrival of visitors were filled with happiness as were the weeks leading up to Christmas. Just the mere knowledge that these things were on the horizon was enough to lift my spirits.
But there is the darker side of anticipation. It’s a place I’ve been tempted to go to a lot these last few weeks, because the excitement over Christmas has waned and a new calendar year pushes me to think of all the possibilities down the road. Sometimes my eyes are so constantly fixed on the horizon that I can’t wait to get to whatever is next. Unfortunately, when I allow myself to get lost in thinking about the future, I’m robbed of cherishing the beautiful, crazy, irreplaceable today.
Part of the anticipation trap is that I spend the majority of my hours with a toddler. Kids change so fast, so I know I should be reveling in the stage Rayna is in right now. Depending on the hour, this can be either terribly difficult or totally obvious. When she and I are battling over getting into her car seat/stroller/the elevator, it’s hard to not want to be doing a different thing in this life (you know, like all those things I did in our old life? Or even worse, all those things other people are doing and posting about on social media). But when she’s running around our apartment/the park/the pool (ok, she doesn’t run there, that would go against all of my lifeguarding instincts) and laughing and wanting me to be right with her, it’s all I can do not to well up with happy tears. I am so thankful to be in these moments with her. And if I’m gracious with myself and with my family during the hard moments, and not wishing for a life that is not mine, the sweet moments do come. By the way, the welling up in tears thing? This happens all the time here! Why is that?! Oh, ok, maybe it’s because life is a little intense when you’re still in the culture shock phase of an international move? Riiiight, ok.
For some reason, no matter how much I really want to embrace a slower pace of life, we can’t seem to totally slow down and stop making crazy (and often pretty complicated) plans. Right now, we have a trip to Colorado and Washington on the horizon, and if I let myself, I could spend hours every day dreaming about all the good friends we’ll see, great beer we’ll drink, and date nights we’ll be afforded while grandparents enjoy our kiddo. But that is not TODAY. That is then. While I anticipate a lot of sweetness on that trip, I really want to revel in today.
So we continue our strange Santiago life, enjoying summer as much as possible. I buy about 3 pounds of fruit most days (I’m now on a first name basis with the berry vendor on our street, thank you berry much), we are biking everywhere possible and wearing tons and tons of sunscreen (there’s a hole in the ozone near Chile, so it’s probably one of the worst places to have the world’s whitest baby…ah well, she has lots of hats). Our recent delight has been to head up 5 floors to the rooftop pool every night. Rayna is really loving jumping in the water, getting thrown sky high by her dad, and taking big gulps of water instead of blowing bubbles; our Chilean neighbors absolutely adore this and sometimes stand by the side of the pool to watch her (at least I think they adore it…they could also be watching to make sure we don’t let her drown?). It’s pretty busy most evenings as everyone is wanting to cool off, so it’s been great to get to chat with more of our neighbors and I absolutely love how there are people from all over the world living in our building. I won’t pretend its a mini United Nations or anything fancy like that, but it’s been fun to connect with with folks from other parts of the globe.
We know we are so fortunate to be having these experiences and to have a little pool to jump into; it’s just one of the many awesome things we didn’t know we’d get to enjoy in this city. There are days when this place is really hard to cope with, mainly because we are still wishing they did things our way. We forget that we’re really guests here (though also legal residents for the next 10 months, whoop whoop!), and we should be trying to learn from our hosts, not change them. When I stay present in the day, I realize there is so much goodness in this weird life we’re building. While I’ll continue to look forward to things coming down the road (because being excited about stuff is part of who I am), I’ll try to avoid tripping over today and instead, really love the place I’m at. Hopefully that leads to more great photos and fewer banged up shins!