These days after the kids are in bed, we retreat upstairs to hang out in Shun-Luoi’s air-conditioned office. Yes, the air conditioning is back on as burning season is upon us and the hot seasoning is knocking on our door! If you can imagine temperatures in the high 90s, higher humidity, and air that is thick, hazy, and often smells like something is burning next door (except it’s not), then you’ve gotten a taste of our life right now. As a result, this office of Shun-Luoi’s is always a welcomed place of respite after the end-of-the-day responsibilities have been finished. The other evening, as I trudged upstairs with an armload of items, it occurred to me that the four things I was carrying were fairly telling of some aspects of our life in its current season.
Item #1 – my planner. Much to my technology-advanced husband’s chagrin, I still primarily use a paper planner. To be honest, one of the things I love about beginning a new calendar year is getting to pick out my new planner! Laugh if you will, but I don’t mind being old-school in this respect. I love my planner and it’s even more crucial to me right now because the amount of details needing to be managed seems completely gargantuan most days. I am a “details person,” but even I feel choked by them at times right now. Selling items, preparing to leave our house, squeezing in last-minute appointments for services that are cheaper here, preparing for a 10-day trip to Cambodia that Shun-Luoi will soon leave on, social engagements … you get the picture. Yes, my planner is currently one of my BFFs. 😉
Item #2 – a baby doll. My daughter had gone to bed not knowing where her doll was, and after finding it, I took her upstairs to tuck her in safely with the little mama. This baby doll signifies that in the midst of all the transition, my kids still very much need me. In fact, transitioning again brings with it unique responsibilities and demands for me as a mother. As I watch some potential signs of stress creep into my kids’ behavior and attitudes, I am reminded that, even when things feel very overwhelming for me personally, I need to be watchful of how my little ones are doing and make sure I am caring well for their hearts right now.
Item #3 – an air purifier. We weren’t here during March of last year, so the effects of the ‘burning season’ were not something we had yet dealt with. Recently, however, the air quality measurements have measured at “unhealthy” in Chiang Mai at times. The poor air quality seems to be due to the burning of agricultural waste as well as forest fires currently burning in northern Thailand. It’s pretty bad and makes going outside fairly unpleasant at times; they have even cancelled flights landing at the Chiang Mai airport recently due to the lack of visibility. Bad air pollution + higher heat = interesting times when you’re trying to think up activities for small children.
Item #4 – my wallet. Well, this actual item itself isn’t all that telling about my life these days, but on that particular night, carrying my wallet upstairs had a very specific purpose because of something it held. This past January, I had checked my driver’s license because I had a sneaking suspicion that it may have expired this year. Unfortunately, it had expired in 2013. Preparing to pick up your life and moving it across the Pacific can apparently make you forget to do fairly important things … oops. As a result, I needed to call the Colorado DMV to inquire about my options for righting my inadvertent mistake. Long story short, I was told that there was nothing that they could do and that yes, if I wanted a license from the state of CO when I returned, I would have to re-take both the written and driving portion of the tests. And no, there was no “wiggle room” for those who had made such a mistake and then moved out of the country. After getting off the phone, I ran off to our room, laid on our bed, and cried. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often. 😉 However, it illustrates the type of strong emotional responses that our current stress levels can bring on. Things feel a bit messier emotionally these days and while I may not enjoy feeling this way, it comes with the current territory because well, I’m human and not a machine.
And there you have it, a sneak peek into my daily life right now. Who knew that four items could be so telling?