It was bound to happen. The protests, the objections, the rejections, the resentment. Why are we here? Why can’t we just go back home? It hurts when you have to acknowledge that you’ve inflicted that pain on your kids; I’ve been there myself quite a few times and remember all too well the bottomless pit of despair in which you find yourself when you’re in a place you don’t want to be and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Oddly enough, while Lea was the one who was by far the most apprehensive about coming here, Lucas has been the one with the worst bouts of home sickness. The first night it was sheer exhaustion and the overwhelming newness of it all that got to him, and more recently it was some rather ominous looking bug bites on his arms that freaked him out enough to send him into a spin. He’s a trooper, though, and he’ll get over it, but it is a huge transition to get used to being here for the long haul, and we’ve really got to make sure there’s time and space for the guys to acclimatize both physically and mentally.
Lea has had a chance to call her best friend Willa which was a big moral booster; she’s also had her first horseback riding session at the amazing place on Mt. Kigali that we’ve found (more in a bit), so she’s feeling a little less alienated by it all. But Lucas is an incredibly social creature and thrives on friends and the hustle of “the scene” – and we haven’t had a chance to get that established for him here just yet, what with the scrambling around to find cutlery and houses and sign legal documents most of the day. (Besides, most of the expat kids are back stateside visiting family and friends, and won’t be returning until we get closer to the start of school, and it’ll take some time to get to know any of the local kids once we get settled in.) He’s on facebook with people back home, but seems reluctant to talk to any of them directly just yet.
We bought an overpriced mini soccer ball and a regular size soccer ball (there’s also an American football floating around the house), so we’ve spent some time goofing around in the back yard of the house, often in the company of Cody, the adorable mutt who lives here and is thrilled to have some new company to hang out with. We’ve brought a mountain of books and games, but since we’ve spent this week in our temporary housing deliberately not unpacking, the laptop that Lucas thinks is his (except it’s not) and the iTouch that Lea brought has provided most of the downtime and vegging.
The kids have put up with a lot of really intense stuff over the past week, lots of alien scenes and situations, and they’ve dealt with it remarkably well. The other night we were driving back from a tour of houses north of the city, and I noticed that Lea, who has a tendency to take a glass-half-empty and it’ll-all-suck-anyway approach to life, had her head out the window of the car and was smiling broadly and looked content and comfortable — that was definitely the highlight of the day for me.