penny & jude.

November 30th, 2017. My sweet, beautiful babies are now two-year olds, and as they are down for their nap, here I am with only my coffee and reflections on the past couple years. I have shared this story to those close to me, but today, I want to share it with you.

It actually starts out a week or so earlier, at 37 beautiful weeks of what I could only describe as a perfect pregnancy. I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office on a Monday afternoon. The prognosis was Cholestasis [google it if you want details], and the best solution was to induce labor later that week. A nurse popped in the door, ‘Friday at 6am!’. Wow. Really? I can’t say I wasn’t a little excited despite my initial heart-on-the-floor reaction to the situation. After all, measuring beyond 40 weeks with our two little ones did present some unique challenges in my day-to-day activities and needs. Needless to say, I was also eager as ever to meet them. On the other side of the spectrum however, my heart was breaking at the thought of our children no longer having the option to enter this world on their terms. My eyes glazed over with tears as I nodded my head to the nurse. No matter what happened, one thing was for sure: we had a fantastic doctor who had plans to honor our wishes to have as natural a birth as possible. I was forever thankful for that, and always will be.

Over the next 4 days, Brandon and I tried everything we knew [and a few things we most certainly did not know, thanks to the advice of wonderful friends] to induce as naturally as possible. I wanted to avoid as many drug-related interventions as possible. When Thanksgiving day rolled around, we backed off a bit and enjoyed ourselves as well as family. Despite the anxiety, I slept well that night.

6am rolled around way too fast, and after snapping one of my last ‘belly’ shots, packing up the car with the rest of our things, there we were at the hospital. Things went so fast from there! I was taken to my room, and given a gown. I barely had it over my head when the first nurse came in and began hooking me up to IVs and monitors. Hand hep-locks suck. The anesthesiologist came in, and looked at me grimly when I refused her services. I shed my first tear of the day. I had worked so hard to avoid all this junk, just to be hoodwinked by a less common, yet unavoidable condition. I knew I needed to stop dwelling on that though. It wasn’t going to change anything at this point. I focused my optimism on the fact that we’d be meeting our children soon, and that they’d have a better chance of being healthy this way. One of the last things they did was an ultrasound to confirm the babies were still head down. They were indeed, and it looked like they were giving each other Eskimo kisses. It looked like a battle for who would be born first at this point.

The Pitocin was a slow build. As it gradually picked up, I experienced my first contractions. Call me crazy, but I was so excited! I had been working for this, and after the 12 weeks of Bradley classes Brandon and I had been to, I knew he would be the best coach, ever. Hours turned into our first day, and it was time for my first progress check. 1cm. Shit. My heart sank. After all that? But these things can take time, the nurses reassured me. I took a deep breath and managed to relax enough to get a little sleep that night.

I greeted Saturday morning hungry, yet hopeful. Things started out pretty similar to the previous. My doctor was so active in doing everything he could to make this work for me. At one point, I went off the Pit for an hour or so just to see if going back would jump start something once I went back on. Nothing. The contractions were getting stronger, though. Brandon was the best coach, and we labored just like we learned in our classes.

 

 

He was there for anything I needed, and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. Despite the pain, another day passed relatively in a blur. Eventually it was time for my doctor to stop by for my next check. 1cm. But how? I was having contractions! I could feel them! Things were happening, damn it, but why wasn’t my body responding? In an effort to give me a break and change things up a bit, the doctor ordered that I could go off the Pitocin for the rest of the evening, which would allow me to eat my first meal since Friday at 5am and have a nice sleep without drug-induced contractions or monitoring equipment.

Sunday morning came quickly, and I was back at it. Hope was starting to slip away as I lost more and more mobility as well as patience. The bags and bags of fluids left my legs swollen and virtually un-bendable, and I was running out of positions that offered any sort of comfort. Our doctor called in a plan to the nurses. I was to remain on the Pitocin for a few more hours to determine whether or not any progress was made, and if not, they were going to break my water. It was explained to me that this was basically a last ditch effort to give me the natural birth I wanted so deeply. If this didn’t work, they would have to give me a c-section. I couldn’t even say it out loud. The 9 months leading up to this flashed before me, and I realized that while I had always known a c-section could happen, I truly hadn’t made my peace with it. No time like the present, huh? I took a deep breath. ‘Let’s do this.’

In the midst of all the changes, Brandon called my angel of a chiropractor, and she visited to work her magic on my body and see if an alignment issue was the cause of our troubles. She even massaged my swollen feet and legs. [if you’re looking for a chiropractor whether pregnant or not, I will give you her information!] I spent the day breathing through contractions, and had only reached 2cm. At this rate, it was pretty clear we’d have to move on to the next option. Thankfully, 2cm was enough clearance for the nurses to break my water. I’ve got to say the sensation of gushing water at random intervals for quite some time is one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced. Where was it all coming from?!? It was a welcome distraction due to everything else going on. More time passed. My contractions stayed consistent, but by the time midnight rolled around, no progress had been made.

From there, things went reallllly fast. My doctor was on his way to the hospital, and I was getting switched over from my current IVs and monitors. They handed Brandon his scrubs, and gave me my catheter. This was happening tonight! Before I knew it, I was being wheeled to the OR. Man, that table is narrow and terrifying. I’ve heard friends talk about it, but when you see it in person it’s a real reality check. Naturally, the awkward anesthesiologist I turned away in the beginning was the one on duty. I had to laugh. She explained what she was doing, and went to work. Wow, epidurals work quickly. Anyway, there I was. I called for Brandon, who I hadn’t seen since they wheeled me to this new room. Of course he was right by my side. This was happening.
‘If you don’t want to watch the procedure, don’t look up.’  A nurse instructed.
My doctor confirmed that I was thoroughly numb after informing me he had just poked me with a sharp object. I appreciated the humor. The operation was starting! I didn’t watch at first, but I definitely stole glimpses here and there. I guess after everything I’d been through, I was over a lot of previous reservations. Then, the shakes kicked in. My entire upper body was a mess of uncontrollable shaking. It was definitely another intense experience, but before I had too long to dwell on it, word from the other end of the table was we were close to welcoming ‘Baby A’ into the world.

A few minutes later, my heart was filled with a joy that overtakes my eyes with tears just searching with the words to describe it. There was our little Penelope, held up above the curtain. I was overcome with every positive emotion I’ve ever known. Happiness. Relief. Gratitude. Pride. My little girl. They had Brandon follow them over to the table with her to get her cleaned up, and after a few minutes, he was holding our daughter by my side as we welcomed Jude into the world. Another flood of emotions.

He was confused and crying and, like his sister, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Nothing else mattered. Brandon had them next to me, and I got to say hello for the first time. They both looked over, and it completely consumed my heart. I finally was able to hold and nurse them while I got sewn up. Their impossibly dark eyes were both so bright and wide open. This was it. Our beautiful, perfect family – finally united in the flesh. The years of work, struggle, and tears… all for this moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penelope Lane, 7.5lbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Jude Rigby, 5.12lbs were finally here, in perfect health, and our hearts were complete.

 

 

This was it. Everything we had worked so hard for, and yet the real story was just beginning. It didn’t matter anymore what we had to do to turn the last corner. What mattered was that everyone was healthy, happy, and in this moment. I will always mourn the loss of my labor and delivery ideals, but I can take comfort that I gave it my all, and was surrounded by love and support the entire way.

So while we celebrate another year of the joy and love that has never stopped growing, I sure hope I never forget a single moment that is now behind us.

[c] loft3 photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Grizzly Sauce

Being plant based means giving up Greek yoghurt as a dip, (unless your area has soy alternatives) but doesn’t mean giving up on deliciousness.

Recently I made black bean wraps, and wanted something to pep it up. The following dip recipe hit the spot. It also works great with roasted veggies, on a piece of toast, or even with a Seitan fillet.

The Recipe

For one person:

  • 1 avocado
  • Handful of fresh baby spinach
  • Half of a zucchini
  • Splash of olive oil
  • One to 2 cups of water
  • As much garlic as you like (I used 4 knobs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash lime juice
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder

The Method

Just throw it all together & either blend in the blender, in the food processor, or with a hand blender until smooth. Taste & adjust accordingly, and enjoy!

It will hold in the fridge for up to three days, but best to use immediately.

If making for 2 people, just add another avocado & extra water.
If making for toddlers- leave out chipotle and prob. less garlic. Depends on your kid.

XX MacKenzie

Toddler Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for little ones, as it gets them in a good mood and ready for the days’ adventures. Hopefully. If it’s a good morning. But sometimes us moms run out of ideas of healthy choices to make for breakfast. Something fast, easy and nutritious. Here is a quick list of things we like to make Lily for brekkie. And as you can see, no, she doesn’t eat vegan. Because that’s not my choice to make for her.

  • her favorite is oatmeal. We mix oatmeal with flax seeds, chia seeds, and ground but. Add water, fresh fruit & cinnamon (if it goes with fruit.) when she was younger we added shredded veggies!
  • Egg omelet with fresh veggies such as zucchini, tomatoes, or shredded carrots. Sometimes we add a bit of cheese as well!
  • Smoothies! This are perfect when it’s got to be quick. We use a nut milk, oatmeal, fresh fruit (one piece), either zucchini or spinach, flax, chia, and blend! She loves these
  • Homemade bread with butter, peanut butter or cream cheese- depends on her mood and what we have on hand!

It’s good to switch things up for them every once in awhile, but once you find something they love- it’s smooth sailing! Don’t be afraid to experiment, they might surprise you.

On Feeling Overwhelmed

It’s one of those weeks. Jet lag x2, visiting my ill grandfather, a whiney toddler (is she teething? is she hungry? tired? bored?), two kittens who decided to pee on said toddlers bed. A husband who wants to talk and cuddle, work that needs to be done, a blog that needs tending to. Playgroups to attend, text messages to respond, phone calls to return. Dinners to plan, shop for and cook. Exercise to be made, clothes to be washed, and legs to be shaved (three weeks was my limit.)

Every parent has these weeks. Every stay at home parent, every working parent. Every fucking person who has ever walked this planet- has these weeks or days. But that isn’t comforting- is it?

Does it make anyone out there feel better when I say, “I’m feeling depressed because I can’t handle my life right now?” Maybe it does, maybe it makes everything seem relatable and easier. I don’t know. I know that right now I’m struggling to practice self-love,  struggling to practice patience with my strong-willed toddler, and struggling to focus on my marriage.

It’s funny how one week everything feels like it’s coming together, and the next week everything seems to just be falling apart (even though it really isn’t.)

So if you’re out there, reading this and nodding your head in agreement- or even just thinking “man, I know that.” Then take this as your reminder to stop. Stop and remind yourself why you’re doing all of these things. That the laundry is done so that our beautiful children have clean clothes, that dinner is cooked so that we can feed their hungry bellies delicious food. That work is a must in life, (unless you married rich-), relationships need tending and understanding. Pets and animals don’t always comply and act how we want, but that doesn’t mean we can stop loving them. Maybe that exercise can wait, and don’t worry if you haven’t shaved in weeks- it’s winter now.

Feeling overwhelmed happens, but we all need to reach out to people from time-to-time and release that energy and the pent up emotions. We can’t let a bad week get the better of us, and it’s important to have something to look forward to every day. (For me it’s the first cup of coffee in the morning.)

When I’m feeling like shit, and overwhelmed, I just try to remind myself it won’t be like this forever, and one day my daughter will be out of the house and my day-to-day life will be substantially calmer.

Or not.

xxx MacKenzie

P.S. don’t forget about yourself, your emotions, your mental health, and everything in between.

A friendly PSA: Holiday Edition

In lieu of the approaching holidays, I suggested to my immediate family that we take advantage of all the ‘together time’ and get some professional shots. I mean, come on! 1) When loved ones get together, it should be documented somehow. 2) We have super expensive, professional photography equipment at our disposal [my husband owns a photography business that I sometimes join him in], 3) professional photography is fucking expensive, so the fact that it is free in this case is really seriously awesome, and 4) By those facts alone we should be doing this several times a year as the kids seem to change by the month! I could continue with defending my rationale here, but I that’s not the part of this situation that needs help. That part rests solely on the ridiculous ideal that one has to look a certain way to be worthy of being photographed.

Yes, I’m referring to the never-ending list of “I’m too fat/ugly/etc.” comments that inevitably get thrown around by at least one person whenever photos are mentioned.  I grew up hearing this along with other disparaging body-comments, and as someone who is married/sometimes shooting partner to a professional photographer, you can imagine what we hear.

So to anyone who has ever used their negative opinion of their appearance as an excuse to avoid a photo-op [whether it be someone with their iPhone or a professional shoot], I’m going to lay a few things out for you:

YOU’RE WRONG!

Yes, you’re wrong. Regardless of how you’ve decided to feel about yourself, photos don’t give a shit. And quite frankly, what are you so afraid of? For people who see you on a regular basis [and care about you, by the way!] to see that same you frozen in a photo? We are so fortunate to have the technology to quickly [not to mention digitally] capture great times, milestones, friends, family, etc..  So let me say it again: YOU’RE WRONG! Your opinion is subjective, and does not dictate your value and eligibility to be in a photo. So get over it!

YOU ARE LOVED!

Chances are, the subject of photography came up because someone wants you in a photo. Whether you caught them mid-snap on their cellphone or they’re trying to schedule a date for a professional shoot, it means the same thing: they love you enough to want to remember you in a particular moment. Feel special! Feel loved!

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!

YEP. Hard fact. On a long enough timeline, all that will be left of you is photos, digital/audio recordings, etc.. Call me crazy, but I don’t think viewing visual archives of loved ones and events is going to lose its appeal. Just because YOU don’t want to see yourself, doesn’t mean anyone else feels that way! Not to mention, they probably have similar insecurities. The nature of being in front of a camera isn’t the norm for most people. It’s okay to feel weird or awkward, but do you really want that to exclude you from key moments and events? Well too bad if you answered yes, because [see above].

FIND YOUR FUCKING CONFIDENCE!

Do you want to know what the most beautiful thing is in a photo? The natural glow of someone who feels good inside-out. No, this does not mean you have to magically overcome all your insecurities, but you will need to take the time to work on what works for you.  Here are some things that have personally worked for me, my clients, friends, etc..:

  1. Style yourself in a way that makes you feel your best. Is there a certain shirt/shoe/shade of lipstick that always makes you feel good about yourself? WEAR IT! You deserve to feel good about yourself, not to mention represent your own personal brand and style. Believe me — when someone feels good about themselves and is comfortable, it shows through in photos. All the photoshop in the world can’t fake confidence! If there is a particular theme of the set [i.e. everybody wear blue, etc..], take what you like about your favorite clothing/makeup/hair styles and apply it accordingly. For example, if there’s a color at play, I’m always going to wear the darkest version of it I can get away with because I feel most confident in black/neutral clothing.
  2. Find your angles/faces. This is a trick that every artist I know [including our own photographers] swears by when it comes to photos. It sounds silly [and you will likely feel silly], but it works. I’m often called out on my signature 3/4 smile from my right side [you’ll start to notice it now if you haven’t yet], but it works and I’m not changing it! Learn what works and what doesn’t. I went through a phase where I would only do a close-mouthed smile. I have no idea why I started doing that, but one day I realized how much an open grin elongated my naturally round face. The same goes for body posture, etc.. I’m the type that never knows what to do with my hands. Posing in the mirror by yourself doesn’t really help this, but being more aware of what my hands are doing in photos does tend to help. Remember, even Kate Moss can get a double-chin at the wrong angle. This is always an advantage you have when working with a professional who is well versed in proper use of angles.
  3. Choose a reputable photographer. Obviously, you aren’t always going to be in control of this — especially if you’re the subject of a relative’s amateur phone or tablet endeavors — but you can put your best ‘face’ forward, per my advice above. If you are in the position to give a say in a professional photographer, look at their portfolio! Even better, do you know someone who has recently had a shoot? Ask them how they felt during. Just as it’s important for you to feel good about yourself going into this, you should also feel good around the person[s] taking the photos. A good photographer should be patient, kind, and all-around empathetic to how nerve-wracking and awkward it usually is to be in front of a camera. In my personal opinion, clients should feel like rockstars during a session. Don’t settle for less!

Lastly, if nothing else about this entry convinces you bite the bullet, I want to remind you that we truly have no guarantees to our days on this earth. Just as the saying goes to always say ‘I love you’ and to never go to bed angry, it goes double with photography. The second-last time I saw my cousin, we were at the zoo. I wanted to be in a photo with her, but I avoided it because I felt like it was a dorky request. Do you know how many times I have mourned the absence of that photo, along with the many other opportunities we had over the years? I truly have no idea why we never felt the need to be in photos together, but I know I’d give a lot to magically have some from our adult years together.

I hate to leave this post on a melancholy note, so I’m going to end with one of my favorite family photos to date [c] loft3 photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There I am, less than a week after giving birth [story to follow as we approach the big 2 for P&J!]. My body was still super swelled from being on fluids for so days and recovering from the birthing process. Just peep those tired, sparkling eyes, and the tattered black leggings because they were one of the few things I could wear comfortably. [Bonus points to my photographer, who even captured a shot or two of my swollen feet and legs because she knew that would eventually be something I’d like to look back on.] But what will truly stand the test of time is that I’m surrounded by my beautiful, perfect family. I will forever be able to share this moment — even well after my time here is up. This kind of authenticity doesn’t change like stories often do over time. This is real, and this is why you need to stop shying away from preserving your own special memories! My challenge for you is to make more of an effort to find comfort in the capture, and even more-so, to love yourself enough to know how much worth it holds.

Lxx

What is in a Name?

And the (quick) story of how we be

 

Lindsey & I had an unexpected turn at beginning a blog together. Over a text conversation one day, I had briefly mentioned that I was starting an expat blog. She then told me she was working on her public Instagram, and what she wanted to accomplish with that.

About five minutes later, we were starting our blog together.

 

Goals

First we had to figure out what we wanted to do with our blog. Do we want to only appeal to parents? What about writing about our love of vegan food? Once we came to the conclusion that we wanted to be an all encompassing website, the name came easy

Alles Mommy

“Alles” is German for “everything.” And Mommy, is because that’s what we are. We’re moms, your day-to-day moms. We love coffee, childcare, wine and binge watching bad Netflix shows. By day we clean diapers, messy spills and try to get as many vegetables into these wild toddlers as possible.

But we are also more than moms, and that’s what we want to talk about here. So while our name may translate to “Everything Mommy” we also mean the parts of mom-hood that have nothing to do with our children.

So excited to be on this adventure with you all,

xxx MacKenzie

 

Because you’re worth it!

I would like to preface that I am writing this entry on a Monday night — the very Monday night on the eve of the launch of this blog. I have caught myself holding my breath several times today, along with chugging coffee, swearing profusely, and generally becoming frustrated with everything and everyone in my general area. It’s times like this where the need to include a ‘Treat Yourself’ section on the blog really presented itself as a crucial addition.

The idea of ‘treating’ oneself is often presented as an act that involves spending ridiculous amounts of money or simply purchasing something totally unnecessary and materialistic, but simply put, treating yourself can be as easy as taking some time to do whatever the fuck you what.

And let’s be honest — moms are often so guilty of not taking enough time to do whatever the fuck they want!

Want to know what the fuck I want? I want a bath. I want wine. I want the water to sparkle and change colors and smell like candy. I want to Instagram and Snapchat the shit out of my phone without feeling guilty for pushing off a project or deadline. I want the water to be so bright and colorful that I can’t see through it and start to judge my body. I want weird, spacey music, and I want to stare at my plants. Or read a book. Or a trashy gossip column. Or all of that, because in this edition of TYT, I’m going to make the time for it.

So let this first TYT — albeit a bit bumpy and angsty — serve as the first of many reminders that you need to take the time and effort for yourself to be your very best.

Love,

L

What’s in my purse: November Edition

As we get to know each other, I thought it would be fun to do a what’s ‘in my purse’ segment — aka, my current obsessions that go everywhere I do.

Makeup!
As always, let’s start with my makeup bag! I’m always searching for ways to minimize time without compromising aesthetic. I recently got back into pencil liners, and truly — is there a better liner than from Urban Decay? I have tried A LOT of liners over the years, and while it always excites me to try something new, I always find myself going back to their cult collection. My universal go-to is their 24/7 Glide-On Eye pencil in Perversion. This is probably the blackest of all black liners, is super matte, and it glides on to such dreamy perfection! I’ve been too lazy [and cheap] lately to re-stock on liquid liner, but I’ve been totally okay with smudging and smoking the shit out of this stuff to create 90’s grunge eyes for days [as seen in my photos below]. It’s as quick or as complex as I want to make it, and I love that kind of freedom.

Fashion! 

While we’re discussing eyes, I am a recent inductee to the four-eyes club. For years, I had a prescription to help alleviate eye-strain that comes with designing on a computer for 40+ hrs a week, but after getting constant headaches, I knew I needed something a little more. ‘4-years ago Lindsey’ would have picked up some Versace or Gwen Stefani frames and not thought twice about it, but ‘Lindsey with kids and a mortgage’ has a slightly different opinion on 300$ frames. I have been hearing about online frame/prescription places for years, and now I finally had a reason to investigate. I went with EyeBuyDirect.com, and basically used the measurements and styles I had tried on at the office to be my guide for buying, along with a digital ‘try them on’ feature the site offers. Yes, this is kind of a pain and ultimately a crap shot, but a pair of fashionable, nice frames for less than 100$ and free shipping is hard to pass up! I ended up taking advantage of a BOGO offer, so I even have options, now. For two totally tricked-out frames [and by tricked-out, I mean I got a special coating for screen-viewing protection along with anti-glare], I think I spent a total of $130. Less than a pair of frames from the office! The only drawback is, unless you want to pay for better shipping, you can wait for up to 2weeks. I braved it because my cheapness outweighed my headaches.

I am also a sucker for beanies. As soon as it gets even kind-of chilly outside, you’ll see me sporting one. Love Your Melon not only carries some of the best beanies I’ve ever owned, but they also donate 50% of your purchase along with kid-size versions of their awesome beanies to children battling cancer. How can you NOT support their business with such a win/win situation?! I don’t go anywhere without a beanie in the autumn/winter months, and I can easily see myself owning a sizable collection after this season! Special note for vegans — they now offer faux leather patch versions!

 

 

 

 

Yum!
I absolutely love pumpkin seeds all year around, but I especially crave them during this time of year. I love to roast seeds from pumpkin carving, but staying true to what’s in my purse, I can’t get enough of the Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt Kind bars. It’s the perfect sized treat — not to mention, the perfect amount of sweet and sustained energy for this on the go momma.

source: kindsnacks.com

Fun!

I have always loved video games, but I have not always had a full time job, kids, and chores! For over the past decade, I have defaulted mostly to Nintendo’s handhelds for a majority of my gaming fix. This year, they came out with the Switch, which allows for both TV and handheld play from anywhere. Super Mario Odyssey just came out, and as a life-long Mario fan, I’m on cloud nine!

That’s all I have for this edition. My favorite things change almost as often as the weather here in Cincinnati, and with the approaching holidays, I’ll have a lot of fun special edition things to obsess over, I’m sure.

Cheers!

L

 

Interviews With Expats

Living abroad, people tend to hurl questions at you a mile a minute. Which is good, they are curious and want to learn. The problem is, my situation is completely different than someone who is let’s say- from Brazil. My experiences as an American abroad are coloured differently because of the glasses I’m wearing- being from the states.

I realised recently, that people are nosy AF. Which again, I love. I’m nosy AF too- tell me about your family, until you’re blue in the face. Want to play 20 questions? Perfect. But with being nosy, and other people being nosy, at some point it’s exhausting to be asked the same questions- over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

The Solution?

I’ve started a new series, called Interviews With Expats. I will be meeting with people from all kinds of backgrounds, religions, orientations, language skills, and nationalities. Long term expats, and short. Married and single, and everything in-between to give YOU- the reader, a well rounded view what it is like to be abroad and away from home.

As we type (speak? whatever) I’m working on my first interview with a woman from Brazil, so get ready to read some good content!

And if there is any question you’ve ever wanted to ask an expat- just comment it below and we can begin a conversation & it might even be added to future interviews!

xxxx MacKenzie

Where Does An Expat Belong?

Can someone tell me? I would love the easy answer.

For the last five years I’ve been an expat, and yet I can’t figure out where I belong. When I’m in Austria in my apartment that overlooks the skyline in Linz, I feel cozy. Warm, like this could be where we live for the rest of our lives. Then I walk out of the front door, head to the grocery store, and lose that feeling. What is it about grocery stores that make me feel like suddenly, I’ve become an alien? It’s the not labelling that is difficult to understand, or the prices, but maybe it’s how other people behave inside of the shops. Or the selection.

I don’t know.

The Feeling of UGH.

So when we are bee-bopping around doing our daily business, it comes in waves. “This is amazing, could stay here forever,” to “Oh my god, where the hell am I?” And it’s frustrating, mainly because the reality is, is that my husband, daught

er and I will more than likely always live somewhere in Austria. You never know, but that is something we have mostly decided upon. So the second question I have is, why is it so difficult for me to accept what I perceive as “flaws” or “differences” in my new home country? Not like I haven’t been here for a few years!

Again, where does an expat belong? Or more specifically, how do other expats out there handle this? Do you guys also have this weird tug-of-war relationship with your new country vs your home country? Because at the end of the day, I’m not really wanting to live in the states either, just want some of the things they have to offer there, here.

 

When I started this post, I wasn’t sure where it would take me. Personally, I have had a great struggle with accepting a lot of things surrounding our decision to stay in Austria, and I don’t believe that I’m the only expat that feels that way or has had those issues. But within the community, at least the one that I have been exposed to- you either love the host country, or you hate it. But I don’t feel that way, I don’t love Austria and I don’t hate it, I enjoy it sometimes and other times it frustrates me. Like a real relationship. (Is it weird that I feel like I’m in a relationship with a country?)

My hope is, to start an open dialogue about the difficulty we can sometimes face when coming to terms with a new country, language, lifestyle, culture, traditions, etc and how we can truly learn to live and come to peace with it.