Today is a day in the life of the mama in a foreign land!
Wake up at 7:00 (which is far earlier than I prefer) in order to make kids breakfast, lunches and find 2 items that they can have for snack which also satisfy the school's requirements for healthy options without packaging that creates trash. This is all before coffee because we have moved to our 4th living situation in 3 weeks and don't yet have our coffee here. Even if we did remember our coffee from the last apartment, we don't have our french press or stovetop bialetti so it wouldn't matter anyway.
Next, wake kids and while they are eating and getting dressed, make sure I gathered all papers I was translating via google translate and put them back in the right backpacks.
Get all of us to car-remembering which street we actually found a parking spot on last night. Plug school address into GPS but then try to talk through the route before the GPS with hubby, so we actually start to learn where we're going.
Park and walk kids into school. Depending on the day either wave as kids smile and skip off or peel a crying little girl off my leg and hand her to her wonderful teacher while trying not to cry myself. Stop by son's class to use a new word/phrase in the local language to ask a quick question about a paper I didn't understand and drop off school supplies.
Walk back to car, get in and take deep breath with hubby while we both regain our composure. Pray for our kids as we slowly drive away in what feels like agony.
Drive to language immersion office. Stand in line. Get to front of line and greet person (in local language). Ask if she speaks English (in her language) and if we are at the immersion office. Not be surprised when she says no only local language and then tells us first to go to the other line to register first before she can help. Secretly high five self that I understood that much! Stand in other line. When it's our turn explain we are from the US and want to take language classes and can they help. After listening to lady (in Flemish) explain that we must have Belgian ID card then she can get us work permit we realize they probably aren't the right office and double check is this the immersion office. She then quietly replies in English we are to go to the other office outside with another door-this is not the immersion place. We go to other office and wait in a group of 6 others. After 15 minutes we realize we do not have enough time this morning to meet with them and we go home.
Once at apartment, we make picnic lunch we promised for kids as they have half day once a week and we are going to a park for lunch. Then we head in to the office for a meeting where I listen to hubby tell our friend (and team leader) that today he wants to go home. I know he doesn't mean our most recent apartment either. Get through meeting with much better outlook by the end.
Pick up children who are both happy by now! Hang at local park for lunch and play together for a nice hour. Then when they are thirsty we walk through the park to find "sports shoes" which are special gym shoes they need (basically think cheap, white Keds). Find shoes-on 50% off even! Search, unsuccessfully, for boy's swimsuit that meets the requirements of pools here-think speedo but like shorts. Buy juice at local grocery store to have on ride home.
Go with new teammates to large grocery to show them around. Thank friend who's been here over a year profusely for her tips at the store. Try not to think about all the foods we normally buy that I have no idea how to get. Try not to wonder how in the world I'll ever get back into a sort of rhythm with shopping and meal planning and cooking with things mostly the same but just enough different to really throw me off. Congratulate ourselves on finding items to bake pancakes-my goal for the weekend. Text hubby to ask which color J wants for swimsuit as I found them-again, celebrate the little things! Go with teammates to nearby town for a walk, ice cream, visit to large Catholic church, coffee and seeing an amazing and really old building that never gets tiring!
Show new teammate into our previous apartment so she can settle-find several random things we forgot.
Meet family at Ikea for dinner-cheap kids meal night!
Come home to gather list of items for water fun day at school. Get stuck on the list when translate doesn't work for one word. Call teammate/friend. Write names on kids new shoes and swim gear. Laugh when teammate has no idea, nor do their kids (who are quite fluent!)
Reset breaker, after finding breaker box, 4 times to finally realize 4 appliances area all on same circuit and can't be on together (washer, dryer, dishwasher, fridge). Note that bathroom plug (for hairdryer) and microwave are also on same circuit. Shut all windows in 3rd floor attic apartment when mosquitoes the size of small moths start to come in.
Sit and pray with kids and hold son who is now crying about school. Try to just love him as he asks why we can't keep homeschooling. Try not to cry myself again. Pray and pray some more.
Sit down on couch to try to figure out how to deposit checks via scanning into our US bank account. Realize, I should have just dropped them at bank the day we left but instead now have to update computer and make more room for the update.
Decide to forget the checks and update blog instead.
Go to bed, setting alarm for 7:00 to do it all over again tomorrow.
As I lay down, remind myself what we told the kids. We trust beyond a doubt this is exactly where God has us! Ask him to increase my faith. Kill one last mosquito and sleep...
***Disclaimer-this is entirely true and entirely all one day. It is also ridiculously detailed partly for the family and friends that want to know and partly for my own remembrance as time goes on.