Wow. It's been a really wild few days... er, weeks. We've been ticking off one item at a time from our "to-do" list, the vast majority of which seems to somehow involve the dogs. I have been at some type of veterinary establishment for each of the last three days, compiling Otis and Rudi's medical records and mounting proof that they are indeed Rabies free and fit for travel. Today's trip to the USDA in Annapolis was (hopefully) the final step. The tricky part of transporting dogs is that none of the paperwork is valid unless it's done within 10 days of travel, so no matter how organized and proactive you are, there's no way to really prepare ahead of time, with the considerable exception of knowing exactly what you have to do beforehand.
So, all of our stuff has been shipped and by all accounts is on a freighter somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Our car was picked up today and will be loaded onto another ship on Friday. Our newly purchased luggage has arrived and is sitting, across the living room, staring at me, wondering when I am going to fill it up (gosh, I hope all that remains will fit!!!) It seems like everything is in order. There are still a few items on that "to-do" list, but nothing insurmountable-- just little things like buying a weather guard for our double BoB stroller and doing a couple of loads of laundry.
In five days, Stefan, Adela, Flora, Otis, Rudi and I will board a plane, bound for Brussels, Belgium. It is a fact that I have no way of processing in advance. I feel sudden moments of electrifying excitement. I feel utterly exhilarated by all the unknowns. I can't wait to see our house. I can't wait to take my first walk around our neighborhood. I dream of the local restaurant that will soon become "ours" on the nights I don't feel up to cooking. I can't wait to ingratiate myself to the local butcher, baker and candlestick maker! I want to make the most of every minute that we live in Brussels because if the last 7 months is any indication, time is going to go by terrifyingly fast.
I do feel very blessed that our first post is one in Western Europe. While it might have been nice to be in a more affordable place, where babysitters and household help would be within our reach, I think the undeniable comfort of Europe and the excitement surrounding it is just what we need right now as a family. We've had a tough few years. My mother is very ill, as I've recently described. My father is arguably more ill, as he is a terrible alcoholic who seems to have reached rock bottom in the last year (let's hope) and has done everything in his power to bring the rest of us down with him. Subsequently, he and my stepmother are splitting up and that is proving to be as ugly and painful as it was the first time around for me. In addition, Stefan's mother suffers from Alzheimer's, the most tragic disease of all and one that requires all of his father's attention and patience.
All of this has happened as we have been building our own family, trying to become whole and grown-up. With every joy we've experienced in the last two years, it seems some hidden challenge jumps out from a closet to threaten that happiness. It has been said that God gives you just as much as you can handle. While I am not entirely sure about the "god" part, I do feel as though the universe posted us to just the right place, a place where we can be comfy, cozy and free to focus on being our best selves. I look forward to that, more than anything.
And on that note, here are two recent pictures of our girls. Addy is talking-- stringing together sentence after sentence. Flora is crawling and knows the meaning of "mama" and "dada." Her little mouth is rapidly filling with super sharp teeth and she's growing up way too fast for my taste.
Adela, 2 years:
Flora, 8 months:
Again with This
4 weeks ago