A couple of things this past week have gotten me thinking. Everything is relative given your situation and life experiences. Bear with me while I get where I am going.
We had a pretty big wind storm this week in DC, as did most of the east coast to be fair. It was windy for roughly 24 hours here and 3 days later, there are still people without power. School and work were cancelled, some trees came down, and many people just stayed inside at home all day. My husband and I were talking about how it was somewhat comical to us after living in Wellington for 2 years. Wind there is an everyday occurrence. Not just any wind, but strong, gusty, blow you down the street kind of wind. It was just an every day part of life for us. The trees in New Zealand are different too. We rarely saw a downed tree while we were there. The trees can be gnarled and twisted in different directions or have a definite direction that all the branches grow, but they don’t uproot. They have adapted to the wind and their roots grow deep, while their branches and trunks bend.
I actually used to hate wind. It terrified me. Mostly because in my mind, wind could mean tornado. Tornados still terrify me. I grew up in South Carolina so I have plenty of experiences with hurricanes. I was in 5th grade when Hugo hit. Tornados are a rare occurrence in SC. I think it is the unpredictability that scares me the most, but not really having any experience with them certainly doesn’t help. Living in Wellington has helped me to overcome my fear of wind. The noise of the wind blowing at night used to keep me up worrying, but by the time we left I could basically sleep through anything. Unfortunately, our time in Wellington hasn’t done much to help with the fear of tornados.
As I said, I’ve got plenty of experience with hurricanes, but I was completely overwhelmed by our 2 years in Boston when we had 3 blizzards and the snow was 3 feet deep each time. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in Massachusetts so that was nothing new to him. He was fine to go out and shovel, play with the kids for as long as they could stand, and expect the mess that our house would become from the slush all winter long (and it is LONG). I was definitely not ok. I HATE being cold, I hate having to dig out my car, I hate sliding all over the road just trying to take my kid to school, I hate the bulky clothes and clunky boots. I pretty much hate everything about winter. I am a summer girl. I like hot weather and flip-flops, long beach seasons, and being eternally sun-kissed. My husband would rather eat sand than actually sit on the beach all day.
However, travel is something we can all agree on. It’s a good thing since my husband’s career requires so much of it. I travelled a good bit as a child, but not out of the US until I was a teenager. We already had a child by the time my husband left the country for the first time. Our daughter had a passport before she was a year old and had been to 2 countries by the time she was two. It took a little longer for our son to start globe trotting, but he has a few stamps in his passport now too. We all really love seeing the world and I feel like our lifestyle is giving our children a really rich experience that will help in growing their perspective of the world and how it actually works.
Our daughter has overcome her shyness and developed the ability to easily make new friends wherever we go. She’s been in 5 different schools in 7 years. She has made friends with kids from all over the world with experiences that are very different than hers. She thinks outside of the box and is confident in herself and her abilities. Our son has become more flexible than I ever imagined. While each transfer is difficult, he continues to move forward and thrive in each new place. He loves finding new places to run and climb in each new place we go. He has grown more caring and empathetic with all of his experiences and that will serve him exceedingly well as he becomes a man.
It is my realization that different experiences and circumstances shape our view of the world. It is my hope that this life we have been given the opportunity to lead will help shape our children’s world view for the better. It is my prayer that they use these experiences to find happiness & humor in their circumstances, courage to face their challenges, and the ability to make the world a better place.