And I know that my parents and in-laws are reading, just waiting for bait they can use in their on-going campaign to get us to *finally* move back to the USA.
So I inevitably censure myself, trying to focus on the positive.
Then again, I also have readers who are expats well into their time living abroad... And if I limit myself to the upside of living overseas, they may very well sometimes feel that they're the only people having a hard time of it.
I cried myself to sleep last night. I feel so utterly alone and tired.
My kids are old enough that they realize that they're getting a Russian childhood INSTEAD of an American one. There have been repeated instances this summer where they have "Ah hah!" moments and then take it out on me.
I actually have black and blue bruises on my right side from when Natalia hit and kicked me this week, completely losing control in her frustration (and sleep depravation).
And I'm alone in it. Because my husband is working, BACK IN RUSSIA. He doesn't have enough vacation time to be with us while we visit all grandparents... While I try to think of everything we'll need for the year—and then purchase and pack it, taking into consideration how the airlines have halved our baggage allowances.
And when we get back to Russia? Well, everyone at work will think, "Wow! You had a vacation all summer long in America! So now you can DIG IN!"
In actuality, I get back to Moscow utterly drained. It's not a vacation staying all summer in other people's houses, invading their space, trying to follow their rules, planning for your year's needs, and tending to your kids. NOT A PICNIC. NOT AT ALL. And I'm trying to actually work during all this, since I need to do ALL planning for the literature and history seminars I'm teaching for our seniors, procuring all necessary materials.
And I'M STILL SICK. STILL HAVE STREP THROAT, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF JUNE. I went to a clinic today, desperate for help. And they didn't know what to do, didn't want to give me antibiotics since I've had three unsuccessful courses in the past six weeks... My lab results come back in two days; we'll figure out what to do then...
In reality, the only break I've had in over three years were the few days we had in Greece in June. That's it.
And last week I learned that we've lost our beloved babysitter/housecleaner in Moscow who makes it possible for me to work full time. Her mother is ill and she had to move home to care for her.
Then when I got to my in-laws' last night, I learned that my sister-in-law's three kids are here for more than half of our time here. And she'll be on an emergency business trip, leaving me and my exhausted and stressed-out in-laws with her children—including a ten-month-old who has never slept in a crib. I can't really fault her; her husband was laid off when she was a month pregnant with the baby and he still hasn't been able to find anything! He's a great guy, and this has been so hard on them all...
I want to leave, though. I can't get more worn down. No one will take care of me, and I have to get my family back to Moscow, and commence another grueling year at work. I wish I could escape to a resort with childcare (not like I've ever really been to one elsewhere, but I know people who have!). But those don't exist in the USA. I can't go visit friends, since I'm contagious. And I'm too tired to fly back to Russia yet, and I haven't finished our necessary packing. And my husband? Considering that I'm staying with my in-laws? His passport and visa were stolen, so he can't come. Maybe he'll get a replacement in time. Maybe not. And why was it stolen? Because he most likely left them in his briefcase in our car, unlocked--an understandable oversight, given that it's around 11o degrees Fahrenheit in our apartment (with no modern windows that open, and no air-conditioning... gotta love Moscow... it's super hot "chez nous" ALL year round... ) and he had driven to the fourth store praying to find an air conditioner or more fans...
So I'm stuck. Five kids means more stress. More mess. More planning at meals, more laundry. More responsibility.
I'm feeling really, really nasty because I'm not joyfully jumping to pitch in and care for my nieces and nephew, and because I'm SICK, and also sick of the whole "expat summer."
I'm Scrooge. Sick Scrooge.
I just feel like crying. In America, but not where I am right now...
p.s. I TRIED and TRIED to figure out day camp options today, but everything my kids would be interested in is filled. It's not fair for me to punish them with "day care" options... THEY never chose to be expat kids with this lifestyle... They can be bitter enough as it is!
We have two girls from church coming to babysit during the day for the next few days--but they can't just stay in the house, since my mother-in-law teaches lessons here. Only three kids can fit in a car, so I can't take them all somewhere; and the sitters don't drive. So some kids will stay here, others can come with me. But that still means I have to be active, not just sleeping on the couch while my kids quietly read/play/ watch TV. My kids would actually do that if it were just them, but not when you add three more kids into the mix...
I can't just leave Colorado since Katya can't see her doctor for the next year's supply of Ritalin for her ADD until *next* Friday (he's on vacation this week). UGH, UGH, UGH!
And this Friday the girls have their dental/ortho intake appointments rescheduled since we missed them on Tuesday—when we missed our original appointments because we missed our connecting flight Monday night (but got to visit my best friend from college for the night while stranded in Atlanta! Yay! There has to be *some* upside to this tale of woe!).
READ THE COMMENTS TO SEE MY RESPONSE TO A COMMENT CRITICIZING ME FOR MY LACK OF PARENTING SKILLS. IN MY RESPONSE, I ADDRESS HOW EXPAT CHILDREN CAN FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS WHEN THEY HAVE MEDICAL/BEHAVIORAL NEEDS, AND HOW I'VE DONE THE BEST I CAN FOR MY GIRLS.