Alone in a Wide Wide City (sorry, Ancient Mariner)


It’s been a year since I moved. 1500 miles from Colorado to Virginia. And not just any old part of Virginia (which is beautiful, by the way). No, this was Arlington, Virginia, about 5 miles away from Washington, D.C.

The biggest part of the change for a country girl like me, though, wasn’t the traffic (though it’s terrible) or being in a big city (with all the millions of people) or even not being able to see further than 30 feet in any direction due to trees and buildings and hills (where DID the sky go?!). And even though no road around here goes straight for any appreciable distance, leading one to suspect that the city planners were slightly tipsy when they designed the road system, I managed to survive and even find my way around the area fairly well.

No, the worst part of the change for me was leaving behind everyone I knew (except for Jared, of course). When you’re part of a family of twelve, you have instant community. There’s always someone there to encourage you, tell you what you’re doing wrong (I’m looking at you, little brothers!), and do things for you. You don’t like doing dishes? There’s a little brother for that. You want someone to go shopping with?  A sister will be glad to oblige. You need a baby to hold? There’s sure to be one available, and it’s likely it will need a diaper change too (and a snack, and probably a nap, and then sister time…you get the picture).

DSC_0438
I miss my babies. But who doesn’t want to see a cute baby Annemarie?

Here in Virginia, though, I had very little to do. Nobody to take care of (whatever Jared says, he’s very low-maintenance compared to 6 little brothers), no school to do, no lessons to practice for. My only obligations were to cook three meals and day and keep our little bedroom in decent condition. Dishes for two are practically non-existent, even though I DID inherit the gene that mandates that for every meal you cook, you have to get at least 10 dishes dirty (counting silverware, of course).

Slowly, though, I’ve begun to feel part of a community again. I don’t have friends who drop in every other day just to say hi or siblings to ask me to help them. But  I’ve met so many amazing people by teaching their kids violin and piano. We have great neighbors who care about what we’re doing , who help us out.

And now that all of this community has been established, off we go again. This time we’re going even further away, and instead of speaking English, the 13 million people who live in Beijing speak Chinese. Probably as soon as we’re feeling settled, we’ll move again. But this time, Jared and I are a family. Instead of creating a family unit in a new place, we’re bringing one that’s already made to deal with the shocks and changes that lie ahead. So we look forward to this new adventure that will, I’m sure, be hard–but also amazing!

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2 thoughts on “Alone in a Wide Wide City (sorry, Ancient Mariner)

  1. Wow Annika, that was beautiful. I love that you write from the heart. It was hard to see you leave too but I’m glad the Lord has great things in store for you and Jared. And I’m glad you’re excited about China and that you made a new community in VI. God is good.

  2. Rose

    *sniff* I am glad you have come to such happy conclusions. Though I must say it leaves me a little teary eyed and red nosed to think of your leaving and not coming back for ages. *honk!* I guess i shall stand by and wave my symbolic hankerchief from Colorado as you fly away across oceans and into another life. *dab, dab* Tis all I can do other than pray for you. Oh and, I believe you forgot to mention that you missed all those wonderful hours you spent begging people to let you edit their papers for them. I’m sure that was a key point of grief within you when you left. 🙂

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