Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not a Whole Lot to Say

I don't have a whole lot to say this morning, but I realized that I hadn't posted any pictures of our little one bedroom apartment.

From the outside.
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The couch/futon where the girls sleep. Notice the fans? We don't have air conditioning, so I begin each day with throwing every window open and end each day closing them (stifling us) and locking them tight (but keeping us safe).
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The study/dining room.
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The kitchen, where only two of the oven eyes work, and I've had to use some major creativity to cook our meals with the appliances/utensils I have.
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I didn't take a picture of the bedroom or bathroom, but I will say that this is the first time since college that I've been able to vacuum my entire living space without having to replug the vacuum once. Whole house in one fell swoop.

I am really liking Seattle. I like the weather (It hasn't rained once, and I've decided the grey mornings are much too English for me not to like them :)). I like the endless possibilities of restaurants and museums and parks just waiting for discovery. I love the water and the mountains. I love that there are endless hiking trails just outside the city...now if I could just figure out how we're supposed to hike them with Pace and Mary Aplin? :)

I don't like the "big city" feeling. Meaning, I don't ever feel like I move or think fast enough for the people bustling around me. I don't like that I have only seen Jeremiah (awake) for about an hour and a half since he started work on Monday. After all that together time, the separation has been especially hard.

I don't like that Pace saw a clip from Shark Week (on the Discovery Channel), and it has pushed her over the "I'm having a hard time dealing with all these adjustments" edge. She was being brought to tears over little things before the Shark Week experience, but now the tears have become meltdowns and her fear of being left alone (especially at night when we are all trying to sleep) has become--manic. Last night, I found myself losing patience (not for the first time), when it hit me that it wasn't really the sharks at all. They are just a good excuse. She's acting precisely as I did for the three months BEFORE we left Birmingham...Do y'all remember me crying over the baby giraffes at the zoo and saying goodbye to my OBGYN's nurse?! Pace is not the only one losing it over the little things :), she's just come around to the mourning a little later than her mother. Yesterday, when I was chiding her over the "stomach ache" she urgently developed when I tried to put her down for a nap, she stated, through choked tears, "I'm just having some hard times right now, Ok?!" Where do you think she heard that?...probably shouldn't have laughed at her drama.

As far as sticking out like a sore thumb goes...we still are. Thanks for all the sweet encouragement from the "Sundress" post! I think I've pin-pointed the insecurity, and it's helped me to cope. I asked myself, "Why does it bother you so much for people to know you are Southern? Why would you stop trying to say "y'all" and try so hard to blend in? You are proud to be from the South...right?"

What I found was this: I am proud to be from the South. However, I feel like there's a stereotype that comes with a Southern accent. A stereotype that was only heightened by my sundresses. I was worried they thought I was stupid--ditsy. Floating around in my little sundress confused about the world at large, how it worked, and probably just dumb in general. That was the insecurity with the random people at the grocery store and other chance encounters. On a deeper level, what I've found as I've tried to make a real friend or two, is not so much that they think I'm dumb, but...uncultured. At least that's my unjustified fear. I assume people think that, since I'm from the South (or maybe a small-town in general) that I don't know anything about art or music...or have good taste on the whole.

Recognizing the source of my discomfort, has diminished it greatly. If they do think I'm stupid because I talk slow and squinch my words together, it's them who's wrong. Who cares? If they think I'm ditsy because I wear sundresses, so what?! If they think I'm uncultured and have bad taste...they may be exactly right! That's part of why I'm here, right? To expand my horizons. Experience something new! Remain me, while being open to growth, change. I know my Dad's scared right now ;) Don't worry, I promise to continue bathing regularly and remain un-tattooed and un-pierced. Off to start the day and say y'all with reckless abandon!

14 comments:

Mott said...

I have felt that same way at times--different, weird, like I didn't fit in. I don't know why it is so hard for some of us to just be who God created us to be! Perfect in every way (it sounds good but, oh Lord, it can be so hard)! I think for me part of it is the way I was raised with everybody liking me and if they didn't, then it must be me! How crazy is that??? It even sounds crazy saying it out loud! I'm glad you are enjoying Seattle and hope Pace comes around soon. Thanks for keeping us with you! It's a good feeling!

Gail said...

I love this post! You will adjust, and remain YOU!!! :O) I spent one full week in, Seattle, two summers ago...The temps were over 100 and we had NO air, let alone a fan! Hint...Freezer stuff is great! I would go and get a frozen peas pkg. Go and get into Ashley's car and turn the air up full blast. Sit for 20 mins. Run inside with the peas, and go to sleep! True story! Did it for one full week. :O)I adored going to the Fresh Food Markets...And, I would always have people turn around when I spoke...looking at me like..."Where did you come from?" LOL..Our five yr. old grandson is having adjustment problems, too. His Dad just deployed to Iraq, and he is acting out. It goes away!!! Just kiss the girls more, and learn to really laugh at all that is around you! It helps!!! :O)

Anonymous said...

I would go up to that guy in the produce isle and say "hey you look like you eat sushi where's the best place in town to get the best sushi. And say to people at the register - I just moved here and you are so lucky to live and work here --where is the best place to to XYZ (fill in the blank) --- See if one asks and "acts" as if they don't know .... others LOVE to Correct people and set them straight. Just give them the "Opportunity" to "correct" you and set you "straight" it works wonders for me and of course get a second opinion if what you are trying to find out is something really important. Also You have to be the eyes and the ears of Jeremiah these days you are the lewis and clark and he is the Thomas jefferson. It is what it is... so when you go to that great city park you know where to stop by and buy some great sushi !!!!also take notes cause this is a great plot line ( y'all being there) for a great coming of age story.

Bon said...

Abby, you have made the first step. You recognized. Now you need to work on redirecting - reframing your way of thinking. Finally once this is mastered, you can reflect - on the results of your thoughts and behaviour and learn from this to self-improve (your confidence).

I think we need to realize that not all people are mature, respectful, wise, or whatever you want to name it. If they can't accept an individual as being different from them well they have a lot of learning left to do.

I love my friends because they are different from me and I love me for being different.

There would not be much excitement in life if we all fell victim of conforming ourselves to "fit in"... reminds of the movie 'Wall-E' and all the remaining humans hanging out on the spaceship. Did you see them?! eek!

Anyway Abby, sorry for the length of this message, but my point is, I live a world away from you and find you intriguing and different enough that I keep wanting to come back to visit your blog. You have a good head on your shoulders and I admire you tons!

Keep that beautiful smile on your face k?

All the best.

Andrea said...

Great post, Abby!

Madeline and I are looking forward to the zoo tomorrow!

No Longer Newlyweds. said...

I know exactly what you mean. Don't you feel guilty for trying to not "act" Southern? I went through a similar situation. I moved from Alabama to Connecticut to work as a scientist for Pfizer. During my 1st day on the job, a supervisor asked me to explain a procedure. I did...and it took me about 20 minutes. When I was done, he just smiled and said "You talk so cute. I could listen to you all day!". I was crushed. I might as well have had MORON tatooed across my forehead. When I opened my mouth, people heard a redneck. It took me a while to realize that I had to develop a PROFESSIONAL voice that was different from my PERSONAL voice. I know it sounds crazy, but when you are trying to demand the respect of other scientists...it helps to sound neutral and not to say things like ya'll with a big smile across your face. It's still hurtful to this day. I feel like a traitor, but I know it's something I had to do.

Anonymous said...

Write your book! You are amazing, inspiring, and have a great depth of wisdom. I love your blog and am glad to read about this amazing journey your family is taking. What an opportunity to live life to the fullest.

Amy G said...

Hi Abby,

Susannah (Ivey) McCord let me know you've moved up here. You may remember me from First Baptist Church in Dothan. I've lived in Seattle for over 4 years and love it, though it DID take a bit of adjustment to the culture here. :o]

Also, if you're interested, my husband and I attend a PCA church that meets on Capitol Hill, in the Volunteer Park Seventh-Day Adventist building. It's at 13th and Aloha. Here's our website: http://graceseattle.org/

Please let me know if you plan to visit - I would love to welcome you! We have classes for kids age 2 1/2 to 5 during the 9am service, and nursery during 11am.

Amy Holland Grooms
amygrooms at gmail dot com
206.450.4391

Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss said...

It will get better. When I first moved out west--- I can't tell you how many drinks I had bought for me just so people could hear me talk.

Of course... you aren't in that stage of life right now! :) But still... they think we're from a different planet.

SleeplessInSeattle said...

My friend from Birmingham reads your blog and told me I should check it out. I moved to Seattle 3 years ago and am totally relating to everything you say!! Would love to meet you sometime!!

Anonymous said...

I must say the apartment is cute -- the photo of the living room looks like it could be from apartment therapy or something. The moldings on the wall well not every window has such generous moldings at least the spartan houses I have lived in-- also buying a place to live out there seem rather pricey -- is everyone living in the city well, I shall check out for my self the Median income levels and the poverty levels of an area do paint a socio-economic picture. But the grand homes you provided images of were no doubt built by the turn of the century capitalists that made money off of the gold rush -- those that either left to go( Buying expensive supplies) to the Yukon those that stayed and some found their fortune mining the unlucky transplants that had to make the most of it.

Caroline said...

my favorite part about your blogs is not only that you are a great writer who can make her readers visualize what she is writing, but the comments of those who have been touched. It is evident and your life is contagious! We all just need to know that your adorable life is filled with "real" everyday life just like the next person. So thanks for being open. honest. and real. Stay who you are and remember, the Lord is working through all things to mold us more into His image. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Abby,
I am your cousin and came upon your blog, I don't remember when. My mom, Margaret Virginia Marshall Reaves, is your dad's cousin. My grandmother, Pauline Marshall, was Runell's oldest sister. Hold that chin up. I lived in California for a few years and experienced just what you have been going through. What I discovered is that the South has been a convenient vehicle or tool for most others in the United States to feel and label themselves enlightened and intelligent and just outright superior. It's similar to the pesky little division conveniently placed between "liberal elites" and the rest of us. (If one hates or looks down on someone else, he or she can ignore their negative feelings about themselves.) I think I was having such a great time in California that I didn't pay attention to people's reaction to my Texas accent and the use of the greatest subject pronoun, y'all. (Heaven forbid that anyone considers "you" or "youz guys" or "you all" as linguistically superior as "y'all". I have seriously tried to promote the national usage of y'all.) What you will discover with your tremendous grace and intelligence is that the South is the most cultured area in the United States, and perhaps in the world. I know you will discover this on your own and write about it beautifully one day. I will pray for you and your beautiful family in these new and still trying times of adjustment and fear. I haven't read your posts well enough to know your plans and if you intend to return to Alabama. Think of your current situation as an extended vacation in a hotel. As quickly as possible, get to know some moms and children (especially other gracious and kind displaced Southerners) and immerse yourself in the local scene. Start a Southern culturel society. I mean that with all seriousness because the social connections so easily formed and relied upon (and taken for granted) in the South are more difficult in the West where you will find much more aloofness. I have nothing against other parts of the country, but am certain that nothing out there can possibly replace the strengths of the South. Place the photo albums with pictures of your wonderful family throughout the apartment for your daughters. I hope your dad or your sisters or Jeremiah's family or your friends can come visit (frequently) and reassure you and your precious little ones. Perhaps it would help if you only allowed yourself 30 minutes a day at a scheduled time to cry and be sad. I wish you the best. Diana Tough

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