A while back I was reading about Travel myths and it got me thinking about the myths I have discovered since coming here. I feel like people expect only positive reports from the family living on the tropical island, in the South Pacific. Like they’re thinking, “Who are you to complain? You’re living in paradise!” While this is a paradisaical island, life still has its challenges.
While thinking about that, I began to wonder if this myth might just be in my head.
I feel so lucky and so blessed to be living here in American Samoa, it truly is a dream come true! Our life in Idaho was not bad, but the longer we stayed there, the more frustrated and heartbroken I felt. Every time I saw or heard a story of a family living abroad, I felt a little piece of myself die. I wanted this so badly and it was hard for me to see past my despondency.
Now here we are, living the life that we have dreamed of, and talking about more dreams, that we want to make a reality. How could I be anything but completely grateful and upbeat?
When I am posting a picture on social media or writing here, on my blog, I feel like it is very unfair and ungrateful of me to say anything negative. I have been given a gift and I need to show the appropriate excitement and gratitude.
But here’s the truth…
I miss Netflix. Sound ridiculous? I know! We do not have wi-fi at our house, just data on our phones and the standard, but somewhat, lacking wi-fi at the public library, where I can upload my blog posts and update apps on our tablets. I miss being able to watch an episode of Call the Midwife while I make dinner, or Modern Family with Nate, after the kids are in bed. It is these silly, little things that I took for granted before.
I miss Pandora. See above… I never realized how much data it used to stream music. I have splurged and listened to it a couple times while working out, when I was just desperate for motivating music with a good bpm, and ended up having to scrimp on my data usage, to make it the rest of the month.
I miss Little Caesars. Say what you will, I love being able to buy a hot and ready, large pizza for five bucks! Plus, I actually, really like the pizza. Really. After a long day, it was so easy to ask Nate to grab Little Caesars on his way home from work.
I miss Me time. I am really loving homeschooling the kids. I love being so involved in their lives and educations. I feel like I know them better and we are better friends than when they were going to traditional school. That being said, I enjoyed the times when I had guilt-free alone time, when I wasn’t having to find someone to pawn them off on, but just going through our daily routine. It was definitely easier to send them off to school, relax in the knowledge that someone else was responsible for their education, and then greet them with a smile when they walked back through the door.
I miss our family. We had been here for about a month, when I woke up one morning and, before getting out of bed, started running through the day in my mind. I thought, we should stop by Mom’s house, it feels like we haven’t seen her in forever. As soon as I thought that, I remembered that we couldn’t drive there, a little thing called the Pacific Ocean was in the way. So I called her instead. Last weekend, my cousin got married and I have been seeing all the pictures posted online. When I saw all my family gathered together, smiling and having a great time, I felt sad that I had to miss out. Immediately after, I felt serious guilt for being so ungrateful for where we are.
All of these things, we have brought upon ourselves. No one made us give up the life we had before. Recently, my dad reminded me of the phrase “The grass is always greener on the other side.” I try very hard to be grateful and content, instead of coveting what others have or do, but I have realized that it is OK to take notice and to feel. If I feel a little homesick when I see pictures of family gatherings, its OK. It doesn’t mean I want to pack up and go running back. If I get a little crazy from uninterrupted time with the kids, its OK. It doesn’t mean that I am a bad mom and that I don’t love them. If I miss Pandora and Netflix, its OK. It doesn’t mean that I am a pathetic, media junkie.
I guess what I am trying to say is, love your life. Live your life. Be grateful for the life that you have. But keep dreaming, after all, that is what brought us here, that and a whole lot of hard work. And while you’re living and dreaming and working, allow yourself to feel and to express the full spectrum of emotions. Be grateful and be real. And I will try to allow myself to do the same.
What parts of your life are you grateful for? What else is there, that you take notice of? In regards to those notable things, I suggest putting them into two categories: Not worth it or Worth it. If it is not worth the trade, acknowledge it, say goodbye, and then let it go. If it inspires you and it is what your dreams are made of, then hold on tightly and keep moving towards it! Tell me what it is, time to bare it all.
Samoan Language Study
This month we are studying human biology for our science and we are starting off with the song Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Try it out, see if you can sing the tune and do the actions, while singing the words in samoan.
Toes- tama’i vae