Saturday, June 19, 2010

One Year

June 13 was our one year anniversary of moving back to the US from China.

That was last Sunday. And I spaced it. I was busy packing up the kids to go to football camp in Boise. Aaron was already gone. Life was crazy. So I missed the anniversary.

Maybe we need to go out for Chinese food tomorrow, just to commemorate our full year back. I can envision us sitting around the table talking about all the ways our lives have changed since our move.

The most notable change for me is that, now, after a full year, I'm thoroughly sick of housework and am ready to pay for my household helper (He Ayi) to fly over to the US to live with us in order to keep our house clean. And did I mention cook for us, too? Chinese food every night. YES. I wouldn't even mind her talking at me all the time. Or scolding me for spending too much money on curtain fabric. I honestly wouldn't mind any of that. I'm ready.

I also feel ready to adopt a pet. Which I guess means I'm feeling settled. Yes, we have the sea monkeys, but they're not all that cuddly. The kids want a cat. I want a cat, too, actually. A nice cat who won't claw up our furniture, who will poop outside, who will not mind the babies pulling his fur. I'm optimistic that we will find such a creature.

Besides that, summer is here, and so are we. We are not jet lagged. We are living in our very own (messy) house. The kids have their own beds, their regular sleeping schedules. We are not in a state of transition. Compared to every other summer of our lives with kids, this is an unusual one.

But we miss China. We miss the safety. I mean, yeah, we could have been mown down on the sidewalk by a bicyclist or taxi. And bikes were often stolen. But overall, we were very safe there. In contrast, Gabe went to a birthday party today for his school friend. The friend's mom assured Aaron at the door that she and her husband had worked for a nearby school district and had all their background checks complete ... That's just something you have to think about here. In China, the kids always seemed to be at friends' houses playing, even spending the night. Here, we haven't made close enough friends for our kids to have sleepovers.

That's a little sad.

I miss my friends. I miss the food. I miss riding my bike. I even miss all the crazy things that would happen on a daily basis that you couldn't possibly predict. I also miss the attention. All the people who were so curious and who asked so many questions about us. Call me insane for missing that. I probably am.

I don't miss the six flights up the stairs to my apartment (especially because the entire time I lived in China I was either carrying a baby around or pregnant -- or both!). I don't miss the spit on the ground. Or the pee. Or the dog poop (or the human poop). Or my stalker taxi driver who sang English love songs to me and yelled out my first name whenever he saw me. Ick.

But I miss China. I miss the owl that lived on the roof across from our apartment. I miss lying in the afternoon sun slanting through my bedroom window. I miss hearing my friends' voices carry up from the sidewalk as they passed below. And the pigeons that nested in the roof. And the gecko that lived outside our kitchen window.

And if you're reading this, and you're there right now -- or maybe you were there but now you're somewhere else entirely, probably in transition -- I miss YOU.


  1. Amazing, Amy! i can't believe you walked up 6 flights of stairs every day with kids and pregnant. And I love the part about the stalker taxi driver too. I can't believe it's already been a year!

  2. Awww, I genuinely feel missed!

    We're here, and here for the summer--it can be a little eerie . . . we're still saying some goodbyes and because of those, we'll do some transitioning ourselves, too.

    But we're settled. And we just got a cat. A nice one who doesn't claw up our furniture, who poops in her litter box, who does not mind Keturah's haphazard petting and wild cries into her face.

    We miss you guys too, Amy.

  3. Mrs. Sonnichsen,
    That really is such an accomplishment - being pregnant and managing your other little children up the stairs! I always wondered how you did it! Sometimes I barely made it up my 5 flights of stairs :P
    I love reading your writing and I really miss your family as well!
    I remember when I moved back to Singapore, I did something like you did after 1 year of being back - just reminiscing and missing China even more.
    It's such a bittersweet situation of being "home" yet missing the place where we have so many cherished memories.
    I love your family and miss you all very much!

  4. Beautiful post, Amy. And I think it's interesting that we so often think of China - or any foreign country - as a scary, faraway place, and yet you felt safer there than you do here.

  5. Esther VanderlaanJune 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    I agree with you. I miss China too. Luckily some old "China Friends" are visiting us.

  6. Esther VanderlaanJune 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    ....soon. In July :) But yeah, I miss China. I can sympathize with you. 100%.

  7. So, so, so well said. Make us miss China. AND the Sonnichsens!!!
    Dan K for the fam