Starting Over (pt.1)

  January 19, 2009,4:00 p.m. Ryan Airport, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A. 

LOADS of luggage, heavy winter coats, 2 adults, 3 small kids, 5 carry on bags.  My parents, and brother, his girlfriend, and her parents, and siblings standing near the security gate crying our good-bye's.  My kids were somewhat oblivious to what was really going on.  No matter how hard I explained that we were moving for good to Romania, that I wasn't sure if or when we would ever come back to the states, they were fine, which was good.  I was okay, holding it together, that is until my dad hugged me and wouldn't let go. 

  I could feel him holding it in, and I lost it at that point - the tears flowed, no matter how hard I tried to restrain them.  At that moment I had a fear of that being the last time I would ever see my dad's face, his kind eyes, hear is infectious laugh, and be held in strong, safe arms.  Even now thinking back on it, I get bleary eyed.

Fast forward 20 hours: January 20, 2009 4:45 p.m. Otopeni International Airport, Bucuresti, Romania
Feel like I'm in a dream.  Just watched a miracle take place with my husband's Embassy issued Travel Document, and admitting to having been in the U.S. without a visa.  Romanian Border agent fixed husband's problems in the system - so now there was no more problem.  We gather our gagillion pieces of luggage on two carts and head out into the lobby.  There we are greeted by his two brothers and one sister.  Tears of relief, and joy are flowing freely.  My husband hadn't seen his family in over 12 years.

We leave the airport at around 5:30 p.m., seven hours later, at 1 a.m. we arrive to his mother's apartment in the small city of Tulcea.  We begin to start again.  Marius takes me all over the city showing me where he went to school, where he hung out.  I met his childhood friends.  I sat in the back-seat of his brother's small Dacia bracing myself in a daze, from what I was sure was going to be a head on collision due to small streets, and people not knowing how to park properly.  I understood nothing of what was being said.

I call my dad's cell phone to let him know we made it safe and sound, and were home.  It was nearly 2 a.m. in Louisiana, I got his voice mail, and hearing the sound of his voice made me cry.  It was a big adjustment for me.  I was okay for the first 6 months or so, and all it once it all hit me.  I came home from one of the "supermarkets" and screamed at Marius because of people pushing me with their buggies, or standing right on top of me in the check-out line.  The couldn't stand back and let me pay for my items, no they had to peer around to the read out to see my total.

  I walked in, slammed the door, and dropped the bags on the floor, and started yelling "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!?"  Marius totally oblivious to what I was talking about, was just sitting there stunned - I never loose it like this.  I explain about the check-out line.  He explains it goes back to when it was communist, and people had to get up before the sun to get in line just to get milk and bread and the stood close to each other to keep people from cutting in line.  I said I understood that, but it wasn't communist anymore.  Then I just started yelling about how everyone was a communist - to which Marius jumps up and just holds me close. 

I wouldn't admit it to him, heck, I could barely admit it to myself, but I hated it here, I wanted to go home.  I hated everything, and everyone.  I would sit in the bathroom and cry, because I didn't know what else to do.  What it really boiled down to, was my fear of never seeing my parents again, especially my dad.  I didn't realize that was where my anger and frustration was coming from until they came to visit us in August. 

They arrived in Bucuresti, we met them at the airport, when my dad hugged me, it was similar to the hug he gave me when we left, but this time, it was "I'm holding my little girl again" hug, not a "I'm sending my little girl off into the unknown" hug.  We were all of us crying, and everyone at the airport was staring at us.  They just don't display affection like that here - I didn't care, I had my dad with me again, even if only for a week or so.

When they left, I was okay, I was at peace within.  My fear of never seeing my dad again disappeared in the airport.  I would love to see my dad's house, to sleep under his roof again, and that might still happen one day.

I had spent 8 months in a foreign place trying to understand the language the cultural difference.  Getting some of it, but missing most.  I watched as my kids quickly adapted and learned a new language.  I watched as my oldest daughter started school in a new country, while still learning new words in phrases in a language she had learned only 6 months earlier. He aptitude for language astonished me.  She was fluent within 2 months of our arrival!  My middle child learned the after resisting to learn for six months, but once she let go, and decided to learn it, she was just as quick.  My son, my baby was only 18 months old when we moved here, he was still learning English - he stopped speaking all together for a while.  Now he is speaking both - not great at his pronunciation, but he understands and speaks both!


Gorges Smythe said...

I've never been farther than three states away from home and never for more than a week. I can't even imagine how I'd handle what you've had to deal with. You're a very brave young lady. This is sent with a prayer that God may bless you and your family.

Melissa said...

I agree w/ the above comment, you are so courageous! I love hearing this story & look forward to more. That is amazing how children learn new languages so quickly!