6

Expat-iversary

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of my “retirement”.  I never actually set out to retire.  In fact, I thought I was embarking on a romantic adventure to raise my daughter bi-lingual in a charming and provincial Swiss winemaking village.  We knew that we were “localizing” in Switzerland.  We knew that it would be up to us to find a road back to the US, but it seemed like such a ripe and exciting adventure that we didn’t stop to consider my career at all.  It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t hold any paying position of any kind for a decade.  When Bookworm was born, it wasn’t a reasonable option for either of us to consider staying home…and to be honest, I really loved my job.  I liked having a career identity.  The 80s were a magical breeding ground for bright little girls-we all saw Melanie Griffith take over in Working Girl.  We wanted giant shoulder pads, big hair, and the corner office.  Well I did, anyway.  I got a degree in Business because I wanted to wear suits to work and tell everybody what to do.  So-imagine my surprise when I had my first child and I began to wish I could be home with her.  I hated missing her first words, her first tooth, snuggling with her when she woke up from her afternoon nap.  When the opportunity arose to move halfway across the world and live a “storybook” stay-at-home life in a quaint European village-I didn’t just go willingly…I leapt joyfully.

I remember thinking, right around the 4-year mark, that I would find a job when the girls were both in school full-time.  My French was passable, with some effort somebody would hire me.  And then we moved to Hong Kong.  Job opportunities were actually abundant.  I signed up for Linked In and received at least a dozen different inquiries about my willingness to work or consult or come in for an interview.  But I didn’t want to work in Hong Kong.  For the first time in five years, I had time to myself.  I was able to be a part of my kids’ lives..but my life wasn’t ONLY my kids’ lives.  I had friends, and places to go and see…and let’s face it.  Hong Kong is awesome.  I only got 18 months there!  I sometimes think I would have eventually gotten tired of working out and hanging out and gotten a job if we were still in Hong Kong.

But, the truth is…I could probably get a job in Bangkok.  I’ve been contacted via Linked In in the last year.  Despite the fact that my profile is 5 years old.  I haven’t had a job in a decade.  I realize that means if I do decide I’d like a career (not a job), I will be learning something entirely new.  Because my field has changed so much I wouldn’t  recognize it.  I worked in media before social media existed.  I’d be working for a 20-year old.  My ego can’t take that.  She probably wouldn’t even know who Melanie Griffith is.  Wait-she might…she’d ask me if she was the MOM of the chick in the 50 Shades of Grey movie.  And then I would start to cry and run out of the office.

See?  This is why I cannot think seriously about working again.  I have a few friends that re-entered the workplace after 5 or 8 or 10 years.  They are all smart, and successful and capable and clearly less prideful.  The truth is this-I wouldn’t hire me.  The reality is this: I’m a mom.  As much as I lambast myself for being a sucky mom-I’m doing my best and that is, actually, enough.

As I was pondering this fact, I also realized that next month is our Expat-iversary.  It’s also been a decade since we left our home country and went out on the road.  Greener pastures, as it were…

I can’t remember that actual date-but I do know I quit my job in March, spent some time visiting our family in Colorado and then moved to Switzerland in April.  I know for a fact we were well-settled and jetlag-free for bookworm’s First Birthday.

I wonder sometimes if it’s weird that I mentally acknowledge (if not celebrate outright) these little milestones.  I do know the date we were asked to move to Hong Kong (July 4th) and the date we were asked to move to Thailand (June 11th).  And I know when my family arrived in Asia (December 27th).  But I think it’s not.  I think these are the dates I hold on to because they mark significant moments in our personal story.  I don’t have career milestones.  I stopped wondering if I’d be a Director or a VP “by now” a long time ago.  I don’t have a “normal” life.   My kids won’t have one wall where their heights were marked for their entire childhood.  They won’t be able to easily go back to visit the playground they went to with their nursery school friends.  We won’t visit their kindergarten teachers when they are in High School.  Instead, I mark these dates and talk with them about where we have lived, and what that was like and I try to show them photos and remind them of our friends and what the vineyard road smelled like during the vindage in our tiny Swiss village.  I talk to Bookworm about the boulangerie in the village above ours and how they didn’t have a door but a giant velvet blanket keeping out the cold on frigid January mornings.  I remind the Bean of what it felt like to be the only pale face in her nursery school in Hong Kong, and how she explained, deadpan, to her grandmother that she likes rice because “I am Chinese”.  We talk about how every Thursday after I picked her up from nursery school, we walked to the Deli France in Stanley Market and shared a mini-quiche  (who seeks out French fast-food in Asia, you ask?  One whose 2 year old was born in Switzerland and raised on tea-room quiche and pain-au-chocolate).  I try to hold on to these little things because Expat-iversarys are weird but real.  They are moments that matter for my kids.

And then I wonder.  If (when) it’s time for us to roll on from Thailand…what will I remind them of?  At the moment, I think it will be the heat that makes your eyeballs sweat.  But it might be the call of the locusts at 6am and 6pm.  It might be the call to prayer that we can hear from Bookworm’s bedroom at 6pm from the muslim community out our back gate.  It will definitely be the taste of ripe mango mixed with creamy coconut milk and chewy sticky rice.  It will be riding their bicycles to school-alone-at age 7 and 10.  It will be the safety and the freedom.

Before I go get all sentimental on you, I will also remind them that the internet doesn’t work.  There are always rats in the ceiling and they have to go to bed with an electric bug-zapping tennis racquet next to their bedside or they will be eaten alive in the night.

Just keeping it real, folks.

4

Epilogue (Beans, Brownies, and Loving thy Neighbor-hood)

An epilogue to the Come Apart over the Bean Embargo.

It took me nearly 5 years to come back to writing a blog.  I spent a lot of time worrying about what people thought about what I was writing.  I was concerned with other’s perceptions and impressions to such a degree that I realized I wasn’t using my authentic voice (even in my own head) when I was trying to compose an essay.  It took going cold turkey off Facebook to force myself back inside to find my voice.  Truth be told, I’m frequently caught off guard when people come up and talk to me about my blog.  But 99% of the feedback I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive…and I’m so happy that people actually read what I write!

People read my rants!  And either commiserate or laugh (at??) along with me.  It’s almost overwhelming to realize that it’s not just my 5 closest friends and my immediate family taking the time to read whatever daily brain soup I’ve regurgitated onto the blog.  It leaves me feeling a little bit guilty and indulgent sometimes.

Yet he most incredible thing happened this week.

Within an hour of my admittedly ridiculous bean-motivated come apart admission, I received a call from a friend that had seen some beans at a store downtown and picked them up for me.  I had this surge of gratitude that left me speechless (no small thing).   She’d actually purchased them BEFORE I’d posted my little rant.

About 2 hours later my doorbell rang.  Another incredibly thoughtful (and let’s be honest here, generous) friend had taken a detour on her nightly walk with her dog to bring me a to-go container full of home-made black beans.  She knows they’re not readily available, obviously.  She made the batch herself.  But she not only was willing to share them with me-she delivered them to my door.  There aren’t really words to describe the feeling of gratitude that comes when someone has done something so completely unexpected and kind.  I’m sure I was goofy and awkward in my thanks because I was, honestly, trying not to cry.

At school yesterday, at least a half-dozen people made some kind of reference or mention to me of the bean issue and either commiserated or offered me some kind of offering from their own personal stash.  I don’t even know how to accept that kind of kindness.  I can’t take their beans!  That’s madness.

At least three different people offered to mail me cans of beans from the USA.  It’s truly incredible to me-how these small kindnesses just take my breath away.  I’d love to say yes to the offer of bean shipments.  More than anybody can possibly know.  But as anybody who has dealt with customs and duty officers in places like Thailand knows…it’s never worth it.  IF the item makes it (which often, they do not), there is always a duty fee that completely negates the value of the shipment.  I once received a package that had been overnighted to arrive in time for Bookworm’s birthday.  It was mostly small things-all treasures to an 8-year-old but nothing valuable or precious.  It had a declared value of $50, but the shipping cost had been $100.  I was levied a duty cost of 60% of the value of the item as well as 60% of the value of the shipping.  That’s right.  I paid $90 to get the package from the customs office.  It’s madness.  And while my frustration with the lack of beans is pretty high-it’s just not that high.  I admit to my dose of crazy, but it’s not that extreme.  Yet.

Genius friend has a stockpile of black beans in their natural dried form.  She has kindly provided me with enough (cooked!) for one batch of black bean brownies during the long bean drought.  But I really don’t want to take advantage of her kindness.  Yesterday she found bags of dried beans at another grocery and picked me up a half-dozen.  Yes-you read that right, I am now officially one of those awful hoarders that I complain about.  That said, I will share if another Nichadonian wants some.  I’m just fed up and want my beans.

Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required

Later in the afternoon my doorbell rang and The Husband went outside to speak with whomever was at the gate.  He came inside with a big package (incidentally from my favorite perfume designer, so I was really intrigued) and a puzzled look on his face.  I asked him who had delivered the package and he said it was someone’s driver walking their big black dog.  They simply asked if Khun Andrea lived here and gave him the package.  He watched silently as I opened the box, unwrapped the ribbon and instead of pulling out bottles of perfume, I extracted 2 cans of beans.  One of my treasured Organic black beans and the other Amy’s organic refried beans (in a BPA-free can).  Speechless.  Truly.  I dug out the card, tore it open and read the inscription: “found these downtown and thought of you”.  Signed only “C”.  I have no idea who C is.  S/he (I’m guessing she because the handwriting was lovely) didn’t send me an advance warning and no follow-up.

Kindness Abounds

Kindness Abounds

I’m all aquiver.

I now am in possession of 3 cans of refried beans, 6 bags of dried black beans, one can of black beans and one (not entirely full because I had to eat some) container of homemade black beans.

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit...

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit…

my very favorite black beans...courtesy of the mystery "C"

my very favorite black beans…courtesy of the mystery “C”

Simply because of the kindness of my neighbors.

Hillary Clinton was right.  It does take a village.  In this particular case…not to raise a child, but to keep this mama from imploding over the lack of bean availability.

While the Bean Embargo and the Big Tease from the grocery store might have come dangerously close to becoming my undoing, it has been the unexpected kindness and generosity and completely overwhelming words of support and camaraderie that have made me love this community.

I just did a quick dictionary.com search of “Come Apart” to see if I could find a clever antonym.  It seems that everything that threatened to be my undoing (split, breach, crack, isolate, gape, burst) was countered by those amazing people who did what they could to remedy (mend, fix, reattach, unite, combine, anchor, moor, appropriate, fasten….CONNECT).

Connect.  Yep.  It’s what I’ve wanted from his blog.  I’m buoyed by all of the kindness, offers of gifts and really remarkable people who are in my universe.

Thank you for reminding me to be grateful.  And even without MY active Facebook participation, I’m feeling connected.

There are black bean brownies in my oven as I type this.  Again, do not scoff.  Follow the link and thank me later.  Only please do not hoard the black beans if you live in Nichada.  I will haunt you.

If you are one of those aforementioned kind people, please come over for either a cup of coffee and a brownie or a glass of wine and a brownie (yes-they are equally delicious together).   And since I wasn’t very funny today-take a moment to read this very funny post about why moms need Coffee and Wine.

And have a marvelous day.  I know I will.

3

Hireath (and Velveeta)

Today I found myself in a conversation with a group of “newbies”.

Despite my best efforts to appear polite and kind, but completely unengaged (think: Swiss), there I was.  There is a part of me that wants to be an ambassador of all things welcoming.  Really.  But there is a much bigger part of me that simply cannot bear one more conversation about how impossible it is to find Velveeta (or insert another unnecessary item that is only sold in said person’s home country).

I’ve been here before.  In my last year in Switzerland I recall having a conversation with a really close friend who had been an expat for even longer than we had.  I asked her specifically how she DID IT.  How she gathered up the energy and the motivation to put herself out there time and time again to be the Welcoming Committee.  To be the smiling beacon that lessened somebody else’s trauma over the First Expat Experience.  I’m not knocking the newbies.  I know it’s challenging to figure out a whole new…well…everything.  I remember it so well, and I am forever grateful to the really wonderful women that I met at baby group and the English-speaking playgroup at the English Church.  I truly don’t know how I would have survived those early years without those friendships.  As a newish mom, and a woman who had lost her identity as a professional, and as a person completely lost in a foreign culture-I needed them.  I think it was key that we had a few members of our group that weren’t newbies.  But it was also wonderful that so many of us were.  We truly could relate to each other’s foibles….and failures and communication issues.  We laughed at the same idiosyncrasies, and bonded over what we missed from our respective home countries (my long held-out import item that took up suitcase room and precious suitcase weight was peanut butter, not Velveeta).  I definitely remember making newbie friends and loving being the one that helped them navigate the system.  I loved that I could feel helpful to other people.  I suppose I felt like I was paying it forward in a way.

But something happens inside you after you open up completely and make a brand new life for yourself.  The people who help you settle in to a new place are part of what you love about the place.  And in this Expat, Nomad life…we generally get two to three years.  And then people move on.  I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:

It is easier to leave than to be left behind.

We expected to be in Switzerland long-term, so I knew logically that people would move on.  But like all painful realities, knowing it doesn’t make it feel any better.  After our third year in Switzerland, many of our close friends had moved away.  I’m not sure how it happened…if it was gradual or all at once…but one day I realized I didn’t want to go to the mom’s group coffee, or the playgroup, or the Bunko game.  I didn’t want to meet anybody new.  I didn’t want to put myself out there.  I think it’s a self-preservation thing.  I had to retract in order to toughen up so I could extend again.  Ultimately, we were wrong, and when we left Switzerland I vividly recall thinking I would never again pull back because it’s so isolating.

Moving to Hong Kong was a revelation.  It was the Loser Ex-Boyfriend Bump, of course…but also, we truly just lucked out and met people who are interesting, interested, and loads of fun.  Obviously, when YOU are the newbie-you put yourself out there.  You are on your best behavior and presenting the most interesting version of yourself.  And if you’re anything like me-you re-invent yourself a little.  You leave behind the part of yourself that maybe you don’t like so much or you aren’t terribly proud of.  Or you just work really hard to become more of what you do like about yourself.  I didn’t have time to get tired of Hong Kong and in the end, I was the one that left.  I’m not sure my Bestie in Hong Kong has ever forgiven me for leaving in such a blur.

When we arrived in Bangkok there was a big group of people who arrived simultaneously.  Most had two to three-year gigs.  Meaning-they are gone.  I’m not dramatic with the goodbyes.  I believe that friendships can be maintained with a little effort.  But it can’t ever be the same.  The thing about these Expat friendships is their intensity.  When you are away from your family and the people who have known you all your life, you establish connections quickly.  When the bonds are real-they are strong.  My theory is that family members & friends that have known you all your life tend to have a very specific idea of who you are.  It’s a little bit like no matter how old you are, your “baby brother” will always be the baby.   Even when he’s old and bald and has grandchildren.  But in Expat friendships-we take each other at face value.  For good and for bad.  And we establish routines and lean on one another and there’s simply no discounting the bond that happens when you go through struggles alongside someone.   That’s special.  It’s can’t be duplicated here or anywhere.  And when you re-connect in a different locale, it’s still wonderful but it’s not the same.

One of my dearest friends gave me the most perfect gift this Christmas.  A tiny little illustrated book called Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words From Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders.  It is both beautiful to look at and absolutely fascinating.  I tell you I can taste these words they are so delicious.  There is one in particular that haunts me.  The meaning of the word (untranslatable into English of course), is “A homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, the nostalgia and the grief for the lost places of your past, places that never were”.  The word is hiraeth and it’s origin is Welsh.  I plan to use it regularly because it is uniquely poignant in this Expat life.  The combination of circumstances and people and events and time make up our experiences.  There is no going back because nothing will be the same.  That’s the way it will always be for us Expats.  If we were to go home, life would have gone on for everybody there for the past 10 years-there is no slipping back into that life.  Returning to any of our previous Ports of Call would really mean starting all over because what made them home were our friends and our connections.

I’ve realized something about myself.  For me, after I’ve become the Long-Termer, I sort of time-out.  I’m good for that two to three-year window (ish).  Beyond that?  I can’t promise that I will be all that helpful.  If someone asks me directly for help, I would never dream of saying no.  And sometimes I just can’t help myself.  My inner Disney Cast Member comes out at the strangest times.  But, I justify my unwillingness to reach out by telling myself that it’s somebody else’s turn.  I’ve helped people find the closest organic grocery, and helped them navigate after school activity registration.  I’ve been on the board of every sport and/or activity that my kids have taken part of.  I was on the welcoming committee at the PTA for 3 years.  It’s not that I’m not friendly.  I’m just a little bit worn out.  All of that training from Walt Disney World…and here I am, not making eye contact with the smiling, slightly desperate new faces.

So, there I was…in a circle with three “newbies” and another “long-termer”.  I put on my gracious face and tried hard to be honest without being negative….to be upbeat without being snarky (no small task for me)…to be warm without being too friendly.  It’s a balancing act.  Eventually, one of the women asked how long we’ve been in Bangkok and I unintentionally must have exhaled a little too much before my “This is our fourth year” reply….because I looked up to see alarmed faces.  I back-pedaled.  I don’t dislike it here!  It’s easy!  It’s a lovely, convenient life.  And seriously-who wouldn’t want to have our kids lives here??  But the truth is…we’ve been Nomads for a decade.  I like it that way.

It’s not like anybody really “settles down” in these places-at least not in the Expat communities that we’ve been part of.  It’s transient…mutable, in a constant state of shift.  The Husband once made the astute observation that it’s like a revolving door.  The beginning of every school year brings in a fresh crop, and the end brings goodbye parties and lots of tears.  In & Out.  In & Out.  Ad Nauseum.

I’m feeling the itchy feet.   I need a new project, or a new adventure.  And by adventure, I do not mean trying to find Velveeta in Bangkok.   The ES Musical is next week and Genius Friend and I are wrapping up our costume project…so clearly I need to start a list of to-do’s.  I hesitate to call it a bucket list but at this time of year, I always start thinking along the lines of “if this is our last few months here, I really ought to (insert whatever it is here)”.  So, until we know what is next….you can bet that I’ll find something to tear up and re-do.  Because there is no way I am going to a New Parent coffee.

1

The Loser-Ex Boyfriend Bump

Having just returned from a truly fabulous weekend in Hong Kong, I’m moved to return to My Favorite Things.  Due to circumstances out of our control, the Circus-Broccoli clan maintained a residence in Hong Kong for a mere 23 months…and for 8 of those months it was only Circus Dad as a full-time resident.  Which is truly unfortunate, because Hong Kong is one of My Favorite Places.  I spent some time thinking about why it is that I love it so much.

I often joke that Hong Kong benefitted by what The Husband likes to call the “loser ex-boyfriend bump”.  You might guess (correctly) that The Husband is referring to his own circumstances, whereby I dated such completely unremarkable (or remarkably Bad) guys before he came into the picture, that by comparison he looked like The Catch of  Lifetime.  Obviously, he would have looked that way regardless of whom I dated previously.  I mean, he had a car and job AND hadn’t ever had a stint in rehab.  Not to say that living in Switzerland was without pleasures or that we didn’t enjoy or appreciate our experience there…but life in Switzerland with babies was not Easy.  In fact, it was challenging at every turn.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that it took me a full four years to receive an invitation to coffee from the local ladies in our village.  It’s also impossible to reflect back on a place and remove your own personal circumstances at that time from the picture.  I’d just given up my career and was truly finding my sense of self-worth from simply being someone’s wife and someone’s mother.  I made fantastic life-long friends in Switzerland….but when I look back on it the thing that bound us there was that we truly NEEDED one another.

Hong Kong is the opposite of Switzerland in that regard.  We landed, felt the energy and immersed ourselves in a veritable hot pot of international culture.  In Hong Kong, it’s not only possible to employ full-time help, it’s expected.  It cost us less to hire a full-time live-in domestic helper in Hong Kong than we were paying our twice-monthly cleaning woman in Switzerland.  Having those hours to get out and do things, coupled with the multitudes of choices of things to do with my time…well, By comparison-Hong Kong made Switzerland look like a loser ex-boyfriend.

I don’t think I had enough time in Hong Kong to get annoyed by the idiosyncrasies.  I didn’t have to sit by and watch friends move on like I’ve had to do in Switzerland and here in Bangkok.  And we got incredibly lucky in Hong Kong.  We made really amazing friends.  And not the kind that just fill your days.  The kind that you take with you forever.  You know how hard it is to find friends in adulthood?  And then to like their spouse and their kids?

I find re-entry into my weird little bubble-life even harder after a stint in Hong Kong.  And it’s not that life in Bangkok is hard.  I sometimes wonder if we’d have come to Bangkok before Hong Kong if it would have benefitted from the same “loser-ex-boyfriend bump”.  Because life here is easy.  It’s just not cosmopolitan.  And things don’t always work-like my internet.  Or my hot water.  Or my AirCon.  But, again…First World Problems.

Keeping it al in perspective is important.  My life is pretty awesome.  I have good friends-whether they are here or elsewhere-whom make me want to be a better human being.  I have a ginormous family who seems to love me even though I haven’t lived anywhere near them for a decade.  I have fabulous hair (thanks to my genius hairstylist in Hong Kong).  And even though I don’t get to live there anymore-I still get to take awesome weekends in Hong Kong.  And that doesn’t suck.

3

18 Days without Facebook

Apparently, I was very “present” on Facebook.  This has become clear to me through the sheer number of nearly-condolence-filled queries I have received both in person and on email and text as to “how I am holding up” without Facebook.

Weirdly, I do not miss Facebook.  Not really.

But perhaps more weirdly, I have not had any magic epiphany or renewed sense of self or self-worth that I’ve read about others experiencing when they wean themselves off their social media addictions.

Here’s what I have noticed.

THE GOOD

  • The time that I am not wasting on Facebook has been spent connecting with people, writing, organizing, exercising, and reading (sort of…it’s possible I just walk from one room to the next in the house wondering what I came into that room for in the first place…but that’s another post for another day).
  • I used to find myself occasionally irritated or annoyed by the posts other people put on Facebook.  I knew it was stupid for me to react at all, but I couldn’t help it. The Husband used to call Facebook “The World’s Most Annoying Christmas Card-EVERY SINGLE DAY”.  Which is kind of true-but I love getting Christmas Cards-even from people like the Holderness Family who are clearly perfect and make you feel bad about yourself.  Then I felt bad for being judgmental or for allowing myself to care.  Vicious circle of negative emotions-avoided completely by not logging in.
  • No temptation to spend money for Lollypop Hammers or any other such nonsense while playing Candy Crush or any other painfully tempting Facebook Games.  Curses to the developers of those games-they seriously are addicting.
  • The sense of power I have knowing that I wasn’t truly addicted to Facebook.  I often wondered if I could even do it.  Facebook has sent me at least one “reminder” email each week, telling me I have 300 missed notifications or that I missed photos from a friend…but I wasn’t even tempted to check.  I like feeling in control of myself.  Since I can’t seem to manage my little Milk Duds problem, I’ll take the little wins where I can get them.  And since I have to import Milk Duds and the stash is seriously deteriorating, that problem will shortly take care of itself, too.

THE BAD

  • The truth is that the reason I joined Facebook in the first place was that when we were living in Switzerland, it was really hard to feel connected to our family and friends back in the USA. Bookworm was just a baby, and I wanted both for our family to not lose their sense of connection to us and to her…but also to feel connected to them.  Our first couple of years abroad I maintained a website that took a ton of work to keep up to date. Facebook allowed me to just post and interact.  Over time, obviously, my relationship with Facebook waxed and waned.  I both loved it and hated it.  But I really did never have to wonder if we were still present in the minds and hearts of our family and friends-I could see their “Likes”!   After The Bean was born-I posted monthly photo albums and regular updates on our comings and goings.  I’ve switched to much less frequent posts in the last year, and it’s more like a photo or two per week…not albums that are organized and dated with clever captions.  But I felt present.  Without that tether, I do wonder if we will fade from the minds of those we miss the most.  I hope that our Instagram Photos will keep people up to date on our comings and goings-but I also wonder if I haven’t just given others an additional time-sucking diversion instead of what I was aiming for myself?
  • In the little ExPat Bubble Community where we live, there are two “billboard” groups on Facebook that cropped up in the last year or so.  One is just news and information and the other is a yard sale group.  In truth-both boards were fodder for many laughs and moments of feeling mean and judgmental about the “Duh” and “WTF” people actually sent out into the universe on internet boards.  But, those boards also let you know what’s going on.  Not seeing those boards makes me feel like I’m living in a parallel universe to the rest of my friends here.  And seriously-how will I sell the half-bottle of ketchup in my refrigerator when it’s time for us to move if I can’t post it??
  • My Bootcamp and Book Club also have FB group pages where you find out where to meet and what is going on.  Obviously, I’m clueless.  If Bootcamp changes location-some kind soul has to send me a text or an email.  So, I’m kind of a pain in the butt.  (But it makes me know that they were thinking of me, so that’s a bonus!)  I’m supposed to be the leader of my Book Club.  We don’t even have a January Book or meeting date because I’m not online.
  • I miss funny memes.  Seriously-I want The Holderness family to invite me over for a Pajama Jammy Jam and how is that ever going to happen if I can’t see their latest video creation??  I know, I can find them by searching but that kind of defeats the purpose of quitting my time-sucking habits.
  • I miss the photos and the funny status updates of those I miss the most.  I’ve forced the people I love to join instagram so they can see ME and my family…but that doesn’t mean that they have started to use instagram.  So, I’m feeling a sense of longing for their faces that I haven’t experienced in at least 5 years.
  • In the 7 years since I joined Facebook, we have moved from Switzerland to Hong Kong to Thailand.  I’ve made dear friends that I have stayed connected to because of Facebook…and I’m concerned about how the ties that bind will fray without the Facebook tether to keep us in each others’ lives.  I promised myself I would send personal emails in the time I’m not wasting…but so far I’ve only managed two of them.  I think I need to add that to my to-do list.  Anybody have The Holderness Family’s email address?

You know how there are those little blinky countdown buttons on chatboards and pinterest?  Like, “I’ve saved $1,962 in the 20 days since I quit smoking”?  I need one that says, “I’ve gained x hours of my life back since I quit Facebooking”.  By my estimation, it’s at least two hours per day.  So, to date, I’ve gained 36 hours of my life back.  Not bad for a little under 3 weeks, right?  If only I could be more productive in those hours-or at least quit sneaking Milk Duds.