A Big Move and a Tiny Focus (For Now)

Each time we move, I go through a similar process. I think of it very much like a camera lens. Fair warning: this may actually be a terrible analogy since I have no idea about the actual technology of camera functions, but I envision it this way, so work with me. A few months before we leave, my lens starts to close in, bringing a smaller and smaller range of things into focus. During the move, the focus is pretty much down to family, close friends, and the to-do list. After we arrive in our new place, the lens opens slowly, letting in a wider range of experiences and people as we become accustomed to the setting.

Usually, this process would have started in about February, and gotten down to tightest focus about now, two weeks before the movers come. But this move is anything but ordinary. This move started earlier than usual for me, and it may well end later than usual, too. This move is to Havana, Cuba.

As those of you who have read my blog regularly know, I settled into a rhythm of posting every weekday and taking the weekends off soon after starting the blog. I adored this rhythm; it gave me a place to speak my mind, an avenue by which to learn from others, and a growing online community.

But this move requires a higher level of Spanish ability than the “pick it up from your friends” variety that I had cobbled together over the years. So when I had the opportunity to take an intensive Spanish language class, I jumped at it.

Call me crazy, but I honestly didn’t think that full-time school would affect my blogging. Until I started full-time school. My brain worked on overload all day, struggling to stop translating everything from English to Spanish, and just thinking it in Spanish to begin with. By the time class ended every day, I felt as if I’d just done a major workout. I would slump over on the couch when we got home, dragging myself up to make dinner and corral the kiddos toward bed. Some nights I just dropped straight into bed, leaving Honey with the whole evening routine by himself. On those days, by 4 p.m. it felt as if my word level for the day had gone far past the “Used Up” point and had dropped to dangerously low levels like, “Unable to Process Sound.”

Which, by the way, does not go over big with kiddos who want to talk to Mommy and have her respond. Coherently. (My kids are so demanding.)

So the blogging routine also fell by the wayside, and I gave myself a terribly hard time about that – in two languages. I don’t spend a lot of time on guilt, since I feel that guilt is the most useless emotion. Remorse is useful because it moves you to action, but guilt just simmers, making everyone feel worse. But in this case, I felt guilty. Guilty of not giving my all to my family. Guilty of not staying regular in my blogging, which I love. Guilty for not spending much time outside of school hours on homework. I felt like I dropped every ball I tried to juggle, and worse, that I needed to learn how to say “juggle” in Spanish even though that idiom probably doesn’t translate! (For those of you who wondered, yes, I looked it up: “hacer malabares,” if you’re literally juggling, or “balancear las demandas,” if you’re juggling tasks.)

School ended, with a painful lesson in needing to understand the system thoroughly before you take the exam, but also with an increased confidence in my Spanish-speaking abilities. And yet, I haven’t returned to my regular blogging schedule.

The main reason is that the lens has been closing; I can feel it doing so almost against my will. I’m not seeing as many people. Our church attendance has decreased. Extra activities fall by the wayside. And the blog has lain fallow.

But I have missed writing, and the interaction with a wide range of readers, from those of you who I’ve known my whole life to those of you who I’ve never met face-to-face. I miss logging in, posting, and seeing your comments, or “likes,” or private messages responding to what I’ve said.

The movers come in two weeks; much remains to be done, and goodbyes must be said, and we’ll take a trip to our beloved Texas before we depart for Cuba in June. So I can’t promise you that I’ll post any more regularly than I have done in the last few months, but I will be back. The lens will open back up, life will resume, and I’ll write about it.

In the meantime, thank you for checking in here. Thanks for your messages of support over the past few months. And thank you for caring to read the words I put online. Y’all have given me a great deal by showing up here, and I appreciate you.

Hasta pronto, amigos.



8 thoughts on “A Big Move and a Tiny Focus (For Now)

  1. Te amo, Jennifer! Mi espanol no esta muy bien, pero quiero darte gracias para escribiendo tu “blog” para nosotros. Hasta Tejas, mi amiga!

  2. Any move is crazy but Cuba, you got a whole other set of “to do” items! Like TP. Hang in there and I can’t wait to see you soooon in perfect Austin:)

  3. Hang in there. I like your lens analogy. I always thought of it as a huge puzzle I just kept working to put together and finding new pieces to fit. Especially once I learned the Spanish word for puzzle – rompecabeza. (Broken up head) sure felt like it.

  4. My dear Jennifer, do remember TP and precious water. We love you and will keep you in our prayers but know that you will all be safe. Enjoy this time because it will be something that very few people will ever get to do. Hopefully your children will benefit from this time. I know that you will do your best to help them learn and become so much greater world citizens during this time. Denny is a lucky man. Have a great time and send pictures. Love to all.

  5. Wow! That IS a big move! Good luck with the whole process! I’m sure living in the new culture will be teaching you so much that the blog posts will just flow right out of you. :)

  6. I understand the closing of that lens myself AND I know that it’s exactly as it should be in as many ways as it feels wrong. So excited for this move for you and your family. Cuba’s about to get a treat!

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