It's a long answer but also very simple.
Why I'm stickin' it out...
The short: I said I would do this. I committed. I knew that this was our destination before Martin and I were married. *I didn't marry an American. I married a Pole. Who loves Poland. Who can't imagine not raising his children here. Who can't imagine his children not having the same memories, the same feelings, the same love for their country as he does. I have to do this. I have to. I said "yes". This is not a reason that makes the days easier. This is only the reason why I haven't demanded that we pack this whole family up and catch the next flight out.
The reason that makes the days easier. There is no reason. There is only a feeling that this is right. I get that feeling when we talk about our house. When we stand on our property and imagine what we will have. Sometimes I get an overwhelmed, unable to breathe feeling about building an entire structure here, with a mortgage...sometimes, the house is too much. And sometimes, it is what keeps me going.
The traditions here, centering around the Church are beautiful. I get a wonderful feeling, knowing that my children will know that November 1st is not just the day after Halloween but a religious holiday where we remember our ancestors and our shared faith. And then sometimes the traditions overwhelm me. They are not my traditions. We are Catholic but I didn't grow up with them, in America. I don't understand the symbolism of every wreath of flowers or every song that is chanted, and I have no emotional attachment to them... I can just smile and nod and think, "good for them".And it is good for them.
It feels great knowing that it won't cost me an entire month's paycheck to get an x-ray and a consultation. I don't like that if I need some sort of specialized care that they'll pencil me in sometime in the next 9 months. I love that good, fresh food, is so cheap here. We spend almost $300 less a month on food because most of it comes from inside the country. And that's how it should be. I don't like that the food has begun to all taste the same. I hate dill and I am not fond of parsley and I might throw up if I eat another piece of pork. But my family is eating so much healthier, and we can have our own chickens! Our own eggs!
Sigh. I'm not here for me, Kasia. At least, not yet. There is no good reason for me to be here at all. I have 5 (6) other people that are here for very good reasons, that don't always include me directly. But all the same, they are my people, the most important people. They're here. I said I would bring them. So I'm here, and I'm staying.
During the darkest times I focus on what is most important, and if I'm honest with myself, none of the most important things have anything to do with what country I'm living in. My faith, my relationship with my husband, and my children. Those things must come first. My unhappiness is mine to deal with, it is mine to conquer. My only responsibility is to figure out how I can be happy right here, right now, no matter what my circumstance, no matter where I am living. This is, I believe, the only right thing to do. I cannot control what happens tomorrow or 6 months from now I can only control how I react to this time and place. My biggest failing during this whole endeavor has been my inability to be content with what I have, which is much more glorious and amazing than I deserve. Let me say that again. I deserve none of this. None of these wonderful people, none of this perfect health, none of this abundance. I haven't earned any of it and I sure as heck fail often at being grateful enough for it. I'm here because Someone, (not naming names), but Someone thinks that perhaps I need to fully realize what I do have and what is really important and to just let go of all those things that I think I need in order to be happy.
You have to have a "why" that is worth it, you know? And you have to have the courage to muscle on even when you're scared shitless, not because of the language or culture barriers, but because of the person you are becoming, the good and the bad. It's scary. You have to have support and friends, and people who smile when they see you. Who want you to be a part of their life now, regardless of how different your pasts may be. You have to have something that is your own, that you build and take pride in, that you feel connected to (I'm still working on this one, I know it would help). You have to make yourself belong and most importantly, recognize when you do. (this is the hardest for me)
I could go on and on. All of this is easy to say on the good days and if I were to read it on the bad days I would probably throw my computer against the wall. Because I've heard it all from my husband lots, I've said it to myself enough, but that doesn't make the "going through it" any easier.
Kasia, you're not weird for being unhappy, and you're not selfish for being unhappy. You're normal, and you're human and you're doing something very difficult. You are grieving as though someone has died and you are as anxious and overwhelmed as a first time mother. America is wonderful and full of wonderfulness, and just oozes wonderfulality. But it's not your home. And that is all that matters.
And for the masses, and because I am feeling so much better since we went and heard the heartbeat...
*It's important for me to remember that I married someone who is Polish. This has been difficult for me because Martin is as "American" as they come. When I met him I didn't know he was Polish until he told me (he told me within the first 5 minutes but I wouldn't have known otherwise). We grew up together, in America. He spent most of his life in America, most of that time we knew each other and were good friends. We were American together, dang it, livin' the life we always knew together, just like always, since we were 14!! And now, I'm the American wife, and he is the Polish husband, in a country foreign to me and all of a sudden "home" to him. There are times when I get angry that he can be so American and yet have such a strong desire to be here, thinking it would be so much easier if he would just give it up and decide that he's an American who was raised partly in Poland and hopes to pass down his heritage to his kids (that last sentence is going to make him ill). I don't understand this internal struggle. It is unique to people like him. I cannot relate. That's hard. Even harder to articulate. But it's important, so I had to add it in.
P.S. Because this post needs to be even longer... we are going to Texas soon. very soon. And we are staying for a long time. You would think I would be excited, and parts of me are, but I am also very anxious. Ugh. Who knew that deciding to go home would be so hard? Perhaps I am just screwy in the head. You all have my permission to think this.