The internet is such a time suck! I know- duh! Since E has been born I have realized everyday over and over again that he needs my attention. He needs my physical presence, but he needs more than that. He doesn't understand why I love this thing in front of me enough to only give him part of me. He closes the computer; he knows how to turn it off. He does the same thing for the TV when we don't listen (he does this stuff to Marc too). Sometimes I need to check out from being in a 1 year olds' world, but sometimes I'm being selfish and lazy. E doesn't understand any of that, especially when I don't say anything to him about whats going on.

A couple months ago I really started asking myself before I got on the computer or turned on the TV "whats the purpose of your visit to electronic media land?" and checked my priorities if E ever turned something off on me. If he is happy on his own (and he does spend time by himself), then he wouldn't be bugging me or needing my attention. I have chosen not to teach my child that a computer is more important than he is. If I don't like how he handles himself in the situation- the most recent flavour being excessive whining with fake crying, then I address that. But I still accept his "argument" that his needs are more important than the computer- even if those needs are to be played with or tickled or talked with. If I can show him how important our bond is to me early and often, then he will be more secure in who he is.

So I spend a lot less time on the internet/computer now than I did a couple of months ago. The time that I do spend, I focus on doing what I really want to do. I love to read about science and current events. I love to watch certain TV shows. I love to look up questions I have about how to do things. I love to write on my blog. I have completely cut out any time I spend on facebook for almost six months now. I needed to step away from that particular time drain to evaluate a lot of things regarding relationships. So now I know, I love to use the computer to connect with people too, but directly not passively. Facebook makes it way to easy to passively connect with people and I want to adjust how I use it when I return in the future.

Something else I have been doing to make sure my general priorities in life are better aligned to what I would like them to be is "fasting" from recreational use of the computer until I have spent some time with God and His word everyday. And, all I can say (because E has woken up from his nap) is that I have been enjoying it a lot.


Today was a hard day, really hard. This week has been brutal at best and it comes during a time where our proverbial plate is overflowing anyway. I think this is really the first time, though, that actually living in Denmark has been a source of problems. Our life here is usually the positive side like "we don't have our work permits, but we have our family and our friends!"  But this week some of the realities of living here have been pushed into our face. It's kind of like all the little sucky parts came together at once. Now that it's culminated, I can say that the sum of things that suck here are way less than the sum of the things that used to suck before we moved to the most amazing country we have ever lived in.

I had a public losing it moment today. I tried to just leave abruptly when I felt it coming on, but then I realized I had no keys and opted not to freeze outside instead of feeling humiliated. I think humiliation is a stupid societal pressure that keeps people from being honest always about themselves- and so I pick things like being warm over it. A little humility keeps you honest.
We were at our church and I was trying to translate for Marc when I was asked to stop talking. There are a lot of things about the moment that are infuriating to me. But, then there are a lot of huge communication gaffes that happen as you are learning a language. And it was the first time I have EVER tried to translate, and it was to my husband, and we were working together to understand so I get that it could be misinterpreted as a conversation. But I also know that I will be a bazillion times more scared to try to translate in the future because of what happened today, and I think that is what infuriates me the most.

I think a standard "international-i-danmark" conversation would now devolve into generalizations about Danes. And this scenario, given all its context, still definitely boils down to that. But I can't generalize about the Danes that were in the room today because they are my friends and they are normally the people I think of when I think the generalizations about Danes are harsh. We were all having a rough day, many of us have had a rough couple of weeks. stress is stressful. So I won't generalize and I am trying not to feel hurt. It's just what I know it has done to my confidence, in that few seconds, that just makes it feel unjust.
Learning a language is like daring to be naked next to a bonfire. You know that with any crackle or change in the wind you could end up getting burned, but the closer you get to the fire, the more you expose yourself, the warmer you are. To stick with the analogy, our friends from church are like a really nice and in control fire and we can get right up close to them, we can really expose ourselves and we learn a lot of Danish by doing that. But today I got licked by a flame, and there will be a fear there that I can't control for some time.

But getting burned today was really just the nudge over the edge into losing it publicly. I didn't have a lot of time to take care of myself this week, and this week has really pushed the emotional stress buttons- it's a time of exponential growth for me. I started this week cold, in our new house. We can't heat the house beyond making sure pipes don't freeze so it's not comfortable. I have been trying to walk over there every day around nap time for E to get some work done while he sleeps.  Little steps, but something. The work is physically exhausting stuff, normally. Financially Marc and I are doing fine, but there is just something also exhausting about having to spend lots and lots of money, even if it's money you have on stuff you need. The house in general is just exhausting, but I know it's worth it and things will be easier when we live in it. I'm really looking forward to having a yard this summer.
Anyway, we all got sick on Thursday. Like ridiculously sick. A stomach bug that had Marc convinced he was going to die and E falling asleep without any assistance. I was blessed? enough to spend the entirety of Thursday without puking myself until right before I went to bed. Friday was the worst though. I was officially sick, Marc was only a little bit better off than the day before, and E was basically back to normal. Since Marc was still worse off then me, I had E for most of the day, although Marc did get up with him. I was feeling almost 100% on Saturday, but Marc was still hurting and he had two major responsibilities he ended up needing to pass on, one of them to me at the church. And Sunday, a day full of extra church commitments, I am fine and Marc is still a bit tentative but in the church doing what he can.
Friday I called a friend to take E for a few hours when she could, and she did, and I love her for it. It made all the difference for me. But it was really hard to do and I still feel like "I hope it was OK" and " I hope I don't need to ask her for help again soon" Why does it feel like a big deal just because it isn't family? Saturday we had to ask another friend to help us out. Not with E, but with picking other friends up from the airport. Marc couldn't drive. Sunday there wasn't anyone to ask for help. And E was not at all helpful.
If either of us had family close by we would have called them on Thursday and asked them, in the least, to go grocery shopping for us; we would have called them on Friday and asked them to take E for us that day, and portions of Saturday and Sunday as well. I missed my mom this week, and Marc's mom too. I missed my sisters... the one who is related to me and the ones who are not. I really felt like living away from the majority of them was a bad idea.

Within all that I had a most uplifting conversation with one of my best friends here. It kind of framed the entire week well. We were talking about being broken down to be re-built again by God. I am always scared Marc will die. For me, the biggest re-buildings have come after death and loss and I really worry about going through something like it again. I don't want to and I don't totally believe I'll make it through whole. So I was expressing that and Ida said that God doesn't need to use death as a tool. So letting God be in control isn't submitting to him using the death of my husband to make me a better person. Realizing she was right felt like some freedom. But it also made me look at this week at the end of today and see how it's actually all the love I have for people in my life that is breaking me down. In some ways because I want them to love me back the same; in others because I don't want to see them in pain or burdened. And the love that I am shown builds me right back up again.

The difficulty lies in the fact that the rebuilding takes a lot more time and effort than even the most careful breaking down.


We had the most fun dinner at friends' we have had since moving to Denmark. In the past maybe Marc, or I have had a good night, or if we're lucky both of us. But tonight, all three of us had a great time from beginning to end. I think a big part of the evening's success can be attributed to E's age now. He is nearly 17 months, just a month shy from that 18 month milestone which is supposed to make huge cognitive differences. E can also ask for "help" and "more" with signs so that significantly reduces the amount of yelling as an attempt to communicate that he had a needs to be filled. And minimizing the yelling always maximizes the fun.

But, of course, it is also the family who invited us for dinner that can be significantly credited for the fun we all had. Abdi and Ona are the only other couple in our international group of friends that have a child, a 3 year old girl, D. In our first few months in Denmark, when we were craving social interaction, we would always run into them at parties- both of us with our young children in tow. Our international circle is small and interconnected so we technically now them a few other ways as well, but "the other couple at the party with a child" is how I'll always remember things started with them.

And whenever we are questioned about E's ability to cope learning two languages, we always talk about D. We say: we know a family, they have a little girl. Her father comes from France and speaks French with D. The mother comes from Lithuania and speaks Lithuanian with D. The father and mother speak English to each other because they don't know each other's languages, so D understands English and speaks it a little bit. And D goes to a Danish kindergarten so she speaks Danish.
It's amazing to watch D switch from one language to another. And it is fun to hear about different things her parents (read: mother) observe when she is in Lithuania or France, surrounded by people speaking one of her two native languages. We definitely don't worry about E learning two languages from birth, after meeting D.

So tonight was fun because there was a lot of dancing. Abdi has a great taste in music and E was really feeling it. When we weren't all dancing together as a family, bumping into each other making E scream with delight, E
was dancing on his own. I have never seen him dance as creatively as he did tonight. He was spinning and stomping and bouncing to the rhythm. It was such a joy to watch.
E and D also played so amazingly well together. Things did start out a bit rocky. D had to get used to the idea of sharing her toys, especially with a baby boy who had a very different idea of play. E really wanted to play with D and D really wanted him to leave her alone and play on his own. At one point D was yelling at E in French. I laughed and told her he could not understand French, but Danish or English should work. And E did listen when she spoke to him in Danish.
Eventually the two were playing drums together, dancing together and playing a hilarious chase game where. E would bow his head into D and she would run away laughing. E would pursue her but as D is three and can actually run, she easily evaded him yelling "arrêtter Charlotte!" which means "stop it Charlotte!" in french. We all were laughing pretty hard at D calling E Charlotte.

The evening was quite fantastic. Amazing food and so much fun. I really am excited for more children not just in our family but in others as well. When the kids can play together it makes a really nice and relaxed atmosphere.

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