October 25, 2009

When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

Well, the title pretty much says it, except for one thing.  In this house, Ari and Jude have not learned yet that when Mama ain't happy, you should avoid her, or at least stop roaring like a lion.  So, James being gone on another one of his unable-to-make-any-contact-whatsoever week long trips, I have no choice but crab a little bit to the internet.  I say no choice because, if I can at least put a little humor into my stormy mood, maybe the boys won't have to suffer my irritation.  What a caring mother to expose others to her mood instead of her children!

That said, I will make a brief list of the things that are poking my irritation.  But first I will disclaim that these are just normal things that I usually don't notice.  I will readily admit that I am seeing things though an unhappy mindset.  A bad attitude is entirely responsible for this list, but I hope that writing them down will also help me let go of them.  

1) The boys did not have a good nap today = no rest for their mother from their noise and charades and irritable children

2) Necessity has dictated that I have many couriered pieces of mail coming to my door for the next week.  When the courier comes up to our door, he inevitably gawks to see a foreign woman answer the door and then giggles and tries to say any English word he knows.  I ignore it all, sign my name, say thank you and close the door. I am not about to start a cozy conversation with a strange man in the door of my home when my husband is not here.  The one today was particularly bad, and I found myself being irritated about it long after he left.

3) On both of the outings we had today, we had the usual number of staring, inquisitive people.  This is the first time I have been annoyed by it, since it is usually a chance to practice my Chinese.  But today I was as prickly as a porcupine, so I just pretended to either not hear / understand / notice.  I know that there are a lot of foreigners in Beijing (70,000 to be exact), but when the total population is 16 million, expats are still a minority of 0.4%.  As such, unless you are in a place where foreigners gather (foreign language bookstore, food store, restaurant), it is extremely rare to be in the same place at the same time as other foreigners.  This means that there is still a lot of curiosity about foreigners.  I feel obliged to say again, that I do not begrudge the curiosity, only that I really wanted to be left alone today.

4) The boys want to play with everything except toys and have had a few chases around the house today with one holding the coveted item and the other in hot pursuit (usually screaming).  They are also sporting runny noses.

5) James left on Saturday morning.  I don't like his trips starting at the beginning of the weekend.  If I am going to be at home all weekend with the boys, I like it to be at the end of a busy week when I enjoy the time at home.  If it is at the beginning I don't enjoy the time as much.  Right now, I am longing for the luxury of Ari being in school and being able to go to school myself.  

6) The lack of Daylight Savings Time.  At this time of year, I am used to turning the clocks back an hour so that there is more darkness in the morning and less in the evening. Without it, things get awfully dark here and very early.  Thus, the evenings alone with the boys seem longer than usual.

7) The buses and roads here in the last week have been in a state of serious atherosclerosis.  Every time I have gotten on the bus, it is only to be jammed up against the door (necessitating that you have the quick sense to open and close with the door at the various stops).  Usually when this happens, it eventually clears out and becomes a little more comfortable, but not this week.  This week, every stop has at least five people (with none getting off) that somehow manage to get on the bus regardless of its vacuum packed environment.  Its like you are expected to turn into water on the bus and fill whatever crack and crany that you can.  

This is combined with the fact that the roads have been solid vehicles.  On Friday night we looked down a straight street and saw nothing but solid buses and taxis.  As we walked down the column, we could see the same bus route numbers piled up one after the other.  Nobody was moving anywhere.  When riding the bus in this state (and crammed like sardines), it is a ride of desperately clutching on your handhold as the bus lurches forward 6 inches at a time.  It seems that when there is a short distance to be closed between two vehicles, it must be closed at 30mph, followed by a sharp brake.  I don't know what has caused all of this congestion in the last week.  Perhaps because it is getting colder, there are less people biking.  Since it is highly unlikely that I will be able to buy a monster truck and drive over the highway of vehicles, I can see that I will need to weave some serious patience into my transportation expectations.

8) I am irritable that I am irritable.  James does one of two things when I feel like this.  He either tells me that I am making a mountain out of a molehill, or he ignores me.  Strangely enough, both reactions reassure me that the things annoying me are not really that important.  Right now, I feel a little lost in my moodiness.  So that said here is my interpretation of the famous Psalm.

Why are you so down O my Soul?  ----->  Jessica, why are you so discouraged?
Why so discouraged within me?     ------> Why are you disparaging over small things that do not last?
Put your hope in God                    ------> Stop looking at what you see, and look for what you don't see
For yet will I see him,                   -------> Wait for truth to penetrate the storm in your mind 
My Savior and my God                 -------> No matter what you feel, God has not changed

Farewell from the Mainland!


Cindy said...

Sorry to hear you're in a prickly mood, Jessica. We all have 'em! Hope things are looking up soon.

derrydown said...

I will pray for you every day! I know what it's like on almost every point. High-spirited little kids and living in a foreign land can stretch you, and not in a good way sometimes. I love you and am so glad James and the babes have you.
Love, Mom