For the last week and the next week, "normal" is living on an acreage on the Canadian prairies. My sister and her husband have extremely kindly vacated their home for us. They live as caretakers for an equine park. So what this means is that a hundred yards from the windows of the house we have this view.
There are several dozen horses being boarded on this farm. For miles in every direction we have nothing but tall, sweet, prairie grasses, horses running around and being exercised and solitude. Its pretty much perfect for the family that has been through our last few weeks. I can't describe how soothing it has been for me to fall asleep with the smells of sweet clover from the fields, the sounds of crickets and birds from my childhood and the cool breeze coming in the window. Last night James and I lay our bed and just listened to the sound of the house being buffeted by strong winds and rain. I have forgotten how ferocious the wind sounds as it whips around uninhibited in a good storm. It used to scare me, but last night I loved it.
This housing has been perfect for us. Close enough to people to have contact, but isolated enough that I don't need to interact with too many people.
Another strange feature is that we also have our old cat around again. This cat lived with us for almost four years before we left for China (my sister took him then) and it is amazing how strange it is to have the boys playing with him again. We are talking about the "world's most laid back" cat, who lets Jude truck him around by one rib (bent in hairpin shape).
There are other aspects to my new norm that I have a harder time getting used to. One is that I am almost constantly in a dazey dreamlike state. I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and when I do, I dream strange jerky dreams where I am completely unaware. It is a bit unnerving and makes me feel very vulnerable when I wake up from one of these episodes. But I am learning how to read and calculate myself even in this new state.
Before I leave off, I have to state again (just in case I haven't said it recently enough) that James is God's greatest blessing to me and to our boys. What an amazing husband. For better or worse he is here, and I love him very, very much.