Sunday was a lonely and dull day for me. I wrote this journal entry:
"It’s a beautiful, sunny day. I am sitting in a park, watching my children play on the playground. We’re in Amsterdam, beside a canal, watching the boats drift by on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There is no rush to go anywhere. Nothing that needs to be accomplished.
I am bored and unhappy.
I wish this were enough for me, just being here, but the responsibility of the children weighs on me, keeping me always partially on guard, unable to relax and absorb my surroundings. The days sometimes seem to stretch ahead, empty. Especially Sundays, when everything is closed, and it’s just me and the kids.
Empty hours deaden the mind. I lose my motivation to do anything but sit. I think, in my busier, high-stress days, I couldn’t understand people who drifted, who wasted time, who were bored. There always seemed to be so much to do! So much I wished I could do, if I only had the time. …and now… what?"
That evening, I went to the Cirque tent, and realized the solution to all of this is simply to reach out and be with people. We watched the show from backstage, and I re-connected with many of the artists I hadn't seen in awhile. Talked to Dmitri about his break time, practiced Russian with Svetlana, discussed the kids with Alya.
I started putting together a Family Contact List document, and a sort of newsletter for families, to help us all communicate better. When I made the list, I discovered that there are actually 17 children on the tour! There are so many young ones, and some that we don't see very often. And there will be 3 more babies born in the next few months! So if we could just get them all together, it would be a great thing.
For those of you who know me, you know that I need to be busy. I need to have lots of activities scheduled, and projects to work on, to stay sane. But I'm also finding that I need friendships! In my old life, I had so many co-workers and parents at the kids schools to connect with, I never felt lonely. But here I'm really noticing it, that strong need to be social.
Monday was our day together as a family, and it was a nice one. We took the kids to the Artis Zoo. We were there nearly 4 hours, and still didn't manage to see every part of it - it includes an Aquarium, a Planetarium, a butterfly house, two playgrounds, and, according to the publicity, 6001 animals. The kids enjoyed the lemur presentation - and the lemurs came right up to the children, acting very much like housecats! Ayla couldn't resist petting the one which snuggled up to her, but the zookeeper quickly said, "don't touch them!" So they finally had to be content just looking.
We splurged on dinner at an Indian restaurant near Rembrandtplein. It really is getting easier as they get older. We can take them out, get them to try new things, and not stress too much if they don't get their regular foods and they're out past their bedtimes. Don't worry, we won't be taking them to the coffeeshops any time soon...