After two years of always feeling like we were in someone else's house, it has been so great to have a place we can settle for a bit!
Of course, if we had known we would be in the States for two years, we would have settled better there. That's just one item in a very long list of things we would have done differently if we had known. I try not to dwell on it too much. The point is that it felt great to have a house! So, on day 15 of being out of quarantine, we actually moved in. The house had almost nothing in it. Most of us slept on the floor with some blankets and pillows we had just picked up at Costco in the morning. But with some coordination, we managed to have H and the girls go to Costco, the boys and I be at the house for the delivery of a bunch of stuff that someone was handing down to us and then in the afternoon H went and picked up a used crib I found on Facebook. In between all those things, we were vacuuming and mopping and dusting like crazy!
The next few weeks after that were a whirlwind of buying things and carrying them back to the house. Thankfully the house came with a good amount of stuff already (like a fridge and a couch), so between Costco, Ikea (only fifteen minutes away from us!) and Facebook marketplace, we gradually got the house cleaned up and liveable. The whole country shut down for about a week for the lunar new year holiday, but we were set up enough by then that we could take it. We ate on the coffee table for a few weeks, but after being right on the verge of buying a used dining table, we went to Ikea and suddenly realized we could get a great table that was big enough for us at a low price if we just bought two and put them next to each other! And so we slowly settled in to the new place.
The house is considered enormous for here. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is pretty common, but the main thing is that the living space is really big. In fact, it's the biggest place we've ever lived! It'd be considered tiny in Texas, but it's been nice for us so far! We put the girls and the boys in separate bedrooms, which is the first time G has slept separate from his sisters. Everybody seems really happy with this arrangement though. G loves his new (used) bunk bed that's all his own, and the girls are really enjoying getting to stay up late talking without having to worry about waking up the boys.
I've had quite a different attitude about setting up this house as compared to when we settled in to our house overseas five years ago. At that time, I felt like I really wanted to set it up perfectly because we wanted to be there a long time and really feel at home. But after the upheaval of the last few years (both for us personally and for the world overall), I feel like I don't need it to be so perfect. I just need things to be good enough to not stress me out. If I can live with curtains that don't quite match the rest of the room because they were free, then let's keep the curtains that don't match. In one sense, it makes me miss our old house more. But in another sense, it's very liberating to feel like everything doesn't need to be just right.
So we've gradually settled in! We still have a few last items that need to be bought, but generally we're quite content with how things are! We also bought G that bunk bed so that the girls can move in with him when we have guests. So if you're willing to do a 10 day quarantine (that's right, it's shorter!), we're ready for you to come visit and stay with us!