Category Archives: reentry

Winter Garden Review


First a personal update. I got a dog. I went to my 10 year high school reunion. I realized that I can’t handle people’s struggle as well as I thought I was starting to do again. I know I have my issues, it just sucks when my issues get in the way of a friendship. I can’t go back now. All I can do is learn from my mistakes. I could write posts upon posts on how I have made a lot of mistakes in the past few years with relationships and how not to make these mistakes. But this is a book review blog.

If you’ve followed my blog for any time, you probably have figured out that I’m a sucker for historical novels. It blends my English degree and my history minor. And because I have a weird fascination with war and I did my senior paper in college on this war, World War II is my weakness. And I have this little spot in my heart about families that try to connect again. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah hit a lot of those spots.

This book is a about a family that has their issues and the mother tells her girls her story without really telling them it’s about her. They have to figure it out. Which is nice to bring them together. It’s nice how that works out. They all open up and get closer in this book. I really don’t know how to feel about the parents’ relationship. Do they really love each other? Did they grow to love each other? How did she really feel about marrying an American soldier? Are they participating in polygamy? The first guy was alive the whole damn time. I’m sure they learned to love each other. He was way more open to loving but I don’t blame her for closing up. I close up a lot for more petty reasons. I mean she did learn to love him, she had to with how she reacted after he died. I do appreciate how she told her story. I like she told it as a fairy tale and I like how they started in regular print and then have a break in a sentence and go into italics. It helped me pay attention because when I know that there’s a story within a story, I space out usually.

I think the girls are way younger than what they really are. Especially with the nicknames. My siblings and I had names we called each other but we haven’t used those names in years. And the girls are in their 40/50’s? What’s the deal? Are they reverting to their childhood?

I get the relationship that these women have. Mainly because I shut down when something happens just like these women do. But I’m glad that they broke down their walls and became close again. There’s hope for me yet. I also like that there was a journey from being told that you are like your mother and hating it to thinking that a pleasure. I also relate to the girls because they’re close to their father. I have always considered myself closer to my dad. And that ending with the real Anya. It makes me happy. The world is right again. It makes me happy they found each other but upset that the mother didn’t find her true love until a year after he died. That’s lame. They should have found each other and then oops, I married another man. But I get what was going on.

I love the writing. Other than the reverting to the childhood. Definitely a go back to book.


Not a Book Review. Life.


I have gone back and forth on this post. After the last personal post, I told myself I wouldn’t do a personal post again because I got some criticism from people that made me upset. I figured why should I share my life if I get what I got. But then thinking, I shouldn’t be scared to share my life on my blog. I shouldn’t let the criticism get to me especially when it’s from someone who doesn’t know the whole story. There are people who have followed me since before I became a book blog. I didn’t hold back before and although I probably will here back more now, I’ll see how it works having personal stuff back on the blog. And this post will be pretty personal because just journaling isn’t enough sometimes.

It’s one thing to come back from living in a foreign country. Everyone reacts a little different. Some people transition just fine, some go through PTSD. It depends on what went on when they were overseas, what’s gone on back home, personality. It depends on a lot of things. If I came back last summer to a perfect situation, I think I would have transitioned fine. But it was not perfect. First I came back to a family that didn’t know how to react to me or help me. Then I also came home to a not great situation with the friend who was like my sister. She was going through a lot, more than me, and I couldn’t support her. So until 2 weeks ago, we’ve been going back and forth. In her grief she said things that I took way to personally and still haunt me. I told her minor things that were wrong when there was more going on to shield her. Two weeks ago or so, she said enough and we’re through. Forever. I think it’s a good thing that we have parted ways, in a way. There was a lot of anxiety and hurt on both sides. But forever is a long time.

In December, what prompted that last personal post, my sister-in-law left my brother. There’s a lot of details that I’m not going into with that. Just know that it has not been a great situation. They have been together almost 18 years, almost 2/3 of my life, and she was like a sister to me and now the respect and love is not there anymore. This one didn’t hit me hard, it hit everyone hard because they didn’t let anyone know what was going on.

So within too short of a time I have lost two women who were like family. One I will take a lot of the responsibility for because there were things I should have done differently. But hindsight is 20/20. The other wasn’t my fault. I looked around and realized that the other people who were in my life previously had not asked how I was holding up. They saw and knew of what was going on and still did not want to know. I admit some blame on some relationships going south because I won’t let anyone close anymore. But it’s hard to want people close to you when you hurt and you feel like you’re the only one trying. Again, that’s not with everyone that was in my life, but it’s with some.

What do I have now? I have no close friends I can rely on. Though my family is close, I cannot adequately convey to them what has all gone on and get what I need from them. I have trust issues. I hurt. I’m in various stages of grief. I have the want to start new somewhere but am scared to leave. I have a hard time doing a lot reading. I hit a reading slump. I have read a lot so that doesn’t worry me. Reading’s been the one thing that has made me feel understood.

Since I’ve come home, have I been selfish and self-centered and hard to deal with and unfair and done a lot of harm to a lot relationships? Yes. Do I have anxiety? Hell yes. It’s not fun. Am I still going through re-entry? Sorta. Coming back to your culture gets easier but you still have moments. Have I shared too much in this post? Probably. Are there things I will have wish I had added in this post? Most likely. I realize I have not been a lot of good things in the past two years. I get that. I realize that. I’m trying to work on that.

Now will every blog from now be like this? No. I just wanted people to know what was going on. It’s a lot. So if I haven’t seem normal, there’s a reason. I will never be the old me who was always joking around. I mean, I’ll joke around but it won’t be the same.


Life Update. Re-entry Version.


Now I usually do 2 posts in a day but today is an exception because I’m at mom and dad’s (who have internet) and I’m working the next few days so I’ll be preoccupied.

A few weeks ago, I posted about how I thought that re-entry was making me a horrible person. And it was really raw for me. I still can’t go back and read it. That post is partly why I’ve been doing just book reviews. I mean, not much is going on in my life, but re-entry is very personal to me. And I’ve been dealing with it a lot since I’ve come back. But I’ve been dealing okay. It helps I’m not living with mom and dad. I have my own space. If I haven’t mentioned before, I’m living over at our other farm. It’s a little big for me but it works. Anyway. I have my own space and can come see my parents and my brother’s family (who have a house on the home place) whenever I want. I also feel like I can come and go as I please more. I feel like I don’t have to answer to anyone. It also lets me deal with things better. I’m journaling more which I wasn’t doing at mom and dad’s because I always felt like I was being intruded on. Living alone is a good thing.

So overall, I don’t feel overly overwhelmed by American culture anymore. Well, with the exception of yesterday. I went to the chiropractor yesterday and it’s a good thing because I was really out of whack and my knee was weird, which affected my calf. So it’s nice to feel normal and not have walking be a pain and sleep without waking up because I randomly hurt. Anyway, I met up with a friend of mine at one of the colleges in Bismarck, because there’s 4, to return a book she lent me on re-entry. This friend spent 2 years in China with Cru and now is working with Cru at Bismarck State College. So we’re sitting at the Student Union, which has changed drastically since we went there, and we were just catching up and talking about re-entry. We had this discussion about how difficult it is. We came to the conclusion that it’s never easy, it’s just different. Then at the end, before I left, she mentioned that she recently went back to a journal entry she wrote after she got back from China and how she struggled with God and the struggle has gotten more intense since then. I totally relate. I feel like it’s been underlying since I got back. I even journaled about it last night. After I left, I went to eat and then I went grocery shopping. Since I’ve been back, I haven’t had too much trouble with shopping. Except with toilet paper. Toilet paper has been a challenge for me… buy. I still know how to wipe my bottom. But I’m shopping and I’m trying to find something and I’m just frustrating because even though there’s signs, I can’t find this thing that mom asked me to pick up. So that was frustrating.

Then the check out. This is the major issue. In Hungary, I’d have to carry back my groceries back to the Bazis, where I was living. So I never bought any more than I could carry. I got my groceries on the conveyer belt and there was someone in front of me and I look down and I panicked because I couldn’t carry all of it. It took a lot of mental talking down to stop me thinking like that. Then they bag and put the bags back in the cart for me. Which is great. It is. It’s a service that’s so beneficial but it made me  uncomfortable. What do I do with my hands? What do I do with my face? Do I make small talk with the cashier? Because all my cashiers in Hungary knew I was American or at least not American. And they’re used to American teachers from the nearby school. So they know to keep the conversation to a minimum. But I got out okay. No tears, but I wanted to cry. Actually I almost did on my way home. I felt very convicted about how these people are bagging my groceries and putting them in my cart, when I am fully capable of doing it myself. It’s a minor thing but something that just bothered me. The rest of the day yesterday, I felt misplaced. But I’m better today.

And before yesterday, with yesterday included, I’ve put on a front. Being similar to how I was. Making jokes, being sarcastic but there’s a large part of me that isn’t like that anymore. It’s how it is. I will always have moments that I don’t feel American. Like I don’t belong anywhere. It was my new normal. As I almost typed, it’s my ‘nermal’. I could also do a series on how I feel misunderstood and the things I feel misunderstood about, but it doesn’t feel right to do now.  I feel like it’s something that I need to heal from more or get more comfortable with myself before I do. So maybe eventually.