Things you cannot possibly understand you will have to do when you start over in another country:
- Find things to sleep on and sit on.
- Find things to cook on, keep food in, and wash clothes with.
- Get these things to your home.
- Get these things connected/wired in.
- Learn to use these things that have different verbiage/labels/settings.
- Need transportation to do anything.
- When do things open? When do things close? When do they open again? Is it a national holiday? When is it over?
- What is our address? How do we explain how to get here?
- Where do we get toilet paper? Where to get food?
- How do we work the air conditioner?
- How do we get hot water? How do we to get tap water? Do we drink the tap water?
- How do get drinking water? How do we get more drinking water?
- How do we get internet?
- Get things to eat on, cook with, stir with, scoop with, and eat with.
- Get soap to wash with, rags, drying rack, something to dry with.
- Why isn’t the laundry drying?
- Water is coming in the windows.
- Need window coverings in a bad way. Need to hang them. How do we hang them? Where do we get tools? Which kind of tools?
- What is the number to the landlord? Do we have one? What is his role?
- Find stores cheaper than the stores you’ve already found.
- How do we go across the border into another country, and who will go with us?
- Why isn’t the trash man taking all our trash?
- Where will we put our clothes? Where will we hang out clothes? What will we hang them with?
- Where will we put our trash until we take it out?
- Need a shower curtain, and rings, and rod. Need somewhere to put all our bathroom junk. Where do we get more bathroom junk?
- How will we clean?
- Where will we keep our shoes? Where will we sit while we put on and take off shoes by the door?
- Where will we change baby diapers? How much does JT weigh in kilograms? where will we trash baby diapers?
- Where do we put bath towels after bathing? Do we have towels?
- Why does this rice taste like candy?
- Why did the internet stop working?
- Which baby food looks the least suspicious?
- Need something to cut food with. Need something to put leftovers in. How will we heat leftovers?
- Coffee machine or instant coffee?
Seriously. Every. Single. Thing. Must be purchased or borrowed.
When we started over in the Arab world, we’d made so many trips to so many stores. We had a saying in our building, “You can only make so many decisions in a day” and then you just have to go home and rest until tomorrow.
This especially hits home when I think about people who relocate in the worst of situations. We were in the best of situations with our gainful employment, neighbors, and speaking the primary language of commerce.
What about people who are forcefully deported from the only country they know? What about people running from war?