I think it’s called adjusting.

“How could my parents do this to me? How could they just whisk me away from all my friends, and my school, my soccer team, and then tell me what a “great new adventure” I was going to have?  That they could just pick me up like some dumb stuffed animal and set me down any old place, and I’d be fine?”


I guess moving to a new school is like anything else you hate.  Even though you can’t stand the thought of it, and you plan to hate it for the rest of your life, after you’ve been doing it for awhile, you start getting used to it. And after you start getting used to it, you forget to hate it as much as you’d planned. I think it’s called adjusting.


Tony’s 4th grade teacher sent this book home with him last week, and he sweetly spent some time reading it to Mia during some of their bedtimes before we left Singapore. I happened to catch the bits shared above, and thought they were really, really great.

(The Kid in the Red Jacket needs to be added to the list of books about moving, whether abroad or to the bordering state!)

* * * * *

We’ve barely notified the school that we’re leaving, let alone told all of our family back home and we’re already being bombarded with requests to show the house to potential new tenants.  At times that are not convenient at all … with children who haven’t yet said goodbye to their current home, with a dog who sheds all over the place, during dinner, with a house full of boxes, piles and to do lists everywhere.

The Husb and I have different levels of what is important and different priority lists.  My list tops out with items that  keep the disruptions to a minimum while his focus more on the equally important financial side of things.

When we communicate correctly, it means that everything on the list manages to get done effectively.  When we communicate incorrectly, we spin our wheels, argue about things that the other person is really better at handling and we waste our precious energy and time!

We haven’t ever talked about it, but I think we both feel that our piece of the adjustment process is more important than the other side.

adjusting  present participle of ad·just (Verb)

  1. Alter or move (something) slightly in order to achieve the desired fit, appearance, or result.

  2. Permit small alterations or movements so as to allow a desired fit, appearance, or result to be achieved.

To alter or move something slightly in order to achieve the desired fit or result.

I think that is the key — SLIGHTLY

Relocating a family, making decisions, searching for the answers that will allow a family to truly adjust – in a healthy way – is a big deal.  Not until I read that definition of adjusting did it start to make sense.

Recently I held a workshop in my home with ten other women from around Singapore.  The discussion was moderated by Jacinta Noonan and we focused quite a bit of our time talking about the amazing pocket of women (and men) around the world that are doing the amazing job of creating an atmosphere that allows for healthy adjustment  - for their spouses, children, dogs, and family/friends who are left behind.

The key isn’t to simply jump into the big move with to-do lists and signed contracts, but to work together as a family to make those small and slight movements to reach the desired outcome – a communicating family who is now simply living in the next location.

 I’ve given this some thought, and I’ve decided that adjusting is one of those things that you can’t control that much. It’s like learning to like girls.  It sort of makes you nauseous to think about it, but you know it’s going to happen.


  1. Nathalie says

    Nice poem that sums it all up:


    We’re going to move?
    I don’t want to.
    Yes…I do?

    Empty boxes,
    Full boxes,
    Last day:
    A lump,
    In my throat,

    When we arrive,
    I am curious
    And excited
    And scared.
    Will this place ever be home?
    It is so very new.

    Sometimes homesickness blows in,
    Like a summer storm.
    But luckily,
    With each passing cloud,
    It ebbs further and further away.
    I am at home again.

    From Gross, Naomi, US American global nomad age 15, Talking Leaves: A Literary Magazine. International School of Geneva (LGB), 1993.

  2. Cloudshooters says

    Hahahaha – Slightly adjusting is something you do to the radio when its out of tune!!!!!

    Beautifully written and perfectly explained, as usual Naomi!!!!

    After our move from Delhi to the UK, well meaning, concerned family and friends, by that I mean those who haven’t “adjusted slightly” EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of their world, their children’s world and hubby’s world regularly (or ever) – would often ask “so are you all unpacked and settled now?” The only answer I could think of that went anywhere near what we were going through was “we’ll … we’re nowhere near settled but we are normalising”!

    Almost a year on, we are still normalising …. and the adjustments? Well, a little bit of tweaking here and there but it’s not quite so obvious and in our face now!


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