10 Days In

It is Sunday evening and we have completed our first full week in Zim.  We have been here for 10 days now and in some ways it feels like so much longer and in some ways, it still feels like we just landed.  If you read my post from last Sunday, you will be happy to know that I am feeling much less hopeless than I did that night.  The outpouring of support I received from all of you that read the post was incredible.  I have read and reread your comments all week and I have found much strength from them.  Thank you so much! I still have periods of panic and tears but they are fewer and farther between.  The jet lag has subsided and the girls are all sleeping through the night.  Dan and I are sleeping much better, although we both tend to wake up in the middle of the night when our brains refuse to shut off.  But I suppose that is to be expected.  We’re slowly finding our new rhythm as a family and settling in.

We’ve had a lot of “business” to take care of since we arrived.  Opening bank accounts, getting my new car serviced, meeting the nurses at the doctors’ office, getting the girls registered for school and buying their uniforms, getting the phone line fixed so our internet would work and having the electrician out to fix the ceiling fans in the girls’ rooms, to name a few.  At the beginning of the week, I made Dan or my mother-in-law call people for me but I was able to make some calls myself by Friday, which I feel is a big accomplishment, mainly because I can’t understand anyone and they can’t understand me! But I’m taking baby steps and speaking slowly!

The week has been filled with a lot of learning as well.  Learning to drive (I haven’t hit anyone/anything yet!!!), which grocery store has the best produce, how to purchase electricity (you don’t pay for what you have used, it’s kind of like a pay-as-you-go phone), how to run the generator when the power goes out (it happens a lot…). It’s been overwhelming but Dan’s mom has been there every day, showing me the ropes.  I’m sure that in another week she’ll be ignoring my calls!

We have managed to fit in some fun.  The girls have been outside playing a ton, which is a wonderful change after two months of being stuck inside watching movies while I packed.  They have been exploring in the yard, picking green beans from the garden, bouncing like madwomen in the bouncy house their Ouma and Oupa bought them and covering every surface in sidewalk chalk.  Unfortunately there has been a lot of rain, which means we have to turn indoors. We have had some epic Go Fish tournaments!! On Thursday we spent the day in Harare, the capital city, shopping and visiting Aunt Leanna, Dan’s sister.  We had lunch at a restaurant that has a giant playground and the girls were spoiled with milkshakes and a new toy.  I have also followed the advice of a cousin of my father-in-law and interviewed them each on video so we have record of their voices before their accents start to change.  I found a list of questions on Pinterest and plan on asking them each year to see how their answers change.  They got a big kick out of watching themselves and I loved seeing how their personalities came through on the videos.

We’re also starting to meet people.  My mother-in-law, Sharon, introduced me to her friend and neighbor that moved to Zim from England about 6 years ago.  Her and her husband have two little girls and our girls have loved playing with them.  I literally had to carry Kristin out of their house, kicking and screaming because she was having so much fun! For me, it is so wonderful to be able to commiserate with someone who knows exactly what I am going through right now.  She has been so incredibly generous in lending us a CD player so the girls can sleep with their music, antihistamine to help with mosquito bites, a French press coffee pot and coffee grounds so Dan and I can drink real coffee instead of instant and a jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (there is something seriously wrong with the mayo here!!!). She knows what it’s like to be in a foreign place and knows that the littlest creature comforts can make a huge difference.  We are so lucky to have them so close and I hope we form a lifelong friendship. I have been invited to a mom’s group on Tuesday through a woman I met at a coffee shop here in town.  I will admit that I am very nervous about going to the houseful of women I’ve never met but it will be good for me.  The people here are all so nice and so willing to help in any way and I am sure this group will be just the same.  We’re also reconnecting with people we have met through my in-laws and people Dan knew from school.  Hopefully our “circle” will continue to grow!

Tomorrow brings our biggest adventure yet: the first day of school.  The girls waiver between excitement, nervousness and fear.  Especially Elizabeth.  She is really missing her friends and teacher at her old school and is very scared about meeting new friends. She is very much like me and is having a tough time with it all. I am hoping that after a few days she will find her place and if the children are half as welcoming as the adults I have met, she will be just fine.  My heart will be aching for awhile until I know that she is OK.  Kristin, on the other hand, can’t wait.  She’ll be the girl that walks into the room and doesn’t turn around to wave goodbye.  That will also make my heart ache! As of right now they are excited to wear their uniforms, but as a former uniform-wearing student myself, I know that will change quickly! I am terrified for tomorrow.  I am so unfamiliar with how the school system works here and I really don’t know what to expect.  I’m forcing Dan to come to drop off and pick up with me for a few days until I feel comfortable with it. I’m sure he thinks I’m a moron, but like I said in my last post, I don’t like the unknown and tomorrow is one big unknown for me.  But I’ll be just fine, too.

We’ve made a lot of progress in the last week.  The original terror is starting to subside and we are beginning to figure out our new normal.  Some weeks we will take it one day at a time, some weeks we will take it on hour at a time.

I wanted to post some pictures of the past week but I can’t get it to work and Dan is already asleep, so I will do that tomorrow! Some day I’ll figure this technology thing out! Follow Becoming Zimbo on Facebook for pictures and mini posts.

Thank you again for all of your support!



  1. Amy Greer

    It’s a comfort to see things are some better. I’ll be praying especially for Elizabeth, for you and Kristin! God has been good.to you this week!

  2. Sue Dolan

    I’m so glad you are settling in. I know things will go well Monday too. Elizabeth will adjust, even if it doesn’t happen the first day.She is such a sweet kid, so I know she will make friends. It sounds like there is a wonderful network of people to help you through the ins and outs of becoming Zimbo!!! Love you all. Aunt Sue

  3. Genny flatberg

    Katie you do sound so much better and as we know God is good and will be there fore you. All our love we have for you as a friend will remain in our hearts it is a total different life and you said time will tell today weather was good but wind as usual Julie s boys getting involved in sports. Sh had a trip to San Diego California and you would have some good laughs about this trip.do miss you but that will be always take care and love to you and family

  4. Kath

    Kati – I pray that things will continue to get better day by day for you. It does take time. When we made the move to New Jersey from CA, it felt huge so I can’t even imagine what you must be feeling. I can safely tell you that in 6 months, there will be a calm that comes over you – your kids will have found a new routine – a new normal so to speak, and with that calmness and peace in their hearts, you will be settled in yours. It is not an easy journey and you may hit very low valleys amongst your highest mountain tops, but that plateau will arrive and then you will find new challenges, but this will be ok. Does that make sense? I am telling you – I told myself these things when we moved from St. Louis to CA and it helped me each and every day. Somehow – when I moved out here to the east coast I forgot my own sense of calmness that I just shared – that 6 month allowance for things to be truly a little out of control and I have to say – it really wasn’t the best move. However – 6 months hit and suddenly I saw Ryan acclimating and even smiling – I needed my GPS to get around just a little bit less and I even went to a friends for a party. I realized that life had picked up and it is good wherever my family is. It is different since Brandon is in prep school 3 hours from home, but let me tell you – when he is home and all 4 of us are under one roof – my nest is full as well as my heart. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!!! Keep posting your adventures!!! Enjoy! And be well!

  5. Oh my word! It’s like you landed on another planet. {The mayo would freak me out too.} You guys are completely rewiring your brains over there and will be better human beings because you dared to try something new. I am so glad you are writing all of this down!!! This is one heckuva story, Kati. I will continue to pray for your transition and more friends than you know what to do with. Much love.

  6. christina

    I love hearing about all these things I know it’s a big change and I love that you are doing it as a family. Chin up and keep pushing forward you got this. Hug the girls and tell them Lexie says high and we hope someday to come visit you!!

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