Hans, Hannah and I moved back to the US almost a year and a half ago after teaching English in Japan for 3 years. In some aspects Japan was kinder to us than our homeland ever was. For the first time in our marriage we were both working full time, and pulling ourselves out of debt rather than falling further in. Japan also gave us the best health care we'd had since getting married, and consequently we decided to have Hannah while we were there. We met some of the kindest, most loving and selfless people we've ever encountered - Megumi and Miwako (whose affectionately given nicknames are "Baba" and "Wakan") - who helped us through the toughest aspects of living and giving birth in Japan. If not for them we probably wouldn't have stayed as long as we did, but life has a funny way of connecting us with the people we need in order to thrive in our circumstances.
Other aspects of our life in those 3 years were not so kind to us, and our homecoming wasn't as triumphant and momentous as most would have liked it to be. With broken spirits and a rather bruised relationship, we felt truly lost coming back to Kansas. On top of it all, America's economy was grim at best, and finding employment would prove to be a long and arduous journey. Hans had begun online graduate work in Emergency Management while in Japan, and upon our return tried for months to schedule a meeting with Leavenworth's Emergency Manager to see if there was some kind of internship he could do while taking classes. Meanwhile he worked for the Census Bureau (which would only last the summer), attended networking gatherings at bars where he was completely out of his element, and applied, applied, applied for anything and everything. But nothing.
|This is how we found him most times of the day. :)|
As a doting wife, I'm ashamed to admit I'm a bit out of practice. I don't think I will ever fully understand or appreciate the pressure and stress that husbands and fathers endure in order to provide for their families and be called "Real Men." In fact, I'm not sure I give much credence to the title "Real Man" in the first place. Hans is a Good Man. For 8 months of late-night studying, odd jobs, volunteer work, and rejection, he has been patient, determined, focused, and optimistic. Somehow he has managed to keep himself pulled together and happy, and subsequently, so have we. It has been no small feat, and I admire his sheer gall and courage which have taken him this far. For that, and for being a giving, affectionate father to Hannah and bearing with me through the most difficult time our marriage has seen (and hopefully will ever see), I should probably take more time out of my own trivial schedule to dote, and dote often. There are more disasters in the world than we know what to do with, not only natural disasters and national security threats, but disasters of the heart and mind that take years of forbearance and dedication to manage, clean up, and heal. It's a good thing he specializes in this stuff, because I would be lost without his steadfast bravery and love.