Change Is A 4-Letter Word.

     Change is a four letter word around our house. My mom hates change. Haircuts, travel, family coming home for the holidays and leaving again—these are all on her list of most disliked events. The funny thing is that we’re a family who lived abroad for most of our childhood years, and we’re as comfortable in international airports as we are in our own backyard (coming soon: a list of Vance family favorite airports). As you can imagine, there has always been this love-hate relationship with change: craving adventure and embracing home. 
     There’s no time that this is more poignantly felt than during the months of September and October. I savor every last drop of sunlight. I find myself taking the long route to anywhere I go, just to spend more time in the warm air. I keep a swimsuit in my purse just in case I have a spare moment to sit in the park and lounge in the lingering rays of Summer Sun. 
     The very next moment I revel in the crisp evening breeze. I pull out scarves and jackets and flannels to layer over my t-shirts and cutoff jeans. I light candles, bake pumpkin flavored things and shamelessly listen to Christmas music on the first rainy, chilly day. Occasionally this happens in August; no judgment, please. Christmas isn’t a date. It’s a feeling in the air, and if that magic stops by on August 3rd, I’m not one to argue. 


     There’s a longing for fleeting summer days and an overwhelming anticipation for the lure of pumpkin spice lattes and twinkle lights. Both are real. Valid. Genuine. Normal. The same goes for these feelings of change in other areas of life. A move. A child leaving for boarding school or college. Your best friend relocating. Saying goodbye to grandparents. Finding a favorite coffee shop in a new city. Reconnecting with a childhood friend. 
     As third culture kids, we sometimes feel like we’re supposed to be professionals at changing seasons. Adaptability is our middle name. Our coping mechanisms are world class. We thrive on transition, travel, and living outside the ordinary. Nothing can disrupt the impeccably crafted barricades we’ve put up to protect ourselves from intruders. Nothing can ruffle the perfectly packed suitcase where we’ve stuffed all of our yucky feelings about change under layers of smiles and “everything is fine”s. 
     Oh right. We’re not professionals. We’ve just worked really hard to appear that way. Just me? Well, for me and that one friend of yours who could really use some help in this department, here’s all I have to say. Changing seasons is meant to be bittersweet. We see it in leaves that paint the world vibrant hues as they drift toward their death. We feel it in the awkward transition from homes and subway cars that are too cold or too hot, but never just right.
     A love-hate relationship with changing seasons is perfectly normal. Embrace it, even if the label “normal” makes you shudder a bit. That’s another blog post for another time. For now, I’m off to make pumpkin pancakes and a piña colada. Because October.