I was talking to my mom today and she asked how it was going, living in a smaller living space compared to what we had in Sharjah. I told her that I think it's been an easier transition for me than for Jeremy, for two reasons:
1. Jeremy is home now more than I am, and certainly home more than he ever was in Sharjah. No matter how big your house is, those walls can start to feel like they're closing in if you're not accustomed to being there so often.
2. Jeremy never had to clean our huge house in Sharjah, and therefore cannot take joy in the hugely reduced cleaning burden of our new space. He never knew the feeling of putting kids to bed after a long day and then setting off to make the tidying rounds in a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom home. He never spent an hour vacuuming and then an hour mopping (tile floors throughout!), and by the time you're done, the room you started in is dirty again. He enjoyed the luxury of telling the girls to go play elsewhere, but not the price of having to deal with the fallout in multiple play areas instead of just one.
All of which is to say that I am grateful on a daily basis that this place is so easy to clean. Just this evening, I lay on the floor playing cars with Sterling and simultaneously directed the girls at cleaning our two total bathrooms. They could hear me from the bathrooms so nobody was yelling up staircases, and they could share cleaning supplies since the bathrooms are across the hall from each other. To me, that is cleaning BLISS.
I told my mom this: I love standing in one place in the house and knowing that all the messes I see are all the messes there are. There are no unseen disaster areas lurking.
Edited to add: this is not to say Jeremy never cleaned in Sharjah, just that it wasn't his responsibility or burden. And sometimes it wasn't mine, either, since for some periods we had a maid to do the major cleaning for us. Here in Turku, I am so impressed with Jeremy's cleaning skillz. He moves the couch and beds and piano to vacuum behind/under them every time. Every time!
Also! Our next-door neighbors stopped smoking on their balcony because Jeremy was the one who finally got up the courage to ask them to. When they smoked on their balcony, the smell drifted over to ours and basically made it so we couldn't even go out there. Now our apartment seems a little bit bigger because we can use our balcony, hooray! On Sunday it was freezing cold outside and I took a book and a mug of hot chocolate out there. I have been waiting to do that somewhere for years and what a joy it was to do it on the balcony of our own tiny apartment in Finland.