A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
I'm always torn about Halloween. Really. I actually really love dressing up and putting on costumes. I think it's super fun! I don't like the fact that my kids get BAGS full of candy to eat for days on end. I like the fun 'scary' decorations and the feeling of the beginning of the holidays. It's super fun! So, I suppose I'll keep it. This year we went to 2 Halloween parties: one at church and one at the embassy. I dressed up (along with Devin) for the church party. He was James Bond, and I was The Girl. Ha! We had a great time with that one! We didn't actually buy any costumes or think of a 'family theme' this year, and that was ok. We will next year, as Josh will have outgrown all of his current costumes, so we'll be in the market again. Is it too soon to start thinking about it? :)
Something we did differently this year, though, was the candy issue. Normally, I let the kids have maybe 2-3 pieces on Halloween and then I confiscate their bags and give them 1-2 pieces a day for the next month+. It's annoying to have the kids begging for their candy time every day and having one or two of them constantly searching the cupboards looking for the bags and sneaking candy behind the couch...so this year, I just let them eat ALL of the candy in their bags that night! Yes, they were spastic; yes, they didn't go to bed until 10pm (REALLY late for them!!!); yes, it's probably not the best thing for them...BUT, they get it out of their system, they don't ask for more every day, I'm not tempted to pick all the chocolate out and eat it when they're not looking, they don't have to sneak it...it's beneficial for all! They LOVED it and called it 'The Best Day Ever'. I laughed at Peter acting like the Energizer Bunny for hours on end. It made a good memory and made it definitely a different day than the rest!
Here are some photos from the church party:
And here are some nice cameos from the embassy party... I loved the water cooler that was dressed up as frankenstien!! Ha! Superman can take him!!
The kids loved the first half of the trick or treating...it was in the 'kid friendly' building. The second half of the trick or treating was in the haunted house. The only reason the kids wanted to go there was because they didn't (in their opinion) get enough candy from the first run through, so they were hoping for more. Ha! I don't have any pics of the scary part, as it was all in the dark, but it was pretty scary! They did a good job!
Trick Or Treat!!
This past weekend was a local holiday, so we took advantage and made a trip to Jerash with some friends! What a cool city! I will most definitely go back--we didn't get to explore too much as the kids got hungry (ok, so I did, too) and it's SO close that we can get there quickly. And besides, the live chariot races weren't going on since it was a holiday! I'm SO going to see that and take these guys! They would eat it up!!! So, here are some lovely pictures from our quick Saturday trip to the ancient ruins in Jerash!
Um, sorry bro Wayne, I really didn't mean for my panoramic shot to make your face look so weird...
A super cool outing! I look forward to the next time!
The first funny of the day: In the morning, we always recite the pledge of allegiance. Yesterday, at the end, Peter belts out, "...with Liberty and Bushes for All!" Sweet! Free bushes for everyone!
At family prayer tonight, it was Claire's turn to pray. During her prayer, she thanked Heavenly Father that she was not an orphan. That in and of itself is not really funny...I'm grateful she's not an orphan, too! However, the funny part was the fact that she practically had to yell it because during her entire prayer, Peter was having a screaming-flailing tantrum! I don't know that gratitude for not being an orphan would be the first thing that would come to my mind when my little brother was screaming like a banshee....
And last but NOT least, the funniest thing of the day: I got an SMS message on my phone from the embassy SMS messaging system. It's used to advise during emergencies and get out important information to everyone very quickly. What did the message say? Well, apparently the king's cabinet got together to discuss daylight saving time. They decided that it was a dumb idea and they weren't going to do it anymore! HA! However, they decided this the night BEFORE the time change, so it really wreaked havoc on everyone's computers and phones that are all pre-programmed to change time in the fall and the spring! Doh! Lots of people were late to church...he he he... I've always said it was a dumb idea, but I do wish they would have waited until the spring time change, as I really like the fall one. I sort of miss that extra hour of sleeping in in the mornings...but, we still have plenty of sunshine and the temps are in the 80s F/ 25s C. Can't complain there! Gotta love Jordan! :)
For our outing this week, we not only went to the Children's Museum, we had a picnic at the park across the way! We had found this Chinese Garden at the Al Hussien park a few weeks ago, and so we made this our destination. Unfortunately, we ate most of our lunch on the run as there were hoardes of bees trying to attack us! Oh well. It was a nice thought anyway. Aside from the bees, it's a really nice, REALLY big park with all kinds of fun things to do and explore! We need to go back again with the camera and find some more fun things to show off!
After our energetic picnic, we made our way to the Children's Museum for some more fun!
We sure love our outings to the Children's Museum! :)
I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle with the homesickness I feel for Finland. Today, it seemed to spread a bit. We were sitting in our Arabic 'class' (our tutor who comes once a week) and Claire stopped paying attention. She'd answer the Arabic tutor with 'Mita?' ('what' in Finnish), and then she grabbed a piece of paper and drew a lovely picture of our home in Finland and was just in a puddle of tears. Dang. I feel the same way.
I keep trying to look at all the wonderful blessings we have here: We live in a really good location, it's a wonderfully fun place with lots of things to do and explore, it's rich in history and culture; the sun shines pretty much every single day (except for today when we had our very first DUST STORM!!! SO COOOL!!); the people are friendly; there's lots of yummy food available; we have a great homeschooling group of friends; the community here is so great with lots of outings and things... And with all of these blessings, I still find myself REALLY missing some of my Finnish (or other nationalities, but in Finland with me) friends...and I miss my house.
Those of you who knew us when we lived in Finland, and came to our house, know it was just a wonderful and amazing place to live. I miss all the space--the HUGE vaulted ceiling of that living room *sigh* The HUGE picture windows all over the place, but especially on the landing in the middle of the staircase *sigh* The sauna *sigh* The lovely wood floors *sigh* The number of rooms *sigh* The beauty!!! It was just the most perfect and beautiful place to live. I miss it. I'm trying desperately to like my house here, but I'm struggling. It's ok. I AM grateful it's on the 'ground floor', because we have a 'yard' (really, it's a side walk with a few bushes). We have really nice upstairs neighbors and they're not noisy--they don't pound on the floor at all hours or play loud music or have parties--they're super sweet. I have a housekeeper here, which is really nice. But I thoroughly dislike living in the 'basement'. I look out of the windows of my house, and I see walls and bars. I didn't know we were having a dust storm this afternoon until the kids and I walked out to the van to go to PE! I can't see outside. The sun never shines in my windows. It almost makes me feel like I did during those 3 months in Finland when you never see the sun--it's suffocating!! I think that's the main reason I don't really like my house yet. There's no open view out of the window, so I feel like I'm in a prison instead of a home. I suppose I'll get used to the smaller space (I'm trying to get used to a 'normal' sized house again...and that's tough, too, especially when your kids are home with you all day, and they want to get 'creative' with their toys...ugh!!) and the, well, 'normal-ness' of our house eventually, but the walls and bars will be something I think I'm going to struggle with. Maybe it's still just me getting used to a new place. I have only been here for just over 2 months and have adapted surprisingly well...and MUCH faster than any other post we've been to, so I suppose there has to be SOMETHING that takes some time for me to adjust to. I just need to be grateful that I HAVE a home, and leave it at that, right? Thanks for letting me vent.
Devin came home from work today, came into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner, and told me he needed my help with something outside. So, out I went...and what did he need help with?? OUR CAR!!! HOORAY!! It finally came! We now have our own wheels to take us through the crazy traffic of Amman! :) Oh, I'm so excited.
Although, admittedly, I am a little bit sad at the same time. Riding in the taxis everywhere has been a good experience for me. It is really difficult for me to do new things. I know that most people laugh when they read that, since I'm ALWAYS doing new things, but honestly, I have a really hard time putting myself out on the line when I'm not totally sure of what I'm doing. Getting into a taxi with some random stranger who may or may not speak any English and trusting them to get me to the place I want to go when I don't even know where that is and I have all 4 of my kiddies in the car with me is something that I'm just not very comfortable with! However, after the initial shock wore off, it really has been very empowering for me. I've learned some Arabic VERY well (like 'right' and 'left'), I've learned a bit how to manage traffic here (just honk your horn a lot...and expect people to cut you off and try to run you off the road), and I've learned how to get around to some very basic and important places. So that's been nice. And sometimes it's been nice just knowing that I'm not going to have to park!! (Oh, I hate parking...I hate finding parking places...especially after my parking tickets in Helsinki....)
Oh the other hand, now we'll have air conditioning! Woohoo! And I won't leave my windows down for all the exhaust from all the other cars to waft in for our enjoyment. Blech. And, I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, without having to stand on a street corner and hope a taxi passes by that's #1) empty, and #2) willing to take me where I want to go! Even standing out on the road with the kids and hoping someone passes by who is willing to take us the 8km back to our house from the Children's Museum was pretty cultural for me...and makes for a good story...
I'm sure that once in awhile I'll still take the taxi. Now that I've done it, it's not so bad to do it again. But with a car, well, many options are opening up! I just hope my GPS doesn't fail me and try to take me down a one way street!!
Every year here, the diplomatic community organizes a Diplomatic Bazaar. Each and every embassy has a booth inside this great big building where they sell knick-knacks from their country. There's also a section where every country has a booth with food! Mmmm... Well, we wandered through the booths and looked at all the interesting things. We came away with a few knick-knacks (I got a Kimono dress from Vietnam...I've always wanted one!!), some yummy food (we got grilled burgers from Australia, Kebabs from Lebanon, and even some waffles from Belgium!!), but best of all, the kids got to play!! :) They had some bouncy houses/slides and a 'roller coaster' set up inside of a big tennis court! What fun! The fun was cut short when the power went out and the bouncy houses fell down...but it was great while it lasted!! :)
So I have a language question today. When we were in Finland, we were told that Finnish is one of the hardest languages in the world. Oh, I agree! You conjugate the nouns with possessives, there are no articles, all the conjugations vary as to how the noun is spelled/what it is...it's a crazy confusing mess! And all those vowels...the words are hilariously long! I came to love it, though. No, I can't speak it, but I can recognize it when it's spoken and can pronounce it if I read it and I understand a few words here and there (I can count up to 1,000, too!), but one of the nice things is that there are no feminine/masculine forms, so you don't have to worry about whether your pen is a boy or a girl.
Then, there's Arabic. Oh my. Is there anyone out there who thinks that Finnish is harder than Arabic? They also conjugate their nouns--not as many forms as Finnish, but those irregulars are a killer! They conjugate their verbs, too...and their articles. The adjectives come after the noun--which isn't hard to remember since they do that in Spanish and French. Things are plural only if you have between 3 and 10 of them: if you have two, it's a different plural form, and if it's more than 11, it's singular! They are VERY strict about the feminine/masculine forms here. Obviously. If you accidentally addressed some guy using the feminine form...well...you're not going to make a new friend that day. There are some articles (and, but, or), so that's kind of nice to have little words to use to link things. There are other issues, too, like some of the sounds...holy cow! How am I supposed to make that sound?? You can't even write it down. And then the coup de grace: The alphabet. Not only does it look like it should be a lace border on your scrapbook page, but they write it totally backwards! With Finnish, yes, I couldn't even guess what the word meant by reading it, but at least I could READ it. With Arabic, not only can I not even guess what it means, I can't even read it!
Ah well. I have to admit, I am sad that I didn't learn Finnish better. I don't know what I could have done differently to have learned it. I suppose I could have found a tutor somewhere, but then I would have had to find a babysitter... Oh yes. Now I remember why I didn't learn Finnish. He he he...
This time, Devin has Arabic class 3 times a week at the embassy and has promised to teach me what he learns. The kids and I have an Arabic tutor that comes to the house once a week for our school time. I am determined NOT to feel that regret that I did after Finland for not learning the language while living in the country! Luckily, since we still don't have a car, I'm learning lots of Arabic and using it while traipsing around the city in taxis. There are always blessings that come with hardships, right? Even if you have to look at it with a microscope... :) Shukran. Bixa
I like Jordanian politics. Last Friday, the people here organized a HUGE rally/protest after noon prayers. We were warned by the embassy not to leave the house in the afternoon, and we even cut church short and canceled the afternoon branch meetings! It was supposed to be a 50,000 person march on the city. It wasn't about any movie/magazine. It was a march against the king, asking for reform in the government. So what does the king do about it? The next week, he fires ALL of his government officials and appoints totally new ones. That's a good idea!!! A clean slate! I like this king, he knows what's up! We should do that, too!
The only downside to this: We are waiting on the Prime Minister (or some such high govt official) to sign off on our car so we can have it. Now, there's a new one who has to learn the ropes and figure out what he's doing. This may set us back...a Lot... *sigh* Oh well. C'est la vie.
Our Unit this month is on inventions. We've studied a little about levers and fulcrums, inclined planes, wheels, and now we're looking at gears. We looked over the gears of bicycles and how they work--the kids loved turning the bikes upside down and pushing the pedals to watch the gears! It was especially cool when Josh changed gears while the littles pushed the pedals and we could see all them work together.... After we took our time looking at bicycles, we put our newfound knowledge to work: We made a working mechanical clock! I found this at the gift shop of the Jordan's Children's Museum and it is the coolest thing! It's in pieces with directions to fit all the gears together. After you've got it together, you wind up the back, give the pendulum at the back a little push, and watch it go! Every 15 minutes the bell rings. We really enjoyed that and the kids were so proud that they put together a real clock! :)
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
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