A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
About a week ago, I misplaced my phone. I had it with me all day while the kids and I did school. I never left my house. No one came to my house. I cleaned off the living room table before our Arabic class that afternoon, and haven't seen it since. I tried calling it, but the battery had died. I've looked in every known and unknown spot. I went through the trash piece by piece. I did all the laundry. We put away all the Christmas stuff. No phone. At first, I was super upset. I couldn't concentrate or focus--my brain was missing! Then, I sat down to write a talk I was giving in church in a few days and had an epiphany.
The talk was titled "No Other Gods". I realized that my phone had become almost like an idol, if you will. I was depending on it far too much. It's a super fun little gadget and does so much, that I quickly depended on it for all my info and my daily activities. Much more than I should have been. It was an eye-opener to me as I sat down to write this talk with devastation in my heart.
I still feel upset by the fact that it's still lost. It boggles my mind, as it just HAS to be here somewhere! In the meantime, I've made peace with the fact that I may not find it. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. I hope I'm listening and will learn a valuable lesson. It's funny--I keep thinking to myself: "Ok, Heavenly Father, I've learned my lesson. I won't let my phone take over my life and keep my from my personal relationship with you. You can show me where it is now. I'm ready." Thus far, He says no. And now, I'm ok with that.
I'm thinking this partly came as a teaching moment for me, and partly because I was really praying that I could have some current experiences with the topic of my talk so that the spirit would be there and people would be able to relate and learn something from my talk. I know people listened. I'm pretty sure I learned more than anyone else did, but such is the nature of giving talks or teaching lessons. The teacher always gains more.
I haven't TOTALLY given up on my poor, sad, and lonely phone. Maybe we'll find it when we pack out...or unpack at our next post...
I am really loving my new vision. At my 2 week follow up visit, my vision was tested to be -1.25. Wow. So, I'm functioning really well and happy with the progress. The doctor said it wasn't good enough for him yet, but that it will be! :) He said my eyes are healing really well and looking really good. That's always happy to hear. For those of you who are contact lens wearers, you know that vision that you have when it's the end of the day, your eyes are sort of dried out and irritated, and it's time to take out your contacts? How your vision tends to be just a touch blurry so you have to blink a bit to get your eyes to moisten a bit so your vision stabilizes? That's my vision right now. I can see. Most of the time, I hardly notice that it's a touch blurry (unless I focus on it). Sometimes, after blinking a few times or closing my eyes for a few minutes, my vision is so sharp it takes my breath away! Then, I tend to tear up a bit which totally ruins my clear vision! HA! It's lovely.Room camping. The best way.
Funnily enough, there are a few side effects that never would have entered my head. First off, I don't have my 'near' vision anymore. I used to have to take off my glasses to read, or to see things up close. I had great close up vision. Now, that's gone...mostly. I can still read and see up close, but it's different than it used to be. I can get used to it, though. :)
Another thing I'd never thought about was my nighttime routine! All my life...well, at least for the past 25 years or so, when nighttime came, the major part of my routine was taking out my contacts or taking off my glasses and just sinking into that fuzzy 'underwater' world before going to sleep. Now that I don't have that anymore, my brain keeps telling me to take out my contacts! It's been interesting how tough that's been to get used to--and how it tends to keep me awake longer!! It's getting better, and I'm sure with a few more weeks it'll be fine, but it's something that I'd never even considered.
The last one is a funny thing, too. You glasses/contact wearers: You know how you get a little eye strain headache for the first few weeks after getting a new prescription, or a new pair of glasses/contacts? The same thing happens when you get your eyes fixed! It's so funny! As my eyes are adjusting to the new vision, I've had some eye strain headaches very similar to those that I get when I have new glasses! It's beginning to go away again, just like it always has, but that was another thing that I hadn't anticipated. It has been nothing major. Sometimes I've had to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen in order to lessen the headache so I can sleep, but it's been very low grade and I'm sure it'll go away (as a matter of fact, it's been 2 days now since the last headache, so I have hopes).
Am I still happy I did this? Absolutely. :)
In other news, I'm home from church today because my 3 boys have pink eye. Yuck. My brain is screaming: "Don't let me get pink eye in my new eyes!!!" So I'm OD-ing on the hand sanitizer and soap. Claire is in heaven because I'm forcing everyone to wash their hands every 5 seconds. She thinks it's great that we're finally seeing things on her level of hand cleanliness. The boys are happily sharing germs while building lego hotels right now. Tonight, I'm going to soak the legos in bleach.
The good news about all this, though, and one of my favorite things about Jordan, is that I didn't even have to take them to the doctor! Jordan is one of the few places where I can be Dr Mom and get away with it. I know, I know, you should always have a professional look at your issues... However, I KNOW they have pink eye. There is no mistaking it. Red, itchy, swollen, and covered in eye boogers? I don't need to drive over to the dr office, park really far away (it's impossible to get close to our pediatrician's office--even though we all really like him, it's quite the pain), walk half a mile, sit and wait for an hour in a crowded waiting room with other infected kids, to hear a doctor to say, "Yes, it's pink eye. Here's your prescription. Don't forget to pay on the way out." Instead, we walk up the hill next to our house to the local pharmacy, show them Peter's face and ask, "Do you have anything for this?" The pharmacist says, "OH my! Yes, use this one!", gives us antibiotic eye drops, tells us to use them 3 times a day, and 3JD (about 5$) and 5 minutes later, we're good to go! I just saved us gas in the car, 2 hours of travel back and forth and waiting inside, 25JD (about 40$ +) for dr fees, plus who knows when they would have gotten us in? Yes, we love the pharmacy here. And Peter is looking MUCH better today...and Josh and Andrew haven't gotten worse. I call this a win.
Well, it's really late at night (at least, it's late at night for me...meaning it's after 10:30pm), but Devin says I have 5 minutes to do a quick update. The past few days have been BUSY and after a frantic email from my mom who wanted to make sure I could still see, I realized that I really should update! Wednesday, Josh went to a sleepover at a friends' house, and so Claire and I made a girl's night. We ate popcorn and watched Anne of Green Gables until like 10pm! Yesterday, we went to an embassy dinner and stayed until after 9pm! Today, we had a new family over for dinner and we chatted until almost 9pm! So, yes, some late nights for us...and busy days! The kids and I right now are on our 'summer schedule' for school. During the summer is when we do a lot of our academic studies (math, spelling, etc.) since we take spring and fall to do unit study immersions (where they also get math and spelling, etc., but don't know it! Ha!)--so we're full swing into Saxon and Spectrum and Sing, Spell, Read and Write!
But, of course, I'm sure everyone's wondering how my eyes are doing. I feel terribly as I was reading over my last few posts (and some of the comments), it seems that I was sounding pretty negative. I didn't mean to. In the past few days, I've seen improvements in my eyesight LEAPS and BOUNDS!!! Wednesday, I woke up and when my eyes first opened, my vision was crystal clear!! I laughed out loud (poor Devin)! Of course, as the day wore on, my eyes got a little fuzzy again, but that moment of clarity was SO encouraging! Wednesday, my eyesight reminded me of how I used to see when I was wearing an old pair of contacts and it was the end of the day--you know how it is: your eyes are dry, the contacts start to fog up and fuzz over and you just can't seem to see...and your eyes are irritated like crazy. Well, I just saw things fuzzily without the eye irritation. Cool!!
Thursday, I again woke up to crystal clear vision. It wasn't perfect all day, but I could see improvement even from Wednesday. Get this: I drove for the first time! I drove to the embassy AND I parked the car!! Those of you who are here know what it's like to park your car at the embassy! It's ALWAYS crowded and the parking is tight. I parked between a big huge truck and a minibus! :D I had no problems at all. Road signs are a little fuzzy, but I could see just fine. I recognized Devin across the pool...lengthwise! AND when we left the embassy late at night, I looked up in the sky and saw the STARS!!! They weren't fuzzy bubble halos anymore--they were a little bit fuzzy, but I was able to point out the big dipper to the kids!! I could SEE THE STARS!! WITH MY OWN EYES!!!! I can't get over how cool this is!!
Today, my eyesight is even better than yesterday. It's still a touch fuzzy, but half the day I hardly noticed it!!!! I played the piano in church today. I don't have light sensitivity anymore. I am looking at the computer screen right now. I can read for an hour+ at a time! I can read to the kids and read all our school materials now without feeling nauseous. My kids are probably SO SICK of me exclaiming at every thing that I can see...or every sign I can now read. I can read the alarm clock across the room. I read the chalkboard in church today. I honestly almost don't notice it anymore! WOWWW!!! The doctor said I'd be about 90% by my next visit on next Wednesday, and I can see that as a possibility! I still can't wear makeup...but if it helps my eyes heal faster, then I'll do it. I've been following their instructions to the T, so that's helpful, I think. And I know that people have been praying for me, and that's always a wonderful help and blessing! So, thank you! :)
All of this is so exciting to me! That first week is tough. But being able to see is SO COOL!! I'm enjoying seeing the slight improvements every single day and I've learned SO MUCH through this whole experience. I know it's not over yet, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience this--and to see! :)
I honestly detest posting pictures of myself. I'm not photogenic. However, I'll make an exception in this case, since this is funny. This is me right out of surgery with my beautiful space-age goggles. I had to wear these outside AND all night while sleeping to keep dust/debris out of my eyes, to protect them from light, and to keep me from rubbing my eyes while sleeping. I no longer have to wear them, and they are now in the dress-up box. The kids are enjoying them as an addition to their myriad costumes, so at least they will continue to get some use. Ha!
I suppose I'm beating a dead horse, but since I really don't have anything else to do but type with my eyes mostly closed, I may as well continue to wax eloquent about my PRK recovery. Now, at day 6, I DO see some improvement. I was standing in my kitchen this afternoon and looked into the hallway (about 6 feet away) and could almost read the words on my picture frames! That's pretty good to me! Not perfect by any means, but it's daily improving, and that's happy. I woke up this morning and my first sight was pretty clear! It of course started to fuzz up a bit, but those moments of clarity sure give me hope! And my eyes always see better after a dose of eye drops. I just keep those coming!
It's still hard to read or focus. I can do it for about 10 minutes before I start to feel like I have motion sickness. If I stop and close my eyes for awhile, the nausea goes away. Hopefully that will all be a happy memory some day. I'm still not planning to drive any time soon. If I were in the states, I might consider it, but here you never know what these people are going to do, so you should probably be able to see in order to keep yourself and your passengers safe. Which reminds me...I need to put in a request to my driver (Devin) for a ride to tennis lessons tomorrow.
Today, I made it through the day with only a 15 minute quiet break. It wasn't a normal day, so I couldn't do more, but I am ok. I don't feel thoroughly exhausted. I did a fast walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes while lifting light weights and it felt so nice to do even a little exercise. I didn't want to overdo it, so I kept it low-key, but a little is better than none. I went out with a friend for a long lunch and really enjoyed myself.
I was thinking this afternoon about the biggest benefit of being contacts/glasses free--even now when I can't really see or focus: I don't have eye irritation or headaches. It's been something I've always quietly dealt with. Contacts have always irritated my eyes if I wear them for longer than a few hours (and lately, it's been ALL the time). Glasses tend to give me headaches after awhile. It's a sad conundrum--I can wear my glasses all day and have a headache and feel super tired...or I can wear my contacts and my eyes will be super irritated...which will eventually give me a headache and make me super tired. Now, I've not worn glasses or contacts for 6 days. I haven't had any eye irritation for 4 days now, and no headaches. Wow. Now, it was never severe, mind you. It would only be really bad if I wore my contacts from, say, 6 am until 9pm. Then I would want to rip out my eyes. It was, however, never very comfortable. I never liked to sit and chat for super long periods of time with people because my eyes would start to hurt...or my head would. I noticed this afternoon as I was talking with my housekeeper, that I didn't feel that need to cut off the conversation because my eyes were tired or my head was hurting. It was a happy realization for me. I am happily looking forward to more outings with friends where my time spent isn't dictated by how irritated my contacts have made my eyes!!!
Speaking of my housekeeper, she just celebrated her birthday, so I thought I'd put some pictures up for everyone to see her...and to see the celebration we enjoyed with her and our friends whom she also works for. She is the cutest lady, and calls all of the kids 'her children'. Good times. We love Devika...and we'll miss the Bangerters when they leave in a few weeks! :(
And in closing...Josh's feet are now bigger than mine. Oh well. I knew this day would come. I just hoped that he'd be older than 10 when it happened....
Last week, Devin and I were chatting about the fact that I had some serious eye appointments coming up. It was time to have my eye exam, get more contacts (maybe even hard this time...), get new glasses, and some prescription sunglasses. I always hate when this time rolls around because I feel so selfish spending SO much money every couple of years on eye gear. Last time I had a basic eye exam and got 2 pair of glasses and it was almost 400euros. Ouch. This time it would be more since I'd be ading contacts to the list and sunglasses. Sigh. You just can't win with bad eyesight!!
After putting it off for a long time, I started to talk with some friends. They mentioned that getting eye corrective surgery here is relatively cheap and would solve that issue of feeling like I'm wasting tons of money every couple of years. Well, last week, I looked into it, and last Wednesday, I did it!!! For me, it was one of those things that if I sat on it for too long, I'd never do it because I'd chicken out. As it was, I was pretty freaked out about it. I'd always wondered what it would be like to be able to see without the help of glasses, but it was SO expensive that it never seemed like it would be something I'd really consider. Here, though, it cost about the same to get it fixed as to go in for one year's worth of contacts/glasses. That seems like a pretty good deal to me!
So, Wednesday morning, I went in to have a PRK done. It's not quite the same as Lasik. Lasik, they cut away a flap in your eye. In PRK, they just remove the front of the cornea. As I lay there on the 'operating' table, I felt like I was in Star Trek and they were going to turn me into a Cyborg!! I had on a lovely hospital gown, hairnet, and even some lovely purple crocs. he he he. They laid me down and put this 'executioner's mask' on me so just my eyes were showing. They then taped one of my eyes shut and covered it, then opened my other eye with some interesting instrument that made me think of those wire thingies that you use to dye Easter eggs. Ha! But it kept my eye open and no blinking was allowed. I forgot to mention that they sat me down in a big comfy chair at first and poured half a bottle of eye drops into my eyes to dumb them. THAT was a weird sensation! Anyway, then I looked up at a little green blinking light as they wiped my eye with all sorts of stuff and put more drops in. I didn't feel anything, but it was SO weird to see! Then the dr told me that they were going to start the laser and it would last about 55 seconds. I think I started to hyperventilate! GAH! I had to remind myself to take really deep breaths as I heard the laser and watched my vision dim and smelled that smell like you're sittin gin the dentist chair having your teeth prepped for fillings...and that was my EYE!!!! GAH!! It was really short, though, and then they switched to the other eye (after putting more drops and salves and COLD water on my eye), and went through the whole procedure again. The whole thing lasted less than 3 minutes altogether. Crazy.
After the invisible drilling in my eyes, They had me sit up and open my eyes. I was a little dizzy, and I still couldn't see, but I was ok. They gave me prescriptions for eye drops galore and pain meds, and off I went with some lovely goggles that made me look very space age-y. I walked outside and almost died, so Devin and Claire had to hold my hands and pull me along the streets tot he car because I couldn't open my eyes at all. My eyes burned for the rest of day. It was pretty intense. I slept most of the day with dark goggles on and a towel over my face while the kids watched movies. Same with Thursday. Friday I was feeling much better and I even went to church! I wore my sunglasses to church and felt like a real nerd. I told people I just wanted to look cool. Half of the people at church have had this done already anyway, so they were excited for me.
However, I still can't see. My field of vision right now is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet and that's it. Everything closer is doubled, and further away is still fuzzy. I have some pretty funky vision issues, too. Lukily, though, the dilation in my eyes is going down so I'm not AS sensitive to light as I was just a few days ago. I can read for a few minutes at a time, and that's good, too. I can tell that my vision is getting better each day, but it's hard to be patient!!!!!! As I'm typing this, my eyes are closed, so I'm hoping there aren't too many typos! However, I'm not going to go through and fix anything that's wrong, as it's a part of my history--this time of no sight. All I can say is I'm BORED!!! I'm never bored, but without my sight, I'm BORED!! I can't read, can't watch movies/tv, can't exercise, can't really see to clean/organize, can't cook (can't see to read recipes, chop things, or see for doneness), can't go outside...I'm BORED. THAT is the worst part of all of this. I know that in a few weeks, I should be mostly all back to normal and without glasses, but until then I admit that I'm going a little bit bonkers! I have lots of energy, but I'm not supposed to overexert myself. I go in tomorrow for a follow up appointment where they're going to take out my 'bandage' contacts (I think I forgot to mention that they put in these contacts that are supposed to cover my eye to aid in healing and I keep them in day and night until the dr takes them out). Hopefully I'll have more info about what to expect at that point.
And if anyone wants to know what PRK is, please google it. I can't really manage to put any links into my text right now. Read about it on Wikipedia and from blogs of others who've had it done.
I'm day 4 post-op. I haven't taken a nap yet today (I've slept more in the past 3 days than in the past 20+ years!!!!!!!!!), and I feel relatively good. Here's to hoping for a fast recovery and glasses-free sight!!!! :)
Oh what fun allergies are. Yesterday, after a lovely outing to the park with friends, the kids and I went to pick up Devin at work because he had done a little shopping at a local market and picked up a whole lot of fruit for us. He also bought some bread, and the kids were ecstatic! So, we started down the road wondering if we should head home or look for somewhere to find a little more food for the weekend, and the kids were passing out bread to each other. A few minutes later, we hear a scream from Claire and she yells, "MOM! DAD! I think there are cashews in this bread!! My throat is closing up!!" Oh boy. I searched through my bag and strangely enough, I had no benadryll. I did, however, have the Epi Pen. I have actually never had to use the Epi Pen on her, so this was a first. Devin was driving, so I climbed back to the back seat where she was freaking out, opened up the Epi Pen, flipped off the safety, and followed the directions to the letter. It was interesting. I've never given a shot to anyone in my whole life. Within less than a minute, she was totally fine again! No swollen lips, rashes on the skin, or closing throats. Except now she was limping because she said her leg hurt. Ha ha. I made her soak in a hot jacuzzi bath (always helps, of course), then we had movie night. She's all better this morning.
By the way, it wasn't cashews in the bread. When we got home, we looked at the bread, and it was chock full of walnuts! It was really thoughtless of us to not check out the bread beforehand (although it's not something that is usually a problem), but now we know that walnuts are just as fast acting as cashews...and Epi Pens are invaluable to have on hand.
And on another totally unrelated point: Andrew just came out ready to go to church...wearing an old t-shirt and jeans. When we asked him if he thought that was appropriate for church, he said yes, and pointing to the giant holes in the knees of the jeans, "They're Holy!!" Oh boy.
Another Andrew funny: At the zoo the other day, we were playing at the zoo park, and there were a LOT of kids...and they weren't very nice. Andrew came over in tears and said, "Mom, I wish we weren't here! There are too many kids and they are very inappropriate!" Ha!
Visiting BYU Jerusalem! Thanks, Sister Judd! :)
Going to church here in Jerusalem is such a special experience! The place where we attend is over on Mt Scopus, so we overlook all of the Old City--the view is spectacular! Today, there were a LOT more people than last week, and it lasted the full 3 hours (plus some) instead of 30 minutes. But it was amazing! The prelude was by this fantastic organist, and a choir sang 'Come Thou Font'. Wow. There were some great talks, and I think it's just so amazing to partake of the sacrament while looking at the city where Jesus lived, died and was resurrected! One of the students sang 'O, Divine Redeemer' and WOW, it was so gorgeous! An amazingly special experience. Then we were able to watch the Sunday Afternoon session of General Conference (for those of you who don't know what this is, every 6 months our church leaders broadcast a conference where we hear them speak. It's wonderful and uplifting.) where I was reminded about the importance of being kind and showing love to others. I love conference.
After church, some members invited us to lunch. This wonderful family lives a few houses away from my in-laws in Orem, Utah! They're here at the university as teachers. Very cool. We enjoyed a lovely lunch with them, then all the kids (they have 5, plus our 4...) sat down to watch some Sabbath flicks, and we got an insider's tour of the BYU Jerusalem Center. Such an amazing and lovely place. I'd love to go to school there!! :) We had a great time with a special family, and all the kids whined a lot when we said it was time to go! :D
Since we had to pass through the Old City anyway, and since it's the Sabbath, we decided to stop by another Sacred Site. So, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It's a very special place. There were LOADS of tourists there, and you could hear all the cars and buses zooming past on the road, but that couldn't cover up the fact that that is a special place. The feeling of peace is very strong there. The olive trees are definitely ancient--don't we wish they could truly speak and tell us their story?
New Year's. That day that marks the beginning of a new year. It's time for everyone to write down a whole list of well-meaning goals that you just know isn't going to happen.... But at least you try for a week or two.
Anyway, this really isn't about my personal goals (which, I admit, I do have). We had one of the most eventful New Year's Eve days that I think we've ever had!
We started off the day with Devin making smoothies at Claire's request. After Claire had her smoothie, she told me her throat and face felt scratchy--like it does when she has nuts. Unfortunately, I told her she was just imagining things and she should drink some water and eat an apple, and she'd be fine. Then, the kids sat down to watch a movie and Claire told me she was feeling really sick and itchy. Again, being the good mom that I am, I told her just to lie still and she'll feel better.
Well, she didn't. Within an hour, she had a SERIOUS reaction (we still don't know to what) and looked like she had eaten an almond (luckily it wasn't as serious as when she eats cashews, but still...), so I gave her a dose of Benadryl. It didn't do anything. I gave her another one and called Devin at the embassy. I left Josh in charge of the kids (my housekeeper was on the way, but I couldn't wait--besides, he's 10 and is pretty responsible) and zoomed off to the embassy with a very puffy Claire. I dropped her off to Devin so he could take her to the Health Unit while I tried to find somewhere to park. By the time I got in, Claire was worse (she had HUGE raised hives covering her whole body--especially her face and neck!!!) and the nurses had called motorpool for a ride and the emergency room to tell us we were coming. The nurse came with us with a huge bag full of emergency things (like oxygen and stuff) and we took off in the big armored SUV for the hospital.
When we got to the hospital, even the doctors/nurses there made the 'oh my goodness' face for a split second before they put on their 'it's all ok and you'll be fine' face that they're supposed to always have on! Wow. They checked her over, gave her some shots, and within minutes of the shots the swelling went down and she looked almost totally normal (other than being pretty pale and puffy around the eyes still--from crying, of course)! She got a prescription for a week's worth of allergy meds. We had a fun time trying to find them, too. Most pharmacies said they didn't have it and it was hard to find. Silly. But, she's ok now, and you'd never know we were sitting in the emergency room all morning!! I don't like allergic reactions. Especially when I don't know what it was that caused it! No one had any nuts. We think MAYBE she had a reaction to the orange peel that Devin put into the smoothie--and the only reason we think this is because orange/grapefruit peel gives me an allergic reaction when I touch it. The oils make my face/mouth/tongue go totally numb. That's all we can think of. Total mystery. The doctors didn't know, either. Scary. Now, though, I know that when Claire says she's starting to feel scratchy, I do something about it. Yikes.
After Claire's exciting trip to the hospital, we headed back to the embassy. One of Devin's co-workers owns a bird, and that bird laid eggs and they actually hatched! So, the guy had a whole bunch of birds and asked if we wanted some! Yes! So, we picked up the birds to take home with us. Everyone loves the little critters--that still have no name yet... I wanted to call them Alfred and Hitchcock: The Birds...but my kids didn't get it, so they're still nameless.
7 kids reading in bed: Bliss!
After we picked up the birds, Claire and I went to the mall for some grocery shopping and to try to find the meds. It's always funny to go grocery shopping with Claire. She likes to stand in the candy aisle, holding her wallet, and trying to decide how much candy she can get with whatever allowance she has left. Ha!
We finally got home and I was so beat... The kids and I were supposed to have gone to the Children's Museum since it was Monday (cleaning day), but the morning rush to the hospital sort of shot that. I started to make our New Year's Eve dinner, when Devin came home early! Hooray! They closed the embassy early, which was very nice of them. So, Devin took the kids to the Children's Museum while I made dinner! I made all the traditional things for New Year's Eve: Ham, black eyed peas, green beans, rolls, ice cream... We had some friends over for dinner and enjoyed some great times eating, playing, and watching movies! :) Then, three of my friend's boys (she has 4--and her husband is in Iraq right now) stayed the night with us! So, we had all 7 kids sleeping in one room! Woohoo!! Good times. The kids were all asleep by about 11pm, and we were too tired to try to stay up, so we all brought in the New Year by sleeping. Ha!
So, happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2013 brings lots of fun and excitement and experiences that you'll never forget (in a good way)!
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.
Many people have been asking how we are doing right now with all the protests, demonstrations, storming of embassies and deaths that are occurring in the areas around us. So, I feel like an update is in order so no one will worry TOO much about us personally (while still worrying and praying for those in the more 'explosive' areas--please!):
There were some planned demonstrations/protests for yesterday and the day before--but apparently it was mostly hearsay. However, I was told that yesterday there was quite the beef-up of security at the embassy (lots of tanks and hundreds of military guys). Personally, I don't feel afraid. I haven't seen anything that's really threatening here. Luckily, our embassy here is the hub of the middle east. If things get worse, we'll be the first to know and we'll be evacuated first. The places where there has been the most damage have been the places that, historically, are always rioting and looking for a reason to fight anyway. There have been demonstrations and protests all over, but for the most part, it has been ok. We have radios, and all the embassy has an SMS system where they sent out security threats on our cell phones, and we've only had one, which was the other day telling us of a few planned/anticipated demonstrations that mostly didn't pan out. Everything's scary if you let the news media tell you what's going on. They WANT you to be fired up by their portrayal of events--otherwise they're not doing their job. And besides, they're looking at the really big picture and making it look small (if that makes any sense). We're looking at it from the inside out. It doesn't look so grim this way. We're not sitting back and saying 'all is well', but we can't live like scared cats, either. So, we pray and we keep moving on and we pay attention to what's going on. That's all we can do, right?
What that person did with their movie makes me furious. Practicing your 'freedom of speech' is all fine and good, but he spared absolutely no thought whatsoever to what that would honestly mean when he pressed the upload button. Ridiculous. While he sits in his nice little house in California, lives are threatened all over the world. But in all honesty, I think most of these places were just looking for a reason to start in on us. It would be nice if our government wouldn't sit upon their thrones in a thoughtless stupor, but from what I've seen and read lately of their response to what's going down, I don't think we can hope for too much from that end.
I have to admit, my 'favorite' protest was in Lebanon. They burned a KFC/Hardees in protest of the movie and the visit of the Pope. Now really, what kind of sense does that make? Ha! "Would you like your chicken extra crispy or burned?" Ok, so it's really NOT funny, but one must deal with it as they can to not get too worried, right?
But, we're ok. I think we're going swimming today. And we'll probably walk instead of take a taxi. :)
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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