Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Midweek reflections - Beginning of November 2010

…on the weather
I’ve actually grabbed my (very light cotton) sweater on my way out of the house a couple of times, although I have yet to end up wearing it. It’s still too hot in Beirut for it to be cold, but too cold for it to be hot. Makes sense, right? Because it gets hot inside, we keep turning the A/C on, but then we have to turn it off because it gets too cold. It may sound frustrating, but I like it. It’s perfect.
…on the city
I was very much looking forward to venturing out of the city this weekend on a hike with the university faculty services, but then we found out it was only for adults, and obviously we can’t leave the kids at home. I was so disappointed now I’m looking into renting a car for a day or so to find the cedars by myself. I’d love to see some leaves this time of the year, and it would be nice to get out of town.
At the same time; I went to a lunch yesterday at the Movenpick hotel, and I couldn’t help but continuously commenting on how pretty the view was. From my seat by the window I could see the sea and the southern parts of Beirut with the large sandy beach in the front, and it was simply stunning. It is a beautiful city.
…on the people
The boys spent Halloween with friends, and I’m so happy to see they are more confident in their social relationships than when we arrived in Beirut in September. The first time we went to the playground after we first got here, they hung around me like they were physically attached to me, and didn’t even dare to say “hi” to the other kids. If you know my boys, you’ll agree that this is not like them at all. (It seems that four months of traveling with only immediate family can make any otherwise very social boy shy.) Now they’re back to their old selves though, and I’m relieved!
…on our home
Our Halloween decorations were very sparse but made our new apartment feel a little more like home. Today William and I picked up a pumpkin as well that I will let the boys carve before I cook it to make mashed pumpkin for Thanksgiving pie. As there is no canned pumpkin here either, I will continue doing what I’ve done every year for the past oh, ten - or so - years; bake a pumpkin, puree it, and then freeze batches of 1 ½ cups (which is what my Fanny Farmer’s pumpkin pie recipe calls for).
…on family
Courtney will be traveling at the end of this month, and since I have some obligations, by then I will have to have found a helper or a baby sitter that we can employ. These are times that I really miss having our extended family around. I’m sure there are perfectly great baby sitters out there, but really, grandma or uncle Michael would just have been the best. I read my childhood friends’ posts on Facebook where they describe romantic get-aways with their husbands while their kids spend the weekend at Grandma’s, and I feel really sorry that we are not close to our family. I know, I know, we are doing all these amazing things, bla, bla, bla, but sometimes, you know, I’m allowed to wonder why we’ve made it so hard for ourselves.
…on education
Let me just say this: the laser printer is the best invention ever! Timetables practice sheets? Print! Halloween theme pages? Print! Spelling tests? Print! Kids’ chore charts in extra large fonts? Print! A never-ending stream of Sesame Street coloring pages to keep the toddler happy while I explain the concept of Energy to the older boys? PRINT! Add the laminator, and our homeschool has all the resources a mother could ask for.
People that don’t homeschool but that are interested in finding out how I do it, often comment after I’ve explained “That sounds like SO MUCH WORK!” and well, yes, there’s research and thought process and material selection involved, but you know what? I think dealing with lunch boxes, gym clothes, silly-band trades during recess, principal’s office visits, report cards, parent volunteering, PTA meetings, kids left out, and all the other issues - not to mention getting up in the wee hours of the morning to take your tired child to school in any weather every day - sounds like a lot of work.
…on the past
Courtney is doing very well right now with a book coming out, another book contract on the way, and a third just starting up, articles published, his new job, and conference invitations. I am so happy for him for us, realizing that what we are enjoying at this moment is the result of ten years of very hard work. When we first met we were poor students; it’s a lot of work studying when you don’t have money for food. Then I got a nice job and Courtney could go through to graduate school. He studied hard and I worked hard to build my career. Then I got pregnant once and then again, and Courtney had to go through graduate school AND work, while I worked part time. Having kids while working, studying, and living away from family is hard!
Courtney has worked and worked and worked so hard on his research over these past few years, while I have worked just as hard taking care of everything else, and I mean *everything*. The funny thing is that while we were in the middle of it all, we didn’t think our life was exceptionally hard; we lead such a happy life. And now I’m happy we’re able to look back and enjoy the harvest!
…on the future
Courtney is traveling to Turkey this month and Belgium at the beginning of next month, and I’m worried about finding a competent and reliable helper/baby sitter. I’m actually thinking about buying a plane ticket for my mom to come for a couple of weeks, and not get a baby sitter. It’s not a permanent solution – we’ll need a sitter at some other point in the future too – but it would be so great. Can you tell I miss my family?
At the same time, while I’m dreading Courtney’s trips, I’m also looking forward to them, because once he’s back, all deadlines for this year will have been reached (for now at least) and we finally –after years really! – get a bit of a breather.

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