Wednesday, October 27

"i'm a woman!"

a couple days ago, we reached a big milestone with hiba. she is officially out of gummy bears. this means that when she goes pee-pee in the potty, she doesn't get a reward. she just has to do it now, like mommy and daddy. she was pretty excited about this.

today on our way to mops, we stopped to get gas. i was talking to hiba about something completely unrelated to going to the bathroom, which she informed me that she had underwear on. i told her that i know. she then told me that she doesn't get a gummy bear anymore, she just goes to the potty, like mommy and daddy. to this i replied something to the effect of "yes, that's so great, hiba! that's because you are such a big girl!".

to which she replied, "no, i'm not a big girl. i am all grown up now. i'm a woman!"

Monday, October 25

Restless Life Syndrome

when i think of me and jason, i think of him as being the spontaneous, adventurous, always-wanting-to-do-something-new half of us. and i am the routine lover, let's-settle-down-and-live-the-american-dream half of us. but lately, i feel as though we've flipped.

we have to own our house for three years or pay the government back $8000. when we bought the house, i was planning on selling it on march 5, 2013 and moving on to the next part of our life. i pictured this being somewhere cool and exciting, maybe back in the middle east, maybe in central or south america, or maybe in some cool city in the US. we would get jobs (or at least one of us would) doing some sort of good work for some awesome-sounding organization and our lives would be cool again. i assumed that this is what jason was planning on too.

but a while ago, he told me he doesn't really want to move in three years. he actually likes little rock, and while he doesn't necessarily want to live here for the rest of our lives, he could live here for quite a while.

so that makes me the restless one. i realized this a few days ago and have been embracing it full on. my new plan is to live in this house for three years to the day and then either rent it out or sell. we will then embark on a year-long journey around the world, visiting friends that we know to see what they are doing. we'll couch-surf and bum rides off of people, live on as little as possible. during that year, we'll find something awesome to do, probably having to do with community development type stuff in a developing country, get a job and do that for a few years. when we get bored or our contract is up, then we'll do the round-the-world thing again. sounds fun, huh? oh, and this is with our kids, who will be 5 and 3 1/2 at the start of all of this.

i realize that this is not a very realistic plan. it's just not very responsible. and while i don't think that everything we do in life has to be responsible, i think that some sort of responsibility comes with being parents and at some point you have to grow up and settle down. to some extent. (see how restless i am? i can't even say that i think i need to settle down without some sort of qualification tacked on the end...)

so why do i have restless life syndrome? i think it has to do with a fear of settling down and becoming connected with the community in which i live. when i finally gave into that in palestine, we had to leave. it took me two years to admit that we actually lived there and were there indefinitely. so by the time i really started investing in relationships, our house, our community we were only there long enough for me to finally enjoy it, finally have some really great friends, finally have it feel like home before we had to leave. and i don't really want to go through that again.

i'm starting to make some good friends - friends that i can have real conversations with about real life. we have found a church that we are excited about and want to get involved in. our house isn't completely decorated, but i've put enough work into it that i don't gag every time i walk in the door. we're making friends with our neighbors and getting involved in different organizations. but i still have this fear of putting any more effort into these things. because the reality is, jason and i have no clue what we want to be when we grow up. and we have no clue when we will grow up. so any day now, we could decide to go a different direction, move somewhere else, start a new adventure. or we could decide to stay here, invest in this community, make it our home. and since i don't know, it's hard to "be here". i mean, it takes a lot of effort to make friends, to develop a community around you, to make you live your home. and frankly, i don't want to put all that much energy into it if we're gonna just pack up and leave.

so it's easier to just plan on leaving than to not know. if we plan on leaving, than we can have fun while we're here, have some cook-outs and game nights, enjoy the time that we're here, but not really invest anything. that way it's easy to leave. it's fun to leave and exciting. but if we don't know, if we don't have our crazy plan ahead of us, then we have to live here, in the moment, making the best of what we have and really investing time and energy into making it our home. we have to make real friends and invest in people's lives and let them into ours. and all of that is wonderful, but it comes with the risk of being swept away again, being hurt, having to start over with so many memories of how great that last place was.

but here we are. i mean, we bought a house after all, so we're here for awhile at least. i'm learning to make the most of it. i'm learning that it really is better to be here and to have it be hard later than to just drift through on my own. but i'm still dreaming of what our next adventure might be.

Sunday, October 24

there was the time...

i feel like i binge blog. right now, i have a lot to write about, but am having trouble putting it down on paper. or on the computer screen, i guess.

but the main thing tonight is i miss palestine. more specifically, i miss our friends. i miss the community we had there. it really was something else.

sure, there were the times when there were parties on our patio till 3 a.m. the summer after hiba was born and all i wanted to do was sleep instead of listen to people laughing and talking right outside my window. and there were the times when everyone would come over till the wee hours of the morning and make my kitchen dirty and leave their dishes for me to wash and then never take them back to their own house. or the times when andrew would steal my coffee mugs.

but there were also the times when we would play catan for hours on end. or the times we would watch movies with funny subtitles and bad quality. or the times when we'd have sushi parties or saleem would make hotwings. and the times when we would bbq on the deck and sit around and eat and drink for hours, talking about everything and nothing.

there was the time when rachel dropped everything she was doing to distract me from the fact that my husband was detained by the israeli army. she made some phone calls with me and then came over to my house and we taught hiba how to clap.

there was the christmas when we were all so homesick that we had a million different parties and dinners and breakfasts and gift exchanges and acted as fill-in families for each other.

there was hiba's first birthday party, which was filled with some of her best friends in the world - all people who were at least twenty years older than her, but loved her like family.

there was the time when hiba was born and munther snuck food into the hospital for me, tons of people brought us dinner and showered us with gifts.

there was the time when matthias was born and rachel and audra took care of hiba, and again friends brought us food and helped us out.

tonight, jason had to take matthias to the hospital. turns out he has croup. he's fine now - that's not the point of this post. the point is that it was 11 at night and i didn't know who to call. we do have friends here that i would call and take hiba to if i really needed to. but we don't have the sense of community that we had in palestine, where if i called one of our friends, they would drop what they were doing and come to our house, no matter what time. and we all lived so close that it would be a matter of minutes.

i know we have good friends here and i know that friendships take time. i'm thankful for the friends we have.

but tonight, i miss palestine. i miss the culture of closeness that was forced on us, that we had to adapt to, that we were made to live with whether we liked it or not. and by the end, i liked it. and i miss it.