Monday, June 15, 2009

How does it feel to be home?

This is the question we are asked most frequently. Honestly, it is an impossible question to answer. Where is home? I guess you could say we have lots of homes right now. Doing the math, we've actually lived in the Middle East as a married couple longer than we lived in America. Two of our boys were born there, and our careers are there as well. Still, coming back to the towns where we grew up along with the city we lived in before moving overseas is in many ways coming home. So amidst my home confusion, here are a few thoughts.

We spent our first week with Um Tulip’s family in Ohio, and treasured the time with her family. We went to the Columbus Zoo and saw a baby elephant, a local swimming pool, and an air force museum in Dayton. The boys are loving the attention, but are also tired and a little overwhelmed with so much transition. I love watching them being 'loved on' by their grandparents. One morning in Ohio the power was out. I mentioned to dad I needed coffee (can we say jetlag?) and he jumped in the car to get the family coffee and donuts. He brought back a box of assorted donuts. Oliver and Teddy Bear proceeded to argue over the glazed maple donut. I cut it in half. Teddy Bear started whining, and I let him have his fit. However, I looked at my father's disappointed face and listened to him say, "if only I had gotten more donuts" with complete sincerity. My amazing dad had gone to the donut shop early in the morning out of love, and if I hadn't stopped him, probably would have gone back for more donuts. Wow, how these grandkids are loved!

Here are a few of the funny things that I've noticed since we've been in the States.

- I've rediscovered humidity. It rains in the summer. We went to a park and it started sprinkling. I relished walking in the warm, summer rain.

- The boys love drinking fountains. We don't have these in the Middle East, and they are fascinated.
- Oliver calls bagels donuts.
- As we drove on the highway from Ohio towards Michigan, Oliver asked me how long it would be before we got to the desert. He's used to long road trips including several hours in the desert.
- The house we're staying in now has a dishwasher. My mom-in-law was visiting and was loading the dishwasher. I was caught off-guard when she asked me, "which way do you like your silverware to go, down or up?" I had no idea how to answer the question. We haven't had a dishwasher for over seven years.
- Air conditioning is way too cold for me. I should have packed my sweaters. Also, I'm so used to the way Arabs dress that I mostly packed nicer clothes. I only packed one t-shirt (a jobedu one from Jara Market, BTW). I've forgotten how casual Americans are.
- There are more types of cola/pop/soda in the supermarket than I can fathom. This week's purchase? Diet Coke with Lime.

It's time to take a walk outside with the boys. The weather is warm and there are trees everywhere. Better enjoy the green while I can!
~ Um Tulip

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oliver turns six

I know, I know, I'm leaving for the airport in 9 hours and the suitcases are not packed, and I'm writing a blog post. Laundry is in the washer, and I'm making progress, but it's just so hard to pack. I'm anxious about the flight, super-excited about seeing family, and totally avoiding the work that needs to get done.

Oliver turned 6 this past weekend and I made a spiderman cake for him. We kept the party smaller this time, and stayed mostly on the patio which was perfect. Water balloons and an obstacle course designed by Oliver and Abu Tulip. For Teddy Bear's party my mom-in-law was here to help and we did a Monkey Cake. I still had some black decorating icing left from her trip and the monkey cake, so spiderman even had webbing.

Enjoy the pics. Really need to get back to packing. ~ Um Tulip