Monday, October 25, 2010

Today is Tomorrow and Tomorrow is Today

I have made a shocking realization!

Living in a cross-cultural setting is challenging.

{this is not my shocking realization...wait for it}

Living in a cross-cultural setting is confusing and complicated and exciting and fun and exhausting.

{again...not the shocking part...wait for it}

I have always blamed these feelings on certain things:

#1 - functioning in a language that is not my first

#2 - working with people that are not from my own culture

#3 - living in a climate that is HOT

I have discovered that I have been blaming these feelings on entirely wrong things.

Now for the shocking realization:

Living in the Middle East is challenging, exhausting and confusing because I have to live through THREE MONDAYS EVERY WEEK!

Mondays are never good. They can be challenging, confusing, complicated and exhausting.


How? You may wonder.

Here is the simple explanation:

The weekend in the Middle East is Friday/Saturday. Friday is the Holy day that revolves around the noon call to prayer and sermon. The streets are quiet. Not many stores are open. Families are hanging out, eating yummy meals together. In other words, the Friday here is like the Sunday I am used to at home. So, by the time we get to Saturday here, I am jolted out of bed thinking it is Monday morning {after having just enjoyed a relaxing Sunday which is really Friday} and my alarm did not go off in time. But alas, I discover, it is just the end of the weekend {that being Saturday here, which is the beginning of the weekend where I come from}. SO, Saturday has become my Monday #1 experience.

It gets worse.

Then Sunday here comes around {which is usually a quiet, relaxing day where I come from} and my alarm DOES go off. I get my kids off to school, and get to work. In my heart and mind, I am functioning all day as though it is Monday because yesterday felt like the last day of the weekend {which would be Sunday where I come from making Monday today!} And I get to the end of the day and am tired and confused about what day it is. Then my iphone tells me I have just finished a Sunday even though it felt like a Monday all day and I go to bed feeling disappointed. And that concludes my Monday #2.

Are you following me?

OK. Then comes Monday {the real one here}. Since I was thinking all day yesterday was Monday, when Monday comes I realize the horrible, shocking truth: I have ANOTHER Monday to live through. So, I just make it through the day as best I can on a Monday. Fall in bed at night and am so happy knowing that when I wake up, it won't be Monday anymore. {But then am disheartened knowing that I only have four more days for the whole vicious cycle to repeat itself.}

Don't get me wrong, there are some perks. By the time I get to Thursday, it feels like I have survived a short week. After all, it was just Monday! Now, Thursday has become my new Friday. The weekend! Then I get to Friday and am so glad it is a day off. Then Saturday comes and the Monday jolt happens. Then Sunday comes and all day I think it is Monday. Then Monday comes and...oh boy, you get the picture.

I have lived in this situation for SEVEN years and have just now realized the reason why I am confused and exhausted at the end of most days {whether it is the fake Monday or the real Monday}.

Mondays are just not for me {any of them}!

Picture for Today: Oct 16 - 21

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Feel Sorry For Someone...

Apricots Today happened to be the thing that made me giggle today.

I was browsing the stats section. There is a section that shows what keywords were searched for that made a post of mine show up that led someone to my twisted little slice in the World Wide Web.
Well, this was one of the search phrases...

"Why is there poop in my floor drain"

And this is the post that was found by Google.

God bless that poor person. Boy, have I been there! It is not pretty.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Traffic Jamal

After school pick up zones where I come from are highly organized and regulated and the rules are strictly enforced.

After school pick up zones in my new home are highly disorganized and chaotic and there are no rules to be enforced.

I have conquered the system {in my very American, non-confrontational way}!

I get there a bit early.
I back into a small strip of parking slots that are past the major traffic jam/pick up area.
I go in and get my kids.
I get them all loaded into the car.
I pull out and leave the back way...totally avoiding all the craziness, honking, yelling matches, and car accidents by the front of the school.


Well, my evil plan was completely ruined today when I pulled around the back corner of the school and had to stop for a traffic jam that I had never considered would be a factor in the after school pick up zone.

Camels (in Arabic Jamal) get out of school too, I guess.
Wanna get some more laughs out of other close encounters with camels? Click Here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tears Around the World

My kids have had the privilege of seeing many things around the world in their short lives. Recently when one of their passports expired, I realized that every single page was filled up. Crazy! I didn't even have my first passport until I was in college! (Although I did visit/sneak into Canada a few times back before they were strict on the border...the extent of my international travels!)

Well, I have been doing some photo organizing and I have discovered something quite strange. So, sit back and enjoy this fabulous photo journey of:


2006 Florence, Italy: Sick of sight seeing.

2006 Montegufoni, Italy: Bad mood.
2006 Polis, Cyprus: Yucky Brother
2006 Pafos, Cyprus: Bad hair day.

2005 Wadi Rum, Jordan: Sand in eyes and mouth.

2005 Makawir, Jordan: Sight of John the Baptist's beheading.

2005 Athens, Greece: Ruins are boring.

2004 Larnaka, Cyprus: After close encounter to the forehead with bus stop poll.

And the next best thing to crying around the world is:
Sleeping Around the World

2004 Dead Sea, Jordan

2004 Aqaba, Jordan

2004 Roman Theater, Amman, Jordan

2004 Damascus, Syria

2004 Allepo, Syria

This photo evidence only proves one thing.

I take way too many pictures.

{And one question: Why in the world was I wearing flip flops at the Parthenon?}
{Another questions: Why are 90% of these photos of my drama queen daughter?}
{A bit of advice: Capture your life in photos. You will get free laughs later.}

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can't Stop the Giggles

This is the last of my Debby Downer posts for a while.
I promise.
I drove past this pharmacy today:

{Sorry it is a blurry iphone pic.}

H2O Pharmacy

Life Could Be Better


Picture for Today: Oct 4 - 9

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Much Better!

After a week like last week...
all we needed was this...
with friends like this... in a place like this...
with a kite like this (can you see it?)...
and fun like make us feel like this... Ahh...This country really is amazing!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It Happened...

When I started this blog, I had a small worry in the back of my mind.
What if one day I just can't enjoy my apricots?
To my great shock and horror. It happened.
This week took the delight and funny right out of me.
The theme of my week has been:
No, I have not joined the NRA.
No, I have not started to 'pack'.
But (to completely mix metaphors), this week I had to put my gloves on and fight.
Me in one corner.
Living in the Middle East in the other.
I still don't know who is going to win yet. Guess you'll have to stay tuned.

From reading my blog, you may assume I wake up every day with the delightful smell of Bedouin fires wafting into my window. The sound of goats passing by. I take my clean, well behaved children to their school of excellence where all children come out at the end of the day brighter than when they went in. I find delight and enjoyment in the strange encounters I have with the culture. And I write a blog post about it and life is good.

Well, some days I wake up to a Bedouin looking IN my bedroom window and I step in the goat poop on my way to my car which is a mess and needs gas, but I can't go to the gas station on the way to the kids school because that one always rips me off and I drop my kids off at school where there are other naughty children stealing my kids lunches and doing other naughty things and teachers who don't always 'get the job done'.

This week was one of those.
I got summoned by a lawyer to make a statement about an incident at school last year (not involving my children, thankfully!)
I bought peaches at the market. They were all rotten.
I narrowly missed a horrible traffic accident, and had to witness the ugly aftermath.
My daughter refused to participate in swim club.
All the tomato crops in the Kingdom were damaged by a nasty bug. I miss my salsa!
I had to be a mean collection agent for a WAY overdue invoice owed to my husbands company.
I had to get my blood drawn in a shady health department room.
I got bit by my neighbors dog.
I have a slight feeling I may be scammed by a FedEx guy who is shipping a bunch of the products from my sweet ladies to the States.
My husband got called in to speak to the Intelligence Director over an issue with a former employee.
I stayed up too late two nights in a row.
My big toe got ran over by a grocery cart and I left half my nail in the grocery store.
My hubby was traveling.
AND I can't write a blog post about something funny and delightful because nothing of the sort happened to me this week!

So, in the effort to keep it real.

My apricots today are also...ROTTEN!

But I look forward to a fresh harvest next week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

In the Mood for Fall

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cool crisp weather. The apples. The cider. The smell of a bonfire. The colors of the trees. The comfort food...pots of soup and fresh bread. Yum! So many things to love!

Alas, it is still 100 degrees here.
I sweat to death every time I go out.
The only color on the trees is brown (as in dead).
But I did decorate my house for fall.

I found a pumpkin even! A BIG one. (We'll see how long it can sit before it starts to stink from its rotting middle!)

I have a great recipe to make apple cider from apple juice.

I smell smoke in the mornings when the Bedouins who live on the mountain behind our house light their morning fires.

And today.
I found the perfect pot for fall soups.

(Just for perspective. The pots are stacked to the ceiling in a store with 15 foot ceilings.)

I'm ready for soup! Come on over! (and please invite 400 of your closest friends...we'll have plenty).