Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why I'll Never Learn Arabic

In today's class, we learned that there are approximately twentyhundred words for shoes in Arabic.

So, for example, dress shoes are "kundera." But there's another word for flip flops,  and another for wedges, and another for running shoes. Surprisingly, there is also the word "boot," which is a type of shoe, but not a boot. Converse shoes are just called "converse."

So after trying to write all of these down, I threw up my hands in despair and asked "what's the generic word for 'shoe'?"

"Hitha," answered the ever-patient Ghadeer.

"Hitha?" I repeated. "Hitha means 'shoe'?"

"Naam, hitha," she responded.

"So I can just say hitha when I'm talking about shoes?" I asked.

Ghadeer made a face and answered "No. Nobody actually says hitha."

Reason #101 why I will never actually be able to atakallam arabi.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

You Know You've Been Overseas Too Long When...

The girls were apparently bored over the weekend, because they made up a new game. They called it "Chicken Little." It appeared to involve running from room to room, or jumping from bed to bed, yelling "The sky is falling! The sky is falling."

But then came the moment when I realized we've been at a danger pay post for too long.

Kyra suddenly changed the game and instead of shouting "The sky is falling!", she yelled "Ainsley! Duck and cover! Duck! And! Cover!!!!"

What are we doing to our kids?

Friday, May 18, 2012


The years are flying by, and I am feeling dizzy.

Just minutes ago we were celebrating Ainsley's 3rd birthday. Oh, and a few minutes prior to that, she turned two. And one.

I'm not very good at the birthday party scene. Here, as in China, people go all out for birthdays. I haven't attended a single drop-off pizza party. Instead, they rent out party spaces and host elaborate events for parents and kids. Which is fine, I suppose, if you happen to know any of the other guests, but I seldom do, and I end up sitting around trying to decipher the Arabic conversations going on around me.  They're usually fancy events, as I found out to my chagrin when we attended our first Jordanian birthday party. In fact, one of my girls was just invited to a party for which the color of outfits they are to wear has been selected in advance - only pink and white allowed!

I can't compete. I refuse to try.

So this year, instead of hosting a party for Ainsley, I simply made a couple dozen cupcakes and took them to the pool at the Embassy one sunny weekend day. We sang happy birthday and handed out cupcakes to all of the random kids who swarmed our table. Ainsley thought they were all there specifically for her party, so she was thrilled. I didn't have to stuff gift bags. Win-win.

One of my friends was cleaning house that day in preparation for moving, and she found a mermaid costume that was just Ainsley's size. So Ainsley wore it all day at the pool, a sea of sparkly green in an ocean of swimsuits. I believe she really thought she'd become a mermaid.

On the actual day, we made pizza from scratch, ate fancy Oreo cupcakes from Sugar Daddy's, and opened presents at home.

Nothing too crazy. But we had fun.
She changed out of the mermaid outfit long enough for a quick swim and a cupcake. Then it was back on... for about a week straight.

Protip: When taking pictures of major milestone events like birthdays, always  move the gigantic bag of dog food out of the scene first. You're welcome.

There's that dog food bag again. Top right. 

Yep, she's four.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why, Yes, It Has Been Awhile

I know, I've been a terrible blogger.

But I have all sorts of excuses. Still, I don't want to get dinoia'ed, so I need to update you ASAP.

It's not easy for me right now, because we're back once again in the summer transfer season. Mike left on Friday. Leigh left on Sunday. Kate and Tiffany, Terri and Rich, Deanna and Jennifer, Tamar and Leslie and Connie, and all sorts of other fabulous people are not far behind.

These people! I feel like I've invested so much time getting to know them, only to have them leave me for new friends in places like Panama and Abu Dhabi and Baghdad and even - gasp! - Denver.

I don't do well with this part of foreign service living, and so I've been moping around a bit and feeling sorry for myself.

But then I'm too busy to mope for long. In addition to attending an almost endless round of going away parties, we celebrated another birthday not long ago in our household, and we're already planning the next one in a few weeks. We have to make our summer travel plans, but first we have to finish off this school year (any minute now, it seems). And then there is the usual litany of work and school board and dog walking and baseball games and Arabic lessons and...

Okay, but I'll have a real post for you soon, I promise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Please. Write your own stuff.