Welcome to Amman Adventures!
Clearly, my body has said enough. Stop. Rest. Cry. Deal. Stop faking it and grieve already. I’ve been sick for over a week, so I think I’ll give up and listen.
Missing friends who have left. They had losses in their life and would have given me what I need right now. Such is the expat life.
Found a great website which means I can blog there and connect with others going through the same stuff. So, no more sad posts here. Last one. Thanks for all the kind words on my last one. I am feeling incredibly lonely and disconnected right now. Nice to hear your kind words.
Pray for my mom on the 27th as she has her mastectomy then.
Tomorrow my Daddy will have been gone one month. My heart doesn’t know how that could be possible, but my head tells me that it is. It was so sudden, so unexpected, there was no time to prepare, no time to try to come to grips with the situation….We left Amman for summer vacation worried about mom’s recent diagnosis of breast cancer but confident this was just a bump in the road of fun summer plans and that she would be fine. What we learned instead is that there are no guarantees, life doesn’t owe you anything, and bad things happen to good people— sometimes to people you love. On the other hand, we also learned that there are indeed angels on earth and sometimes you have been experiencing miracles all along, you just didn’t recognize them as such .
My grief is in process. I have not fully recognized I lost my father. I am still in shock. Because real life doesn’t afford most people the time to contemplate the loss they have just experienced, you find yourself thrown back into work, carpools, homework, social obligations as you operate with a broken heart and an exhausted body.
I am looking forward to a quiet weekend. Time to catch my breath, time to read, time to pray, time to cry, and time to enjoy my family. Friends who have lost parents have provided support and tell me this takes time. They reassure me that my feelings of heartache and fatigue and mind numbing sadness is normal and that time does help. I know they are right, but at this moment in time, it is hard to imagine feeling anything but sad.
Mom has another surgery next week. It would be very easy to fall into a “why me? why our family?” way of thinking. When I feel like I am getting pulled down that path, I read the news, log onto a grief support website or look outside my front door. Perspective comes. No, we were not ready for Dad to go, especially in the manner he did. Nor was I prepared to deal with both parents having cancer at the same time. I would love things to be different; I wanted my Dad with me for many more years as there were so many more good times to be had! I am angry he is gone so soon. But, there it is again, perspective. I had my mom and dad both for 46 years. Not everyone does. My mom will be fine. Not everyone’s is. I know without a shadow of a doubt my father loved me and he knew I loved him. Not everyone is that blessed. And in the midst of my tears, in the midst of my anger, I know I have to give thanks for what I was given. Do I want to scream about how unfair this all is? Sometimes. But again—then again—it is easy to find someone who has suffered more. And I’m back to being grateful for my blessings.
Here it is September. It’s been a while. It was a long, sad summer. Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the lung lining and was gone 3 weeks later. We haven’t even had a chance to come to grips with all of this. I don’t even feel like blogging about it now. All I really want to write is that I am thankful for the love and support of friends from all over the world, literally all over the world.
We all know we’ll lose a parent some day. I just thought my “some day” was still a long way off. I may want to share more later, but for now, that’s all I can manage.
It’s our last year in Amman. I need to get back to sharing our adventures.
But for now, I love you, Daddy. I will always miss you. Thank you for everything. You will forever be a part of us. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I guess it wasn’t up to me. I hope you know how much you were loved.
We did a little exploring and getting lost yesterday, enjoying the sunshine. We ate lunch at Mountain Breeze which has a glorious view of the valley. The girls had fun getting back to nature, pulling sheep’s wool off of trees used to scratch an itchy back and collecting caterpillars. We enjoyed the sunshine and warmer temps!
Don’t you love the steeples with crosses and the minaret with the crescent standing side by side?
If you think this is a post about sewing then you don’t know me very well and you’d best move on to another place in cyber space…
I am referring to the violence in almost every country that surrounds Jordan. And how if we want to leave the country, we must fly out!
Today there was a bombing in Jerusalem. We were thinking of going for a night over spring break to visit Masada. I think we’ll travel closer to home.
We’ve worried these past months about our friends living in Tunis (everyone is fine!), Cairo (they got out safely), our friends in Japan (they are waiting to get out), and a friend in Yemen. Friends in Saudi report tanks on the streets. And then there is Syria…so glad I went to Damascus when I had the chance!
You’ve kindly checked in on us and joined us in prayers for peace. Jordan is peaceful right now. Life goes on as usual; there are just protests Friday afternoons after the noon prayer time. The protests are not near our house and we read about them in the news just like everyone else does (although I am dying to photograph them!) Our protests are so peaceful, the police pass out water and juice to protesters! Don’t you love that???
We feel very safe. But as we watch Libya and Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen…and now a bombing in Jerusalem, it is hard not to feel a bit rattled. Like most of my friends, we are not anxious or paranoid. But I admit the Jersusalem thing troubles me some.
Bottom line is, we simply can not evacuate. What on earth would I do with all my cats?
The classic American lemonade stand with a few twists…
1. The girls picked fresh lemons from the neighborhood trees and made fresh lemonade themselves.
2. ”wa” in Arabic is “and.”
3. Chai is tea
4. 1 JD = $1.40 which is highway robbery for a glass of lemonade or tea made by children.
Elly and a few friends set up the stand in front of our house with an armed guard right beside them. I tried SO hard to get the guard in the picture holding his gun, but he moved out of the frame each time I tried to take a photo. He was a good sport, though, and helped valet park the cars that stopped for a purchase!! (Valet parking is HUGE in Amman.) They had customers from Germany, Italy, Japan, and Jordan and made 10 JD! Not too shabby in a country that is not used to seeing this sort of thing! One customer requested iced tea instead of hot chai, so we provided ice cubes.
Things aren’t too rough in the Middle East if 3 girls can make $14 in 45 minutes selling homemade lemonade.
You can see the guard’s shack in the below photo with his prayer rug hanging out the window.
Believe it or not, Amman has a cold, rainy season in the winter. It is upon us now and we are enjoying the change in weather, as in the spring, summer, and fall the skies are always blue (unless there is a sandstorm or pollution is bad) and it is sunny. This time of year, we light all the candles around the house, cook lots of comfort food, and turn on all of the lanterns we have collected from around the area. Ken is rarely home for dinner due to his work schedule (read: 28 hours a day) so often the girls and I eat at the coffee table and watch Andy Griffith. You laugh, but the girls love the old classics: Dick Van Dyke, Gilligan’s Island, Leave it to Beaver, and well, Mork and Mindy! Sure beats Zack and Cody.
The latest recipe we are loving is dumplings. Natalie is a vegetarian, so we omit the chicken and just enjoy the dumplings. Such wonderful comfort food on cold rainy evenings!
I won’t bog you down with the details, the pictures speak for themselves. This was a trip we had been wanting to take for years and finally got around to making it happen. We spent three nights in Cairo, then flew to Luxor for four nights. Although we left much of Egypt unseen, this was the most we felt we could do reasonably with two kids and a budget. Cairo was everything you imagine it to be: dirty, busy, exciting, historical, and fascinating. We saw two pyramid sites and learned there are around 100 pyramids around the Cairo area. The museum was extraordinary and the girls were amazed to see actual mummies! Luxor, with it’s resorts along the Nile was more relaxed. The Valley of the Kings was incredible and we loved seeing the massive temples and tombs with the hieroglyphics. It was a trip made all the more special by the news of late. I hope no more treasures from this amazing culture are destroyed and that changes are coming that will benefit everyone in the country.
Here are some highlights of our week there: