I remember when we first started to tell people that we were going to be moving to the Middle East. The response we got was almost always a question involving a tent or camels or both. No, we are not living in a tent. Yes, there are wild camels along the road. No, we haven't ridden one... yet.
We are not living in a third world country. There's a Baskin Robbins and a Dunkin' Donuts on every corner and we've already had our fair share of McDonald's. We live in a large house with our close friends and there are many things about our living situation that are actually better than when we were in Austin, but I'll get to those in a minute.
There are, to be sure, some aspects of life over here (some are the standard and some are unique to us) that have made me realize that there are certain things I took for granted in the States. Things that we don't really think about not having, but I am here to tell you that I should have been more grateful when I did have them. Here is a non-comprehensive list of those things:
You can get them over here, but they use so much water and are not budget friendly. It is impossible with children to do the dishes after every meal. So we usually do them after the kids go to bed. And there are usually a LOT. They are the main reason we have already had our fair share of McDonald's.
I know many, many people in the world don't have one. Lots of people don't even have a washing machine, so I am grateful for mine. But it brings me to number three...
Washing machine hook ups:
Having to run my output hose into the center of my bathroom every time I do a load of laundry made me more thankful for those hook ups I had in the States that I never even thought about.
A toilet seat:
This is unique to us. The other toilets in the house have seats. For whatever reason, ours does not. And it may have something to do with the fact that it is a perfectly round toilet. Maybe it broke and the last people found it difficult to find a replacement. Honestly, we haven't even looked too hard for one. Quinn has to do the looking and since he's only sitting on the toilet less than half of the time I am and his bum is bigger, he doesn't feel the urgency to find one. I feel that urgency every time I go into the bathroom half asleep at night and almost fall in.
Abram's "room" behind the curtai
Selah's room in what, I think, was supposed to be the closet
Our “house” is two large rooms that have a completely open ceiling (the dividing wall doesn't go all the way to the ceiling) and an adjoining living room. While the bedroom is plenty big enough for all of us, we have tried to reduce visibility, light, and sound for Abram, Selah, and Quin and I. Sound is the biggest problem right now and they wake each other up from naps and in the morning all the time. Hopefully the next house won't have this problem.
Now, to even things out, let me extol the benefits of out new home in comparison to our old one:
At Steve's American Football game
We have our own spaces within our large house, so we don't have to see them if we didn't want to. But right now, we want to! It's so good to have such close friends a few foot steps away. Abram loves playing with Siena and Augie and is learning new things from them every day. I love getting to do life with Katie and try and help her out during the day and take advantage of the help that she is to me.
Our bed: (See partial pictures in "bedroom" above)
We inadvertently spent twice as much on our bed as we intended (thanks, Ikea, for having two beds in two vastly different price points and naming them the exact same thing. I love you, but this was a serious fail). But we went with a king and got a really nice, memory foam like mattress pad and it's not creaky and about to collapse like our last bed and I love it. I am about to go there now and I can't get there fast enough.
Kitchen counter space:
Even in our relatively small kitchen, we have more counter space than we did in Austin. That was always my biggest complaint about our house. But I have enough room here to make mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes souffle for Thanksgiving at the same time!
Older, cuter, even better behaved children:
Abram is now two and he talks ALL THE TIME. It's really incredible how huge his vocabulary is. He's a little parrot and chooses to repeat the most random phrases from our conversations with each other. Our favorite Abram-isms right now are: “yest niiiiiiiiiight” (See video), “Aw wiyke it” (which he says like an Australian), and “Dere we gooooo!”
At seven months, Selah is just about the best baby that we could ever have hoped to be blessed with. She rarely cries, you can get her to smile no matter how tired or sick she is, and sometimes she is so quiet and agreeable that you might forget she was even around (but we don't, don't worry). A few days this week she only had a few 45 minute afternoon naps, but she made up for it today by taking two three hour naps... WHAT?! I mean, it's great that I can get stuff done, but I'm kind of glad that's not the norm or I would be sad that I didn't get to see her very much every day. She's just super cool and very different from that two month old who gave us a month of being wide awake and refusing to go to sleep (although she didn't cry then either.)
Overall, we are liking our new digs and our new surroundings. Quinn is making friends and we are both hoping to start to learn Arabic with a one on one tutor in the next few weeks! I'd like to try and blog more, so my goal is going to try and do just a short post with some pictures more often, rather not posting and then feeling like I have a ton of things to write about and pictures to show and having to set aside and entire night for the endeavor. So I hope to be seeing you here again soon!