Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lifelines

So I used the phone-a-friend option and called someone who talked me down. I do want it noted for the record that I have never watched an entire episode of Millionaire and I'm not entirely sure how I know the terminology but apparently I do.

Lonliness is--in my completely non-mental health professional mind--one of the most dangerous feelings out there. For me it's probably the worst emotion I have faced in this nearly eleven month journey of loss and learning to live again. Some feelings are uglier--bitterness, anyone?--but none are as all-consuming as feeling alone.

If you feel alone today I hope you will also reach out to a friend. If a friend reaches out to you today, listen to them, speak the truth with love, and talk them down. I love you, Joss, and all my other friends who have listened to me, prayed for me, cried with me, and showed me time and time again that I am never alone.

Alone

Today I feel unbelievably alone. I couldn't feel more alone if I lived on an isolated outpost without communication technology thousands of miles for civiliation. On second thought, that might actually feel more isololating now that I think about it. But, anyway, today I do feel very alone only I'm not which is confusing to me. I'm currently in Germany and while I don't know anyone in the town where I am currently, I do know some really awesome people and dear friends who aren't that far away from me. Additionally, if I wanted to pick up the phone that is a mere 12 inches from my hand, I could make an appointment to see a professional counselor. The other day I overheard the counselor telling someone what she does and I'm familiar with her program and she seems so incredibly warm and kind but have I called her? No. Why? I feel alone and don't see how talking about it is going to help.

How can talking about it make it easier to answer the "do you have children" question? How can talking about it make my husband's cruel words and actions hurt less? How can talking about it change the fact that if I ever have another baby he/she will not have my DNA? How can talking about it change how painful it is that my SIL is pregnant and I am not?

In the MC there is no one to talk with so I feel alone. In Germany there are people to talk with and yet I feel even more alone here because I just don't see the point.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

Rather, hate me because beginning tomorrow I have a house manager. Now, Megan and Krista, I know we talked about this and I said I wasn't going to hire anyone but it truly does seem that everyone here has someone so we gave into the peer pressure. Additionally, we are partially reimbursed for the cost so that helps.

You're probably asking the question, "What is a house manager?" I guess I'll find out tomorrow. We met her the other night when she came over for an interview. She doesn't speak English so we didn't chat much but she seemed to have a meaningful conversation with TOIAW. Initially we wanted to hire your regular, run-of-the-mill housekeeper but once TOIAW listed her proposed duties (cleaning, ironing, some shopping/coordinating grocery delivery, some errands, and maybe some cooking if she has time because TOIAW loves authentic MC food), she said it sounded more like she would be the house manager. So there you go. Also, when he proposed 4 hours a day twice a week she said she would need more time so we agreed on 5 hours twice a week (Note to self: Clean house before conducting housekeeper interviews). She stipulated upfront that she will take taxis when she runs our errands--and we'll pay for them--and she also was clear about having paid vacations (that's one English phrase she knows well). She drives a hard bargain, that HM. There was much discussion over her salary but TOIAW also drives a hard bargain (those of you who know him IRL are probably laughing at that gross understatement) which means we are paying her what we budgeted and we have her for two extra hours a week. Score! Which is not to say we're running a sweat shop but some people here have been known to take advantage of the foreigners if you know what I mean.

The HM looks very young but she's actually 42 and has a 17 year old daughter so apparently managing houses is a career that keeps you young. We'll probably test that theory... Anyway, I really liked her and I think we'll find a way to communicate although I hope I don't subject her to too much butchering of her native language. She has excellent references from others and that makes me feel good because what's the point in saving a few dollars but being paranoid about whether or not you can trust someone?

Now I will be free to spend hours writing and editing TOIAW's grad school applications. Maybe I'd rather iron?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?

I think "Are you kidding me?" is going to be a regular feature for the blog. The problem is there's just so much material. First we'll take a look at this week's runners-up:

  • My Internet connection only works a few hours a day. Mind you, that's not continuous hours. I utter the phrase, "Are you kidding me?" many times each day.

  • After unpacking all kitchen-related boxes I noticed I did not have any serving pieces. It seems TOIAW decided to put those in storage. I finally have a beautiful china cabinet in which I could display so many gorgeous pieces I rarely use only they're in a storage facility on a different continent. TOIAW said he could have them find them and send them to me if I really think I need them. Are you kidding me?

This week's ARKM winner is: Squattie Potties at the ballet!!! Tonight we went to the ballet in a take-your-breath-away stunning theater. I really had to tinkle by intermission so I went to the bathroom and was shocked, no more like SHOCKED!!! to open the stall door and see a squattie potty. I just stared at it. There were two steps up and then a hole in the floor. Now I'm no stranger to squattie potties but, dude, I was dressed up in heels and Spanx so I pretty sure it wasn't going to be safe for me. I turned around, walked out, and practically pushed people out of my way to get to TOIAW and explain what I had just seen only as soon as I telling him I had to go really bad. So back I went and to my pleasant surprise on the other side of the bathroom the stalls contained what could pass for rudimentary toilets. When I went to wash my hands there was no soap, hand dryers, or paper towels*. After one uses a squattie potty, I think the minimum you should provide them is soap.

All through the second act I just kept thinking about the dancers. They were very talented and the costumes and stage design were very well done but would you ever feel like a huge success if you danced in a theater with squattie potties? A question for the ages, I suppose.


*Oh, and by the way, our tickets were not inexpensive; I do believe they could have found the money to buy soap, paper towels, and perhaps even begin saving to buy toilets with seats.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We're Just Two Wild and Crazy Guys

More accurately one crazy guy and one crazy girl...I would just like to point out for posterity that TOIAW didn't get home until 2am!!!

We had a nice evening at a colleague's house. I really love this lifestyle! For over a year I've missed getting together with friends, meeting new people, and actually developing relationships with those people.

Okay, I'm off to bed but first I have to bundle up because it's in the 30's tonight but the mayor of our fair city hasn't yet decided to turn on the heat. I told TOIAW at least we get to freeze for free here because in D.C. we had $300+ gas bills and we were still cold. In the MC, you can freeze on the cheap!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stuff...lots of it

Happy day...our household goods were delivered today! Busy day...it's a lot of work putting away all this stuff.

I have no idea when we accumulated so. much. stuff. I really don't know where I'm going to put all of my clothes. As soon as I gain some ground with the kitchen and decorating, I'm going to go through ALL of my clothes and I plan on making a very large donation.

TOIAW and I have different moving strategies. He likes the movers to unpack everything and then take the boxes with them. I like to unpack myself and discard the boxes on my own. We did it his way today which means I have stuff everywhere. My dining room table is large enough to sit ten people and it's piled high with kitchenware. I mean it's nice to not have the boxes and packing paper everywhere but when it's all splayed out it seems so overwhelming! I am making progress, though.

I found out my SIL is five weeks pregnant. Oh, to be able to be fully excited about a pregnancy at five weeks! She's only known for three days. Right now they're not sure if she's going to go on the cruise. I'm doing better with it...maybe. The cruise will be tough and, honestly, I don't want to go but the decision has to be made today and I guess I'll go. This will be my third cruise with TOIAW's family. It sounds fun, right? It's not. Not even close. They're awful even when I'm not horribly jealous. Oh how I wish I could change my heart and my thoughts!

Guess I'll get back to organizing. Things are far better when I'm thinking about other things.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A few hours later...

Crying always gives me a killer headache.

I had a nice chat with my sister-in-law (not the pregnant one but my brother's wife and my only SIL with whom I'm close) which helped me to think/talk it all out in ways that are difficult for me to do with TOIAW because he 1) doesn't always get it and 2) is too close to his brother to hear any of my not-so-nice comments. TOIAW did, however, offer to move up the timeline of our next cycle. I don't necessarily want to do that but I am concerned about a cruise his family has planned over New Year's. Right now, the thought of that freaks me out. Big time. Oh, and then I'm supposed to drive with BIL, SIL, and Nephew to their home town in order to fly back to the MC because we are using airline miles to buy the ticket and that's the only city where I could get a flight. I know that's an awkward sentence but hopefully you know what I'm trying to say. And hopefully you can maybe understand how and why that would be difficult for me. I need to talk to TOIAW but I just really don't want to talk about it. Ick.

Whatever, it is what it is and I cannot change it. I hate that this news through me for a loop but it did and, again, I cannot change that. I can, however, hold onto what I know is true. I have re-read the verses I posted earlier today and still I will not doubt God's love and faithfulness. He gave me a beautiful day of fellowship, hope, and confidence because he knew I would need that to face the news I would soon hear. And "the worst" will never be the worst because no matter what I will never be separated from his love. To this promise I cling.

Eating My Words

Remember what I said in my previous post? The one I wrote an hour ago? Yeah, well, turns out I'm never very far from disolving into a complete mess.

TOIAW came home, presented me with flowers, asked me to sit down, and told me his sister-in-law is pregnant. I didn't cry immediately--though, admittedly, that required not an insignificant amount of effort--but eventually I couldn't hold it in any longer so I went into the study and when I noticed rain drops on the windows, I lost it. It was if even God was crying for me, too. Now the sun is shining but I'm not feeling it.

I don't get it. Another child for a couple who has extreme marital problems, a child with considerable behavioral issues, and militant atheist beliefs. And you know what? I could get beyond all that if I just knew why I can't have one, too. Why? Why not me, too?

New Every Morning

Few things amaze me as much as God's faithful love for me. As I was getting ready this morning, I listened to a song whose words ask--and I'm paraphrasing--Many people ask me how I still have faith after everything I've been through and then the lyrics answer the question saying this question amazes me because how could circumstances ever change who I am in God's eyes. I love this song. It's like my anthem because with all I have been through the ONE and ONLY consistentcy is God's love and the hope it gives me. Hope is a mighty powerful thing, Friends!

Today I went to a luncheon held by a really great women's club here in the MC. It was really lovely to chat with women. I even sat by a pregnant woman who is due four days after Sarah's due date. Her name is Sarah. We chatted about my Sarah and I didn't even cry. Later, someone at the table complimented me on my hair color and I told her that it is so special to me now because it is something I shared with my daughter. I didn't bring Sarah to the MC in my arms, but I brought her in my heart and I'm not afraid to talk about her. Before you think Sarah was all I talked about, it was a 2.5 hour lunch and I promise I didn't talk about her long but I just couldn't help but mention her when it seemed natural to do so. I am sure no one felt uncomfortable.

I can tell that even though I might not ever fall in love with the MC itself, I am going to meet--and hopefully get to know--some wonderful people here. There is not even the slightest doubt in my mind that this is where God wants me right now which is something he continues to reinforce on an almost daily basis and, I might add, in very cool ways. As I walked home, I planned dinner parties in my head--it felt so good to feel like my old self and want to do things, such as entertaining, that I have always enjoyed. I thanked God for new beginings and his mercies which we know from reading Lamentations are new every morning. This translation is from The Message:

19-21 I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself.
Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer.
Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble.
Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Picture Post!

Friday TOIAW had a fun walk in a park. As you can see, the leaves are beginning to turn here in the Mystery Country. It was a gorgeous day and apparently we weren't the only ones who thought so because look at all the people in the park in the middle of the day!We ate lunch at a cute little restaraunt in the park. I just had to take a picture of these women having lunch with their dog on the table. Maybe I'm just jealous because my dogs would never be so well behaved?

I'm not trying to be rude or culturally insensitive but I really cannot understand why people walk arm-in-arm like this. Frankly, it really bugs me (which is, of course, silly because why should I care?) and it offends my American sensibilities regarding personal space. Also, I would probably fall if I were walking that close to someone else. Sure, TOIAW and I hold hands but we don't walk down the street with arms linked. I suppose it would be handy if we ever want to spontaniously bust out some square dancing moves.
And this, well this is a few lines from a famous MC folk song about when women tease men. Yeah, because it never happens the other way around does it? Men can be so dramatic!
P.S. By now you're probably figuring out the name of the MC. I'm not trying to be super secret about it, I just don't want to say it outright.





Friday, October 9, 2009

Done!

We are home from the happy hour and it wasn't bad at all. It was very casual and I'm glad I didn't wear my original outfit because it would have been far too dressy. Also, I found out where to buy meat and what meat to buy. The lettuce will be iffy until spring.

Another interesting thing that happened is TOIAW was blatantly hit on while we were waiting for a taxi. The young woman was touching him with her body and just as I was about to say something, TOIAW turned around--expecting to see me--and realized there was a strange woman pressed up next to him so he walked around her to stand on the other side of me. I may or may not have made a comment in English that she may or may not have understood but judging from the looks she gave me, she did. Oops. How about next time you don't get all up in my husband's grill and then we'll be cool? Also, an absolutely precious little boy* announced that TOIAW is his "Super Best Friend." He gets to have ALL the fun!

*Whose age we cannot agree upon but TOIAW swears he is not yet two which would mean he has amazing verbal skills.

Tonight's the Night

Remember how we were supposed to go to a dinner party last week but cancelled because I was sick? That means I haven't yet had my first post-Sarah and first MC social event but tonight's the night, Ladies! It's only a happy hour shin-dig and there's a set end time which should prevent any awkward "is it okay to leave yet?" moments.

I'm a little disappointed because I had the perfect outfit but I really think it's going to be too hot to wear it. Wouldn't it be great if such things were truly my biggest concerns?

Anyway, I'm going to have to cut this short because I'm trying to think of a way to casually ask someone where they buy their meat. So far I've found chicken and pork and we don't eat pork so we've been having mostly vegetarian meals because there are only so many ways to prepare chicken with the ingredients I have found thus far (not to mention that I our household goods and therefore, kitchen supplies, have not yet arrived). Oh, that reminds me, I'm also going to ask where I can buy lettuce. I didn't realize what an exotic delicacy lettuce is. Who knew? I told TOIAW that when we go to Germany at the end of the month, I'm going to eat salad with every meal.

I promise a fun picture post this weekend. Also, in case you haven't figured it out, I am feeling much better. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So Sick

I arrived in the Mystery Country about 58 hours ago. I've already been to two medical facilities. As soon as I have the strength I'm going to google the local word for insane because I'm sure I've been called that. Well, maybe not yet but there's a better than even chance I will hear it if I don't start feeling better soon.

Actually my first medical clinic encounter was a maternity/fertility clinic. We took a taxi there with a 3-pack a day smoker driver and a fleet of trucks with no emissions standards. Cue headache from hell. As soon as the doctor saw me she was alarmed and took my blood pressure and it was quite high for me so she suggested shot. I am so embarrassed to say this but I felt so bad I didn't even question it. It makes me shudder to admit that. I felt better within 5 minutes although still a little woozy. I'll tell you more about the clinic later but it was very nice, new, and beautiful and on the outskirts of town (because you can't build new construction in the middle of town) which meant we had another long trip home. We decided to stop and buy a tv even though I was starving and could not care less about having a tv. That took forever and I could barely stand by the time we got back in a cab because--oh yeah, me feet HURT like you cannot imagine. Okay, so we're finally on our way to dinner and we had a nice dinner right around the corner from our apartment. By the time we walked home, I wasn't sure if I was going to able to make it to bed. I was shivering, nautious, and my head was pounding. This went on for most of the night. Late this morning TOIAW cancelled our dinner plans and loaded me in a taxi to see the PA at the embassy. He diagnosed me with a tension headache due to the stress of the move and sent me home with pain medicine and valium because he's a little concerned that "the move has been far more emotionally difficult that I realize." He's wrong about this because I totally realize how difficult it is.

I slept for many hours this afternoon and hoped to feel better when I awoke but I don't really. I'm so hungry but we have very little food, no pots and pans yet, and everytime I start to eat I get full very quickly. At this point, I'm praying this is a virus that will run it's course soon.

If you've made it this far in reading this post, you deserve an award because it's beyond pathetic and whiny. Hopefully I will feel better soon--please, Lord!--and can write some positive things about the MC.