Saturday, September 26, 2009

I hate colds in the summer...

Finally caught Erik's cold...his lasted about 10 days and included laryngitis. Great. I am on day four, and still don't feel much better. I am sticking to my promise to post at least once a week...but this is just an update that my brain can't put together much more than a sentence, let alone a whole blog post. More to come I promise. Just to keep you interested...we are getting a cat today. I know we are crazy. It is on a trial basis though, so if it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things to Love (and Hate) about the Kingdom: Part 1

There are so many things to love and hate about living here. I thought I'd regale (is that spelled right) you with tales of a few of them in a multi-part check back to read more.

The number one thing to LOVE and HATE about the Kingdom: (drumroll please) THE WEATHER

So let me start by saying it is not as hot as I thought it would be. It is more humid than I remember though, which is a little disappointing. On the dry days, I am like "bring it on", but on the mornings I come downstairs and it looks like it has been raining outside, i think "f... today is gonna suck".

Fortunately, EVERYTHING is airconditioned, but usually overly so. This means you need to remember to bring a sweater, EVERYWHERE so you don't freeze. This is very counterintuitive..even when you live here. Erik actually teaches in a fleece. Our upstairs is much colder than our downstairs, but the thermostat is downstairs, so if it is comfortable downstairs it is probably like a walkin freezer upstairs. By the way, this is why I let the dog (who will perhaps be the number 2 thing to love and hate) sleep with us most nights. I don't want her to be too cold!

One of the crappy things about the heat is that it is hard to play outside with the girls right now between the hours of 8am and 6pm. The playground equipment is scorching, and even a walk around the block with the dog has Anika panting for water and Saskia begging to be carried. We all come back a sweaty mess.

Evenings are LOVELY though....a balmy 90 some degrees, I almost need a sweater when we go for our evening walks into the desert (our house which will for sure make one of these posts backs right up to the desert). Everyone says around October 31st or November 1st, the weather changes and is just lovely until May. A little cold even in the winter, especially at night when it can get into the 50's or 40's even.

Twice a week, when the nanny gets here I head to the pool for two hours of sunbathing bliss at the pool. This ROCKS. I read, lay in the sun, and dip in the pool to cool off. Some days it is so hot I can't go longer than 10 minutes without a dip in the pool, and am completely dry by the time I need to dip in again 10 minutes later. This makes for disjointed reading but I can't complain. I diligently apply SPF 50 before every sunbathing session and am still developing a LOVELY tan.

Going anywhere in the car during the day with the girls is a MAJOR torture session for everyone. Despite all our efforts to block the sun in the car, the seats are always scorching, and the air stifling hot, until the aircon kicks in (usually right around the time we arrive at our destination since nothing is much more than 5 minutes from here). I have found all sorts of tricky ways to use dishtowels and things to wrap seatbelts and car seat restraints so that the girls don't get burned by their too hot buckles. I have considered wearing gloves to drive because the steering wheel is SO fricking hot.

The most amazing thing is that right now is the month of Ramadan. This holy month of fasting rotates throughout the year (since the muslim calendar like the chinese is lunar). However, right not it falls in September. I can't believe that most of the people in this country are not drinking water during the day. I try to be contientious, but the last few weeks have been sneaking a water bottle into the car and taking furtive sips whenever I feel like I am far enough away for anyone to see me.

I am sure I am forgetting highlights, the tar bubbling to the top of the asphalt and sticking to your shoes when you cross the street, crayons melting in the car, and the ever amazing tap water. (In the summer people turn off their hot water heaters and use the hot water as cold since it is in the house and is cooled by the AC, the cold water tap then becomes the scalding hot water, as the water is heated naturally to almost boiling in the pipes that run underground outside the house!) Crazy.

I think that's enough for a first post. More to come soon. Stay tuned for part 2 Liyah the wunderdog supremo!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There's no place like home...

So here is my horrorscope for the day! I think it says it all....

You may be getting anxious today because of your uncertainty about how the past leads to the future. It's hard to see the real connection between what you are currently doing and where you want to go. You prefer having a concrete plan, yet being weighed down by too much structure can be dangerous now. This is an opportunity for you to practice letting go of control, for you can always tighten the reins again in a few days.

I have a feeling this will be the theme of my blog (not to mention life) for the next few years. Erik was crazy to mary a capricorn.

However, despite the fact that I am still very much on a journey of some sort, and the fact that we are far from setted...I feel like I am home for the first time in a very long time. We don't have our "stuff" yet, and have not settled into anything anyone would call a routine, we don't really have friends yet. As you can imagine this creates a certain level of stress in my life, and the life of those around me (see above horrorscope). But underneath it all, I know it will all be okay. Because I am home, and I am realizing I haven't "been home" since I left Saudi in 1992. I feel like I have been searching and searching for years, and all the time it was right here.

I look forward to sharing more with you about my home, and our life here through this blog, email, skpye, and good old fashion phone calls and letters. I love you all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pictures from Paradise! Finally!

So, after a 2 hour plane ride, and 2 hour drive from Bangkok, we arrived at Ban Phe Pier
where we would meet the speedboat that would take us to our resort.

We figured out that these kids live on Koh Samed, and take a
speedboat and this motorbike bus to school everyday.

Pale and excited!

For three blessed days we sat on the beach reading, sipping water and Singha.

I was a bit worried about the storm clouds but they say Koh Samed is under an
umbrella in the Gulf of Thailand, and the clouds just passed right by. At night we
could see lightning in the distance, but never a drop of rain. Perfect.

This boat came in EVERY day to bring water to our resort. CRAZY.

On the third day we moved up under those trees you see there to nurse our sunburns, despite the spf 30 and the beach umbrella. The shade of the trees allowed us a third amazing day at the beach. Thank you trees. We also had a massage under their shade EVERYDAY we were there.

We ate fresh squid everynight, and delicious thai food of course!
With plenty of Singha to wash it down.

My handsome husband!

Our shady refuge in the evening.

Hope to see you again soon, Koh Samed!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Full House!

Erik's parents, sister Kirsten, and our nephew Aidan arrive tonight for nine days of Hong Kong fun. We can't wait. Anika is particularly excited. Hope there will be lots to share in coming days.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Perfection: Stay tuned for pics...

Our home computer is acting up, so pictures will come at a later date. Today is Wednesday, and I am still recovering from the best spring break ever. It was absolutely perfect, and seemed to last forever. A good thing when you are spending time with people you love.

The first four days Paul and Dave were here visiting. What a blast! Of course they have been to Hong Kong several times before, so we mostly chilled, played with the girls, lots of scrabble, settlers of catan and good wine. Erik took Paul and Dave to MongKok one day and Paul bought a Nikon D-90. Very nice..We also took them to Sai Kung a fishing town here in the New Territories they had never been to before. We had a blast watching the girls checking out the fish and recently caught sea creatures swimming around in tanks. Fish the size of Saskia (she is big now) and lobsters bigger than my mom's dog.

* As a side notew. I am going to have to post next about how amazing and huge and fun and wonderful my girls are right now. I love mothering them.

Then on Tuesday Erik and left rainy Hong Kong, for sunny Thailand. More specifically Koh Samed a small island in the Gulf of Thailand 2 hours from Bangkok. What a treasure. Our resort was beautiful. The sand white and sparkly. The water salty and oh so warm. The food amazing. And the Singha cold and refreshing. I spent $50 US (as much as our bungalow cost per night) on trash magazines at the airport, brought 5 books and was in heaven!

Erik and I spent almost every minute of our three uninterrupted days on the island lounging in the beach chairs reading. I tried to be all responsible about the sun. As hard as it was for me, I slathered on SPF 30 three times daily, and came out from under our beach umbrella only to swim, pee, or order another Singha. I still got burnt. At first I was mad, as I NEVER use an SPF over 8. But in then end I was happy I chose wisely and was able to enjoy the sun all three days.
Rather than holed up in my hotel room nursing a burn. I am happy to say it has changed to a nice full tan, with minimal peeling. I am hoping that they will open our pool soon at our apartment so I can maintain it until summer.

Another thing I am looking forward to about moving to Saudi...full time tan.

By the time we had to leave on Saturday, I was ready to go home, cause I missed the girls so much. But could have stayed longer if they were with us. It was a much needed trip to paradise. The only thing that would have made it better would have been having one of you and your partners there too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Out of the abyss and to the beach...

Hello ladies,
Sorry I have been absent for so long. After Saskia got so sick, my depression took a major dive, I missed work for a week and have been climbing my way out through med management and counseling ever since. The good news is that I am doing much better.

Today is the last day of school before spring break. Paul and Dave will be visiting for the next few days which we are really looking forward to, and I hope to post about.

Even more exciting is that Tuesday Erik and I will head to beautiful Koh Samed in Thailand for 4 nights of beach bliss sans kids. Anika will be overnighting with her friends the whole time, and Saskia cuddling with Lilian on the home front.

I hope these pictures from the internet peak your interest enough to tune back in the first week of April to see our own pictures. Hope you ladies are all well...
This is a picture of the bungalows at our resort in the evening, we weren't able to get a seaview bungalow, but the garden view bungalows look just as nice!
We will spend plenty of time gazing at the beach while we sun and swim during the day, and at one of the many yummy restaurants right on the sand. There is even a bar down the beach from us that sets up a nightly dance floor in the sand!....

(jenny look how quiet it is compared to Phuket)