07 August 2013

Stories of Married Life

Our wedding was perfect.  I'll post pictures of the nuptials when we get the professional pictures.  We went to North Carolina for our honeymoon and then drove 1000 miles back home with all my stuff in the back of the truck.  It was fun.

So I could share with you the minute by minute details of the trip and life since the wedding but really?  Buh-or-ring. So instead I'll share little stories of why John and I love each other-some are repeats from facebook-so deal with it. I'm also learning how to use Gifs...deal with that too

What It's Like Living With a Girl
I'm not quite sure how many of you know that John has never had a roommate except for his parents and siblings growing up and a barrack full of Army guys.  I'm also not quite sure how many of you know that I am a "pretty, pretty princess" and very much a girl.  We've had some fun adjusting to life together.  Well, John has had fun learning that I am, in fact, not a dude and he can't say whatever he wants because, I may, cry, or get mad, or take it literally.  I mean it is hard to believe, but I am VERY different than a room full of Army guys.  And what he really didn't know before getting into this...is...

So I have a hair wall.  When you are in the shower and wash your hair, you get hair intertwined in your fingers.  There are two options here.  1. Rinse hands and have hair go down the drain/clog the drain so you end up standing in water.  2. Put it on the wall and remove it at the end of the shower.  Obviously number 2 is the better choice.  However, the remembering to take it off the wall doesn't always happen.  When I lived by myself I would leave it there.
But now I have to take it down...But I do forget and John does not consider it art...in fact he doesn't like it. At All...

Part of being a pretty princess is wearing makeup.  For the past 15 years of my life I have worn makeup.  Now John wears makeup!  No, not literally.  If you see powder on his nose, he is not taking up a horrible habit, he just kissed me.  His nose touches my cheek when we kiss, and therefore his nose gets makeup on it.  Poor guy.  I don't wear lipstick very much but when I do, he wears it too.  I loved it one day when he was drinking Starbucks...his cup looked like mine.  There was a dot of beige foundation on the white lid where his nose hit the cup and it had a lipstick ring.  He only freaked out a little.

Farts, Boogers and Potty Humor
I don't fart (in public).  I don't pick my nose (in public). I don't discuss pooping, peeing or gross things (in public).  I consider John public.  He apparently does not consider me public.  I have hung out with MGC (my friends in NC) to know that I am in the minority when it comes to bodily function actions and doing.  I would consider the MGC slogan to be "Let 'er rip, tater chip".  I, however, do not "let 'er rip"...yet.  Anyways, my adjustment has come with living with bodily functions.  And you know what?  Farts are funny!  Sometimes.  Not in the furniture aisle in Target...but I digress.   The best story was yesterday when John had an itchy nose in the car.  He blew his nose trying to dislodge the itch, and felt relief, but there was nothing there.  He searched around on his shirt, shorts, steering wheel, couldn't find it-but his nose was quite relieved.  We were driving along discussing how everyone has boogers but I just don't like discussing them...and I look down...and there is a HUGE booger on my jacket.  I lift my arm over to him and ask "What's this?" and he yells "There it is!!!!"  and picks it off of me. I laughed so hard I cried...or just cried...because I had a booger on me...that wasn't mine.

What's Yours is Mine, and What's Mine is Mine
Our furniture was not delivered for almost three weeks when we moved into the apartment.  An air mattress is a great invention...for a short time period...three weeks was ridiculous.  Our bed now is freaking amazing.  It has a pillow top, a memory foam pad and a padded mattress cover.  John even has a memory foam pillow (just one though since it was just him). I've never been a bed connoisseur, but John has changed that.  We don't have air conditioning and most nights it doesn't matter.  We have a little blanket that is perfect most nights as a blanket that makes you feel cozy, yet provides no warmth whatsoever.  So what John didn't know before sharing a bed was that I get cold when I sleep...and that his side of the bed is so much more comfortable than mine!  And that his half of the blankets are so much warmer than mine.  Poor guy, never saw it coming...

The Best Part
We can't always be amazing.  Some days are boring.  Some days we don't appreciate what the other has done just to make it to the end of the day.  I'm not working right now and sometimes I feel like a waste of space.  I know that John works hard each day and I try to support him as much as I can in every way.  One day last week he had a long day, and I had decorated a lot.  He commented on some things he liked.  I cooked dinner, we watched TV, and it was time for bed.  He went to bed first to read and I went to the bathroom to wash my face.  It was a perfectly average day.  As I crawled into bed he put his iPad down and looked at me.  "I really love how you are making our apartment a home-all the little touches-all that you are doing-I love it, thank you."  I love how he can turn an average day into extraordinary.  He amazes me.  

So that's our life.  Sharing, adjusting, living, loving.  Oh yeah...and farts.  

16 July 2013

The Quiet Moments

John has the day off to move his stuff into our apartment!  We are sitting around waiting for them to arrive...he is reading Life of Pi, I am blogging, we are laying side by side...

pretty sweet Tuesday for us.

This weekend I get to call him my husband, I cannot wait.  The moments when we are quiet are the moments I love, just as much as the ones as when we are laughing as we get lost going to see the Tree of Life and when we are riding the motorcycle.  I love him.

Before the chaos of the movers and the frustrations of where to put all of our combined stuff-snuggling with him and listening to the birds outside the window are exactly what we need.  Besides each other.

"Thank you for patience.
Thank you for-giveness.
Thank you for spending this time with me.
Meet me where you're going,
cuz I wanna be going wherever you'll be." -Cloud Cult

12 July 2013

We are not in Kansas

So I had a hard transition to Maine (it has only been 2 weeks, I know that is not that long.) It had nothing to do with John, it was all my own thoughts and feelings in my head.  He has done so much to make me like the area, and I got here just as work was getting crazy and he is finishing up his quals**, so he is extra tired but still amazing.  I want to preface this post with that because right now he is 90% of what I have in Maine.  So if I make an unkind statement about Maine or myself here, it could come off as directed at John, but it’s not.  

He is wonderful. 

Maine is different than North Carolina.  The accents are different and harsh, not soft and cute.  I hung out in two college towns in NC, GSO and Durham.  In Bahrain I hung out with my fellow teachers.  Here there are a lot of old people…a lot.  I may feel that way because I am out during the day and since they are retired they are too.  I understand that.  But this place is second only to Richfield for the most old people homes I’ve ever seen. 

The food is different.  I miss Bahrain restaurants already.  Once we get all of our cooking supplies I am going to try to learn to make machboos like at school.  The food here is good, but it is very much the same everywhere we have gone.  We still have to try the Mexican restaurant and the sushi place. 

The hardest transition for me is the lack of job.  I feel like a waste of space without a job, or anything to do around the house yet (we are still waiting for our furniture to arrive-then the pinterest projects can really start).  I had an epiphany this morning though...if I had a job lined up for the fall, I wouldn't be working right now.  I would be doing the exact same thing I am doing, watching TV, painting and figuring out life here.  If I had not moved here and was going back to Bahrain I would be doing the exact same thing I am doing right now, watching TV, figuring out life.  So why do I feel like a waste of space right now?  Can I accept this as my “leave***”?  I am actively searching for jobs every day.  Once they open background checks back up (they are closed for summer?) then I will get my name on the sub list officially.  I am confused why I have this huge desire to be defined by my job.  It has been one of the only things in my life that has challenged, supported and fulfilled me in my adult life.  It doesn't mean other things, or roles can’t.  And it has only been two weeks.  We are not defined by two weeks.  So I am not a waste of space.  I am enjoying my summer, like everyone should get to do-don't worry, I'll enjoy it for all of you working 9-5s. Next margarita is on me.  Well, technically John :)   

**(qualifications that you have to get at each new boat, even if you’ve held them before on another boat…it’s like getting recertified for teachers)
***defined by the two week to month long break given to military during or after deployment.  

08 July 2013

John learns the difference in temperature heat and heat from your wife....

“So you’re new to town?  Me too, where are you from?” 
“Well I just got here from Bahrain”
“oh yeah? I’m from Chicago, I’m used to this heat too.”

 So Rockland had a heat wave this weekend.  It got up to 89 degrees.  Oooooh….Both John and I were not impressed, however, our little 2nd floor apartment was incredibly impressed by the temperature outside and decided to double it inside our little non-air-conditioned abode.  We went to Wal-Mart to check out the selection of window units and they were all sold out.  I’m not joking.  People were walking around in bathing suits in Wal-Mart, red faced, buying fans, and anything else that could offer them cool-ness.  John and I just wanted a little unit for the bedroom so we could sleep better.  We talked about ordering one, but then we decided to see if we could wait it out…we had to shut the windows the next couple of nights because I was too cold, $200 well saved. 

Saturday, during the “heat wave”, John and I went to a birthday dinner for a CG’s girlfriend.  She is a local hair stylist so not only am I excited to have someone to help my rats nest, but she is also way cute, a quality I find really important in friends J.  

It was a lot of fun.  I love meeting people and getting to talk about John and I and we had a lot of fun hearing stories from the people we were there with too.  They kept talking about how I looked cool, as in not hot.  (insert a Shehab joke here: “Ms., do you think you are cooler than me?” “Ghazi, of course I do.” “Good, that means I’m hotter than you.”-this from the kid who dressed up as a carrot.) 

I was talking about how the temperature was cool compared to where we were, the humidity was new though and that it felt a lot hotter because of that-completely true.  I still want to buy a dehumidifier for the apartment, temperature is nothing, but I hate feeling sticky.  I then said that John “lured” me here with the mild year round weather.  They started laughing, and pulled out their cell phones…every single person from the table…not an exaggeration.  They showed me pictures of the winter storm from last year where the snow covered cars and doors.

 “Make sure to keep your shovel inside so that you can get out of the house.”

All of the sudden I was sweating profusely and could barely talk.  John started laughing and I swear I saw him give the “shut the heck up” face to his friend Jesse.  I looked at him and he smiled and said, “see, just like Ohio.”  The only saving grace was that people said everything shuts down when it is like that…whew, ok, that I am used to.

The party was at a local bar, Rock Harbor.  They are starting to turn it into a brewery.  There used to be a brewery in town but it closed.  I am excited for it to open with its own brews because one thing we are adjusting to is the choice of draft beers here.  I dislike the summer seasonals so far and then there are a lot of IPAs-which I’m not a fan.  John likes them, but it is still some guess and check to get the “right one”.  He is brave, and a guy, so he just orders whatever and drinks it whether he likes it or not.  I, however, am being a snotty girl and asking for samples.  I have not gotten a full glass of anything I have sampled yet.  I do like this bar though because of the bartender.  She is awesome.  She works at another local bar too, when we saw her there, she said “I’m following you two.”  I love her. 

So I’m adjusting to, and liking life in Maine-and of course loving every minute with John.  

02 July 2013

Let me define Rockland....

I was going to do a OCM update but my skin has lots of breakouts right now…straight line from the left side of my nose to the right side of my chin…hmmmm…wonder what that could be from?  Hint: I know what it is from and I don’t mind J  I just have to get acclimated. 

I was going to do a BSV update but I had a nightmare that all my hair fell out.  While I woke up with all my hair, it is definitely something weird with the whole freezing cold/high humidity thing. 

So I should do an actual Maine update, not just what John and I have been doing.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop having coffee and a breakfast sandwich.  I can already tell one of the downfalls of Rockland is going to be the prices.  My breakfast sandwich, on regular wheat bread with egg, bacon, tomato, spinach and a cup of coffee costs $10.25.  My muffin and coffee yesterday cost $4.50 which both the coffee and muffin were quite large so I didn’t think much about it, but this morning’s total has left me in sticker shock.  I can get a bigger sandwich and fancier coffee for less at Starbucks…if there was a Starbucks in the area.  I could also have wifi.  Very few places here have wifi-I just came from the land of wifi so this is an adjustment.

Some may be thinking I am a little spoiled considering I get to eat breakfast out and I am complaining.  Well I kind of have to because we do not have any cooking equipment yet.  John’s stuff won’t get delivered until July 16th and my stuff won’t get here until after we get back from North Carolina.  Last night we had oven made quesadillas with chips and salsa.  We ate them standing up because we don’t have a table and chairs yet.  I was also cooking as we were eating so I think tonight, since the meal will be cooked before we have to eat it, we will have a picnic. 

So I have mixed emotions about arriving here in the summer/peak tourist time.  I like it because the stores have longer hours, everything is busy, the people are interesting, the accents are abundant.  However, I cannot distinguish who is a Mainer, specifically a Rocklander and who is an out of towner.  From what I can tell…

  • if you are wearing a windbreaker, you are from New England.
  • If you are wearing shorts and sweatshirt, you are from Rockland.

It is 59 degrees today. It is July 2nd. I REFUSE to wear my heavy sweaters but I am cold, partly because it is chilly, partly because I am used to 100 degrees.  I also do not, and will not, own a windbreaker or fleece that is not cute (if I find a cute one, I will buy it, but I’m not buying one just to have one).  So I am wearing my trench coat today.  A good compromise. 

  • If you are wearing Wellies, you are from New England.
  • If you are wearing fisherman’s boots, you are from Rockland.

Did I mention it is cold outside, yet still July?  I would love to wear my Toms but they do not fare well in the rain.  My Rainbows are disgusting with all the rain and again, I REFUSE to wear my leather boots in the summer.  I would love a pair of Wellies, but do not own any…yet.  So what is my only other option?  My 5 inch wedge sandals. They keep me out of the water, are still summery.  My toes are cold though. 

  • If you are wearing pearls, you are from New England.
  • If you are wearing feather earrings, you are from Rockland.

I wore pearls yesterday, today I am wearing Arabic jewelry.  I am rocking my oversized watch too. 

  • If you are walking, and stop at a crosswalk, you are a tourist.
  • If you are walking, and just keep going like people will stop, you are from Rockland.

The Elon-er in me fits in just fine here. 

  • If you ask about parking options, you are a tourist.
  • If you look annoyed at the people around you, you are from Rockland. 

I could walk anywhere in town, but because of the rain I’m not…so yes, I am an annoying parking person.

  • If you are wearing a pastel color pant or short, and are a guy, you are a tourist.
  • If you are wearing a pastel color sweatshirt, and are a guy, you are stuck in the 80’s. 

I’m really looking forward to meeting the whole CG gang because I can’t tell if I will find anyone to fit in with since, I am most definitely not a touristy New Englander, nor from Rockland.  If Canden and Mona remember Post it’s and Gold stars, let’s just say post it notes are abound!

Now I am staring so hard at a girl that just walked in.  She is wearing Tretorn Boots, leggings, a black sweater, scarf and a light jacket that is adorable.  She has a side braid, but big jewel toned earrings.  She is meeting someone so that makes me think that she is a Rocklander-yay!!!!!!  

01 July 2013

So....how is Maine?

The very first morning in Maine we were going in an elevator.  I heard a lady say "No, I am NOT a Mainer."  I wanted to give her a high five.  I told John I was going to title this post "I hate Maine" but it's far from true...it is different than where I have ever lived before, I can already tell that...but it will be a nice place to live for a little while (emphasis on the little).  

When I landed in Portland the pilot said that visibility was low.  I couldn’t see the ground as we landed.  It was almost 70 degrees and foggy-quite a change from Bahrain, but not bad.  We went around Portland Saturday morning going to IHOP (seriously, he knows me so well) and then we got my new phone (919 J).  We went to Target to get my toiletries, because, to save space, I left them all in Bahrain.  This was my first “welcome to America” moment and John’s first “welcome to living with a girl” moment.  Now Dad asked, since I’m using OCM and BSV, how many toiletries could I need, but the truth is I like to have reserves in case something crazy happens (I did not buy shampoo or conditioner though), and there is still plenty of other goodies needed such as razors, body wash, toothpaste, etc. 

Personal supplies are not much cheaper or more expensive in Bahrain.  It all averages out in the end for personal care.  However, seeing the total go into the hundreds was a shock-I haven’t seen a total over 100 in a LONG time (just because of the exchange rate).  John realized that girls are expensive.  But he likes me like a pretty, pretty princess-yet he keeps trying to get me to buy a fleece. I'm not. at all.  

We went to pick up some things that John had left at Gerry and Tanya’s place (thank you for the welcome home present!) and we were off to Rockland. 

Our place is cute and cozy.  It makes a circle that JJ will love to run.  There are some things that I definitely wish were different, but for what we need right now, it is just fine.  We spent all day Saturday cleaning it and fixing it up the best we could without any furniture (we are waiting on John’s stuff from Cleveland to be delivered).  Sunday was more of the same except we went to the big city of Augusta…not so big…not so much of a city…but they had lots of shopping!  We bought a couch that will be here next week and looked around for some other things we need/want for the place. 

John is at work today.  I drove him to the boat at 6am this morning. I went for a run, got ready and sat at a coffee shop catching up on my computer life-I was the only one in there-that felt weird. The girl that sold me my muffin told me to "enjoy the sunshine while it lasts".  Considering it is 120 degrees in Bahrain and I haven't seen rain since February, I'm ok with the weather right now...now being the key word.  

Rockland the town is very nice.  It is very small.  It is very different.  The Main Street has art galleries and local restaurants and shops which excites me greatly!  I've already recognized people and I have only been here 3 days, and I like that.  The thing that surprises me is that I really have to get used to about being back in America and not living in the south in America.  There will definitely be a blog about customer service coming up….because I am in for a rude awakening I think.  

I’ve got a list of things a mile long to do this week including apartment stuff, wedding stuff, and potential job stuff so excuse me if I am spacy with internet.  I'm also not used to being able to text anyone, anytime so I have to get back into the swing of that.  Give me a week-I'll get there :)  And please forgive John and I as we get used to being around each other again and completely consume one anothers time-no matter my feelings on Rockland, now or in the future, I'm glad I'm spending the time with him.   

Leaving Bahrain

So I made it to Maine with very few hiccups, slip-ups or much to discuss. 

Wednesday (the 26th) was a pretty normal day at school.  We had a going away luncheon at school where, little did I know, that they were giving going away speeches.  Dave got up to say goodbye to Helen and I started crying…why?  Who knows.  But I do know how close they are and how hard it is to say goodbye to someone you are close to-so I cried for them.  Then Emishea stood up and talked about this loud girl who called her out for wearing Kentucky gear when she landed in Bahrain….oh yeah, of course that was me, and of course she and I cried like crazy.  My favorite comment I heard was “They are friends?” We definitely are Barnes.  Emishea was the first person I met in Bahrain and I knew she was my kind of person when, on the first day, she talked about waxing-and no, not candles.  
That night Ezza had a special date set up for us.  We had massages at my favorite place (Dessange) and then we went to dinner at Bushidos.  They sat us next to a long table (mind you the restaurant was empty) and then we noticed a large amount of teenagers.  We immediately knew we had to move.  I explained to the hostess that we were teachers, and our summer break from children had started….and we were trying to keep it that way.  They moved us, no problem. In true Bahraini style, the whole teenage party had not arrived by the time Ezza and I were FINISHED with our four course meal.  She treated me to way too much!  I got her a little post it note set of “Ezza’s personal thoughts”.  Ezza and I are the same in the fact that we like to plan, like to do the best thing and like to make smart choices.  However, if you ever think that my mind races a million miles a minute, hers is three times as fast.  So I tried to write things down for her so she could take things in stride more easily. 

Thursday was an odd day at school-just finishing up loose ends and saying final goodbyes.  I napped when I got home, went out to eat with the gang, cried again when I said goodbye to people, and then hopped in a cab and went to the airport at one am.  My last days in Bahrain were smooth and calm, just like Bahrain.  And I left Bahrain in a much better state than I did when I arrived the first time (I’m looking at you Emily and Laura-I still cannot enjoy spiced rum). 

At the airport at 3am you learn a lot about the people that you are flying with-like how different, different groups act.  I sat in the back of the waiting area soaking up the last bit of my free wifi.  There was an English family (mom, dad, two kids-about 2 and 5) to my right with two sleeping children on their laps.  There was an American family to my left that had a quiet 2 or 3 year old boy who was playing some video game.  Then there was the Arabic family ahead of me that was made up of 3 woman, two men and about 5 children from 2 years old to 7 years old.  They decided tag was a good idea.  At 3am.  At the airport.  Amongst all the tired people.  I was less than amused.  However, I do understand if the goal is to wear the children out.  They were quiet on the plane, although honestly, I’m sure they sat in first class where I stayed in Economy.

I flew to Dubai first, went to the little holding room that they do in International airports and chilled for an hour until my plane took off.  I had excellent seat partners (two small ladies) and the only downfall of the people I was surrounded by was the gentleman behind me who kept putting his feet on my arm rest…and his toes were not manicured.  I was probably a horrible seat partner because I had some of the worst cramps I’ve experienced in a long time and I spent much of the ride awake and in lots of pain tossing and turning.  About 3 hours before we landed (on our 14 hour flight) I finally got to rest and I crashed.  Oooh, bad word to use when discussing airplanes, I feel asleep like a baby J

I landed at JFK, stuck to my Arabic ways and paid the nice men to gather and carry my bags for me and was on my to my gate.  The only problem was my flight was not on the board.  I asked around and found out that Jet Blue was from Terminal 5, I was in Terminal 4.  I asked how to get there and they kept saying, go back the way you came…I came from Customs, I can’t go back there!  So then they said, go to the front of the building-which is easier said that done when you entered the building from the middle of it…and the basement.  Anyways, a nice lady led me to exactly where I needed to go and I made it just in time to sit for my delayed flight.  Thankfully, Jet Blue had free wifi and the wait wasn’t too long.  It just seemed extra long because John was on the other end of it.

I fell asleep on that flight before the plane even taxied.  I did not even know there was a man sitting next to me until I woke up when the flight attendant wanted to make sure I was wearing a seatbelt for landing.

John picked me up at the airport-with the best hug and kiss ever and we have been on the go ever since.  

19 June 2013

18 June 2013

The Main(e) Idea

So here it is...the new title of the blog...The Main(e) Idea.  I'll change the layout and everything as I go-I already changed the "a little history" part to the right.

So I thought I should say some positives about Maine.  I joke a lot about it on facebook, but honestly, I'm looking forward to it. I mean if John suddenly proclaimed that we were moving to...mmm, about 41 other states...I would be ecstatic...but I am still really excited about Maine.  So much so I sent him an email earlier this week about everything...here is my list.

Things I am excited about for Maine:
  • Comedians at local theatre (Bob Marley is July 6th)-turns out this is an actor from one of John's favorite movies (Boondock Saints) 
  • North Atlantic Blues Festival (second weekend of July)
  • Three Vaudvilles by Chekov (one of my favs)  (July 24th)
  • Lobster Fest with the Spin Doctors and a 10K (first weekend of August)
  • Portland Breweries (plus a 10K called Trail to Ale in September)
  • Trolley tour of three wineries-wine and not driving? Thank you, Rockland.
  • Hiking in Camden (there are beautiful day hikes at a local mountain)
  • Local art-apparently on the first friday they do wine and gallery tours-John's quote "oh yeah, that does sound like something you would like :)"
  • Local restaurants-some of which are farm to table-being a Durhamite, I quite a foodie
    • Primo-Farm to Table and James Beard award winning chef for 2013!
  • Closeness to Boston-we are only three hours to one of my favorite big cities!  

So while I do harp on the cold, I am looking forward to outdoor seating, our backyard and firepits.  I saw a picture online from a photographer who took a picture of her fire pit and the caption was "I love the summer time".  I'm sorry, to me, summer means going swimming because it is too hot, not gathering around the fire.  In all fairness though, I remember needing the fire a couple of times while camping with family.  Shhhhh...don't tell John I've been camping!

And, I mean, when it comes down to it?  I'm just excited to be with him.  No matter the temperature, or the granola consumption, we will be together :)  And being together is all that really matters...10 days babe!

17 June 2013

No Math so let's do No Poo

So I have 8 days of school left...but none with students...so really, there isn't much "teaching" going on...

I am too caught up in finishing up loose ends and packing to really explore anymore of Bahrain...

So really the whole "Teaching Math Internationally" title should be "cleaning up math locally" right now...

So let's give a "No 'Poo" update instead!!!
 **sorry for the pic quality on some...I tried resaving and reuploading and I still came out warped**

long, straight, pretty hair
Alright...so, I have been not using shampoo for a bit more than two weeks.  I have had three really awesome hair days (yes I understand the horrible odds here)...see my hair to the right-nice right?  So let me tell you my thoughts on the whole thing...

The pros:
double side braid
1. Four-Five mornings a week it takes me around 5-10 minutes to do my hair, total, including washing and styling.
2. I have used literally no products=money saved
3. I am getting REALLY good at braids.  See?
4. I have been asked multiple times if I have dyed my hair-and I haven't.  But noted, it is not turning brassy-which I was warned about
5.  I am losing a lot less hair in the shower.

The cons:
1. Two-three mornings a week I spend 30-40 minutes washing and styling my hair, so I really do not come out ahead on time (140 minutes a week-roughly-either way)
my hair is thirsty
2. I have used very little of the 2 dinars worth of Baking Soda and Vinegar I bought so I really have (or will) save money.  However, I bought 500 fils of almond oil to add more luster to my hair...it could be a slippery slope (haha, get it, slippery, oil :) of adding oils every so often...
3. my hair looks pretty wretched some days (see dry hair to the right or grease any given day)
4. I haven't mastered the balance of BS and V so I never know how my hair will turn out...
5. I have to brush my hair a lot at night (recommended to distribute the grease...sorry, I mean natural oils) so I'm probably losing just as much hair in brush.

So is it worth it to keep going?  Well the pics below are after 4 days of not washing my hair at all-I told my students that day and they were amazed...
really awesome looking for 4 days...
doesn't look that bad+no makeup
ok...it's a little (lotta) greasy in the back

So here's the problem...I had a pretty good experience with my hair last week...I was pleased and thought, man, I'm getting good at this! So Saturday night I decided to take care of those dry ends (and a little dandruff problem that arose) and I did a hot oil treatment (remember that almond oil I bought?)  Well, apparently, my hair wasn't that dry...or my hair takes to oil really well...not sure which...but no amount of baking soda later, my hair is still an oily, greasy mess!  The braid pic above is from today, because I literally look like a drowned rat with my wet looking, greasy hair.

So do I chalk it up as "stupid Carissa, you should go out on a Saturday night, not do things to your hair that aren't necessary" or do I give up the BSV stuff?  I have had more bad hair days than good, but it is also a transition period...so do I give it more time?

Things I have learned:
A. You HAVE to wash all the baking soda out...otherwise you smell like it and your hair crunches.
B. Vinegar really does condition your hair...I have no tangles at all.  It CAN feel really soft...when it doesn't feel like baking soda is caked in...
C. Hair is much better when you don't constantly run your fingers through it.  I used to constantly do that which just brought more grease to my hair and broke down any products I put on.  Now since my "good hair days" are stiffer and I can't put my fingers in it-I notice that overall, my hair looks nicer.

So what do you think?  Do I stick it out or just go back to my good ol' Dove?

08 June 2013

tests...good, bad or ugly?

I hate love hate lovehate assessments.  When they are well created and tell me something in the end, I love grading them.  I really enjoy designing good ones.  However, both of those take huge amounts of time and so neither get done properly all of the time.

We have to assess students to see what they know.  However, they freak out, care more about the grade than anything, and end up showing me what their neighbor's paper knows more often than I care to admit.

I hate testing in class periods because I want to know what a student knows, not what they can do in 50 minutes.  However, if a quiz/assignment/test is designed to be 30 minutes and you are still working on it after 50, is it that you are a slow worker or you actually just didn't know it...

I love when a student says "that was a fair test, but it was hard." I want to challenge them.  I would rather see a student work hard for an 80, than ace a test with a 100.  However, with the drive for GPA and class ranks, this freaks kids out.

So while I'm writing final exams, students should know that teachers hate them just as much as you do...

06 June 2013

Project Schmooze Points

One of my favorites (I know we are not supposed to have favorites but, really, we all do) put this as the last slide of her final project :)

In case you had to ask, she got a 100 :)

05 June 2013

Let's get personal

This is a post that I NEVER expected to write, and probably will look back on in a few years months weeks and laugh…

Well at least parts of it…

Parts of it make me cry…like the following…this gets personal y’all…I was inspired Heidi’s blog of 10 truths.  She was very open and honest in it so even though it is the internet, I don’t want to publically share her entry with the world for her.  However she did mention she has acne-which totally shocked me because every picture I see of her she is drop dead gorgeous.  She is literally the mom of 2 kids we all want to be like.  So reading that she had acne made me feel more comfortable to write this…

I have acne.  From what I can tell from my genetics, always have, always will.  I don’t have little pimples that you can easily pop (I know you are not supposed to pop them, but seriously?) I have huge cysts that hurt…for days…or in my case right now…weeks months.

My triggers are stress and hormones.  I use gentle products, wash my pillow cases, etc.  They all lie right around my cheekbones and chin (typical hormone spot) and sometimes dead center of my forehead (stress).  I get little pimples too, but they are usually a reaction to a huge cyst.   
I have been an active Proactiv user for years.  It does a good job of regulating most of my issues, but sometimes those darn mini planets work their way through.  I was on birth control pills for almost 8 years but love myself WAY more when I’m not on it…I’ve tried about 6 different kinds of BC too, low hormone, high hormone, hormone supplements the week of placebos, everything.  Basically it made my blood pressure rise, caused horrible cramping, and major migraine headaches.  I’ve been off of it for 4 years now (with a 6 month relapse to try it again almost 2 years ago) and I much prefer everything about my body…minus the acne (which I still had on BC but it was noticeably better on it).

In 2010/2011 I went to the dermatologist for the first time in my life.  My skin was so bad I couldn’t handle it.  She recommended Accutane.  I know a handful of people who have taken it, some who loved it, some who hated it.  She told me I had to go on BC.  I told her no.  We worked out that issue and then she said handed me a big book of information (seriously, a 30 page, 8.5”x 11” paper, book) about the issues and my log-in for the online pledge saying I wouldn’t have babies on it.  I wasn’t planning on having babies at this point in my life (obviously), but I started thinking about the fact that I was 27…I wasn’t a 16 year old kid who would have 10 years before the baby makin’ process.  Also, the way it works is it “dries up” the oil in your body.  Great for you face and bacne (which I don’t have…it is only on my face), but not so great for your scalp (when I first started having hormone issues, this was the first sign-my thinning hair…that isn’t an issue anymore), your eyes (which I have dry eyes already), your intestines (which one of the guys I know blames Accutane for this) and other areas that need lubrication…if you get my drift.  For MOST people these are slight side effects that dissipate after you stop taking it.  Here was the kicker for me…the depression issue.  Being someone who is pre-disposed to depression already (thanks genetics again), I don’t really feel like I need to voluntarily put a chemical in my body that could foster it…this may be me freaking out for no reason, but I ended up crying in the doctor’s office and told her no.  She said she didn’t understand, but gave me a cream.  The cream helped get me through my crazy face for awhile, and then, when life slowed down, I went back to my normal Proactiv routine, dealing with an occasional flare ups. 

Well moving to Bahrain completely rocked my face.  Even using Proactiv, by October my face was ridiculous, tons of cysts and just gross.  I went to the spa for a massage and the lady talked me into getting something for my acne.  I told her I was allergic to Salycilic Acid and Sulfur-I can only use Benzoyl Peroxide-and she shrugged and told me it was the best stuff.  Well two weeks later my skin was worse.  I went and asked and they said it had to work itself out….well I went to the big bottles (I got a sample kit) and the treatment medicine was salycilic acid.  I stopped that immediately.  I was out of Proactiv, in a foreign country where the constant air conditioning, large amounts of dirt in the air, constantly being exposed to smoke and alcohol a lot more than I was in the states, and HORRIBLE diet had completely ruined my face.  Now I realize that I could do a lot to help my skin….but some things I could not help.  I started noticing people’s faces here (locals and others) and I noticed a lot of the same type of breakouts….especially in expats.  So some of my horrible face is my fault, some is environment. 

I called Joan before I went home at Christmas and told her my skin looked like a pubescent teenage boy and to buy me Proactiv before I even landed (please and thank you).  In the two weeks I was home my skin started clearing up.  Still not perfect, but better.  It was ok for most of January.  But then in February it started going to shit again.  March was eventful and we all know how awesome April was, but my skin was definitely not the good part.  I actually wore my hair down for most of this time to try to hide behind it. 

So in April I went to the dermatologist again.  I walked into her office and sat down in front of her desk.  I started telling my story and she stopped me and said “hang on”.  I waited for a nurse to enter and say that my insurance didn’t cover this.  I told them I didn’t care, I would pay it, and the doctor looked at me immediately and said “ok, then try Accutane. I’ll write you a prescription for it and birth control.”  I wanted to start crying again.  She didn’t touch my face, didn’t ask about my history, which she cut me off in the middle of telling, and said it was the only thing that would help my face.  So now I have all of the horrible side effects running through my mind but now I am in a position where I plan on having kids in the near(er than before) future too!  On top of all of that the blood work that I would have to do would cost 80BD each month, and the prescription itself was 30BD each month.  BC would be covered, so 5BD.  I just kept thinking no…I don’t know why I am so adamant against it…why I’m so scared of it…but I really do not want to go on it!  So anyways…I left.

A week later I got the balls to go back and ask about other options.  She prescribed two creams and an antibiotic.  She then told me to cut out red meat, processed foods, chocolate, sugar, wheat and alcohol from my diet.  I asked what was left and she said fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish.  Well I could certainly lose weight with that too….

Any side effect you could have from the antibiotic, I had, so I had to stop taking it…I very rarely take medicine.  When I take pain meds for a headache (when it gets so bad), they always work, and very quickly.  Bad thing is that I have reactions to a lot of it…cold medicine is a killer on me…and apparently antibiotics. 
However the creams are helping. 

So here is where we may laugh in a little bit and I never thought my name brand self would admit to this…I was reading up on castor oil and how it helps people with acne.  I read about the oil cleansing method.  I was quite skeptical since my skin was oily itself, why would I want to put more oil on my  face…

But. I. Love. It.  Seriously.  One week now and no cysts, my make up looks better too.  Now I do use a toner after it (I’m still mastering getting all the oil off) and I am using clindamycin (mild acne medication).  I use a drop of moisturizer…but my skin is very moisturized (which therefore cuts down on the oiliness…skin is oily-sometimes-in a reaction to dry skin…it is trying to balance the dry skin by producing too much oil).  In the shower I use a very gentle, soap free exfoliator.  Also my nails are looking awesome and my cuticles are great from reaping the benefits of my face massages each day. 

What pros and cons have you heard about the OCM? 

Now here is the other funny part…I am about to try not ‘pooing.  Shampooing that is.  I hate washing my hair every day.  I seriously do.  If I don’t sweat a lot, I will go 2-3 days without washing if I can.  My hair is uber dry and I cannot find a shampoo I like here (the normal products here, don’t work the same as back home to me-could be psychological).  So I am off to buy baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  So in my bathroom I’ll have castor oil, sunflower oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  Is this a bathroom or a kitchen? 

The only thing, is that during the transition period your hair can look like crap (I’m ok with a pony tail now that my skin is having good days), but it lasts 4+ weeks….and I go home in 4 weeks (from yesterday!) and I want to look pretty for John!  Oh the decisions. 

Anyways I hope you enjoyed hearing (laughing) about my home therapies…and letting me vent about acne. 

****I wrote this last week.  Without even knowing John commented that my skin was looking better!  I had a horrible hair day with the BS and V method, but I’m getting tons of compliments today…so I’m going to try to stick it out…but it is rough y’all.  My hair is definitely adjusting.  I’ll keep you posted :)

31 May 2013

30 day challenge

So there are ton of 30 day challenges.  On social media sights like Twitter and Instagram it is a picture a day.  There are lots of work outs that say "lose this much" in 30 days.  I even tried Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, I liked it, but I skipped a day and therefore, lost my motivation.

I recently watched Matt Cutts' TED video about trying something new for 30 days.  I liked the idea that you can make life changes in 30 days, or you can just remember some really cool things.  I have 28 days left in Bahrain.  When there were 30 days left, Ezza and I started working out.  I don't really care about the number on the scale-I know it-it is healthy-my clothes fit.  However, I have an incredibly hot fiance who likes to run and workout so I want to be able to keep up with him, and be as hot as him (seriously, have you seen him???).

So my goal is to workout every day for the next 30.  I am really bad about this.  Like I said, I skipped a day of Jillian, felt like I let her down, and stopped, I hate letting people down.  So I'm not saying it is going to be a huge workout...but my goal is to go for a long walk, jump on the treadmill, go for a swim, every day.  Just something to be active with the end of the year approaching.

Ezza and I also have a motivational plan...If a person decides not to workout that day, that said person must buy a shot, of the other person's choosing, and drink it.  We are not talking good shots..we are talking nasty, disgusting, embarrassing options.  So let the ideas roll in :)  If you miss two days the other person gets to do your makeup, then hair, then clothes...this sounds like it could be the 30 days to embarrassment challenge!

28 May 2013

Name Change

It's time to change the ol' name...

No not my name...

Well yes, my name too, but that one I already know...

Carissa June is what you can call me though :)

But it is time to change the blog name!  I want to keep the TMI, because I think blogging is a complete overshare of lives, but it is totally fun, a great release for me, and keeps family and friends in the know.  So yay blogging!  Yay for future husbands who don't mind you blogging about them!!!  He said I can share the good and the bad...which I don't plan on doing, but I do love how open and honest he and I are and how important talking is...so I want to share about how we get over hard times.

Example?  This long distance thing blows.  I'm not saying it sucks, I'm saying it inhales more profusely than physics ever could.  I would do physics every day of my life if it meant we could skip this distance thing.  It BUH-lows.  Waking up just to tell him goodnight?  buh-lows.  Having broken up Skype conversations with crappy internet?  Sucks as much as doing drag force formulas.  Getting frustrated at Skype but sounding like you are taking it out on the other person?  Amazingly horrible.  My future cell phone bill from when I get too frustrated at Skype and just call him on my cell?  Astronomical and therefore sucks majorly.

So how do we get around this?  We say "I love you" probably 10 times more than we probably would.  We want to say it as much as possible because being 6500 miles apart can be lonely, and you need the other person to know that.  We send cute pictures and thoughts through out our days for the person to find.  I sent John home with 6 cards for him to open through out May and June (on our anniversary, when he left Ohio, etc).  So anyone else going through long distance times in your relationship...what do you do?  Because I love the shit out of John, but this whole opposite side of the world thing...you guessed it...buh-lows.

I also want to share our adventures in Maine, just like I did a few times here in Bahrain (think tire fire picture, dead body on side of the road or the police station....gosh I hope Maine has happier thoughts :))  John asked me the other day if I wanted a bike.  I told him no.  He said he asked because he knows I don't like to run.  My question is why do I have to bike if I don't like to run?  Why am I being so active?  He said he was trying to think ahead for things to buy for outdoor stuff.  So we got on the topic of hiking.  I like to hike just fine, love trails through the woods.  But I did feel the need to remind him that I'm not exaggerating...I am a pretty, pretty princess.  He said he knows and he likes it.  I also feel like I should mention I am incredibly worried about fitting in in Maine.  Maine, from what I can tell from pictures and schools I have looked at, is, um, a little, earthy?  I feel like a lot of granola is consumed per capita.  Now don't get me wrong, I can't wait to have a compost pile and go to farmer's markets (or grow our own food John says...this makes me laugh...me grow things...hahaha, poor guy...) but when a school says they restrict the use of cosmetics for students and teachers I begin to wonder....will my Elon self fit in?  We will definitely have some experiences I think.

So back to the blog-title ideas are welcomed!  The title must abbreviate to T.M.I. (like Teaching Math Internationally.)

So far we have:
Tolerating Maine's Infrastructure (John)
Taking Maine In-stride (CJ)
Tabloiding Marriage Intricacies (CJ)
Tackling Maine Imperfectly (LBC)
Taking on Military life Imperfectly (LBC)
TMI: Oversharing our Crazy Adventures (LBC)
The Maine Influence (BABS)
The Maine Idea (BABS)
Telling My Insights (LBP)
**love the word imperfect!

Also thinking about doing something with Ma(ine)rriage as a word...not sure...

I'll keep adding to the title ideas as they roll in ;)

25 May 2013

John, I am perfect...no really...keep reading!

So here’s the thing…I’m a bit of a planner.  I don’t mean that I’m organized, well in a way that ordinary people believe organization should be done….which is apparently not piles of shit, papers, everywhere.  I know that any principal I have ever worked for is also laughing at me being a planner because I plan my lessons on post it notes about 5 minutes before the students walk through the door.  

But when I say plan, I mean I know what is going to happen in my day, week, month and I know multiple ways to tackle all the possible options that I have planned for happening.  

I wake up, either 
Early, in which case I work out (never happens), 
On time, in which case I shower and blow dry my hair (90% of the days) 
Or late, so I don’t shower and throw my hair in some kind of up do.  

My kids will either 
A) love my fabulous lesson and absorb everything I say (never happens), 
B) like most of it and pay enough attention for me to feel halfway decent about my job (90% of the days) or
C) kill any hope I have for the future of our planet by making animal noises all throughout class and only referring to themselves by their animal names (to which you respond, “meow + meow= roar”).  

At the end of the work day I will either feel like working more (yes this does happen!) or like I want to veg out (ok this usually happens). This happens every day.  I have back up plans for every class in case something goes wrong.  I know what day I am leaving Bahrain.  Two months ago I knew when I would be coming back to Bahrain.  Since February I knew what my calendar looked like for next school year so I knew when I could travel and when I would be home in 2014.  I am a planner.  

So what do you do when you marry military?  Apparently you throw your hands in the air and go “f*** all those plans, let’s just wing it…but not too much”  Kind of like Bonquiqui from MadTV “Welcome to King Burger, home of the King Burger , you can have it your way but don’t get crazy now.”  Semper Gumby it is-you can have leave, but when we approve it.  You'll be here for "this long", give or take a year.  So here is how John and I’s conversations have been going...

Me: “When are we going to NC?”  
John: “When I have school” 
Me: “Cool, when is that?”  
John: “I don’t know, I’ll find out more when I am off leave.”  
Me: “So like the day your report in or a little after that or…” 
John:“When they tell me…” 
Me: “cool.” (so basically sometime...). 

Me: “When are we going to Ohio/Minnesota?”  
John: “The first leave I get we are going.” 
Me: “Cool, when is that?”  
John: “I don’t know, I’ll find out more when I am off leave.”  
Me: “So like the day your report in or a little after that or…” 
John: “When I ask for it and they approve…”
Me: “cool.” (only my question still isn’t answered, yet he has told me the only answer he can).  

Me: “So we’re going to be in Maine for 3 years?” 
John: “Well it could be 1 year.” 
Me: “So we could move next year.” 
John: “Well more like 2 years.” 
Me: “ok so we are moving in 2 years.”  
John: “We will be moving in no less than 1 year, and no more than 3 years.” 
Me: “ok, cool.” (so basically...anytime...)  

These are all conversations that I have started multiple times...because I keep hoping the outcome will be more defined...and poor John has to repeat it to me every time like I am Izzy waking up from brain surgery after George joined the Army.  Maybe John should get some post-its like Karev...I have a ton he can use, not like I need to plan any lessons in the near future.  

I have made 3 spreadsheets in the past couple weeks.  One for our future budget (just how many of my pins can we afford to do?)  One for the houses that we are looking at in Rockland (it is now color coded too-red is for rejects, yellow is for caution) and the last has something to do with the two, but I’ll detail more in another post.  I think John thinks I’m crazy and too detail oriented (I'm saying this, he hasn't, although, I'm sure he has said some things about my spreadsheets :)).  It isn't that at all…and honestly most of the plans I make never happen (oh, hi Bahrain!)  But I like knowing possible outcomes and things I can do to tackle possible obstacles or things to look forward to when plans happen.  

So maybe I'm the perfect person to marry into the military. I have a plan for every possible route they can throw at us (I can hear Laura B. Childs laughing all the way from North Carolina).  Ok, not every plan, but with all my "planning" experience, I am really good at thinking on my feet and tackling situations.  I am so ready for the unplannable adventures ahead.  Basically just sharing it all with John but also refining my planning, not planning and thinking on my feet skills...which are already awesome...I want to know who else would know what to do when a girl said a math problem was "orgasmic."

Damn right I high fived her...

and then told her I don't think she knows what that word means...

And then I came up with a plan of what to say for when she asked me later why I high fived her.  

20 May 2013

Opposites Attract

Last night John was telling me about guns.  I know nothing, and he knows a whole heck of a lot.  He wants to teach me to shoot...I'm still on the fence...

In that same conversation he told me he was going to Cabelas, which I didn't know what that was, but he was going to buy me a hat...a camo one...I asked Em and Laura if they knew, and they laughed...at me...because everyone knows it and they also want to see me with a camo hat on...or was it that they don't...eh, whatever.

John then asked me "North face or Columbia?"  I don't know why, perhaps he is buying me a warm coat for when I land in the arctic, but I couldn't answer him because I don't own anything by either of those companies.  I told him NF because that is his favorite.  I reminded him that it would be like me asking him "Michael Kors or Karen Millen?"  Poor guy knows Michael Kors now because of me :)

He sent me a picture of my new living room furniture...I told him to stick to earth tones...I should have been more specific.   (sidenote: he was joking.  I hope.)

(Can we also note the long pants, fleece and socks he has on...seriously it is winter in Maine.)

Lastly, there was a page he liked that showed up in my news feed for...wait for it..."George W. Bush".  It is pretty awesome that he met him while he serving in the army.  I respect all of our presidents for what they do...but I'll be damned if a campaign sticker goes on my car anytime soon...for either party :)

We have quite a few differences...but it is what I love about him.  We will challenge each other with politics and beliefs regarding issues, however we have similar economic and social beliefs.  Our religious frame of mind is also in a similar place (I say it like this because I really believe your spiritual journey evolves and changes and I can't wait to see how ours does).  He will teach me about guns and I will make insane spreadsheets of the houses we are looking at buying.   We will incorporate our two tastes together into one house where the deer heads/camo are limited to one room (and not the living room).

With our differences and similarities the most important thing is that I cannot wait to grow, mature, learn and teach...with him, by him and through him.  As you get older you become who you are going to become.  I have failed, and I have succeeded and I am proud of who I am today.  He makes me want to be better.  He pushes me to try harder, love more and become more of who I am and, more importantly, want to be.  The phrase "you complete me" has always sounded funny to me...I am whole as me.  However, now I know what it is to have someone make you a better you...he does...

As long as he didn't buy that recliner :)

10 May 2013

If I can be patient in a Bahraini police station, Americans should learn to be patient at the DMV

So I had another Bahraini first last night…a car accident.  Before you all start saying things about women drivers I was rear ended.  I was stopped for a few seconds when it happened, so it wasn’t like I stopped abruptly either.  I actually didn’t know what happened because I haven’t been hit in over 11 years (and just so we put it out there, I haven’t hit anyone in over 11 years).  The title of the post is from a conversation with Camille this morning...here is the story:

I get hit with Camille, Ezza and Stu in the car at 7:45 on Thursday night.  Ezza, being awesome, was the first to ask if everyone was ok.  Being the North Americans we are, Camille grabbed the insurance and took pictures of my car and his license plate.  Stu, being the only guy in the car, got out to be the muscle (which I especially love because I've got a good 3 inches and 15 pounds on him).  I told Ez to stay in because I was scared my car would lock if we closed all the doors.  The guy was super helpful, the police were not.  I first called 999 (the 911 of Bahrain.)  They hung up on me twice and I got a busy signal once before someone who did not know English answered.  He passed me off to someone else, who told me to call the traffic cops at 199.  Whoops.  (NOTE: Bayan needs to give us a cheat sheet of this stuff, we had an emergency earlier this year with two Americans who did not know it was 999 not 911-I only knew because of my time in London, otherwise I would have no idea).  

So I call the traffic cops who ask if we can move the cars and of course we can, it was a very minor accident.  So we have to drive to the police station.  Well, thank goodness for honest people because who says this kid who hit me couldn’t have driven off in the other direction.  Instead he let me follow him.  We picked up his Dad on the way (I thought he was my age at first but the more time I spent with him and his father over the night, the guy who hit me was a kid, 18, 21 at most.)  When we get to the station the Dad asks if we could just settle it.  In the states I would have said yes (I drive a crappy car that has scratches-not from me-so I would not have fixed it on this car) but here I needed the police report so I did not have to pay the rental company.  I told him how much it was for the rental company (250BD, almost $700) and that was ridiculous for such a small dent.  I had also already called my rental car company (I love them by the way-Adliya Rental Car is a good company-owned by a parent of a student).  So he then asked if we could say he was driving because his son just got his license.  Since I did not have a Bahraini license and was about to plead ignorance if they asked for mine, I didn’t see any harm in it.  So we walked into the station….

Did I mention we were all ready to go out for the night so we were all looking really cute and fairly fancy?  Yeah, let’s just say that we stood out like a sore thumb in the traffic station.  It was a serious game of “one of these things is not like the other”.  Well, immediately three guys on a couch stand up for us ladies to sit.  I will miss that.  Being the independent women we are, we were like “oh no, we’re fine, really”…we need to stop doing that!  We should just feel honored and let it happen.  I forced the rest of my group to head out (I don’t handle support well, again, stupid independent woman) and so I stayed with the two Indian men.  It took forever, who knew a lot of accidents happen on the first night of the weekend when all the Saudi’s are out?  Huh.  

Now a side note, you may feel as if I’m being racist here mentioning all the countries of origin.  That is how it is here though.  Everyone wants to know where everyone is from, it is one of the first questions you ask people.  Very few of the people here, even the Arabs, are from Bahrain.  The Arabic people, for the most part, have a tie to another country-Lebanon, Kuwait and Saudi are the ones I hear the most.  Even my Bahraini students will specify what country they feel ties to (mostly to separate the Arabic from the Persian roots).  I also really love, by having this be the first question, that you learn a ton.  Last weekend I went to an Internations Dinner and sat across from a Syrian man.  He let me ask all of my dumb questions (Is it safe where your family is?  Have you been back recently?) and answered them.  If I had just assumed he was from a gulf region country, I would not have learned so much.  In America we all have such a similar background yet we cling to our heritage roots when we have nothing to cling to-I said I was Swedish to a group of people once and they laughed.  I’m not Swedish.  I’m American.  My ancestors are Swedish, I’ve been to Sweden, but I still know NOTHING about it.  We should instead talk about America and be advocates for America, cause Lord knows, America needs some good representation all over.  Ok, side note over.  

So anyways, we patiently wait our turn (I’m being completely serious-it took way over an hour for anyone to talk to us, but everyone was very calm and polite).  Cops look at our cars, get our information.  This was a little scary for me because I didn’t have my CPR card (like your social security/license here) and I only had my US license.  They sent my US license around the office and finally, after a lot of Arabic, I heard “America, she’s fine”.  I asked what it was all about and they said I should get a local license.  I said that I was leaving for good next month and they said “ok, you are fine.”  We then got sent to the “Cashier”.  The man pays 20BD.  I pay 6BD (for the report).  Then the guy has to pay a BD for something and he doesn’t have it, he only has a 5.  So the “cashier” pulls out a ball of cash to make change (read “Ball”, it is not like my grandfather who has his cash in a cute money clip with the hundreds on the outside so you look like a pimp…this was a ball of cash that a 6 year old would put on the counter of a store to pay for a toy).  He then asks if the guy is going to get his car fixed.  He says no.  The guy gives him 10BD back.  Puts all of the money we gave him in the wad and puts it back in his pocket.  

I now have a police report where I can read nothing but my name.  

Overall it was a smooth process-good job Bahrain.  

28 April 2013

screw pause, let's fast forward this piece...

You know that moment in your life when you can’t look to the future because you have no idea how you can get there, and you can’t look at your past, because you are trying to move past it?  I call that life on pause.  You cannot make any gains and you are spinning your wheels just trying to make the most out of what you can at the time.  My life was on pause for two-ish years.  Just kind of cruising through.  Last year, when I moved here to Bahrain I wrote that my life was not on pause anymore-I could see how I could move forward and I was excited.  As of February 17th I thought I was moving forward…with my career.  I could see my whole professional future and it was fine.  When I accepted the new job I was on the fence.  I told Ezza that I got the job in the elevator and she said “Congratulations, I guess?”  I said "yeah..." and we hugged. 

 Right before that, on Saturday, February 2nd we went to Ladies Night at JJ’s.  It was the beginning of Winter Break and we were just out.  I kept making eyes (meaning flirting over my drink) with a guy wearing an OSU shirt.  Me, being a faithful Minnesota/Wisconsin fan knew that I hated OSU, just on general Big 10 principles.  Me, also being a huge smart ass, decide the best way to flirt with this guy is to talk shit about his favorite team.  I told him he was brave to wear such a horrible team’s shirt, even if no one in this country knew what it was.  He said something about football, I said something about basketball, and I went back to Ezza (and the two guys we were talking to at the time).  A couple of minute’s later OSU boy comes over with a pen and napkin and asks for my number (ballsy, considering I was sitting with two guys-just friends by the way-but still, ballsy).  I told him I would be watching the Superbowl at a restaurant the next night, maybe we could meet up there. 

Well the Superbowl started and I had not heard from my OSU boy.  I figured he realized that I was a smart ass and in a sober state, came to the conclusion not to call me.  Not the case though!  He texted me (so he did have a phone…did not need the napkin in these new fangled technology times) during the game, but did not know that the restaurant locked their doors at 2.  So we made plans to meet for lunch the next day (the 4th)-I told him to wear an OSU shirt so I could recognize him. 

On the 4th we met and he was cuter than I remembered (always a plus!) and the conversation was great-I think we stayed for 2 hours.  He left that day for Australia for 2 weeks, but said he would call when he came back into town.  A simple “I’m just not that into you” would have sufficed, but Australia is a cool lie. He actually was going though and we became Facebook friends. 

While OSU was gone, I got the new job and continued to have fun in Bahrain.  He messaged me a couple of times while he was gone and called as soon as he landed on the 22nd.  We spent  the whole weekend together.  He left again and came back, but on March 9th I realized that he was too good for me.  I’ve heard that line before...shows, movies, but never understood what it meant...until then.  He is honestly, a true gentleman.  Nice, sincere, honest, brave, I could go on…but I felt like I would let him down.  I’m nice, most of the time.  I’m sincere and honest, when I feel I can be.  I’m not that brave…it just felt...like I wasn't good enough.  Best way I can describe it.  We parted ways-and decided to talk when we could (he says we were never gonna talk again...)  March 15th he changed his mind...he emailed me. We chatted and decided to get coffee the next day.  I thought about him a lot over the week, but knew I shouldn’t contact him, so when he contacted me, even when I told him everything, I knew it was good.  So I got all fancy for our coffee date-hoping to make a good impression.  I think I did alright.  We have been inseparable ever since. 

I kept saying we were going at warp speed.  Asking if he was ok, are we moving too fast?  He said no, and I believed him.  March 28  we went out with his friends.  It was a fun night, and it was the night I knew I loved him.  It is too much information, but I knew we did because we got in a fight.  It was a misunderstanding at the bar when we had been drinking (REALLY?  Who would have thought alcohol and loud music could cause people to not hear others!)  We left angry at each other, but when we got to a quiet place, we didn't scream, we didn't ignore each other, we looked into each other’s eyes and talked it out.  We explained how we felt.  I’m not saying we both weren’t still mad and/or drunk, but we left holding hands.  The next day we made sure we were ok, we were, and I loved that we were able to talk about how we felt and forgive.  On March 29 I was telling him how good I felt about us and his response was “Are you saying you love me?”  So I don’t know who said it first, but there it was, out in the open and the speed was going faster than ever.

We talked about how the next school year would be horrible but we could do it…10 months apart wasn’t anything. 

 However, the closer we got to his leaving date, the worse it was feeling.  I was struggling to think about 2 months, let alone 10.  I was mad because my life would be on pause again, we were going to be half way around the world from each other, able to see each other every couple of months, maybe, and my life would be at a weird standstill.  I could tell it was eating him alive too.

We talked and on April 9th decided that I was moving home.  I was scared as hell to tell my parents and school, but there was very little debate.  I played devil’s advocate a couple of times, but still couldn’t think about 10 months. 

On April 26th, at the same bar we met at, in an OSU shirt, with all of our friends around, he asked me to marry him.  I said yes enthusiastically, we hugged, and kissed and everyone cheered.  Ezza and I went to the bathroom to look at the ring and talk.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes, and I started crying.  She said “Congratulations!”  I said "yes!"  And we hugged so tight and I couldn’t stop smiling. 

Life Unpaused.