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.