12.26.2012

dotting our i's.


Usually I have the post-Christmas blues on December 26th. But not this year. Sure, I feel a bit sad that Christmas tunes will fade away and in two weeks it will no longer be socially acceptable to have a fake tree in my living room. But...

We leave for Rome today!

The only thing standing between me and a flight to Italy are: the last minute laundry, attempting to fix my janky broken suitcase that has put on 50,000 miles this year...and dropping off Lucky at the boarder.

This last item is precisely why Gabe and I cannot have children yet. How can two adults, one of whom is former military, be so worried about a teeny kitten? I don't know. God help us when we have real babies someday. I imagine it's this X 10,000.

We're kind of a mess about leaving Lucky behind, and have been calming ourselves down about it for weeks. Truth: We considered paying someone to stay at our apartment, just so she wouldn't have to go to Kitty Jail. The last two days have been spent spoiling her rotten, and this morning I wrote a little kitty dossier with all Lucky's information. (Told from her perspective. Yikes.) Yes, it's overkill. But, in a small way it makes me feel better about leaving our nervous kitten behind while we frolic off to another country.

Perhaps I'll feel all better once I'm cruising at 30,000 feet, sipping on the cheapest champagne on our flight. ;)

Merry un-Christmas, friends! Hope yours was fabulous. Talk to you from Rome! :)

UPDATE: Lucky is at the boarder. She was a pill. Whatevs. But while leaving the shelter, we found this sweet stray dog sitting behind our car:



She was limping, and we think her back leg was broken...but she was so happy to be petted and snuggled. The vet told us they couldn't take her in unless someone was willing to pay for her treatment + adopt her. So, we banded together with a kind hearted young Kuwaiti man in the parking lot who wanted to adopt her, but couldn't foot the entire vet bill. Gabe rushed into the pet shop and bought food, and I watched her for a bit while the boys figured out the financial logistics.

It was so good for my heart. The young guy took our number, so he could send us photos of the pup as she heals. Sometimes life just puts you in the right place at the right time. :)

And now, I'm really, really off to Rome! :)

12.24.2012

merry + bright.


The past few weeks in Kuwait have been merry + bright. Right before Thanksgiving I bumped into a Twitter friend at the mall. Actually, I bumped into her husband while buying office supplies...and long story short I finally met Martha. We'd been tweeting each other for the past six months, but the stars had never aligned for us to meet up.


Total kismet. (Her words, not mine, because I forgot that word existed.)

Since then we decorated for a traditional American Thanksgiving, then a baby shower...and then began planning for a Christmas party for her group of girlfriends, who have kindly adopted me...offering me rides and tips as to where a girl can find the best Indian samosa.

After lots of planning and glittering...joined by my friend Rachel...last night was finally our girlfriend Christmas + Secret Santa exchange (should I tell you now that my Secret Santa gifted me 18K gold glitter nail polish?!). Here are a few pictures from the night:





Incase you're looking for a little last minute party inspiration for Christmas or New Years, might I recommend just gathering silver, gold, crystal and glass items?

Once we gathered everything...and arranged it on the table, we found we didn't really need to spend more than a few dollars for clear glass ornaments, which we filled with sugar + a pinch of glitter.

Then we simply piled on the candles.


Obviously I love a sequined tablecloth (hello, my wedding) but the likelihood of finding one in Kuwait was slim. Especially on our budget. But by the grace of the glitter gods, we tripped into $5 glittered runners at a teeny-tiny stationary store...you know, the kind where nothing is arranged logically and if you return in a month, they'll have none of the inventory they had previously?

Thank you, glitter gods. Thank you.

Chargers were on our list of things to purchase...but unlike the US where you could find chargers at your friendly local Dollar Store...that's not a reality here. So, Martha got inventive and commissioned a carpenter to make 12 of them for less than $15. Obviously, she's a resourceful gal.

Oh, and that gold flatware? Fake. Fake. Fake. And light as a feather.



Towards the end of our decorating, we gathered a few items we that hadn't made the cut, and clustered them on a dark wood tray. Martha's husband is Iranian, so as a wink to his heritage, she gold-spray painted a few Iranian pomegranates.

 
It was such a fun night...and lately I've felt especially grateful to have made friends here...especially those that share and support my love for gold + glitter. Making friends is something I'm always a bit wary of...my own insecurities get the best of me and often I pull away from social situations.
 
But lately I've been trying to soak it up, because it feels like it was so long ago that I had "people". And it's been good.
 

So...that's that. A very glittery Christmas with some very wonderful girls.
 
Merry Christmas, friends. Hoping your holiday is filled with family or friends...or if you're far removed from both...perhaps food. Definitely food. :)
 

12.17.2012

sadness and stars.


Today, I planned to share photos from a baby shower I attended on Friday night. It was glittery and sweet. But, while leaving the celebration for a tiny new life, I learned of the tragic loss of 20 little lives and 6 heroic teachers. And suddenly, in that moment...life lost some of its sparkle. I am not a mother, and cannot fully fathom the loss of a child, but my heart is heavy and my mind is full of prayers.

Lots of bloggers have chosen to stay silent today. Because I blog irregularly, silence on my part isn't a statement...it's really rather quite usual. So instead, today I chose to use my voice....something I've found myself doing less and less in this community.

During this time, I feel we each must choose to be silent, to cry, to speak out as we see fit. But most of all, we must each actively choose to build up, not tear down...to band together, not push apart. To lay aside our own selfish interests and find a way to change our country into a place where no parent has to fear that a goodbye kiss as their child boards the morning school bus...will be their last goodbye.

I want to live in a world where babies always come home from school....where the only baggage we ask a 5 year old to carry is a backpack filled with finger paintings and a lunchbox. Where schools are a place for lightbulbs to turn on in tiny brains, and not places for candlelight vigils due to the loss of tiny lives. I don't know how we get there, but it's high time we start trying.

When I was a little girl, we hung four star ornaments on our tree for four babies we knew that had gone to heaven. Last night, I dug through boxes I'd sent from the States and found a few star ornaments. They're nothing like the hand-painted, hand-glittered memorial ornaments of my childhood...and there weren't 26. But each time I look at them, I say a little prayer for the 26 families who said goodbye too soon.

Sleep in heavenly peace, sweet children and the six angels who protected them.

You will always be remembered and treasured.

12.05.2012

...if only in my dreams.



Let's not pussyfoot around my blog absence. As always, it boils down to one thing:

I miss home. It's the holiday season and I really, really miss home.

I started to write about the tree we decorated, the packages I'm putting together, the amazingly impromptu Thanksgiving I had with a fantastic new Twitter-turned-real-life-friend who reminds me so much of these blog girlfriends. But at the end of all those half-written posts....my heart was just aching for home and I couldn't quite hit publish.

There's just so, so much to miss during these few weeks.

The hardest part about this year comprised of a marriage and a giant move...is that life will never be the same again. And in one breath that's exciting...because I'm starting my own story with someone I love. I'm a girl with a passport! A marriage certificate! And a frequent flyer member of gold status! Look out, world...I've got a husband AND I get two free checked bags when I fly United!

But aside from that (less than riveting) 10 second soundbite...comes the realization that you can't have your cake and eat it, too.  You can tell yourself you'll be home for every wedding, holiday and birthday. That makes leaving so much easier. But eventually reality sets in. I'm talking the $2500-plane-tickets + 60-hours-round-trip-travel type of reality that makes you realize you can't start your own family of two and live 7,000 miles away without missing things from your old life.

Christmas just feels different this year. My Christmases past have been trees chosen by my family and cut by my dad. Snow angels with my mom, wrapping gifts with my sister to exchange on Christmas Eve. This year it's sand angels and a fake tree Gabe snagged from on base. Every gift has to be chosen + sent weeks in advance, and none of them will be given in person. And the lump-in-my-throat truth is that I don't really know when I'll see my family next. That's what gets me teary-eyed.

I'll go ahead and say it: I'm trying. I really am. But I'm less Christmas-elfy than usual.

I don't mean to sound like a Grinch, because there's still an average amount of holiday cheer in my bones...the Christmas tunes are on, the tree is up and I'm loving every glimpse of Christmas my friends have shared online, and in the few stores that acknowledge Christmas here in Kuwait. My only true Scrooge moment happened upon discovering that the twinkly lights I'd shipped from the states would infact blow every fuse in our apartment if I plugged them in.

Curse, curse, curse.

Expressing homesickness publicly always leaves me feeling guilty...like others will interpret it as ungratefulness. Trust me, I'm grateful for many things in my life. But writing honestly about this curveball year of my life is difficult. No, I don't have to work. Yes, I get to live in a foreign country and travel fairly regularly. Both of these things have their ups and downs. Ups: Lots of free time. Seeing the world. Downs: Lack of purpose. Missing someone no matter where you are.

But homesickness, I've learned, has nothing to do with ungratefulness. It's everything to do with missing the people, places and traditions that feel like a part of yourself.

Somehow, no matter how many ornaments I put on the tree or packages I wrap...I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm missing a tiny piece of myself this year.

Have you ever been away from home for Christmas? How did you fair?

 

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