Monday, October 6, 2008

back to school........again!

The kids were off school ....AGAIN.....for the whole week last week due to the feasting for the end of Ramadan....i have to say that it is quite annoying when the schools take breaks for EVERY SINGLE religious holiday.......sometimes their off for christian feasts that I've never even heard of.Just when you start getting back into a routine again after the summer hols...their off again...aaaaggghhhh!!!! I wonder if the Jewish schools (religious or secular) are off for christmas and Ramadan.I'm sure they are not which is fair enough. Why then do the predominantly christian schools in Nazareth HAVE to be off for all the Muslim holidays.I am not being discriminating in ANY WAY.........we don't observe Ramadan,it's not our holiday.....so why do all our children have to miss school because of it? I would not expect Jews or Muslims to observe christmas and easter etc. At the same time Muslims who attend christian schools are all off for our holidays.Sometimes I think wouldn't it be better to have separate schools? but then of course everyone would whinge about discrimination and yadda,yadda,yadda.........maybe logistically it would be difficult to have separate schools,and hey...I'm all for my kids learning about and respecting other religions, but i can't help feeling a tad resentful when my kids are off school every 5 minutes for holidays that don't really have anything to do with us..........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

broody????...........

Well....I'm 41 and I have 6 children the youngest of which is 9 months.As I'm sitting here at the computer the 4 oldest are watching TV and arguing about sitting space on the sofa and annoyingly giving running commentaries of every little detail of the movie....you would think that I would have had enough by now........why then ,am i feeling broody...that insistent urge that tells me to add yet another to my clan.I wonder if that feeling will ever go away.I don't feel as though I'm really done. Actually I thought I was done after 4. Then I found myself pregnant with number 5.....I have to be honest and say that I wasn't happy about it.....but after a while I got used to the idea and ended up feeling really happy and excited about it....HEY...I thought ,5 kids will be fun!!!!! So I accepted it and that was that. Then at 11 weeks I had a miscarriage and was utterly devastated.I just cried and cried and felt the loss so intensely.After that it was like my eyes were suddenly opened.I think that sometimes we can really take motherhood for granted...I definately had! I suddenly realized what a special and precious privelege it really is....so I had Isabel and 6 months after her i fell pregnant with Alice!!!!!! Don't misunderstand me........I'm not some kind of supermum. It's hard work,relentless,you have no personal space,exhausting,draining and you just have to completely sacrifice your own needs and desires,and trust me there are days when I am NOT enjoying it!! At the same time,it is such an amazing journey,the whole pregnancy and child-birth experience,wondering who this next one is going to be,who will they look like.And that's the easy part......then they get older and start answering you back!!!! I dunno...........part of me says NO WAY you can't handle anymore....that's it,you are definately done....but then that makes me feel really sad and a little voice deep within me cries ooohhh ..just one more????..........also I am getting a bit old!!!!!.......time is running out..........I think my cut off point will have to be 42!!!! oooooohhhhh.....I dunno, We'll see.................

Sunday, September 28, 2008

goats

Another hilarious thing about living here is that you can be speeding down a busy highway,like between Nazareth and Haifa as we were today,and suddenly the road will be blocked by a huge herd of goats plus goatherd!!!!! The kids of course LOVE it....but it really is bizarre.....you are in a 21st century car in a modern ,VERY Americanized country and suddenly you are surrounded by bleating goats.You feel like you just stepped back in time oohh..I dunno...say 2000 years.......honestly you half expect Jesus and his disciples to come walking around the corner.........these things I will never get used to here!!!!!!!..............

Friday, September 26, 2008

living in the bible...........

I think most of the time I really take for granted where I am actually living.I remember at school singing hymns about Jerusalem and Israel....reading about weddings in ca'na,the banks of the sea of galilee,fishermen,fishing boats,capernaum.........mystical,far away places.Now of course these are everyday places for me.At home if I mention somewhere like Can'a,people are like...WHAT?...but thats in the Bible....does it actually exist now??......and I'm like oh yeah it's just up the road from me! It really blows people away.It's easy for these epic landscapes to become commonplace,but every so often as I'm driving around ,I'll suddenly notice them again.Spectacular violet and red mountains across in Jordan.....breathtaking.The sea of Galilee is another of my favourite places here.It is sooooo peaceful........and blue and beautiful and really calms the spirit.Then theres the simple everyday things.......the olive trees.....very important in Arab culture,each tree with its ancient twisted branches has a soul.The lemon trees........now i never get bored of the lemon trees.You see in England a lemon tree growing in your garden would be a thing of rare wonderment! Here,they are absolutely everywhere and I love them.They feel.........exotic.....and smell irresistible.The way the bread is baked!......it goes through the oven on a conveyor belt and comes out puffed up into round balls,then deflates into round flat pittas! Well as I keep saying .....I must sort out my photos and get them on here!!!! Still haven't gotten round to it....but I will...soon..........

Sunday, September 21, 2008

sunday..........

We actually made it to church today!!!We've missed alot over the summer what with one thing and another.I feel bad if we miss it coz the kids really enjoy it.I usually take the 4 older ones and leave my toddler and baby at home with Baba!!!Needless to say he is not a church goer!!! I was brought up a Catholic but I always hated the rigidity of the Catholic church.....of course it may have changed now I have no idea....but anyway ......here we go to the local Baptist church....i was introduced to it by one of my friends here.When I first went I was really surprised at how diferent it was to Catholic Mass.There was no formal Liturgy but informal prayer and one long sermon by different preachers each week.They have alot of visitors from overseas so there really is an interesting variety of styles and it's great if it's in English as the Arabic can be a bit difficult to understand sometimes and listening to the translation through earphones can be a bit annoying!!! Anyway...I really enjoy the informal atmosphere of the church and the feeling that anyone is accepted.The hymns are also really beautiful..........Later in the afternoon I decided to take 5 children to macdonalds, baby stayed at home with Baba again! I'm constantly amazed at how much 9 and 10 year old boys can eat....sometimes my 9 year old stuffs his face so much that he ends up throwing up!! My toddler Isabel had a hissy fit in the middle of macd's and knocked a tray of cola and fries all over the floor...thank-you,great....so as I'm shuffling about the floor on all fours she starts screaming and whining at the top of her lungs.....through gritted teeth i said to my son "GET HER OUT OF HERE!!!!!"....hhhhmmmmmmm ,toddlers are tough.People always say that teenagers are the most difficult to deal with (I haven't had the pleasure yet!!) but I'd rather have a teenager that didn't speak to me than a completely irrational,moody unreasonable toddler...aaaaaggghhhhhhhh!...........

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

cold turkey.......

it's been quite a few days since I posted anything........I was just lying in bed hoping to get an early night and I could feel the computer calling me from the other room.It's amazing how quickley it becomes so addictive.I just had to take a break cold turkey because i just seemed to be spending so much time on here.You start reading other peoples blogs and you seriously can't stop! before you know it 2 hours have gone by,then 3.........switching on the computer is like opening up a door into a secret world that you feel compelled to become a part of.How do serious bloggers find the time? do they set themselves strict time limits?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

oh no......

is it really that date again already? Has it really been 7 years since that horrible day?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

this and that.......

well.......finally my washing machine has been fixed so i'm having a lovely time catching up on all that.....some of it had actually turned green so I had to throw it out!! so anyway.....I've been feeling a bit stressed and down lately so I decided that the best remedy for that would be to get some exercise.Up in Nazareth Illit there is a public indoor swimming pool open on wednesday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 so i told my husband i was going out and thats it.His response was .......ooohhh....ok.It's not like a 5star pool or anything but that doesn't bother me.just to have a couple of hours on my own is so precious. There were quite a few people waiting at the door for it to open.All men.Russian men.I suddenly thought,"ooohh no,it's not all mens night is it??" But then i was relieved to see a small group of women as well! They were all yabbering on in russian,and of course they all assume that I am russian so they all start speaking to me in Russian! thats ok I'm used to that now! So in the changing rooms all the women are so uninhibited....they all just walk around naked as though it's all perfectly normal. I on the otherhand, being the repressed Brit that I am, was writhing and squirming under my towel trying not to show any of my bits! after about 10 minutes of this I realised how ridiculous i was being and just took the towel off and stood their.....gasp.......NAKED! It was actually quite liberating.It really felt great to be me and feel comfortable with that. Twenty years ago I would have been totally paranoid and self-conscious, probably checking myself in the mirror every five minutes to see if my mascara had run! I went and sat in he sauna and I could just feel all the tension melting away. It's quite a small sauna with really dim lighting so you almost feel like you are in this womb-like cocoon.The other womens voices are murmuring in the background and even though it's Russian, I think womens language is pretty universal. You kind of bond with these strangers for that short time. anyway my 'self-therapy'! worked and driving home I felt really relaxed and energized!! So that's where I'm going to be on wednesday nights from now on!!!!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

skipping ropes.........

just a while ago my 2 sons got out these two skipping ropes and were giving me a demonstration......both were competing with eachother of course as to who was the fastest.You know it was really making me laugh so much.Usually I would tell them to stop it and hurry them off to bed.....but this time I actually stopped for a second and thought to myself, No......I'm just going to enjoy this in the moment...and we had so much fun! Of course then the girls had to join in as well.Their excited little faces as they were jumping up and down were just making me laugh so much.So many times I see my kids doing things and it takes me back to when i was a kid and i remember doing exactly the same things and having the same excited feelings.Then my husband walked in and his face lit up and he remembered how HE used to be good at skipping! Then he attempted to give us a demonstration....all 125kg of him!! well.......that was even more hilarious.........

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I can't think of a title

There is absolutely nothing worse than feeling sick with a virus and having to deal with all your kids.OOOOHHH......yesterday was pretty bad.I begged them to be good and get on with things without me having to tell 50 times.They weren't too bad,it's just hard to keep the noise levels down.My oldest son who is ten, bless him, he did all the washing up in the evening and cleaned up all the kitchen!! that is the first time that he has ever done anything like that without being asked.Could it be that he is finally understanding the concept of EMPATHY! Boy's this age are just so selfish.I was really touched by his concern. Anyway,today I feel better.Perhaps the second worse thing when you have alot of kids is your washing machine breaking down!!!for the past week I have had no washing machine.I've had it about 6 months and it's already broken down 4 times.It took the guy a week just to come and look at it.....now he needs another week to actually fix it.I mean honestly....how outrageous is that.You try and explain to the service people on the phone and they really don't give a damn. So now i have 3 huge sacks of rancid laundry festering in my bathroom and I'm just handwashing a few things as I need them............marvellous..........bloody marvellous..........

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

sleepless........

I am actually writing this at 04.00am! I find that if I go to bed early like 8, I wake up in the middle of the night and just can't get back to sleep.We are in the process of choosing stuff for our new apartment and we have just been arguing so much about it! Men have weird taste...but if I stand my ground I will get my way in the end! it really is a nightmare choosing colours etc. I'm always terrified of making a mistake.I can totally understand why rich people just hire an interior designer..... anyway the kids are back in school so at least I'm getting some semblance of a routine back......

Sunday, August 31, 2008

still here....just about........

My keyboard broke last week,thanks to my children bashing it around with their games.Thankfully it's Back2School tomorrow.....yes I do believe that is a choir of angels singing.......so no computer allowed on school days! Well.....what a week,I really am exhausted and just about finished with the summer.The heat here in Nazareth is just so humid,stifling,sticky..anymore adjectives? We will be moving to our new apartment soon (I hope very soon) and i said to my husband that there is absolutely NO WAY I am going to live through another summer here without a decent mazgan(air-conditioning). I want my house to be freezing cold next summer! I just looked out the window and noticed all the flashing lights and decorations across town(we have a view across the whole of Nazareth from our house,it's really beautiful at night) and I just remembered that Ramadan starts tomorrow.I think we are all starting to compete with eachother over who has the most lights for Christmas and Ramadan!!! Every year they seem to multiply on both sides! I really MUST sort out this blog properly and get some photos on here.There really is a wealth of subjects to photo here....SO many really beautiful and interesting things to record.....will do that this week.........

Friday, August 22, 2008

uuuummmmm.....I Dunno

so anyway....I've been discovering some really interesting blogs...Israeli Blogs in English.It's so funny how there is such a broad spectrum of expats here but we can bond over our shared experiences in Israel.I remember when I first came to this country...first of all I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it. The breathtaking(literally) mountain views,the beaches,the Dead Sea, all these beautiful places.But I was also overwhelmed by the repeated questions to myself (and anyone who would listen!) like...............what the hell is WRONG with everyone here?..........why is everyone so STRESSED OUT?..........why is EVERYTHING so difficult?...........WHY are Israelis so RUDE?.......Nobody says PLEASE or THANKYOU!!!......why is everyone shouting???...WHY do they sell milk in plastic bags,just trying to get the flippin' thing open results in losing half the bag...! After 11 years you kind of get used to all that and it becomes..dare I say it...endearing!!! whenever I go back home to england now the first thing that really hits me now is the ORDER...yes,everything seems so civilized and ordered.I beam excitedly at shop assistants saying " oohh..thank you..thank you so much". Another thing is that it is so easy to drive because of the....ORDER. So now whenever I go home,it feels like a culture shock in reverse.In Nazareth we all basically live on top of one another,all the neighbours know eachother. You can here everyones arguments,everyones laughter , all the kids playing outside,the guy upstairs strumming his oud,the teenagers next door blasting out 50cent,families chatting together in the evenings,babies crying ....you name it....all the rich stuff of life. Now...... all of that used to actually drive me mad.I found it really difficult to understand how no one seemed to need any privacy. Basically, I grew up in a typical 1930's semi in a quiet Avenue,where everyone basically kept to themselves.In typical British fashion we'd all say "morning" or"hello" but that was about it.In Arab society it's actually considered impolite if you don't socialize with everyone and drink coffee and chat!!! So it really took some time to get used to although it still does drive me mad sometimes. but the funny thing is,is that when I went to England I actually started missing all that!! I remember thinking how odd and quiet it was at my parents house.......it really made me appreciate the sense of community here more.............................................

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

holy mother of god when are they going back to school.....

yes....... it seems to be that time of year again.....that couple of weeks before school starts when the lack of routine seems to have gone to everyones heads!!!!! So now that all the summer camps and swimming courses are over and the sports weeks and the day trips are winding down, my kids have a full schedule of lying on the sofa watching TV and asking me whats for lunch every five minutes!!! The fridge door is open and shut so many times everything in it is starting to melt. We had a good summer but I miss the routine of school.I'm so ready for it.My house is an absolute TIP.It gives me the jitters.I'm having to do deep breathing exercises to calm myself down when I'm confronted with more mess. I have fantasies about getting as many garbage bags as I can find and just throwing everything out...everything....no clutter,no mess...just pure clean space....aaaahhhhh if only it were possible. Also,it's so hot here, it makes me mildly psycotic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy birthday BABA.......

II didn't post anything yesterday for the simple fact that I was comatose from the cannelloni I made fro my husbands birthday!! It was loaded with 4 different kinds of Italian cheese...but really delicious!! One son had a stomach bug so he was missing from the table,so was one of my girls and the 2 little ones were asleep...... that left just 4 of us sitting at the table,me and my husband and 2 kids.It was sooo weird.I said to my husband "imagine if we only had 2 kids"? and we both looked at eachother as if to say NNNOOO WWAAYYYY...it just didn't feel like a family. It was so empty and quiet.Yeah.. it's hard work and they do drive us crazy at times but I'm soo glad we have a big family..all the hard work is so worth it for those moments when you look at them all and feel such pride anyway Happy Birthday to my dear husband,the love of my life...I really should tell him that more often.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

AAAAAAAGG.....AAAAAAGG......WWAAAAAGG

I was in the kitchen minding my own business when I heard a loud commotion outside.My oldest son Fadi.aged 10 was emitting this awful wailing sound."AAAGH...Sam(brother aged 9) hit me on the head with a stone,AAAGGHHH...I'm covered in blood...AAAAGGH....AAAAAAGGHHHH........." OOH the melodramatics....the hysterics....actually there was quite alot of blood,but it was only a very small cut.What is it with brothers.One minute they are playing together all matey,only for the next minute to descend into outright warfare.The problem is they are so close in age.There's only 11 months between them and they fight about EVERYTHING."Thats my spoon", "No thats my spoon","No I had it first".......do you get my drift!!! I remember being so happy to have 2 boys close in age.I imagined that they were going to be really close,the best of friends....but their not.....at all. I really hope this rivalry is not going to be carried with them into adulthood...I hope that one day they will be friends and really appreciate eachother and actually ENJOY eachothers company...ha...wishful thinking......

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What on earth can I write about......

I'm sitting here mulling over the day thinking there's absolutely nothing to write about.but most blogs i read are made up of the minutiae of everyday life.I know my punctuation is appalling but i really can't type properly!My days are really busy though, I barely sit down for 10 minutes.I was thinking today that my kids have never had any interaction with jewish kids......I really hate that.I'm determined that my children will not grow up with the usual stereotypical ideas about the jewish society here.Surely it's up to our generation to instill in our kids the idea of love not hate.Maybe I'm a bit idealistic...but we have to be hopeful for our kids sake.I definately want to send my kids to the Musalaha summer camp next year where they will actually spend time interacting with and getting to know jewish kids.Have to start somewhere!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My back is killing me...........

Tes....it's back breaking work.......getting everyones books ready for school.I have 4 now in elementary school so that is alot of books.I've just got to get it over and done with.At least when they go back to school I'll be able to get some semblance of a routine again.I just sigh in despair when I look around at my messy house.It's just impossible to keep any order when they are all at home. today I bought a new camera which I am really pleased about......now all I have to do is figure out how to get photo's onto this blog!!!! I'm very computer illiterate.OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH.... i can't believe Bernie Mac is dead!! OOOOOHHHHH...poor Bernie Mac...was he not one of the most hilarious men on this planet...I'm really sad about that,i used to watch his show and roll off my sofa laughing.. now back to the heat..it is completely disabling...I can't wait until we have to wear shoes and socks again and have lovely thick blankets on the beds with hot water bottles and heating on...ooooooo..I can't wait (I say this every year without fail and then spend the whole winter whinging about the cold)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Book Club

Today was our Book Club meeting.A group of us expats living here in Nazareth meet every 6 weeks to have a general gossip and talk about the book.Our book thistime was "The Lemon Tree" by Sandy Tolan. Seeing as we are all living here in this country we thought it would be an interesting read seeing as it is about the friendship between a Jew and an Arab amidst the palestinian conflict. we certainly had a really interesting discussion.....and it really is fun to get together with all the girls!!! When I got home my house looked as though a tornado had been through it, which is always the case whenever I am not here. So I had a mini rant about that although everyone just completely ignores me(including my husband!) until I've shut up.My 2 boy's came in late from their church camp looking like 2 homeless boy's.....black from head to toe.I sent them to bed in that state telling them to have a shower in the morning!!! I just could'nt face cleaning up the Armaggedon in the shower after them!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISH WOMEN.........

You would think that me being a brit that I woould be relishing all this hot weather, but it's usually about this time of year that I start longing for the grey drizzle of England and the smell of wet oak trees.It's SSSSOOOOOO HHHOOOTTTTTTT!!!! I walk around all day as though I've been drugged.Can't get going with all the housework.4 or 5 in the afternoon is usually when I start getting some energy back.As I say every summer.....ROLL ON WINTER!!!!!! ....At least the kids are busy with all their summer activities. My 2 boys are obbbbsessed with kites. Every conversation that you have with them, somehow becomes about kites.The making of kites, the flying of kites...please don't talk to me about kites I say. HALLAS,BIKAFFI (which means ENOUGH!) in Arabic.