Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.


A little-known fact about me is that I've been here in Sharjah by myself for almost two weeks. Jeremy and the girls left for the US at the beginning of July. Needless to say, this Me Party is pretty epic.

It's not all fun and games, of course. Or rather, it's not all novel-reading and BBC-miniseries-watching (but there is a lot of that). The whole reason I stayed behind was to finish up this summer course I'm taking. The grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in the US have been slavering to see the girls - and, to a lesser extent, us - so we decided that Jeremy would take Miriam and Magdalena to Utah/Idaho to visit his family and bask in all the familial reunionness while I am busy with my class work.

By the time I see my husband and kids again, it will have been two weeks - our longest separation ever, by far. Here are some reflections on being all by my lonesome for two weeks.

I went three whole days without touching anyone. You either get why this is a big deal, or you don't. If you don't get it, ask the next mother of small children you see to remember the last 24-hour period in which she did not touch anyone. She will not be able to recall such a period. I had mixed feelings about not touching anyone for so long. In a way, it was wonderfully restorative. In another way, it was unsettling. Humans need touch. (It would have been a much longer period of no-touchy, by the way, if I hadn't attended that Arabian wake.)

I haven't listened to so much music in YEARS. The house was so silent that I found myself seeking out opportunities to listen to music, and to sing along out loud. I eventually settled on opera music. Did you know you can listen to/watch the entirety of Tosca on YouTube? I also listened to pretty much everything Kyle Landry has ever uploaded on YouTube, except for the weird anime stuff. And then I cycled through the Recommended Videos sidebar trap on YouTube, going through endless permutations of Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Kansas, Boston, Glee covers, etc.

I became semi-nocturnal. I hate being alone at night. So I started staying up until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning doing projects or working or reading. Just because I could. During the day, if I got tired from my late hours, I took a nap. Can you imagine?

I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I got hungry. This is another mom fantasy, probably.

I had irrational thoughts about all the horrible trouble my kids could get into if I'm not with them. This led to me getting out of bed in the middle of the night to send Jeremy an email to remind him of that one staircase in his parents' house that doesn't have a railing on it and to make sure the girls stayed away from it. I also find myself worrying that Miriam is going to forget how to read, or Magdalena will become un-potty-trained, just because I'm not there.

I spent way too long on my assignments. It's amazing how much more time I will spend on class assignments, when I have the time. This is not entirely a good thing, because I'm not sure the quality is better. When the kids are around, it's pretty much "finish this assignment in the next three hours or finish it never." Since they've been gone, I can spend a few hours on it today, a couple more tomorrow, a few more the next day if I need to...It never ends!

Anyway, it's been kind of a surreal experience. I'd like to publicly thank Jeremy for going solo for two weeks, including an international plane journey. He's also been diligent about providing me with pictures and videos, including this one of Magdalena that I cannot stop watching.

Please someone who knows how to make those repeating animated gifs: 0:11-0:12, if you don't mind.

July 13th, outsourced

Sharjah's Goodwill/Deseret Industries