I’m back…..

I know it has been a while since I last wrote about our adventures here in Bahrain. Partly, we have gotten much busier: the first week felt like a vacation – there was no guilt in going to the pool, lounging in the hotel room, and taking tours around the island. School started and Josh got incredibly busy juggling many classes with numerous levels of Spanish, Cayden spent the days learning to adjust and Anya and I have spent countless hours at the base signing forms for visas and ID cards, immunizations and housing leases and just as many in traffic. There are so many cars, no public transportation and from the looks of it, no carpooling going on. So we are getting used to leaving earlier, people blocking the way, and traffic lights that don’t work.

I guess the other part would be that we have been here one month; and as I anticipated, it is no longer a vacation and the pure excitement of moving has waned, shaded by the reality that this is now our every day lives, for better or for worse. If I explore my heart right now, I find that I am simultaneously embracing this culture and the extreme changes in our midst, and longing for the comforts of home and community of friends and family.

On a daily basis, there are moments that kindle any number of emotions: frustration, awe, disbelief, joy, resignation. Here are a few of those occasions:

As we walked the grounds of the Ritz with my dad, our friend Meg, and the kids, Cayden exclaimed that he saw lightening off in the distance. We chalked it up as heat lightening, even though there is now a coolness in the breeze, especially in the evenings. We woke up this morning to darkening clouds on the horizon; they eventually approached our hotel with a vengeance – heavy sheets of rain and all we can think is that we brought no raincoats or umbrellas with us for this portion of our stay in the hotel.

We went down as a family and I sprinted through the sheets and through the poorly drained, flood-filled parking lot to get the car. Driving to school was like navigating a boat – I can’t say that I have ever heard water lapping up against the side of my car as we did this morning. I felt like we were on the travel channel. Finally, after crossing many lakes, we arrived at school, with only 4 kids in Cayden’s class – the other 13 were stuck on buses somewhere between home and school. After thirty minutes, we found out that our sailing was in vain, that as a result of the heavy rains and flooding, the water was not working throughout the school, so everyone was sent home at 8:30am. By that time, trucks had sucked many of the lakes and rivers up (Bahrain’s drainage system), so the lapping was at a minimum. This storm came early in the season, and I certainly hope it stays away, at least until we have unpacked boxes and uncovered our umbrella.

On the way to a park the other day, we did a double take as we caught sight of a young boy, no more than 10, riding a pure white donkey on the sidewalk near our car, and cross the city street like this mode of transportation was the norm. Just call me Mary.

I understand why people say living here is easy – most people have drivers, maids, cooks, nannies, but also every gas station is full-serve. Each time I have pulled in, I reach for the car door when I remember to reach for the window instead. One perk: to fill up a regular size car only costs us 3.5 BD, which is approximately $9.

We have seen my dad quite a bit and those have been moments full of joy and for me, a continued sense of amazement. After twenty years and hundreds of short phone calls and even shorter reunions once or twice a year in the States, I just can’t believe that he is a short stone’s throw away. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Jiddou (Grandpa), and we have appreciated his help in finding a house, finding great restaurants to eat at (one felt like we were on a movie set, it was so beautiful) and just taking walks or grabbing a bite somewhere.

Speaking of finding a house, we have found the one! We hope to be moved in by the end of next week, should everything go as planned. Stay tuned for more pictures. I have posted just a couple below. We will get some better ones once we move in.

Time to get some shut-eye. The kids have taken to waking up by 5:30 every morning since getting over the initial jet lag. I keep my fingers crossed that maybe a bit of jet lag is still hanging on, but who am I kidding? Bahrain has made our kids early risers – maybe I can train them to bring us breakfast in bed. Speaking of breakfast, Cayden and Anya, unbeknownst to us, called room service at 5pm the other night and put in an order for two eggs, two hot chocolates, one coffee and a fruit platter. When Cayden told us, we laughed until he insisted that they really did call; sure enough, Josh had to call and cancel the order. Next thing we know, they’ll be ordering us dinner at 5:30 in the morning.

Halloween in Bahrain - a parade and funday at school and Spooktacular Bash
Walking into our new house
View from terrace, which we plan to use in these cooler months - anyone for a glass of wine at sunset?

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  1. Wow! Weather! Sounds like a very exciting, yet wet, morning. So happy you guys found a home. When does your stuff arrive? I know when my sister moved across the ocean, even when her things were “in port”, so still couldn’t take possession for some time. A guess it takes a couple days to unload all those containers.

    It’s wonderful that the kids are getting to know your dad better. And I’m very thankful that you at least know someone over there!

    Claire and I watched the documentary “Babies” yesterday. If you get a chance to watch it with Cayden and Anya, it’s great! It’s free right now on Netflix streaming (can you guys get that there?)

    Take care!

  2. I loved this post, especially the room service ordering by Cayden and Anya. Who would have thought that a 5 and 3 three year old would have ordered coffee…..so thoughtful they are!
    Love you guys so much. Looking forward to the moving in part of your journey.


  3. Wow!! The house looks amazing. Count me in for a glass of wine at sunset. I have been swimming frequently and using your old pass josh. Thanks! Sending love, Darcy

  4. Hi you four! Cayden….good call on the breakfast for dinner! My favorite! and a glass of wine on that terrace? you betcha! would love it…I know Sandy will enjoy that when she gets there in the winter/spring. Sure do miss you…so thank you for the posts and more pictures please…everyone give everyone big hugs all around from me…love you, M

  5. My freaking goodness, that house! I think we need to move to Bahrain. Matt can telecommute, and I’ll hire myself a maid and a driver. Also, Cayden’s room service order sounds excellent. 🙂

    1. Cayden has heard us one too many times! We look forward to moving into the house and be out of the hotel. I think you and Matt need to move, too : )

  6. You really ARE on a beautiful journey! I think you pay the price of some very difficult times with the weather, the bureaucracy, the teaching prep and the loneliness, but what you are gaining is priceless!! Hopefully some of the tediousness of your situation will fade as you get settled, and the magic will stay! Keep posting. You are both great writers, Josh is an amazing cinematographers, and the kids are just precious. More! More! We’re praying for you back here!

  7. Such a wondrous journey. The commentary, photos and video make it so very special. Enjoy your new home.