Saturday, July 2, 2011

Packin' It In

Well, this is it.  I'm getting ready to head home.  Today, my nest does not seem so empty.  Emily, my youngest fledgling has graciously flown in to spend with me the last three weeks of my adventure.  Doug went home to work (thank you for the work, God!) about four weeks ago. 

I spent one whole lonely weekend all by myself before I decided to coerce Emster into sacrificing some of her summer to hang with her Mama.  Actually, I think she is quite determined to pack me up and triumphantly bring me home!  I'm pretty certain she won't even let me stop by any casinos on my journey from the airport to home. Sigh, I miss my casino. 

So, how does it feel? It feels good to know that I have survived this year and that I am finishing with my integrity and self-esteem intact. I am leaving with a very warm feeling towards the Arab friends and colleagues I have met this year. This climate and this culture will always own a piece of my heart.  I have made friends with people from all over my country and all over the world.  I am certain that I will continue to stay in contact with some people for the rest of my life. Our Pool Posse group is already cooking up future get-togethers.  I'm certain a pool will be included in that venue somewhere.

This week is going to be quite busy for me.  I need to chase down paperwork in order to be able to leave.  I've got to pack up my villa and my classroom and condense all of my belongings I have acquired over the course of a year, into four suitcases.  I came to this country with two suitcases, and I'm going home with Emily and four suitcases.  For those of you that know me, I mean REALLY KNOW ME, you will understand what a big deal it is for me to return home with only four suitcases, one of which will belong solely to Emily. This could be the greatest challenge I have faced this year... or, maybe not.

People have asked me, "What will you  miss from here?"  Well, I am certainly going to miss the shopping carts.  They have the coolest shopping carts ever, here.  All four wheels turn, so that I can literally make my shopping cart glide sideways!  How cool is that?  We very rarely ever have a disagreeable shopping cart with wheels that have a mind of their own. The other super cool thing I'm going to miss is the travelators.  The travelators actually accommodate the shoppers and the really cool shopping carts.  The loaded carts going up and down the travelators don't move at all  even tilted at an angle.  I still have not figured out that enigma.  I think it is better if I just let that remain a part of the Arabian mystique.

I am also going to very much miss the spray hoses next to the toilets.  Those things work really well when one is splashing about with a toilet brush to clean a toilet, and since I have three toilets in my villa, that became important to me.  Many people here don't appreciate the usefulness of the sprayer in that regard, because they have maids, but not me, mafi maid for me.  I will never forget, after living in a hotel for 98 days, the first time I went to wash dishes at my villa.  I was confronted with a tiny little camper size sink and NO SPRAYER!  "What's with this?"  I thought to myself, " This country has sprayers everywhere except in the kitchen sink."  Sigh. 

And, people have asked me what I will do when I get home.  What do I miss the most?  Ice cream!  The ice cream has a different flavor and/or texture here.  Maybe it's not as creamy, I don't know, I just know it's different. Not that I particularly need to check out the ice cream at home, but it will be good to know it's there if I so desire.

And, of course,  I miss my Ella.  Little Ella, Grandma cannot wait to hold you and hug you and plant one big smushy smooch on your little chubby cheeks.  I only pray that I will be able to peel you away from your Momma.  I have watched you from afar, cuddle and snuggle with your Momma.  I am so envious.  I want to be home to earn those baby hugs and looks of love and adoration I see on your little baby face.  Soon, I will be home soon.

I miss my goofy dog, Rufus.  I want to ruffle his hair about his thick neck and toss his Frisbee for him, but only a little bit, the Frisbee tossing bit, he just really never knows when to quit.  I want to sit on my couch with my Sweetie dog, with her heavy half-Dane head on my lap, while she tries to inch her whole self onto my lap.  She grew up sitting on my lap when I was going through chemo for breast cancer ten years ago.  We never really convinced her she wasn't a lap dog.  I want to go to bed with my bedtime ritual of going into the master bath, taking care of my nightly ablutions, settling myself into the familiar comfort of my bed tucking myself in, letting out a sigh, finding my place in my book, only then to hear, "meow" at my closed door.  Of course, Little Kitty will have decided that is the perfect time to grace us with her presence.  After that, I won't notice her until I decide to have a hot flash and bare my toes from beneath the covers only to be smartly bitten on my big toe.  Aah, home sweet home.

I miss my horse.  I cannot wait to get home and play with my horses.  I miss brushing them, and scratching their ears for them, and watching their eyes roll back in their heads because it..., and I so, so, so much miss their scent.  I wish I could bottle equine smell. I would use it as an air freshener.  I miss their horsey breath exhaled against my neck and their softy-rubbery lipped nibbles and fuzzy nosed kisses, and their impatient stomps and snorts and the swishing of their tails swatting flies.  I miss their munching and crunching as their teeth grind grass and grain.  At this point, I even miss their slurpy drool after long, long gulps of water.  And I miss their mass and their strength and their solidity.  When I lean against their sides, when I wrap my arms around their necks and they lay their bony jaws against my back, I feel grounded.  Once I do that, I will feel like I have come home.

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