blonde ambition: part deux

Several weeks later I was ready to give the salon another try. They told me they would indeed fix my hair and give me the blonde hair I wanted.Great as long as it’s not red or green I’m fine. Let’s do it. It’s hard to say no to free. Though in the end they did charge me for root touch-up. So it was not entirely free, but what is? Anyway…

So back to the salon. I had a new stylist named Aswhin. He and his assistants don’t chat with me this time very much only a little small talk. And by the way, small talk doesn’t seem to be big here, but that could just be because it’s me, I still haven’t figured that out yet. All I know is that I have four guys putting creams and foils in my hair and by the time they are done I look frightful. Thirty-five minutes later they take me to a chair and I lay my head back into the sink. If you’ve ever done this before at a salon you know that the basin is hard and laying your head back on it for too long is not advised. I did if for about twenty minutes as two sets of hands pulled and rubbed something terrible smelling into my hair. For about five minutes I enjoyed it, the rest was, well, painful.

Finally, I sat up and got my first glimpse and I could tell from the roots it was a little orange. Hum. Maybe it was my eyes deceiving me since I had been laying backwards for so long and I have had problems with vertigo lately. Then I sat back down into my chair and sure enough it was strawberry-blonde, not ash blonde. I looked like a redhead. A light redhead. Red. A color I like when it’s natural. But I don’t like it on me so much.

As they dried my hair and I examined it they enthusiastically asked me how I liked my blonde hair. It’s great I said because I didn’t have the heart to tell them it still wasn’t right. To them it was blonde and honestly they probably see so little of it there they have one category for blonde and now I’m in it.

I still don’t know what I think about it. Really given the state of affairs around the world, it seems fairly shallow to be dwelling on my hair color so much. But it so strange to look in the mirror now, it’s like I’m not looking at me and I feel like I’ve betrayed the fraternity of brunettes. Who is this sallow-looking, fair haired woman looking back at me? Have you ever made a change so drastic to your appearance that you didn’t feel like you anymore?

Today I went from being and Fall/Winter to a Summer/Spring. Adjustments will have to be made to my make up and clothes of course. Perhaps and opportunity to shop? Anyway, I suppose we’ll see how it goes as I become even more conspicuous here.

an anniversary of sorts

One year ago we left the States and began our journey to the other side of the world. After many long hours and three different planes we arrived just in time for the torrential downpour that would be right on our heels. It was hot and humid beyond belief. I remember flooded streets and flooded taxi cabs (we literally held our feet up in the car to keep them dry). I remember clutching hold of our children as we would walk wide-eyed around the city, around malls, and our neighborhood. Everything was so real and so different and I was struggling to keep up with all the processing that was going on in my mind.

Today, well today and this week has not gone so well, but at least I can say that lately I have been more comfortable in our adopted country. This week has unfortunately been about sick kids, a whole lot of television watching (because the kids are sick and need to rest) and feeling the twinges of homesickness as my heart longs for family, friends and fun times. Not that we don’t have fun here. We do, sometimes. It’s just not as frequent as it used to be and I do desire to laugh a little more than I do at present.

I like to think I’ve come a long way from our first days here. I still have a way to go. One way I’ve grown is that I am less shocked by things that I see as we drive around–I sort of expect the unexpected if you know what I mean. Something I do know, there is a reason I am here and I am curious to see where little ole me fits into the big picture. Well, anyway, I now have a year of living abroad under my belt. I’m just delighted to say I made it in one piece. Now, on to round two!

more rambles, so it seems

We had our landlord over for dinner last night for the first time since we moved in last September. I confess I had been a little bit hesitant to have him over for a meal because I know what we like and I feel comfortable enough cooking for Americans, but I get a little nervous cooking for people from other cultures. Typically, I try to keep things really simple in such cases and stick to what I do best. I wish I could say my family had gourmet tastes, but we simply don’t, which probably works out well since getting gourmet ingredients here would require a great deal more effort and money since those things tend to be imported and pricey.

It turns out he and his son seemed pleased with a simple meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade yeast rolls (they were the best) and fresh veggies. Simple, but always tasty in my opinion. I had made a chocolate pie, but he surprised us with dessert (chocolate truffle cake) which just meant more pie for us to tear into tonight!

Anyway, we were talking about writing because he himself is a writer. He writes books about economics and business and his son is also an aspiring fiction writer. I shared that lately I have been having a hard time getting back into the swing of writing after a few schedule disruptions last week and before that a week of utter fatigue. It seemed like I was gaining momentum, then wham! No more drive, just tiredness. Even writing one paragraph was monumental work. Then I freaked out thinking perhaps I just didn’t want it badly enough. Surely all writer’s worth their salt can push through the pain of fatigue and manage to get something intelligible down on the page?

Negative thinking. Ah. When will I be done with you? Will I feel more accomplished when I have something in print with my name on the cover? How about two novels? Three? Probably not. But sometimes that is the false hope I am sorry to say.

Anyway, as we talked a bit more I realized that writing, just like life, is not always the same. Some days, weeks, months are just more conducive to creativity and production than others–you just feel like writing. It flows from a place you can’t articulate. Sometimes I simply need to push myself more when the desire is just not there and I sense I’m being a bit lazy and wasteful with my time. And sometimes I think I just need to listen to my mind and let it rest. Maybe it’s working on something I can’t understand yet–like soil that is resting for something greater. However, discerning which season I’m in is a challenge. With three kids I could always say that I’m tired–just ask my husband. But  I’m a happier housewife when I write. So I’m getting back at it and hoping that the inspiration will flare up again and I can finish this rough draft next month.

So if you think of it cheer me on towards an end-of-August deadline… and as always, thanks for reading my rambles and thoughts.

the glamour of motherhood

Today has not gone as planned, but it is not today’s fault–it’s yesterday’s.

Yesterday, we accepted an invitation from a neighbor to go to a birthday party that was going to be at a local restaurant. Here, folks are completely fine taking their little ones and dropping them off, but we haven’t reached that level of comfort yet, so we stayed to offer parental guidance to our kids who are seven and under. We arrived on time, which is about twenty minutes early here and have decided it might be time to start being technically late, but really on time, though it goes against every polite bone in my body.

The party itself was normal: loud, chaotic and full of sugar. Two of our children were actually licking cake off of table tops–which probably contributed to today. The kids put their hands on every surface they could and despite my best efforts to make frequent use of my trusty bottle of anti-bacterial gel, today one has a fever and another came into our room this morning with her eyes sealed shut: pinkeye. And she’s the one that’s the absolute worst to have this because  she touches her eyes constantly. I have washed my hands fifty times and it’s only two in the afternoon. Ugh.

So today I got up at 5:30 am and since then we have watched five movies. Or at least the kids have. My job has been to keep the three-year old still so she doesn’t pass around her germs. Thus far I have endured a Barbie movie, Rudolph, Frog and Toad, Veggies, and the Justice League. It’s a bit problematic having a girl and boy sick at the same time–compromise is key in movie selection, but I must say Barbie was as tough for me to watch as it was my son.

What’s also a bit tough, and I know many moms will agree with me on this, is being left behind. Why does it always seem like kids get sick when there’s something planned that would be the least bit of fun to do? Like today–church then lunch with friends. Daddy gets to go ahead (because he can drive here and I refuse to) and takes the healthy child with him. But mom stays home. I’m not bitter about this, it’s just a reality in the world of motherhood. It is probably also a reality that the healthy child will return from Sunday school with some other type of malaise to add to our mix. If you’ve been around church nurseries you know it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

And while I’m bummed I couldn’t go to a new place to eat in the city with friends, I have to say I wouldn’t have it any other way. Babies need their mommies when they are sick if it is at all possible. So I’ll eat my Ramen noodles and continue to wipe out goopy eyes and take underarm temperatures.

I think it might be prudent to pretend to be sick myself the next time we get invited to a birthday party.

rambles

I’m not really sure where this post will go, but I want to get back to blogging, to writing and being more intentional with my time in the future, which means today. So here’s a warning: this post will probably be more like a rambling walk through my thoughts of present.

Recently, as in yesterday, I decided to go on a self-imposed hiatus from Facebook. I know, it seems silly that I can’t hold myself accountable enough to make better use of my time. But Facebook has such a draw, doesn’t it? You can quite innocently go there catch up with what’s going on with friends without ever talking to them at all. Five minutes of browsing quickly becomes thirty minutes, then an hour wasted. I had such a hard time not clicking on the FB icon on my browser’s toolbar. When I did I would then spend mindless minutes browsing through other people’s lives instead of investing in my own.

I decided to choose a few blogs that I would read (subscribe to) and stick with that for the time being. July  just seems like a good time for fresh starts and new beginnings. Don’t you agree?

One change that I am becoming more aware of is the fact that I am so much more at ease now in my adopted culture. I might even find myself longing for the crowded streets of, well, everywhere here, over the very easy and scenic driving we do back home where it is mostly landscape and houses, not people and cows everywhere. I said might. We’ll see next year how my opinion of that shapes up when I’m finally behind the wheel again.

Well, enough rambling now and back to work while I have a quiet house.

on gratefulness and writing

Recently I have started yet another blog–I know, I seem to have this innate desire to be heard lately– in any case, it is a blog about being grateful. I’m on day nine (today) and I have to report that I have seen a big difference in my attitude and outlook in the past week. Which is a very big step for me if you’ve kept up with some of my past entries.

It’s funny that I have to remind myself to be grateful–it’s not natural for me at all–perhaps some of you can relate. My hope is that by forcing myself to be grateful for the next year it will become habitual and I won’t have to remind myself to give thanks not only for the good things, but also for the things that help me grow–you know, the things that stretch me and are painful. I’m still focusing on the good things for right now… I haven’t gotten to the place where I can honestly give thanks for all of the challenges of life. With God’s grace, I hope to get there.

The writing is coming along, though more slowly than I’d like. In truth I’d love to shut myself off for many hours a day and just write–that’s a good sign. It’s just not practical. I’m not sure why I decided that it was a good idea to jump full into writing while I have three young kids instead of waiting five years when they are more self-sufficient and I have more time (insert sarcastic laugh). My husband always jokes about our first two years of marriage when I felt overwhelmed and I wasn’t working and didn’t have kids. I’m sure there was a very valid reason I felt overwhelmed, though right now I can’t imagine what it could have been! Perhaps when you are young (or in your twenties) you can’t imagine there not being enough time. The thirties have been nice because I’ve begun to understand how quickly time passes and how frail life can be. At least that’s been my experience. And now I’m going off on a tangent–so that probably means I need to sign off and say goodbye for now.

freedom

I’m a little homesick today because I love this holiday. It’s Independence day and our families and friends back home will be hitting the pool, beach, river, what-have-you, and grilling out. There will be rich desserts and cold lemonade. Laughter and sparklers. Last year that’s what we did all weekend–good times.

Tonight we will be going to someone’s house to grill out, though. It sort of happened last minute as we just met some folks from our home country and they invited us over and it reminds me that God’s grace and provision are all around me.

It has almost been one year now since we made the big move overseas. There have been good days and bad days and a bunch in between. I am constantly thinking and analyzing my life and emotions. Oh how I wish I could have my husbands approach sometimes–nothing seems to phase him in the least. I am still in a constant state of wonder at some of the things I see and experience. Maybe that’s good. But sometimes it just makes me tired.

Anyway, it’s a day for celebrating freedom–so I will. In both a patriotic sense and spiritual sense I am free and that is worth more than all the grilled hamburgers and fireworks in the world.