Exhausting immersion

Whilst immersion is the best way to learn a language, it’s full on! I am absolutely exhausted at the moment. We are in our last week of Arabic intensive and whilst I will miss it, I’m also sighing a breath of relief.  It wasn’t until yesterday that I found out I am learning in my one hour lesson per day the same that the Intro Arabic class does in six hours per week.  No wonder why I come away completely exhausted and for the last half of the lesson I stare at my teacher blankly because my brain has turned to mush.  It certainly hasn’t helped that Cami has been waking about 2-3 times a night and each night JJ or Max seem to make their way into our bed (in fact, last night we had both in bed with us!).  The thing is, I am too exhausted to train Cami to sleep through and retrain Max and J to sleep independently.

So, although we have worked out I’m exhausted, I have also discovered my love for tea with mint.  Tea with mint where have you been all my life?  It’s so refreshing and SO good!

We had the utter most privilege of having Miss Sarah stay with us last week.  We had fun (and feralness at times with the boys) exploring Jerusalem complete with a trip to the Dead Sea (also shared with Amy on Skype), camels and a quick trip through the Old City.  Sarah was also introduced to the ‘proper’ Middle Eastern Hommus which is divine, and my fav pastries (I’m still not sure how she managed to stop at one!).  We all loved having Sarah stay and were incredibly sad to have to send her on her way.  Thankfully, we have our next visitors coming tonight, our neighbours, Rod, Anne and Caleb.  Really looking forward to catching up with them.

I’m still loving driving in Jerusalem although I have gotten my first parking ticket (I think! It’s written in Hebrew so I only know how much I owe, not what the offense was, or even how to pay it.  Nice work guys!).  I think I’ll wait till they chase me up about that one.  I think i have a pretty good case to fight.

Max and J continue to settle in well.  Maxi is still making up all sorts of words and claims that they are indeed Arabic.  We are excited because J’s teacher is Palestinian so she speaks to J in Arabic which is perfect.  Max is also settling into school well.  It seems to be a perfect environment for Max.  Small and intimate with freedom for the spirited 🙂  James is asking for Nanny everyday (‘Nanny come to my house’ ) so one would say he is missing home and his Nanny.  Somedays I am okay with it, other days I just want to burst into tears whenever he asks.  It is a constant reminder of how much we all miss everyone.  Meanwhile, the boys are so happy in our mansion.  They have so much space to cruise around.  We are finding they are more independent in this place.

We got along to our local church (finally!) on the weekend.  We really liked it.  It’s in Arabic, but there is a translator so we have the best of both worlds.  We will go again on Sunday and see what we think.

Time to rest my mashed brain…

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It’s all happening!

I have been sent away with a G&T with the night off.  Thought this would be a great time to catch up on the world, take a moment to breathe and relax.

Our time is going along splendidly.  So much has happened since I last wrote, I don’t know where to start! Well, firstly, we have begun our intensive Arabic lessons.  I do one hour a day, Joel does four.  They certainly weren’t lying when they called it ‘intensive’, it’s full on! We have one to one tutoring at the moment.  Our teacher is a beautiful Palestinian girl about my age.  She is so friendly.  We have heaps of fun, heaps of laughs and heaps of chocolate.  In two sessions, my Arabic has already improved so I’m thrilled.  She has three children as well so seeing it’s school holidays, we are going to do some of our lessons at her place and some at ours next week which I’m really looking forward to.  I’ve had a chance to hear some of her story and to be honest, I just want to burst into tears when she talks about it.  Without going into my stance politically etc, it just totally guts me to hear how hard things are for not only her, but also her children.  Her children suffer horrific anxiety from having to cross constant check points which involve intense searches. It’s so unfair.  It also makes me realise just how fortunate I am with not only the opportunities my parents have given me so far, but the freedom we have in Australia.  Anyway, I’m still thinking and praying about it, but I may end up volunteering to help in a project my Arabic teacher is coordinating.

We are very much looking forward to our shipment arriving in a few days.  It’s been nice living simply, but the boys need a few toys to keep them entertained, they keep fighting from boredom. It is driving me crazy.

I’m driving on the road with the crazies.  I LOVE every drive I do in this country.  It’s so comical! There are constant beeps of the horn (the ‘excuse me’ horn, the ‘watch out!’ horn, the ‘I know the lights are red but hurry up anyway’ horn).  It makes me laugh every time.  The great thing about learning to drive on the other side of the road in this foreign place is if I do anything stupid, I feel right at home.  If I cut across four lanes of traffic at the last minute, that’s no problem at all, I feel right at home doing it, no one minds.  You might get an occasional ‘watch out!’ horn, but without the aggression that we can experience in Oz.  It’s really funny, I love it!

We will be heading along to a local church tomorrow for the Easter service which will hopefully be in English.  We were totally unorganised this year to get to the Easter events in the city, but next year we will.

In all, we are going well.  Joel has stopped work for one month to concentrate on Arabic which is cool.  It’s exciting for him to be able learn more Arabic, but so nice for us to have him around.  Joel is happy and settled here.  His work hours are heaps better, so he is normally around to hang out and help with the night routine…phew!  Maxi is doing well.  He has certainly regressed in toileting, but has really grown in maturity. He already has a couple of friends who are boys (hooray!), so they are playing at each others houses.  Max loves making up words and saying it’s Arabic. I have found a few foods that they can have, but mostly it’s been quite hard to stick to the diet making life a little tricky for us.  Jimbo is also doing well.  He keeps saying he is a big boy.  He is going to ‘school’ two days a week and loves playing with Zac. Cami is having a tough time.  In the last three weeks, two teeth have come through, he has learnt to sit and crawl independently and has an upper respiratory infection.  He wakes several times a night with complaints to the foods we eat or his teeth.  Having said this, he is so happy to be crawling.  He loves spending his time following Max and J around and especially climbing over Maxi’s train tracks (great!).  I’m doing well too.  I’m really happy here so far.  This change has been just what we all needed as a family and individually. It’s crappy to be so far away from loved ones, but so awesome to be having such a rich, new experience.  I’m happy!  It also helps that we have been told we are entitled to home help.  We have since hired a cleaner who also babysits for us.  I’m thrilled! It’s all working out perfectly.