Friday, December 30, 2005

This is me

Wondering what in the world an American woman is doing living in Iran?

You might be surprised to find out that there are many women from all over the west living here. Some have been here for decades.

Me, I've only been here for about 4 months but this is the third time I've come. I first came about 8 years ago not long after I got married. We stayed for 7 months but decided to head back to the States so that I could finish school. Three pregnancies delayed my re-entry into the world of academia and the forth played havoc with my finishing. (I found out I was pregnant again with only 7 classes left to take. I stayed on full-time the first semester but reduced the number of classes I was taking from 6 to 4 because of fatigue and all day morning sickness. I took 2 finals just about a week after delivery and finished my last class before my son was 2 months old.) But finish I did. (with Honors I might add)

We had talked about coming back to Iran and after I finished school it seemed like the best time. My father-in-law has had several health problems and he continues to deteriorate and my mother-in-law's health seems to be declining as well. I wanted our kids to have a chance to really get to know at least one set of their grandparents. My parents have been largely absent from their lives. My dad hasn't seen my oldest two since my 7 year old's 2nd birthday. My mom has been slightly better but only because we've gone to see her. (Dad was too far away for us to travel to on a limited budget with small children.) It reminds me very much of the limited contact I had with my dad's parents. Grandma died when I was little more than a toddler and Grandpa did when I was somewhere around 5-7, but I only remember spending any time with him twice and seeing him once in the hospital right before he died. On the other hand, I grew up in close contact with my mom's family, including spending several summers with them. I wanted to give our kids that kind of connection.

Also, I want our kids to be fluent in both English and Farsi. I've spent the last 2 years working on a degree in Linguistics and learned that my son was getting very near the end of "the window of opportunity" for achieving full native fluency.

So, combine my in-laws declining health, our desire that the kids learn both languages and our original intent to return to Iran and here we are. For having only been here 4 months, we're all doing surprisingly well. The two oldest have really excelled in picking up the language, in large part because they are in school. (This goes against my homeschooling beliefs but I know that, at least for now, it's necessary since my Farsi isn't strong enough help them achieve fluency.) We're all having to make adjustments to how things function here, basically just because it's a different set-up than we're used to, so it takes time to figure things out.

Also, I have chosen not to drive here because the driving is just so crazy while I tend to be a very "by the book" kind of driver so I know I'd be way to nervous to drive with four kids in the car. Because of this, hubby has had to take on the role of errand-runner and kid transporter that I used to hold. We'll see how long I can hold out for with not driving since for me it feels very restricting sometimes since, even with kids, I'm so used to jumping in the car whenever I need to take care of business or just get out for a bit. They have lots of taxis and buses here but I'm not quite brave enough to take them with a preschooler and a toddler in tow although I used to take the bus all the time 8 years ago before kids.

It's almost 2 a.m. and I still have laundry to fold and school clothes to iron for tomorrow. Yippy! Oh, well. That's what I get for playing on the computer so long.

Message in a bottle

Writing a blog seems very much like sending out a message in a bottle. Or perhaps like tying a note to a balloon hoping that where ever it lands, someone will care enough to read it and maybe even reply. We use to do this at school when I was a kid. You tie some kind of note and contact info to the string, let it go and wait. Waiting for a kid is so very hard. Your expectations are so high and you hope each and every day for a reply. But the fact is that very few of the balloons we ever released at school ever received a reply. So it must be for posting blogs. The chances are one in several million that anyone will ever care to even take a peek at what you've written yet millions of people post every day.

Oh, well. Still I'll hope and send my balloons up into the air, cross my fingers and wait.