Thursday, February 5, 2009

Where to begin?

New experiences abound for the van der Meers...

First, Richard seems to be enjoying his job at the bank. Challenging, new, front-line - all the things he likes, so that is good. The work week here is Sunday to Thursday, and hours are generally 700 or 730am to 315 or 330pm. WHAT!? Yeah, so even though he's working in overdrive - as is expected when taking on a new management role - he can still usually manage to get home around 700pm, which is great for Isabelle and me.

Isabelle is just incredible. She never ceases to put me in awe. First of all, I have loved being at home with her, just us together. The only thing nicer is of course when daddy is home too. But it's been wonderful not having work compete with my precious time with her and we've been having such fun. She's going through another growth spurt and I swear she's heavier every time I pick her up. Her white blonde hair is getting thicker and her eye color continues to confuse us - brown? blue? grey? Whatever color, they're gorgeous and if we were to have to settle on a name for the color, it would have to be 'enchanted forest at dawn.' (Yea, yea, I'm her mom.) Anyway, she wants to crawl forward but keeps moon-scootching backward. Her conversations get so enthusiastic and are punctuated by her fits of giggling. There is officially no better music than that. And that smile. Oh that smile, has officially warmed hearts all over this world. I'm thinking of starting a Facebook page "Graced by Isabelle's smile." Too much? Okay. But I'm telling you, even the most stoic person can't help but smile back. She is the ultimate charmer.

We've delved into solids and she's on her second food, carrots; third if you count the back corner edges of her Donald Duck paperback which I'm pretty sure she ingested at least a month ago. Organic brown baby rice = big fan. Carrots = dry heaving. What! First of all, what kid doesn't like carrots? Second, I've never seen Isabelle heave until carrots. Sure , she does what we call the baby ninja barf, which is the expressionless barf that you don't see coming and doesn't seem to bother her. In fact, I wonder if she even notices it half the time. But when I fed her homemade, carrot puree she grimaced and started dry heaving. What does this mean for broccoli!?

We've been on an adventure every day we've been here so far. Most days we head out after her first nap to get Starbucks with our friend Jo, who is 6 months pregnant, married to Dutchman & happens to live next door to us in the Somerset, which is random & awesome. She & I actually met at the information map in the Villagio Mall en route to one of the expat coffee mornings and have been fast friends ever since. Thursdays we go to a Mummy & Me coffee morning & on Monday we start with a play group. I have rather mastered installing/uninstalling the carseat while Haroom - the trusty driver from India - holds Isabelle for me. Dragging the Bjorn, carseat, purse, diaper bag, & oh! Isabelle, is quite the sight. But once we get settled in the car we are good to go because I can pay Haroom by the hour, which is a win-win situation. He gets to nap and I get to leave the carseat in the car while Isabelle and I are off to do whatever. It's great. But really, every day is different. A few days we've headed out to look at houses in the West Bay Lagoon. Another day we went to Michelle's, the wife of Richard's colleague, to take a look at their compound. Other days head to City Center Mall for coffee and to pick up groceries, toys or whatever replacement item we discovered was erroneously packed away in the container. Isabelle gladly bundles up in the Bjorn and is happily shuttled around with me like a star. I really don't know what I would have done without such an easy, happy baby. I have to say, we've had it good so far.

I have been homesick on only two occassions. Once, I was in a shop and Sarah McLaughlin was playing and it made me miss Vanessa because we used to drink wine and listen to her back in the day. The other time was last night. I went to the souqs and then to dinner with a bunch of other expat women who were, on average, 15 years older than me. I didn't realize that at first, and I'm not sure it would have changed my mind about going...I'm just saying. I didn't really know them that well and at moments thoughout the night I longed for my friends. Second of all, they were impressed by the souqs and I wasn't (well, except for the gold souqs, which were pretty cool). The other souqs were more like the shops in China Town in New York, but not as good. So then I longed for New York. Lastly, no wine at dinner. I really like wine at dinner if I'm going for a night out. This made me long for America. In the grand scheme of things, I look at these as the growing pains to adjusting to a new world and they are honestly dwarfed by the bigger, overall experiences we are having here. So I try to keep that in mind. There was one lady, Dorina from Ireland, who is awesome. She made me laugh so hard I could cry and talks more than anyone I have ever met, but in a good way. She's probably about 50 or 60 and her children are grown. She and her family have always moved around the world so her stories were not only positive and funny, but actually loaded with good perspective on expat life. That and she said on no less than 3 separate occassions that she wants to baby-sit Isabelle.

Much to write about but I need to sign off for now. Take two on carrots for Isabelle!

PS. We packed the Canon cord to upload photos in the container. This is a major replacement item I'm having a hard time finding. I know you are in Isabelle withdraw, so check out this video of her stealing her boyfriend's, Lucas, pacifier.

Who we're dancing to this week: Garden State soundtrack

1 comment:

Heather said...

Kelley,
You are an amazing writer! I can almost picture you and Isabelle exploring your new city together. I think about you often & would love to call. What is the time change?
Heather