Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day Thirty Six

 I just got this email update from the seventh grade Amazon field trip:

'After our two preparation meetings yesterday, we left the hotel for the forest around 15:30.  As we walked towards our camp our guides (called the Jaguars) taught us how to trap animals and to direct ourselves using the sun or small rivers in the forest.  Then after 2 hours of walking through the heat and humidity, we arrived at our camp.   
At the camp, each student went to see his or her hammock and then our guides taught us what fruits from the Amazon forest are eatable.  We ate many fruits and among them were maracuja, castanha do Pará,and many other that I can't write or even pronounce because they are words from the Tupi Guarani language.  We ate fruits rich in vitamin C and other vitamins and also rich in fiber.  
We came back to our meeting place at the camp and our guides taught us how to make fire with gun powder and Bom Brill and batteries.  After that we ate chicken, beef with farinha and fruits.  Our plates were leaves of Palmeiras and we ate with our hands.  We then reflected on our journey so far in the Amazon and then went to sleep in our hammock in the middle of the forest.
We woke this morning with the sunrise at 5:30am and came straight to the hotel where students took showers and are enjoying a little bit of free time.  We will go fishing for Piranha soon and this afternoon we will visit a native family from the Amazon. Tonight we will go with canoes to see the alligators in the river.'

Fishing for piranha and going in canoes to see the alligators in the river.   Learning to make fire with gun powder and batteries.  Sounds effing awesome!

I still have zero desire to do any of that stuff, except for the eating part, but, you know, with utensils and plates and a glass of wine and not in the jungle.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day Thirty Five

Today my baby boy swam with pink dolphins and swam in the Amazon river, and is currently on a two-hour hike into the jungle where he will sleep OUTSIDE in a hammock.  I'm writing this from inside my 500 thread count sheets and I can honestly say I'm not jealous in the least.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day Thirty Four

Henry left for a week in the Amazon with his class this morning.  Jack is leaving for São Paulo later this week for Model UN, and then it will be just the ladies.  Field trips in the Foreign Service are definitely no trip to the waste treatment plant like they were back in my day.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day Thirty-Two

Yesterday was dumb.  I only had to run in to work to hit 'publish' on the embassy newsletter and then I was done for the day.  I threw on my frayed jeans, flip flops, and a tank top. My office is separate from the main embassy building, and right by the parking lot, so I was confident I wouldn't even be seen.  As soon as I was settled in I got a call at my desk. "Hi Kate, can you come up to the front office to interview the new Ambassador for the newsletter in about an hour?"  I looked down at my classy outfit.  "Of course, I would love to!"  Fortunately, I live 25 minutes from the embassy, so I rushed home and changed, forming questions in my head as I drove.  The new Ambassador was so easy to talk to that the interview itself was a piece of cake.

Last night was the elementary school talent show.  All I'm going to say is that it was 745 hours long.  I brought the girls, because several of their friends were performing and they begged to go.  As soon as we got there, Grace headed off with her posse of girls and boys and they spent the night laughing and moving around the auditorium.  Olivia refused to leave my side all night.  "Don't you want to go hang out with your friends?" I kept asking.

"No, I'm fine right here."

Fifth graders kept coming up to Olivia and asking her to join them, but she refused.  Finally her very good friend came and sat down on the other side of her.  "Olivia, why aren't you hanging out with us?"

And now for your daily sad:

Olivia whispered to her friend, glancing my way to make sure I couldn't hear (I could), "I don't want my mom to be lonely because my dad isn't here with her."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day Thirty

Day thirty! That's a month. The longest we've gone being apart before this is a week, so yay, us. I've been sick this week, but as usual the kids have rallied and helped a lot around the house. The big news is that last night I finally slept through the night, seven straight hours (drug free, I might add). That is all.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day Twenty Four

I usually wake up several times a night and check my messages.  Mitch knows I'm a little psycho about the danger he's in every day, and he's very good about leaving me frequent updates so I know he's okay, then I usually can go back to sleep.  My 3:45 am message was this:

"All is well here. Consulate Herat is being evacuated to Kabul. No Americans were harmed. 2 Afghan consulate security and 1 police were killed. Undetermined number of Taliban were all killed. (All of them). I'm fine. No activity here."

Today is not one of the days I was able to go back to sleep. I turned on the news and hit the internet. After I read everything I could about the attack on the US Consulate in Herat this morning, I spent the next few hours lying wide awake in bed with my thoughts. Is bringing diplomacy to parts of the world where your life is constantly on t he line worth it? Is there any Xanax in the house? Did I remember to bring the dog in last night? What if Kabul is next? What if they go for a 'soft target' and hit Brasilia? Will the gardener get the hint of a bucket and sponge left by my car and wash it for me before I go to work? I need to remember to pick up lightbulbs at the commissary. Why hasn't Mitch called me so I can hear his voice? Why is level 29 in Candy Crush so flipping unbeatable? Did we make the biggest mistake of our lives?

Finally, the alarm went off and I tried to pull my shit together to wake up the kids. I had to tell them what had happened and reassure them that all was okay, that their Dad wasn't even involved. As tempting as it is to pretend nothing happened, I know that they go to a school full of diplomat kids, all of whom know their dad is in Afghanistan, and chances were high that they would hear of a "US attack in Afghanistan". Also, I had to do it without bursting into tears. I put on my big girl panties and was casual and quick about it. And they were fine. Mitch finally called, and everyone got to talk to him before the bus arrived. The gardener showed up and he did get the hint about washing the car.

I am doing okay. Turns out, there was Xanax in the house.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day Twenty One

It's been mostly crappy.  On Friday our embassy was the scene of a protest of several hundred people. They threw paint bombs and spray painted anti-American slogans on our exterior wall.  Arrests were made, and everything ended peacefully. This sort of thing has never happened while we've been here. I left work as soon as I heard the protesters were headed our way.  Mitch and I always had a rule that one of us is outside the embassy during any kind of protest in case we get locked in and can't leave.  Somebody has to be home to open those boxes of cereal for the kids. I should add that I definitely feel safe here, I just didn't want to be locked in without mah baybees.

The time difference between Kabul and Brasilia is 7.5 hours, so it's hard to find time to talk to each other.  Mitch is working 13 days on, one day off, and living in a box smaller than my master bathroom.  So, obviously, I can't complain to him when I can't answer the phone before the machine picks up because the house is so big.

Still, I'm doing okay.  The kids and I have slipped into a routine that works for us.  I've quit buying/preparing meat, and no one's really noticed that we're vegetarians now.  I think they're just surprised that I'm still cooking meals every night. And I've been working on the same bottle of wine for a week now.  It's more like salad dressing than wine at this point.  I'm considering opening a new bottle tonight, though, to celebrate making it through three weeks apart.  Only forty nine to go!

Today is 3.5 stars out of 5, because my hair didn't do that half-curly thing it always does.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day Seventeen

Today was a reasonably good day.  I went out to lunch with the girls from the office, the kids had a half day of school, and Mitch sent me an iPad, which arrived in the DPO this afternoon.  Pretty sure it's just so he can Facetime with my boobs, but I'll take what I can get.  I wrote about porn on my work blog and didn't get fired, so almost nothing bad happened.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day Sixteen

Today was a fail.  Henry broke his retainer and his orthodontist is no longer practicing, so I have to find a new one who, a) speaks English, and b) has parking.  I guess if he/she is a good orthodontist with credentials that would be on my list, too, but it's not nearly as important as the English and parking.

I woke everyone up at the usual time, 6:30 am, for a bus pick-up time of 7:20.  I packed lunches and then hopped in the shower.  At 7:10, I started counting heads and telling the kids to get their shoes on--the bus company hates it when we are late.

"Where's Olivia?"  No one had seen her (okay, this house is way bigger and more compartmentalized than our other one).  Luckily, we found her.  Still sound asleep in her bed.

Womp womp.

2 out of 5 stars today.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day Fifteen

Sick day. Reading while all of our windows get covered in bars.

Now I can't be rescued from my tower.

Also, I worked from home today due to sick kids.  It's hard, working from home, what with all the interruptions and whatnot.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day Twelve

I finally got to see my man's face and talk to him with my mouth instead of my fingers after twelve days today.  I didn't hear any gunfire in the background, which is kind of how I imagined it would be, because I've seen how it is on TV.  Related: don't watch Homeland if you can't sleep because your husband is in Afghanistan when he should be snoring next to you, especially a Homeland marathon. I just learned that.

Yesterday the girls went to another set of twin girls' house for a sleepover.  Around nine o'clock I got a call from Olivia.  "Mom, I need to be at home."  I hopped in the car and picked her up. Nothing happened, but she has been sticking to me like glue since Mitch left, and just didn't want to sleep anywhere but her own bed.  We went grocery shopping on the way home, because who takes their kids grocery shopping at 9:30 on a Saturday night?  Single moms, that's who.  Grace stayed at the sleepover and was fine.  In the morning, Olivia tried to FaceTime with Mitch, but her iPod was not linking to his iPad and she burst into tears.  Finally, Jack fixed the problem and she spent most of the morning FaceTiming with him.  I LOVE YOU, APPLE.

While I was off grocery shopping with Olivia, Jack invited five friends over for a card night.  I told him it was fine.  We actually prefer him to have kids at our house than have him off in a cab to some party, and even though we now live in a gated compound full of little kids, I figured some teenagers playing cards would be no problem at all.  They were just arriving when Olivia and I went to bed around 10:30, because: Brazil.  Around midnight, I woke to a full-blown party with a ton of kids in my yard.  Jack was all, "I can't get anyone to leave.  They all just showed up! I didn't invite them!"  Now, Jack's parties have gotten a little out of control with the noise before, but that was when we lived in a party neighborhood and no one cared.  Mitch and I would just put in earplugs and try to bear it, occasionally sneaking peeks out the window to make sure everyone was behaving. I even read him the riot act about our new neighborhood before I agreed to a card night.  Alas, something had to be done before my neighbors showed up at my door with pitchforks, so I had to kick all the kids out in my pajamas and no bra on.  HAHAHAHA!  Sorry, Jack.

Anyway, back to today.   My neighbor and bestie from a block over walked Henry home from his sleepover at her house with her family and two dogs just when I was making a huge batch of strawberry waffles.  She washed my dishes while I made waffles for everyone and her husband put together a shelf and our gas grill for me.  It really made my cold, black heart kind of warm.  They also showed me how to use the tivo thingie on our tv (which is all in portuguese) and I didn't even have to watch porn while they set it up.

I give today 4 out of 5 stars because I still got about six hours of sleep after I busted up the party with my jiggly old boobs, I unpacked almost all my boxes, and I love my new neighborhood, even if they all hate me after last night.