Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Trip to Tunisia, so far

May 31, 2006


Ali has learned to get himself off the bed by putting his legs over the edge and then standing up.It helps that the bed is low to the ground and he can actually stand next to it, unlike our bed at home where it’s a drop of faith to get off the bed this way.
Leila is being charming- actually, she’s Cinderella right now, and is helping clean the house. She’s wearing the princess dress, crown and shoes, but doing the pre-princess chores. Her cousins are spoiling her- Ohm Mohammad takes her to the coffee shop in the morning, and she gets Coca Cola every day. Pepsi, she says, is bad for her bottom. (I tell her it’s bad for her BODY, and she transposes it.)
I’ve now been to a dentist in five countries on four continents. And this is my third root canal in my third country. It makes it more interesting to have the root canal in a new place where you don’t speak the language. Luckily I have H to translate, and I’ve figured out how to explain whether it hurts a lot or just a little. This one has hurt more than any of the others.
Leila’s biggest issue has been that everyone touches her hair when they meet her, and she HATES having her ‘pony-pony’ touched. She’ll start screaming and crying. I have to fix it while trying to explain why she’s crying and that they shouldn’t touch her hair. We’re working on saying politely- “Please don’t touch my hair,” but in the heat of the moment she can’t do it. She’s actually very good at saying hello and kissing everyone. When we arrived at Mohammed and Asia’s she was thrilled to see everyone. I think she must have some memory of them. While we were staying with H’s other brother, who has a two story house, she told me Ohm Mohammed’s house didn’t have stairs. Then, the first morning he took her to Faisal’s for coffee, she told him she remembered the place. That and her reaction to these cousins makes me wonder. Of course, she talks to them on the internet sometimes. I’m just glad she is having such a good time with them. I am too.
I’m way behind on my blogging. I have notes about things to blog back at the office.
Let’s see if I can remember some, or just remember others that I need to write about.
Ali isn’t progressing much on the walking front. He can stand up and balance for a few seconds, and he’ll walk around holding onto someone’s hands. He’ll also move around the living room holding onto the couch. He loves dogs and barks when you mention them. His cousins take him outside to look at theirs. He’s also been able to identify Charlie, the cat, with meowing. So I guess we can say his first words are ‘dog’ and ‘cat’ (cat was really first.) Not that he actually says those words, but he has a recognizable symbol for them. He’s very imperial, pointing to get what he wants. He’ll also ‘talk’ on the telephone or just in reply to other’s talking. Arwa said she was yelling up the stairs to her daughter the other day and he imitated her.
Leila has grown so much since last year. Her vocabulary is huge. I wish she spoke more Arabic but people here are inclined to speak English to her even though I requested that they don’t. She’ll speak English back. Yesterday she was playing with Tante Asia’s nephew and he spoke Arabic to her, so she tried to speak it back.
I’m finishing up my online class now, but I’m having trouble logging into the work email today. My poor students can’t reach me, that means. I have a lot of work to do while I’m here, but I’m sure I’ll get some time to play. We’ve already been to the beach once. Ali and Leila didn’t like the water as it is somewhat cold. This is earlier than we’ve visited Tunisia before. Lunch is very late today, but that means it’ll taste extra good.
When we first got here, our sleep schedules were all off. While the kids have still been going to bed very late, we’re not sleeping in until noon anymore.

1 comment:

Julie said...

It's so good to hear a bit from your bunch--we all miss you and think of you often. So sorry to hear about the root canal--maybe you canwrite a paper about the different cultural approaches to pain.:)
I bet Ali will be walking like crazy by the time we see him again. No more baby. Give Leila hugs and tell her we miss her lots.
We are starting the orange ozone days over 90 degrees, so I am bummed. Trying to make myself get up at 6:00 or so so I'll have some time to garden before it's miserable, but bed always seems like a nice place to be in the mornings at 6:00. I'm not sure that any of my three summer classes will make. A slight chance for one and a medium chance for another, though. I guess we'll know in a few days and go from there. Paul starts another research study in a few weeks, but it doesn't involve many overnight stays. Brianna starts piano again tomorrow and swimming lessons in mid-July.
We're doing a girls-only henna-braiding-food-and -blessing thing for Dawn's birthday Tuesday night. I wish you could be here.
Enjoy being there though!