Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bonne Ramadan is the first day of Ramadan and I feel a little let down by the whole thing. I mean for the past 6 months all things have revolved around the impending holiday season of Ramadan. Things in my life as well, for as soon as Ramadan is over, we are so almost there with the babies. But on to the disappointment stuff...

All talk of vacations, visits, the summer, the really good stuff that my life generally revolves around has, itself, revolved around Ramadan this year. So any good Muslim would never show disappointment or anger or the, you know, "why the hell does my summer vacation have to be interrupted by Ramadan" attitude. So everyone has been all positive and accepting and totally zen about Ramadan coming, for the past 6 months.

In the recent weeks leading up to Ramadan there has been a general excitement over the food that will be eaten every night and the dinners that we will all attend and that kind of thing. I think it is an example of psychologically psyching yourself up for something on a national level. It is good, it makes sense, I mean who wants to listen to whining and resentment and agony over something that will be happening regardless.

So in all of this getting 'pumped' for Ramadan, I have gotten a little swept away in the excitement as well. I also managed to get myself right slab in the middle of a river of nervous anticipation about when Ramadan actually begins. Everyday for the past two weeks I have been asking everyone that mentions Ramadan, if we know yet, if the moon has been spotted yet, how will we know, who will announce it, how will the people that don't have TVs know it is, in fact, Ramadan, and Aren't you worried about it, how can you just sit there calmly and not FREAK OUT about EXACTLY when the first day of your month of fasting begins?!?!?!

In my questioning, I was told the following things:
there will be loud speakers that announce Ramadan all over the country
it will be announced from all the mosques
the king will announce it
there will be a procession of men that come through my neighborhood with trumpets and horns (people generallly do the obligatory gesturing and bemmp bemmmp bemmmp sound mimicking a horn for me at this point)
these same men will come back to wake everyone up at 4:00am and remind everyone to eat before sunrise

So, Ramadan began today and do you know how much of that happened???? NONE OF IT! That's right, the only reason we even knew Ramadan was beginning, was because Youssef got a phone call from one of sisters. I was all, noooo, that can't be it, how does SHE know? Where are the guys with HORNS? Where are the LOUD speakers? I don't believe it's Ramadan tomorrow, I don't think YOU really know what is going on with this whole Ramadan thing YOUSSEF...

So we turn on the telly, search for a Moroccan news channel and sure enough, it's Ramadan...just like that. I think the highlight of the moment was a visiting uncle from the states blurting out, "yep it's Ramadan, manyana no comida".

Totally anti-climatic!!! I am still upset about it and I am not even fasting, I would be PISSED if I were actually fasting.

In fact I even ran to the windows a couple of times thinking it was the horn guys or singing from the mosques. Youssef was all "It's just a motorbike going by, they aren't coming, accept it, move on", but...but...maybe they will come later, "yeah I don't think so, but maybe you'll hear the 4:00am wake up thingy".
And I didn't.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

On Being Pregnant and Turning 30

I have really been avoiding this one. It is just so big. I haven’t really known where to start. But here goes.

As I was zooming through the city in a petite taxi, on the day of my 30th birthday, clad in a zebra stripped one piece swimsuit and large brimmed red hat, I started to contemplate the irony of the day. My first day finished with work, my first day being 30, pregnant with twins, wearing a one piece (zebra stripped). I thought back on the wildly ambitious previous decade of my life. The decade I decided to leave my husband, house and dog and move to France. The same decade that I came back from France to settle into a life of trying to get out of America again. The decade during which I was constantly employed, constantly chasing promotions, whether it be to bar back or director. The decade during which I mended family ties, fell in love and had my heart broken over and over again, put myself through a university degree, learned to speak and read and write two other languages. That decade, of being 20 to 29 was soooo intense! Towards the end I became very tired, weary. I remember during my final days in Atlanta just wanting to sleep for a long while. I remember not being very ambitious about getting in the out and about in Paris while I passed through the past two times, I remember just wanting to get here to North Africa and rest for a bit. Sleep for a bit, take my time, and enjoy my life. Learn to cook better, learn to forgive those who hurt me, learn to garden better, grow up a bit, and start the rest of my life afresh.

So we are back to the taxi scene and my contemplating all of this and I suddenly realize that it is my first day as a basically stay at home mother. I made it to 30 and then I stopped working and had kids. What? Huh? How the hell did that happen? When was that EVER part of the plan? Oh yeah right, the whole time. I always knew I wanted children, I always said children when I said “I want children” not, I want a child, which never felt right to say. I always said “I want to have children out of the country”. Check. “I want to give them different languages, preferably French, to go with the English they will inevitably speak”. Check. “I want to take it at least 6 months to be with my children after I have them”. Check.

Now I know I am fast forwarding a bit here and projecting way out into the future, but this is the job deal, my work closes down for the month of August and September, after that I am on maternity leave for 3.5 months minimum. I am not sure when I will go back to work but I am thinking sometime after 2010 hits, probably around April of 2010. That will give me time to feed the babies and get used to being a mom and get myself ready for whatever comes after.

So while I am not really a stay at home mom because we have chosen that I should stay at home and do that roll, I am a stay at home mom to be by default. Because twin pregnancies are tough and I need to rest, not teach and pace and walk too much.

I look forward to getting my ambition back one day, I look forward to wanting more than exactly what I have right now, but let me just say, this is nice too. This contentment and respect for a slower pace of life. For those of you who know me I am sure it will be hard to imagine me taking this much time to do things. But I have had to slow down with everything I do. That is pregnancy. I have had to slow the pace at which I walk to a near crawl, otherwise I get horrible cramps and have to stop walking completely on the street. I have had to slow the pace at which I eat. The pace at which I stand up and sit down and plan vacations has all changed. That is being pregnant and so far that is being 30. Like I said, I am sure things will speed up again and I look forward to that but for now, this is me, just being.