Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Worth Sharing

So...it has been  a pathetically long time since I last posted. There are several reasons for this - my days seem to slip away from me, I have very few uninterrupted moments where I could feasibly compose something worth sharing, and mostly because I feel that the last six weeks have held very few 'moments, activities, and thoughts worth sharing".

I try to keep my blog entries somewhat humorous, somewhat entertaining, somewhat thought-provoking - and I haven't had the energy to keep up that level of writing over the past six weeks. The past six weeks have held immense challenges: the Handsome Man's job continues to suck the life out of my usually exuberant husband, the same job's salary & rising costs of living in Nairobi make the little niceties, or shall I say "little sanities" of life virtually impossible, and we face the ever-increasing reality that the core of our social support we've created here in Nairobi will be gone within 5 months times.

To top it all off, the Handsome Man dislocated his shoulder, damaging the humeral head and partially tearing a portion of his rotator cuff. This injury fell in the middle of a month long period where our car visited several mechanics a total of 5 times, had multiple issues, and occasionally threatened to cost thousands of dollars to fix (the end result was much less painful, thank the Lord). Additionally, the part time teaching gig I had been doing on the side ended terribly amidst a dysfunctional marriage and dysfunctional parenting - this led to a significant portion of time spent trying to finalize details without being offended by the heightened accusatory language directed at me for a situation I knew I was in no way responsible.

Until this past weekend, I hadn't left Nairobi since January. Until his injury, the Handsome Man hadn't taken a day off of work that was spent in Nairobi or with me & the kids. Until this past week, the Handsome man hadn't spent more than a weekend with us. Until the past two weeks, we haven't been together as a family for 2 consecutive weeks in more than 2 and 1/2 months, and all the times apart have been a minimum of 4 days, some up to 6. Within the past 6 weeks, there have been several bomb attacks in Kenya, we've received multiple "state security warnings", and life is continually sprinkled with reminders we live in a much more volatile city than the Nairobi I grew up in, and a much more exhausting one. Until this week, the literal sun hadn't shone for weeks.

I may sound like I'm whining. I kind of am. But more than that, I'm letting you, my faithful blog readers, know the past 6 weeks have been a record low. I wrote a while ago in an entry entitled An Invincible Summer about another difficult period after we'd first arrived in January. If I'm completely honest, it seems as if not much has changed since then; if anything, much of it has gotten worse. Instead, I've hunkered down, held back the tears, and attempted to put on a semblance of normalcy for my children and those around me - because most of those around me are new friends who don't know my 'I'm in trouble' signals, and I'm too tired and too vulnerable to just toss it out there to see who responds. It's not the greatest way to live, I'll admit, but what's my alternative? The things making my life difficult are entirely out of my control - because the reality is that the commitments I've made in my life tie me to these people, to this place, to this income, to my husband's organization, and subsequently to all of these stressors.

Someone told me they enjoyed reading blogs that were written 'by real people' and encouraged me to write about the hard stuff, and not in a funny way. This is fairly real, I think. I haven't written in a long time also because I was told by a couple individuals employed by the organization employing the Handsome Man that any slander here against his organization could result in failure of the program the Handsome Man is working on - after 6 months of being here and seeing the organization from a bit of a distance (aka - disgruntled housewife), I've concluded they don't need my help either propping up the program through false accolades nor will I destroy it through disgruntled assessments of long hours, work ethics, program management, or politics in place of professionalism (though I appreciate the assumption my blog is so popular).

So, with that being said, and with this being the 21st digital century that it is, I choose to let this blog be where I continue to write "moments, activities, and thoughts worth sharing" - I won't sling mud, smear names, or anything else low but I will also not hide the difficulties I face - both from being linked to the Handsome Man's current employer,  from living in this city, or from anything else for that matter (because I think they are worth sharing in the hopes they offer some encouragement, perspective, or solidarity with the wider struggling population).

I will also continue to share my bright spots - and they are absolutely, consistently my children. As I write, Kai is curled up in my lap smelling of sweet after baby bath, reaching up to give me kisses. There is no earthly thing deeper or purer than the love of a child. Both Kai and Mika continue to thrive, a testament to the fact I'm not failing at my biggest task. They both are kind to others, love one another and me and the Handsome Man, and perpetually surprise me with their abilities, questions, and consideration. I'll do a blog entry soon of 'Kai-isms' and I promise, promise I will post pictures.

Other bright spots include the beauty of this country, the hilarious cultural blunders/conversations I have every day, friends who love us and call us, or bring us dinner, or watch our babies, having my parents close by, having a garden that's starting to produce yummy vegetables, finding peace in our home, great coffee, gorgeous crazy-cheap flowers for sale at every corner, delicious food, the humility and joy of our househelp (having her here is seriously more like having a good friend here than an employee), and of course, for the time, being able to be home with my babies.

In An Invincible Summer, I finished with a quote from Albert Camus "In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer". While I still agree, my invincible summer has almost turned more into a scorching resilience ready to slowly parch anything in it's path. I'm realizing I must focus on the external beauty and bright spots of every day to create a sustainable and gentle internal invincible summer. While the invincible summer may be within me, it's source is surely from noticing the beauty around me - even if it's masked in pain, disappointment, anger, or helplessness.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah I can't read this with dry eyes, but they were from the sweet descriptions of your children and your incredible ability to mother. Thank you for your honesty. You are spoken of much here. Was just having a conversation today with Kelly M. About you. It was a Sarah love fest ;) much love your way to the babes and the Handsom man. So sweet :)


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