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Friday, October 29, 2010

Hot Chocolate and Abiyas

We've officially been living in the Middle East for two months now.

Two months and one week, actually.

I was just too busy to take note of our Arabversary.

My bad.

As I look back over the past two months, I see how much I have changed, stretched, grown, and regressed.

I've laughed, cried, danced, holed up, made new friends, and sobbed my heart out.

It's amazing to see the ebb and flow of God's repeated lessons in my life, over issues that He knows I need to continually address.

I wonder how long He'll have to continue these "repeats," and how long it will take me to fully understand them.

My prayer is to always have a willing heart to listen to these lessons, even if I feel they are "stale."

~~~~~

This week was filled with several new opportunities and great experiences. Also, one or two that were not so good.

I went shopping with a local woman for my Abiya, the traditional black slip on dress that goes over your clothes. I have a wedding to go to in a couple of weeks and we spent about 2 hours in a dress shop hand picking the bodice, sleeves, cuffs, and neckline before we started deciding on the intricate embroidery to add. I got a Shayla to match, a head piece that goes by many other names, depending on the Arab country you visit. As soon as I get it back from the dress maker I'll show you pictures!

I'll only be wearing this traditional outfit for the wedding, so that I can blend in and not get so many stares.

I choose not to dress in the traditional native dress on a daily basis for many reasons. One being the fact that, Yes, I want to be conservative and respectful, but Yes, I am different from these people. I have a freedom in Christ that allows me to dress differently without bringing shame upon my family.

I know of other western women here that choose to wear a head covering or the black abiya every day, and I know the locals ask the "why?" question often. They wonder why a western Christian would dress as a Muslim. It leads to more suspicion that beneficial, I think.

What do you think?
~~~

As part of my cultural adjustment, I have seen a significant change in my desire to go out and do things in our town. For the first 6-8 weeks, I really did not have a desire to do anything. Just in the last two weeks have I seen a change in myself, tackling learning how to drive stick shift {I only had the patience for a 10 minute lesson, but I did well and didn't stall out at all!} going on visits, exploring a park, and visiting local historic sites without feeling overwhelmed.

I'm also trying to figure out what the essential care package items are. I've had some people ask for a list of needed items for Christmas packages, but I want to make sure I optimize the space. Today's assignment was to try my hand at homemade chili and homemade hot chocolate.

The verdict?

Homemade hot chocolate was SO easy- I won't be wasting package space on hot chocolate packets!

Chili? Yeah. Not so great. I will be requesting this from people. Mine tasted sweet. That's so wrong. No sir, I prefer Publix Chili!

OH!! And I forgot!

We bought a Christmas tree!!!

We were over the border in a bigger city for my monthly check up and went into an Ace Hardware, where I spotted the 25 dollar six foot tall tree, complete with lights and red ornaments. I decided to snatch it up right then and there.

We have a very realistic looking Christmas tree in our shipping crate, but that is in storage and we won't receive that for two years. I decided this 25 dollar dear was one that I couldn't pass up!

With this being our first holiday season overseas, we have been warned by many people that it will be one of the hardest seasons in our lives. So, I may over compensate a little by setting our tree up super early (I'm thinking during our fall break, the week before Thanksgiving!) having a second Thanksgiving meal (set for the first week of December!) and going on a mini Christmas vacation to the Big City!

I know I'm going to wish I could be snuggled in front of my parents fireplace, or participating in Operation Christmas Child, or going to the traditional candlelight service, but these little things will help make it feel more like home here.

The upside? This will be our first "on our own," Christmas, meaning we can finally start implementing new family traditions!

1 comment:

Alison said...

Can't wait to see the outfit for the wedding!! And we'll be praying for ya'll specifically over the holiday season as you're away from family! Here's to new family traditions!! :)