Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ezra: 2 Months

These first two months with Ezra have been good ones. I've seen a side of the older two children that I would have not been privileged to see so up close and personal otherwise. They are consistently gentle with the baby (even when they're frustrated with each other) and so excited when he "interacts" with them by smiling or sticking his tongue out, or even burping. Their reasoning for why he does any of those things is hilarious, but endearing.
Ezra has grown from this skinny little guy of 7 pounds 12 ounces at one week:
To a little bit bigger and more alert at two weeks.
 And chubbier now and getting some loving from Elias, who really likes to hold him. (But when Ezra starts protesting because he doesn't like laying on his back, Elias' turn is over.)
I'm thankful that he is gaining weight and sleeping well. He is generally happy unless he has a legitimate problem like hunger or pain and he's observant of what's going on around him, which is usually quite a bit with Talia and Elias "teaching him how to dance" or something equally amusing.
(Apparently, the camera doesn't look so amusing, however. We look forward to more smiles and laughs from him, too, in the coming months.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pet Moths

Talia keeps wishing for a pet, especially a horse, but since that's not possible right now, she's been befriending every moth that she sees in the house. 
One day, she had one sitting on her hand and she was talking about how beautiful it was... and then it flew into the bug zapper (because there are so many mosquitoes lately) and she cried: "I loved it and it had died like Uncle L!" I'm not sure how much of that was drama and how much of it was real. Ben tried to be sympathetic, but he couldn't help laughing at the same time just because of the sheer amount of drama in her voice.

For now, we just share our friend's pets. Cats are super abundant and wild here, there is always 4 or 5 sitting outside around our garden, on the walls, in the trash cans or around the gates. They're constantly caterwauling at night making all sorts of interesting music. They're also always reproducing, so the most popular pet seems to be the kittens. (That might be because the dogs are likely to get eaten. Seriously.)

Some people have fish, the fashionable Emirati's have things like lions, tigers and cheetahs, and there are things like foxes at the animal markets (a place many people find cruel and are trying to change.) 

A pet that surprised me were the parrots caught wild here who were eating the sunflower seeds from a friend's sunflowers. Her husband is a capable trapper and was able to catch them. I've never seen wild parrots here, (though I thought there was one in the neighbor's mango tree.) The kids were excited to see the birds here, but I'm not so sure the birds were excited to see them.

I'm not sure that we'll ever get a pet here, since we don't have long term plans to stay and it doesn't make sense if we are just going to leave. It's also difficult to know what to do with one if we have to go to the city or travel home on vacation... but one day, maybe, we will settle in a place where a pet can thrive and who knows? Maybe Talia will get a horse some day.

Then again, we did wake up to this in our garden yesterday morning... maybe we can just have wild, outside pets for now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Third Culture Kids: Learning Hindi and Arabic

Where we live now, we have the unique opportunity for Talia to attend a school right behind our house where she can learn Hindi and Arabic in addition to normal subjects. With language-lover parents and an interest in learning languages herself, combined with the closeness and super reasonable fees, it was a great opportunity. Hindi and Arabic both use a different alphabet than English, and that is where they are starting.
Talia's first Hindi alphabet lesson
 Many times what can be gained by living in another culture is found within the context of community, a context that can be avoided to a large degree in a land full of many expats. Some tend to stick to communities of people just like themselves and re-create the country they left behind to the best of their abilities. And, of course, time spent with familiar people and languages is definitely refreshing in a sea of unfamiliar languages and customs. However, the unique thing about Abu Dhabi is the immense variety of different cultures that are co-existing with the indigenous one. Most of the time harmoniously.

 Something we have to balance with third-culture kids (children raised outside of their parent's culture where they  have neither the culture of their parents, nor the culture of the land they live in, but rather a combination of both) is providing them with a stable home base and familiarity with the culture from their home country, but also finding ways for them to experience the culture they are living in as well. What's the point of living abroad if you're only going to insulate yourself and re-create something that will never live up to the original in your mind?

It can be challenging, but many times it's mind-stretching, interesting and fun!