Saturday, September 13, 2008

Don't you forget about me...

Camel shadows, as seen from above.
(The camels are, you know, camel colored)

First of all, thank you to everyone for your patience...for which I'll have to beg for more.

The hard drive in our laptop died without warning, taking with it all the Dubai photos, (thus the National Geographic image above), several drafts for this blog, all our music and information, emails, and excitingly, all the addresses and billing systems set up for our US banking. This post is courtesy of the new laptop, but we're out of the hotel as soon as I finish writing this and we don't know how long it will take to get internet service in our new place. I went to go set it up the other day, bringing Mike's passport, a copy of his residence visa, a letter from his work detailing his employment and pay, and so forth. The one thing I didn't have was a letter from Mike stating that he had no objection to his wife purchasing services in his name.

Well, fine then.

Anyway, we'll be back online as soon as we can.

There was an earthquake in Iran, but we didn't actually notice it here. They evacuated several of the skyscrapers and were on the lookout for waves and aftershocks, but no worries.

Thomas slept in his new big boy bed for the first time, in his new room in Gecko House, and stayed in bed all night. Such a good kid! I was worrried about him getting out of bed, and especially about the hard stone walls and marble floors and (eek) the marble stairs, but he didn't crack his head on any of those until after lunch today. He has a spectacular purple-and-white raised mark from falling onto a corner near the stairs. Sigh.

Yesterday was a really hard day, moving our stuff out of the hotel, over to Gecko House, and then unpacking enough to get along. We don't have a bed yet, nor a couch, table, chairs (though Mike found a perfect one in Sharjah, we're waiting for it, and a mattress, to be delivered) so Mike and I sort of improvised sleeping arrangements. We do have two big bean bags! The kids' rooms are all set up, and that's what matters.

I said goodbye to Ram and the room guys, gave them photos (which fortunately I'd stored on the camera) of them and the kids, and gave the room guys some money as well, both USD, which they hadn't seen before, and Dirhams. Much to my distress, Salvam had told me he'd hoped to learn more English from me, as it directly relates to how much respect you get in India, and what sort of job you can get, but that he could almost never understand me because I talk too fast.

You remember how much I said I hate to cry? Upset doesn't even cover it.

Venkat said he was missing us already, and Ram has been threatening to withdraw his friendship if we leave. The other day he came by the room, picked up Thomas, cuddled him and said "I have a fever."

"Oh, I'm sorry, what's wrong?" I said sypathetically.

"I have a fever but now I am well, this Thomas and my baby Bethy are my medicine."

So today, back in the hotel room one last time to use the internet, I was still feeling wretched about letting down Selvam by not helping him out with his English when he and Venkat helped us so much by making us feel so welcome and cared for in our new country. Then we heard them out in the hallway and the kids rushed to let them in.

I can't relate everything they said, but they had apparently gotten lots of "points" from management for the photographs and what I had written on the back of them. Emlarged color copies had been made and then posted in the employee break room, and all the employees "slapped their hands like this to us" (clapped) for the "good work, very nice, very nice". They said this was the first time this had ever happened, and how much they loved that we let them play with Bethy and Thomas even though usually it was not allowed, how most guests didn't like it. They wouldn't let me hug them good-bye, but the kids kissed them and hugged them for me.

"Blessings, we pray for you all your life, madam, for you and your family always blessed in our prayers to God. Thank you madam, thank you."

I guess sometimes crying isn't so bad; I did a little more after they left.


Pat and Colleen said...

Wow! Sweetheart! What a wonderful, warm experience! Thanks for sharing!

Love, Mom V

Aunt terry said...

Hi Michael, Natalie, and darling children!!!

I am sorry I haven't posted for soooo long.

Moving to Greece, finding a new apartment, dealing with a new blood clot, and ending up in the hospital, etc., have shortened my attention span a bit!

It sounds like you ALL made quite a positive impression on the staff at your hotel. No surprises there!

I am happy that you are now in your new abode - minimally furnished though it may be. Ditto here in Aghias Paraskevi - my living room is all marble (as are the rest of the rooms and balconies except the bedrooms) and when you enter the front door there is an echo that rivals the Grand Canyon!!!

I have only had the funds to purchase a small loveseat for that room, and it is now out on the front balcony so that I can lay out there and catch some rays and some breeze...

I DO, however have a very comfy bed, and hope that yours arrives soon!!

Take good care, and be safe.

You are ALL always in my heart, on my mind, and in my prayers.

Aunt Terry

sherrip said...

Oh, I was thinking about when this day was going to come and how sad the room guys would be, reading this it almost made ME cry--isn't it wonderful how kids can really help break barriers (not that your bubbly personality wouldn't do it, and certainly your relaxed attitude towards their friendship with the kids was very important). What a wonderful thing to have that friendship with them. You're just so great! (Don't let it go to your head :) )

Will & Cheyenne said...

We are thinking of you guys!