Thursday, August 8, 2013

A series of Unfortunate Events

It is time for a new post now. The reason for this is that I have a looming pile of readings I have been ignoring in favor of keeping up the illusion of a summer holiday. So I sit in the library instead and write a blog post that serves the perfect purpose of procrastination. But, I tell myself, at least it is productive procrastination, not like playing mines and watching the Big Bang Theory for the billionth time. You may have gathered from my last post I'm rather a fan. I am not a fan of Lemony Snicket.

But never mind that now, let me tell you a story, a story that has led up to this moment of readings upon readings that need to be done. The story starts somewhere around the time when all the disasters began one after the next. You know those books called series of unfortunate events? They got nothing on me these last 2 months. So two months and a bit ago I had my finals, this was an inevitable disaster and scarcely deserves a mention as it was long forseen. I decided to study for it 2 weeks in advance and have all my papers almost done weeks before the deadline only to get to the deadline and realize that this had lulled me into a false sense of accomplishment and earn me grades worse than if I had just written them the night beforehand.

I decided that adding corresponding book titles was going
to give my story more Lemony Snicket relevance.

At the same time there was a planned trip to Slovakia to visit my grandmother and have The Boy meet up with me there, however since one teacher had extended the final and paper deadline I took the chance to procrastinate finishing them till the last second and then proceeded to miss my flight to Slovakia by missing the appropriate train by 2 minutes. So spent the night at the airport laptop-less and got my dad to help me buy a new ticket to Slovakia. This itself would have been a minor disaster if I didn't still have all my assessments for one subject due and no way to finish them and wasn't already getting sick the previous 2 days. By the time I got to Slovakia and to my grandmother I was exhausted and sick and had a cough that would not leave me for 3 weeks. I slept for days, handed in bad work for my assessment and generally slept a lot. Then finally The Boy's visa came through and he came to Austria where I had generously offered to pick him up. I got confused and 3 hours late I did get to the airport.

Needless to say, he didn't let me forget it. We spent 3 lovely days in Slovakia, having a good time and then flew to the Netherlands. Except we hadn't printed The Boy's boarding pass for the Ryan air flight so we had to basically buy a new one. I'm telling you, Lemony Snicket ain't got nothing on us.

The next few days were spent in the relative peace of me having back pains, 31 degrees and humidity at the same time as PMS and sporadic coughing fits on my part. But other than this this was rather peaceful, until I had the splendid idea to help out with the church's youth-group one day and helped playing capture the flag thinking I was good at this game as a kid and forgetting I had not only grown up but clumsy as well. So in my heroic bid for a prison break I found the only piece of concrete near the grass field we were playing on and stumbled over someone's foot and did what has now been called the "Superman Dive" scraping open both palms of my hands and a bruise on my thigh the size of my face. This injury did have the pleasant side effect of getting The Boy to do all the dishes for me. :)

Thereafter comes a time of peace where my body decided my recovery was more important than messing with my sense of balance. Until I got to Jordan that is. I should have known it was the calm before the storm

There was no book title that had any relevance to personal
character flaws so I just added annoyed looking people.

No, in this time I decided instead to revert to my other chaotic traits to mess up the packing schedule. I started an entire week in advance and was so sure that starting earlier than usual would get things done. I should have learned my lesson from the exam period. It didn't, instead, The Boy (who was staying a day longer), a good friend and my pastor were left with most of my well intention-ed but absolutely chaotic mess of a plan. They are all still mad at me for it.

It really wasn't, It was 3 front steps, one of which I missed.

I didn't get to say a goodbye to my close friend and room mate because of my ensuing chaos, which if you know me at all you will be aware is probably one of the biggest in this list of unfortunate events. Then as mentioned earlier, I got to Jordan, had a good time with my family, was completely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things I needed to do and people I needed to see that I ended up seeing none of them and spraining my ankle in the attempt to show my aforementioned friend around Jordan. 4 days before the flight to Australia.

The story ends happily here if you would like to hear it that way. If you are not a fan of bad stories that have ugly endings then I suggest you stop reading at this point. I flew to Australia was reunited with my childhood (and grownup-hood) Bestie and had a wonderful time in Australia in which the ankle healed rapidly.

However the real story ends differently. 3 weeks into my stay in Australia I find out that my ankle is actually fractured not sprained and the healing time has basically doubled. Considering Lemony Snicket's record for bad endings, mine isn't so awful.

On a pleasent-er note, winter in Australia is like spring in Europe!

I much prefer happy endings.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Long distancing and caterwauling

Long distancing sucks. That is really the gist of it. I mean it's got it's pros.. like if you're shy it can force you to go out and meet new people instead of hiding behind the boyfriend. Fortunately I don't have that problem so basically -unfortunately- it just plain stinks.
Sadly, for the time being there is nothing short of breaking up ( or giving up uni and becoming a bum to go live with him) that I can do about this measly situation. Let's just say the American Highschool system and its relationship to European universities thoroughly screwed that up for us.

So i'm stuck here for at least another year and a half of long distancing, and you learn to cope with these things. for example: You pinterest.. like crazy and get masses of followers:

And you listen to music made by people who went through the same thing and have better voices than you (extensive list to follow).. and of course you sing along till your roommate looks a little like this:

And you get pretty close to going all Sheldon and getting yourself some cats and naming them Zazzles but then decide against them cause it will probably be against the house rules.. but in the end you get through it. With a lot of skyping, sweet pictures, pretend flowers and dreaming of what it's gonna be like to see The Boy again you drag yourself through. You stop yourself counting the days and weeks cause it makes them feel slower when you do, you keep yourself endlessly busy and before you realize it there is only a month left!!!

I have made it!! With all the chocolate and Albert Hein Donuts and the sadness and the business and all the friends it is almost time to see my boy again!!!! It's only for a month and never mind that I have another year and a half after this. And putting aside this next bit will probably be our worst yet, what with him in the US and me in Australia and the 12 hours time difference that entails.

For now I'm feeling the whole excitement dance thing. Only one month, only one mooonth, ooonly one mooooooonnnntthh. (Imagine awkwardly swinging hips and hands doing about the same motion).

I've decided that out of the goodness of my heart and my irrational want to sahre I would compiled a list of long distance songs that are partially sad and partially painfully upbeat:

Far Away -Nickelback
Ain't no sunshine when you're gone -Michael Bolton
Right here waiting -Richard Marx
Missing you -John Waite
Here without you -3 Doors Down
Hey there Delilah -Plain white Ts (not a personal favorite but hey, it is a classic LDR song)
Lucky -Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
Save Tonight -Eagle Eye-Cherry
Leaving on a jet Plan -Chantal Kreviazuk
Wish you were here - Avril Lavigne (I listened to her throughout my teens so she hits a special spot for me)
Long Distance -Brandy or Bruno Mars (both are alright, I'd love to find a better sung version though)
The Promise -Tracy Chapman
Near or Far -Carissa Rae
Missin' you like crazy -Michael Alvarado
Talking to the moon -Bruno Mars
Goodbye -Avril Lavigne
Missing you now -Michael Bolton

And some personal songs more connected to feeling home and the Boy than really specifically Long distnace relationships:

Comfortable -John Mayer (heard a friend's friends sing it in acousitc once and fell in love with it but John Mayer is almost as good)
Come Home -OneRepublic & Sara Barielles
This is Home -Switchfoot
Home -Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
A drop in the Ocean -Ron Pope
West coast -Coconut records
A thousand years -Christina Perri
Wouldn't it be nice -The Beach Boys

Thank heavens for the the internet hey? I think the majority of us Long Distancers would be pretty hopelessly lost without it! That being said, where there is a will there is a way. So we will find a way!

Ooooooonly one moooooooooonnntthh..

Na na na na naaa..

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some TCK Syndromes: Justified Homelessness and Moving-Sickness

Look at this! It's barely been two weeks and I am writing again. Maybe this is just something I do when big transitions are coming up. I have once again been contemplating my TCK-ness. The fact that it is so seemingly easy for me to drop everything and flee to Australia is both exhilarating and worrying.

Running.. fast!!
I'm running away to Australia. Somewhere far away and where nothing really matters cause I'm unlikely to ever have to live there again. Somewhere I can say with 100% certainty that I am a foreigner and get to act as such! Somewhere, where I will actually have something to miss, where it will be justified for me to miss home cause it's so damn far away. Or maybe cause it no longer exists. I knew this would start happening but I just hoped I'd be too busy to realize or married or rooted or completely comfortable in the new place when it did hit. (By *it* I mean knowing Jordan isn't home anymore). As it is, I recently realized I've been in Maastricht for a year. It no longer sucks. I'm comfortable. I know my way around, I have friends, I like my Uni. I know people, and places and I'm active in my church and it's youth-group. I'm helping out with the cooking team at the coming retreat and I've resigned myself to the atrocious weather. It's time to run.

Maybe I should start thinking of
it like this! 
I still miss home. And it's not Jordan anymore and that's somehow terrifying. I mean I still miss it and get very territorial and possessive when anyone mentions it, but hey that's just what I do. But it's no longer home. so now I'm gonna run to Australia so I have an excuse for not feeling at home and that should have me covered for about half a year when I get back. Then I'll be getting ready to leave again so I won't have to get grounded and get to loosen up my ties again and prepare for the next big thing. I have it all worked out. This is how I will avoid the no home dilemma. I'll be able to justify not having a home by moving around so much. Tada! I know this is what I'm doing. I'm fully aware that I am planning my life around moves and big events that can prolong the feeling of Justified Homelessness. It's worked for the last 20 years of my life. Why not the next 2 or so.

Maybe I shouldn't worry about not being rooted. Maybe that will come naturally. Maybe I don't really want to be. Rooted that is. Cause I know I'll get Moving-Sick and if I'm rooted that'd mean that I would be hurt if I acted on my Moving-Sickness (which is what Imma call the need to move again, a bit like Homesickness just reversed) and that'd just further complicate things.

I think I should let myself get rooted. or maybe make myself. I should embrace the awesome life I've been given even if I know it is unlikely that I'll feel fully at home.. possibly ever.

On a happier note, it snowed on Easter this year!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Australia, attachments and apologies

To fulfill the last alliterated part of my title, my apologies for the extended silence.

The next big adventure has come around. It's been a year and almost two months now since I came to the crazy cold and rainy place generally referred to as Europe. In all honesty I didn't begin to imagine the scope of funny weather that would meet me here. It is the end of March and there has been random boughts of snow after there was beautiful (notice how low I have sunken to call this beautiful) weather of 11 to 15 degrees. For a while I was pretty sad about it and then I realized that if I let the weather bring me down I would  be sad 80% of the year. The other 20% of my year is spent in Jordan.

My writing in this blog thingie has been highly irregular. In fact I believe it's been almost a year since I did write, and the only reason I am writing now is because I am procrastinating for my exams next week. I have three final exams coming up starting Monday and have now found one million other things that really need to be done. Writing my blog being one of my last ditch efforts to do something constructive rather than just sitting and watching the Cosby Show. So in the form of a brief update, I like it here, when it's not February. Februarys are not so cool for some reason. The people here are lovely. My church is quite funny and has lots of little critters running around making you randomly spill your tea. The courses at the UCM are mostly awesome. I'm going to make an exception for the Modeling Nature and Research methods courses, setting up and identifying methodology isn't quite my thing it seems. My course of study has taken a curious twist in the direction of sustainable development and saving the planet.

The engagement wave has struck again. I believe it actually started with my best friend -from now on referred to as the Bestie- this time. A cute little Australian chic with a mind of her own that I've known since 3rd grade. (Right you say, who are you to call anyone else little, but this is my one source of pride! I beat The Bestie in height!
This after many years of her scoffing at my punitive height in primary school. Revenge is sweet!) The only problem with the Bestie getting engaged -besides the jealousy because I've been together longer with The Boy- is that she lives at quite literally the end of the world without being in Antarctica. That's right; Australia. Thankfully I was aware that this wedding was likely to come up int he near future and started saving for a ticket to be able to afford to come to the Land of the Kangaroo. This is when the ingenious idea struck.

I wasn't planning on going on exchange to anywhere. The idea of having to save up for first of all The Bestie's wedding and simultaneously trying to save up to see The Boy at least twice a year had me all tied up for funds until I realized several things all at once. First off that I wanted to save the environment and the city where the Bestie lives has awesome environmental courses, second, that I could spend the entire half a year before her wedding with the Bestie, and thirdly that there was a vague chance that the Boy could study in the same city. so the night before the applications were due for Semester's abroad I did the research picked a bunch of Unis and grabbed an application form a few hours before it was due and wrote an application essay while watching the Lord of the Rings The Two Towers Extended Edition. Not my most relaxed moment. Then the waiting began.

My last visit there was lovely!

Everything always takes forever for the UCM. Always. They say the maximum amount of days students should have to wait for results on exams and assignments is 10 working days. It has never. ever. been the minimum. Finally shortly before I went home (Jordan) for Christmas I got the allocation to Australia. Now the extensive application process has started and is in the works meaning that might next adventure might take me down under! For an entire half a year!

I still miss home. Particularly when I see pictures of my sisters laughing in the sun in places I used to be. It makes me very homesick.
However, last time I was home I could feel it that I didn't really belong any more. It sucked. Big time. But it was somehow a relief as well. It meant that I was moving on. I don't know if that means I've moved on to Maastricht. I certainly don't think so, as I still feel like a stranger here, but I am slowly becoming patriotic about it and feeling a pride in it. I don't think I want to stay here. I still pray the reverse to my German friends. Please please don't make me stay here. I also feel like home has shifted to less of a place and to people. Most specifically and importantly the Boy has become what feel like home. Even skyping with him makes me feel more grounded. It also means I miss him more but hey. Everything comes at a price. Then again there is that quote that said something about not attaching yourself to people or places. Well you know what.. balderdash! We are humans. I believe it's in our nature to form attachments. Of course you shouldn't make the possession or proximity of these people or places determine your happiness but where would we end up if we actually decided not to attach ourselves to people or places? We identify ourselves by our attachments or lack thereof, whether we know it or not. The Bestie and the Other Bestie are also part of home for me and for some very strange reason possibly going to Australia next semester feels almost like a step closer to home rather than away from it and i blame the Bestie and the fact that I've been there before and loved it!

That was my musings for this year. Thought I hope I'll write more frequently now that my next adventure is getting started.

Write again in my next exam season! ;)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Uni, Homesickness and lots of papers.

Originally meant to be published: 21.05.2012

Univerity has taught me a variety of things the most ipmortant of which is: there is a positive correlation between the amount of papers I have to write and the amount of sun shining outside my window.I have the good fortune of living in a stunning city and the misfortune of going to a tough university there.

Now you might wonder what kind of a university i am going to that the most important thing i have learned is a true but un-proveable theory on hte sunligh-assignement correlation. The fact is. The UCM is actually a pretty good uni and I am really enjoying my studies there, adn rather than showing how bad the uni is it shows how desperate I am for sunlight.

See we have sunlight here and the city is stunning when it's bathed in sunlight and warmth, and this is where another correlation i have noticed comes into play. There is also a positive correlation between Sunlight and the amount of happy couples walking hand in hand in Maastricht. And this I will also swear by. The first correlation I mentioned has no psychological explanation other than maybe the sun is mean and likes to spite Students, this second correlation also seems too be in place simply to taunt me with the fact that other people are close enough to each other to hold hands.

So you see, I cannot seem to decide which is the lesser of the two evils: Not getting enough sun or realizing how much I miss The Boy.

Another thing Uni has taught me is that I have to do everything myself. I miss being home. I miss my mumma cooking the meals, being in charge of the fridge, the laundry, the bank account, living accomodations, rides, orthodontist appointments and all the usual stuff mums do. I miss the hugs and the cuddling I am used to from my family. I think I can honestly say I melt and die a little inside whenever people here hug me. It's like stratiatella yoghurt and sunlight and wind in the heat and soft sand between my toes and the smell of my puppy all mixed together and embodied in a loving hug. Of course I don't usually tell people this as they will think I am strange and possibly insane. Not that they would be terribly wrong but let us keep that as our little secret.

I meant to publish this over a month ago.. but as usual, life caught up with me before I could. An Intereseting sidenote that I only discovered recently is that my Faculty does an Honors program instead of just a Bachelors which really expains the aforementioned buttload of work!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting Anxious!

The Leaving Day (as I will name it- 26th of January in other words) is approaching and I find myself needing to write more frequently. I guess I am just getting more nervous as the time to leave my only home is drawing closer.

So now there is more hassle with the University. I got another E-mail telling me that I still had to send a certified copy of my diplomas to them by the 25th- of January! Ok so for anyone living abroad this very sentence poses several challenges that none of my German peers could even fathom. First of all:
Which diploma? As I went to school in Jordan but did English classes in school which did not count towards my grade and were only meant to educate me for my British A-level examination I was understandably a bit at a loss about which Diploma to choose. I didn't have a Jordanian one so we could just scratch that option. My school Diploma looks only vaguely legitimate as it is from Jordan and for anyone with average geography skills that sounds like it was probably obtained with a 50$ bribe. So I can have that one certified by the school itself though I don't really know how much more legitimacy that would lend it! And then of course there is my A-level Diploma which I figured was the one they wanted a copy of except they mentioned a grade list. Fine. We'll copy, certify and send them all!

That's when the next problem pops up:

Jordanian Postal Service (read: Crappy-Rubbish-Unreliable Postal Service): For anyone living in or especially having grow up in an Undeveloped or Developing Country this comes as absolutely no surprise. For everyone else with the benefits of fantastic speedy mail this should sum it up: When we say snail mail, we mean SNAIL mail. Likelihood is your letter or package will get lost in what passes as our postal service, will get sent to the wrong address or reach its destination months after it was originally sent, possibly even after a letter sent at a later date to the same person. Welcome to Jordan!

Add a chaotic and slightly broke family and you get what we have here. A week till the Diplomas are due, a rubbish postal service which is guaranteed not to get it there by then if ever, and a few E-mails asking if we can bring the Diplomas personally when we get there 2 days after they are due. Hmm. Wonder what my odds are of surviving the super organized disciplined world that is called Europe. Any thoughts? :P

Her is some Good New though. My mum is coming with me for two weeks to help me settle in! You know. Through all the craziness that is happening right now ( I haven't even told my neighbor I'm leaving yet. She's gonna kill me!) I think this might be my way of working through it all. I can't seem to grieve. Or at least I don't know how. I think I'm still a little in Denial. I think despite having started packing my bags and drawing up a list of cheap stuff I need to get before I leave and places I need to visit before I do and the people I need to say goodbye to I think I still don't quite believe I'm actually leaving. It's like I'm reading someone else's story or book and I feel so bad for them and wonder when in the plot line they are going to manage to do all the things I know I would have to do too -if I was in their place that is.

In addition to that I have never grieved about leaving before. Not since I was 8. And I don't think I grieved then. I've grieved a lot about other people leaving so much so that when people leave I'll settle into my comfortable withdraw-and-be-sad-and-hurt-for-a-bit-and-then-act-like-nothing's-wrong-routine as soon as someone even mentions they might be leaving. But I have no blueprint for grieving about leaving home myself (that territory is almost as uncharted for me as the German Railway system for me). So I think this is my subconscious attempt at resolving what I know is there but simply can't seem to access. I think that this blog is more for me than for everyone else, and the reason it's a blog and not a private journal is cause I wished I'd found something like this from other (especially European)  TCKs, and if anyone ever needs this I want them to find this and know vaguely what to expect and that they are not alone.

Anyway here is a beautiful shot of my city by Photographer "Noor Renfroe".

I think I will always love this city but once I leave I don't think it will actually ever be Home again! :S

Starting to really get nervous!

8 days! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Home Is

Home! Such a confusing concept.

Relient K says: "Home is where the Heart is and my Heart is where you are." Who were they referring to? Was it their Significant Other or was it their Family or something a lot more abstract. Was it a feeling? Where was home? 

The Sisterhood of the traveling pants wondered something similair. I guess it's not just something TCK's struggle with. It says in one of the books: 
"What was Home anymore? Home was time and Time had passed" 
So I guess they didn't have it figured out either. So i have to start packing today. I need to drag out my big suitcases and start sorting out wanted from unwanted. But how do you take home with you?

Do you take all those little gadgets you've collected or those posters and pictures of loved ones or try to recreate ur former home in the new place? Maybe, just maybe it's taking my teddy bear that I've had all my life in Jordan. Or maybe it's taking that huge world map I bought last summer and hung up so I could feel more grounded. Or maybe it's just knowing that one day I'll find it. even if it's not a place. One day I'll find home. The feeling of it, the knowledge of it!
I stuck pictures of the people I love to the 
closest empty spot on the map!
Until then I'll try to understand this bureaucracy called University! So the UM Guesthouse that I'd applied at for a room wasn't answering after their average time of 2 weeks, then three and then almost four so I decided to write to them in an effort to get a response and to check whether or not I even had accommodation! They wrote back and told me my Faculty had not verified me. Oh joy. I had also, on the same day written an E-mail to my Faculty asking them various questions they had neglected to verify! Like my Student Number, Method of Payment and what Diploma's they wanted exactly! After a bit of hassle and despair the University and the Guesthouse wrote back to me simultaneously to give me all the information and tell me that I  had in fact been accepted and now had (an admittedly more expensive) room! I was psyched! As psyched as you can be when you feel like the nails to your own coffin are finally beginning to hold it together. ;)

So the ticket is booked for the 26th in the evening at the Queen Alia Airport over Gatwick and on to Amsterdam. Then we (mum is coming with me) are going to rent a car and drive down to Maastricht and check into my Guesthouse room that Friday. Then Saturday is sleeping and exploring and unpacking. Sunday morning we are going to visit the Maastricht international Church and then.. then we are going to drive down to Germany for about 4 hours to my grandparents' village where I'm gonna see my grandparents and my cousin (who is coincidentally one of my favorite people in the world)!
Of course my grandmother's are yummier!
There my grandmother has already got our Menu planned out. First day is "Maultaschen" as is our tradition whenever we first come from abroad. Then second day is "Spaetzle und Sauerbraten" which my grandmother has mastered to utter perfection! I can't say how excited and at the same time anxious I am.

There is this author of this blog called DrieCulturen who is dutch and lived in Africa while growing up. Somehow I would love to meet her and on the other hand I'm a bit intimidated. But anyway. Her blog is really good especially for TCK's I'd say.


10 more days!