Friday, January 23, 2009

January 23, 2009: Catching up...

Having received much scolding about not updating my blog, I'm going to try to write something this morning. We'll see how far I get...

To start with, I've already given up on the idea of anonymity--I'm just not any good at that. :-) So the absolutely most current updates on each member of the family: my husband, Jörn, is still in pajamas and is standing at the stove making scrambled eggs; Marie just heard me ask Jörn what he is making and suddenly decided to be awake, so has just gotten up; Jacob just had a shower and was hanging up his towel when I started this sentence; Lukas just got out of the shower himself (it's taking a long time to write this sentence...), Katie is dressed and playing with Legos, and Helen is also dressed and is sitting in the buggy (stroller, pushchair--you know, a thing on wheels for transporting small children, or, in our case, mostly for putting them someplace while I'm typing so that she doesn't "help" me) next to me, watching Lukas set the table. Katie and Helen and I were up at 7:00 and have already had breakfast, and then Lukas was up next, so I gave him Helen so I could have a shower and get dressed.

As for where we are: in the guest flat of an "internet friend" (whom we have now of course met in real-life!), in a very nice neighborhood in Larnaka, Cyprus. We stayed in another guest flat the first almost-week, then came here three days ago. The children have been having a wonderful time with the Legos, K'nex, and books, and I've enjoyed the books and piano, but neither as much as I'd like, since we also have internet connection here, so I've spent more time on the internet trying to catch up with e-mail and my favorite blogs than I have reading or playing the piano. Helen, Jörn, and I have a very comfortable bed with a duvet (we don't do well with separate sheets and blankets!) and have no desire to change beds. Then there's a nice room with two beds, in which no child wants to sleep: everyone wants to sleep in the sofa-bed. They keep switching around who sleeps where, so last night Marie had the room with two beds all to herself, Lukas and Katie slept in the sofa-bed, and Jacob slept UNDER the sofa bed.

We're looking for someplace to live. I'd really like to live in this area, where we can get downtown and to shops and so on on foot, and it's also not far from a big park by the salt lakes (which have water and flamingoes right now, but dry up later on), where there are lots of trees, a great playground, and wide paths where the children can run and yell without driving everybody crazy, and where we could ride bicycles, if we had any. (We brought Lukas's bicycle and the bike trailer is coming in the shipment, but I didn't end up having time to wrap up my bike for bringing, so left it at a friend's house for her to sell, and we'd already sold Marie's bike and given away Jacob's, as neither of them were very good, so we need three more bicycles. Jörn doesn't ride a bike, and Katie and Helen can ride in the trailer.) We've looked at a house and three apartments here, two of which we're still considering, and we'd like to see a few more.

We also looked at two houses out "in the country" closer to where Jörn is working. One of them was very easy to rule out, as it had a big, totally un-fenced swimming pool, and the owner repeated several times while we were there that one of the neighbors lives in Israel and only visits a few times a year, but we would need to be very quiet while he is there. Yeah, right. It's not like I would MIND if the children were quiet for a couple of weeks at a time several times a year, but I haven't figured out how to make that work yet. The other house was nicer and Jörn could walk to work from it, but the biggest drawback is that there would be NO place for the children to play. With the beach about 20 meters away, I'd be paranoid about letting them out by themselves. No playground, no park, no place for a six-year-old to ride a bike, the children couldn't go to the bakery or anyplace else by themselves. It had never occurred to me that I might someday have a choice between the city and the country and would CHOOSE the city! I grew up in the country and loved it--but I wasn't the one doing the driving of five children to dozens of different places, and at home, we had four acres of land, lots of trees to climb and places to hide, and lived at the end of a (then) very quiet road, so could roam pretty far pretty safely. If we could have something like that here and could have some animals, I'd be willing to do the driving, and we'd be happier at home with less desire to GO someplace anyway. But that's not what we would have: the children would have considerably less freedom than in the city, especially with big bodies of water (whether a swimming pool or the Mediterranean...) nearby, we wouldn't have animals, AND we would have to drive anywhere.

And the "city" isn't exactly big, nowhere near the size of where we've lived the last seven years (or, for that matter, any of the places I've lived in the last 17 years). And my husband would still only have to drive about 15 minutes to work, and if I did want the car, I could take him to work and pick him up, just as I often did in Germany. Not that we have a car yet, either, but we're looking for one...but this post is more than long enough already, so I won't go into those debates right now!

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