Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Love thy Mother....and Grandmother a bushel and a peck

My Father loves his Mother and there is no denying that and after reading this blog post that resonated in so many ways to me, I felt compelled to finally revisit the story of going home to be with my Grandmother for her last week on this physical Earth.

My family is amazing.  I don't just mean the ones I am descended from and biologically related to and knew before I had kids of my own, but the family that I have been welcomed into through marriage and created with my husband and his unending support is amazing.  I was able to go be home with my "original" family thanks to my nuclear family and husband maintaining things as usual as much as possible while still in Dhaka.

I think I left off my last part of the story about seeing my Gram with her beautiful smile and surprise at seeing me.  I had to pretend that I was coming anyways to see her because I couldn't make it for her 98th birthday the week before, but everyone (and I am pretty sure she did, too) knew I was there because her health was deteriorating in a way that could not wait for me to visit in the summer as originally planned.

My Father is an only child and so is my Mother.  My Mother's Mother has passed away when I was very young, but I remember her, or at least I think I do.  Stories and pictures can do a lot to create a memory and I am glad for that.

My three sisters and I once I arrived had a rotation that evolved as the days and sleep and work and everyone's nuclear family needs required.  I have to say I was the weakest one of the bunch.  I provided Gram with a sounding board and humor that was wonderful to share because we "got" each other.  She has always been a funny lady. I get my sarcasm from her and love her for it, no matter how much others may not like that personality trait that is so ingrained in me.

There were terrible times and beautiful moments that I must memorialize here because I am afraid my memory will escape me.  One of the most poignant times is when I was leaving to go to my parents house to sleep and my sisters were staying with her for the night and it was the last time her older great great grand children were saying goodnight to her that when I said I was going to go to sleep at my Mom and Dad's house (her son's house) I told her I loved her and she sang "I love you a bushel and a a peck." and she asked me if I remembered it and I got to sing the rest of it to her.  She smiled and I saw it even with that terrible oxygen mask on her face.


I am now re-reading this post after sitting on it for months, but want to post it, finally.  Today is the last day that my sister who cared for her in most ways that were superhuman,will be at her house.  My grandmother's house sold very quickly and we are fortunate that it seems to not be going to get knocked down and turned into a McMansion as so many are in the town she and my parents live in.  I am not sure what awaits us when we can only drive by "her" house this summer when we are home on R and R and go through so many emotions again.  Some will be new for my kids because they didn't get to be with her those last days and I know there are plants in her garden or the new owners' garden that we grew from seeds or seedlings that are there and she loved, along with the rose bushes she transplanted from her yard in Chicago when she moved to be closer to us in the 'burbs. I will want to dig them all up and move them to really nowhere because I don't have a permanent home anymore.  I hope that the new owners love those plants, our only visible evidence of us there in her heart as we will drive by, as much as she did.  My Grandmother  was the reason I gardened and became an animal lover, vegetarian for years and became a farmer and eventually a world traveler that took me away from her and my family, yet allowed her to live her dreams through our experiences and stories and pictures.  She was without a doubt our biggest cheerleader for travelling the world.
Kay Calhoun, you are an inspiration to all of us and will forever be in our hearts and with us on all our journeys, great and small.  I love you a bushel and a peck and hug around the neck.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

130 days...

Did you know there is a site for calculating days between two dates and you don't have to hold a calendar in your hands and count?  Of course you did or you knew I was a dummy for never realizing that such a thing would come up with a simple internet search.  We have 130 days left to live in Bangladesh if we leave the Saturday after the kids are finished with school.  What the Whaaa??

I remember so vividly the arrival and how overwhelming everything was.  This was our first time living overseas and we didn't do Peace Corps or work for NGOs or the FS like so many people in our lifestyle had already done, so wow, it was eye opening.

We could actually not be living here and be somewhere else had we not extended, but it we did it all for the kids.  We want to get them on the moving cycle where they arrive at the same time most kids are starting the school year at post.  So Andy somehow made that work out and we are now in the countdown phase.

It hit me today at a work meeting this week when it was brought up that I would be leaving in June and one of my coworkers asked if it was THIS June.  Ugh, it is so hard for everyone and to have people you work with day in and day out know you are leaving, it is like the worst break up ever, times a million.

I have finally gotten pretty comfortable with Dhaka and my own rhythm and the rhythm of our household. Knowing we are leaving and going to a new continent all together is pretty intimidating.  I am now realizing all the things I take for granted here when considering moving.

What I am going to miss:

My job and the wonderful people I work with.
The community of expats that is closer than any we will probably ever find and that is why people keep coming back.
I am bigger than most of the people here, so it adds an extra feeling of security.
I have wonderful help that don't steal from me.
The people here are very nice.
I am treated like a "madam" for the first time ever, and while it took a long time to get used to, I do appreciate it if I am being honest.
Travel in Asia:  Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Turkey, Thailand, Laos (in April)
Random, funny stuff that I would never, ever see anywhere else (a dog sitting on a trash rickshaw seat, paws on the handlebars in the middle of the most insane traffic on my way to work).
Affordability and very cheap goods--we are at the source.

Things I am looking forward to leaving behind:

Not having to feel ashamed for having a female body.
Open sewers.
Men peeing in the gutters..
Getting sick all the freaking time and my kids getting sick a lot.
The beggars and the system that perpetuates this and takes total advantage of their situation and malformations.
Getting stressed out about going shopping.  No parking, people stalking me in the store bugging the crap out of me.
Not being able to drive myself more.
Hartals (this one belongs in the other category a bit because I don't mind working from home, but it is horrible for the country and the people I know work so hard to just get by and make a living and make their country a better country).

I cannot think of any others, but I am for certain that I need to enjoy every last little tidbit in the next few months because time is going to just fly by.

Live in the moment, remember the past, and look forward to the rest.