It took me being on a plane by myself for five hours to finally sit down and write (headed to London for work). It’s been a whirlwind of a first semester in Amman. We’ve slept in the desert, climbed on Roman ruins, and floated in the Dead Sea. We made it to Oman where we checked out a souq, hiked and swam to a waterfall in a cave and visited an absolutely beautiful mosque. We’ve also made new friends, settled into some sort of routine, gone to the grocery store, shuttled the kids to play dates, got a dog, started coaching basketball, laughed, cried, argued and all the other things we always do because we’re a family and we’re home.
Almost a year ago now I took my first shot at starting a podcast (it’s still in production stages due to unforeseen but should have been foreseen circumstances) with the idea to talk to my international teacher friends about the concept of home. I had two fantastic conversations with friends, one in Ghana and one in China about their ideas of home and living as an expat. I won’t go into details so that you can look forward to listening to the episodes sometime in the distant future. But, I’ve been thinking about that idea a lot lately. One friend told me that they can feel just as at home in an airport now as on their couch, because it’s really about just being with her people and I’m feeling that more these days as well. Whether it’s our house or an AirBnB, a hotel or a campsite in the desert this family seems take it all in stride. We settle into spaces and just figure it out. The couch might be too small, or the pillows too soft but with my people around, its home to me. And I think, the kids are starting to feel that too.
I’ve started coaching basketball again after quite a long sabbatical taken to get kids to somewhat self sufficient stages and it has been a blast. I had forgotten how much I enjoy coaching and being around kids in a different setting. I’m not sure how good we’ll be, in fact I’m missing our first game for this trip. (it’s okay, i’m not the only coach) I think one of my favorite things about coaching this time is that my own kids want to be in the gym with me. Josie comes and hangs out on the side for most practices after school. She will sort practice jerseys and toss in a ball when we need it, but also just kind of hang out and do her thing. Maddox on the other hand could probably be considered an assistant coach. He knew every kid that tried out by the second day. Partly because he had played with most of them at some point on the playground, these are high school kids by the way, and partly because that’s just how he works. When he gets to come to practice he breaks down each player for me and what he thinks their strengths are. He’s reminded me to send some emails to the team about schedules and even stepped in to help us put in our offense when only 9 guys showed up.
As usual, an entire week has passed and I’m now back on the plane headed back to Amman finishing up this post. I guess it kind of works out, ties this rambling all back together in a way. I’m so ready to be home. A few days of adventure on my own is fun but it doesn’t take long for me to miss my people. I was constantly thinking about how each of them would think different places or things were cool, wondering what their eyes would see, thinking about what they were doing in their days and missing our routine. Even when that routine includes the struggle of getting four people out the door in the morning with shoes and clean teeth.
So I guess what it comes down to is this. Amman is where we live now and we like it and call it home. But for me, home isn’t so much the space as it is the people. My people will be asleep when I arrive in the middle of the night tonight, at least I hope they will. And while I’ll crawl into my own bed tonight, it won’t be the familiar sheets or my kind of losing its fluff pillow that lets me know I’m home. It will be the little snuggles I’ll sneak from each of them tonight and the giant hugs I’ll give in the morning that let me know I’m home.
Here’s a pile of pictures that probably still leaves out a lot of our adventures, but hey. Life moves fast in a new home.