Thursday, 18 February 2010
I have always wanted an adventure, always enjoyed holidays, road trips, going to new places and meeting new people. When I was younger I used to go for walks, with part of me hoping to get a little lost, so I could enjoy the adventure of finding my way home. I used to play make believe when even younger about being washed up onto a beach, in a new land, discovering my surroundings, how to make a home or camp to survive!! So it has always been in my soul to do the very thing I am doing now. But getting here wasn't an easy road, without even knowing it I have learnt a lot, and since arriving here I have had an awareness of learning even more, a journey of self discovery and an appreciation of life and it's meaning.
The world is a bog place, and I am always thirsty to know more, what's around the next corner? what kind of people live there? The landscape, the sky, the way places all look differently at night, even though we are all always looking at the same moon. Around each corner there are different people, cultures and religions. They are more often than not different to us, to how we have been raised, conditioned in our individual societies. With this it seems to be the human nature to reject things that we don't understand or know. But when we fight this urge and open our minds to these new experiences, people, cultures and religions it greets us with a feeling of liberation. For the first time you will have an overwhelming urge to learn even more, to discover more places, meet even more people. To have your life touched, moved, marked by all these new people you never even dreamt of meeting.
My time here has been touched in so many different ways already. I have been touched by kindness of people who hardly knew me and my family. They have embraced us into their lives and surroundings, helped us make our home here. Your home can be just about anywhere. There is always a way of making a home, it is about immersing yourself with your family, allowing your new friends in each place into your lives, a few memories and of course the internet from time to time!
I have learnt a lot about life an myself since being here. I have had space in my head to think, grow and understand. And to learn from others. I have learnt we are all good people, we just need the right environment to see it and for others to see it. I have spent much of my teenage and adult life uncomfortable, unhappy, for many reasons, little of which i don't fully understand my self, I know what triggered it but what I don't understand is why i let things affect me so much. now, however I know that I am good person. I now know that it is OK to acknowledge this in yourself. It isn't a case of over confidence, its simply a case of allowing yourself to be liked and loved by at least one person and once that person, you, has established that friendship, more friendships will grow. It is OK to take on board compliments from people, to accept to yourself what they are saying is in fact true, and when you return home and mull over said compliment, you can see that if you yourself saw this in somebody else, you would have also paid the same compliment with the same intentions.
Another thing I have learnt is we all have a past. We all have vices, pain, history and bad points. we should never be ashamed of them. It is part of who we are, of what we are made of. We need to be true to ourselves and realise that we change and grow everyday, so how we may have acted, behaved or responded to things 10 years ago aren't necessarily how we would be today, and the way we respond today is not necessarily how we would respond tomorrow! We have all done wrongs in our lives, maybe it is just that we didn't deal with a situation or relationship how we should have or maybe wanted to. I have learnt to understand now that i cant control what people think of me, the only thing I can control is how I deal with how the perceive me and how I think about myself. I know who I am and that's what matters.
We are all looking for something in our lives. Aand once we have found what it is we are looking for, no matter what it is, I know anyone can achieve pretty much anything. We only let ourselves stand in our way. there are so many things I would love to do and be - a doctor, an actress/singer and win the x factor, a writer, a chef............... - the things in my way of attaining any of these things are controlled by me - I could dedicate all my time to studying, I am open to learning and if I was determined and wanted it enough I am sure I could maybe eventually become a doctor!!! but it is my choice not to sacrifice my family time, the money, our current life (and sleep), that would be required to reach that goal! the same kind of pattern is true for any of the above, if I trained and learnt I could be almost anything I want to be. But if I am honest right now I am happy, truly happy, the happiest i have ever been, and I am content with riding this wave and enjoying the gift of my family. my family comes first, that is my destiny right now in my life and that is an adventure, after all that's what I have always been looking for! i am proud to be a mum and a wife, whatever job I undertake I commit to 100% and it's no different with this job! I do the best I can.
The most important lesson I have learnt is about change. Once we accept change in our lives we can ease that transisiton, allowing to take control of those changes, which gives us control of our lives, end result = making us happy. I have always been a person that when things begin to go 'wrong' I need to take control. usually I result in not taking control of the actual problem. When having our children I had no control, firstly in becoming pregnant, then the pregnancy, and the births are where I lost complete control. After having them I suffered pnd, re affirming my lack of control, I desperately needed to get some control back, for me this took hold in an eating disorder. After loosing over 6 stone in a matter of months, I had gained control of something. It isn't until now I realise that I had gone about it in the wrong way. It wasn't something else I needed to control, it was recover from my original illness of pnd that would have given me the control, eased the transition of recovery. Things hadn't exactly gone to plan. What I needed to do was to accept the changes in our plans and our lives and taken control of those changes and then maybe I would have spent that time happier. But, it has played a huge part in making me who I am now, and strangely I wouldn't change it, I would only change the hurt and upset it caused to people. I was happier when I was thin, happier in that respect than I am now, however at what Price? The difference now is I control how I feel, I control how I perceive myself and I control what I do about how I feel. The thing with my eating disorder, it was actually out of my control, it wasn't me taking control of anything. What I did take control of if recovering, making changes i my life, and that was the best thing I did. The effect it has had has been monumental, I am happy but most importantly my actions have made my family happy. My life had changed, at the time for the worse, but I took control of those changes, it eased the transition, allowed me to take genuine control and has made us all happy.
This leads me back to my adventure, our adventure, for my family. It has taken me to move all this way and to embark on this journey to learn all these things. And what I think about now is if I have managed to realise all these things in this short time, imagine what I can learn to understand in the future.
I have a wonderful life, it gets better every day, soon all my demons will disappear, and with everything new I learn and every new person that enters my life I will become even happier and in turn this will make the people around me happier. I love our children and I love my husband. It has taken a lot to get here, but we have made it, I couldn't have got here without my family and friends.
Posted by Ellie at 21:38
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Well we succumbed to the landmark birthdays, with dignity, style, fun and laughter!! The big 3 0 and the big 4 0 was anticipated, by me at least, like a ticking time bomb! How on earth were we to celebrate properly over here. We had envisaged being able to have a party with friends, get dressed up and have fun and maybe even a glass or two of Champagne! Well the latter certainly wasn't going to happen in Saudi!
However, this is part of what is changing us as people. Allowing us to grow and develop as human beings. No longer are our expectations what they used to be. In fact we have very few expectations. This led to a wonderful time for our birthdays.
Still trying to get completely even with money, as the first year is always the most expensive and with flying back to the UK so soon after arriving there wasn't going to be a fancy Rolex for the 40th and dazzling diamonds for the 30th, instead we used our imagination and created something far more special for each other.
My birthday began at 6am with me crying buckets in bed! But happy tears I must add! Jason had made for me a photo album. It was about our journey here so far. With all the pictures having captions and questions about our experiences so far, this coupled with an amazing choice of photos of us, the children, things we had done. It was truly beautiful, on many levels! With some lovely jewelery from the kids and a nice cup of tea in bed, Jason had to promptly leave for school! Taking Joey into school, I felt like a million dollars with the children in the playground singing happy birthday to me, the kids here are so nice!
I had a lovely day, peaceful and relaxing and yet still had the weekend to come!
Next came the BBQ - never have we Had a BBQ on our birthdays before, not with them being in February. Last year it had snowed on my birthday, and yet this year is was 25 degrees, very surreal!
WE had our BBQ in true British style, the wind was really getting up that weekend, but like Brits we were determined to cook outside! We had all our new friends with us, from South Africa, Pakistan, India, UK, Egypt. It was wonderful, to be surrounded by all these people who we have really only recently met, yet they came to our house to be with us, for this I was touched! Oh and of course, some FAB presents!!!
The wind finally did beat us for dessert, after the head mistresses food flying onto my neighbours plate! So for the birthday cake, which I had made for Jason, chocolate with chocolate frosting, with flake and maltesers and galaxy chocolate! We went inside, enjoying the rest of our party!
We didn't need alcohol, late nights and loud music to have fun, this in itself is somewhat liberating! We had all we needed, good food, good friends and fairly good weather!
Next came Jason's 40th!!! Being his birthday he has to take food/cakes into work with him. Well the least I could do would be to bake them for him!!! So another late night, making 20 carrot cake muffins and 2 loaves of banana nut bread, and up again at 5am to put the fresh frosting on them and make them pretty!
My gifts to Jason were about the day I would make for him. Staring with his tea and pressies in bed! At 6am I wake the kids, who promptly run and jump on daddy ordering him to open his presents, and he had better be quick or the kids are going to get them! For him I had taken a photo of the kids, turned it to black and white and had it enlarged and framed. Also a picture that I had taken in the UK at Christmas of the snow, where the snow lay on the branches of the bare trees, he had commented on that journey how pretty it had looked. So he now had a reminder of the UK and a reminder of one of the biggest achievements in his life, our babies! This was banded together with some youthful clothes and surfer jewellery, and chocolates and his favourite biscuits to comfort eat through any forthcoming pain of turning 40! Poor guy then had to go off to work!
He had some wonderful gifts at school, perfectly chosen from the staff and some really touching gifts and messages in cards from his pupils. This I know meant the world to him. Not only to be in a workplace where he was happy and with friends but also from the children. To be liked an respected by the children to the point where they would make him cards, choose gifts for him, not from the materialistic point of view but from the view that these children care and took the time for him! I can imagine for a teacher this must feel quite emotional and special, knowing that what you do affects people in such a positive way.
I spent much of this day cooking! I have been nagged since I arrived to cook rice! Now this is daunting experience for a Brit, where the only cooked rice know of is either in an orange, microwavable Uncle Ben's packet or it comes in a foil tray from the takeaway! But I set my mind to it and cooked him a Pakistani dish with chicken and potato cutlets, with home made mint and coriander dip and of course, his favourite, a home made cheesecake, Jamie Oliver 'stylee'!
The dinner was nice, slightly late, not because of my timing I should add, but because of upset caused by someone else, which Jason boldly sorted in defence of his wife and children, but this I shall not go into!
By this point we were both so shattered, from all our celebrations, preparations and the fat that poor Jason Had been suffering an awful cold the whole time! So a bit of TV and an early ish night!
Our birthdays were not quite as expected, not how we had planned we would have celebrated them, but then we aren't exactly where we had planned to be either. This is definitely not a negative thing. We are the happiest we have been for as long as we can remember, and isn't that what birthdays are about. Who needs lavish gifts, booze filled parties, it's all for show. We had true gifts for our birthdays, we had happiness, reflection, a sense of achievement and adventure, and most importantly we had friends (and cake!)
For everyone who helped make our birthdays so special this year, thank you, it is these friendships that we are making now that will shape us forever, and that's the best gift we could ever wish for.
Posted by Ellie at 10:07