linaewen: (Chibi Katakura-kun)
I'm having an adventure this week. My healthy, active hubby went and had a heart attack on Monday. Part of the adventure was me driving him through Chicago traffic and construction zones to the ER, praying the whole way that I had not made a bad decision about where to take him or about not calling an ambulance instead. My prayers while driving were answered, and we made it in the nick of time -- he had his attack in the presence of the ER staff while I was getting the car parked. He is getting awesome care, and surprising the doctors with how quickly he is bouncing back from a 100% blockage on one side. I guess being healthy and active doesn't always prevent the attacks, but it helps with the recovery! He is actually doing so well that there a possibility he will be discharged today.

The rest of the adventure will continue next week, as we are scheduled to close on a condo we are buying the 28th, and then move into it by the 30th -- which I imagine will involve hubby supervising from a chair while other people do all the work! I'm praising God that he is still with me to do that, and for all the help we have been offered for the move, so that hubby can relax in his chair.  I'm also even more pleased now with our new condo, which is only a few blocks away from our current apartment, on the first floor, which will be good place to live for a heart patient and his wife who has arthritis in her knees (that's me)!
linaewen: (Packer Rodgers)
Hugs to those of you who have inquired about how I was faring as a result of the recent blizzard here in the Midwest.  <3

I think we had something like 20 inches dumped on us in our part of Chicago.  We closed the Center in advance of the storm, and are still closed today for the benefit of our volunteers who will have a difficult time getting up here -- and it's unlikely any South Asians will dare to venture out (if they can even open their doors for the drifts).  Folks from countries where snow is a novelty only seen in the mountains are not adventurous at this time of year -- and I don't blame them.  ;-)  I don't expect we'll see too many ladies wanting to learn English for awhile, even when we open again!

We enjoyed the blizzard (because we like snow) and relished the thunder snow (don't get to have that too often, even in Wisconsin).  And we appreciated being able to serve as the go-to people for dealing with Center-related issues that came up because of the snow, since we live only a block away and can get there on foot no matter how high the drifts happen to be,.  ;-)  Even with the place closed, we can still get over there and get caught up on some of the work that needs doing that doesn't involve opening it up to the public -- if we want to.

But those snow drifts I mentioned are still a barrier in other ways, and are contributing to our current frustration and irritation.  We have at least 3 feet of snow (that's aside from the drifted snow) on the street where we live -- not to mention all the other side streets in the vicinity -- and more in the alleys due to the wind, and even if we dug our car out, we wouldn't be able to drive anywhere.  We have heard that they will be plowing the side streets for a change (they normally never do, you just drive on top of the snow until it gets flattened), but when that will happen is anybody's guess.  We have a shovel, and we know how to use it, but I'm not sure we are up to shoveling a path several city blocks long...

The frustration is that we have plans to leave town on the weekend for a 5 day vacation from the work here.  (We're just coming off of a long bit of being indispensable due to staffing shortages, and another time like that is approaching when we'll pretty much be in charge and won't be able to get away until next month.)  But will we be able to get our car out and to a main street that will take us to the interstate by Saturday evening?  Who knows?  And if we get out, will we have a place to come back to when we return?

The DS up in Wisconsin fared pretty well -- he was plowed out by the city by 8 am on Wednesday and once he used the snow blower on the driveway, he was able to get to work on time.  Everyone knows that McDonald's doesn't close during blizzards, since that's when everyone decides they need to get out and buy burgers, so he had to get to work.  ;-)  He also kept a dentist appointment and was able to drive around without too much trouble, though he did have a wee fender bender that thankfully no one even cared about, it was so tiny.  They know how to do blizzards in Wisconsin!

I just heard on the news that they have begun plowing the side streets, so here's hoping they get to ours in the near future, so we can escape to Wisconsin in time to be on Cheesehead soil for the watching of the Super Bowl, the intended "kick off" of our vacation week!  \o/

Speaking of which, Go Pack Go!  ;-)

Watch this space for more snow and Packer-related updates, as well as some major catching up on my part (as I notice that the last time I posted here was in November....)
linaewen: (Shikamaru Irritated by Unknown)
I'm a pretty flexible person for the most part -- some of that flexibility is innate, and some of it is learned as a result of living in another culture that values time in a different way than Americans are used to doing.  During our time in Pakistan, we really came to understand that South Asians value looser schedules than we do, that time is less tangible, less linear, and always susceptible to last-minute change.  For the most part, that's actually a pretty calming way to live, if one can get the hang of not looking at one's watch or not caring what it says!

It's something we keep running up against here in Chicago, working in the South Asian community.  As a teacher of English here, I have had to go into each situation prepared for my student to not show up -- or to show up at a different time than the set time.  It can be frustrating at times, but it's usually not so hard to stay flexible.

However, I have recently discovered that my flexibility needs a bit of work!  It's been stretched to the limit of late.

One of my new responsibilities at the Center where we work is as the director of ESL -- making sure people in the community who want to learn English or study for the citizenship exam are matched with tutors who are volunteering their time to teach.  There is a certain amount of leeway in these arrangements, because we all know that "South Asian time" is going to be an issue.  But I've never seen it as bad as this before!  Perhaps it's just the sheer numbers of people not coming when they are expected that is testing my patience, rather than me being inflexible, but I must admit, even understanding that it is so, and why it is this way, I'm still having a hard time not throwing a hissy fit!

This week in particular I have not seen one scheduled ESL student show up to study with the teachers awaiting them -- including two of my own students yesterday.  Except for one woman today, who came three hours early and was told her teacher wouldn't be here until later.  After a cup of chai and some talk, she left, saying she would be back later.  But no...

Last week was almost as bad!  For myself, I can manage it, and I'm used to it to a certain extent.  But when it affects others for whom I'm responsible and who don't understand the culture as well, it's another matter.  Some of the volunteers come from a long way away just to help out with teaching, and some of them are students themselves doing this volunteering as part of an internship, so it's important that their students come and come on time.  Instead, we are all getting a taste of "South Asian time" and how it affects the finely crafted schedule.

So I'm pretty frustrated at the moment, and I have the headache to prove it!  Thankfully, I do realize that it's been this way for every ESL director that's ever had the job in this neighborhood, so I know it's not just me making a hash of it.  And I know it will work out eventually -- and the volunteers are certainly getting an accurate feel for it as they learn about another culture.  And I have lovely coworkers who hug me and say "there, there" -- and that's comforting, even if it doesn't help people come in on time for their lessons!


/cross complaining about culture

Speaking of ESL, this weekend I'm attending the first of three two-day workshops in teaching English as a Second Language.  I'm going to turn it into an adventure and take the bus/subway/train all the way to the suburbs to attend the course.  I set out tomorrow afternoon, with the first class session set for Friday evening.  I will spend the night, since classes begin again early on Saturday and go all day.  I'm looking forward to it muchly, even though it's been a very long time since I sat in a classroom!  But it will be fun.  Not only am I looking forward to the train ride, I'm keen on learning more about this subject -- and not even my frustration with students with South Asian watches can dampen that, lol!
linaewen: (Boromir Life is Good by fifmeister)
Thanks to all of you who commented encouragingly on my post about my friend Brad -- and thanks for your prayers and good thoughts on his behalf!

I was going to post an update yesterday, but didn't manage it somehow -- but now there's an even better one, so I shall be able to share that as well.

Brad's surgery on Monday went as expected -- he was in pre-op for 4 hours and surgery for 6 hours. The tumor was encapsulated and sent to pathology.  As far as I know, there isn't word on that yet, but I understand that it being encapsulated is a good thing!  He was in a lot of pain after the surgery, not so much from a headache, but he due to severe pain in his hip and chest from the way he had to lay down for the surgery.

However, I just got word that he is feeling much better and is actually being released from the hospital today!  (So soon I didn't even get a card sent to him yet, lol!)  He'll have to rest for at least a month after this.  His dad is staying with him at the moment, so that will be helpful.

I'll be sure to mention it if any other news comes that's notable -- in the meantime, keep Brad and his family
in your thoughts as you are able (his 20-something son, his parents, and his younger sister and her family).

And now for a "me" update.

Things are hopping here in northern Chicago as all our activities that revolve around the school year are getting under way.  We offer homework tutoring for South Asian kids every afternoon after school, and ESL and citizenship classes for adults.  I am the new director of the ESL/Citizenship portion of things, and it's been totally crazy trying to get that sorted out!  We have lots of volunteers willing to help out with teaching, but trying to get them hooked up with South Asian students who still work on what we call "Pakistani time" is always a bit of a struggle.  There's nothing that reveals a cultural difference better than our commitment to being on time compared to the more laid back approach of Indians and Pakistanis.  ;-)

I think it's getting sorted out, but it's been a bit of a stressful process.  I am actually surprised I was so stressed about it, as I should be one who is more than familiar with the different emphasis on time.  Still, it's one thing when it's me waiting for someone to come for a visit, and another to have a volunteer who is on a schedule have a student not show up with no advance notice.

Other than that, all is well.  My aches and pains from falling last month have disappeared for the most part, for which I am extremely grateful!  The weather has been pretty decent -- not too hot, not too cold -- and the cicadas have finally woken up and are buzzing for all they are worth.  Just the way I like it!  We still feel a bit cheated that we never really had a proper summer here in the Midwest; it was more of an extended spring that is now moving into fall!  But it was still very pleasant and we saved a bundle on air conditioning costs.  ;-)

We are heading up to Wisconsin for a quickie this weekend.  We have to pick the last of our tomatoes, check on DH's parents who haven't been doing so well lately, and give DS a hand with a few things, as he has been working overtime the past week or so, and is suddenly feeling swamped.  We will benefit from the sight of green and gold Wisconsin as well -- it's always restful to get away up there, even for a short visit.  Especially as the leaves are beginning to turn a bit and there's a Packer game on this weekend that we will actually able to watch on TV!  Can't always count on seeing that team televised here in Chicago.  ;-)
linaewen: (Pakistan Flag)
That was the cry from most of the floats at the parade we went to yesterday -- a parade celebrating Pakistan Independence Day (which actually was August 14th, but they held the parade on Sunday).  It means "Long Live Pakistan."  That parade was one of several events taking place in the South Asian part of Chicago this past weekend -- as India also celebrated Independence Day on the 15th with a parade, and our South Asian Friendship Center held a block party on Saturday to coincide with both events.

I was in charge of the food tent for the block party, which involved free water, lemonade, popcorn and watermelon.  I didn't really have my head on straight properly to be on top of things for the block party, due to arriving from our trip to New Jersey only the day before -- so I wasn't actually set up well enough before the inrush of thirsty folk after the parade.  It was almost overwhelming at first!  Also, I was stiff and sore from falling while setting up -- I tripped on a curb and fell on the grass, and bruised my knee severely (a bad bruise on top of a healing bruise from last time).  I'm such a klutz these days, I've fallen down hard twice this month!  Just rushing too much and not watching, I guess.  Anyway, that didn't help me at all to get around like I needed to, but I managed.  People who knew I had fallen helped me out a lot, so that was good!

We had a lot of volunteers from area churches to help out, which was wonderful, but my "assigned" ones always disappeared when I needed them!  Thankfully, I had a capable fellow manning the popcorn machine all day, so I didn't have to do that.  As it was, I was so busy frantically serving drinks and the other food (along with my helpers) that I hardly got a chance to even look at people, let alone chat with them.  And we were right next to one of the speakers which was blaring Hindi/Pakistani music -- fun stuff with a great beat, but so loud we couldn't hear ourselves think let alone hear what our customers were saying to us.  :-D

Local people kept taking my chairs and sitting in them along the street, so I never had one when I needed to sit down.  And I had to run back and forth a lot because we kept running out of lemonade and water.  It was a hot day, and people had been standing in the sun watching the parade, so we were a popular stop for a free drink -- plus the popcorn and watermelon.  My right arm is still stiff and sore today from slicing watermelon and pushing the spiggot on the lemonade jug repeatedly all afternoon!

In spite of all that, I was able to meet and chat with a number of my friends, as well as a bunch of kids who frequent the Center where they get help with English and schoolwork, so I was pleased about that.  And everything really went well and people had fun, and I got compliments on my Pakistani outfit -- which is nice because it's as old as the hills, but seemingly still in style and fitting properly.  ;-)

We were so busy with the block party that we didn't get to see any of the India Day parade, but we did get to see the Pakistan parade on the following day.  We actually skipped church to go see it!  It wasn't anything fancy, but it was fun to stand on the curb behind the police barricade, dressed like a Pakistani and wearing buttons that said Love Pakistan.  ;-)  It was overcast all morning, and sure enough, before the parade was over, a storm blew up.  Those poor people on the floats, lol!  We got soaked walking back home, but it was still fun.  We met lots of people we knew, and chatted a bit when the rain wasn't soaking us.  There was supposed to be a gathering in a nearby park afterwards, with booths for food and performances and such, but I didn't go.  It rained a fair bit, and then, even though it cleared up, it was really soggy out.

Anyway, I'm moving real slow today, as I'm quite stiff, and my bruised knee is a sight to behold.  I'll recover soon enough, hopefully!  It always takes a few days to recover from such a weekend, even when one doesn't fall all over the place and hurt oneself!  Too bad our lovely relaxing week in New Jersey got all used up in just two days, though!  We'll need to take another vacation now.  ;-)
linaewen: (Heart on Checks by wizzicons)
August 1st was our 28th wedding anniversary, whoo hoo!  We actually had the day off for a change, and took advantage of it to take the elevated train downtown to Chicago's Loop so we could follow our tradition and eat pizza on our anniversary.  If I recall correctly, our first anniversary was spent in NYC, where we ate pizza at a real Italian restaurant, and we decided to keep up the tradition.  Even in Pakistan!  If we couldn't get to a pizza place there (which happened more often than not, as you can imagine) we made our own pizza for the celebration.

So this time around we were determined to eat at Pizzeria Uno's -- the very first one, started in downtown Chicago.  There is an Uno's in my hometown, and it was the place to meet during college and for reunions and such.  Now that we have eaten in the famous Chicago Uno's, we shall have to go back for a reminder of what the pizza is like back in my hometown.  ;-)

Other than stand outside in the drizzly rain for more than an hour waiting to be seated, and eat pizza that cost a fair bit even though it was the smallest one we could order and still get enough to eat, we walked around some parks and looked at fountains and tall buildings.  Sounds boring when you write it, but it was very pleasant, especially since the rain went away eventually and the weather was lovely cool.

Other that that, I've been trying to catch up with myself after having a guest for a week, then another over the weekend (going tomorrow!), as well as recovering from a nasty fall on the pavement that bruised me up nicely and wrenched my shoulder.  I was walking fast, carrying a heavy bag of books, and I slipped on something and couldn't catch myself.  Nothing broken, and nothing that a heating pad and some rest won't cure, so I guess I'm pretty thankful for that!


Jul. 3rd, 2009 02:11 pm
linaewen: (Spices by wizzicons)
I have to admit that living in small town Wisconsin sometimes has its disadvantages.  Not very many disadvantages, but a few here and there.  One of them is that you can't find a guava for love nor money.  I developed a taste for this fruit over in Pakistan, but haven't been able to find them now that we are back here.  So I've been without guavas for 6 years...

... but no more!  Now that we live in Chicago, I can get things like that!  Last week, I was walking through my favorite international grocery store, and I smelled them -- guavas!  They have a very distinctive smell.  Sure enough, there they were.  They cost a fortune per pound, but I paid it because I wanted a treat.  :-D

They were just the thing, too!  Sliced round with salt, black salt and pepper, yum!

So how many here have eaten guavas, and how many of those like them?  According to the rest of my family, they are foul and a nuisance, because the seeds are as hard as little rocks and have to be swallowed whole.  Fine, I say to them, that leaves more for me!  ;-)

In other non-guava news, we are up in Wisconsin for the holiday weekend.  The weather is great!  Hopefully, it will stay that way, too.  The fireworks are set for this evening -- not at the usual location along the river, alas!  They've been flooded out again, same as last year.  Still, it should be nice.  We'll probably meet up with the inlaws for a picnic and then hang out waiting for dusk.


One advantage of living in small town Wisconsin is that we have a yard where raspberries grow.  We got up from Chicago this morning and made a beeline for the raspberry bushes, and ate a couple of handfuls before going in the house.  :-D  Yum!

Raspberries and guavas, two of the best fruits ever!

ETA the 2nd:

If you don't know what black salt is, read about it here:
linaewen: (Asia on a Bulb by wizzicons)
My mom used to always say "another country heard from" when one of us kids had been quiet for a long time, then suddenly piped with a pronouncement, or showed up after a long absence in our room.  I'm thinking it applies to me pretty well, lol!  Since I haven't been seen or heard for more than a month on this side of my journal.  However, by posting today, I have managed to squeak one LJ post in before the month ends, whew!  Wonder where the time went...?

Anyway, I'M FINE!  Though one wouldn't know by the amount of posting I do.  ;-)  Life in Chicago is busy and interesting.  I am quite occupied with teaching English these days, and it's extra fun because I'm teaching some Pakistani ladies.  It is a great temptation to speak a lot of Urdu when we are together, so I have to behave myself.  It's both an advantage -- for explaining complicated grammar points or the meaning of words -- but it's also a disadvantage, because it's quite natural to lapse into Urdu, and forget to speak English.  It's actually a bit of a problem with all our students here, as most of them speak some language that is related enough to Urdu that I can communicate quite freely in that language and most people understand me well.  Cool that I can do that in Chicago of all places!  :-)

I went to a seminar a few weeks ago about ESL, and learned some good stuff.  Now I'm considering taking some more courses in it -- not that I have much time for it, or even much money for it, but I think I can swing a three-week session that is being offered at a college in the area.  So we'll see how that goes.  A little bit of learning and training under my belt and I think I'll do better; as it is, I seem to be doing all right, and my students are happy with what they are learning from me.  Even if it's sometimes Urdu instead of English!!

We are still wearing sweaters here in Chicago, alas.  And in Wisconsin, too.  It's been nothing but rain lately, and that's not too great for flooding.  Hopefully it won't be another year like last year with the floods!  We ran out of oil for our old furnace up there before the cold weather ended -- luckily our son who lives in our place doesn't mind being on the cold side.  At least we still have space heaters there and a gas fireplace.  As for Chicago, we are sandwiched in between to apartments that run their heat high, so we have actually been too warm, even when it's cold!  They saved us some money on gas bills, thank you, neighbors!

We are taking some time off this coming weekend to head up to our place in Wisconsin so that we can spend a good week doing yard work, repairs, replacing the furnace, etc. etc.  It will be a good work out, I'm sure, but I'm looking forward to it.  At the end of our week there we plan to go visit my dad, and spend Mother's Day weekend with him.  It will be one year exactly on Mother's Day that my mom passed away.

I had planned to write something meaningful about my mom by now, but I haven't managed it yet -- though I did begin it!  I'm going to work on it seriously in the next week or so, to have it ready BEFORE Mother's Day.

Related to belated posting, I have a lovely Icon Meme that I got from [ profile] telperion1 that I want to post, but I haven't gotten around to it, even though it's been some time since she gave me the icons to write about.  I'll try to get that up shortly, it's really a fun one!

Other than teaching English, eating curry, driving to and fro from Wisconsin, and trying to keep my wee apartment clean, I have been trying to keep up with my fanfic writing, but I haven't succeeded very well.  I seem to have a bit of writer's block.  I'm picking away at it, but when it gets too blocked, I drop it and go watch anime.  ;-)  Some days it's more anime than writing, but either way, I'm enjoying myself and making progress -- slowly!

So that's what I've been doing this month!

linaewen: (Spices by wizzicons)
Though it may seem as if I haven't been around, I actually haven't been absent.  I come here several times a day to check out what my buddies are up to.  But do I say anything about myself?  Not recently!  So, in an attempt to be sure I post at least twice this month, here goes...

I really like living in northern Chicago.  Where we are, it's very much like being in one of the bigger cities in Pakistan, believe it or not.  They actually call it Little India up here, though it could just as well be called Little Pakistan!  It still amazes me sometimes that living in Chicago can still remind me so much of Pakistan.  Some of those reminders are as obvious as the smell of curry coming from restaurants, the sweet shop that sells barfi and jallaybee just a block from our house, the sounds of conversation in a foreign language that we can understand, the sight of burqua-clad women or the ready availability in the corner grocery store of bitter gourd, a vegetable native to Pakistan and India.  Other reminders are more intangible, like the way people gesture when they talk, or bob their head in a South Asian manner.  So we definitely feel at home.

We haven't gotten out into the other part of Chicago very much as yet, but we have gotten downtown a couple of times -- and want to do more.  We're coming up on better weather for being out and about, so we have plans to start checking out some of those museums and parks that look so inviting in the Not For Tourists Guide Book we got ourselves for Christmas.  Downtown just one bus and a longish train ride away -- which is part of the fun for us.  Being from towns in Wisconsin where they didn't have public transportation because you could walk just about anywhere you wanted to go, we think riding the bus and the elevated train is a real treat that can't be beat!  :-D  We don't get to do it often enough, because where we are living now, everything we need daily is within walking distance -- even the place where we work is only a block away! :-D

Today is looking like a lovely sunny day, though I'm not sure how warm it is going to be.  Either way, it will be a good day for a walk for exercise.  There is a lovely little park with a pond about a mile away, and I think I'll go there today and watch the ducks.  Maybe if it's warm enough I'll sit for a bit and do some writing!
linaewen: (Sunflower by JunoMagic)
Ah, I love the weather in the Midwest, it's never the same two days in a row.  ;-)

Yesterday was rainy and grey and rather depressing-looking -- except that it was 55 degrees and sooo warm, it was hard not to think of spring.  Today, it's barely 20 degrees, and it feels like less than that with the wind -- but the sun is shining so brightly and the sky is so blue, I just have to get out and go for a walk today!!

It was like that over the weekend, also, though we had a few days of sun and warm together.  It rained a lot, too, and that means flooding in our area of Wisconsin.  I was up there visiting my various family members, and got to see some lovely stretches of flooded fields and riverbanks as I drove to and fro.  I am thankful our house up there is on a ridge and not near the river!  Flooding is a real problem along that river, though -- the internet weather report has daily severe weather alerts for flooding rather than snow or thunderstorms!

It's always good to go up to Wisconsin to visit my DS, and this time I got over to where my dad lives and visited him, too -- which usually encompasses seeing the rest of my family, since they all live in the area.  So it was a nice, nice weekend.  It's also good to be back down in Chicago with the DH.  It's really a blessing to be able to go to and fro so often and to be happy wherever I end up!

One of my main jobs down here in Chicago is to teach English to South Asian immigrants.  I'm not really trained in ESL, though I seem to be able to manage to do all right, at least when it's one on one.  It's a little more tricky in a classroom situation.  I am going to an ESL seminar next month to learn a few tricks, and I am seriously considering taking some classes somewhere and getting some kind of certificate in the subject.  Hope it's not too late for this old dog to learn some new tricks.  ;-)
linaewen: (Bag End by John Howe)
Thought I'd get some pix of the new place while it still looked neat!  ;-)  We still don't have all the furniture we need yet, but we're getting there.

I have included the first two, and then a link to my Scrapbook Gallery where you can keep clicking until you've seen them all.  Some of the pictures are of the apartment before we moved in (marked "Before", others were taken after we moved and got set up (marked "After".  I included the before pictures to give a better idea of how the apartment is laid out -- for some reason it can be seen more clearly when there is no furniture present.

On to the tour...

Living Room before

Living Room after

The tour continues here -- fourteen more photos besides these two!

Luckily, I am currently at my other house in Wisconsin for a day or two so I can actually use the internet long enough to post something -- even pictures!  I have my fingers crossed that the DH's plan for getting hooked up to the worldwide web in Chicago will come to pass within the week.  Cross your digits with me!
linaewen: (Zoro Loafing)
The first round of moving into our apartment is complete, and we are now back in our house in Wisconsin for a few days, where we have a real bed and internet without having to go to the library.  Yay!  Our old double bed here is nothing to write home about, I can tell you, but it's lovely compared to what we have been sleeping on lately in our new place.

For the past few nights, we have been sleeping on an inflatable double bed air mattress -- two of them, actually, neither of which holds enough air to support us through the entire night.  Between the two of them, it's bearable, but only just.  On top of that, we don't have any curtains or even blinds on our windows yet, and so the light from the biggest street lamp I've every seen that shines into our bedroom all night is rather disturbing.  Add all that to the fact that people were setting off fireworks all night the last few nights, and you come up with a couple of really sleepy people.  ;-)

So I'm feeling pretty tired right now, but still happy with the place we are moving into.  Getting a queen-sized mattress and box spring and something more than just an office chair to sit on, though, are high on the list of priorities.  DH's middle name is Thrifty, so we have been following up leads for used furniture throughout Chicago -- but so far, all our promising options have fizzled.  We are, on the other hand, learning our way around the city, and know where all the Salvation Army thrift stores are.  ;-)

I'm starting to whisper "buy new" in his ear, we'll see if it works.
linaewen: (Asia on a Bulb by wizzicons)
One of the most frustrating things about having my mom not here anymore is that I can't pick up the phone and call her to tell her of the exciting things that are happening in my life, or to complain of the less than exciting things that are bugging me.

One of those times came recently, and I actually found myself reaching for the phone to tell her some good news, and had to stop myself, lol! I wasn't sad about it when I realized I couldn't call, I was just plain miffed, hehe! After complaining to the DH that I was irritated I couldn't call my mom, I picked up the phone and called my sister and my aunt (mom's sister) instead. ;-)

Most of you on my flist know by now that my hubby and I spent considerable years in Pakistan, where we worked with a nonprofit organization, mostly doing teaching. We are still with that organization, but have been a bit in limbo over the past five years since returning from South Asia. We spent time working in the home office, but for the past three or four years we have been not really doing much of anything. ;-)

For some time now, DH and I have been pursuing an opportunity to a work with a center that aids the Paksitani community of northern Chicago with things like learning English and adjusting to the American culture and helping in all kinds of other ways. It's the perfect set up for us who have spent so much time in Pakistan, and know the language and culture, but are now living stateside. That part of Chicago is less than 2 hours from where we live now, so we can also still keep tabs on our son as he takes the next step in independence by being in charge of our house here in Wisconsin, while living in an Urdu-speaking community just like old times.

We finally got permission from our organization to move to Chicago -- and that is the good news I so badly wanted to tell my mom, lol! She had been a great source of support of our hopes and had been praying for a long time that we would find something like this to do. :-)

One reason you haven't seen me around much recently is that this past week we have been apartment hunting! Not an easy thing to do when you don't already live in Chicago. We have made several day trips recently, armed with phone numbers and appointments to view places. Even though a number of opportunities fell through by the time we got down to Chicago to look at them, we managed to see enough apartments that we were able to make a decision on one.

The place we are hoping to rent -- if we are approved -- turns out to be the very first place we viewed! It is pretty small, but new and beautiful, and located right near all the best Pakistani restaurants! And it's only one block from the Center where we will be working much of our time.

We decided on that place on Monday, and now are waiting for the landlord to approve our credit report. DH spoke with the landlord's agent this morning, and it sounds like he might be able to go down as early as tomorrow to sign a lease, if all goes well! Nothing like waiting for ages for something to happen, and then when it does, we can't keep up with it! ;-)

I am currently visiting with my my dad for a few days, but when I get home, I guess I'll have to jump into packing some things to move down to Chicago! Hopefully it won't be too hard to go back to living in an apartment after owning our own home -- but the nice thing is, our house in Wisconsin is not so far away that we can't visit it whenever we need a break from the big city. It will be the best of several worlds all rolled into one!

Now if only I could tell my mom about it...

But who knows, she might even know all about it already! :-D

ETA: Hope this entry doesn't need an LJ cut; I'm on my dad's computer and I don't seem to be able to do anything the way I'm supposed to be able to with my LJ -- and I can't remember how to do a cut the old fashioned way. ;-) I had to come in by the back door, so to speak, in order to get this to post as it is! Oh, for a nice wireless connection right now. ;-)


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August 2017



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