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9 posts from June 2008

June 25, 2008

Katla puella romana est

or doesn't everyone spend their vacation learning Latin? Peter tried to bore us tonight (or stump us, not sure which).  Honestly, I never found Latin terribly difficult (at least the basic meanings), and after three years...it is sort of imprinted in your brain. So, I was neither stumped nor bored.  Not only was I not bored, Caitlin was intrigued.

An hour later, she is still in the middle of a Latin lesson with Peter.  She is downright enjoying it, so we shall definitely continue down this path.  Not surprisingly, she also loved Williamsburg.

I will have to post pictures later, but suffice it to say, Williamsburg was 100% a success.  Caitlin spent the day playing a girl of that era, to include an historically accurate costume (dress a rental, hat a keeper).  Oh, and don't tell her, but a similar costume has already been procured as a birthday gift.  No small parts and it can be handed down to her sister when she outgrows it.

June 22, 2008

I cried

because that song is so beautiful and makes me so happy.  A direct quote from Kelsey tonight after I sang Rock-a-Bye Baby....mostly because I am not a singer, but felt like I should sing something since the ipod failed.  Given that my repertoire of 80s pop songs is a little wider than classical music (and my humming leaves something to be desired), I figured I could just update the words and that would make up for her lack of nightly tunes.

The next thing I know, Kelsey is in tears.  Why? In her words, "because that song is so cute and sweet and nice". I had assumed it was my voice, and while I am grateful it was not, I admit I was stunned by her sudden tears.  Maybe it is the move or maybe not, but I nearly started crying looking into the big, brown eyes rimmed with tears.  It is sometimes hard to believe she is 'only' six. 

June 20, 2008

Can you tell which one

IMG_0949  was most excited about the costume rental option at Williamsburg?  Spending three years overseas has done nothing but strengthen Caitlin's desire to learn about her home country.  Since we are in the midst of our 5 week mandatory home leave, why not spend a little time exploring the places close by.

We had a great, if not tiring, day exploring the Governor's Palace and Revolutionary City.  I am pretty sure Caitlin memorized everything that was said by the townspeople and will happily share upon request.  While Kelsey was learning about the blacksmith trade (her favorite part), I happened upon this young girl writing in her journal with her quill pen. 

And would it be a day at Williamsburg without the traditional period food of chocolate chip cookies, ginger cakes, apple cider, and bottled water?

June 10, 2008

Culture Shock

We have been back for approximately one day now.  We arrived in Boston yesterday around this time, all family members accounted for, all luggage accounted for, and no USDA issues with the kottur.  So, we headed into the terminal with 2 carseats, 1 stroller, 9 bags, the cat, 3 winter coats, and 5 extraordinarily over-dressed people.

Yep, the East has been hit by a heat wave and we are in the midst of it.  Can you say shorts weather?  I have a very cute picture of Nicholas (waiting to be uploaded) wearing shorts and a t-shirt and nothing else.  No tights, no woolen hat, no bunting, no car seat cover...good grief, he might as well be naked.

And now we are re-adjusting.  I know there is the thought floating around out there that because we are American and we stay in touch, e.g., visit the States, keep up with the news, that we are immune to culture-shock and that Home Leave might not be necessary.  However, it is so amazingly untrue.

We lived and breathed everything Icelandic for three years.  And suddenly we are back home.  After being so used to everything Icelandic (which can be translated to mean extremely pure in some cases), we are now thrust back into the maelstrom of commercialism and over-processed everything. 

I have realized how careful we will have to be when we eat (Icelandic law forbids hormones and preservatives - a good thing).  How just because things are so much cheaper here doesn't mean we need it.  How I may have to have a conversation with the grocery store clerk (okay, can handle that), and that we have to remember to tip at restaurants.

And did I mention how we have to be very 'portable' for the next few months?  Well, it will be very interesting, and should this computer ever lose its ever-present 'wonkiness', perhaps I will share some of our upcoming adventures!

June 08, 2008

That's All Folks

for Iceland at least.  Our plane leaves in 9 hours and 4 minutes.  It has been an amazing three years and not sure I can quantify everything in one post. We have experienced every emotion possible here and reached the point where it truly felt like home in many respects. 

For that reason, it is somewhat odd to think that we are "going home" tomorrow. I honestly had reached the point where it didn't seem like we would leave.  Until this weekend, we just kept going with regular activities.  Yes, the house had been packed out, but even with just a few belongings around, it still hasn't really hit us that we are experiencing a permanent change of station.

Despite my determination to finish this post, the computer is conspiring against me and being quite wonky.  So, alas, I will have to finish in America, though perhaps not for a few days.  Bless, bless for now, dear Iceland.

ISI 002

Kelsey and her classmates, ISI, 2007-2008. 

June 03, 2008


IMG_0827 to be seen again in 2.5 months, if all goes as planned.





June 02, 2008

Can you keep a secret?

Seriously, this is a big one.  The kids rarely read the blog, (yes, kids, as Kelsey is becoming quite the little reader, following in Caitlin's footsteps) however, I feel the need for the precaution anyway.  Perhaps because these are wrapped, packed, boxed, and ready to be crated; in other words, the girls would have no way of truly admiring these just yet.  Should they learn of their existence, they might want to see pronto, yet cannot until we have a new home....so this is just between me and you and you and you.



Peter has an aerial view of the Embassy in Caracas, specially  matted, signed by all of his colleagues, and beautifully framed.  When wracking my brain for a special going away gift for the girls, I finally realized the answer was hanging on our family room wall.

I originally planned to do one frame for both girls, but quickly realized this would work if they end up with separate bedrooms.  I found a perfect frame, but it was one of a kind.  I was relieved to find Ikea had something similar that could be used for Kelsey.

 With much help from Kirsten, the Art & Kindergarten teacher, and Berta, the project was quickly completed.  Caitlin's is signed by all of the 2nd - 5th graders, while Kelsey's was covered by names and pictures from K-1.  Berta even went so far as to take the mat to a going away party for one of Caitlin's friend's Saturday evening.  The child was leaving the country permanently the very next day for her home country and would not be able to participate in the Monday morning sign-fest.


Monday during lunch, I raced to school to pick up the frames whil e I knew they would be occupied.  Caitlin saw me as I was leaving but was distracted and did not stop to greet me or question the frames.  I made it home, handed them to the movers and they quickly wrapped them so the girls would not see them that night, mingled with other items yet to be prepped for the move.

Here's hoping I can find 11 photos that truly capture their lives while we were here.  While the signatures are only from current classmates, the girls have known at least five of the kids for almost our entire tour.   I know Caitlin is anxious to go to America to visit, er, live, and Kelsey is hopping-up-and-down excited about San Francisco.  However, I can't help but wonder when the other shoe will fall.

When will it hit them we aren't coming back, at least not to stay?  Maybe, just maybe not before I can get these unwrapped, filled with pictures, re-wrapped, and presented to them as the first decorations in their new home.