Sunday, January 3, 2016

What I've Been Into

Mostly, before we get into anything else, life has been taken over by the fact that I am pregnant. Yes, indeed, we are expecting again, our third, and (if I have anything to do with it) final child. Yes, baby was planned. Isaac has always said he wants 3 or more children, and I have said 2-3. SO, here we are. :) Baby is temporarily being called Guppy because we just finished watching Bleak House and the name Guppy is just too perfect.

So, briefly, pregnancy #3 has been different than my first two pregnancies. Pregnancy #1 I was basically not sick at all, just tired. Pregnancy #2 I was weak and had low blood sugar/blood pressure symptoms that left me constantly shaky and hungry, but not really sick. Major round ligament pain in second and third trimester. Through both of those pregnancies I threw up a grand total of one time. This time around I knew I was pregnant because I lost my appetite, everything smelled awful, I couldn't drink coffee (because of the smell) and didn't want any of the homemade goodies I'd made just days before for a conference. In another week I got sick and spent a ton of time for the next month curled up in bed or on the couch with my kids playing around me (thank God, very seriously, that they play around me well while I do nothing at all). I threw up multiple times, mostly in the evenings, and I ate as little as I could. I was more miserable than either other first trimester.

Now I am well into the second trimester probably at my lowest weight at this stage, gaining a baby pooch, eating normally, and feeling pretty good. Just started doing a pregnancy workout DVD I got when we were on vacation in the big city, and that feels wonderful. We plan to deliver in the US when we are home for my sister's wedding this summer, we just don't know where we will deliver yet.


We watched through the first season of True Detective, which was SO interesting and creepy and well-made, but also the type of well made that, like House of Cards or several other recent shows, has enough adult content in it that you're just not comfortable and can't recommend it to others? Yeah. It's an excellent, fascinating mystery, but....

Mr. Selfridge is a Masterpiece Theater show about... well.... retail. A department store in Britain as department stores became a thing. It's a good show, but not great. Jeremy Pivens is.... sort of weird. But I would stream it if I was looking for something to watch in the US and it was on Netflix.

Our lukewarm feelings about Mr. Selfridge were in contrast to our next try, Broadchurch, Season 1. AMAZING. So good. A tense British mystery, great characters, not overly indulgent or graphic... just good. My favorite new show I've seen in ages. 

Broadchurch has been followed up by the last of our mailed-from-the-US-in-care-packages DVDs (sadly), Poldark, which is another British drama. A British soldier returns from Revolutionary war in the US to a home village struggling with mine closures and corruption and of course the usual class tension and social scandals. In contrast to Jeremy Piven, the dude that plays in Poldark is a good actor and the story has been compelling. We really like it. I believe it's streaming on Netflix as well. 

I am watching Call the Midwife's most recent season on Netflix, slowly but surely, when our internet is good and I have time. It's slow going. Netflix is a very limited option these days, so we mostly watch through things that come in care packages from the US.

We watched through the BBC's Bleak House, which is one of Dicken's darkest stories. I haven't read the book but Isaac did recently. He was at least satisfied with the adaptation and I could follow the very complex story and thought it was good. It's best, however, if you like Dickens and have read the book.


I read The Far Pavilions. I had to go back and check several times to see when it was written because the main character has such a modern perspective on politics, but it's actually an epic adventure novel written in 1978 and influenced by the author's growing up years in British India and Pakistan. Since my family worked in the area, I have visited some of the places talked about in the book, and so much of it (Afghanistan too) is now in the news again, it was SO INTERESTING to read about it in this time period. It is a sweeping epic, filled with adventure and battle and romance... and politics. I loved it. Except the way it portrayed women. It also was the earliest good example I have seen in literature of a TCK (though the concept didn't exist at the time), someone from one culture and raised in another and ultimately a different thing entirely and so constantly wrestling with their identity.

I read Madeline L'Engle's A Two Part Invention about her marriage and the death of her husband. It was beautiful, and simple, and profound. I love L'Engle. Totally becoming a heroine of mine.

I read Mati Syahid di Tanah Papua, a book about the first two TEAM missionaries in Papua who were killed on a survey trip into a nearby area. It was fascinating because it was right here, it was the beginnings of all that we work on now. Also, it was researched and written by one of our Papuan co-workers here at the school, and the graves of the two men sit in the front of the campus. The man who brought their bones out of the interior is the man who started this school and built our house. It is the history we live in, and that was so, so interesting.

I  read Tim Keller's book Every Good Endeavor about work and vocation. Since it's something I am wrestling with. It was very good. I'll have to post a bit with quotes.

I finally got to The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, which was popular ages ago and I feel like everyone has already read. It was a fantastic memoir and it felt like reading fiction. I wish I knew how much of it was true, and how much was dramatized for the book. There's so much about parenting and society, and considering that we are in a very much developing society, it made me think a lot. Part of it was also set in the coal-mining areas of poverty in West Virginia, and my husband has some family roots there that also made it interesting.

I read Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles by Mary Kurcinka, which I picked over a ton of other parenting books because I wanted something specifically addressing behavioral issues, particularly for the 2-5 year old age. This book was great for helping the parent think through the unique personality of their child, figure out triggers and tendencies, and then help the child work past them through understanding, empathy, and boundary setting.

I read Tales of a Female Nomad, which was on shelf of a guesthouse we stayed in when we got here. It is a travel memoir. What made it unique for me is that she spent a good amount of time in Indonesia. Her discussion of her time in Irian Jaya (at the time when I lived here as a child), was very interesting. She wants to be all "preserve their culture and bah humbug to missionaries" but then grieves and weeps over malnourished children, lack of education, dying babies, and the harsh presence of external government forces and immigration from elsewhere. One might point out that in her own story the doctor they take the dying baby to is a TEAM doctor who gave his life to medical work on the south coast, the people who started the school in the village she lived at were the missionary parents of my friends, the people who end up flying both her and others out of tough situations are missionary pilots, and the indigenous songs sung in the community she lives with are worship songs in the local language developed by a Christian tribe who welcome her and pray for her with great hospitality. So. Pretty much all the good she finds is influenced by the faith propagated by those she scorns. I don't know if she recognized the irony as she wrote it, but it was pretty thick for me. 

I went through the Serial podcasts, mostly while washing dishes, and that was super interesting. Loved it. True crime. It was my first podcast series. I hope to find another like it, because it helps make dish washing and cleaning up enjoyable!

Truth, my husband started listening to Christmas music in September. Boooo. I tried to retain my appreciation for it regardless.

I have been listening to a few new downloaded songs, but since I can't really stream here and the only English music sold around here is stuff from the 90's, I haven't found much new music in the last 8 months.

Since I'm in a stage where I am at home a lot with little kid schedules, I determined to use the time to try things I have said I will try one day. Cooking is the obvious one - I have to cook a lot now and from scratch, and so I am determined to come out of this a great cook. I am particularly working on breads (I now have my own pancake, tortilla, and pizza dough recipe and will be trying biscuits, rolls, and naan), roasting meat, and making my own cheese (since what we can buy is very limited). The trouble is that the milk we have available is either milk powder or UHT (shelf-stable), which can't be used for making cheese. There's plenty of info out there about cheese making but little about cheese making from milk powder (mostly because milk powder in the US is terrible). So, I am experimenting.

I also tried my hand at gardening, sort of unexpectedly. When we moved in and had a yard I just sort of - started. I put dirt in pots and seeds in dirt and started with no wisdom at all. I think the reason I poured so much into it is because first of all, it was something productive I could do when I was feeling so stuck at home instead of being able to get out like I wanted. It was a creative work, an outlet. It's also a bit of a metaphor for life here. I start, ignorant, just doing things. And sometimes nothing at all comes of it, sometimes things sprout and I'm excited and then they die, and sometimes things grow, and I learn in the process about how to do things well.

I learned a lot about soil and sun and water, sprouting and replanting. Unfortunately all attempts to grow vegetables failed, but I have a number of fruit trees and plants successfully growing. I have grown several herbs and spices, but cilantro and parsley are tough ones. It's been enough to make some great tomato and basil homemade pizzas!


Unknown said...

Congratulations!!! We have four-- my husband wanted 2-3, I wanted 3-4, and for years we had three. Then we turned 40 and he asked (HE, mind you-- the one who wanted two or three) whether I wanted another one before we got too old. So our kids are 15, 13, 9, and 2. :). And thank you for all the recommendations!!!

rachieannie said...

Congratulations!! Such exciting news. Babies are always good things - just keep remembering all those newborn snuggles you have coming your way. That's the only thing that gets me through my pregnancies because they are less than fun. That and baby kicks.