"While I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things." -- St. Francis de Sales
The past couple of months have been an absolute whirlwind! There is so much to explain-- a new career for my Husband, a new home, and a death in the family, etc.--where do I even begin?
Several posts ago, I mentioned having traveled to the Middle East with my spouse. It was the final stage in the process whereby my Husband interviewed for a professorship position at a fairly prestigious university. The search committee liked my Husband very much. After flying us both to their new campus in the Middle East and "wining and dining" us, they did extend an offer to him. A little negotiating was accomplished. In the end, my Husband accepted the offer and officially became what I believe he was meant to be in his career-- a professor.
Up until this point, my Husband had been working as a statistician at another institution. The twelve-hour days and two-hour each way commutes were not conducive to his health or our marriage. When this new university opportunity opened up, it was a God-send!
As I write this, I am sitting at a coffee house in one of the largest cities in the world-- my new hometown! At least, for a year. As per the conditions of my Husband's faculty position, we will spend a year at the university's home campus before gallivanting off to the Middle East. This will allow my Husband to network and work on research, etc. It will also give us time to prepare all of the necessary documentation to become guest residents of a foreign country.
One year ago, my Husband and I visited this great city for the first time. The occasion was to celebrate my birthday. We had loved it so much, we had joked about possibly being able to live here someday. Who knew that it would happen? We are truly blessed!
Up until this point I have been feeling very much like the St. Francis quote. I apologise for having neglected my little blog; life has been surprisingly busy!
In the last two months, my Husband and I have sold the majority of what we had owned (our new flat was completely furnished; nor are we planning on bringing much with us to the Middle East!). We then lived with his family for several weeks-- his large, loud Lebanese family-- and said goodbye to our friends.
There was one last person to whom we had to say our "goodbyes"-- for good on this side of eternity. I entitle this particular section my "Ode to a Traditional Wife."
"Sitto" is the proper Arabic word for "grandmother." It is what we all called the small Lebanese woman who served her home with love, sacrifice, and entirely too much delicious ethnic cuisine! She was a beautiful woman of God. She was also old and sick and she desperately missed her husband who had predeceased her by more than twenty years. Hers was a well-prepared death, for which we are thankful. Sitto's memory will always live on in our hearts, our lives forever changed because of this little loving spitfire.
I remember her first words to me. "I love you," she had said and clasped my arm with her hands. Her words were spoken in very broken English, but their warmth filled me and welcomed me to the family. In my final goodbye to her, I was able to sit by her bedside and take her hand in mine. I thanked her for her example of wifely grace. I assured her that I deeply revered my Husband and that I would take good care of him. My last words to her were hers in return: "I love you."
Somehow, none of this feels quite real-- a new life, a new home, a beautiful new Russian Byzantine Catholic parish, and new friends-- but a new chapter in our lives has begun!
Nevertheless, I am sure my readers will be comforted to know that, tucked away in an alcove inside our wardrobe closet, our trusty old implement "friends" also await the myriad of new adventures and misadventures! ;-)