Dear Apples,

I was just doing a mental round-up of the month, and thought I’d tell you about it.

Here is September for you in snapshots.

-We take many Sunday morning walks, and we see a hoopoe land and skitter around in the dry grasses and then fly up into a pine tree.  We’d never seen a bird like him, so we had to look him up.

-I become entirely immersed in the world of Cormoran Strike for a full week, and barely think about or do anything else until I am done reading Robert Galbraith’s (gradually more grisly) mystery series.  I drink a lot of strong tea with milk during this time.

-The details of our rapidly approaching move to Antakya, Turkey are still foggy as the paperwork is processing, and the anticipation is bittersweet.  I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, because I’m so absorbed in what’s happening here that it’s still this distant vague reality that I can plan for, but can’t quite imagine yet.  My biggest concern is ensuring that Isla will be able to continue to learn Arabic, since there are so many Syrians in the region.

-We attempt a Star Wars marathon on our home projector screen, and I am surprised that I have most of the lines memorized.

-This is the first full month in our new home, but it feels like we’ve been here forever.  I’m already looking forward to coming back to it for our visits to Lebanon after we’re gone. I love it so much, with its constantly unhinging kitchen cabinet door and its lack of hot water.  Cold showers are an acquired taste (painfully shocking but incredibly refreshing)…and if you don’t reach that place of appreciation, there’s always the old-fashioned option of heating the water on the stovetop, which makes you feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

-I have the biggest case of writer’s block that I’ve ever experienced.  I think I’m sure it has to do with my expectations.  

-The Syrian civil war right across the border shows no signs of letting up.

-Lebanon’s garbage crisis continues, but we continue to be impressed by the management of our local municipality.

-I am so glad to be abroad during election season, but watching from a distance is worse.  The longer I live abroad the less I like US culture as a whole, and the more I love New Jersey and specific aspects of or places in the US.  Strange but true.

-Isla turns 9 months and loves crawling under and inside things (tables, chairs, her walker, cabinets), standing up, trying to walk while holding onto things, trying to stand without holding on, waving goodbye, finding the light in every room, talking to the cats, imitating things her great grandmother says, and riding in the cart when we’re grocery shopping, which they call a “chariot” in French here.

Happy October!