-We’re back after a short burst of a trip to the US, which was so chock-full of graduations, my brother’s wedding, dinners and a little jaunt up to Massachusetts for a visit to C’s sister and brother-in-law plus a (phenomenal) LP concert, that we barely recovered from our jetlag before packing right back up and making the return flight.  Still, it was so good to be back in New Jersey with everyone, and we were there when spring had really exploded in greenery everywhere.

-Now that we’re home, Isla’s hearty appetite is back, and I think I can tentatively whisper that she seems to be over her horrible two-month-long picky-eater stunt.  She gave up on being a vegetarian, returned to her carnivorous ways, and is thankfully happy to branch back out to a larger array of fruits and vegetables.  I’ve noticed that I’ve been happier and more carefree lately, and realized how anxious I’d become over tiny I’s selective eating.  She’s such a pipsqueak and needs all the nutrients she can get.

-The temperature in Antakya rose while we were gone, but the winds are still strong and constant.  By some miracle, we can open all our windows and never admit a single mosquito!  The wind blows through the house and keeps us from needing air conditioning.  We’ve just had to do a better job at securing some of the overhead lighting.

-Liz and Celine arrive tomorrow!  Knowing that they’ll be here for almost the whole month of June has made leaving NJ so much easier.  They’re currently enduring a seven hour layover in Casablanca airport.  Romantic location, grueling wait time.

-Next week I’ll be halfway through this pregnancy.  I’m still trying out various ways to prepare Isla for the new arrival.  I am hoping she’ll love her new sibling, after she makes it through the initial stages of denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance of course!

-We’re almost in the middle of Ramadan right now, which means that there’s a cannon that goes off around sunset to signal the start of Iftar, dates are sold everywhere, and families stay up late eating together while kids play outside for long hours, and then everyone wakes up early to eat before daybreak.  It’s a month when the days are sleepy and the nights are celebratory; everything slows because so many people are fasting from all food and drink during the day and then sleeping less at night.  C says you can tell who’s truly fasting by their breath.  If you haven’t eaten or drank anything–or chewed any gum–your breath will become stale and rank as the day draws on.  Piety equals bad breath.  I haven’t noticed this much, but what I have observed is that a lot more people are stopping to give money to beggars in the street, which is sort of what Ramadan is supposed to be about.

-I wish I had a longer visit in the US, but it’s good to fall back into our regular schedule and feel tethered and grounded again.