Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Perspective. On the Struggling.

Yes, you are overreacting.
Yes, you are selfish because thanks to all the other fights you had you barely know what's going on in his life. 
No, you did not ask for too much. You wanted to be considered, seen, wanted. 
(And yes, his communication is still off. Way off.)

It's disappointing that he isn't coming for more days. 
It's sad that you aren't going to spend more time together.

But it's also another 7 1/2 weeks to Christmas.
You haven't seen your husband in 8 weeks. 
He is coming right in the middle of this utterly long patch of time. (Maybe he did plan it all after all?)

There will always be disappointments.
There will always be things that happen unplanned.
Uncertainty will be part of it.
There will always be too high expectations. 
There will never be enough time spend together.

Because he is different. 
Because you are different. 
Because you have changed and evolved around each other.

The only solution I have found so far is to voice it.
Voicing your thoughts, your hopes, even your expectations and your disappointments.
No accusations. 
No assumptions.

Just the hope to be heard and seen. And wanted.
Only if that changes, you are in real trouble.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


In the last 3 weeks my husband and I have been struggling in a way we have never struggled before. And boy, we have gown through rough phases before.

The last 3 weeks though, they don't deserve to be called marriage.
Issues like prioritizing, mocking, consideration, hypocrisy, patience, understanding, downgrading shouldn't be an issue to the extent they have been between us in those past weeks.
Issues to this extent do not deserve to be called marriage.

I don't deal well with uncertainties. Uncertainties paralyze me. Uncertainties make me filled with wrath. I cannot deal with uncertainties. I would like to erase them out of my life as much as possible.
I love surprises though. I love a good surprise in a field of certainty.
I destroy uncertainties - even if that means, destroying surprises.
Isn't that pathetic?
I am willing to ruin my own surprise just to be in the clear on what's going to happen?

If you hate me - put me in a situation where I don't know what happens next. It's The Sure Way to crush me. In the time of uncertainty, I will get my hopes up. I will allow myself a naive kind of optimism. I will never - ever - admit to this optimism, but once my hopes were disappointed you can collect my shattered self off of the floor.

For months I have been talking about my fathers upcoming birthday. My husband was invited. It was decided between him and me that he was attending (my father is turning 60 - it is a big deal after all, an amount of relatives you will only see at the next funeral.). Now he is not. He cannot.
He told me 3 weeks ago. He could have 5 weeks ago, but he didn't know how to - already pathetic, right? What kind of a marriage is that?
Anyway, I was upset, very, because I haven't seen my husband since late August and was - with the change of schedule - very likely not going to see him till Christmas. I am under some stress right now. I missed my husband.
Does that sound promising to you?
No, right?
Since he told me, I was - against better knowledge - hoping he would come before my fathers birthday. My thoughts went like this: if he isn't coming for November, maybe he could squeeze in some time in October?!
October went along. It's almost over - how did that happen by the way?
My husband still hasn't been here, we are running out of time for the thing he cannot come for in November.
He still hasn't been here.

I keep hearing sentences like: You don't know how much I miss you. How could you think I would wait till Christmas to see you? Of course I am coming. I need to see you before Christmas.

Against my better judgement, I called my husband tonight on my way home. I have had more wine than I should, he was already sleeping.
He said he was coming. He had offered to tell me his arrival date. I refused. Refused to have my surprise ruined.
Until tonight when I called and asked for it. And he bluntly told me.
Now I know that he is coming. Next weekend. The last weekend before November.
Friday morning till Monday afternoon is all I get. That's merely more than 72 hours.

Am I overreacting?
How come I am?
Did I expect too much?
Did I ask for too much?
Am I selfish not considering all the other things going on in his life? The things he deliberately took on?
Am I demanding too much?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

on how things change.

When I wrote about Yemen yesterday I went through those pics I had taken back in the day.
Looking at those pictures yesterday I realized how much I loved analog pictures.
They are grainy. And the colors are different. And what you get back from the developer is always a surprise moment.

Back in the day when I still told everybody who didn't want to hear it that I preferred my SLR to a DSLR any day for such a big number of reasons.

And then I caved. Last year in December I bought myself a DSLR. (It's all my husbands fault because he let me play with his camera ever since he got his in May!)
The pictures are so different. Clear and sharp. And the surprise moment when you pop the memory card in the computer to see how they turned out.

Up to this day, one of my favorite pictures with that new camera of mine, is one of the first pictures I ever took with the new camera.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

About Yemen. In context and memory.

My first contact with Yemen.
A seminar at university in the summer of 2008. The topic: Efforts for Good Governance - Fighting Corruption in Yemen. 
International relations isn't the strong side of my university.
The Near and Middle East terribly underrepresented in lectures. I was interested in the region. I hadn't thought much about that country before. 
I took what I could get.

I knew the basics. Nothing more.
Yemen proved to be the same as so many topics before: given the chance to dive into a topic and learn about it, every topic can be exciting. 
Yemen became exciting.

The seminar included a journey to Yemen. 
As soon as my lecturer mentioned the journey I knew I wanted to be involved in the planning. It wasn't enough to participate.
My knowledge was still meh. The report that semester: Good Governance in the Middle East. Looking back at it: surfaced, maybe even shallow. Not structured enough. Almost not academic. I wrote 15 pages about it. I barely said anything.

The journey. November 2008. 14 days.
A rooftop terrace. Visits and Seminars. A round trip that could have gone on and on. A swim in the Red Sea. A swim in the Indian OceanFlamingos at sunset. Meat markets during the heat of the day. Breathtaking views. A wedding party. Drugs. A drive in the back of the police escort. Getting accustomed to local habits. Tasting and testing local cuisine. Developing routines and rituals.
(Photo curtesy: me.)

I have never been good with the day to day. Staying in touch with people is not my strong side. Keeping in touch with countries is much more difficult - countries that aren't interesting for the news unless terrible things happen.
Yemen is particularly difficult.
How do you return to a country cut off like this? A country your MFA advises not to travel there? A country that forbids traveling to the majority of its places? Visiting became increasingly difficult after November 2008.

And yes, this is the difference. I loved the traveling and the visiting of new places every day.
This year I realized - while I lived in Yemen's capital for 2 months - that living there just wasn't an option. 
I need my comfort and I have my standards. 
However, I am not referring to materialistic aspects.
I don't mean the continuous flow of water or electricity (although a nice addition). I am also not referring to stuff like "democracy". It's not something a poor underdeveloped country needs. (Besides, my future plans include moving to a country with an absolute monarchy!)
What I want for Yemen are the basics: personal liberties, human rights, women's rights. They all exist, they aren't implemented.

My shrink once said about going back to a place that I remember fondly would be a disappointment. It would never hold up to the first time.
I disagree. Very strongly indeed.
I would go back to Yemen any minute. If given the chance I was on the next plane out.
But. Yes, but. I want to see places like Shibam again, Tarim and Menakha, go to Aden. Finally visit the Marib - the desert - and Socotra.
All places that are not safe for traveling. So I'll wait. And try to keep in touch.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quote of the day No. 10

Love is life.
And if you miss love, you miss life.

- Leo Buscaglia

I love life. So I love love. And I love that.

Monday, October 11, 2010

about autumn.

I stepped outside on Sunday. 
It was a gorgeous day out there.
It was a day filled with sunshine.
It was a day demanding to have his picture taken.
It was the last warm day we will have in a while.

I turned a corner at my parents house.
I was greeted by colors. Lots of colors.
I wanted to bathe in the warm sunshine and cover myself in colorful leaves.
I wanted to breath in the moment and make it last longer.
I wanted to hold on to that moment.

Instead I took pictures to share with you.

Friday, October 08, 2010

about the writing.

I have been thinking about writing more.
I do feel I have things I need to put out into the open, need to have written down.

Thing is: I am spending all my time in front of my laptop now writing The Thesis and I cannot get myself to write something somewhere else entirely unrelated.

I might just write more about Yemen.
How I remember it.
How my mind has started sugarcoating the whole experience.
How I read about it for The Thesis (this one isn't going to be pretty. Lots of numbers about deficiencies on so many levels.).

I am not a writer. However, I miss writing.
I don't think I am good at what I am doing but it's a learning process. And I have enjoyed it very much so far.