we were give the honor of being invited for dinner in a [local] home tonight, with incredibly sweet new friends. we had spent all afternoon [with other friends] and, thanks to my indescribable introvertedness, my attitude about struggling through [this language] all night with perfect strangers and my even stranger children was a little less than joyful... to say the least.
we met [our friend] at the big square where our kids always feed the pigeons and prepared for a minibus ride up a mountain (enter: unforseen stress on top of bad attitude ~ public transportation). my prejudice against public transportation aside, it was a nice ride. i got to sit and do nothing but hold my sleeping 3 (almost 4!) year old and gaze at the beauty of this city. i knew my current outlook on the evening needed to be renewed, so i drank in that beauty for all it was worth.
[our friend's wife] was delightful. she practically fainted at the sight of our blonde children (i'm really not exaggerating), grabbed me to lay on the cheek kisses, then laid on hugs on top of that, all before even asking my name.
our children charmed them through their sneaky, silly, sinful, blonde ways. their authentic food charmed us ~ tomato soup (but like none i had ever tasted), cucumber yogurt, rice, eggplant wrapped in some kind of leaves, and too many deserts (i say too many b/c i was stuffed to the point of impending sickness)...
1 broken necklace, 57 slammed doors, 2 jumped-on couches, 1 jumped-on bed, 1 knocked-over folding table, 36 almost-broken dishes, 1 forcefully thrown remote, 1 scrubby-brush thrown off the balcony, 324 temper tantrum meltdowns, and 2 unbelievably embarrassed parents later, they still seemed charmed by our possessed offspring and gave them each a stuffed animal just because (which complimented nicely the discipline that was applied when we got home).
4 hours later, we were back on the minibus, and i could again enjoy the beauty of our city that was now all lit up and "sparkly" (as rachel calls it). i also realized that even though the father of lies seemed to be manipulating my children the whole evening, it was still fun to be in their home and laugh and have my taste buds pampered and make new friends. i hope we see them again soon.
on the ride home, there was upbeat [local] music blasting. i admired my daughter's hair blowing in the breeze as her head was stuck out the window gazing longingly at the stray dogs in the dumpsters. i had one of those "i love it here" moments, and at the same time i couldn't believe where we are and where our children live and will grow up. what amazing little lives we all have.