There are months and then there are months. For me, June is a big month.
Today is an anniversary of sorts: my family has been living in Palestine for 4 months.
On sunday I celebrated my 36th birthday.
On Friday I remember the birthday of a dear friend who passed away in 1998.
June is a month I remember as warm but pleasant in Michigan where I grew up, and fiercely hot in Texas where I spent the last 13 years. This June, in Ramallah, is more like Michigan. Better, actually. On my birthday this year we got treated to a little cold front. It looked like it might rain, but it didn’t.
Birthday Dinner at Tropicana and photos of the setting sun behind Ramallah’s hills
Faris took us out to dinner with a few friends of ours and it was a very mellow and sweet evening.
Though the 3 friends who were there were new friends of mine, I am very fond of them all and think highly of each of them. It was nice to have their company. The restaurant sat us outside beside the playground so Sufyan, Laila, and my friend’s son had a great time playing. I think that Sufyan has made a friend, and his face shows it. My birthday could have been just awful and Sufyan making a friend and having fun would have made it worthwhile. I’m so happy he’s finally at the age where making friends is happening.
I mean, look at him! (it helps to know that Sufyan is often not super demonstrative of his happiness. You kind of have to know him…but this is him being really really happy!)
It was a great way to do my birthday.
Look at LAILA’S face here! She LOVES presents!!!
Then we drove home and saw a beautiful Ramallah sunset. Sunsets here are really such a treat! But this evening in particular we got some stellar photos (my favorites so far are at the bottom of this post).
I did miss my family and friends from “home”.
My friend J in Virginia made me a video of her son singing Happy Birthday followed by video of an incredible rainstorm that happened on my birthday (she knows how much I LOVE rainstorms and how Sufyan and I celebrate them by running out into the rain every chance we get). It was very sweet and thoughtful, particularly since J and her son were a big part of my life for a long time as we lived across the street from one another. We shared some potent years together: first time homeowners, new motherhood, the burden and joy of SAHM-hood, outings with our sons, babysitting for each other and sharing meals. I miss J and her family.
My Ramallah family took me out to a nice brunch on the morning of my birthday. Sufyan decided months ago that he would eat waffles whenever we went out for a breakfast and this was his day…waffles. With ice cream, no less! He had a lot of fun. Laila had a little of everything from all of our breakfasts in between exploring the restaurant and having her own fun smearing sugar packets everywhere and digging in candle wax.
Tonight I thought of Andrea Burden, an artist that I met in Austin. Her work was and is inspirational to me. I specifically recall seeing her paintings for the first time years ago and thinking that they could not possibly be done by human hands, so otherworldly and beautiful were they. I met her a few times after that (we had mutual friends) and she eventually did the altar space at my wedding in 2004. I looked her up using Facebook and found she has passed away. The news took my breath away. She was so young. She had bacterial meningitis and by the time she got to the hospital there was nothing they could do. She didn’t have health insurance. She left behind 2 beautiful daughters.
Faris went to a wake tonight for the father of a coworker. He passed away unexpectedly at only 61.
A friend sent me a funny message about a lighthearted conversation she’d had with her husband about what she’d do if he died. It was actually a funny exchange, but the timing of her email being tonight after I found out about Andrea while Faris was at a wake and I was writing this post about June being the month I remember a friend who has passed away…well. Strange.
I am pretty excited about these last photos. They are of a building under construction (actually, it hasn’t really had any work done since we moved here) at the top of my street. The tarp was flapping in the cool breeze and the sun was going down and everything aligned to create something I found really beautiful.