If any of you have ever read Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, a blog by Ree Drummond, then you know how irresistible a macho man holding a baby is! And if you haven’t read Confessions, then I totally give you permission to stop reading this, and go visit her site (but come back please!). She is my favorite blogger, and aside from my husband, I think her significant other is my favorite dad.
I know these days stay-at-home-dads are a more common site, but for a man who grew up in Lebanon, and thinks of himself as a real macho type of guy, it’s not a role that he would easily see himself in. Fred has gotten a lot of flack from some of his more conservative thinking acquaintances (not excluding my old-fashioned Korean mom!), but I have to hand it to him – he rose way beyond the occasion. If I just had a quarter of his efficiency I would be a very different person today. But beyond the efficiency it’s the tenderness that always surprises me. He is such a naturally great Dad. He loves his daughters so much, and couldn’t be prouder of them. Sure some of his ways are totally different from what I would do, or from what childrearing books might see as correct, but tell you what – it works! And it works well. Fred and our oldest daughter are especially tight. They have literally lived through a war together, and it’s a strong bond that they will always have.
After having chased our tails a bit, we decided that enough was enough. America or no America we needed to get out of this situation that had me living around the globe from my family. There was no way I was going to make Lebanon our permanent home. And as if the world wanted to make sure that I didn’t change my mind, it threw a war at me! Highways destroyed, entire neighborhoods leveled, and the airport was bombed thereby shutting it down. Before the war started, I had already made plans for our family to move to a civilized, first world country with no political strife: Japan. Now, none of us spoke Japanese before going there, none of us knew any people that were going to live around us, and in fact, none of us have even heard of this place called Hokkaido before then either. But Hokkaido sounded so welcoming, especially after the 18 months in Lebanon.
Now don’t get me wrong, Lebanon is not some destitute third world country lacking in natural resources or adequate standards of living. Quite the opposite… it is considered to be a little piece of Europe in the Middle East. It’s become quite the vacation hotspot for the nearby desert dwelling upper class. The Mediterranean Sea and the beach clubs populating the coast are as lovely as the French Riviera. Downtown Beirut is a direct import from the streets of Paris. There is skiing in the mountains, ancient Roman ruins, palaces on cliffs, and historic sites from biblical times. It’s a great vacation spot, and I highly recommend it for the adventurous ones out there. But to live as a non-wealthy run-of-the-mill family, it’s a totally different story. Public school systems are atrocious, electricity is rationed, water is intermittent, and the government must be the most corrupt in the entire world!
So we were off to Japan to await our endless immigration processing. But of course things cannot go smoothly for us, it never has, and I believe it never will. But in some aspects, that’s okay, because it makes us stronger as a family, and more determined to stay together.
P.S. I have some more posts ready to go, but I am waiting to accumulate some readers!