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Thinking about home making today. Seven of our thirteen crates of belongings have arrived from the States to date. And the most random assortment therein, might I add. The bottom part of the leather rocking chair but not the back. The books but not the bookcase. The footboard but not the headboard. The wine cabinet but not the wine glasses. The cushions but not the couch. The sheets but not the mattress. You get the idea.

So we’ve unpacked and arranged as much as we reasonably can at this point. While we’re waiting for the balance to arrive, I’m daydreaming about where everything will ultimately go, how it will all look when it’s finished, the new touches I want to add as time and budget permit. I’m thinking about how this place will be a haven of familiar and comfort in the middle of a foreign land. And I’m thinking about how much I love making a home mine—even if it’s a rental, even if we’ll be packing up before we know it, even if it isn’t actually mine at all, but instead belongs to some rich Arab guy who is making a killing off me living here. Even if.

Right now my favorite spot in the house is at our dining room table that’s positioned near a sliding glass door that looks out to “the garden” as they call it here. “The garden” is essentially a tiled patio with a pool and some potted plants. There is no grass or yard here. Just a tall wall around the perimeter of our property and lots of tile, so this bit of beautiful blue that looks in at me from the pool creates some softness and movement in an otherwise still landscape.

The light comes in through this sliding glass door as well, and I like that sense of being indoors and yet being so near the outdoors. The pool reflects off the awning that extends from the side of the house and out over a bit of the patio. I like it all.

I set my laptop up at the end of the table and watch the birds splash at the edge of the pool whenever I’m between thoughts or emails or sentences. Nice to feel and see the signs of life.

Perhaps that’s what making a home is all about. Nurturing, celebrating the signs of life. Letting the light and the movement in. Celebrating what’s there and not bemoaning what isn’t. Allowing beauty to emerge from the unfamiliar and unlikely.

I love that I’m sitting next to an old deacon’s bench that was in the home I grew up in just about my whole life and belonged to my grandparents before that. I love that my mom let me paint it Swiss Coffee and have it distressed so that it’s old and new.

I love that this very bench is sitting on top of the rug Steve and I bought from Yousef eight years ago when we were here previously, the rug that has been a centerpiece wherever we’ve lived. And I love that all of this is in immediate proximity to an old wooden drink crate from Shreveport, LA, my mom’s hometown, from the neighborhood “Piggly Wiggly,” which I now use to house some of my favorite “accoutrements,” as Steve might refer to these items. You know . . . favorite pens, a few art supplies, a handful of small wood finials, some scrabble tiles. Just things I like having near me.

These are what make me feel home. Odds and ends from the far corners of my story, all presiding together. Thankful today. And smiling.

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