have the baby, you still pretty much look pregnant. Only 4-5 months pregnant, but still.
Sadly, there was one common belief among the uninitiated that I did not get to disprove, and that is that babies are always born on their due dates. Oh well.
Getting back into the campus routine, even in this small way, really opened my eyes to how many people have been so...aware of me. I knew I was conspicuous, and certainly not always in a good, un-awkward way, but I had no idea that students and faculty from all different schools have been watching me. We're forbidden to speak English, of course, which has led to lots of awkward encounters where I'm approached by a non-Arabic student or teacher and told what I'm sure means "congratulations," even if I don't understand it. A few people have just given me the thumbs-up sign, or even applauded as I've walked by (I'm still not sure how to feel about that). It's all very bizarre. Added to that is the fact that all the gifts Magdalena has received so far are accompanied by cards written with heartfelt messages, entirely in Arabic. What a fun story that will make someday.
Also speaking of bizarre, one teacher handed us a gift at dinner tonight. We took it out of the gift bag and to our complete bewilderment, it was a complete layette set for a baby boy. It even had the words "Baby Boy" embroidered all over the individual pieces. This gift was actually the freaky icing on the cake from this particular person (in my mind, the shrieking violin music from Psycho was playing), but Jeremy says I'm not allowed to tell the story until more time has passed, just in case.
In a way, I feel like I've come full circle. When Jeremy and I came to Middlebury for the first time in 2003 for a conference, I had recently suffered a miscarriage. While we were here, Jeremy was at meetings all day and so I had time to get my health back, read some books, and eventually go on some gorgeous, inspiring runs in the Vermont countryside. Now, to have a beautiful birth experience behind me and a daughter who will seemingly inexplicably have "Middlebury, Vermont" on her birth certificate, I feel as if a process has been completed. Even if I didn't see it coming, I'm happy to welcome it now that it's taken place.