Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Which one was the Kuwaiti?

From Kuwait Times, Thursday, 3 April:

Thief arrested

Two military personnel were strolling around a shopping mall when they noticed a man assault an Asian woman. They chased and caught the man who was trying to escape after stealing her handbag. They handed the man over to Farwaniya police, who on checking records, found that the Kuwaiti was sentenced in abstentia for a drug offence.

OK, I am guessing the military guys were Kuwaiti. Was the thief Kuwaiti? We have a possibility of three Kuwaitis plus the policemen – which one was sentenced in abstentia?

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Crime, Just Bad English, Kuwait, News | 8 Comments

Travel Nerds

We are a bunch of travel and geography nerds in my family. Nothing makes us happier than jumping in a airplane, reaching an exotic location and driving, getting our feet on new ground, seeing new things, learning new ways. We all have cameras glued to our hands and laptops stuffed in backpacks.

All my married life, people have looked at me with pity and tole me how they can’t believe I live with such uncertainty, never knowing where I will be in the next year – even the next few months. What I tell them is this – the truth is, we ALL never know. We ALL never know when something will happen that will change our lives dramatically, forever. We live day to day, not thinking about all the things that can happen. If we think too much about them, we might go crazy.

I consider myself blessed. I was created with a restless spirit, a spirit for new experiences and new ways of thinking. I was given a life where all those things became my daily bread.

What is fun for me is watching the next generation of young adults discovering their own lives, who they are meant to be.

My nephew, at Google Earth took his love of geography to new heights. He works in a place he loves, doing work he loves. He wrote to me yesterday, to tell me about a new game being played, a grown-up version of the old “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.” (one of the earliest computer games for kids) He has published a really really hard one on the Google team LatLong blog (as he says, he has the home court advantage in this game!) and he refers us to another blog, Where on GoogleEarth? where there are a series of contests to see if you can identify landmarks, special places, from the sky.

Here, for example, is the photo from contest #22 – and people have to write in telling what it is. Can YOU tell what it is? :-)

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April 3, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Biography, Blogroll, Community, Cross Cultural, Education, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth, Relationships, Travel | 9 Comments

Feel Like Dancin’

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Thanks for all your good thoughts as I – well, I didn’t prepare our taxes, I prepared the worksheet for our taxes. I used to do taxes, but taxes have gotten so complicated, now we have to pay someone else a bucket of money to do them for us. In the meantime, it takes a whole day just to fill out the sheets of preparation. It takes a year of saving receipts and records.

I discovered that in an increasingly paperless world, it is not so easy to document as it used to be. I used to dread filing, but I also knew where things were. A lot of my day yesterday was spent looking up accounts online, and printing off things. When we went more paperless, we also sacrificed easy access to good record keeping. AArrgh!

I remember my Dad always did the family taxes, and he would do them late in January, as soon as all the financial statements had arrived. We would give him hints about better ways of shielding his money from taxation, and he would say “I don’t mind paying taxes. I worked for the government, and the government put you kids through university by paying me a generous salary and health benefits and retirement.” We would shake our heads in wonderment – have you ever met someone who didn’t mind paying taxes? It must be generational.

We had a complicated year, financially, and in gathering all the records I noticed in my zeal to keep everything paid off and up to date, I actually OVERPAID our taxes. . . how often does that happen? AdventureMan and I have something to celebrate!

Those penguins are from a website called CafePress and they sell all kinds of adorable things, unique.

(At nine in the morning, it is still only 73°F / 23°C – wooo hoooooo! Gonna be a great Thursday!

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Biography, Cultural, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Generational, Social Issues, Technical Issue | , , | 13 Comments

The Annunciation

Do you have a million ways to avoid doing what you know you really need to do? (Like taxes?)

The Forward Day by Day reading for today had to do with Mary saying “yes” to God.

For my American readers – I bet most of you don’t know that there is an entire chapter in the Qura’n devoted to Mary, and that Muslims also believe Mary conceived as a virgin. I bet you!

Because I have more serious things to do, I spent some time looking for artistic works that showed what I think the Annunciation would have looked like. (To my Muslim readers, The Annunciation is the formal name for when the angel Gabriel – Jabreel – visits Mary and tells her she has been chosen to bear Jesus/Issa and Mary has a choice – and Mary says “Yes!”) (To my American readers – Yep, Gabriel is also in the Qura’n, and also John the Baptist appears as Yahyah.)

Before I go any further, the point of today’s reading is that we are supposed to say “yes” to God/Allah when he gives us a mission to do.

But I got distracted, looking for what I thought the Annunciation would look like. If you are curious, just Google “Annunciation + Art” and you can wile away your life on a huge array of artworks.

I selected a few to share with you that caught my eye.

The first one – this is just truly awful! Look at their sour expressions! The Angel Gabriel looks like he thinks God made a big mistake choosing this wench, and the Virgin looks like she thinks Gabriel is a con man or something. Look at the body language! Look at Gabriel’s hands, it is almost like he is shaking his finger at Mary. Look at Mary, see how she is pulling her robe tighter and looking like “Get this lunatic away from me!” See what you think of this painting by Martini:

martini_annunciation.jpg

To me, this one comes the closest in what I think Mary would have looked like – a 14 year old Palestinian girl. Even her clothing looks right to me. And look at her hands – her hands say “it is too awesome for me to understand, and I accept. It is a Coptic icon:

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I love the feeling of this one, and that the artist captures the simplicity of “Mary” caught in her normal daily routines, surrounded by her household items and the awe and astonishment of the moment:

africanannunciation.jpg

And here is my very favorite by Caravaggio. I love the protective posture of the angel, and the complete submission in Mary’s posture, I love the presence of God in the light shining on them both, and I love the way Caravaggio captures the feeling of enormous awe – it doesn’t take gilt and sumptuousness, the glorious essence of this moment was simple – Mary said “yes.”:

caravaggioannunciation.jpg

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, Family Issues, Marriage, Privacy, Relationships, Spiritual | 14 Comments

   

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