Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Girgian Surprise

The doorbell rang.

No one rings my doorbell. The doorman always calls to let me know if a visitor has arrived.

“Who’s there?” I called out.

“It’s GIRGIAN!” a chorus of voices rang out.

Girgian is a children’s holiday, a little like Hallowe’en, about half way through the month of Ramadan, when costumed children come and ring your bell and are given sweets, sometimes money. If you are really lucky, they sing a song. My understanding is that normally the children go around to their families, like aunts and uncles and cousins, and to close neighbors.

I had had a full day, and I had more to do. I had come home and showered because I was no hot, and then – I had gotten into my lightest nightie so I could continue working in comfort. What to do???

Thank God, there was an abaya hanging in my hallway, and I grabbed it and flung it on as I headed to the door. In come eight gorgeous little Kuwaitis, all English speaking, all dressed top to bottom in gorgeous finery, bright thobes and prayer caps, beautifully hand woven bisht with gilt trim, dresses with embroidery and lace and gilt skirts, golden headdresses – oh! They were gorgeous!

No one has ever come for Gergian before. I didn’t have anything prepared. Thank God AdventureMan has a sweet tooth, and thank God, they were polite and appeared delighted with handsfull of Oreo cookies and marshmallows, which were all I had.

Some days, you just never know when a blessing will appear. Those darling children made my day.

These are not the children who came to my house, but I found this on YouTube, posted, thanks be to God, by fellow Kuwait blogger Chikapappi! Thank you, Chicki!

This is what Girgian costumed children in Kuwait look like, and how cool, they are singing!

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Ramadan | 8 Comments

Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

If you missed Saturday Night Live’s spoof of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton (Tina Fey & Amy Poehler), see it now:

Watch it now, before they take it off!

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Humor, Leadership, Political Issues, Women's Issues | 10 Comments

How Can I Forgive?

Today’s Gospel reading touches on a very difficult theme – how do we forgive those who sin against us? It is so much easier to cling to hatred and resentment than to let go.

Note to my Christian friends – did you know that the Gospels (Injil“) are considered one of the five Holy Books of the Qur’an? I didn’t – I learned that from Fahad, a blogger who comments here. Wikipedia says that “Muslim scholars generally dispute that Injil refers to either the entire New Testament or the four Gospels. Others believe the Injil was not a physical book, but simply a set of teachings. The word Injil is used in the Qur’an, the Hadith and early Muslim documents to refer specifically to the revelations made by God to Isa (Jesus), and is used by both Muslims and some Arabic-speaking Christians today.”

I mention this only because it is Ramadan, and a season of contemplating God’s word. My Christian friends might wonder why I quote from our books to my Kuwaiti / Gulf friends, but in truth, I find that we are all wrestling with many of the same moral questions, and we just have more tools in our spiritual tool boxes when we share ideas and approaches. I find my Moslem readers can greatly illuminate my own readings when I ask how their books approach – say the problem of Job / Ayyoub or problems of wealth and poverty, or, as today – forgiveness.

This is yesterday’s reading from Forward Day by Day.

Matthew 18:21-35. Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?

Forgiveness is always a difficult matter. In the Eastern church, the season of Lent begins with “Forgiveness Vespers” in which each member of the church asks forgiveness of the priest and of every other member of the church. When the service is completed the entire church has asked forgiveness. It is a healthy way to begin a season of repentance.

To the question, “How many times?” Christ gives an answer that is the equivalent of “However many times you need to.” Forgiveness is a double-edged sword. The sins of those who need to be forgiven bind them and leave them less than free in their quest for peace. For those who must forgive, refusing to forgive can have the same binding effect. It is as though we are tied to all whom we have anything against.

Finding a way to forgive can be difficult. When someone has offended us unknowingly, going to him to confront him with his behavior can be positively damaging. Instead, I use this simple form in my prayers: “Lord, on the day of judgment, do not hold this sin against him.”

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments