Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Assorted Photos from the Kuwait Visit

These are a few photos I didn’t really have a post to go with, just random photos from my recent visit to Kuwait:

This one was just a good combination as I was waiting for a light to change; the Athel tree along the road, and the banner celebrating 5 years of rule by the current Amir of Kuwait:

Yeh, it’s a little blurry; I’m shooting as we’re rolling along in the carnage of traffic on the Kuwait Corniche:

I am such a sucker for picturesque fishing boats:

Only thing better than fishing boats is fishing boats AND the Kuwait skyline 🙂

I love being downtown at night:

And this one is from the Kuwait airport, and it just makes me sad; I think we are supposed to overcome barriers 🙂

I had to go by the Fintas Co-op to see how the new mosque turned out – it’s mammoth!

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February 20, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Travel | 7 Comments

Me and McGregor

So, ‘McGregor’, what has you longing to ‘read’ from me? What part of my profile appealed to you? The part where it clearly states I am MARRIED? You being a good Christian, that must have a lot of appeal.

Oh, GRRRRRRRR.

I just hate these scammers, these predators, these LIARS. Be careful out there on those social networking sites, my friends. . .

Oh wait! That ‘one thing you long to find?’ My checkbook?

February 20, 2011 Posted by | Lies, Relationships, Scams | 4 Comments

Hitting the Wall

“Ummm . . . . I can’t stay up any longer. I have to go to bed now,” AdventureMan says to me, bleary-eyed. It’s 8:15 PM.

I’m still slowly going through mail that came while we were gone. I went through quickly the first day, checking for any bills that needed to be paid right away, and the rest I’m going through when I can.

We are not exactly not jet lagging. We are sleeping through the night, which is a really good thing, but we still hit slumps at odd times during the day. I am waking up early, but I don’t mind. This morning was a huge full moon, so I went out and walked a mile; it doesn’t even take 20 minutes, and I am savoring this spring weather. In the summer, it is hot – for me – even at 5 in the morning, even when that is the coolest it is going to be all day, it is still hot for me in the summer. I relish my walks at this time of year, relish the coolness.

We spent yesterday taking care of the Happy Baby, who was a little less happy than normal. Well, happy enough, he is such a good baby, but suffering the after-effects of the one year vaccinations, fever, lethargy, just not his normal self. We were delighted not to have anything else on our calendar, and at the same time, we were exhausted by the end of the day. My heart goes out to grandparents who are raising their children’s children . . . we just don’t have that energy anymore; it takes two of us to keep up with a very mobile one-year-old. No wonder God gives babies to young people!

Today, a beautiful spring day when the high will be around 72°, I think I will start cleaning out the garden in back. Last year, I had to completely cut it back, but when it started growing, it was lush and glorious. I’ll just pull out the dead growth this year, trim where it might need trimming, and look for a new honeysuckle vine to plant along my back fence. I love the smell of honeysuckle. I might also plant a jasmine plant, see how it does, have a great smelling back yard. 🙂

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Exercise, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Gardens, Generational, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Travel, Weather | Leave a comment

Like Magic

I woke up this morning, astounded at how easy the transition has been in this direction. Yes, there are some moments in late afternoon when I can’t keep my eyes open, but . . . well, that can happen even when I am NOT jet lagging, LOL! AdventureMan and I are both doing well. We got up at our normal time this morning, well rested. Thanks be to God!

Yesterday I finished a quilt I have been working on for a Pensacola Quilt Guild challenge; it actually went to Kuwait with me, but I did not put in a single stitch while I was gone. I had great light, too, just not the time or interest in working on it. It’s finished now, hanging, so I can inspect for stray threads, etc. that I might have missed . . .

We emptied our day of activities yesterday, no water aerobics, no bible study, we just took it easy on ourselves, gave ourselves a day to transition to Pensacola mode. I did three loads of laundry, we both unpacked, and AdventureMan is now immersed in tax documents. Maybe this year we will actually submit our taxes on time, although the mere thought is enough to make me laugh, it is so unthinkable. We are lucky if we get them in by June in a normal year, but ‘normal’ is different now, living back in the United States, and we are trying to get on track with being residents again.

No photos; we are doing things we have done before and told you about. Breakfast at the Shiny Diner. AdventureMan was dying for lunch at Sonny’s Bar-B-Q; AdventureMan laughed, I hadn’t eaten there since he left, but it’s always good, always reliable, and I especially love their smoked turkeys. Dinner was the delicious chili EnviroGirl left in our refrigerator, how can anything that delicious be good for you?

On. On. Today I think I will finally buy my iPhone. 🙂

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Relationships, Travel | 2 Comments

Travel Mercies

Before I left, my bible study group promised to pray for me, for safe travel, and for travel mercies.

What are travel mercies? Travel mercies are blessings you don’t even know you need, small interventions that make a big difference. So many times on this trip to Kuwait, I smiled, thinking “I know my friends are praying for me,” I could feel the travel mercies.

The trip down to the Mubarakiyya for dinner – a serious travel mercy. It wasn’t a life or death thing, and I didn’t even dare to bring it up, AdventureMan was so busy. And yet, we got there, we had a wonderful dinner with friends, we got to see the lights of the Seif Palace. Oh Wow, and thank you, Lord, for these blessings, these unexpected mercies.

Our trip home was flawless. Flights on time, and although we were on a flight I don’t usually like, it was fine. Sometimes on this late-night flight you’ll get a blow-hard or two, guys that want to drink and share all their insights and knowledge in a loud voice, long into the flight, when everyone else wants to sleep. Not this time. 🙂 This flight was quiet, even the babies were quiet. Everyone slept. And slept. And slept. Perfect travel mercy.

Schlepping through immigration and customs was about as painless as it can be, given that it is a pain-in-the-neck. More travel mercies, the kind you can fail to even notice – unless these little things go wrong, so terribly wrong.

“Welcome home,” our immigrations guy said cheerfully. We grinned. It is good to be back.

We got into Pensacola with enough time to run out to We Tuck ‘Em Inn to pick up the Qatteri Cat, who let us know how annoyed he was to be left behind. We knew – from experience – that dealing with his annoyance was waaaaayyyy better than dealing with a traumatized cat at the end of those brutal flights. He is in great condition, maybe a little bored, but happy, and his fur is clean. Mercy. Merci.

Home again, home again. Our son and his wife had left AdventureMan’s car at the airport for us, and had left a delicious chile, vegetables and dip, and apples in our refrigerator for us, such a loving welcome home. We were able to drop by and hug the Happy Baby before he shut down for the night. All is well. Infinite mercies.

By the Grace of God, and in his mercy. I thank God for my believer-sisters, whatever their faiths, that keep me wealthy in travel mercies.

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatteri Cat, Relationships, Spiritual, Thanksgiving, Travel | 3 Comments

The Crazy Ladies Say Goodbye

We were gathered at my place for coffee, so much laughing, so many topics. One friend stands up and I know, to my sorrow, it is time to say goodbye.

“If we go right now,” she says, “We can make it to the fabric souks before they close. Want to go?”

Her question is both a query and a challenge. That’s the kind of women my friends are. They push the limits.

“I can’t . . . ” I begin, thinking of the packing, the details that are still to be done before my departure, “Wait!” I finish, “Let me grab my purse,” and I run to the back to grab my handbag – and money. One more trip to the fabric souks? How could I say no? An opportunity for one more adventure with my friends? LLOOLLLL, bring it on!

I had shown them earlier a piece of fabric I could not resist, even though it was WAY overpriced:

When we first saw it, they wanted 6KD per meter, a price for cotton that would make any serious minded fabric connoisseur gasp. I didn’t buy it, but neither could I get it out of my head. I went back with another fabric-friend a few days later and bought a meter; this time the price was 5KD, and it is still shockingly expensive, but the store won’t come down and I will be leaving shortly. There was another piece, purple, with big Arabic or Persian letters, that I couldn’t get out of my mind. . .

The woman who I saw it with first said “why didn’t you buy it when you were with me? I wanted to buy it, too!”

“I didn’t dare!” I explained. “I knew you would think me foolish to pay that price!”

So off we went, back to the fabric souks, arriving just as many shops were closing. She bought a meter – at 4 KD/meter (oh ouch!) and I bought some embellished cotton for a summer dress, then she hustled me out of the store.

“But I thought we were meeting up with (our other friends) here!?” I resisted.

“I just talked with them! They told me to get the blonde out of the store so they could get a better price,” she explained. “We are going off to buy some thread and will meet up with them.”

I am NOT blonde.

“No, but you are the kind that makes the prices go up, you look European, we call you blonde,” she explained.

I am too amused to be insulted. LLOOLL, I am a blonde. I look too European. I love these ladies, they tell me exactly what they are thinking, and only a fool would take offense. We have such a good time together; I just need to remember to give them my money and let them buy for me.

I remember once, years ago, when I had a Thai friend in Damascus, and I lived in Amman. We would visit back and forth, and once, I gave her $100 and told her to buy me things with it.

“What should I buy?” she asked.

“Oh, some copper pots and pans, maybe some brocade, you’ll know what to buy, you have such a good eye,” I told her.

A month later, a huge carton arrived, HUGE. As I opened it, I pulled out enough beautiful Damascus-made items to start a store, each unique, gorgeous, and how on earth did $100 buy all this?

Same with my friends. They get the really good prices. As hard as I bargain, they have the advantage.

It was late in the day when I returned to the chalet, but oh, what a day, what fun, and what a great way to spend my last hours in Kuwait. 🙂

Thank you, my friends, for all the good times. 🙂

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Shopping | 3 Comments

Single Awareness Day

“Oh! What a gorgeous dinner,” I said to our friends, “so romantic, a perfect Valentine’s Day feast.” It truly was – even though it was Valentine’s Eve, every detail was perfect, an outdoor fire, a beautiful red-velvet cake with white chocolate decorations, all in a delicate white and pink icing, a meal to die for . . .

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” we chirped.

“Happy Single Awareness Day,” their son grumped. He is astute and articulate, and AdventureMan and I have been married for so long that we’d forgotten what it is like to have Valentine’s Day without a sweetheart. 😦

Valentine’s Day really is mostly – in my opinion – about marketing. Selling greeting cards, selling flowers, selling candy, selling photos . . . . and it does make one acutely aware of being alone. It also puts pressure on couples to remember each other, oh aaarrgh. (Yes, AdventureMan remembered and bought me a great card. 🙂 ) The marketing mania for Valentine’s Day is not so great if you are in the middle of a fight or the relationship is going through one of those rocky periods. Or single.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Marketing, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Random Musings, Relationships | 2 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day, Kuwait

And here is a very rosy pink dawn for you on Valentine’s Day:

It is a glorious day out there, folks. Last night, we could even see stars in the sky as we sat outside with friends around a fire pit, sharing stories, sharing laughter, and a wonderful meal. It’s another great day in Kuwait. 🙂

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Travel, Weather | Leave a comment

Kuwait Dream Come True

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So much has happened, and I’ve been so blessed. I’ve been able to meet up with friends, one on one and in groups, and when we sit and talk, it’s as if I had never left. We pick up right where we left off. With my friends, there is no need to make polite conversation; we talk about what is important in our hearts. I have been able to see every single friend, and I will see them again before I leave. That is one dream come true.

The second dream came true last night. I have told you AdventureMan is very, very busy. He is so busy that many times he doesn’t come home until very late at night; there are meetings all day, and into the night, when the offices in the US are open and functioning. Last night, however, he took a break. It was mere hours, but it was enough.’

He took me to Mubarakiyya, for dinner, and to see the lights. Happy Valentines Day to me! He knows exactly the way into my heart. 🙂

We took friends, people who had never been there before. We have to be careful; there are people who don’t ‘get’ Mubarakiyya, who prefer new and modern and sanitary. Not me. Give me that strong, hot tea with heaters on the table, and charcoal burners, and the din of children running around, and that grilled chicken and lamb and the shrimp (rubiyan) that Desert Girl told us about a long time ago in her blog. Our friends totally got it, and we all sat there, just soaking in the magic of Mubarakiyya.

We shopped a little, and took lots of photos of the lights. I have always felt so much joy at the joint Independence / Liberation holiday, at the celebration part, not the obnoxious-kids-with-foam-part, but I am convinced that most Kuwaitis celebrate with family and picnics and going to the beach or chalets, not the madness-on-the-Corniche.

AdventureMan is SO smart. He found a perfect parking place, across from the Sief Palace, where I could try to photograph the lights on the clock tower. My photos are not perfect; I didn’t have a tripod, but oh, I had so much fun, and I love the concept and execution.

My Kuwait friends – take your children downtown to see the lights. You can park in the parking lot and watch the lights change. The lights this year, all over downtown Kuwait, and en route there, are fabulous.

These patterns change like a kaleidoscope. It is most amazing. Go. Take your sweetheart, your valentine. Take your kids. This is fun, and free, and the weather is perfect.

Here is the parking lot where you can watch the show:

Update: Thank you, Danderma! I feel so foolish; I never saw that slideshow option, and think how many times I have been on the gallery page with all my photos, LLOOOLLL! You taught this old dog a new trick. 🙂

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Blogging, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Public Art | 4 Comments

20,000th Comment

My good friend Grammy made the 20,000th comment on this blog in the post Does Malawi Law Ban Farting?

The prize is a trip to Pensacola and free room and board chez nous. 🙂 Wooo HOOOOO, Grammy, you da WINNER!

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Blogging, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected | 3 Comments