Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Over the River and Through the Woods

. . . . to the co-grandparents house we go!

This is preparation week, and we are scurrying to get things together for Thanksgiving with the large family group. When we were first invited, one of the aunts told us “You’re not invited, you’re family! You’re expected!” It made us feel so welcome, and the gathering is so much fun we look forward to our time together.

Mom’s Cranberry Salad
Christmas Punch, Rum and Rumless

The world’s cutest grandbaby will be there; we are all having so much fun with him as he is in the steep learning curve phase, and pops out with language which astonishes us daily. While bathing him the other night, I was explaining about washing with soap and he said “I know.” I almost dropped the soap! He adores his BaBa, and whenever he sees me, he gets a big grin – and looks for BaBa to be behind me. LOL!

He loves going to his other PaPa’s house; he has a TRACTOR! And a Boat! The happy baby loves trains and motorcycles and buses; he loves anything that GOES.

We have so much for which we are thankful. God has blessed us mightily with family, and with friends, and with a wide and spacious place in which to live our lives. He has surrounded us with his grace, and we feel blessed, so blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2011 Posted by | Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Thanksgiving, Values | 2 Comments

Qatar: The Richest Fattest Nation on Earth

Thank you, reader John, for passing along this fascinating article from The Atlantic:

Qatar is a tiny country with a big problem.

This Connecticut-sized nation, sticking out like a loose tooth in the Persian Gulf, is one of the most obese nations in the world, with residents fatter, on average, than even those of the United States, which often takes the cake in such competitions.

According to recent studies, roughly half of adults and a third of children in Qatar are obese, and almost 17 percent of the native population suffers from diabetes. By comparison, about a third of Americans are obese, and eight percent are diabetic. Qatar also has very high rates of birth defects and genetic disorders — problems that, along with the prevalence of obesity (PDF) and diabetes, have worsened in recent decades, according to local and international health experts.

So what’s going wrong in little Qatar?

Qatar also has very high rates of birth defects and genetic disorders — problems that have worsened in recent decades.
To misappropriate a well-worn phrase: It’s the economy, stupid. In September, Qatar officially became the richest nation in the world, as measured by per capita gross domestic product. It also recently became the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, and earned the title of fastest growing economy in the world. By international development standards, all this growth has happened virtually overnight, making Qataris’ lifestyles much more unhealthy, and at the same time leading many to hang on resolutely to what’s left of their fleeting tribal traditions — practices that include inter-marriage between close family members and cousins.

“They’re concentrating the gene pool, and at the same time, they’re facing rapid affluence,” said Sharoud Al-Jundi Matthis, the program manager at the Qatar Diabetes Association, a government funded health center in Doha, the capital. As a result of these factors, Qataris are becoming obese, passing on genetic disorders at an alarming rate, and getting diabetes much more often than others around the world. They’re also getting diabetes a decade younger than the average age of onset, which is pushing up rates of related illnesses and complications, like hypertension, blindness, partial paralysis, heart disease, and loss of productivity. “It’s a very, very serious problem facing the future of Qatar,” Matthis said.

It’s a fascinating read, not too long, little more than double what you have already read. You can read the entire article by clicking HERE: The Atlantic

Thank you, John, for the recomendation.

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Qatar, Social Issues, Statistics, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

Possible Protest Gathering at the U.S. Embassy on November 20, 2011

Kuwait City, Kuwait
November 20, 2011

Subject: Possible Protest Gathering at the U.S. Embassy on November 20,

Please circulate the following message without additions or omissions
immediately to all U.S. Citizens within your area of responsibility.

There are unconfirmed reports of a possible silent protest gathering in front of
the U.S. Embassy on Sunday, November 20 at 19:00. The gathering may take place
near the main Embassy gate. An increased police and security presence around
the Embassy compound is expected.

Spontaneous and planned demonstrations take place in Kuwait from time to time in
response to world events or local developments. At times, even demonstrations
intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into
violence. Please avoid the areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if
within the vicinity of any large gatherings. Please stay current with media
coverage of local events, be aware of your surroundings, and practice personal
security awareness at all times.

U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad should enroll in the Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program (STEP) at the following website:

U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate at their destination. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for
the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

Updated information on travel and security may be obtained from the Department
of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or,
for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at
1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For further
information, please consult the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at where the Worldwide Caution and Country Specific
Information can be found. In addition, the Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to
review “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which includes valuable security information for
those traveling or living in foreign countries. You can also follow the Bureau
of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Street, Block 6, Plot 14,
Bayan, Kuwait. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance in
Kuwait, you may reach the U.S. Embassy by calling +965-2259-1001 and requesting
the duty officer.

U.S. citizens in Kuwait who would like to receive future Emergency and
Informational Messages from the Embassy directly by e-mail may sign up for this
service by sending an e-mail to the following address:

This message may be accessed on the Embassy website,
Please note that the Consular Section is closed for U.S. and most local
holidays. The current holiday schedule for 2011 is posted on

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Kuwait | Leave a comment

Who Gets Into Heaven?

Today at Christ Church in Pensacola, when Father Neal Goldsborough gave the sermon, I had a very un-churchlike urge to get up and dance for joy. He was preaching on Matthew 25: 31 – 46, where Christ the King sits in majesty and judges who will have the kingdom of heaven, and who will burn in the lake of fire.

Here was today’s reading:

Matthew 25:31-46
New International Version (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

When he started out, I was a little nervous, because I was afraid he was going to talk about the fat sheep and the thin sheep, but that was the reading from Ezekiel:

(Ezekiel 34:11-16
New International Version (NIV)
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.

Since I might be mistaken for one of the fatter sheep, you can understand why I was a little nervous. Also, I had a huge “AHA!” moment living in Jordan, as the shepherd and his sheep and goats passed by my house daily. The sheep were incredibly stupid, but they trusted their shepherd, and the shepherd took good care of them. While they were excavating channels to put in underground pipes in our area, I watched the shepherd carry each sheep across the little wooden walk way, because they were too afraid to do it on their own. The goats would do it, but I still wouldn’t want to be a goat. I don’t really want to be a sheep either.

And I digress.

Here’s what Father Neal said about our gospel reading. He said Jesus doesn’t say you have to have invited him into your heart. He said that if you feed the hungry, give some water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the needy, look after the sick and visit those in prison, ypu’re in. You’re righteous.

It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for, something scriptural to support what my heart knows – that there are those who are not Christians who are going to be in the kingdom of heaven, too. It’s not a matter of saying these words or those words, or believing exactly as “they” tell us we must believe, it is a matter of serving the king by tending to and serving his sheep. He LOVES the least of these. It gives me hope; even I might have a chance of inclusion.

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Character, Charity, Civility, Leadership, Spiritual, Values | , | 1 Comment

Protesters Storm Kuwait Parliament

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Kuwait, Political Issues | 2 Comments

Jesus Loves the Little Children

There are many times Jesus speaks obliquely, using an analogy to convey the message, and his disciples have trouble understanding. This time, Jesus speaks very clearly, telling his disciples that the most humble child will enter heaven, and that anyone who causes that child to lose innocence and belief is in big trouble.

I think of my little grandson. Since he was born, I have been singing to him a song I learned in my childhood, “Jesus Loves the Little Children, all the little children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Matthew 18:1-9

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

8 ‘If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Character, Family Issues, Parenting, Relationships, Spiritual, Values | Leave a comment

“Please Keep This Very Secret . . . “

One of the things that makes me wonder is that very good people get taken in by messages like this. I wonder what part of – to paraphrase – you never knew him, but let’s pretend like you were his business partner and collect this fortune – seems like a good idea? Let’s lie to the bank administration and walk off with these funds? Let’s collect money that does not belong to us?

I urge you to call “Dr. David Morris” and tell him what you think. He gives his number at the end of the letter.

Please read I Do Not Come to You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani to better understand how the ‘419’ scams work. It is also a hilarious book.

Hello My Dear friend,

How are you doing together with your entire family, I hope all is well? Please carefully read and understand my reason of contacting you through this email. I am DR DAVID MORRIS, working in the department of adducting & accounting section ISLAMIC BANK OF AFRICA (ISBOA) Burkina Faso West Africa.

I am contacting you because of an abandoned sum of $15 Million US Dollars that was deposited by a late customer of this bank called MR SALIFF KATTAN. A very prominent man who was doing business transaction with our bank.

He was a citizen of JORDANES. He died in the year 2006 on a motor accident on his way travelling to a nearby city called Bobo Dioulasso together with the wife and their two children . The bank has no knowledge about his death, Upon this discovery that I decided to make this business proposal to you since the banking laws and guidelines here stipulate that if such funds remain unclaimed here after 5 years, the money will be transferred into the Central Bank Treasury as unclaimed fund.

My stand to contact you now is that, a foreigner has the legal right to put claim to such deposit followed by your will, proof your claim with the bank. Therefore, I want you to apply as his business partner to assist me so that I will be directing you on every steps we are going to be taken to make sure that the bank management believe really that you are his business partner.

This transaction is going to be a successful transaction because, a foreigner Is compulsorily needed to present himself or herself as the business partner to this deceased bank customer since the fund depositor was a foreigner, I therefore, desperately need your assistance to claim and receive this huge sum of money into your account after applying to our bank with my directive and the application I will send to you as his business partner for the smooth processing of the fund to you.

For the assistance in this transaction as my partner, you will be entitled to 40% of the total fund in respect of the provision of your bank account and the assistance you are to render on the process. 55% would be for me as the originator and initiator of the transaction, and the rest 5% will be used to off-set any minor expenses which may arise during the process of transferring the fund into your account by our bank I and my entire family will leave here immediately to your country in order to share the profits and we also invest part of my own share over there, as soon as the fund is transferred into your account.

Please Endeavour to keep this transaction very secret and highly confidential because I will lose my work here as bank staff, where the bank authority here finds out that you and I are collaborating in this “Special Deal”.. Please also be rest-assured that this business is 100% risk-free, and all the information and data’s you will need to make successful claim of this fund in the bank here are fully ready with me here.

Note Well: Please urgently confirm your willingness and interest to assist me by calling my private number immedaitely you have receive this mail for little discussion on how we are going to move ahead.

Call me for more clarifications +226 78 05 73 10

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Crime, Cultural, Lies, Scams, Values, Work Related Issues | | Leave a comment

I Wish I’d Hugged Her

The phone rang, late for most of my friends. We rarely talk after nine. It was one of my quilting sisters, calling to tell me one of our members had collapsed and died.

I sat down. Why would my friend say such a thing? On the other hand, when I saw her – just three days ago – she wasn’t looking too good, had one of those allergies or things we all get during this time when the temperatures may be in the 40’s or in the high 70’s. But she did make it to the meeting, and we all have bad days, don’t we?

My friend said she would let me know as soon as she knew the arrangements. I think I was a little dazed, a little in shock. I remember when I got the call my Dad had died, it’s like I can’t integrate things all at once, it takes me a while for things to sink in.

I wish I’d hugged her. She’s a lady I really like, talented, wry, funny. We talked, briefly at the meeting, but then the meeting went into full swing and I didn’t really talk with her again. I wish I’d hugged her.

November 15, 2011 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Health Issues, Interconnected, Relationships | 9 Comments

Dubai Flash Mob – And I MIssed It!

Looks to me like maybe the Dubai Airport had a part in this . . . 🙂

November 11, 2011 Posted by | Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Events, ExPat Life | , | 5 Comments

Veteran’s Day: Honor Your Veterans

We will be paying for these last two wars for a long time. Veterans of these wars, many seriously, but not fatally injured by IED’s, traumatized by the activities of war are walking among us. Many of our newest vets have been in the war zones more than once.

AdventureMan is a war vet. Strong and courageous as he is, there are still times he will tear up at some of the things he witnessed in Vietnam. War is an event which resounds throughout the rest of your life.

One of the things we love about living here in Pensacola is that there are a lot of vets here, and there is a culture which honors the Veteran’s sacrifices. When we show our military ID cards in Lowe’s or Home Depot, people say “thank you for your service.” The first time it happened to me, I was caught so by surprise that my eyes leaked tears. Several restaurants are offering active duty and veterans free meals today, reduced prices, and there are many ceremonies honoring Veterans.

The military culture doesn’t like to admit that the warrior life can cause severe problems, mentally, emotionally, with the family, finding a purpose in life after military service, finding relevance in a peaceful society – our men and women come home having seen and experienced sheer horror, and find themselves alien in their own culture. Recovery can be a long, slow process. More of our severely injured vets have survived, but live with brain injuries, lost limbs, and mental wounds.

Welcome them back. Bind their wounds, be patient with their sufferings. War veterans have a high rate of suicide, often related to inability to find a job, so if you are in such a position – hire a veteran. Honor their service, shake their hand, and value their sacrifice.

November 11, 2011 Posted by | ExPat Life, Leadership, Social Issues | , | 4 Comments