Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Elizabeth of Hungary

You think life would be sweet if you were born rich and beautiful, but not so much for Elizabeth of Hungary. She saw – and endured – so much in her short life. I can imagine that the best would be that her children were not killed, and the worst would be having them taken from her.

99c5Elizhung

Today the church remembers Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, 1231.

Being born wealthy does not assure security in life, and one’s own generosity to others does not guarantee repayment in kind by others. Elizabeth was the daughter of the king of Hungary. She married Louis the Fourth, Landgrave of Thuringia, Germany. She was a loving and exemplary wife and mother. However, when she was only twenty years old, her husband was killed and she and her children became the wards of her husband’s cruel and selfish brother, Henry Raspe. Eventually he expelled Elizabeth and her children from the family home, Wartburg Castle.
Elizabeth sought refuge in the church in Marburg, but even there she was not kindly treated. The stern, powerful, and insensitive priest, Conrad, called “the Master of Marburg,” had her children taken from her and placed her in a convent of women Franciscans, known as Poor Clares. There she was treated with almost sadistic severity. “Like grass beaten by a thunderstorm,” to use her own phrase, she revived to become the most beloved “sister of the poor” of Marburg. She often sewed garments for poor children until her fingers bled, or went days without sleep while caring for the sick. She died in 1231, at the age of twenty-four.

In all our struggles, give us strength to cling to you, O God, our only true and lasting hope. Amen.

Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

November 19, 2013 Posted by | Biography, Faith, Living Conditions | , | Leave a comment

“Have You Seen the Photo of Qatar’s New Stadium?”

. . . our son asked us after work today.

 

We both looked blank. No, no we haven’t.

 

He brought up the photo on the iPad. Oh. NO. Noooooooooo!

 

LOL, who sold this idea to the Qataris?

 

People are already calling it the Vagina Stadium. Oh NOOOO!

Al-Wakrah stadium

I know just the Qatar skyscraper to partner with this new stadium; I shuddered as it was rising on the Corniche:

00QSkyscraper

Hilarious!

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Building, Doha, ExPat Life, Humor, Living Conditions, Qatar | | 3 Comments

“How Have You Managed . . . ?”

“What do you mean?” I asked the elegant grinning lady who was asking me the question. Three former military wives, one Army, one Air Force and one Navy, and we had been talking about our world-wide lives and adventures.

“How are you doing? You haven’t been here long. Are you managing to settle in?” asked with enormous sympathy.

She caught me off guard.

Yes, I am happy. I’ve settled in. I have friends. I’m connected.

But her question caught me off guard, and all of a sudden I couldn’t answer.

“I’m doing OK” I managed to start. “But it’s like this church. I love this church, and at the same time, there are times I walk in and oh, how I miss our churches in the Middle East, where I would walk in and think ‘this is what heaven must look like’ especially at Christmas, with all the Indian families in their saris and finery, and the Africans in their brocades and elaborate head-dresses, and the people from all over the world. The music was simpler, and at the Christmas Eve service, we sang ‘Silent Night’ in every language in the church . . .  I miss that.”

Screen shot 2013-11-17 at 8.34.47 PM

There are times the memories catch me unaware, and leave me breathless.

AdventueMan and I went grocery shopping today and when the cashier told me the total, AdventureMan almost gasped. I just laughed and told him that’s why I never took him grocery shopping with me in Kuwait – the sticker shock would have killed him.

Life here is definitely easier.

On the other hand, we have had to revise our ideas about Kuwait drivers. At first, we just thought there were a lot of Kuwaitis living in Pensacola; now we have realized that there are people who just drive as they please. Some of them are stoned out of their minds. I witnessed an accident last week where when I checked the driver of the car that was hit, she grinned at me loopily – and then disappeared. It was bizarre, and I wonder how many people are on the roads as impaired as she was. She went right through a stop sign as if it weren’t even there, and if the car had hit 6 inches more forward, she would have been dead. She didn’t have a scratch. And she was not at all concerned, just that loopy grin. “Elegantly wasted” said the driver of the car who hit her.

We both have a lot going on. With connection comes commitment and obligation. We try to coordinate our schedules at the beginning of the week so we can help one another out. The highlight is that each afternoon I am taking care of our new little granddaughter. AdventureMan/Baba often comes by and naps in the peaceful environment just to be with us. She is a sweet, laughing little baby, never very fussy. He offers me a day off, which occasionally I take, or he takes a time when I have a meeting or an appointment. We have both discovered how very much we like the ‘work’ of grandparenting. 🙂

We’re managing. 🙂

November 17, 2013 Posted by | Aging, Biography, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola | , , , | 8 Comments

Rape Victim Should Have Just Closed Her Legs: Defense Attorney

Ignorance and outrageous statements on rape are rampant world-wide. Today, this story from New Zealand, via AOL HuffPost World:

 

This week’s example of how not to handle a rape trialhave comes to you from New Zealand, where a defense attorney is being criticized for saying a sexually assaulted woman should have kept her legs shut.

Speaking to a Wellington District Court jury on Wednesday, defense lawyer Keith Jefferies claimed that his client, George Jason Pule, a bouncer at a local club, had merely engaged in consensual sex with the victim, as quoted by local paper The Dominion Post.

Jefferies’ “proof”? The drunk 20-year-old woman did not attempt to stop Pule’s advances after he convinced her to follow him down an alley.

“All she would have had to do was to close her legs,” Jefferies told the jury in his closing argument, per the Post. “[I]t’s as simple as that.”

Pule had attempted to claim that the victim had filed a false rape charge because she regretted having sex with him, reports the Post.

Despite his best efforts, Jefferies’ client was ultimately convicted on the rape charge and is currently awaiting sentencing.

It’s been a difficult month so far for victims advocates in New Zealand, with the Wellington trial following news of an alleged “teen rape club, ” known as the “Roast Busters,” operating in New Zealand. Members of the group, which is currently being investigated by police, are said to have boasted about getting underage girls drunk and sexually assaulting them. 

“This whole situation is horrific,” Wellington Rape Crisis Center’s Natalie Gousmett said in a press release. “First we have the abhorrent behaviour of the members of the rape group, causing serious harm to the victims they have targeted. Then we have appalling coverage by media, including extreme victim-blaming. … All of this demonstrates the rape culture in [New Zealand], which is extremely harmful to survivors.”

Gousemett went on to note that victims who “are told they are at fault for being raped” are far less likely to come forward and receive the support they need.

In an effort to counteract the problem, advocacy groups have launched a new public service campaign called “Who Are You,” urging New Zealanders to keep “an eye on your mates when you’re out –- You look after them, they look after you. It’s all about having fun and making it home safely.”

November 14, 2013 Posted by | Character, Crime, Cultural, Living Conditions, Safety, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , | Leave a comment

For a Sunny Cold Day in Pensacola

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 8.01.15 AM

 

Normally, I sleep my best in cold weather, but last night the Qatari Cat decided sleeping closely snuggled up to me was preferable to the snug heated bed we bought him, and which he normally loves.

 

The Qatari Cat is a large cat. When we have our delegate dinners for the GCCDC, we keep him in another room. Most often, delegates will hear him complaining and ask if we would let him out. I am willing to bet that there are more photos of delegates with the Qatari Cat in circulation than with us! All that aside, when he snuggles up, he takes up a lot of room. When you want to change positions, he is a snoring, uncooperative lump, and you have to arrange yourself around him. I did not sleep so well as I like to sleep on cold November nights.

 

Yes, he is a spoiled cat.

 

Today’s Psalm from the Lectionary Readings is a delight for a chilly, early November day, warms things right up:

Psalm 34

 

Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
   his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
   let the humble hear and be glad. 
3 O magnify the Lord with me,
   and let us exalt his name together. 
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
   and delivered me from all my fears. 
5 Look to him, and be radiant;
   so your* faces shall never be ashamed. 
6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
   and was saved from every trouble. 
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
   around those who fear him, and delivers them. 
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
   happy are those who take refuge in him. 
9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
   for those who fear him have no want. 
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger,
   but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
   I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 
12 Which of you desires life,
   and covets many days to enjoy good? 
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
   and your lips from speaking deceit. 
14 Depart from evil, and do good;
   seek peace, and pursue it. 
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
   and his ears are open to their cry. 
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
   to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
   and rescues them from all their troubles. 
18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
   and saves the crushed in spirit. 
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
   but the Lord rescues them from them all. 
20 He keeps all their bones;
   not one of them will be broken. 
21 Evil brings death to the wicked,
   and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
   none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

November 14, 2013 Posted by | Faith, Lectionary Readings, Pensacola, Qatteri Cat, Relationships, Thanksgiving, Weather | Leave a comment

“if You Can’t Prevent Rape, You Enjoy It”: Ranjit Sinha

The Chief of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation said this! Was he snorting cocaine in a drunken stupor? Of course he is apologizing, but his careless remark demonstrates the sentiments buried deep in his culture’s heart – it’s only women. Not worth much, not like us men.  Outrageous.

 

Ranjit Sinha

 

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top police official apologized Wednesday for saying, “If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,” a remark that has outraged women across the country.

Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha made the remark Tuesday during a conference about illegal sports betting and the need to legalize gambling. The CBI, the country’s premier investigative agency, is India’s equivalent of the FBI.

Sinha said at the conference that if the state could not stop gambling, it could at least make some revenue by legalizing it.

“If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying, ‘If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,'” he said.

The remarks have caused outrage across India, which in the past year has been roiled by widespread protests following the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi.

On Wednesday, Sinha said that his comments had been taken out of context and misinterpreted, and that he was sorry if he had caused hurt.

Angry activists, however, called for his resignation.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said Sinha’s comments were offensive to women everywhere.

“It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy,” Karat told reporters. “He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women.”

The New Delhi attack on the young woman last December caused nationwide outrage and forced the government to change rape laws and create fast-track courts for rape cases. New laws introduced after the attack make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. They also provide for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.

November 13, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, India, Interconnected, Language, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | 3 Comments

MERS Found in Saudi Arabian Camel

 

 From AOL/Huffpost/AP News:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Saudi Health Ministry says it has discovered a deadly virus in a camel in Jiddah province, on the western coast of Saudi Arabia.

The ministry’s statement released Monday is considered an important development in the search for the origin the deadly illness. There have been more than 60 deaths from the virus known as Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, with all but a handful of the fatalities in Saudi Arabia.

The ministry said a sample from the camel was tested near the home of a patient infected with the virus.

An international research team in August found the mysterious virus that is related to SARS in a bat in Saudi Arabia. They suspected it was perhaps another animal that was spreading the virus directly to humans.

November 13, 2013 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Community, Environment, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Saudi Arabia | , | Leave a comment

“Great is Your Faith!”

Jesus only commented positively on a person’s faith three times, and two of those times the supplicant was not Jewish, but other, in this case, a Canaanite woman. All she cared about was her daughter. He even says no, he won’t help her, he is there for the Jews. As she persists, as she argues with Jesus and makes her case, he relents, he feels enormous compassion for this woman in her plight, and as he heals her daughter, he makes this extraordinary statement calling attention to her belief. No legalistic requirements, he just heals.

 

canaanite-woman-faith

 

Matthew 15:21-28

 

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ 24He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ 26He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 27She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ 28Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Character, Charity, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Faith, Family Issues, Lectionary Readings, Spiritual | , , | Leave a comment

Clean or Unclean?

This is one of my favorite readings in the Lectionary. People often ask where it is that Jesus declared all foods “clean” and this is one of the scriptures. To me, it is the why of it that makes it interesting – and convicting. There is enough in my heart to make me unclean without worrying about food rules.

 

Matthew 15:1-20

 

15  Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.’ He answered them, ‘And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?For God said,* “Honour your father and your mother,” and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that whoever tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God”,* then that person need not honour the father.* So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word* of God. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 
8 “This people honours me with their lips,
   but their hearts are far from me; 
9 in vain do they worship me,
   teaching human precepts as doctrines.” ’

10  Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’ 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’ 13 He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.* And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’ 15 But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ 16 Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding?17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Character, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Faith, Food, Lectionary Readings, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Wooo HOOO the New Q8 Books!

Brava! Brava, Fajer! What a great gift to the children and the community, to make Q8Books more accessible and family friendly. Woooo HOOOOO!

Reading and literacy are key to civilization. Brava!

 

From the Kuwait Times:

Kuwait’s community bookshop gets new life

Spooky Books storytime

Finding quality English books in Kuwait is a challenge as any book lover here knows. Local lawyer Fajer Ahmed, 26, recently took up the challenge when she acquired the small but well-loved bookshop, Q8 Books. She moved Q8 Books from downtown Kuwait City into a renovated space in Bayt Lothan, the non-profit arts and culture center located next to Marina Mall in Salmiya. Home to more than 15,000 titles of all genres including literature, general fiction, history, romance, thrillers and mysteries, westerns, classics, cook books, true crime, self help and motivation, family and lifestyle, business and philosophy and arts and crafts, Q8 Books has something to suit every reader’s taste.

By adding sofas, tables, chairs and beanbags, Q8 Books created a cozy, relaxed atmosphere along with free WiFi that invites customers to come and hang out. “We want to encourage reading, writing and communication in Kuwait, “Fajer explained. “As one example, we provide local writers with a place to display and sell their books free of charge, we also do all the administrative work for them.”

A community bookshop
Q8 Books also holds a free weekly story time for children, offers 50% store credit for trade ins, encourages book clubs and other responsible community groups free space to hold meetings and has an outreach project to support a library in Gambia. “We thank Bayt Lothan for giving Q8 Books a home,” Fajer said. “Without them none of this would have been possible.” Q8 Books’ erudite former owner, Jacob, started the bookshop almost a decade ago with only a handful of books. During his travels, he would browse used bookstores and markets to find quality titles that would be appreciated by the book-loving community in Kuwait. Jacob continues to help out at Q8 Books along with a group of dedicated volunteers and support from the Kuwait Writing Club.

Fajer also organizes regular events in order to build Q8 Books as a community space. On the first of November, Q8 Books hosted a Spooky Book night for kids, which included a story telling by local street artist Monstariam dressed in a bunny costume, a crafts and arts table, coloring and glitter, a costume contest and a chance for parents to browse and chat.

Kid and family friendly
“We really enjoyed Spooky Books night,” said Umm Sara, a mother of three children who attended the event all wearing ‘scary’ costumes. “The kids loved the story telling and we got several books. Much better than going to a mall and they got to draw and color and dress up.” The Kuwait Writing Club also took part, judging over 80 submissions for the writing competition. The winning submission will be published in Kuwait Times. “We also had a cover design competition for children to draw covers for the age appropriate horror story, Goosebumps, and every kid that took park received a free book of their choice,” Fajer explained.

Q8 Books will offer monthly events for children and parents with the goal of encouraging reading. “When kids come in playing games on electronic devices, we try to find books with the same characters and get them interested in reading,” Fajer noted. “Welovekuwait.com Children’s Bookshop has also donated coloring and reading books to give for free for every child that walks in.” Q8 Books encourages Kuwait’s community of readers to share their love of reading. They accept donations and offer store credit for traded in books. They also invite anyone to email ask@q8bookstore.com if they are interested in volunteering, donating or just want to talk to someone about suggestions for what to read.

Q8 Books is located in Bayt Lothan, next to Marina Mall. Store Hours: Weekdays 9am- 1pm and 5pm-9pm. Weekends 11am-9pm. Follow them on Instagram @q8bookstore

By Jamie Etheridge

 

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Books, Character, Civility, Community, Education, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Free Speech, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Poetry/Literature, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 3 Comments