Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pensacola, A Very Middle Eastern City

We had no idea when we left home this morning that when we got to the school, all the parking spaces would be full and it would be almost impossible to find a seat in the auditorium. It was only 8:45 in the morning, and it was only the Pre-K 3’s who would be performing.


We had forgotten – Pensacola is like the Middle East. Family first, and time off for a Christmas Pageant – well, of course!

Pensacola is not like Seattle, or any of the larger cities. While spread out, it is only around 50,000 people, and the worst traffic is never that bad, not if you’ve driven in Amman, or Seattle, or Qatar, or Kuwait. You may not have to stop while the shepherd and his sheep cross the road, but you can get to downtown Pensacola from almost any part of the city in under 15 minutes.


The parking spaces were GONE. The auditorium was PACKED. Friends were greeting friends, all dressed in the reds and greens of Christmas time.


And then the children marched in, and it was barely controlled bedlam as these young stars spotted parents and grandparents and yelled “Grandpa! Here I am!” and angels and sheep and shepherds and wise men all were carefully lined up to sing their songs and tell us the Christmas Story as only 3-years-old can. Oh, it was not to be missed!




We love it that Pensacola is not a city with a lot of rushing about; people have time to go see their children in the school Christmas pageant, that the teachers take the time to herd these cats so that they can sing the songs, do the motions, and probably, if asked, give a rough outline of what happened on that first Christmas.

It’s all a matter of priorities. Pensacola, like our homes in the Middle East, places a high value on family activities, family time, and a balance of work and family where family time has a cherished place.

December 17, 2013 - Posted by | Advent, Christmas, Community, Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Jordan, Kuwait, Middle East, Pensacola, Qatar, Values |


  1. Go Pensacola! I really think that that’s what should be considered “normal”. It shocks me how people living in big cities don’t recognise the lack of home-work balance in their lives. Spending time with the kids is left for the weekend because during the week the parents come home too late and the kids have to go to bed early. I don’t blame working parents for this, I blame the whole working culture that makes it near impossible in some cases to climb up the career ladder without making gigantic sacrifices to your family life.

    Comment by Razan | December 18, 2013 | Reply

  2. (Also,I think the little boy has a pillow case on his head for a qitra! You Americans…always butchering our Middle Eastern costumes… :P)

    Comment by Razan | December 18, 2013 | Reply

  3. Razan, you are right, and it is not an American thing but a big-city thing. It breaks my heart when a company will open on Thanksgiving for Black Friday – and it means people have to leave their family and home and go to work on a family holiday.

    You are right. Joseph is wearing a pillowcase. Aargh!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 18, 2013 | Reply

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