Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Weekend with Bubby!

On Dec. 18th our church had it's Christmas Nativity. It was a bit different this year with a family photo theme. Nice because the kids didn't have many lines. They were all very cute and of course some had very authentic Shepherds costumes.

After the Nativity they passed out Christingles for the kids and some adults. I had not heard of the Christingle before. It is a little strange, I think, but presents a good message. The kids just liked the marshmallows and raisins. One of the members explained the symbolism of the Christingle and then they lit the candles. To learn more about the Christingle, go to

Grandma and Grandpa Rick sent Philip several cute Christmas outfits including this santa costume. On the 23rd we took Philip to the Embasy Playground where he showed us that he can now go down the slide all by himself.
We had a lovely, but quiet Christmas weekend with Philip Akram. A Christmas tree and decorations didn't make the cut weight limitwise when we moved overseas, so I made us a Construction Paper Christms Tree with Chrismons. I'm pretty proud of it so I think I will do it again next year. Philip may even be ready to cut out the circles by then.We had a very simple Christmas this year. Not many presents under the tree. We get our mail at the embassy and it closed down on the 23rd for the holidays. I think some gifts didn't make it in time and many family members sent us e-certificates instead of presents to unwrap.

Philip's gift was a bead maze. I'd been looking for them on-line and then we found a reasonable priced one at the Toys R Us here in Kuwait. It is a very rare thing to find something that doesn't cost 125% of what it would in the States, so we decided to get it when we saw it. Of course we let Philip begin playing with it right away.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas in the Middle East

I've been asked if the Kuwaitiis do Christmas. They may or may not celebrate the holy day, Christ is a prophet for them, but the certainly do Christmas. Starbucks is getting it's RED on, Hallmark is full of cards, wrapping paper and ornaments, and the big stores will sell you a Christmas tree or two.
I took this picture at the Bahrain airport in early November. It was only one small bit of the Winter Bonanza that was really a lot of Christmas Madness. Without Thanksgiving to celebrate, they were not afrait to get their Holiday decorations up and start the Christmas shopping early. I couldn't believe how decked out the airport was, given it resided in an Islamic nation.

Last week, I volunteered at the Embassy Children's Christmas Party. I hosted the gift buying table while Aaron took Philip around to hear stories and meet Santa Claus.

We concluded by going caroling at the Ambassador's House. After the children sang several songs, she invited everyone in for a big photo op with the kids.


I've been highly amused by the HOUSE OF CORN fast food stands I've seen in the airports in Kuwait and Bahrain, so much that I had to try some myself when we saw a corn stand at the Kuwait aquarium.

I'd originally thought that they must only sell straight corn, but they seem to sell a variety of corn based products. I went with the basic bowl of corn, which includes, butter, salt, pepper, and Lemon as a topping. It tasted remarkedly good, although I found the lemon flavor to be quite strong.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Party

Last Thursday night, a family down the street had a really big party.

When we went to bed at8 pm we couldn't believe the traffic going past our house or the lights. My first thought, which I quickly realized was wrong, was that someone had set up a Christmas Tree Alley, but then I remembered where we were. Although one can find Christmas trees in all the stores here, nothing of this level would have to do with Christmas.
Philip had a growth spurt that night. When he woke up at 9:30 to nurse we began to hear some music. It was at this time that I took Blue for a walk and captured this footage. I couldn't believe that so many people were still arriving. They actually had policeman out to help direct traffic. When Philip woke up again at 10:30, I wasn't surprised that the party was still going on, but I was surprised when he woke up at 12:30 and not only was the party still going, but it seemed to be going stronger, as the music was louder and had more bass. At 2:30, I believe the speeches began. At 5:30, we could still here music and celebrating.
The next day as we spoke with our neighbors, we learned that the house closest to our apartment belongs to a Sheik. Further questioning led to our learning that one of his daughters got married.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Things you see while driving

You can see some really strange things here while driving. I wish I had my camera with me the other day. As we were leaving our apartment complex we saw a man driving up to the interesection with his son standing on the footstep outside the driver's side door. He was using his left arm to help the son hold on. I don't know how long he drove like this. I suspect the boys was about 8. I can't imagine any age where this would be an ok thing to do with a child.

On his way home from work the Wednesday before Thankgsiving Aaron saw two separate goat herds crossing a major highway. Later we he was retelling the event to me, we realized that the goats were coming in for Eid al Adha, the Muslim celebration of the Sacrifice, which remembers Abraham honoring God's request to sacrifice his son Ishmael. It is during Eid that Muslims participate in the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. This pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam. Anway, during Eid every family must purchase a sheep, goat, or camel and sacrifice it. The whole goat is used, with a portion of the meat being given away as charity. Aaron realized that it was a one way trip for those goats and that we probably wouldn't be seeing many goats crossing the highway again soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting Blue Here Part 1- aka nothing is ever cheap or easy

Every step of the journey to Kuwait was difficult, but the greatest challenge in coming to Kuwait was getting Blue here.
We love our 12 year old cocker very dearly and couldn't imagine moving without her. We left her with a wonderful family while we lived in Italy, but couldn't bear to do it again, especially at her age. And Philip would be so sad to lose his best friend.
One option available to us was to pay $3000 to have Blue shipped from a pet shipper in San Francisco. They would take care of health certificates and such. I believe, but am not certain, that the price included paying for someone to fly to Kuwait with Blue. Airfare to Kuwait is $2000.
Another option would be to bring Blue with us. Since we were driving from CA to the east coast before flying to Kuwait, this would include Blue traveling cross country with us. Aaron's orders had him attending a school in Ohio for 3 weeks
Unfortunately, the car that I owned, a Ford Escape hybrid was not big enough to hold Blue's cage, our luggage, and Philip's car seat. Additionally, we weren't certain if it would be wise to have a hybrid in Kuwait, one of the wealthiest oil producing nations. Additonally, Aaron was worried about the degree of safety a small SUV would provide for us as we drove on some of the most dangerous roads. I seem to be using a lot of superlatives to descrive Kuwait. But imagine what you get when you comine great wealth with cheap oil. This past weekend we navigated the roads with two corvettes who used the highway as a their own personal race track, zipping down the road to get off at an exit and then zip back up the road.
So we began the search for a new car. Much to my horror, we ended up purchasing a Toyota 4Runner.
I knew that in order for Blue to fly she would need to have paperwork from the vet dated less than 10 days prior to our flight. We would be leaving CA more than 10 days prior to our flight. I decided that I would try and get our local vet to fill out the paperwork and then ask another vet to do the same paperwork when we learned from which city we would be departing. At this time we had a lot of ball up in the air and not much confirmation on anything. We could be flying out of NYC, Baltimore, DC, Norfolk, Atlanta, or Jacksonville.
In mid-Aug. Aaron would drive away to go to Ohio for a 3 week school. Philip and I would be joining him for the last two weeks. Two days before he left, in a fit of pique, I told Aaron that it was all too much for me and I didn't want to go anymore. Philip and I would just stay in California where everything was nice and easy. The next day, the day before Aaron drove off to Ohio, we received an e-mail from Kuwait saying that Aaron's billet was not accompanied afterall. Oh No! I quickly realized that I did want to go, that I didn't want to be separated from Aaron... to be continued

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our Home

I'd originally planned to post pictures of our home when we arrived and then after we personalized it, but through the vagaries of our camera and computer connection those phots were lost. Our home is mostly furnished for us. We provide the linens, knicknacks, and kitchenware that make a house a home.

Iwas surprised by how large our home is. It feels like twice the size of our lovely little Poulsbo home which was big enough for us. What amazes me as I visit other homes, is that our place is about the median for size. Many people are in homes much larger and some of the homes in our neighborhood are compeltely gargantuan. I will post more pictures of our upstairs in a few days.


We've been living in Kuwait for almost 2 months now and I've finally gotten around to starting the blog I'd planned back in July when we got our marching orders. It's been an adventure just getting here and I hope to write more about that process as our journey here unfolds. Whether it was choosing the safest car for carting a toddler around some of the most dangerous roads or meeting all the international travel requirements for importing a cranky old cocker spaniel, we were jumping through hoops we never would have anticipated.

I hope to include photos of our home, our neighborhood, our daily life (although it isn't really that different from the States), our travels, and of our son, Philip Akram. If there is a particular question or topic that you would like to know about our life in Kuwait, please ask away and I will attempt to answer.