Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things you wouldn't find in Pelican Rapids (or would you??)

From Middle East News Services
Thanks Intlxpatr for still keeping me "in the know"

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 3: Police have arrested a Sri Lankan housemaid who allegedly duped a Kuwaiti man in his 70s, and lured him into selling his home, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily.

It is reported the woman, who was working for the old man, induced him to sell his home, and then took the money from him. She is said to be worth about KD 120,000. She has also built a mansion in her home country.

A security source said the man’s mother, who is about 108 years old, and his family have lodged a complaint at the police station. However, the maid claims the man had given the money to her of his own free will.

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 28: Eight Kuwaitis have filed complaints with the Al-Shaab Police Station accusing a compatriot and his Arab wife of cheating them, reports Al-Rai daily. The complainants said they bought apartments overlooking the sea from the compatriot and the wife received money on behalf of the husband. The complainants said each of them paid KD 100,000 in advance upon receipts and contracts only to discover the apartments have been sold to other people. The daily did not say in which country the complainants purchased the apartments.

DOHA: Qatari divorcees are entitled to free government housing only if they remain unmarried (after divorce) for five years in a row, so many of them with no job and children to support are urging the authorities to review this rule.

The divorce rate being very high in Qatar and many divorcees taking custody of their children as well prefer to live away from their parents in rented accommodation.

And since not all divorcees are employed and financially independent they struggle to make ends meet with meager monthly maintenance amounts they receive from their former husbands.

Government housing rules in the country specify that Qatari women who remain unmarried up to the age of 35 are entitled to free state housing.

One of the divorcees told Al Sharq on grounds of anonymity that life for her and her children had become miserable as the monthly rent she had to pay for the rented accommodation was quite high.

Living off meager maintenance amount, she said she was finding it extremely hard to make ends meet, especially as children’s education is to be taken care of which is an expensive affair.

“We, therefore, want the government to review its housing rules and consider our plight on humanitarian grounds,” she said emphatically.

“More than the spinsters, we need a government house because spinsters can anyway stay with their parents,” said the woman.

According to her, living in rented accommodation with children for five years consecutively after divorce is near-impossible due to the fact that the maintenance amounts given by their former husbands are fixed while rents have been going up.

With Love from the Desert

Photo taken at sunrise in Eqypt, fall 2009

Hello one and all...I am sorry for lack of communication. Almost 10 days without a post is too long. I will try to update you on our lives...

GOOD NEWS is that nothing is wrong, we are all healthy, happy and working...hard.

ANNA is busy with soccer, Academic Games (She heads to Abu Dhabi tomorrow for the weekend tournament),Forensics (speech) school and life. We went shopping last night for some clothes (the second time this year! As in 2009, my lil one is not a shopper girl) It was productive and provided us with some good bonding time.

DAVID is busy with school (we just finished a report card period here so lots of midnight oil) and soccer. He helps out occassionally with Anna's team (they are 3-0) and keeps a bit of spending money flowing by reffing. He's also coaching the Forensics teams so has lots of after school practices.

NADINE is busy with her new job (getting things ready for Anna's team to go to Abu Dhabi) and also preparing for the hosting of the Forensics meet here next month. Also I've started teaching piano lessons so a bit of spending money is flowing that way. I've got five students--four young men and one very excited young woman. It's fun, a stretch and interesting. But also exhausting.


David and I went bowling last weekend. We did it to check out a possible team activity for Forensics. It was great fun and reminded me of our college days.I almost beat David with three strikes at the end, but still couldn't score more than my usual 107.

I rode the Kuwait Public Transportation Bus system last week for the first time. I was a little freaked out, but found it to be fast, clean and very affordable. We don't own a car in Kuwait so rely on taxis and friends. The bus could be an option for us more in the future.

I'm getting a colonscopy on Saturday (yeah we are hard up for fun if this is on the list right?) The Wagner genes pre-dispose me to the "c" word so I'm getting it checked on. Suffice it to say, I won't be writing a blog about my experiences. Although last time I had a colonoscopy I woke up from the anesthesia with my cellphone in hand and noticed that I had made 5 calls.
Don't remember them...if I try to call YOU, do not answer!!

sorry for the delay in writing. I'll try to have more fun things to tell later.

Weather is beautiful, wish YOU were here!!
Love from the Desert
The Browns

Sunday, October 11, 2009

That Darn Cat

Germo rests in the sun after a hard night

Our lead story tonight
The little Kuwait family of four almost became three when Germo, the Arabian Mow street cat, disappeared for approximately three hours this evening.

Mrs Brown, kind hearted but not always so bright, domestic goddess of the Brown home explains it like this:
"Well, I often open the kitchen window so Germo can sit out on the ledge and look longingly at the street cats gathering below. As he is declawed, he would never survive in the outside of the apartment life, so I feel sorry for him and allow him on the ledge once a day while I am doing dishes or other domestic duties".

Tonight however, Nadine got careless and left the window open. Her cold hearted husband David, who has admitted in the past to not ever liking the cat (although he has been seen often with the cat on his lap!), shut the window at approximately 8:30 pm.
The family got involved in their regular nightly routine and it wasn't until about 11 pm when Nadine noticed the cat was missing.

After a thorough search of the apartment, and all 8 floors of the apartment building, Nadine set off on foot around the building, not even daunted by the fact that the local Kuwaitis and neighborhood teachers would be amused by the site of her in her old football shirt and striped pajama pants.

Alas, no luck in searching. Finally the Grinch, aka David, remembered that he had shut the window to the kitchen and he opened it and looked below. Sure enough, there was the cat calmly resting on the roof of the storage shed about a half story below.
Nadine climbed into the kitchen sink, stuck her body half way out the window and talked to the cat while David and Anna found a tall ladder and climbed up on the roof to rescue the cat.

Germo's only comment was that there wasn't any catfood on the roof and that the great excape only proved to remind him how lucky he truly is to live in the style to which he's become accustomed.

When asked for a comment, Anna said "Stupid Cat. This should teach us all a mighty lesson about leaving windows open."

2008--Zowie the dog chanting that age old rhyme "Dogs Rule, Cats Drool"

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Photo taken in Maplewood State Park on a glorious day in spring 2008 spent with my favorite PR Photoman, Jordy

As I read on 56572, there are snow flurries expected in my homeland. It's not even Halloween!! This hardly seems fair for people who never ever got much of a summer.
So what I want to share with you today is
the Minnesota Blessing...

I first came across this when our mother died 14 years ago. We actually made a copy of it and placed it with her body. She would have loved it. I have a beautiful framed copy, purchased at the Great Minnesota Get Together, which is with me here in Kuwait.

May the Ruts in the road fit your pickup

May the Wind be always off the lake

May the sun shine warm upon our lefse

The show fall soft upon your roof

And until we meet again

May God Save You from unnecessary uff-das.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Logically Apologetic

Sorry I haven't written much lately. Now I remember why I didn't want to become a journalist even though I have the training. I didn't like the "pressure" of writing a daily column or story. As you can tell, I haven't written as much this year as last year.

Part of that is logical--there isn't as much "newness" to my life. I'm not going out and seeing new things every two seconds as I was last year. I don't walk around with my camera in my pocket as was the case 12 months ago.

Also I've been given bigger responsibilities/opportunities (you know God never gives you anything you can't handle) with my new job as Activities Director. I've got some pretty heavy stuff (in a mild sort of way) happening in my life now and I don't have as much time to write.

Today's battle included a trip to the United Arab Emirates embassy to find out that because two of my students are from Bangeldesh and Indonesia, they would have to pay $220 just for the "opportunity" to travel to Abu Dhabi for a tournament. And after paying that money, it can't be handled here in Kuwait, but rather in Abu Dhabi which means sending passports, money via courier to AD, getting them back, etc. Let alone explaining to the parents of the TWO Bangeldeshi children who are going on the trip (yes, your math is correct-$220 x 2 =$440) that even though they are doctors and have experienced a "free pass" for travel, that the rules were changed on OCTOBER 1st.

It was an interesting day.
But another opportunity to learn something.

So please don't think that it's because I'm not interested in what's happening back home. Please don't think that I've become a total work snob and am not interested in what's happening in Kuwait anymore. Far from it, I'm actually not seeing myself as so much of a tourist but rather as someone who does live here. I think the term is RESIDENT.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Critical thinking

I am currently trying to teach my 9th and 10th graders the fine art of critical thinking--thinking outside the box. There is a popular book, "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci" which has been a useful text. Now, even in North America it's hard to young people to think creatively and to develop those skills that will lead one's brain to think of not just the easiest or obvious solution, but to really reach and brainstorm for all possibly solutions.

Here (in my humble opinion) it's a little harder because a majority of our students are used to have people who do things for them (nannies, maids, drivers) and they can literally even buy homework done at a place called the Homework Souk (market). Don't even get me started on that--although I'm proud to say that our teachers are smart enough to know the difference between what "Johnny" could have produced and what was purchased through an outside source (I say Johnny because there are no Johnny's here--seriously!)
Anyway, as I was in a full rant at my class for getting them to think OUTSIDE the BOX last week, one frustrated beautiful 9th grader who had been trying so hard to think in a critical, creative fashion finally put her head down and sighed and said "oh Miss, thank God for the Box".

Gotta love it!

Sounds like a good plan to me

Friday, October 2, 2009

Nadine took the Which color is your aura? quiz on facebook and the result is green
Here we are back in 2005. I am WEARING green if that helps!

Greens are balanced, harmonious, and peaceful personalities. They need harmony in their life and prefer to live in a natural environment. They are the most balanced people in the color spectrum. They also have a powerful connection with nature. Living in the country, next to a forest or park or close to a lake or ocean is important for these friendly and heartfelt personalities. Greens are open, extroverted, expressive, friendly, communicative and heartfelt. Greens perceive life through their heart. Their primary motivations are contentment and harmony. They judge their successes by how close they are to their friends or nature. Greens are content personalities. If they are in power and have found their place they need very little to be happy or feel needed. Their inner happiness and satisfaction is important to them and is fulfilled without much expectation.

okay so I don't know whether to laugh or be impressed!