Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spending brief moments in a cave

Catching up on sleep, relaxing in front of the TV, snacking, napping...these are the things that I've been busy with lately. It's a good feeling to completely vegitate yet I am glad that I don't make a habit of engaging in this activity.

While I am an extrovert, I find that I need times like this where I hibernate at home. We have enjoyed being hosted over the weekend at Thanksgiving dinners, post thanksgiving dinners, movie nights and casual gatherings. While I enjoy giving heart and soul to this job, it's the people who make life here bearable and fun. We're in a transition cycle now where people are deciding whether or not to stay for another year. It's a tough time to be watching this part of the Circle of life in an international school.

We'll be staying one more year through Anna's graduation so our next 18 months are planned out for us. We aren't sure of what's beyond that, life in PR is a little unsettling right now due to the failed referendum vote. It's an interesting time, to not really know where the next step will take us.

So for now, we find what we can here to keep us happy, to fulfill us, to humor us, to make it through the tough times. And for now, it appears that I got what I needed through various forms of introversion. But I'll be back soon, frolicking through the halls of AIS, seeing what kind of trouble I can get into. As the sign in my kitchen says, "life is good".

Friday, November 27, 2009

Recent Sightings of UFOs

Possible definitions of above:
Unidentified Food Objects; in this case it would be HAM. We were graciously invited to an American thanksgiving through one of Anna's soccer friends and these people work for contractors on a base, so they can get H A M. Mmm it was so tasty... All i needed to complete the day was to fall asleep in front of the TV set watching a football game.

Unidentified Falling Objects: It's been raining here in Kuwait on and off for a week, which is really REALLY odd. It's been chilly enough to wear sweaters. Didn't stop my boy Davey who was out at 630 am with work colleagues golfing on Kuwait's fine sand golf course. You remember the one from last year where one carries their own turf. He returned and brought 4 new friends. He shot a 97 for 18 holes which was, in his words, "pretty darn good"

Unidentified Feliznavidad Ornaments: (Okay, so this was a stretch.) We are starting to see signs of Christmas here, although certainly not as the quantity that you are in North America. It just dawned on my Wednesday that Christmas was right around the corner. Happy First day of the Christmas shopping season in North America! I am thinking of all of you who braved the shoppers to get the bargains, and also those of you who did online shopping.
Tree goes up tomorrow, right on schedule.

Uninterrupted Fluttering Opticals (again a stretch): Finally we have some moments of unplanned rest and relaxation here at the Brown house. The forensics tournament is done, my office is back to normal and I have been enjoying napping and catching up on Videos. I just finished watching the last of Season 15 of ER (loved that show!)Starting on Dexter season four part two and Brothers and Sisters. Gotta love the video man.

Unexpected Friend Obligations: We were going to Qatar to visit BeccaP and Tim but things didn't work out as we had planned. Certainly by easter we will visit them. We had no plans on Tuesday and by Wednesday evening we had two Thanksgiving dinner invites, one birthday party for TD and dinner with the SuperRuss and Sheila. Also a massage with BFFAD Lori and a lovely breakfast with the new smart group. Life is good here.

Utilizing Flying Objects: Anna went out today with friends today to Fly a Kite. Seriously! I don't know how they were going to do that in the rain, but I never underestimate my daughter and her friends.

Hope everyone had a great turkey day and ate too much and received too much love! In 20 days I'll be back in the land of 10,000. Yes I am counting the days!

Happy Holidays

Monday, November 23, 2009

Some things to be Thankful for

Proud Parent Update: Anna Leigh recently took first place in the Eastern Meditterean Activities Council Forensics (speech) meet in the Serious Oral Interpretation category. We're very proud of her!

Nadine planned the Forensics event (but didn't do the judging less you think there's something fishing going on here!).There were over 120 students and coaches in our school, staying with our students and enjoying themselves. All went well, even though there was a fire in the school which caused an evacuation in the middle of the tournament.

I got to fulfill one of my fantasies (being a traffic cop) to keep nosy Kuwaitis from coming to see what was happening. Highlight was when I single handedly stopped a firetruck from going over our barracade and flattening their tires. Scary moment was when the firetruck then turned into the next road almost causing a head on collision with a car of nosy Kuwaitis.

The organization and involvement of this tournament has been my reason (excuse?) for not writing much on the event. Now I'm happy that it's over, it was successful and I can have a life back again.

David was one of the coaches for the AIS team. We saw a significant improvement in our teams' abilities to "play with the big schools" from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Cairo.

REAL HIGHLIGHT of the past week was that we received a brief visit from our good friend Colonel MR who is stationed in Iraq. He was in Kuwait on a brief stopover and, thanks to our armydude friend BR, we were able to break MR lose and he stayed with us. It was so good to see a familiar face, especially someone who is so dear to us. MR has been our friend since our Mankato days. He and his wife, Gorgeous (not her real name but what I call her) have remained true friends. Our friendship began when MR delivered Anna Leigh back in Feb 1993, Yes, he was the first one to sing "Mrs Brown you've got a lovely daughter". (seriously he did sing that when she was born)

Now on to five days off (Celebration of Eid Al-Adha)...which means I have no excuse not to write!! And we can finally spend time with the cat who has spent way too many nights alone lately. See the sad expression on his face.

Happy thanksgiving to all
-We had our thanksgiving dinner already at our superintendent's home last weekend. Although I don't think it was a Jennie-O brand, it tasted mighty good!!

Be thankful for what you have. I know I am....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

FACT: Approximately 52% of Kuwait marriages are between first or second cousins.
Unknown: It is reported to be a much higher percentage among the Royal Family.

While at the doctor's office recently, I was answering a questionnaire regarding my family health history. Unfortunately cancer runs in my family especially colon cancer. Both parents had it and my mother died from it.

So when the doctor read the information he asked me
"are your parents related?"

and I looked at him, paused for a minute and said
"Well they were married"

He patiently asked me again if they were related to each other.

It took me a beat (or two) to realize that this sort of question is not uncommon where I live.

I wanted to say something nasty like "no I'm not from West Virginia either", but that would have been way too rude. He was just doing his job and looking at things through his "filters".

But I did hear the old country western song "I am my own grandpa" playing in the background.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

KSAA Champs for the Second Year in a Row!!

Anna's soccer team captured the local Kuwait Schools Athletics and Activities Varsity Girls Soccer Championship last week with a 7-0 win over their opponent. Anna scored the opening goal in the first 15 seconds of the game.

The team is off in Abu Dhabi this weekend vying for the Middle Eastern championship. We couldn't go (work got in the way,,,bummer) but we are certainly cheering for them in our hearts.

L-I-ONS--LI, LI, ONS, let's GO LIONS (it's a cheer from you...duh, bet you figured that out!)

The lady pictured with Anna and the Banner is her coach, SVD. Tough chick, great coach, good friend.

Fashion Decisions

Trying to decide what to wear to Ben's upcoming wedding and reception, I am debating over these fashion statements...The suit might be a little chilly but certainly would be memorable (photo taken in Eqypt, not bad for 50 right?)

The second outfit is from today's (Nov.11) Wacky Tacky Wednesday, a part of our Spirit Week at school. I'm pictured here with our BritSon, Jake. We were both in the "spirit" of the moment.

As you can tell, even if we don't write as often as last year, we are doing well here in the Middle East. Even if our fashion sense may be a bit questionable!!

Cheers from the Sand!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dressing for Success: Kuwaiti style

Today I went out for some retail therapy with girlfriends H, C and K. We hit a couple antique stores near our school and then headed down south to an older part of Kuwait.

On the way there, we were laughing about how we were dressed like we would be in any other summer day in North America for women in their mid-30s to late 40s (I was the oldest) . Meaning that some of us had short sleeves and others were sleeveless. None of us had shorts on. Our destination was in a southern part of Kuwait City which is known for being conservative. As we got out of the car, we took about 15 steps and discovered we were WAY underdressed...meaning that we were the only women who weren't wearing black abayas and hejabs. A majority of the women also had their face and hands covered.

As we were walking, H says to K--hey we're getting stared at. And K replied:
That's because I have a sleeveless top on AND I am blonde...duh! ( she was the ONLY blonde we saw in the hour)
It was a bit disconserting. We weren't hassled, just stared at.

We went about our business and enjoyed a lovely lunch. However, we noticed a few inconsistencies to the standard conservative mindset. Like the site of the woman who came into the restaurant and then took off her abaya (clothes on underneath of course) while she ate. Normally, women remained covered up until they are in the privacy of their own homes. We also were surprised to see women smoking...not a common site at all, other than shesha pipes. (hubbly bubbly).

As we were leaving, a car drove by and this man had a huge grin on his face and put his thumb in the air, kissed it and waved to us (as if to say "thumbs up babes"). K said "okay I've had enough of being misinterpreted as a whore today, let's get out of here". K is a lawyer by profession and she is definitely NOT what you would describe as a loose woman. She just happens to be from Western Canada with the prettiest blue eyes and curly blonde hair I've ever seen.

This is a strange place. I still feel safe, so safe in fact that sometimes I forget that I really don't live here. I now know what it must be like to be dressed in an abaya in North America and stand out as you walk down the street. After a while, you just ignor the stares and carry on with your business. That is, until someone points at you and brings attention to the fact that you really do stand out.

I own an abaya but I haven't got the courage to wear it because I am afraid I will stand out. Now I have learned that because I DON'T wear one, I stand out. Guess it's time to try it out. I'll let you know how it works next time I am shopping.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Update on the Browns

Dateline Kuwait
November 5, 2009

YES we are still alive! NO we aren't sick! No, we haven't been stricken by h1n1! NO I am not wearing a burka..

We are well, we are just up to our eyeballs in work and events.

Anna's soccer team won the Kuwait Girls championship on Monday evening! She kicked the first goal within 15 seconds of the game starting.

David has been coaching the Forensics team (speech). We had a meet today with another Kuwait school. unfortunately Anna's duet partner is recooperating from an emergency appendix operation. We are hoping he will be well for the big competition in two weeks.

Nadine has been busy coordinating the big speech meet in two weeks. I am learning more about Visas, Immigration, Embassies etc than I ever thought possible. Again, remember our comment about standing on sand. It appears that if I don't like something, I just have to patiently wait for a couple days and the sands shift and things change!

Pictures to follow of soccer and other fun stuff.
Thanks for your patience in keeping checking this site.

PS after a few "liquid refreshments" tonight, our friend JL called me boring (okay so I was yawning like crazy and almost fell asleep in his comfy big chair) It could be true that Kuwait is working me to sleep but BORING...I don't think so...