Monday, January 31, 2011
"just Fine." Life continues to be our own version of normal here. Although there is great concern as many of our co workers have families in Eqypt and Tunesia. I'm scheduled to send a group of 24 to Jordan on Wednesday and I am relying on the confidence of my colleagues there saying that it's peaceful. However, I am now coordinating an event hre at AIS that WAS supposed to be held in Alexandria, Eqypt in early March.
Today I spoke with my colleague and friend ML in Alexandria. He sounded worried but assured me that he was fine. He didn't even sound concerned when he told me that planes were being flown in from western countries to remove expats. I also spoke with our beloved business manager whose daughter and grandchild are in Cairo. They hear looters around their homes, there was someone shot in front of their apartment complex two days ago. She is scared, her daughter is scared but the husband wants to stay and guard their possessions. I bought her flowers, it's the least I could do--mother to mother.
SO keep praying for peace in the Middle East and continue to focus your prayers on where I really need help..that is crossing the street here!
I'll keep you posted
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
This picture was taken a couple years ago on the Pelican River. I am in a sentimental mood right now and thought it was appropriate.
I've been thinking a lot about my children and their next step in life. Ben is working on his Law Enforcement degree and he and his lovely wife are working hard on making a new life for themselves. Anna has been getting rejection and acceptance letters for Universities and is trying to decide where she wants to bloom for the next four years. And so where does that leave ol' Davey and I? Do we stay in International teaching for another couple years? Do we return to MN and hope, (against hope?) that a job opens up for us? Or do we try to stay here in Kuwait where we know what we've got? This is definately time for the Next Step in the Brown family. The term EMPTY NEST is soon going to apply to us. I sure think about my parents and what it must have been like for them. My oldest sistah is 21 years older than I am so when I left home three days after my high school graduation, it was the first time in 38 years my parents hadn't had children at home. My mom once told me she cried for three days. I get it now.
Thinking back to when I was a senior in high school (yes my memory does go back that far!) I remember wanting desperately to LEAVE HOME and try my wings somewhere else. I wanted so badly to GROW UP and have adult experiences. I wanted to leave my lil small town (population 796 at that time) and see new things, meet different people, try amazing things. Listening to Anna talk about where she wants to go and her reasons bring back so many memories. And I guess one would say that I've turned out okay for all my adventures. Reasonably so anyway.
Once Ben said to me "Mom don't you remember what it's like to be 18?" I replied that indeed I did but I didn't know what it was like to be a parent of an 18 year old so please give me a break. I learned from him that a mom needs to let go and watch. Like when children are learning to walk, you want to put barriers around them, be there when they fall, encourage them to keep going--but maybe, just maybe, secretly hoping they won't learn...just yet...because it will mean that they are growing up.
I know, I know, this is a natural stage of life. And I am thankful that my children have opportunities to try their wings. As long as they know that somewhere in the world, there will always be a nest for them to return to--even if only for a brief rest.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This is one of the possible test questions Anna will have tomorrow on her English mid term. The class is a Standard Level English class, not HIGHER LEVEL (which she has in five other subjects! Yikes, it scares me.
Once on the kind of day called ‘weather breeder,’
When the heat slowly hazes and the sun
By its own power seems to be undone,
I was half boring through, half climbing through
A swamp of cedar. Choked with oil of cedar 5
And scurf of plants, and weary and overheated,
And sorry I ever left the road I knew,
I paused and rested on a sort of hook
That had me by the coat as good as seated,
And since there was no other way to look, 10
Looked up toward heaven, and there against the blue,
Stood over me a resurrected tree,
A tree that had been down and raised again—
A barkless specter. He had halted too,
As if for fear of treading upon me. 15
I saw the strange position of his hands—
Up at his shoulders, dragging yellow strands
Of wire with something in it from men to men.
‘You here?’ I said. ‘Where aren’t you nowadays?
And what’s the news you carry – if you know? 20
And tell me where you’re off for – Montreal?
Me? I’m not off for anywhere at all.
Sometimes I wander out of beaten ways
Half looking for the orchid Calypso.’
1. What are the effects of the dominant images used in this poem?
Monday, January 24, 2011
When I listen to the news (BBC or CNN only here) and learn of upsetting events in Tunesia, Eqypt, Lebanon, Ireland, I pay more attention because I know people who are directly affected by these events. One of my friends here father is a VIP in the Lebanese government. She says the family is scared for their future and possibly their lives. Really puts things in perspective.
We enjoyed ourselves perhaps a little too much on our Spain vacation. As a result, we're surviving on just $21 in our bank account until Tuesday when we get paid (We live off my salary and save David's in an account in PR). It's been a little like being in college again, although we haven't resorted to eating macaroni and cheese...yet. When I feel sorry for myself (not often), I have to pinch myself back to reality and remember that in my former life it would have taken me two years (or more) to save for vacations. It's a very tempting lifestyle we live here with the ability to travel at will. (one of the reasons why we are so low on funds is that I just booked a flight to Dubai yesterday)
Ben is returning to the Middle East...this time for vacation! His sister had a royal kitty fit when she heard that her brother wasn't coming to her graduation so she pulled out all the guilt words in a facebook message. It'll be nice to have Ben see us in our world and not the world of War that he knows the middle east.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
If you notice the little counter on the right of my blog, you'll see that this blog has over 25,000 "hits". Which means that a lot of people look at this site. Now, some of it is me preparing the blog FYI-most of the Kuwait hits are mine...I edit and re-edit each post a
Some of the hits are Family (LOVE TO Colorado, Alaska, Moorhead, Fargo and Chaska); some of the hits are Pelican Rapids "Family (love to you and can't wait til summer), a couple are students from AIS who have found their way onto the site (love from Momma Brown) and the rest are...???!!! I don't actually know.
I am speculating that some are people who are looking to come to AIS , as I've freely given out the website to our super superintendent to use as he recruits throughout the world.
Some of the people come from random places. For example, my comment on Dewey Berquist, Fargo TV Weatherman of Local Fame has generated a LOT of hits! And my comments on the SADU house always seems to garner a following.
It's weird to know that people AROUND THE WORLD are reading this. Let's one know how small the world truly is.
I attempt to be honest, upbeat and intelligent in my writing (hence why I have to edit and re-edit) because sometimes my first drafts are pretty goofy. It's been good therapy for me to write to "you" (whoever you are!). And my hopes are that when I finish my time in the Middle East, that I will publish my blog as a permanent momento (I know my friend JC is shaking his head because he believes things shouldn't be on paper but rather always in the electronic realm).
I currently subscribe to Vermont artists' daily blog which gives me inspiration for my classes and for my life. His entry for today seemed appropriate in answer to the question "Why do I write a blog"...THANK YOU FOR READING and COMMENTING ('Mos and ATD and DI and Cuz)
From Heron Dance Life of a Wild Artist
Thursday, January 20, 2011
So I'm sending, WITH LOVE and SOLIDARITY, two pictures of our 2007 Belize vacation in hopes that they will send a WARM SPARK through your hearts and toes. Now I'm heading for another blanket to cover up... (and no, I don't expect any of you in North America to feel sorry for me!)
I know I didn't fool anybody...this is , of course, Lovely Lake Lida, Home of the BEST SUMMERS Ever! Just the thought of sailing around the lake makes me warm!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Neice Di and My Brother: He's pretty goofy
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Published Date: January 18, 2011 By B Izzak, Staff Writer & Agencies
KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has ordered the distribution of KD 1.12 billion ($4 billion) and free food for 14 months to citizens as the state prepares to mark national occasions. Each of the 1.12 million Kuwaitis will get KD 1,000 ($3,572) in cash as well as free essential food items until March 31, 2012, State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan said. Roudhan said the Cabinet approved a draft decree for the financial grant which will be sent to the National Assembly forapproval. He said the government will ban any bank deduction or seizure of the grant.The state, whose financial assets top $300 billion, will next month mark the 50th anniversary of independence, 20th anniversary of liberation from Iraqi occupation and the fifth anniversary of the Amir's ascendance to power. The announcement was made following an overnight meeting of the Cabinet.
The 2.4 million foreign residents of Kuwait are excluded from the grant and the free food.MPs yesterday welcomed the Amiri grant but urged the government to step up control over prices so as to prevent merchants from raising prices artificially. MPs Khaled Al-Adwah, Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Saadoun Hammad among many others praised the grant that will be of a great help to citizens but urged the commerce minister to strictly monitor prices of commodities so the grant money is not absorbed by greedy merchants.Head of the interior and defense committee MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri thanked the Amir for ordering the grant that brought happiness to the Kuwaiti people, but called on the prime minister to admit that the government has breached the constitution by causing the death of a citizen, suppressing the people and curbing freedom. He said the government has squandered public funds, remained silent on financial and administrative corruption and deprived people of the most basic right of employment.
Inflation in Kuwait soared to 5.9 percent in November, the highest in 20 months on the back of high food prices which rose by 12.3 percent. The fifth largest OPEC producer has posted budget surpluses in each of the past 11 fiscal years, totalling more than $140 billion, and is also headed for another healthy surplus this year thanks to rising oil price. The government has made similar but smaller grants in the past.The state provides a cradle-to-grave welfare system to its citizens who receive most public services and petrol at heavily subsidised prices and pay no income tax. Some 80 percent of Kuwait's 360,000-strong national workforce are employed in government jobs, where the average monthly wage is more than KD 1,000.
NOTE: In case you're wondering, we do not qualify for this (darn) not do we make 1,000 per month each. But don't feel sorry for us, we're doing just fine!
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
As you all know the situation here has been shaken somewhat by the recent attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria. This is the first time that an explosive device has been used in Egypt in what some people consider to be an inter-religious conflict between Moslems and Christians (Copts). However things are never elegant or simple and it is not clear that this is purely an inter-religious conflict. There is some debate over Al Qaida’s involvement. The top government authorities point their fingers at outsiders, including Al Qaida, but some officials lower down are convinced this is just a new development in the inter-religious conflict and tension already existent in the country. Both scenarios could have unpleasant consequences. The targeted church on Jan 1st is about 3.5 Km from the school.
The US Embassy has not discouraged travelers from visiting Egypt or any other EU nation for that matter. But they have all advised caution.
My contact is Italian-Eqyptian man who has lived in Eqypt for 30+ years. He's very level headed and I trust his judgement and assessment. What's really weird is that when I first read it, my response was"okay, so we carry on". If it were three years ago when I was living in North America, I'd be FLIPPING OUT at the thought of even traveling to within 1000 miles of this place. But now it's just a sort of reality that is a part of the world we now live in.
I'll keep you posted on what happens.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
"hello, my name is John and I am from CA, i came across your profile while i was looking for someone with a name similar to yours when i saw your pic, i couldn't help but to stop and send you this email, i hope you don't feel offended. I would love to know more about you if you dont' mind and please feel free to ask me anything...ill be waiting for your reply. Thanks...
You creep me out!
This is why these social networks aren't always that wonderful!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Love ya Liz!
FYI-Gibralter, although located on the tip of Spain, is still "controlled" by the British. Driving across the border, it literally feels like one has driven into England...red double decker buses, classic telephone booths, things spelled with "re" (theatre) and "our" (Favour). It's wild. A number of years ago, a vote was taken to see if the people of Gibraltar wanted to continue to be under British rule or go to Spain. The vote was 12,000 FOR staying British and 49 for switching.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Recently I had one of my favorite pictures published in a magazine in Kuwait called Bazaar. It was full- color, full page. I didn't get paid BUT I got a byline on the page AND I got my name on the masthead (front of magazine where all the photographers and writers are listed). FAME and GLORY is enough for me right now!