Thursday, April 28, 2011

30 Years Later

If you look hard enough, you might be able to see David and I in this crowd of people at the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana. Yes, we were "there" somewhere. David took me to England for a month in 1981 and it is safe to say that the trip Changed My Life forever. It was my very FIRST trip on an airplane, and it was quite the mind-blowing experience for this lil Minnesota farm girl. It was my real exposure to things "off the farm" or rather off the continent. We actually did see this carriage, or rather, I did. In a stroke of chivalry and deep kindness, David put me on his shoulders and I saw everything crystal clear, while all he saw were the backs of people's heads.

We really REALLY wanted to be at the wedding today (I am sure our invite is lost in the mail..very unreliable service in Q8!) but alas it wasn't able to fit into our schedule. So I'll be watching along with the couple of other billion people on the planet. David won't have to put me on his shoulders, he may sneak a peek at the "telly" once in a while, but he doesn't plan to make a day of it.

We have a colleague--the famous Miss Mona I have written about a couple times--who IS at the wedding. Or at least in London. She took a couple of personal days and flew out to see the happenings. She promises to get us a souvenior mug with Wills and Kate's photo on it. It will be placed in honour next to our mug from 1981.

God Speed M/M Wales. May a life of happiness and true love be in your future. And I'll pass along the BEST advice I got before my wedding...remember it's the MARRIAGE not the wedding that counts!!

PS to the royal couple...when my invite arrives, I'll have the address to send your toaster!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best Lil Bunnies in the Patch

These two babes are just precious aren't they?! Wouldn't you just love to hug them and sueeze the sweetness right out of them?

okay I confess they are my great great neices that I don't get to see very often.What fun is it to be an Aunti if I can't brag?!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reporter Brown thinks of YOU while in Dubai

This is good advice for all of us. It's the fond farewell that my longtime friend DrB always gives at the end of phone conversations and emails. This photo was taken outside a restaurant in Dubai.
I jumped up and down in delight and had my friend M take a photo of me "posing". This one's for you Bob! ;-) Just wishing you all a Happy Easter from the desert. I took this photo when I was in Dubai a couple weeks ago. This beautiful egg/candy set could have been mine for only $50 but I passed and took a photo instead. I thought it was easier to share with YOU!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekly Report

This picture was taken of my two favorites at Ben's high school graduation in 2006. I like to think that they will always be this happy.

Greetings from Kuwait where thankfully all is peaceful and well.

We had a good week, teaching, NOT involved in any productions or activities or events upcoming. It was nice.

Biggest news for the blog is that Anna has decided to attend Jacobs University in Bremen Germany. They offered her a full ride tuition scholarship which is a very nice thing. She was able to check out the school a couple weeks ago when she was in Amsterdam for spring break.

Ben reports that he will be graduation May 11th although he won't be going through ceremonies as he has to hurry to guard duty to keep North Dakota safe.

I will admit that I'm in my period of mourning where I start to miss the people who won't be back here next year. Plus knowing that Anna won't be living with us next year, yes I admit it's a little tough.Again I find myself eating humble pie as I remember giving such good advice to my friends whose children have graduated and moved on. It was always easier to give the "you've raised them to leave you" speech when I still had children at home.

David continues to be calm and philosophical and reminds me that this is a normal phase of life. Thank God for my Rock.

On another note, Happy Easter to all our Christian friends back home. Eat a piece of ham for us.
We'll be working on Sunday ( a normal work day for us). I haven't been invited to a dinner yet, but I'll cast a net (pardon the biblical pun) and see what I can find.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oh Man...Oman (round 2)

As I write this to you, I am seated in the American British Academy in Muscat Oman. David and I are here attending a Theatre workshop. It's a beautiful school in a beautiful town. I was here in September '10 but basically saw the hotel and the airport (although it was one beautiful hotel). Now we are staying with our new friend B, a teacher here at ABA. We forged a friendship through his visits to Kuwait for an Academic Event. Here are a couple shots from downtown Muscat. Actually, they are almost right across the street from each other. The large yacht is owned by the Sultan. Who knows,the small dhow may also be his?
Oman is lovely, green, more organized than Kuwait (ah, many places are). It's good to be in a place with other theatre teachers and learning. And the fact that David got to go along...even better. If you're wondering, Anna is back in Kuwait watching the cat... ORvice versa.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Final Thoughts on Dubai

This is the same statue with photos taken during the day (left) and night. I actually took the night shot first. The next day I was driving by in a taxi and saw this group of Arab students posed for a group shot, and I had to snap the photo. Night and Day..just like the differences between Dubai and Kuwait. See below for my final thoughts. Then scroll down and see the other photos. While I enjoyed my trip to Dubai in the UAE, I am still glad that I live in Kuwait. As I've said before, I believe Dubai looks alot like many cities in North America (which is good and bad). It is certainly different than Kuwait: It's more modern, more multi cultural, less rigid, with cleaner greener spaces and sidewalks (we don't have consistent sidewalks here. As I have chosen to live thousands of miles from home, I NEED to be in a place that doesn't constantly remind me of home. At least for now. It's a nice, no, REALLY NICE place to visit and experience a different taste of life in the Middle East. Is it the Wonderland/Jewel/ Most liveable city that it claims to be? Many would say yes. For now, I'm content to live in my corner of the Gulf and to visit everyone once in a while. So Humdullah for Dubai with it's charm, glitz and adventures. And Thank God for Kuwait with all it's warts. As we say often "gotta love kuwait".

Part of the wonder of Dubai

At the Dubai Mall, there is an amazing water show. We were lucky to see it twice-once during the day (with the beautiful duet "Time to Say Goodbye")...
and once in the evening, to Michael Jackson's Thriller theme song. Outside the hotel, across the road, were the docks of Dubai. It really gave me a chance to see and think about "where things come from" here in the desert. That box of tissues that is sitting in my office probably had a greater travel adventure getting here than many people I know!

At the Aquarium in the Lost chambers at Atlantis. The cool part of this photo is that if you look closely in the middle you can see a scuba diver feeding the fish. It was amazing to watch, and gave me great appreciation for that man's job!

Random Dubai shots for the folks back home


1) Enjoying my vacation ;-)

2) The door to the Atlantis Hotel. An Amazing place. Actually we "snuck" in to the hotel as we weren't guests, but we both firmly believe in the philosophy that if you LOOK like you know what you're doing, very few people will question you.

3) Enjoying the view

4) You can buy anything in Dubai. Enough said.

At the Top of the World

Burj Khalifa is the building you always hear about when someone is speaking of Dubai. It is the

World's Tallest Building, The world's tallest free-standing structure, and has the world's records for the most number of stories (140), highest occupied floor and highest observation deck .

So as Marion wanted to experience all of Dubai, UP UP UP we went. It was a birthday gift to me (and upcoming one for her). It sure was tall... This is looking straight up (trying once again to be artsy-fartsy)

And here we are--on top of the world. Two smilin' babes. This photo is for our son Dennis...who is Marion's birth son and my German son who was "given" to me in 1998 through Rotary Youth Exchange. Who would have guessed back then that his mother would become one of our dearest friends?!

Gulf Heritage

We took a ride on these boats. It was very cheap and a pretyty cool way to cross the Dubai Creek. There were very few women on the creek, but it didn't bother us. For the equivalent of $.30 , it was worth the trip (yes it's not a typo...$.30!)
This is one of many beautiful mosques in the city. Surprisingly, though we saw many mosques, I can't say I heard them as much as I do here in Kuwait. Maybe it's because we've got 4 within a 6 block area around me. I doubt it's because they've got the sound turned down...but then again, I don't know.
This panel was outside of the Dubai museum. It shows life in simpler times. Actually many people of the Gulf still head out to the desert in tents just like this one. Except they bring along the Generator, TV, Half a house of furniture and the bbq. Roughin' in...Arab style.

These aren't real people but rather mannequins in the Dubai museum showing ancient times. Although, with the exception of the dagger on the hop, this couple could also fit into modern Arab society.

Chillin' in Dubai

As a part of Marion's visit from Germany, she wanted to see Dubai. So, off we headed for a three day adventure. Dubai, the "happenin'" city in the United Arab Emirates, is home to over 1 million people. It is known for being the glitzy, showy, multi-cultural centerpiece of the UAE. It earns the reputation. The cab driver told us that five years ago, hardly any of these buildings were here. Growth at an amazing rate has it's advantages, but it also came with a price. Recently Dubai had to take a little breather to recover from it's growth spurt. Their big brother Abu Dhabi helped get it back on it's feet. All appears well now.
Just a nice area to relax, live, see, be seen, enjoy. Dubai reminds me a lot of Chicago...okay so there's no palm trees and forts in Chicago, but they are alot alike.
Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashed al Maktomb is the leader of Dubai. He's known for being progressive. This is a billboard with his face looking out over the city. You can see the Metro on the right. It's a very slick way to travel. The Metro was opened on September 9, 2009, at 9:09 pm. Who says the Arabs are superstitious.
This is the entrance to the Wadi Mall...just because they wanted to have an Eqyptian theme.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Salute to my "Sons"

I consider myself lucky in that I've got two children=a boy and a girl. Two completely different children too in addition to the fact that they are different genders.
I also consider myself lucky that these fine children have brought special friends along the way who have become like family to us.
AND being a teacher, there are a couple "Special" ones that make their way into your heart.

So it was with great honor that I copy and pasted this message on my facebook a couple days ago while adding a few comments on the bottom of the note.

Its Sons Week! If you have a handsome son or sons that you
love more than you can describe, copy and paste this to your
status for a little while, but hold them in your heart for a lifetime!

Here's to our number one favorite Ben...and my second son Phil..and my soccer son Miquel..and my pancake son Gunar..and to my Desert sons Ademi, Alex, Jake and Jesmie!!

And one of my boys came back with this reply...

What a wonderful message! Thank you! It's really heartwarming and humbling that you'd honor me as one of your "sons"... in humility it makes me feel that you're proud of me, and that's a great feeling. Lord knows you've been all kinds of a mother to me and more these past few years... many experiences and accomplishments I wouldn't AND couldn't have had without you.

So, I'll pass this love on in the only way I know how: by being the best son I can be. I pass it now to your daughter and family in hoping for their safety, and I'll pass it on to everyone I meet when I go out into the "real world" later on, having been prepared and educated by influences as profound as yourself.


P.S., you're too great, Mrs. Brown.

What can I say? life IS Good!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Diary of Desert Dave
One of these pictures is what David, Marion and friends saw while driving in the desert on Monday. They borrowed our friend BL's car and took off for a grand adventure in northern Kuwait. I stayed back in "town", took a nap and had my hair cut. One can only have so much fun. There was even a small sandstorm to complete the adventure.
Okay so you guessed right...this is the picture of what they saw...for many miles. Thanks to Google images once again for allowing us to give you the full picture!
And now's here's David...
What can one say about lots of flat land with light brown sand? After driving for 35 miles or so, we decided to check out a sign that said chalets. The off ramp of the highway quickly turned into a single lane asphalt road with multiple potholes. We didn't see any chalets but we did see the leftovers of the camping season - discarded sofas, old carpets, broken toilet bowls? Soon the road ended in the desert at an oil pumping well surrounded by old spilled oil baked like asphalt. We did see a couple of interesting birds struggling in the wind.
We next tried to find the bridge that connected to an island that looked on the map like a wildlife refuge. The bridge on the map was gone being replaced by a new one. So we couldn't get to the island. We drove until we came an area that did have chalets. About 45-50 houses on the beach. Very nice places - kinda like our lake cabins in Minnesota. After lunch at the beach we started back and that was when the wind picked up and the sand started blowing - exactly like a Minnesota snow storm. Pillow drifts on the road. Swirling patterns on the road. Low visibility, clouds kicked up when someone passed Only it wasn't white but light brown - This is what I thought a sandstorm would be before I got here.
We got back with no crashes or even getting lost. A nice outing but not much of an adventure. - we didn't even come close to losing any of our party.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reporting In

We called her the Birdlady of Amsterdam...but we love her ;-)

Since there is a bit of turmoil in the Middle East, I realize that it's not fair to you, my dear family, friends and occassional readers, to not post often. Apoligies all around..MARCH MADNESS has finally ended (and I'm not referring to the basketball tournament). As I've commented, it was a CRAAAAZZY month. But now we are on 10 days of break and all is good.

We are delighted to have our German Godsister Marion visiting with us. The picture of her (although not that flattering) was taken last August when we visited Amsterdam with her and our German son Dennis. She's here while Anna and friend AN are touring Amsterdam. I bet I won't get any pictures of THAT vacation...

Marion will be with us for a week. We're showing her Kuwait (which as David says takes about a day!) while relaxing and enjoying her fine company. Marion is the perfect kind of guest-we can relax, laugh, have leisurely breakfasts and also be a tourist too.

On Wednesday us girls are headed to Dubai for a couple days of fun while David stays here and watches the cat. Hey-someone had to do it! While I am not that much of a fan of Dubai (it reminds me too much of North America and if I am this far away from NA, I'd rather not be reminded of back home.) BUT I am looking forward to seeing the country through Marion's eyes. It'll be fun to just be a tourist in the Middle East.

So we are safe, happy and finally resting. Thanks for your continued prayers for peace around the world....and Kuwait in particular!

Cheers and Love from the Desert

PS while you are praying, put in a good word for my daughter who is enjoying herself, I am sure. BUT we've all been 18 and, well, know you how much "fun" one can have at that age. Enough said....