Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AISK Athletic Banquet 2011

Anna's got a couple pictures in here. But this is really about the Wild and Crazy Coaches. This was put together for the banquet. It shows nicely that indeed we do have a sense of Humor at AIS. So all newbies reading this post...make sure you pack your "FUN BRAIN" so you're ready for Kuwait!


This is the realization of a dream I've had since coming to AIS. I wanted a group of students to perform in one of our wide open spaces. I worked with these students in my Fine Arts class last year and this year as they were in PE class, they put together this "flash mob" during a noon hour. You can see me in the top right hand corner, as they asked me to join in the dance. I'm very proud of them. A good time was had by all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My newest Acquisition

One of my favorite pastimes in the sandbox is shopping. I don't always have to purchase something but I enjoy the hunt.
There are fabulous doors here aquired from older homes in India, Kuwait and around the region. I have coveted them and tried to figure out how I could get one as A) they are expensive and B) they are VERY heavy.
Last Saturday while scouring a local antique spot, I came across this beautiful piece which I believe was a window once upon a time. It features beautiful wood, real stained glass inserts (the "evil" eye which is supposed to keep you safe from evil happenings) It is about 5 feet long, 3 feet high, made of wood and glass and is wonderful.
I was afraid to even ask the price because I loved it so much. When I did get up the courage and found out it was an INCREDIBLE deal, I couldn't believe my ears. I had to ask the guy three times how much it was (it was about $75). Applauding my good fortune, I scooped it up and made it mine. Even David was impressed with the piece and price.
The reason why I'm writing like this is a travel catelog is that we're hoping that when Uncle Doug (a faithful reader) sees this, he will agree to our master plan of placing it in the family cabin.
What do you think? We'll talk soon....

Random shots: The Beginning of the End

Pictured here are a grouping of shots that are unrelated. The only thing they have in common is that they are photos that I said "oh I'd better take a picture of this before I don't get another chance". Explainations below each one...
 This is Anna and good friend Z who has been like a sister to Anna for the past three years. We are very grateful for her in our daughter's life.
 These are my Thursday Breakfast groupies: ME, TK and MS. They are all leaving us (sniff!) but we wish them well in their new lives in Indonesia and Bangledesh. My Thursday mornings won't be the same.
 Here's me and Germo working on the latest edition of KKDTM. It's maybe not the most flattering photo of me, but I enjoy having a good cuddle with my kitty once in a while (please don't tell Angel my dog back home!)
 These are my Friday morning breakfast bunch enjoying a final payday breakfast at the Movenpick. Lovely spot, lovelier people. All but two are returning next year so at least Friday's will be sacred.
 What is this? you may be asking?? It's a random snow of a ready to go goat meal. All you have to do is cook it. This is not an uncommon site in Q8.
And finally, my colleague and lil sister LR and her family. They are returning to Canada next year and I will miss her like crazy. She's a great co-worker (she's the Athletic director) and a very cool chickie.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Hot it It?

It's been over 40C here(read about 105-110 F degrees) for the past few days. How hot is that?  It's somewhere between "stick your head in the oven" hot and "don't wear a metal necklace unless you want your neck burned" hot. Most of our school is outdoors.Yesterday I was trying to deliver a candy bar to David and by the time I walked from the canteen to his classroom, it was melted all over my hands.

It's the kind of heat that makes one's chief social activity staying inside and turn on the air conditioning. I confess that I've become way too much of a couch potato as a way to cope with the heat. Although we have air conditioning in our offices and classrooms, I also confess I've also become a computer potato (oh the visuals that come to mind) in my office. Rather than walking around the school and connecting with people, taking care of errands, etc, I find it easier to just send an email or look something up on the computer.

It's the kind of heat that makes this Minnesota girl crabby and exhausted.The thought of sitting on the deck on Lake Lida MN in about 16 days is about all that is keeping me focused. There are several times a day when all I can do is grunt because of the heat. When walking down the hall generates dripping sweat, I know it's time to get back to the land of ten thousand lakes. I'll even take mosquitoes right now if it means that there is cool weather. (remind me of this in 17 days when I am complaining about them!)

Now I know this is part of the cycle. I know that in January, when my loved ones in MN are complaining about the cold, I will smugly put on my sandals and walk about in my short sleeves and linen pants and say such intelligent, kind things to my Minnesota friends here as "Did you know it was -20 today?" We will smile, laugh and think ourselves quite smart for living in the desert.

Now having vented all of that, I know that I chose to live here in the Middle East where, duh, it's a desert. I know that I am not in a job where I work outside. I know that I am not stationed out in the desert with 40 pounds of gear strapped to my back (as our son Ben was). I  know that I am fortunate to have air conditioning. Our maid Mali doesn't have AC in her apartment. So don't feel too sorry for me.

But uffda, it is DEFINITELY HOT ENOUGH for me right now. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Tribute to ME

The Al Koot (original name of Kuwait)flys over the Dhow at the SAS hotel.

A perfect example of how clever ME is in her photography. Pretending to photo hubby MS, she gets a great shot of Q8 culture shot

The Lee Boys at Failika viewing the local herds
Kuwati via Arabian Gulf View. It's really best at night.

From the armory graveyard at Failaka.

This was taken at Failaka Island, an abandoned site that is truly interesting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Honor and Memory of

Seventeen years ago, my mom woke up on this morning, looked out the picture window and saw my daddy lying in his beloved garden with his dog Duke curled up by his side. She rushed outside, fortunately just as my brother drove in the yard. Together they found that Howard had passed away. The news brought shock and disbelief from all of us, although Dad was 82.
My mom later wrote in her diary for that day: "Howard died". That's it. There's not much else that can be said.

 On the first year anniversary, it was pouring rain as I drove the one hour to the cemetary to visit his marker. As I was driving and crying I prayed "please God show me a sign that all is well". As I got nearer to Herman (my hometown), the rain stopped and as I got out of the car at the cemetary and turned around to walk towards his grave, I viewed the largest rainbow I have ever seen. I don't know about you, but it appeared to be a sign for me!

At the time, Ben was in 1st grade and when I returned home, I told him this story. A YEAR later, when he was making designs for the 2nd grade calendar gift to parents, he remembered this story and drew it as the picture for the month of May. I still have the calendar.

Later I choose to use the anniversary as the sign for me to plant flowers in my garden to honor my daddy. It was a great way to spend time with him and it was also cheaper and easier on the body than drinking.
Now there aren't any gardens in Kuwait for me to plant, although David has started a very nice garden on the rooftop of our apartment building. Maybe I'll go up there and water the flowers.

A couple years after his death, I saw the movie Lion King where there is a fabulous scene in which Mustafa reappears to Simba in the lake and says " I am alive, I am in you". That's how I feel about my parents now. It makes me feel better. I see them in my children and if I am paying attention, I also get little signs (like the rainbow) every once in a while.  And every time I smell Copenhagen (the snuff kind, not the city) or hear an auctioneer's voice or know that someone is singing offkey, I think of him.

Fortunately I was on very good terms with my parents. We talked often on the phone and I visited as much as I could although we lived 4 hours away. I am comforted by the fact that there were no unspoken sentiments between us.  My parents were too German and Norwegian stoic to say "I love you" often, but I know they did. Although I'd give almost anything to have another conversation with both of them. Even just to talk about the weather in Kuwait.

While you may think I am having a hard time today, I am really okay. I'll send an email to my good friend who has a birthday today, which gives me reason to celebrate rather than mourn this date. I'll probably visit my 80 year old Jordian boyfriend who has a stand at the Friday Market. It will almost be like being at the Flea Market with Daddy.

And I will probably watch the movie the Lion King. It would be fitting.

With love
Nadine Wagner Brown

Easy Street - Annie at AISK

A scene from our March production of ANNIE. Yours truly on the piano...enjoy! ;-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Culture in Kuwait

This is a photo from a local drama school production of The Lion King that we saw this weekend.The character on the left is one of our favorite students here and he did a fabulous job on this part. We also saw a production of the Kuwait School of Dance which was beautifully done. Who says there isn't culture in Q8?
It's here, you just have to look a little harder.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Decks of Summer

I am officially starting to count down now...Less than 30 days and we will return to MN for the summer. By design, our summers are very mellow. We love to be outside enjoying the beauty of MN, golfing, sipping beverages and catching up with good friends and family who restore our souls. Here are a few of my favorite summer decks. Can't wait  until I am sitting on them,solving world issues, suggesting cultural improvements and most of all just looking at familiar faces. Looking SO FORWARD to seeing you !!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From the "home" land

I've changed the background on this blog because I found a template that features the Kuwait Towers. I'm not exactly pleased with the other outcome so please "stand by".
(NOTE: You can imply that things are good in my life if I have time to worry about this right?!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Whatcha Been Doin'?

Sorry for the lack of postings for the past 10 days, I've been busy getting ready to make a presentation to get our school into a new activity league. Last weekend, I traveled to Abu Dhabi with our superintendent and incoming principal to convince a group of 13 other schools that we should be able to play with them next year in activities and sports. And it worked...so now AIS is a part of ISAC (International Schools Activity League) with schools from Eqypt, Dubai, Oman, Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. It'll be an interesting challenge for us, lots of changes but hopefully one that our students will benefit from.

At the meeting, I got to see my friend ML, who told horrific stories of waiting and watching and being a bit scared during the Eqyptian Crisis in Alexandria Eqypt. It was good to see him looking well.

Also I got a chance to catch up with the BritStudMuffin and his lovely wife and son who now live in Abu Dhabi. The opportunity to enjoy Laughter with friends always makes a trip better.

Then I've been working with my piano students and getting ready to play for the music concert here last night. The music program has come a long was in the past couple years and it's fun to be a small part of that. One of my students played piano for the combined 7/8 choirs and it was a moment of full circle for me. I began my piano career in grade 7 playing for the choirs at HHS so it was nice to have an opportunity to pass along what piano savvy I have learned.

Tonight Anna and I went shopping for a prom dress. They do have a quasi prom here, although it's a private affair and the school "can't" be involved. I thought a lot about Anna's class at PRHS and how they were in prom last weekend (safely I am glad to hear!) Anna is going with a friend to the big event here. I'll post pictures of the smashing dress and the "model" when the big event happens.

Tomorrow our son graduates from Alexandria Technical College with a degree in Law Enforcement. He's unable to go through ceremonies because of his National Guard duties but we're proud of his graduation anyway!

One more month and I'll be parked on the deck of the cabin watching the sunset on Lake Lida. Otter Tail county sure looks good to me about now.

We are healthy, safe and working hard to wrap up this year successfully. Hope you are the same.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Got My Momento of the Big Day

This is the mug that my friend Miss Mona brought back for me from the Royal Wedding. I was THRILLED with it. But I also like this souvenior, a take off on the World War I saying... Keep Calm and Carry On.