Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lately...

So I've been sick. 
Again.
I know it's partially due to the recent sandstorms (because we've discussed before how any ailment here is the fault of The Weather) but mainly due to the amount of times I am sneezed and coughed upon during my hours at work. 
Germ theory is not really understood around these parts.
Think I'm exaggerating? 
I present to you Exhibit A: the twins' teacher gave me a heads up awhile back that one of their classmates was home with a confirmed case of the chicken pox. 
No worries, our kids have been vaccinated.
The next week, her twin brother was out with - wait for it - the chicken pox! Turns out he got it too! What do you know!
And then - you'll never believe this - it proceeded to spread around the two classrooms those kids are in!!
Can you even believe it?!?
So.
The preschoolers I work with are constantly, and I mean constantly, coming to school with hacking coughs, noses running like faucets, and even fevers. 

I guess that's why I wasn't surprised when I started feeling crummy last weekend.
But this stupid cold has lasted and lasted. It's been so bad that I completely lost my voice on Tuesday night and it was still gone on Wednesday.
I only made it about two hours into my work day yesterday before I declared I needed to go home. 
I left the school and drove about three blocks before our car decided it was a good time to just die. 
I mean the engine just shut off. No warning. Just quit
In the middle of traffic. 
Thankfully, this did not cause an accident and the drivers behind me did not crash into me.
They did however let me know their irritation by honking at me incessantly.
I just sat there for a good minute, stunned and confused, and unsure of what to do. 
It's not like I could call anyone because I literally had no voice.
Cars were going around me at this point and expressing their frustration at me in various ways, which was just plain annoying because CLEARLY I was having car trouble and had not merely decided to park in the middle of the road and then sit there behind the wheel with a dumbfounded look on my face.
I finally got out of the car, and walked over to a nearby bus stop and hoarse-whispered to some guys "could you please help me push my car to the side of the road?"
They didn't seem to understand me, either because of the lack of volume or a language barrier, but to their credit when I croaked out "help, please" they followed me. 
Back at the car, they graciously pushed it as I steered it towards the curb.
I sent David a text telling him what had happened, and he called our previous taxi driver to come pick me up. 
Hussein tried to call me to get specific directions, but, I couldn't speak. So we communicated via text and eventually he located me.
I had him swing back by the school to pick up the twins because I was DONE with the day (and it was only 10am - but I surrendered. Kuwait had won.) and didn't want to mess with getting a taxi to come back to get them later in the afternoon.
We finally made it home and I put my children in front of the TV like a good mom and proceeded to take a long nap, because I was feeling so sick and I was SO INCREDIBLY CRANKY.
I went to the doctor and got a whole new slew of meds including another freaking antibiotic (I swear I've needed more in our 20 months here in Kuwait than in the last five years in Oregon!) and am *hopefully* finally going to kick this nasty cold. 
And the car is at the mechanic.


I digress.


LATELY, other than that, we've been up to some fun...


The twins attended a sweet friend's birthday party. 

Clearly, they had a miserable time...



I am so grateful they've made such good friends at school this year...



This party had face/body painting...



...and pizza (hooray for not having to cook dinner!!)...





We had some neighbor friends over to play...





The kids and I took a trip out to Ikea...


...where we found gigantic, plush toothbrushes, naturally...


...and gigantic, plush pencils...


...and we ate lunch, and Brother made french fry fangs and pretended to chomp on his twin, naturally...




The kids had "Sports Day" at school, where they rented out a giant field and played games all day.  Dave and I both had to work, but a friend's parent took a few pics of our kids and sent them to me.

Brother looking entirely too grown up...



...Sister doing the sack race...



Our kids had an absolute blast this day...and both crashed into bed early that night ;)...





We had some friends come home from school with us one day to play...





The kids had "International Week" at school where each class took on a certain country and learned all about it, and then each student was given a passport and throughout the week they visited other "countries" and learned about them.

The twins' class had Australia, and one of the things we had to bring in was "traditional Australian headdress"  - which was a pain in the ass interesting to make - for the boys,



...and flowery headdress for the girls...





We went out to eat (and play) at Buffalos...





The preschoolers and kindergartners had their Sports Day, and this sweet student brought  each of his teachers a rose...


...that was a fun day at work for me, and I crashed in my bed early that night =). 




Safety First for Sister and her lovies...





More hallway shenanigans with the neighbors...






A bonus of living in the desert is you get to swim outdoors in March =)



The kids are *almost* too big for David to flip simultaneously...









The twins made some monsters one afternoon...





And there was an epic battle between Darth Vader and Hiccup...







Kuwaiti Mother's Day was this week, and the twins surprised me with these beautiful heart canvases they made in Art Class at school...


...aren't they sweet??? I love them and hung them up that very day. 




Yesterday evening I was sitting on the couch watching "Sing" with Sister, and I looked over to see Brother reading one of David's books...


Me: "what 'cha reading there, buddy?"
Him: "one of Daddy's books."
Me: "um, ok...but wouldn't you rather maybe read one of your books, like a Star Wars book or your book on Snakes or something?"
Him: "No. This is about history, Momma. I want to learn about history."

Oh he is so his father's son. 



And lastly, today we had the twins' school party for their birthday. 
We will be traveling next week, and then school is on break for the first two weeks of April, so today was our last day to squeeze it in.
Check out these adorable cupcakes...


One thing that's fabulous about Kuwait is just about everything delivers. I ordered these cupcakes about 3:00pm yesterday afternoon, and they were delivered to our door at 7:00pm. 
Awesome.


They had fun celebrating with their class, and I felt lucky that I work on campus and was able to join in for the little party...


And that's life lately around here =)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

National / Liberation Day

 The weekend of February 25th was Liberation and National Day celebrations here in Kuwait.
(Basically, it's like the 4th of July in America, but the celebrations go on for the majority of the month, and the weekend of National Day is a major holiday with nearly everyone out celebrating, and most people get the Thursday before and Sunday after off of work)

This year, some sweet friends invited us to tag along with their gathering at Green Island.  
I can't believe we've been in Kuwait for this long and had yet to visit Green Island! It was lovely! We will definitely be back.

Last year, the twins had a blast spraying everyone and everything with water guns, but I was still post-op and not really up for making a whole weekend out of the festivities. This year, we were all feeling great and couldn't wait to enjoy two full days of fun activities...



Green Island had several areas with play structures, sandy beaches, and different architecture pieces along walking paths... 



...it also provided beautiful views of the Kuwait coastline...



We found our friends, and the kids immediately set to playing...



David joined some of the guys in grilling up our lunch...






The kids played for hours! Water fights, catch, chase, etc...





These two boys always have the sweetest time playing together, and it makes me heart swell with happiness when I watch. We are so thankful to have found fun and kind friends for our kids to play with in  Kuwait.
Here the boys are locked in a water gun battle...







Sister was thrilled at the opportunity to wear her roller skates...



So proud of our little self-taught skater =)




Occasionally, some of the kids would climb to the top of this little structure and chill out, enjoying the view below...






Getting much better at our selfie skills...





We had SO MUCH good food. Everyone brought something to grill up, and a side dish. Good food and great conversation...

(side note: see those pants I'm wearing? Get used to them. Dave bought them for me in Cambodia, and I triple heart love them. They are airy and light and soooooo comfortable. I want to be buried in them.)





The kids grazed and played all day...







They spent some time digging/playing in the sand...




A Cricket game broke out in the center of this sand pit...






...with a mini-Cricket game occurring over in the corner...



...David up to hit (is it 'bat' in Cricket? I have no idea) with brother standing by to play catcher...




There were kids everywhere, riding bikes and scooters, and just running around...




...and of course our kids took a chance to channel their inner-monkey...












We watched the jet-skiers go by...




...and played Frisbee...




...and then played some soccer football...





It was a really great day.
 The weather was just perfect...that weekend fell in the two and half weeks of Spring weather that Kuwait gets. 
It's been just like last year, where is goes from really, truly, downright cold (no, really!!), with an average temp of 7 degrees Celsius/45 degrees Fahrenheit, to a perfect 26 degrees Celsius/78 degrees Fahrenheit. There is sunshine and light breeze all day long. It's downright lovely. 
But it only lasts just under three weeks before it's in the 90's and heating up more every day...thus beginning Summer in Kuwait. 
Anyways.
This day was full of perfect weather and really great conversation with fun friends. 
After several hours, we left there with full stomachs and even fuller hearts. 

As we left, we had to make sure our windows were ALL the way up, as we were pelted with water balloons and the spray of water guns...


Kids of all ages - and some adults too- line all the main roads in Kuwait, with a stockpile of water balloons and buckets to refill their water guns with. They drench cars as they drive by, and have been known to open the car doors of poor unsuspecting (and unprepared) drivers and throw water balloons right inside. 

And it's not limited to people on the side of the road. People hang out of cars to assault passersby as well...



And if you think the police would be on top of people hanging out of moonroofs and leaning far out car windows, you'd be wrong. They pretty much just sit nearby and take it all in...



Sights like this guy hanging out of the window to spray cars behind him...



...and more police just chillin', watching children (and adults) precariously dangle out of cars, drenching windshields...



The police, along with the rest of Kuwait, pretty much just accept that it's a whole thing, and if you don't want to participate, you should just stay home. 

I had one stop I wanted to make on our way back to our apartment.
Earlier that day someone had posted on the Expat Mums in Kuwait fb page that this sign had been put up, and posted the location. I told David I needed a family picture with it before the day was over. 
He indulged me =). 


Love!


There was other people there taking pictures as well, and this one guy insisted our kids climb up on his motorcycle to have their photo taken...


...they thought that was pretty rad =).

A few more family shots...







After we finished up our little photo session, the kiddos BEGGED us to let them spray a few cars passing by...







Then as we were getting ready to leave, these sweet Kuwaiti guys were doting on our kids (I've told you before, children are revered here) and wanted pictures taken with them. They asked if they could lift them up and put them on top of the letters, and we said sure, and they proceeded to take a zillion and four pictures with our kids, and then gently lift them down, and give them a gentle kiss on the cheek as they said goodbye...


...that's something that has taken me a long time to adjust to...strangers, especially men, being affectionate with my children. I was really put off by it at first, but I've calmed down about it a lot. If you really watch (and I do), you can see that these people mean no harm and have zero ill-will (and I have a HIGH creeper radar when it comes to my kids...I think everyone is a creeper until proven otherwise), and that they just come from a culture where children are the ultimate gift from God, and are precious and should be acknowledged as such.
And, little fair-skinned, light-haired kids are few and far between around here, so ours tend to get stopped a lot. 
David and I keep saying it's going to be such reverse culture shock for them to go back to Portland and NOT have people stop them in the grocery store to stroke their cheek and tell them they're beautiful.


The next day there was more celebrating to be had! We went down to the Marina in the afternoon...


I know I've said this many times before, but I don't take for granted the blessing of living within walking distance of this beautiful space!

And it was a gorgeous day to be out in the sun...






The twins loved playing around with other kids and climbing on handlebars while Dave and I waited for the pizza...



...which allowed us to chat sans interrupting children and enjoy this view...



After we ate, it was time to douse some cars. 
These two were armed and ready...


The people in cars - and motorcycles - are generally really good sports about it. They slow down and wave their hands in the air and make silly faces as if they are feeling the attack of the water inside the car. It's pretty cute. 





Our kids had a blast, and we let them keep at it until the sun was down, as we knew this would be their last Liberation Day weekend in Kuwait. 

They even teamed up with some other kids and worked together to assault cars passing by...





Finally, the sun set, which made it nearly too dark to see much and also fairly chilly, so we packed it in and headed home, grateful for the fantastic weekend of celebrations we'd experienced.