Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Lately...

We had some favorite friends over for dinner...


...oh how much I treasure those sweet ladies!


Our kids adore their kids as well...







We've played with the neighbors...




We went out to weekend brunch at The Cheesecake Factory...






We took a family trip to Messilah Beach, where the sign upon entry should have been a heads up as to what we could expect...








 ...it was unimpressive. 

Granted, it was only 4KD ($13.18) for all four of us to get in, and it gave us access all day, but it was dirty (we saw a bottle of motor oil and a diaper in the water) and just an all around weird vibe.
I was actually slightly relieved about this, because I'd been meaning to take the kids there for over a year and this made me feel better about not having made that happen before. Clearly, we hadn't been missing out on much.
We all agreed it was kinda just "meh", and we didn't need to visit there again.



We squeaked in a dental visit for the twins before we leave our dental insurance Kuwait behind...

...they were total champs, and again received a clean bill of dental health!

I had a dental appointment as well. Although, unlike taking the kids to Royal Hyatt Hospital (fancy, and far away) I just went to the next available International Clinic dentist for an appointment. 
Such a rookie move.
Let's all just be real for a minute and admit that seeing the dentist is rarely a fun experience even if she/he is pleasant...amIright?
Now add a very cranky man to the scenario who either didn't like me or didn't like his job, or both. My appointment was at 6:30pm, and by the time I left at 6:49pm he had made me feel appropriately guilty about not having my teeth cleaned in nearly two years (hey man, I'm scared of hospitals and clinics here...back off), "cleaned" my teeth, diagnosed me with four (FOUR!!) cavities, and repaired two of those four.
All in 19 minutes.
It was not pleasant.
And it cost me 34KD ($112.20) after insurance. 
When I went back a week later to have the other two filled, he said "you want anesthesia?"
To which I replied "yes please, lots of it"
He proceeded to fill a giant syringe, shoot it into my gums, and, just like the previous time, went directly to work.
Here's the thing about Novocain; it does not take affect immediately. 
I gripped the arm rests, closed my eyes, and reminded myself I am tough as he drilled into my mouth.
And just like the previous visit, when I'd wince or let out a painful squeak, he'd ask "you feel pain?" and I'd mumble "mmmhhhmmmm" and he'd say "I am sorry" in a way that the preschool teacher in me had to fight from pointing out he didn't sound sorry AT ALL.

By the time he finished, I'd paid my bill and was getting in my car, my mouth finally felt numb.
Three hours later, the right side of my face was still completely without feeling from under my chin to my eyebrow.

Oh, Kuwait...sending us off on such a high note =).



Speaking of working at preschool, we had our end of the year "graduation", and it was sweet to say goodbye to the kids and party with these ladies who have made me feel like a part of their team over this last school year...



I got some beautiful roses, sweet smelling perfumes, and this personalized coffee mug that says "thank you Ms. Kindra From Hla M" that I adore and will absolutely be making the trip back to Oregon with me...





The twins had their "last day" party in their class...




...it was great to be able to pop up and visit them and see everyone having such fun together. 
I know the twins will miss a lot of these kiddos, and I'm grateful for the friends they've made through school here.



Lastly, we've been trying to squeeze in some fun between all the errands and packing...trying to keep a balance so I don't become a giant stressball that everyone hates for the kids...








We're in the final stretch now!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beginnings and endings

It's crazy to think that one month from now we'll be back home in Portland.

  I mean, we'll probably be sleeping during the day, and waking to start our day at 2:00 am... but we'll be back in the Pacific Northwest. 

Back home.

We have a little over two weeks left here in Kuwait, and they will be full of packing (annoying part of the moving process) and trying to fit in proper goodbyes with all the lovely people we've made friends with over here (champagne problems).

Each day, David and I stare at the calendar together and go over the details. Make sure we're both aware of what the other has committed to. Check and re-check our various deadlines. Marvel at how fast it's all going now.

This Saturday is the beginning of Ramadan, a Holy Month, and a special time in an Islamic country.  We truly love -and feel honored- to be invited to celebrate some traditions with our friends...but the downside is, it's a hard time to be here. EVERYTHING shuts down during the day. There is zero eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum allowed outdoors or in public places indoors.
(children are exempt from this)

It stresses me out, man.

Like next week at work, I will NOT keep my normally-ubiquitous water bottle by my side. I will keep it in my purse, so that I can take it into my bosses office and take sips from behind a closed door.  Last year, I spent the month constantly terrified I would accidentally screw up and get arrested. 


It's also hot. Not like kinda hot, HOT hot. 

We reached 112F the other day, and it's supposed to hit 119F early next week.  

With it being Ramadan and so bloody hot, it makes the leaving of our home for the last two years easier.

But there is still a lot to be missed.

I'm currently in the process of writing two separate posts; one about all that we will miss about living in Kuwait, and one about all that we will not.
Stand by =)

My head and my heart are full of thoughts and emotions as we get ready to close this chapter, and attempt to begin the next one. 
We had plans about our return to Portland when we left. We had it all figured out:
David was going to slide seamlessly back into his old job. I was going to jump through a few hoops, and ultimately end up back at mine. We were going to buy a house...we even had picked out the area we wanted to purchase in.
Ah, plans. 
They are a good idea right up until they're not.

Dave has (blessedly) already been set up to return to his old job, which is great both in that he really loved it and in the security of employment.
Mine is proving harder to situate.
We've attempted to make an offer on a home, and that door was closed pretty fast.
Turns out it's tricky trying to purchase a house when you live in a different country than the one you're wanting to buy in.

Any time we've even tried to be proactive and begin to line up home or car purchases to be waiting for us upon our arrival back in the U.S., they do not pan out.

This has left me curious, and if I'm honest, frustrated.

Frustrated because I'm SO READY to put down roots again, and get started on watering those roots already.

Curious because I can't help but wonder why things haven't panned out as (I've felt) they should have?

As a person of Faith, it has me intrigued to see if perhaps God has much different plans for us than we've had for ourselves. Maybe our roots are not meant to be laid as we'd previously thought.

As a Type A Woman, it has me annoyed. Because dammit, I have a plan. 

We are now shifting our thinking to just renting a place for a bit to make sure Portland is even where we are supposed to replant.
While David is set to start up again at his beloved University this Fall, enrollment numbers are down. His career has taken a huge hit with the new President. 
As a Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages instructor, a giant chunk of his students have been from various Middle Eastern countries, and while the "Muslim Ban" has been lifted, if you were an employer or family wanting to send someone abroad to study English, why send to a country that has a volatile Visa situation and seemingly rampant Islamophobia? Wouldn't you be more likely to chose the UK, or Canada, or Australia to send your people?
I would. 

Also, the population the medical facility I worked at served was majority Medicaid patients, and with cuts being threatened to that area as well, I'm feeling less and less secure about my footing in healthcare. 

Who knows what our next year looks like?

Luckily, I know - I believe - we'll be okay no matter what. We've navigated uncertainty before, and always managed to come out the other side. I'm just grateful we get to be together!  Throughout our time here in Kuwait, I've met countless people who are here working without their families. Women who leave their children back home with the grandparents and come to Kuwait in order to work to provide for their children, sending all their money back home. Men who leave their families in their home country and come over here to earn a living that they otherwise could not, and it's still considered at poverty level.
I'm thankful we're able to live together all the time. No matter where that is.
(And I'm thankful for my sister and her little family opening their doors wide for us as we first land and while we figure out which direction to head next.)

If I slow my mind down enough...take breaths deep enough...quietly commune with the Lord enough...I can actually find myself the teeniest bit excited about all the unknown, as opposed to my normal modus operandi, which is anxiety to the point of hysteria.

If you would have told me ten years ago that I'd be raising twin seven year olds in Kuwait, I'd have had a hard time believing you.
And what an adventure that has been.


'Tis grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. 



Sunday, May 21, 2017

the ULTIMATE "because Kuwait"


When our friends visited and they arrived at Kuwait International Airport, they noted that the Visa area had been moved since their last time in Kuwait.

So, naturally, they looked for signage to direct them to it's new location.



And signs they found.

Two of them, in fact.

One directing "VISA ISSUING" with an arrow pointed towards the left.
And another directing "VISA ISSUING" with an arrow pointed to the right.

Both signs hung within three feet of each other.

Because Kuwait. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lately...

We've played with the neighbors...












The KG (preschool) crew took a million kids on a field trip to Baroue...



If ya can't beat 'em, join 'em...




We had some fun friends over for a swim...







We've enjoyed dinners outside...




Played with sweet friends...




Went night swimming and tried to recreate this picture...

(Sept 2015)





Hung around the house...







Sister and I got our hair trimmed...


(well...sister got her hair trimmed...I asked for a trim and ended up with a cut very similar to "the Rachel", circa 1994. Not thrilled, but grateful it'll grow out fairly quickly) 


We played with the neighbors new kitten...




We met up with some friends for a swimming playdate...







I was lucky enough to enjoy a delightful beachside brunch with this beauty...




We got to visit our favorite pharmacist...



We met up with this weird looking Smurf at the mall...



We played at the park...










The kids celebrated "circus day" at school, and dressed as a Strong Man and Juggler, respectively...






That's a little bit of life lately around here =)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Friends visit

Towards the end of April, we were lucky enough to have our friends from Abu Dhabi come visit us!

We packed that weekend FULL of fun.


Off for our first day of adventuring!



Breakfast at our favorite little cafe...



We visited the park...


...where Brother "drove" the ladies around =)


...and zip-lined...









We went swimming...






Both days the majority of us took a little siesta in the afternoon.
One siesta included a pile up of adorable girls...




We met up with some other fun friends for a tasty outdoor dinner...





Brother enjoyed having time with this "older woman" (she's ten ;)  and it was adorable to see him be so intrigued by her) while the other kids played around...







The next day we all headed out to Trampo Extreme, and this cute friend and I were twinning...


...but were still not as cute as these two buddies...


Trampo is so much fun!! I mean, where else can you beat your momma up on a balance beam in an attempt to knock her off???

video

( I feel it's imparitive that I tell you I totally let him when. Because I am very mature and not at all prideful.)


Sister the acrobat...

video



Dueling twins...



We had such a fun time....just look at our sweet friend's face here...uninhibited laughter...





We played a every-man-for-himself, cutthroat  friendly, totally not competitive game of dodge ball...





Part of our tired, sweaty, delighted group...



We stopped by this sign to take a pic...



Four cuties from opposite ends of the globe, who met up and became besties in Kuwait.
Life is never boring.


That evening we went to an outdoor market. It had some goods to be sold, food to be eaten, live entertainment, and a pretty cool vibe...







Two sweeties and a giant paper mache giraffe...




We were so happy to run into another buddy there!!




The twins loved playing around in the hula hooping area...


video



Our crew enjoying the concert...




We ran into one of our old dance instructors, and he and Brother had a little Robot Moment...


video


Sister crafted a paper mache cat...




And that night, these four CRASHED...




The next morning we were super sad to see our friends go, but tried to focus on being grateful we got to see them at all!

They left before 7:00am, and the kids and I stayed home from school/work that day, which was confirmed to be a good decision when I found Sister like this...



Napping on (not clean) laundry in the middle of the hallway.

I asked her if she would rather move to her bed, and she voluntarily put herself down for a nap before 9:00am.

That has happened exactly zero times in her seven years of life.
Clearly, we had a fun-filled weekend =).