Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas in Kuwait...AKA the longest post ever


It's been awhile.

I'd made some plans  -play dates with home school friends, outings for the kids and I-  for right after Emily left so that I'd have fun things to look forward to, so we were busy for the first little bit of January.
Then we had some viruses up in here.

When Emily was here we had a delightful balance of fun adventures and of rest. I've been tired...well, since the twins were born...but also since we landed here in Kuwait, so it felt really wonderful to be able to catch up on sleep. It can be taxing mentally to live in a completely new culture...I often feel like I'm on hyper alert status. With Emily here and David off work for two weeks, we all rested a lot.
Several nights I slept 12 hours, easily.

It was Heavenly.

But despite all that rest I still found myself sick last week, and our daughter was sick too. I woke up Wednesday morning with a fever and a headache so severe all I could do was toss some cereal in front of my children and offer up Thanks for Netflix. Luckily David was able to come home from work directly after teaching and just grade papers here that afternoon. I slept the entire afternoon, and by the time I woke up that evening, our daughter was coming down with a fever and started throwing up.
Not cool.
She got it worse than I did, bless her sweet little heart.
By Friday afternoon she developed a rash on her trunk, and after googling a bit (a practice I NEVER did back home...but that's because my kids had a pediatrician whom I loved and trusted AND I worked for pediatricians whom I loved and trusted and pilfered free medical advice from all the time) I became concerned she needed to be seen, so I took her to the hospital. 
The Emergency Department, because it was after 5:00pm.

I was totally dreading the experience, but I'm pleased to report that even though it was 5:30pm on a Friday evening, we were in and out within 45 minutes.

That would never ever ever ever ever in the history of EVER happen in Portland.

The doctor deemed it viral and said it basically needs to run it's course.

Fluids, rest, the usual.

(Oh! And I need to keep her bundled up, because it's "very cold here" and that is not good.)

(I can't tell you how often we hear that it's "very cold" and we must put hats and heavy coats on our children at all times.)

(I don't know how to properly explain that we are from Oregon, and what they deem even just "cold" is what we deem "barbecue weather" but, whatever.)


Blogging has taken a back seat, so now what follows is a plethora of pictures from the last month or so.

You're welcome ;)

We got some cute pictures of the kids in front of the tree in their Christmas jammies, but not without a bunch of outtakes, because they were two five year olds all hopped up on Christmas Spirit and hot chocolate...

Me and my baby sister Emily...

The kids and I took Emily to the Scientific Center...

The twins showed Aunt Mem their stealth moves in the laser dodge...

...and then she showed them hers...

Shadow pictures...

This girl LOVES her Aunt Mem...

Our son started chatting with this boy, and they soon discovered they shared a mutual love of all things Star Wars. 
They hit it off, and before I knew it, they were having an imaginary light saber battle...
He was a really sweet kid, and even though he was older, he was so kind to my son and the two of them seemed to get along so well. His mom came over and we chatted some - her English was not as good as her sons, and we all know my Arabic is non existent - and enjoyed watching our boys play together. 
She asked me for my number and suggested we arrange a playdate some time.
Somehow over the course of the conversation, she also said she'd give us a ride home. And even though I was kind of thrown when I realized what she was saying I'd agreed to, it saved us getting a cab, so we piled into her car and she took us home.
Oh, with her nephew on her lap...
Have I mentioned there are zero seatbelt laws here???

On Christmas Eve, David took our daughter shopping for her brother, and I took him shopping for her. 
It was rainy that day, so it felt like home =)

Normally I cook a ham for Christmas Eve dinner, but all pork products are illegal here, so we had take-out from our favorite shwarma place instead...

We had hot chocolate and watched Christmas movies...

...and the next morning woke up to open presents!
Star Wars and How to Train Your Dragon themes have dominated our last two Christmases =)

A battle being set up...

The kids each made me pictures, wrapped them up, and put them under the tree.
Be still my Momma Heart.

Working on the new Solar System model...

Our crafty girl got this bracelet making kit for Christmas. Her not so crafty (or patient) Momma attempted to read the instructions several times with little understanding. Luckily Aunt Mem stepped up and learned the process, and then taught the five year old.
We all have fancy bracelets now.

Daddy got some pictures too...

A little Christmas afternoon snooze for my boys...

That evening we made a birthday cake for Jesus...
(The kids asked me how old Jesus was...I said approximately 2015 years old...they both were concerned we didn't have enough candles...)

And then that night, long after the little ones were in bed, the Adult Children still were making bracelets...
The day after Christmas we met some home school friends at the Cinemas to see the new Star Wars movie!
We LOVED it!
In Kuwait you have specific seating for your movie tickets. We reserved our exact seats online prior to even arriving at the theater. Families in the middle sections, single men on one side and single women on the other.
No movie theater shenanigans here, people.

Our daughter playing with her Dragons...

We walked down to the Marina again to enjoy the great weather...

Aunt Mem was meditative...

We had Family Movie Night with hot chocolate...

We went to visit the Souk Al-Mubarakiya finally!
We had the driver drop us off at a restaurant right outside the entrance and stopped there for a little snack. This place had blankets on all the chairs for people to warm up with...our son cuddled in...

We enjoyed our time there, and *think* we saw everything. It's tough to say, as we kept getting turned around and ending up in the same spots.
(I swear, I have yet to find my directional sense here in Kuwait)
What we saw was cool,tons and tons of little shops and local shop owners.
We expected more crafts and such, but there was less of that and more foods and purses and toys.
I was really impressed with how the shop owners just let you look and only really engaged you if you expressed interest in their goods. When David and I lived in parts of Mexico, I felt like we could hardly walk within earshot of local shops without being harassed to purchase.


And on Emily's last full day here she and David took a tour of The Grand Mosque.
(I stayed at home with the kids, because touring a Mosque with two five-year-olds is SO not on my bucket list)
Emily and David both loved the tour and had nothing but good things to say about it when they returned.
They supply women with an abiyah and hijab to wear during the tour...

The tours are free and they are fine with flash photography!

This is my favorite picture David took that day...he said the little kiddo running around was about two years great perspective to the size of this room!

As you can see, we had a lot of fun over Christmas break! Having Emily here was such a blessing. She spent a year living abroad awhile back, so she was incredibly encouraging about it being natural to feel like I haven't found my footing in my first four months (I haven't) or that I haven't totally adapted to all the newness everyday (I haven't) or that I still feel overwhelmed a lot of the time (I do).
She normalized a lot of what I'm feeling and struggling with, and her visit was very timely, as I guess I expected to feel... different the four month mark.

And so begins Month Five =)


  1. You didn't even tell me *you* were sick, too! So glad you are all feeling better. And what great photos--happy that you had your sister visit and had such a wonderful time. And, as you know, I too am not feeling quite settled here yet....but I remain hopeful. That's all I got. ;) Nice to not be alone in this wild transition, though.

  2. Welcome back! I was getting worried. I'm thrilled Emily was able to spend Christmas with you -- and let you know that what you were feeling is perfectly normal. Based on her experiences, things WILL get better. Thoroughly enjoyed this blog and all the pictures. Thanks.

    Aunt Carol

  3. I'm basically obsessed with this post. Thanks for the picture overload - Lord knows my heart needed to see more of my sweet niece and nephew (and their parents, of course). Still fighting my impulses to fly out there and squeeze you all in person. I love you!