Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Sunday, March 27, 2016



We're so so so SO happy to have them visiting. 

After they leave I'll have eleventy billion pictures to post of our time together, but in the mean time, I'll just post a good old fashioned cellphone picture dump to catch up what we've been up to in the weeks leading up to their arrival. 

David has been teaching the twins how to play Chess...
This is hilarious to me for two reasons:

1, I don't know how to play Chess. But my five year olds do.
(I mean, I've played before, I used to know, but I probably remember about 14% of the rules)

2. They only wanted to learn because he was trying to play a Chess game on the computer. 
Had David suggested it himself, and tried to sit them down and teach them, I can just about guarantee you they would not have had an interest. But because he was doing something that didn't involve them, and reluctant to let them in on it (because it's hard, man!) they totally want to learn.

We walked down to our neighborhood park the other day to play for a few hours. 
It was overcast (cloudy? sandstorm? I can never tell...) and only slightly humid, and the twins had the best time getting some energy out.

A few days later, we met some homeschool friends at our new favorite park.

I snagged a quick pic of my cuties on the way in...
I know I'm biased, but seriously, how adorable are those two?!?!

And my sweet boy wanted a picture with me, and said he wanted to be giving me a kiss. So we handed Sister my phone, and she took the pic for us...
 Annie Leibovitz, she is not. 

L&A were excited to see their friends, and quickly became engaged in shenanigans...

These four have so much fun together...

Little N wanted a turn taking a photo, so I hopped in with my babes and their buddy...

Spinning on swings until they are ridiculously dizzy...boys!

Earlier this week we met up with some homeschool friends at an indoor playplace in one of the malls. Normally these places are fairly expensive (5KD -$16.62- per kid), but because we had a group of 20 kids, we got in for half price. 
The twins had a BLAST running around and playing for three+ hours...

Sister is playing a giant keyboard here, and Brother is bouncing on the trampoline in the background...

We spent one afternoon painting at home...

On Thursday our homeschool group met up at a beach and played Archaeologists! 
One of the moms had printed out a dinosaur skeleton and laminated it, and then came early and buried the bones for the kids to dig and find.
Another mom made paper mache' dino eggs, and buried those in a different area.
One mom read a book about dinosaurs to the group, and then they set to work digging up bones and eggs!

L discovers a bone!

Almost have the whole skeleton complete...

Sister finds an egg!

Dusting it off, carefully...

Me and my baby girl ;)

After the Archaeologists finished their expedition, it was time for some fun in the sand and surf... 

Not a bad backdrop for a day at school! ;)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

So I fell down the stairs.


And remember how last time I was all self-righteous after? Like how dare someone be so irresponsible... I would have never fallen otherwise...

Turns out, not so much.

On Friday afternoon, the kids and I were running our comforter down to the cleaners next to our building (there's no way that thing will fit in our hobbit dryer), and we saw the doorman was washing the front stairs again. 
"Careful, ma'dam. Water!" he warned me.
"Careful Momma..." my kids cautioned..
"I got this" my pride said.

I carefully walked down the first two steps, holding the comforter, with my children on either side of me.
The third step was my demise.
My sandal slipped and my foot flew beneath me.

The doorman helped me up, and I saw that my shin was all bloody. My big toe hurt too.
I hobbled over to the cleaners to drop off the comforter, and the kids and I went back upstairs.

I was SO ANGRY again.

This time totally and completely at myself.

I mean, who falls down the same set of stairs TWICE IN TEN DAYS?!?! 

Me, apparently.


David and I had an event with friends at the British Embassy that evening, so I cleaned up my leg and finished getting ready. 

An hour later, we set out to walk the few blocks to our friends house, where we'd be meeting up and leaving L&A with their kids and their fabulous babysitter.

A few steps into the walk and I told David "my toe REALLY hurts...could I have broken it?!?"
We both agreed that would be crazy.

We went about our evening, and as long as I walked only on my heal of my right foot, I navigated things just fine.

We got home late that night, and I took off my sock to find this:

Further inspection proved I could not bend it at all, and it hurt REALLY FREAKING BAD when I applied pressure as I walked.

The next morning I surveyed myself and found the following:

A scraped up shin...

A bruised pinky toe...

And a 360degree black and blue big toe...

 I took a cab to the International Clinic. 
Saw a doc, who declared it broken and ordered an xray to confirm.
Xray confirms my big toe is fractured.

Not cool, man. Not cool.

Do you know what they do for a fractured toe?


Well, I suppose that's not entirely true.
It's just that you don't cast a toe, and they don't do pain meds in Kuwait.

So, they gave me these:
600mg Ibuprofen and some topical pain get.

And the doctor told me to pick up a shoe/boot on my way out and do my best to stay off my foot for 4-6 weeks.

I hobbled to the pharmacy to pick up the boot, which they did not have in stock. The pharmacist looked at my toe and said "ma'dam, very bad. You must try and stay off this as much as possible!"
"I will, but it won't be easy...I have two young children..."
"You must have your maid take care of them!" she declared
"Yeah...we don't have a maid..."
"You must hire help! This is a bad injury!" she insisted.
"We'll anyways, where do I get the boot I need?"

You'll love this part...

"Right down the street ma'dam. Just walk one block south and go to the bottom floor of (insert name here) building, and they sell medical supplies"

Yes, I'll walk there on the foot I'm supposed to stay off of.

So I hobble out the door and down the street, very slowly. I make it to the building and tell the doorman I need the medical supply place on the bottom floor.

"They are closed today ma'dam, you need to go to the International Clinic...." he informs me.

Because KUWAIT.

I hobble outside, and hail a cab to take me to the hospital I had my surgery at.

I hobble inside the pharmacy there and ask for a boot for a broken toe. The pharmacist appears confused, so I show him my toe.

He walks behind a few shelves, returns, and hands me this:
  I actually started laughing.

I didn't mean to be rude - really, I didn't - it was just downright hilarious to me at this point.

"Um, so it's my toe that's broken and needs support...these appear to support the ankle and circulation and such, but neglect to provide a surface for the toe..."
Now he gets what I'm saying.
"We do not have ma'dam, please try (names different pharmacy) down the street" he says.
I hobble down the street and into the fourth stop I've now made to pick up this boot.
Because KUWAIT.

Luckily, this place does in fact as the boot I need, and bonus! It's advertised as "aesthetically pleasing" ;)

So now I get to hobble around town in this bad boy for the next 4-6 weeks.

Oh yes, I'm bringing sexy back.

At least it'll be off before it gets super hot here!
And again, better me than the kids. Both times I slipped on those stairs, the kids were right next to me.
Also, David has demanded I get rid of my beloved Teva sandals, which I've loved and worn for so long that they have completely lost any traction they once had, and are now just a smooth slippery surface, and were what I was wearing both times I fell.
Don't tell him I said this, but I *think* he might be right.

Never a dull moment here in Kuwait, folks. 
If we're friends on Facebook, you'll note my new hashtag when announcing my latest injury is #kuwaithateskendra ;)
Because it's sure starting to feel like it!! 
*BUT* I am learning that I'm much, much tougher than I once thought I was, and that's something I hope to carry with me for many years to come.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Last week I had a birthday - I turned the big 3-5.

I think I've mentioned on here before that Reem and I's birthdays are only one day apart. 
We learned that early on in our friendship, and it's so fascinating to me to meet a woman born on (nearly) the same day of the same year as I was, who grew up on the other side of the Earth, and compare our lives up to this point. 
We've lived drastically different lives, simply because of where we happened to be born.

The World is not boring, friends.

We decided long ago that we'd go out for a girls only dinner to celebrate our joint birthdays, so on Saturday evening of last week, we did...

Our husbands stayed home with the kids and we went to a beautiful outdoor restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal together and celebrate turning 35.

We had the best time eating and talking, and then went and walked around a bit and enjoyed the sights...

So fun.

On Sunday - my actual birthday,- the kids came and woke me in the morning and were beside themselves with excitement as they begged me to get up and come out into the living room...
David had taken them to the store the day prior to shop for my presents, and apparently also picked up "3" and "5" balloons, and then blown them up and taped them together.
He's a creative man, that David.
He had hidden them in the playroom closet, and told the kids to get them out when they woke up in the morning and put them all over the living room floor.

When I came out and was surprised to see the floor covered with balloons, they were so proud, it was adorable. 

I also had presents on the table...

...but wanted to wait until Dave got home from work to open them.

The kids kept telling me over and over that all that was inside those packages were dirty socks and underwear.

I tell them that's all we're getting them every Christmas and birthday.
It's become a family joke.
I know, we're hilarious

After David got home I opened my gifts and then headed off to a hotel spa for a facial appointment. 
My skin has been having a rough go of it for awhile now. The water in Kuwait is really hard.
Or is it soft?
Whichever one is not easy on skin.
Anyways, I've been breaking out like a teenager.
So I told David that I wanted a professional facial for my birthday.
 This was my first spa facial, and I was really excited for a little luxury =).

 I know for some women, luxury days at the spa are a common occurrence.  

But I also know that for many women, clean drinking water is a luxury.


I know I have it really, really good.

I had heard about this spa on the "expat mums in Kuwait"  Facebook page I'm a part of, and everything I'd heard was fantastic, so I was really looking forward to checking it out.
My first clue that this place was incredibly fancy was when my taxi driver tried to pull in and was stopped at the gate to be inspected by security. They drug a mirror underneath his car to check around, and wrote down his license plate number. 
This was just so he could enter the grounds and drive me up to the front door.

I went inside, and made a mental note to pick my jaw up of the floor.

Fan. Cy.

 I knew the facial I booked was like, STUPID expensive, but still. This was far fancier than I'd anticipated.

I coached myself. 
"Act like you've been here, before, Kendra"

Before finding the spa, I wandered the hotel grounds a little bit...

I made my way downstairs to the spa, and was instantly in awe anew...

This was just the waiting area...

Hand to God, I would have been content to just hang out in this area for the next two hours.

But alas, they called my name.

I first was taken into the changing area where I switched over to a swim suit and the assistant told me to put my belongings in a locker.

Listen, it's all designer handbags and designer shoes here in Kuwait.
I really wasn't worried that my purse I'd bought at the Little League Yard Sale back in December and my Reef flip flops were going to get stolen, but I obeyed. 
She showed me how to enter in a code of my choosing to lock the locker, and then turned away as I did so.

Fan. Cy.

(My cell phone was in my purse, so the rest of these pictures are all from their website.)

She led me into the "facilities" area, where I was welcome to enjoy myself for the next hour prior to my facial time.

Don't mind if I do.

I started out in the giant hot tub that had water massage thingys. 

I stayed in there a long time. 
Because why leave a place like that??

Eventually I tore myself away to explore other things...

...and that's when I found these chairs...
They are ergonomic marble chaise loungers that are heated.

Hello, love.

I laid there on one of those babies with my eyes close and (I'm quite sure) a ridiculous smile on my face until someone appeared to tell me it was time for my appointment. 

When she took me into the treatment room, she led me to a chair, put my feet in warm water, had me close my eyes while she spritzed some yummy smelling spray on my face, and proceeded to rub my feet for a few minutes.
A foot rub? During a facial appointment?! BONUS.
She then dried my feet and had me climb up onto the table, and then positioned a lumbar pillow things under my knees so I was "more comfortable"...which I really didn't believe could be possible.


Was this table/bed heated?
Why, yes. Yes it was.
Well hot damn, turns out I could be more comfortable. 

She pulled a headband wrap around my hairline and placed two cotton rounds over my eyelids.
Soft piano music was playing in the background.
She told me to take a deep breath, and then exhale.
I obeyed.
And as I exhaled, tears started to fall from the corners of my eyes.
"Are you okay mad'am?" she asked me.
"Yes, yes...I'm very good. Thank you" I mustered and willed myself to stop crying.
A few more controlled deep breaths, and she began working some creams into my face.

Here's the thing:
I'm not gonna lay there and complain about how my life lately is/has been hard. 
Because it's really not.
In the grand scheme of things, I live a very good life.
And I'm certainly not going to whine to my Filipino cosmetologist -who I'm fairly sure is not being paid nearly what she'd make in the States for such work, and also is likely working very, very long days- that laying there was the first time in months I'd felt like I could actually, truly un-clench, and that the relief that accompanied that feeling revealed to me just how tightly wound I'd been.

The truth is, last six+ months of living overseas, coupled with the few months before that, preparing to do so, have been challenging and often uncomfortable.
The packing, the moving, the travel, the illness, the language barrier, the illness, the culture shock, the illness, the emergency surgery, the feeling of complete lack of's all been very overwhelming.

But. We've chosen this.
We are not here because we have to be, or because we do not have other options.
And, we're all together.
The four of us get to eat dinner together nearly every evening and go to bed under the same roof every night....which is not the case for our favorite taxi driver, whose family is all still in India and he sends the majority of his paycheck home to. Or for the nurse at my doctor's office, whose daughter is back in the Philippines, being raised by her parents. Or  my favorite checker at Lulu Market, whose two children are back in the Philippines with her parents. Or many, many others.

And sure enough, at the end of the facial, after my face  had been exfoliated and lotioned and rubbed and my scalp massaged (I actually started to drool at that point...), I sat up and thanked her for the fantastic time. 
She smiled sheepishly and then said "I have a daughter with your name..."
"Really? It's not very common! How old is she?"
"My Kendra is seven months old..."
"Wow! Just a baby! You must be she sleeping good for you?"
"She is in my home Country with my mother and father..."
Such a familiar refrain here in Kuwait.
I did what I always do in these situations, I tried to meet her eyes, put my hand on top of hers, and said, mother to mother,  "that must be hard..."
Often I'm met with a warm smile and nod.
Sometimes with a shrug of the shoulders, as if it's just an accepted fact.
And sometimes with tear filled eyes and a wistful glance away.
"Yes." She said simply.

And then she moved on to tell me about the products she used and that they were available for purchase at the front counter.
We chatted a bit more about the services offered there, and I thanked her profusely and told her I'd love to come have another facial with her before we leave Kuwait!

She walked me out to a lounge area, we shook hands and exchanged goodbyes, and I couldn't help but be grateful both that I had chosen not to unload on her with the past six months of "troubles", and be incredibly grateful that I get to hold my babies every single day.

I sat and sipped my cucumber water in the lounge area, which by the way, looked like this...
I mean, gah. Can you even believe this place?
A woman told me later this is the largest spa in the entire Middle East.
I totally believe that.

I started to kind of recline on one of those bed thingys and take it all in, when an employee came up to me and said "would you like to rest ma'dam? you can rest in here..."
or something close to that, I couldn't fully understand her.
I gathered she was telling me that my time was up, and I couldn't just lay down there and take a nap and perhaps try and stay the night like I'd been halfheartedly plotting to do.
I reluctantly got up and followed her, sad that my time at the spa appeared to be over.

Oh friends, I was SO WRONG.

She was NOT giving me the boot. I HAD heard her correctly. She was, in fact, offering me an even dreamier place to rest. 
She opened a large wooden door and showed me this:

"You can rest or sleep here. We will wake you later..." she said, and left.

I laid down on one of the beds, and learned they were water beds.

Heated water beds.

I laid there and thought this is what Heaven is going to be like and even opened my eyes a few times to see if Jesus himself was chillin' in there too. 

I rested there for I don't even know how long, as I'd lost track of all time.
It was wonderful.
So incredibly decedent and so completely, utterly relaxing.
At some point two other women came in, and at some other point one of them even started snoring. But I didn't care because HEATED WATER BED IN UTOPIAN PALACE.

Eventually, I drug myself out of that ecstasy bed, and made my way back to the locker room, and eventually, back to reality...
...which isn't all together so bad either ;)