Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016


We've had kind of an off week and weekend around here. The kids and I each took a turn with a fever and short illness, but thankfully we were each only down a night. 

David says our immune systems have finally caught up with the Kuwait viruses ;)

*knocks on wood*

For me it came on quickly one afternoon, as I suddenly became exhausted after vacuuming and had to sit down to rest. I took my temp and found I had a fever, so I cancelled the evening plans I had with a friend, wished David good luck with the kids, and headed to bed at 6:00pm.
I slept until after 9:00am the next morning, and awoke fever free and feeling just fine...which was great, because that evening we had a dinner for Dave's work at a swanky ballroom, and I'd been looking forward to a night out with my hot date...

We brought exactly zero fancy clothes with us to Kuwait, but luckily in those boxes of hand me downs we received awhile back there were two nice dresses, and I was able to borrow a pair of black pumps from Reem. David borrowed a suit jacket from a friend also.

The evening's entertainment included a Magician, and David was called up on stage at one point to participate in the show...

...and he preformed tricks at each table during the meal...

We had a great time out together - love a good date night with my man!
Also very grateful to have found a fun babysitter whom the twins LOVE and we totally feel comfortable with as well!

Our homeschool co-op has been having a "Crafty" day once a week at different houses, where someone hosts a craft activity and playdate at their home. 
This one included making Bubble Wands...much to the children's delight!

Brother took a turn getting a fever one afternoon, and spent the evening on the couch resting and complaining of an earache off and on. After a restless night's sleep -for him and for his parents - he woke up fever free the next morning, but still said his ear hurt, so I took him in to get checked out.
The boy has a super high pain tolerance and rarely complains about ailments - this is the kid who sat with a broken arm for two days before I took him in for xrays and barely mentioned his arm pain (insert Mom Guilt here) - so if he says something hurts, I'm taking him in to be seen. 
The doctor still saw a build up of fluid, but no infection. But since this was the second time we'd been in to have the ear checked in such a short amount of time (I'd also taken him in to be checked last week when he was feeling puny and mentioned his ear), he wanted us to see an ENT for a better look. 

And while I don't love many, many, many, many, many, many, MANY things about healthcare here, I do appreciate the fact that we were scheduled with the ENT for the following evening. 
No pre-auths needed. No long wait to see a specialist. 
Easy peasy.

So while I'm still not over how my hospital stay went, and while I'm still adjusting to the fact that HIPPA doesn't exist here (see exhibit A: charts on the table in the Waiting Room...)
 ...I am grateful for a handful of healthcare ways here. 

We came home from the doctor to find Sister feeling puny, and it was no surprise when I took her temp and found she had a fever as well...
Luckily at this point we knew she'd likely only be down for the night.

Sure enough, she woke the next morning feeling fine.

We saw the ENT who did find an infection, and RX'd some antibiotics.
The boy has only had antibiotics two or three times in his six years of life, so I've got no problem with that. 

So we've been hanging out around the house, trying to take it easy...

Watching movies...

and playing with toys...

...and making Lightsabers out of wrapping paper rolls...

And when everyone's been healthy, we've been enjoying the pool...

...and having dinner and shenanigans at friend's houses...

...and enjoying the sunset...

...and David has been mastering his braiding skills...

...and generally just being adorable...

...and losing our cell phones.

Oh wait, that one is just me.

I totally lost mine. I'm 99% sure I left it in a random taxi. I was taking Brother to his ENT appointment, and it's just a few blocks from where we live, so I didn't call our regular driver, I just hailed a cab down the street from us. While I was getting in, the Boy was asking me eleventy billion questions and the delivery guy from the little store next to our building rode by on his bike and started talking to me, and I was checking my wallet to make sure I had cash to pay the driver...and I just got distracted and frazzled, and am fairly certain I set my phone down on the seat instead of in my purse. I noticed it as soon as we were checking in at the doctors, so I don't think it made it inside the building. 
I have no idea which cab company it was.
We called the phone several times last night (it was on silent, but we were hoping to catch the driver when he happened to be holding the phone) but now it's off, likely out of battery.
We're gonna give it another day to magically turn up (stranger things have happened!) and if it hasn't then we will go get a replacement.
It's a pain, but really could be SO much worse. I'm grateful it wasn't my wallet - I can not imagine how challenging it would be to replace my Kuwait Civil ID card - or my passport or something. The phone screen was locked, so theoretically incapable of anyone getting in. And it was just a prepaid, low-end model phone. 

I learned over the weekend that a friend of mine's husband is having a cancerous tumor removed next week. They have two kids under two. I can not imagine what they are going through, and am on my knees before the Lord on their behalf.

So while I was super annoyed at myself for losing my phone and it's inconvenient to be without it and to (most likely) have to replace it, I recognize it's really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Don't just stand there, bust a move

The twins' four week "Initiation to Dance" class finished up at this week. 

It was a great experience! It introduced the kids to several different styles of dance, got us out of the house and active two days a week, and gave us another opportunity during the week to see some friends.

Our son had been feeling puny last weekend - to the point where he fell asleep in the middle of the day, which happens NEVER, and so we had to cancel some plans and just lay low. I was thinking we might have to miss class on Sunday, but luckily he woke up feeling better and we didn't miss a single class.

It was fun for me to see which styles of dance each of our kids were drawn to. When I asked them if there was any particular style of dance they'd like to follow up with and take more classes on, Sister said Breakdancing and Contemporary, and Brother said Breakdancing and HipHop. So, we're looking into more classes this summer.

You've seen their sweet Breakdancing moves, and their rad Popping moves. Now here's some videos of Ballet, Contemporary, Bollywood, and HipHop...

They LOVED Bollywood day! I notice them rehearsing this one the most around the house =)

I can't tell if these videos are loading properly or not? They were taken on my cheap cell phone.

A few pics of our cuties on the last day...
Posing with our teacher Miss Teni and her assistant Carlos in our very best Hip Hop poses ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Product Placement

I get asked a lot about the availability, price and variety of "American" products here in Kuwait, so I'd been snapping a few pics here and there while I was in a store...

The current rate of conversion is 1 Kuwaiti Dinar = $3.31 US Dollars

Dove Body Wash 
 (at Sultan Center...where you find the most International options, but also the highest prices...) 
3KD, 650 Fills

Bob's Red Mill Organic Pancake and Waffle Mix
2KD 250 Fills

Cheerios (large box)
2KD 750 Fills

Then one evening after Dave came home from work, I made a run to the store for filler items - the stuff you need to replace in between the Big Shopping Trips - and since I was sans children I didn't have to say "Please stop touching everything" or "No, we're not buying that" or "Please don't pull on the cart" or "Because we don't need it, that's why" or  "quit picking on your sibling" or "can you hold it? We're almost done..." or "don't lick the shopping cart" or any of the other sweet nothings I repeat over and over to my cherubs as we shop together,   I was free to take pictures of grocery items so I could show you averages of what things cost here. 
It could be like I was taking you shopping with me.
I know what you're thinking.
It's like all your dreams are finally coming true.

These are from Lulu Hypermarket, where I do the majority of our grocery shopping.

(alcohol free, because Kuwait can't have nobody gettin' drunk off their mouthwash!)
1KD 975Fills

Colgate Toothpaste
650 Fills

Toilet Paper (12 rolls)
1KD 675 Fills

Heinz Ketchup
750 Fills

Canned Corn
245 Fills

Jif Peanut Butter
1KD 690Fills

Whole Wheat Bread
250 Fills
83 Cents

Kettle Chips
1KD 690Fills

Package of Baby Spinach
995 Fills

595 Fills per KG
$1.97 per 2.2 lbs
(side note: these Australian carrots are the best I've ever tasted. Out of all the things I'll miss when we leave Kuwait, my friends, the shawarma place by our apartment, and these carrots top the list!)  

160 fills per KG
53 Cents per 2.2 lbs

Then you take your loose produce over to an employee and have them bag and weigh your items for a speedier check out process when you're all done...

1KD 695Fills

1KD 490Fills

Even at Lulu, you can find a variety of American products...and you can pay an arm and a leg for them...
Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Dough
3KD 100Fills

Pillsbury Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
2KD 390Fills

Pillsbury Orange Cinnamon Rolls
2KD 100 Fills

910 Fills

Nature Valley Granola Bars
1KD 750 Fills
(Remember when I wrote about how everyone just opens things here?!?!)

Raisin Bran
1KD 900Fills

Rice Krispies
1KD 290Fills

Ritz Crackers 
(large box of several small keep sealed as things go stale quickly in the heat!)
1KD 190Fills

Feta Cheese
2KD 190Fills

Baby Bell Cheeses
 580 Fills

Naked Juices
1KD 550Fills

100% Apple Juice
700 Fills

Activa Yogurt  (individual)
135 Fills
45 cents

Then I go check out, and try to pay close attention to the prices that are showing up on the register while things are being scanned, as it's a semi-common problem here that barcodes are incorrect and prices can be WAY off. I once witnessed a super-heated argument between a customer and manager after some green onions were coded wrong and showed up costing over 30 KD ($99.25).
Not cool man, not cool.

Then I hail a cab home, load our groceries into the cart waiting in the lobby of our building, and take them up the elevator...

Viola! Grocery shopping complete.

So as you can see, a handful of things are cheaper here...yogurts, bread, Baby Bells, 100% Juices. 
And some things are about the same as we would pay back in Portland.
And a lot of things are outrageous (um, hello raspberries and feta cheese!) and make you feel like you have to decide between purchasing Raisin Bran or sending your kids to college.