Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Plane rides, a newborn and a wedding...oh my!

The last week in October, I went home to Oregon for a visit.

I know!! I said we wouldn't be returning to the States until our time in Kuwait was done!
I also said I'd never drive here...and then look at me, driving around.

Basically, you should know I'm prone to declarations that I'll later contradict on a whim.
It's super annoying.


We *had* planned to not return until Dave's contract was up and we were returning for good. We felt that way because:
A) It is over 24 hours of travel
B) It is an 11 hour time difference
C) We didn't want to go back home for a visit, and realize just how much we missed everyone and everything there, and then be depressed to come back to Kuwait
D) We figured our time and money would be better spent traveling to other destinations around here, while we are on this side of the globe.

Good reasons, no? 

But then, my baby sister, Emily, got engaged, and that changed things.

Add in a brand new niece, and all bets were off =)

David and I talked about it a bunch, and both agreed I should be at the wedding. All four of my sisters would be there - and my newborn niece - and it would just be so special to attend. Emily is such an awesome, selfless person, and not only did she spend her hard earned money to come here and visit us, but we love her and her fiance so much and wanted (at least one of us) to witness their wedding in person! 

We knew David would not be able to take such a chunk of time off work, and also that it would be a LOT of travel in a short amount of time for the twins.

We (and by "we", I totally mean "me"...Dave, as usual, was more rational from the beginning) went back and forth about whether or not I should take the kids with me. I felt really bad leaving for eight days...that is the longest I've ever been away from them! I felt bad for leaving David to single-parent for eight days. I felt bad for getting to experience all that is "home" without them! They wanted to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends too! 
But ultimately, I agreed it would just be too challenging to do so.
Could I manage two six-year-olds during 26+ hours of travel by myself? 
Yes, I *could*. 
But likely not very well.
There would probably have been lots of crying and fit-throwing.
Some of it even from the children.

Also the time difference. 11 hours is a BIG difference. Day is night and night is day. 
For a 35 year old, I could just drink coffee to wake up during the day, and take meds to sleep at night. Six year olds can't really do that. And with only five days actually there, it would not serve as enough time for them to adjust to the time difference. And we couldn't really make the trip longer, as I have a job now and the kids have school. was decided I was going by myself!

(Even though a certain cutie tried to stowaway in my suitcase...)

Me, flying across the planet, over oceans and everything, by myself, voluntarily...??? Who is this person?!?!

Alas, I offer up two explanations.
 One, I've figured out how to get over a fear of flying...just do it a crap-ton. I've now taken off in a plane 17 times in just over a year. 
I'm over it.
Two, I was pretty desperate for some alone time. 
I'm not really an introvert by nature, but my world has just been a little too peopley lately. From the time I get up in the morning, until I go to bed at night, I have people around me.
We usually have at least one of our cherubs join us in our bed sometime in the middle of the night, so no matter how early I set my alarm and try and sneak out into the living room for some quiet time by myself, it's fruitless. They hear my alarm go off and refuse to miss out on anything =). 
Then I have both kids with me in my morning commute. We walk into the school together. Then I work with people all day long.
Then my kids and I walk out together, and are together in the commute home.
And then we're all home together for the late afternoon and rest of the evening.
The kids even often join me at the gym downstairs.
And now that I'm working, my only times to go to the grocery store and such are all the busy times when they are CROWDED.
It's just all people, all the time.

Listen, I love my people fiercely. 
My family is the most important thing to me.  
I would be lost without them.
I am so very grateful for my life.

But everybody needs a little quiet from time to time to just finish their thoughts uninterrupted =).

So late one night, I hopped on a plane and flew to Saudi Arabia, then to Amsterdam, then to Portland. 

I was so happy when I finally landed in PDX...

And EVEN HAPPIER when I found these two beautiful girls waiting for me on the other side of customs...

My sweet sister Natalie and her brand new tiny peanut, "LJ" =).

We left the airport and immediately went to Target...ha!
 It'd been over a year since I'd been inside a Target store, and man I'd missed it!  So many options! So many great prices! Good thing I'd brought a mostly empty suitcase with me =).

We went to Natalie's house and I just about wept as I held this sweet girl in my arms...

I love this little family so much!

Isn't she just precious??
(yes, yes she is!)

While I was in town, I managed to have a visit with my fabulous Primary Care Doctor, and get RX's for meds that I either haven't been able to get here, or are crazy expensive here.
I came back to Kuwait with a healthy little stockpile, and it makes me feel much more comfortable spending the next eight months here!

I kept taking pictures of all the beautiful Fall colors and sending them to Dave. I just couldn't get over how gorgeous all the colors were...

...and speaking of gorgeous...DID YOU SEE THIS BABY?!?!...=)

I got to spend an entire day with my sweet friend Jen and her family. They are so incredibly dear to us, and it was such a blessing to be able to have this bonus visit in the middle of our two years in Kuwait.
We went out to breakfast...
(I had bacon. I know, you're shocked)

I continued to take pictures of all the outdoor beauty...

I may or may not have even taken a video of it raining.
That's what happens when you've spent your entire life in the Pacific Northwest and then move to the Middle East =).

This little cutie is one week younger than L and A!  When we were neighbors, the three of them were like peas in a pod =). It was so fun to see her and how much she's grown over the last year!

For dinner, they got me a burrito that was the size of my head! (good Mexican food is seriously lacking in Kuwait)

I was so grateful to get to spend time with them. We've missed them A LOT and can't wait to be back home and hanging out again.

The next evening I got to see a group of friends that I lovingly refer to as "my tribe" =).
These ladies all have twins or triplets, and we all have kids born within six months of each other. They've been an amazing source of encouragement, solidarity, and laughter for me over the last several years, and I honestly can not imagine my life without them in it! 

Two of them picked me up and I made them take me to Costco before we all met up for dinner. 
Oh Costco! How I've missed you!

Some things - like everyday clothes and shoes - are SO expensive here in Kuwait. So, I stocked up on a few things while I was there. I bought the kids Carter's jammies for $9.99. Here they are 8KD ($26.43)
And I bought myself these shoes for $29.99.
Here, the cheapest I've been able to find them for are 22KD ($72.68)

And, I got to laugh at my friend who managed to pull an entire display down while looking for her size... 

(she has six kids...she's used to things like this =) )

These chicks are the coolest. 

We have a blast any time we get together!

Especially when we can devour eat tasty pretzels and cheese...

My wish for every woman is to have a tribe like this one. I am a better momma, wife, friend and person for having these women in life...

The next day I spent as much time as I could snuggling LJ...

...and getting all packed up to head to Seattle in the morning.

Next up: Wedding pictures!