Monday, December 18, 2006

Family Holiday



I am off to spend the holiday with my family. I wonder... when or if one ever stops assuming the role of the younger sibling? Or am I forever relegated to the status of little, pejorative, sister?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Permanence of Mud


I remember running down dirt roads such as this, barefoot and covered in mud.
I remember that in certain times of the spring the butterflies were so thick that they completely covered the banks of Greasy Creek. The rich soil redolent of abundance and happiness, haunts me still. Why is it that time seemed to stretch out before me like the patches of unending quilts that hung in Mrs. Phillips attic room, and today it escapes me before I have time to recognize it and give it a name?
This is what I wanted for my own children...I know it is nostalgic and sentimental, but I wanted them to grow up with a connection to the earth, a sense of permanence, and an expectation of goodness in the world. I am quite sure that many people in the south, and elsewhere for that matter, stay put to grow up, go to school, get married, and raise a family, because they want their own children to know what they knew, see what they saw, and love what they loved. It is an understandable phenomena. We can all relate to what is known, expected. It is when we throw the unknown into the mix that we become untethered and insecure.
And so my children will not know exactly what I know, and likewise I will not fully know their experience of the world and childhood. They will not grow up with the verdant hillsides, redolent mud, and singing crickets. They will have to find beauty and awe in a world that is mostly unknown to me, halfway around the world, and full of strange sounds, smells, and sights that must hold a beauty and knowledge of its own.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Issues

Ok, can someone tell me what is going on over there (Kuwait)? My husband assures me that everything is kosher, (saying Halal just doesn't have the same effect) but everytime I read the Arab Times online, some poor girl has been taken to the desert and raped by 'Kuwaiti youths'! I know someone else told me that the AT is sort of a tabloidish paper, but they can't be fabricating these stories, can they? I think Kuwait really needs to look into expanding opportunites for the youth there. My feeling is, from talking to nephews and nieces-in-law, that so many people are just bored. Now, don't get me wrong, that raping, pillaging, and various other crimes are a viable means of outlet, but it does seem that if there were plenty of choices and avenues for kids to take, they might be more fulfilled and otherwise engaged. It is really basically the same here, I guess. If you look at who is committing most of the crime, I would guess that much of it comes from youth that has less access to hope and opportunity.
Well, on a lighter? note, I am almost completely wiped out with shopping...Has anyone ever noticed how in the south everyone always asks you, "Are you ready for Christmas?" What does that mean exactly? Have you totally exceeded your credit and wiped out your savings? People in the north just don't ask you those kinds of things...of course one could make the case that they really don't want to take the time to wait for your answer, or that they simply don't care. Either way, I guess I am a bit of a northerner at heart. I am so messed up.
Merry Eid all!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas is coming

...is it just me, or is the pre-Christmas hoopla starting earlier and earlier? This year they started with all X-mas music on two radio channels before Thanksgiving! Of course, I know, this is to get the juices flowing for all of the x-mas shopping and to instigate childrens' incessant badgering of parents about their 'list'. When I was little, it seemed to take forever for the year to draw to a close, culminating with Christmas. It was then downhill until the next year. In fact, I guess I used to somewhat visually interpret time-the calendar- and there was a big hiatus between December and January...I guess I never really thought about how that could be, but it was like some abyss or twilight zonish time that that ocurred while one was buying a new calendar, or flipping the pages over.
Funny thing is, I don't even officially celebrate x-mas anymore. It is no longer 'our' holiday, but somehow, living in the US, it seems to pull me back in-my children too, of course. I wonder if Eid can suffice for children who have grown up over here once they move to a Muslim country. I know, I know, it is about the religion and not presents, but I have to be realistic when trying to get into the minds of children. I think part of what the kids like best is all of the lights, colors, foods, friends, music, etc. I tried to decorate for Eid one time in NY, and my husband thought I was crazy. There is going to have to be some middle road somewhere, I suppose/hope.
Anyway...happy holidays! (the latest p.c. catch phrase)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Does anyone else out there worry.....??

Does anyone else out there worry about Kuwait? I am not living there right now, but I am a little concerned about bringing my family there to live when the country whose borders almost totally envelope it is falling completely apart...Does anyone in Kuwait worry about that?
The first time I went to Kuwait was several years after the first "Desert Storm". I was constantly having awful visions of the Kurds and thinking of Saddam. Now, Saddam is almost completely gone and I worry: Is there any hope that Iraq can pull together a unified country before they completely kill off the Sunnis or Shia? Just one of the many *pleasant* thoughts that I have swirling about my hormone-laden mind these days. I really am starting to think that pregnancy and children slowly dissolve some of the ol' gray matter.
I think worrying is hereditary too. I come from a long line of worriers. My father is the king of worry. I remember being in our house in the mountains of VA when I was young and getting a litany of things not to do when he and my mother went for a hike: Don't ride the ponies, don't strike any matches, don't go in the creek, don't play with the tractors, etc.. I finally found out, when I was in college,(duh!) that many of the deterents he imployed to keep us from doing things were simply not true: If you are watching tv and lighting strikes it, everone in the room can go blind! Well, you should have seen the looks on friends faces when I told them that! Thanks, Dad. He used to say: When you are riding your bikes, girls, be careful because the 'new cars' engines are so quiet they can sneak up behind you and run you over! I think John Irving must have met my father. I can just see myself riding my bike while periodically paranoidly glancing backwards....the undertoads strikes again!
Anyway, the point is that my father is an extreme worrier, so was his mother, and I am sure it goes back to some person in our family who, while painting his face blue and baying at the moon, was warning his offspring not to look to closely for fear of damaging his eyes!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

All kind of crazy stuff!

Ok, I can't sleep at night now...I am over 7 months and it shouldn't be so difficult already! I am getting nervous about the last 2 months! If I sleep on my back, my legs go to sleep; if I sleep in my side, my hips kill me. I think I am going to have to buy a big ol' Archie Bunker Lazy Boy to sleep in...can I ship that to Kuwait? I feel terrible about having gained so much weight. Now I really do fit the stereotype of the oversized American, all hyped up on bovine growth hormone and steriods in their foods. Funny thing is, I am a vegetarian! Oh well, I guess it could have been the genetically modified tomatoes. I only wish they would have helped me to not bruise so easily too.
Also, what about the crazy pregnancy dreams??? I had a dream the other night that one of my son's teachers was smoking dope, and I don't even know her that well. I made the mistake of telling her about it...she didn't seem to amused. Could I blame that faux pas on pregnancy hormones?
Switching gears now...I just read Desert Girl's post about Kuwait and business. That is an issue that I have been irritating my husband with for many years now. Why can't things change over there? Also, another thing to be worried about- getting political now- I read that there have been refugees in Kuwait from Iraq(true?) who are predominantly Shia, now what happens if Kuwait starts to suffer some of the unrest of the surrounding countries and it causes a civil war there too? Great, just when I am moving! It seems that the whole middle east could be in for even more than ususal problems. Perhaps the alliance of China with the M.E. will somehow be helpful????
Ahh well...these are just some of the ruminations of my tumultuous pre-sleep mind.
Peace, please.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What is life in Kuwait going to be like for my children?

As I sit here contemplating the move to Kuwait in May, I am so concerned about what is going on over there. Granted, I am also concerned about what is going on here in the US, but it is a known entity, one that I can predict, to a degree, the possible outcomes. I have been reading the Arab Times online. It is disconcerting the amount of corruption in the system in Kuwait. I know there is major corruption here too, but it doesn't seem to affect the entire nation's ability to move forward here. I wonder when the Kuwaiti people will demand more for themselves and from their government?
I also worry about taking my children from independent schools here and putting them into schools there. Are they going to get as good an education? I do so hope. Anyway, what they will get there is an intact family, and I know that that is the most important thing for them. For the most part, I am wondering and trying to picture what their lives will be like.
If anyone out there reads this and has ideas about growing up in Kuwait versus the US: schools, opportunites, social issues, etc. Please give me some of your opinions!!!
Thanks

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My favorite stanza

Who has twisted us around like this, so that
no matter what we do, we are in the posture
of someone going away? Just as, upon
the farthest hill, which shows him his whole valley
one last time, he turns, stops, lingers--,
so we live here, forever taking leave.

-Rainer Maria Rilke-

Ramblings

I have two major events in the works, as it were. One is the pregnancy, and the other is the move overseas. Both of these ocassions carry with them reason for anxiety; although, I do feel like staying in the states to have the baby was probably the best decision for us. I have read about the quality of nurse care in Kuwait, and it does seem to be lacking.
I guess one learns how to be one's true self when stripped of native culture. I will have to raise this child differently from the others because I won't have my own culture surrounding and supporting the effort. It will be interesting to compare the differences in the children, as a result. (Not that they would have been the exact same if all were raised here, but you know what I mean).
I will say that I am very weary of surface-level conversation and concerns. I do hope to find some people in Kuwait who are more interested in important matters than who is doing what to whom and how s/he looks. Our society is really going downhill. Whoever believes in 'evolution', meaning that things/people are getting better, needs to seriously reevaluate. I was talking to a grandmother, of course she was only 50!, at the Halloween carnival at my children's school, and she and I were commenting on the fact that teenagers don't seem to get embarrassed anymore. Then she said, "I would have never watched some of the things on tv with my parents that my children do with me!" How ironic...and to never see the connection.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The First Blog Entry...Moving to Kuwait

Ok, so I am new to this...And yes, there are expectations of eloquence, relevence, and titilation. There are also those conventions to address: Will I adhere to proper grammar? Will I follow a typical form of writing, or will it be a stream-of-consciousness? Is there a spell-check on this baby? Anyway, forgive me, but I think I will just wing this and let the errors fall where they may.
I am getting ready to move Kuwait in the spring. It is a daunting thought. On the one hand, I am so ready for a different way of life, and then on the other, I don't want to romanticize this Walden Pondish escape to the truly mundane life of the desert. I know there will be tremendous challenges ahead of us. My children will have to adjust to a new school and a new way of socializing. My only hope is that they can make one or two really good friends. That will greatly assuage my anxiety.