Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As Luck Would Have It...

One of the many lucky things in our life right now is company-provided day care. Sojo gets out of school at 2:30, and we have to work until 4:00 every day. And, since we are still adjusting to life without the full-time nanny, cook, shopper, ironer, everything-er that we had in Bangkok, this is a real positive for us.

As luck would have it, the woman they hired to do this job is an artist. And so she and Sojo are kindred spirits who while away their time creating art projects together. She gets Sojo's love of 'found objects' (read: totally random things you find on the ground or in the garbage) and is a real inspiration for her. I love that the room she is in is right across from my K4 cuties, so she runs in every now and then to show me something. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Life is Good

Zombie tag in the backyard with the steps as the 'safety.'
Squeals of joy from neighborhood kids. 
A community where older siblings gladly join in playdates with younger ones.
One groovy childhood happening right before my very eyes.

Life is good. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Belated Birthday Bash

Between conflicting party dates and no shipment with all our goodies, it was a whole month after Sojo's real birthday that we had her party. Thankfully, it wasn't a big deal to her because the party was such fun. One of the many benefits here is that you can have your party at the Splash Park. The recreation department sets up a bouncy castle and provides helium for balloons. You just provide food and the kids!

She had a blast, the kids were great, and I have to say it was a super easy birthday party on the parents. Although I hear from Sojo that next year we are back to Angry Bird parties...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wiped Out

Let me tell you, between the life of a kindergartener and the life of a PreK teacher, we fall into bed almost every night, happily exhausted. Dale came to my class after school one day last week and found us like this around 4:00. Even for us, that's pretty early to sleep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slightly Chilly Weather

We had heard that the weather in Saudi is downright gorgeous most of the year--that is, once the 120+ temps leave. It's now the middle of November, and mornings are downright chilly, while the daytime is still super warm. In essence, Saudi is like Tucson--gets a bad rap about being so darn hot, but if you stick it out long enough, you get months and months of awesome weather.

Sojo picked out this sweater the other day (she loved the foxes on it) and decided it was perfect morning attire. And our favorite green bench has found a place outside, perfect for soaking up these gorgeous mornings with a cup of coffee. We shipped a fire pit as well, and I can see where it will be fabulous in about a month's time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


44 trips around the sun for me today.

New land
New language
New learning

Same gratitude for all the love in my life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Desert Campers

Our school hosted a staff party in the desert last weekend, and we were keen to head out on our first 4 wheeling trip into the sand dunes. These were the dunes just like you see in photos--wavy lines carved by the wind and nothing but sand for miles. Walking across that sand was one of those moments that made me stop and revel in gratitude. Roaming the Earth while truly trying to understand the various people that make up this amazing world is what makes me a better person, a more understanding person and it brings me such joy. 

There were camels...

and sunsets...

and camel bone discoveries... (they were so bleached that they appeared to be painted white)

and cool morning sand between my toes while walking with my man. 

I am finding that the desert demands a state of mind that is peaceful. The vastness of it all is overwhelming to me at times, but when I take the time to be quiet and accept its emptiness, it envelops me with peace. It feels like there is a lesson in this desert for me. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Qatar Trip

Last weekend, we took our first road trip here on the Arabian peninsula. It was only three hours to Doha, Qatar, but with literally nothing to see but camels, the drive felt longer. One lovely thing was that when we entered Qatar, the customs agents gave us each a long-stemmed rose for Eid. Great way to enter a country! 

We played in the pool, enjoyed an amazing travelling exhibit at the Islamic museum, and spent some time at a local market/souq. Of course, camels are a part of every experience we have here in the desert, and this was no different. We saw some gorgeous ones getting fancied up for some celebration at the souq. 

On our last weekend of the vacation, we headed to a beach a few hours away to meet up with some friends we worked with in Bangkok. The weather here has now hit a crazy beautiful temperature, and the day was such fun.

And this is how we know we are almost home. Oil burnoffs (is that what they are??) in the desert. It's our landmark, and we hit it right around sunset this time. Even from our backyard, there is a faint orange glow from these. We joke that we are lucky to have a perpetual sunset from our yard. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween here on camp was exactly as I remember it as a child growing up in New York. So incredibly safe, tons of kids running around having fun, and knowing almost all the kids by name who came to get treats--it was nothing short of magic for us. Sojo, the same as every other Halloween, had little interest in trick-or-treating for more than 4 houses. However, she did love getting into her vampire costume. And even better was her good friend leaving this secret note at our house the other night.

how I love early writing! It says, 'sojo, I'm going to be a vampire, too.'

So, the two of them were vampires, she ran around the neighborhood for a few minutes, and then hung out with us on the porch giving out candy until we ran out. 

Our Halloween preparation the night before was nothing short of a comedy of cultural errors. In the past, we have not lived in countries where that beautiful orange carving pumpkin can be found, so we have carved watermelons or painted green, hard-to-carve pumpkins. This year, we decided to fork out 30 US dollars* for a real American pumpkin to give that kid some American tradition! Yea, well...that didn't really work. She hated the whole process (let's be honest--it is rather gross) and basically Dale carved the pumpkin while she watched a movie. It felt weird to force a child to scoop the pumpkin guts out just so she could have the same childhood experience I did. At least she enjoyed The Great Pumpkin, and that is totally a part of American tradition. 

not a staged photo at all! This was her true reaction. Ha! 

* This was the exact same price as a glass of wine on our recent trip to Doha. In hindsight, we should have spent the money on wine. Living in a dry country makes one spend any amount of money for a nice glass of wine.