Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“How Have You Managed . . . ?”

“What do you mean?” I asked the elegant grinning lady who was asking me the question. Three former military wives, one Army, one Air Force and one Navy, and we had been talking about our world-wide lives and adventures.

“How are you doing? You haven’t been here long. Are you managing to settle in?” asked with enormous sympathy.

She caught me off guard.

Yes, I am happy. I’ve settled in. I have friends. I’m connected.

But her question caught me off guard, and all of a sudden I couldn’t answer.

“I’m doing OK” I managed to start. “But it’s like this church. I love this church, and at the same time, there are times I walk in and oh, how I miss our churches in the Middle East, where I would walk in and think ‘this is what heaven must look like’ especially at Christmas, with all the Indian families in their saris and finery, and the Africans in their brocades and elaborate head-dresses, and the people from all over the world. The music was simpler, and at the Christmas Eve service, we sang ‘Silent Night’ in every language in the church . . .  I miss that.”

Screen shot 2013-11-17 at 8.34.47 PM

There are times the memories catch me unaware, and leave me breathless.

AdventueMan and I went grocery shopping today and when the cashier told me the total, AdventureMan almost gasped. I just laughed and told him that’s why I never took him grocery shopping with me in Kuwait – the sticker shock would have killed him.

Life here is definitely easier.

On the other hand, we have had to revise our ideas about Kuwait drivers. At first, we just thought there were a lot of Kuwaitis living in Pensacola; now we have realized that there are people who just drive as they please. Some of them are stoned out of their minds. I witnessed an accident last week where when I checked the driver of the car that was hit, she grinned at me loopily – and then disappeared. It was bizarre, and I wonder how many people are on the roads as impaired as she was. She went right through a stop sign as if it weren’t even there, and if the car had hit 6 inches more forward, she would have been dead. She didn’t have a scratch. And she was not at all concerned, just that loopy grin. “Elegantly wasted” said the driver of the car who hit her.

We both have a lot going on. With connection comes commitment and obligation. We try to coordinate our schedules at the beginning of the week so we can help one another out. The highlight is that each afternoon I am taking care of our new little granddaughter. AdventureMan/Baba often comes by and naps in the peaceful environment just to be with us. She is a sweet, laughing little baby, never very fussy. He offers me a day off, which occasionally I take, or he takes a time when I have a meeting or an appointment. We have both discovered how very much we like the ‘work’ of grandparenting. 🙂

We’re managing. 🙂

November 17, 2013 - Posted by | Aging, Biography, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola | , , ,


  1. I’m with you regarding those flashback moments. I had one today in church. We were singing a song about feeding the poor and liberating the oppressed and such things. The words were very strong and just reminded me of living in Iceland during the cold war when the country was not so U.S. friendly. A very strange moment indeed and something I have not thought about in more than 20 years.

    Comment by momcatwa | November 17, 2013 | Reply

    • The word ‘visceral’ comes to mind, doesn’t it? It socks me in the gut, catches me totally off guard. And then it stays with you for a while . . .

      What amazing experiences we have had, and oh, the lessons we have learned. . . I wouldn’t change a thing, even the hard parts.

      Comment by intlxpatr | November 17, 2013 | Reply

      • Hear! Hear!

        Comment by momcatwa | November 17, 2013

  2. So you have connections in Pensicola , thats mean you now have WAsta there 🙂

    on prices , i always thought prices are half or even one third the prices here in Kuwait , but i always wondered with these low prices Why aren’t people in the US not managing ??

    Traffic madness has subsided somewhat in kuwait after the deportation of more than 30000 expats ( i think more ) who had seroius traffic voilations ,and the sudden dis- appearence of about 100,000 sub standard cars (the banged up cars that were spewing black blue smoke, hogging the left lane causing log jams behind them .

    and this one is a special for AdventureMan ;

    There was a message originated in the UAE wildly circulating on the social media claiming that the US Navy met. service in Bahrain has issued a massive rain wind storm warning to its fleet in the area asking the fleet to be prepared for it stating that the storm will be hitting the gulf region supposedly last staturday and to continue till this tuesday , the warning explained that it will be caused by a cold front russia compunded by a warm front from the indian ocean causing hovac .
    People in the gulf got scared and braced themselves for the storm that didn’t come ,and the UAE weather services issued a denial saying that US navy message has been taken out context (too late) .
    So on this joyous Navy snafu lets give a shout out ” GO ARMY”

    Comment by daggero | November 17, 2013 | Reply

    • LLLOOOLLLL, Daggero! I would hate to be a weather forecaster, so much ambiguity and no one ever cuts you any slack.

      When I first shopped in Kuwait, a Kuwaiti friend told me “just think that the KD is worth $1 and you will feel better.” I didn’t quite manage that but most of the time we managed fine.

      We actually saved money in Kuwait. In the US, many live from pay check to pay check, and one emergency can wipe them out – a car that needs an expensive repair, a medical emergency, etc. There is a lot of advertising encouraging people to buy! buy! buy! The gap between rich and poor is widening, and the middle class eroding.

      Comment by intlxpatr | November 18, 2013 | Reply

  3. Your church comment truly resonates with me. At a long range planning session at our church last week I wondered out loud at my discussion table if there wasn’t a way to make our church less “vanilla”. Not a lot of enthusiasm for that ambition…..

    Comment by Grammy | November 21, 2013 | Reply

  4. …..and I LOVE the church photo…..

    Comment by Grammy | November 21, 2013 | Reply

  5. There is also a photo from the front, on the website, Grammy, with the choir on the left . . . just missing you and the big guy 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 21, 2013 | Reply

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