The last couple of days of December 2022 (and the end of 2022 for that matter) were spent travelling back from England to Kuwait, and then desperately trying to sleep and rest! We were too tired to attend any New Years events or festivities, and here on a fresh new day, at the start of a fresh new year, I am just blown away that its already 2023 (and shattered too)!
Life lately has been a good adventure but super busy (and consequently exhausting)! We spent about 12 days in England for the Christmas period, wrapped up the first term of school in Kuwait (and homeschool too), celebrated Naths birthday and spent time searching out gifts for the kids and family. We had a lovely Christmas, and enjoyed the familiarity of home and favourite things, singing and hot chocolates in the cold! It has been great to see people and enjoy home, but it was also surprisingly exciting to come back to Kuwait too, and showed us how much we are enjoying this chapter of living here in the Middle East.
Lately I have been loving singing along and dancing to Christmas songs, having the kids home to hang out with, eating all my faves in England and not having to set alarms to get up to. I have loved the opportunity to go to England and enjoy familiar Christmas traditions (family sing songs, secret santa, church together). I have loved returning to live in a warm country and pop sandals back on!
I thought I would have watched way more Christmas films over December but sadly did not! Things were so busy, and I would say I regret not taking more time to just chill and watch more films together. The ones I did manage were Elf, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Noel Story on Netflix and Mistletoe Farm. I fell asleep in It’s a Wonderful Life (whoops) but did enjoy watching the new The boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse on Iplayer on Christmas day.
Recently we also started watching the Harry and Meghan Docuseries on Netflix – we are only 2 episodes in, so still a lot to hear and learn about that. We watched Glass Onion with family (interesting and a bit weird) and I am still yet to see the Call the Midwife Christmas special! I am looking forward to that, and also Matilda the musical with the kiddos!
I have been doing a lot of reading this month and I am grateful for the difference it makes to my mind being able to learn and get lost in the pages of a book! It is interesting and relaxing (something I have forgotten) and definitely a habit I want to build on in the coming year, I am more excited for my new book club and it helping me branch out into genres and books I wouldn’t normally pick up! I have realised that branching out in my book choices is actually exciting and refreshing and opens up stories and learning I wouldn’t otherwise have.
This month I finished Franci’s War by Franci Rabinek Epstein. It is a moving true story (true stories are always my fave) about Franci from Prague, who has Jewish heritage and consequently was taken to Terezin, Auschwitz and Bergen-belsen. It honestly amazes me what some people in life have to endure. The cruelty and sheer evil ways of others and how hope can grow in the most dire of circumstances. It’s also incredible how some can choose to not hold onto hatred after all of that.
This book and any about WW2 always interest me, and as we had visited Terezin a little while ago, I was curious to learn more about the personal stories of those who were there. I learnt from this book more about Hamburg and labour camps there and also the kindness and naivety of the soldiers who liberated them. Like in other books I have read from this period, it tells of the extent people go to in order to survive, as well as others who just cannot go on any more – both are wholly understandable.
I liked that this book also told her life after and how she struggled to transition back – it’s something we don’t focus on enough as the shock of the experience and survival is so much to comprehend. How her and her husband had habits the rest of their life, that impacted their kids, because of that chapter and period of life spent in concentration camps. I would definitely recommend it.
I started The Midnight Library a few days ago (Matt Haigh) and it took me a little while to get into it, but so far I am also finding this thought provoking too. It is the book for our book club and I can already see that we will have plenty to discuss!
Christmas songs, Christmas Hymns and the sound of joy on Christmas morning! I have also listened to far too many airport announcements and safety instructions!
I bought some new things in England for my wardrobe – not as many as I had hoped (I didn’t foresee that winter would mean hardly any short sleeves!). My fave is this jumpsuit from ASOS and a basic stripe Tee from H&M… other stuff was from vinted (wish I had got a few more things) and lovely green dress from the TU at Sainsbury Sale for £12 (now £7).
Obviously we also bought gifts for christmas and plenty of British chocolate! And I was excited to buy a beaut of a suitcase for our travels – I love it!
In December we visited the “Friday Market” here in Kuwait – it’s huge, happening and sells EVERYTHING! We also, as you know, visited England. On the way we also transitioned through Abu Dhabi and Sofia, and on the way home Istanbul. We visited York, Chorley, Leeds, Beverley, Bridlington, Filey and Scarborough while home!
December 2022 was busy, fun, tiring, spiritual, emotional, interesting, happening and it was a great end to the year! We now face our first full year here in Kuwait and look forward to welcoming Grandma here in a few days for a tour, as well as my parents next month. We’re planning more adventures, more pool time, more beach visits, more time together and hopefully some restful moments in the crazy of family life!
In December 2022 I am Grateful for
*Christmas and the hope and joy of the season
*Celebrating the Baby Jesus and the opportunity to worship on Christmas day
*Time at home with family
*Christmas Dinner and Carveries
*Nathan and a Chance to celebrate him
*Gifts – giving and receiving them
*Safe travels and the chance/means to be able to travel
*The chance to see my sister and her new husband, and celebrate their marriage
*Log burners and jumpers in the cold
*Being able to borrow coats