My friend reminded me yesterday on a video call, that this time last year we were all making Christmas wreaths together and doing a number of festive things – such good memories, but how much can change in a year! Fast forward to now… to November 2022 and here I am in the Middle East – away from all things festive, friends from home and living life in Kuwait!
It is so different to be in a warm country in the Winter (good different as its still mid 20s – lush), and it is also testing my creative and imaginative skills of how I can bring Christmas vibes to our little apartment and lives while far away from home, family, friends and our usual go to activities/tat for this time of year. Our first stop is Ikea for hot chocolate and to check out their Christmas section later this week and then some ice-skating!
November has been a happening month though in spite of the absence of familiarity and festive prep! We have made some amazing memories and had some wonderful experiences together, and overall, I am loving this chapter of life in a new land!
This month I am loving that it was my birthday – YAY! I had such a brilliant day wandering with the youngest kids along the sea front (in the sunshine), followed by a burger for lunch with them. I went swimming in the sea in the evening sun and ate brownies on the beach, and then went out for Arabic food in the evening – it was lush!
I am also loving how easy and cheap it is to get to neighbouring countries here in the Middle East; we went to Abu Dhabi last weekend and it was absolutely amazing! Such a gorgeous place, and I also enjoyed my birthday gift of a desert Safari; dune bashing, camel riding and delicious food in the evening with entertainment.
Here in Kuwait I am also loving M&S for a few treats from home. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know so many new people from all over the world – it makes me so happy to chat to new people and hear about their home lands, traditions, what brought them to the Middle East and their families. I am also loving having winter sun, the sea on my doorstep (not literally, like a 7 min walk) and Arabic food in abundance – delicious!
Of course we have been trying to watch and keep up to date with the world cup – exciting! But aside from that i haven’t watched a huge amount of things recently. Since been here, Nathan and I have got into “Manifest” and just finished the new season of that. It is a bit different, and weird too in places, but overall we were really into it and quite enjoyed it.
We have also started the new season of The Crown. I need to sort a VPN as I REALLY want to catch up on bake off and Chesapeake Shores!
I actually read a book (say whaaaaatttt???!!). And, I have also joined a book club too (in hopes that it will help me branch out in both my book choices and also frequency of reading – we can but hope).
So firstly I finally finished the book I’ve had on my kindle App for so long – Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. As a forest school leader and someone who is curious about the nature benefits to us, and especially our children, I found it wonderfully informative and thought provoking. It is an in-depth study and look at the different ways we can nurture and maintain the natural world (introducing it to urban areas too), benefits of accessing it and maintaining traditional childhood experiences with in it. I enjoyed seeing the differences over generations as well as the holistic benefits. I especially loved and agreed with the overriding message that nature is essential to our children’s growth and development.
In a nutshell it is an excellent reminder and look at the essential need for children to be in, learn in and play in Nature and how we as adults need to also continue this link with them….as well as desire to be stewards to maintain this for them.
I started to read Bamboo Stalk in my book club, which is a fictional book based on the culture here in Kuwait. It looks at the class and nationality divisions and looks at an example of a boy born to a Philippino mother (the maid) and Kuwaiti Father. What I read and also the discussion with others, really opened my eyes.
Finally I am reading E.B Whites The Trumpet of The Swan in homeschool – we are about half way through and it is so far a lovely story with a great message.
I have not yet listened to Christmas music – I am holding out until December the 1st. But I have been listening to the call to prayer 5 times a day. I really love to here the singing of it across the city… it is one of those sounds that add to the feeling of being so far away from home and in a new land, and we really like the singing ones.
I have also listened to Arabic to try and learn some, listened to my usual playlists and podcasts, and listened to my kids argue more than normal the last few days! OH FUN!
I have not bought myself anything or even bought any Christmas gifts yet (so unlike me). Things here are pretty pricey here, and I am trying to navigate visiting the markets and sales so I can search out some deals.
I did buy a lot of home stuff when we first arrived… a mix of H&M HOME, IKEA, and facebook market place! I still want a chair in the corner of the lounge area, so keep an eye on the sales for that too.
This month we took a weekend trip to Abu Dhabi – it was gorgeous. We crammed a lot into the weekend and loved Abu Dhabi.
We also visited the desert here and drove up to the Iraq border, and took the kids to a farm – that was an adventure and we also saw a herd of camels grazing at the side of the motorway! It was so surreal, but completely enhanced the day out.
A moving visit was to the Martyrs museum here in Kuwait. It is only small, but educated us more on the Gulf War and gave us insight into the bravery of a group of Kuwaiti men, who died fighting to defend their neighbourhood and people.
I cannot believe that tomorrow is December – the end of the year and the countdown to Christmas! We have Naths birthday and 3 weeks off school to look forward to too. We are still toying with the idea of either going home or to Egypt for a week, but aren’t sure! One things for sure though, I that we are so far from feeling festive. I can’t wait to buy a few decorations, get the Christmas tunes and films on and start buying a few gifts for the kids!
November was great, we got our visas renewed, I am another year older… and I look forward to discovering more places and people in the coming months.