wherever you go


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Hello again!

It’s been a long time. I feel a little guilty about not posting anything. But don’t worry, I’ll get over it. Writing this post will help. I still intend to catch up on all our past adventures, but for now I’ll just start with telling you what we are doing right now.

We are coming to the end of a very busy November full of trips and birthday parties and Thanksgiving and floods. That last one isn’t so much a ‘fun’ event as an exciting one. Here’s what our month has looked like:

First I took a week long trip to Washington state and Portland, Oregon. BY. MYSELF. !!! It was my first time flying internationally by myself. It was my first time being away from Myka or Emery for that long. And it was my first time back in the US since moving to Saudi Arabia! It was so relaxing to fly on my own. Soooo much easier then flying with children, and jet lag really wasn’t an issue. Now that I’ve had time back at home with my two lovely children, I realize once again how much I really do like them, and I promise to take them on many flights and adventures and let them travel with me even if it means I don’t get to nap or stretch out in two seats on the plane. (I really liked using two seats though….)

I missed Myka’s birthday. It was on the 6th, and I got home from my trip late that evening. I felt like an awful mother! She didn’t seem to mind all that much though. She got to blow out candles, and we had a little party for her after I got back. We didn’t have a party with lots of children, just adults and one other little friend. We had three other birthday parties to go to this month and that’s is plenty. And we all had lots of fun celebrating Myka turning four. She blows me away with the words she says, stories she comes up with, and her excitement about little things. I love having her around.

A week after I got back from my trip we all drove to Doha, Qatar. Another couple went with us, so we had a car full. It’s said that Doha is 5 hours away. That is a lie. That doesn’t include time getting through the boarder (where we had to pay about $30 per person to get into Qatar… Why?), or stopping for lunch… It took us 8 hours to get there and about the same to get back. Emery does not last that long in a car seat. We had a lovely time there though. We stayed for two nights, visited friends who live there now, got to see their new home, and did a little shopping.

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Saudi Arabia is a desert. We don’t have a dry heat where we live because we are close to the ocean, but it doesn’t rain very much. We had a couple little showers starting in late October, and I remember it raining more than I thought it was going to last January, February, and March. Just little showers though. But wow. This month has shown me that sometimes it RAINS in Saudi Arabia. It rained for days. Mostly just a light rain, but sometimes it poured. Because Saudi doesn’t get much rain the drainage system cannot handle this amount of water. And neither can our brand new apartment building. One day during a good down pour, our downstairs neighbor let me now that water was leaking in their living room above the large windows. I checked mine and it certainly was leaking! Not too bad though and some rags cleaned it up. Some workmen came and caulked things the next day. Two nights later the thunder and lightening woke Myka up and she came to our room for a little bit. I told Stephen to just go check the windows and see if they were leaking again. Windows were not the problem. Water was POURING from recessed lights in our living room. Here is a link to a video of our leaks:

I pulled out all our bowls and buckets and all the towels I could spare. Then I emptied all the containers a couple times. After about 45 minutes the rain (outside and inside..) slowed down. I left the buckets to continue catching drips and went back to bed. Rain in Saudi… I am so thankful that is the worst of our situation. The compound we used to live in completely flooded. Standing water in most of the houses there. And not rain water. Water mixed with sewage and trash. Oh gross. So sad.

A radar picture of the rain in Saudi when we were dealing with all our leaks:

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Last Friday we invited people over for a deep fried turkey dinner in celebration of Thanksgiving and Stephen’s birthday. Lots of delicious food! Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, home made rolls, apple pie, another Amazing apple and pineapple dessert, pumpkin pie, and shoo-fly cake (Stephen’s favorite). We had so much food we had to invite people over on Saturday night to help eat the leftovers. Stephen made stock with the bones, so I’ll be making soup with the rest of the leftover turkey and carrots and will throw some other things in there. I am thankful for an abundance of food, a great grocery store that caters to us expats, and friends to share all these good things with.

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Stephen’s deep frier set up. The cardboard is to keep the flame from blowing out.

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On Sunday mornings we have an art class here in the compound. (Remember, Sundays are a weekday here.) One of the other mom’s in our building hosts it, and a lady comes to teach and brings supplies. We missed a couple of classes because I was away, then lots of children were sick, and then the teacher was sick, but we were back again yesterday. So much glitter. And paint and markers and glue… oh my. Myka loves it. Emery tolerates it for a little while and then he would rather play with the toys. Is that a boy thing? Just him? If he is awake he wants to be moving.

Today we walked to the grocery store near our compound for the first time. We went with two other moms. There was a total of five kids ages nine months, 2, 3, 3, and 4. One of the other mom’s said she pictures us as this circus: a whirling dust cloud with arms and legs sticking out, tambourines and drums making a tremendous amount of commotion. Yeah. That’s us.

Over the next couple days I’ll be getting our advent calendar made which means I’ll have daily activities planned for most of December. That is definitely more organized than I usual am. Ha! I’m really excited about it though. And we have Emery’s birthday to get ready for. I’m trying to teach him to hold two fingers up. He tries, and he might get it by his birthday.

And that’s been our November!

Now that the Ipad is fixed and the screen to fix the laptop came in the mail, maybe I will actually keep you up to date! I sure have a lot of catching up to do. There are so many pictures to post and trips to tell you about!

Just a couple random photos from this month:

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Myka, Emery, and a friend. There’s a football pitch (soccer field) here in the compound that we go to sometimes. It’s fenced in so I can close the gate, let the kids run around, and not worry about anyone wondering off somewhere.

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Myka got dressed all by herself. She is wearing a swimming suit under her clothes because they ‘keep her warm.’ At least it all matched! oh, except the headband.

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A random little alcove in our entryway = a perfect little seat for Emery!

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Myka received a doctor’s kit for her birthday. Now we all get daily, even hourly, checkups.

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While I was in the Pacific Northwest I:

I’m working on a post about our last month and realized that this needed to be its own post. Here is a list things I did during my exciting, wonderful trip to Washington and Oregon.

While I was in the Pacific Northwest I:
– spent time with my god-parents – best people ever and you wish you had such amazing people in your life because they do things like bring an electric blanket to your hotel room and make it all cozy so when you go to sleep in a bed after traveling for 24 hours it is delightful, warm, and wonderful…I love them!
– renewed my drivers license. Who doesn’t want to go to the DMV while in town?! Actually, both my calls to the department of licensing and my visit there were hassle free and people were very helpful. It was quite painless.
– rented a car. Not so painless. Not only is it expensive, but they asked me questions like what my phone number was. That may seem like a reasonable question, but when you are just arriving from overseas, don’t have a local number, your phone doesn’t work because it’s from Saudi Arabia, and you don’t really have any other options then it is not an easy question.
– bought a SIM card for my phone. Now I have a working phone number in the US.
– had a girls night out just like old times
– had a play date just like old times except I didn’t actually have kids with me…
– drove myself from the Tri-Cities to Portland. Driving was so wonderful! It’s freeing and empowering to be able to go where you want when you want. I deal pretty when with the restrictions here, and don’t actually want to drive with these crazy people, but the ‘no women driving’ rule is just ridiculous. The drivers in Portland were so kind and gracious! They made room to let you into traffic. They drove close to the speed limit and didn’t crowd each other, so traffic continued at a good pace. They waited fairly patiently while stuck behind an accident for FOUR HOURS. They did. They are from Portland. I am from Saudi Arabia right now and honked my horn furiously the whole time. Just kidding. I was a little whiney but didn’t honk my horn even once. It was the evening before my flight home, and I really wished I was in bed!
– shopped and shopped and shopped! I didn’t really buy that many things, but the group of friends I was meeting in Portland were specifically getting together to do some shopping at the outlets there. On the way to the US I put my things in a carry on sized bag and put that inside a larger suitcase. Then I had the whole larger suitcase to put things in for the trip back. I still had lots of room, but I’m happy with what I purchases. I bought clothes for the kids, a couple clothing items for me, a bunch of books for the kids, food coloring, makeup, and fabric. I’m already starting my list of things I’d like to get while I’m home in January. It’s not that you can’t get things here; there are so many stores, malls, things to buy. But they either aren’t the quality I want or I don’t know the brands so I don’t know if they are the quality I want. And there are some things I just can’t find.
– I SLEPT. The best bed I slept in was at my god-parents and that lovely electric blanket was there. It was a sleep number bed and I may have to get one of those someday because that bed was a cocoon of loveliness. I want to live there.
– I wore pants, long sleeves, jackets, shoes that weren’t flip flops, and scarves. I loved it. I took my knee high boots along, but it wasn’t quite cold enough for those. I’m looking forward to wearing them in January in Pennsylvania. I enjoyed the brisk temperatures, the rain, and the mist. It was sunny part of the time and seeing the fields of growing things, things thriving, whether it was cows or grass or trees or crops it was revitalizing. I’ve missed seeing things growing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my dear husband for being so thoughtful, arranging this trip for me, and making me go.