Minnesota

It’s a Big World Out There, But Yet Small Too

You often hear the phrase, “what a small world.”  Usually you hear it when you meet a friend-of-a-friend or a similar situation.  In all actuality, the world is HUGE!  There are so many cool places out there and so many interesting people to meet.  After just a couple of months in Kuwait, we are quickly realizing that the world is even larger than we ever imagined it.  We work with people from every continent in the world (except Antarctica) and they have all been to so many far corners of the world.  Well today, for the first time since we’ve been in Kuwait, I had a “wow, what a small world” moment.

I’ve started umpiring for the local Little League Baseball Association here, and we had our first games of the season today (I had a ton of fun, and will definitely share more details about my experiences in a future blog post).  Before the game, I introduced myself to my field ump for the game.  He was a nice young man, about 15 years old, named Mohammed.  We got to chatting, and I started asking him all sorts of questions. During our conversation he mentioned that he has lived in Kuwait his entire life, but his mother is from America. I asked him, “where in America?” and he replied, “a state called Minnesota.”  I thought to myself, awesome!  Our conversation continued like this:

  • Me: “No kidding, thats where i’m from!”
    • His eyes got big and the look on his face said “really?”
  • Him: “Have you ever heard of a town called Minneapolis?”
    • I chuckled
  • Me: “Ya, that’s where I live”
  • Him: “Reallllly? Have you ever heard of Coon Rapids?”

We shared a laugh and I informed him that I had family from Coon Rapids (shoutout to the Barnes Family!) and that I have spent  lots of time in Coon Rapids.  I told him I lived in a suburb called Minnetonka, and he about hit the floor.  He told me he bought his new baseball bat at the Dick’s Sporting Goods in Minnetonka last summer, and that it was his favorite store in the entire world (literally)!  He was in complete disbelief that I frequently shop at the same store, and that I would leave the city that has the coolest sporting goods store (in the world) to move to Kuwait!  It sounds like he goes back to Minnesota every other year to visit his family there.  He was a great kid, and I look forward to umpiring some more games with him in the future.

My second “what a small world” moment came a few hours later, after I was done umpiring my game.  I stopped over at the t-ball field to watch one of my 1st grade students play in his first game.  I quickly spotted his parents, and introduced myself.  His family was wonderful and we had a great conversation.  During our chat, when I informed his father that I was from Minnesota, he replied with “oh cool, I’ve been there.”  He went on and told me that he worked for a company called Emerson Process Management (shoutout to the Vacek boys!) located in a city called Chanhassen.  I laughed-out-loud and told him that is the same city that I worked in for the last 6 years.  We shared some fun stories about the area, like what our favorite restaurants to eat at were in Chanhassen.  The highlight of my day though was when my little first grader noticed me after the game was over.  He had the biggest smile you have ever seen, and called out, “Mr. Mitch, what are you doing here!?!” He followed it up with a monstrous high-five, and made my day!

It was a great day at the ballpark, and I’m fortunate to have made a few new friends there.  Ultimately though, it just proves that when you travel halfway around the world, submersed in a new culture, you will still find people with things in common. Like shopping at the HUGE Dick’s Sporting Goods in Minnetonka, Minnesota or eating at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Chanhassen, Minnesota!

Best Present Ever

In Rachel’s post of ‘The Things She’ll Miss Most‘ and in my ‘Things I’m going to Miss Most‘ we both mentioned how much we are going to miss our little triplet nieces and nephew! When we left in August they were about 6 months old, and will be about 15 months old the next time we see them in person.  Babies change so fast, especially at this age. We are going to miss fun milestones like rolling over, crawling, standing, walking, and talking.  We are also going to miss things like their first Christmas and Birthday party!  It rips our heart knowing that we can’t be a larger part of their life right now, or be there to help support their parents.  In today’s technological world, we are lucky to stay in touch with them through things like FaceTime, Email, Skype, and apps like WhatsApp and Viber. Before we departed to Kuwait, we received one of the coolest going away gifts ever from the Triplets (thanks to their parents who were thoughtful enough to think to buy us a gift in the middle of some pretty intense sleep depravation). They bought us one of those electronic picture frames that scrolls through hundreds of pictures. The cool thing with this frame though, is that its connected to our wifi network and has its own email address.  That way whenever the triplet’s parents snap a cool picture of them with their iPhones, they simply email it to the designated email address and it automatically pops up on our picture frame!  There have been so many times that we will wake up to a whole slew of new photos.  We have even been sitting in our living room watching a movie or something, and all of a sudden one of us notices we have a bunch of new photos on the frame!  The frame is a great size, about the size of our iPad.  It’s super clear and a ton of fun! The frame is from a company called Pix-Star and you can visit their website here. Here are a few of our favorite photos we have received on the frame thus far:

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It’s fun to walk into the living room and see this happy face on the picture frame!

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When you think babies can’t get any cuter, just add sunglasses

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Nothing better than a baby just after bath time

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Look who’s standing!!!! With a little bit of help 😉

 

Long Minnesota Goodbye: Kiddo Addition

Because one day at the lake just isn’t enough….and the pictures are just too good not to share.
IMG_4470We quickly accepted another invitation from our friends Heidi and Brannon to spend another day out  on their boat.  This time though they invited all the  kiddos. 
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Our friends seriously have the sweetest kids.  I don’t know what their parents have done but they are all so much fun and easy to be around.  
IMG_4474 The little kids waited while the big kids played.  IMG_4477 IMG_4481 IMG_4482 IMG_4485 IMG_4488 Henry watched with some serious concern, he kept thinking we were going to leave his Mom or Dad just floating in the water.  IMG_4489 IMG_4490 IMG_4491 IMG_4493 IMG_4494 IMG_4495 IMG_4497 IMG_4499 IMG_4501 IMG_4503 IMG_4506

The older kiddos entertained the littlest ones.  IMG_4508 IMG_4509 IMG_4521 IMG_4522 IMG_4523 IMG_4525 Then Hailey girl showed us her stuff!  She has been wake boarding for a couple summers and is getting up and outside of the wake now!IMG_4526 IMG_4529 IMG_4532 IMG_4537 Tyler could have wake boarded all night.  IMG_4545 IMG_4546 IMG_4547 IMG_4548 IMG_4550 IMG_4554 IMG_4556 A couple more years for you little buddy…
IMG_4561 You know you are getting older when the cup holders no longer are holding beer bottles but rather sippy cups.  IMG_4565

Long Minnesota Goodbye

With less than three weeks remaining before we get on the plane and head for Kuwait we are officially in the midst of the Long Minnesota Goodbye.  We want to see as many of our friends and family as possible in the next few weeks and we are starting that off by spending a week up in Northern Minnesota with Mitch’s family.

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We spent as much time as possible on the lake….

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Doing a whole lot of nothing.

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Naps were non-negotiable, everyone was required to take a daily snooze.

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The person who remembered to bring the frisbee was a genius, it provided hours of entertainment including a game of fire frisbee.

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This little munchkin is my Sister-in-Law’s pooch, he was exhausted by the end of the week.

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Seriously, how cute is that cabin? VRBO you rock!

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Jody and Katie in the middle of an Instagram lesson.

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This was our first time using VRBO and will definitely be using it again. It was such an awesome way to have all of our family under one roof.

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Mitch and his dad playing some bean bags

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We had a beautiful cabin, and a wonderful time

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Cooley’s first time at the lake.

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He loved (wait never mind) he was actually quite scared of the water, but thought the ducks wanted to play!

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The frisbee is the key to any good vacation

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We had a perfect sunset every night,

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Mitch doing some late night jet ski riding

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…which made the thought of leaving this amazing state even more bitter sweet.

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All in all a great way to spend time with your family, at the lake with no agenda.