Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – May 11

Happy Monday Everyone! If we were getting together for happy hour this week, here’s what we’d have to share:

  •  Exactly 1 month from today, we leave Kuwait!  We’re headed back to America where we will spend the summer months.  It is so crazy how fast the time has gone here.  It still seems like just yesterday we left our lives in Minnesota and moved to the Middle East.  With a month to go, we’ve decided that we can officially start our countdown until we can see our family and friends from back home.  We leave in a month, but the kids only have 19 more days of school, so they are getting excited for summer vacation too.
  • Last weekend we were scheduled to have another routine doctors appointment just to check up on Rachel and Baby J.  The doctor thought that there was a pretty good chance that we would find out the sex of the baby at this appointment, but . . . . . . . our appointment got canceled because the doctor was sick!  We were a bit disappointed, but we knew that it was best for her to stay home if she was ill.  Hopefully we will be able to reschedule the appointment soon, so we can find out if we are having a little baby boy or girl!
  • One of the major oil companies here in Kuwait is called Chevron.  All of the employees and their families live on a compound, south of Kuwait City, and a majority of their children attend our school.  To show their appreciation to the staff, last weekend they invited all of us to their compound for a beach party!  We went with a bunch of friends and enjoyed the afternoon swimming, tanning, and just hanging out.  Chevron provided a complimentary BBQ lunch for everyone, and we had an absolute blast!  It was so kind of them to host us for an awesome day at the beach.
Old Navy
  • Kuwait has a majority of the stores that we miss back in America, (except Target of course!)  However we were delighted last week when we found out that Kuwait’s first Old Navy was having their Grand Opening!  We checked it out over the weekend and were pleasantly surprised how nice it was.  It was exactly like a store you find back home, and it even had the old blue truck in it!  It was a pretty big store, spread out over two levels.  Rachel was pretty excited because they had a decent maternity section, which has been pretty tricky to come by here.  We browsed for a bit and found a couple of treasures.  I picked up a couple short sleeve shirts for work and we bought a couple of baby outfits for our friends who just had a little baby boy.  Clothes everything in Kuwait is pretty expensive, just because they have to ship everything from so far away.  We were pretty pumped though, because the prices were pretty decent, plus everything was 20% off for their grand opening sale!
Plastic Bag
  • One of the jokes here in Kuwait, is that the official bird is a plastic bag!  Unfortunately, it is pretty common to see them blowing around.  The other day, we were driving home from school when suddenly, BAM!!  A plastic bag got caught on the antenna of our car.  I couldn’t help but chuckle, and just thought to to myself, “only in Kuwait.”  That wasn’t the only thing going through my mind though, of course I was yelling, “quick, take a picture of it for the blog!”
  • Yes, that is a picture of a monkey. Why you ask? . . . . . . It was on the loose at our school last week!!!  It wasn’t a “wild” monkey, but someone’s pet!!  It’s a long story, but first, a little background of exotic animals in Kuwait.

You can find/buy just about any kind of animal in Kuwait.  I have heard stories from colleagues of the crazy pets that there students have at home.  Even the kids aren’t shy about telling you that they have pets like monkeys, deer, penguins, lemurs, or even lions! Last December, there was a big news story here in Kuwait City about a family’s pet lion killing their maid.  Apparently it got out of it’s cage and attacked her . . . . . . . SAY WHAT! Fast forward to last week at school . . . . . . I was waiting in the classroom for another teacher to drop off her kids.  They are always on time, but that day, they were about 5-10 minutes late. When they finally showed up, the teacher said they were late because they were looking at the monkey.  I had no idea what she was talking about, so I just thought to myself, “ok, no problem.” Well later that day I found out that indeed, there was a monkey on the loose, running around our campus!  Apparently it escaped from a nearby house, and the family was out chasing it, trying to capture it.  Luckily, the monkey clung on to a fence for awhile near our soccer field, until the owner was able to catch up to it and offer it some food, so that it would come home.  The kids at school got a kick out of it, but all I could think of was, “only in Kuwait!” That’s what we are up to this week, see you next Monday for Happy Hour!

Sri Lankan Traffic Jams

Wherever you live, chances are that you probably deal with traffic congestion on a weekly basis.  I HATE traffic jams!  For me, I’m not sure if there are many other things in life that are much worse.  I’ve been driving for 15 years, and still have to practice my yoga breathing and play relaxation music while sitting in a jam, to prevent my blood pressure from exploding!

When we were in Sri Lanka a couple of months ago, they definitely had their share traffic jams.  Although it was a different kind of congestion, one that I haven’t really experienced before. . . . . . . . ANIMALS on the road!  I was able to snap a few pics of what I call, “The Sri Lankan Traffic Jam!” I would say about 80% of the vehicles in Sri Lanka are Tuk-Tuks.  A majority of the roads around villages are just dirt roads, however they are starting to get some freeways around the country. IMG_5026 A lot of the traffic jams were caused by little fellas like this guy, a random cow just walking down the highway all by himself.  At least this guy was smart enough to stay on the shoulder! IMG_1933   Here is another guy just strolling around by himself causing some traffic issues.  He was super horny! IMG_1934 Sometimes there was just one cow in the road . . . . . IMG_1947 but sometimes there would be a ton of them! IMG_1948 You could honk and honk, but they weren’t going to move!  They got to determine what the speed limit was. IMG_5143         The cows also enjoyed walking along the country’s new freeway system!   IMG_1984 It wasn’t just cows that would create traffic jams in Sri Lanka.  Sometimes it was these big ass lizards!!! Including the tail, this one was like 4-5 feet long. IMG_5034     We also ran into some wild boars!  These guys were lucky enough to find some garbage on the side of the road for lunch. IMG_5146 Have I mentioned the MONKEYS yet?!?  This big guy ran across the road right in front of us. IMG_5157 We also ran into a lot of flooded roads, IMG_5139   and mud pits! IMG_1954 This guy tried going around a huge mud pit, but didn’t fair to well trying to cut through the grass. IMG_1955 Of course the biggest cause of a Sri Lankan Traffic Jam is when a huge elephant is walking down the middle of the road towards you!!!!!!!!!!!! IMG_1962

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

The first stop on our Christmas Vacation was Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.  Unawatuna, pronounced just as it is written una-wa-tuna, is a small beach town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.  Nearly all of our teacher friends who recommended Sri Lanka to us, said we had to spend time in Unawatuna! Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 6.08.39 AMWe heard it was the perfect spot to swim, lay on the beach, drink out of coconuts, and relax. IMG_5011 Unawatuna delivered on all of those promises and a few more that we weren’t expecting, like monkeys coming out from the jungle and checking us out during our breakfast. IMG_5005 We chose to stay at an Airbnb that was located “upstairs” in Unawatuna, a short Tuk Tuk ride up the hill from the beach into the jungle.   Our view was amazing, we were surrounded by jungle with a view of the Indian Ocean off in the distance.  So with a view like that, we spent as much time as possible sitting out on the deck and soaking in all the greenery that we have been desperately missing since we live in the desert.  On our second morning in Unawatuna, a brown adult male monkey decided to come and check out what we were up to while we ate breakfast on the deck. He swung his way from tree to tree and hopped right up onto the deck railing.  Even though the camera was sitting right on the table, Mitch was too excited by our visitor to snap any pictures.  The monkey stared at us for a few seconds before climbing the post on the deck to go to our friend’s Lauren and Adam’s deck to say hello to them as well.  Lauren and Adam were clearly aware that a monkey was nearby, as once the monkey started to make his way up to their deck, I began yelling like a crazy person: “MONKEY, MONKEY, LAUREN, MONKEY, ADAM, ADAM, ADAM, MONKEY.”  The nice part about my crazy yelling is that Adam reciprocated my crazed enthusiasm by answering with “MONKEY, MONKEY, HOLY SHIT, I SEE A MONKEY!” IMG_5004 After Mr. Monkey made his way across Adam and Lauren’s deck, I had composed myself enough to snap a couple of pictures, but none of them would truly do justice for how close this buddy had come to investigate what we were up to. Once he was at a safe distance from us, we heard a bunch of crashing in some nearby trees.  Soon after, Mrs. Monkey and her three babies emerged and followed him from tree-to-tree making their way deeper into the jungle. IMG_4994 The beaches here are great, the views are beautiful, but sometimes it’s an unexpected breakfast guest that makes the trip worth it.