Thursday, June 30, 2011


Last summer, I posted some obvious differences between the two cultures we live in that I observed right away upon arriving to the States. This summer I took note of the many things that just seem to be the same all around the world:

1. After a very long and involved battle with a cockroach invasion in our house in the Middle East, we came 6,000 miles to the West and had a very long and involved battle with horse flies. Life has troubles wherever you may find yourself.

2. From the pick up games of football {soccer} that happen in the street in front of our house in the Middle East to the pick up games of basketball that happen in the driveway in front of our house in the States. No matter the language, age, or family background, if there are kids playing, other kids will join. Don't you wish adults would learn more lessons from kids?

3. Around dusk {cue the creepy music}, anywhere around the world, you must be very careful while driving. Did you know there are 60,000 deer/car crashes in our State every year? Did you know that there are 60,000 trashy cats that live by our dumpster in the Middle East? Watch out. I'm not really sure {and don't want to find out} which would cause more damage on a car - a deer or a trashy cat. I do believe the trashy cat would cause more psychological damage.

4. McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut - Why, oh why have these places invaded the entire known world?

5. Of all the places we have traveled in the world, I have observed that for the majority of the population, life is very much about family. A job that provides. Health. Peace. Love. When looking at these factors, the world really does become a small place.

Here's to enjoying your small slice of life in the world today!

Horse flies and all. {swat}

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Diary of a Jet Lagged Family

Sorry. I was too jet lagged to get this photo in focus.

There is nothing funnier than the strange things that happen while one experiences jet lag. I documented our experience the last time we traveled from the States to the Middle East.

This is a story about a family who traveled ahead of time and lost almost a day and most of our sanity too.
  • We ate dinner at 4:30 pm
  • Boarded plane at 9 pm
  • Ate dinner (again) at 10:30 pm
  • Slept on and off and watched movies until 6 am
  • Ate breakfast at 7 am
  • Had a cup of coffee with my breakfast, which I realized was about 3 pm at our destinations local time {that could cause trouble}.
  • Arrived at first destination at 10 am body time {BT}, 6 pm local time {LT}.
  • Drove to guest house, showered, watched a bit of TV, ate candy bars.
  • Kids requested food, I fed them oatmeal at 8 pm LT, 12 pm BT .
  • I went to bed and 8:30 pm LT, 12:30 pm BT and slept until 1 am LT, 5 pm BT.
  • Hubby went to bed at 9 pm LT, 1 pm BT and slept until 1 am LT, 5 pm BT.
  • Son went to bed at 8:30 pm LT, 12:30 pm BT and slept until mid-night LT, 4 pm BT. Played.
  • Daughter colored until 10 pm LT 2 pm BT and then slept until 2 am LT, 6 pm BT.
  • 2 am LT, 8 pm BT we all ate Cocoa Pops.
  • I read. Hubby read. Kids watched another movie.
  • I went back to sleep at 3 am and slept until 5 am.
  • Hubby and kids went back to sleep at 4 am and slept until 5 am.
  • We all got in a taxi and headed back to the airport at 6 am.
  • Had coffee and breakfast.
  • Flew home.
  • Cleaned house {loads of desert dust!} and unpacked.
  • By 10:30 am, I was starving, so I started making lunch. My hubby told me I was crazy and sent me to bed.
  • Kids watched another movie {that was probably #10 in the last 24 hours!} and both fell asleep.
  • I woke up at 1 pm and we all ate lunch. The kids cried multiple times they were so tired.
  • We perked up a bit and went swimming to help us stay awake.
  • We all headed to bed at 8 pm and slept 15 hours straight!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Year: In List Format

In 24 hours we will be on a plane headed back to the States for our summer vacation! I took these fun comparison shots from the airplane window on our trip home last summer.

Taking off from the Middle Eastern desert.

Landing 13 hours later in the green Midwest.

All that keeps going through my head is: we survived another year!
{I celebrate that no matter what country we live in.}

Our year in review:
  • I didn't accidentally say any racial slurs. {At least that I was aware of}
  • I didn't make any obscene hand gestures that started a riot. {At least that I saw.}
  • I only walked into one men's restroom {and that was in London...where all the signs were in English!}
  • I survived all my driving adventures and mis-adventures. If I got paid a dinar for every time someone turned left from the right lane in front of me, I would have made a lot of money this last year.
  • I traveled thousands of miles without getting patted down in too many uncomfortable places. {and I didn't loose any luggage...or kids}
  • I had the privilege of experiencing many different cultures.
  • I kept my blog rolling.
  • I enjoyed working with all the amazing ladies at Green Creations.
  • My baby girl learned how to read!
  • I got to see Queen Rania with my own eyes!
  • I got rid of all my gray hair.
  • I learned more Arabic.
  • I got to live in a house with a sea view!!
  • I survived a few rocket attacks on my city.
  • I didn't conquer my fear of scuba diving.
  • I was not abducted by trashy cats.
  • I survived a near deadly amoeba.
  • I made friends with great people from all corners of the earth.
  • I fell in love with London.
  • I laughed a lot.
It was a good year.

Now I'm ready to go experience some reverse culture shock for a bit.
{and eat lots of ice cream, go to Target, and speak some English}

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Police Here and There

Police in the States: I don't mess with them.
Police here: I may mess with them a bit. {In a respectful way, of course.}
Why? Because there is a lot of room for negotiation here. I adapt well to this part of Eastern culture.

The other day, I could not find a parking spot. I had to run into a shop to buy two items. So, I decided to park right in front of the police hut on a major intersection in town. Of course, the police guy came out and said I couldn't park there. I smiled and said:
"Ya know what? I just have to run into that grocery store right there and grab two things. Can you be so kind and watch my car for me while I'm in there? Come and get me if you need me to move my car. And, while I'm in there can I get something for you?"

He smiled big and away I went to get my shopping done.

And these friendly military police are always happy to pose with a cute little boy who finds them fascinating.

Car accidents are another 'flexible' area. A friend wrote about our most memorable car accident here. I recently hit another non-moving vehicle. {moving vehicles are too hard to hit!}

Poor Prius
Right after I hit the guy {just so you know, I was driving under the influence of 'I have not had my morning coffee yet', it was just too early} he jumped out and exclaimed:
Praise God, You Arrived Safely
I gave him the same response and said I was so sorry. He replied that it was no big deal because nothing really happened to his car. {it was my car that got junked up}
I asked him if he wanted me to call the police.
He looked at me like I was on drugs and said:
What will they do?

I don't know. I could have asked them to bring me some coffee...and I think they would have!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Out and About: Seven Eleven

* This fine photo is brought to you from the Apricot Lady Collection of Random Funniness. This photo was not selected for its composition and/or artistic quality. It was selected purely because of its bizarre content.

I am the Apricot Lady and I went in to this Seven Eleven looking for a big Slurpee machine in the back. All I found was a guy praying with a sticker pointing to Mecca on the freezer door. I figured for some, that adds a new level of convenience to this convenience store. What did you do out and about today?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nobel Peace Prize Candidate?

I was recently downtown in a tourist shop looking for some gifts. Since this area of the world is full of olive groves, there is a vast assortment of items carved from olive wood. I glanced up on the shelf and saw this display:

Yup, there's:
David with his junk hanging out
Mary {a very man-looking virgin} with Jesus
Salahadin with dagger in tow (or perhaps Lawrence of Arabia, since that film was shot near here)
Some crusader guy with cross in tow

I think this shop owner should get points for promoting peace in the Middle East. He just goes to show us that there truly is something for everyone!

And really, if there were any problems, Batman would take care of it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Out and About: Roadkill

* This fine photo is brought to you from the Apricot Lady Collection of Random Funniness. This photo was not selected for its composition and/or artistic quality. It was selected purely because of its bizarre content. Photo credit goes to my good friend Jason on this one...someone who I admire for making my husband pull the car over in the middle of the night on the desert highway to 'get the shot'. {no, we were not the unfortunate souls who hit this thing}

I am the Apricot Lady and being from Michigan have seen many different kinds of roadkill in my day...but was a bit disturbed by this one. What did you hit out and about today?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Made in China: It Just Might Make You Curse

I have discussed before the severe lack of shopping in my cute little city. {Which works out great for saving for our kids college funds!} But, at times get a bit frustrating. AND when you do stop into a store, hoping to find what you need, MOST items available are made in China. There are apparently many different grades of made in China quality...and we definitely receive the bottom of the barrel.

Below are the instructions that were printed on the back of a vegetable peeler that one of my friends purchased. This entire essay seems to explain the problem we find with made in China products...including the major F bomb you will find toward the bottom. What in the name of all things to do with vegetable peeling are they trying to explain?

Peeler Usage Manual

With gratitude meaning you use the product of the my firm, very much from the bottom of the heart. Please must take a look first this manual before using, in order to use in the exactitude. Pleasing furthermore must keep this manual.

Attention: Please at the time of dismantling wrappingly, be carful and do not run into the knife blade, because of for mow the wound hand easily.

The attention that use the top orders:

  • Please at before using have a meal first rinse liquid that having and using cleaning empress use again.
  • Divided by the vegetable, fruit exluding, cannot used for the other. It is in view of the fact fo fake the thing of the blade, so while using please watch for the safety.
  • The handle is placed in to slip away the slippery appearance descend (oil, water, wash away dirt etc) to please do not use.
  • Were sliced the object accumulate the small time, pleasing watch for the finger do not want to touch with blade, because incaution cut the hand easily.
  • The absolute prehibition against child uses alone. While using must adult together, teach to the right operation method in chile, in well carefully of foundation, send greeting the whole usage.
  • Descend to please do not use at the appearance that transformed.
  • Under the heavy circumstance in burthen please avoid usage, for cause like this and easily the product transforms.
  • Please do not used for the strong and tough material, cause razor blade indentation, mistake an etc. easily.
  • Please do not put by the side of fiety and near. Because the resin may take place to melt, burn, transform the excrescent circumstance in etc.
  • Please wash, clearly wipe using to fuck, make it kept to the best dry, whereas, cause easily the rust, germs breeds.
  • Such as usage the metals brush, grinds the powder, etc. wash away dirt, cause the wear and tear easily.
  • Please place the place that can not take in the child takes care of.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Out and About: Rough Day in the Desert

* This fine photo is brought to you from the Apricot Lady Collection of Random Funniness. This photo was not selected for its composition and/or artistic quality. It was selected purely because of its bizarre content.

I am the Apricot Lady and I have many theories about what happened to this poor ram. What conspiracy theories did you come up with out and about today?