Old meets New, the Flusche Family at Bahrain Fort

Old meets New, the Flusche Family at Bahrain Fort
Life overseas can be an overwhelming and exciting adventure.
Come be swept away with us in the Kingdom of Bahrain!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Or to those of you who may not be living in a primarily Muslim or Arabic speaking country, I'll translate:

"Happy/Blessed EID!"

EID is the breaking of the 30 (or so) day Ramadan fast, or in more plain terms the end of Ramadan.

This year as a form of fasting I gave up coffee.

Yes, I went 30 days without my "liquid mug of strength to face the day". Let me remind you I work with children. LOTS of children. LOTS of children, early in the morning. Have I mentioned that at work I play make-believe ALL DAY? We sing, we dance, we craft, we have plastic food tea parties where tiny children dressed as fairy princess, pirates and the Postmaster General ask me to play the "EVIL HOUSEMAID" and whip-up a poisonous stir-fry made of tiny make-believe snakes (really, you think I'm kidding. I can't make this stuff up. Really, no matter how hard I try, these little kids ALWAYS out-do themselves. ALWAYS.) I do this all day. ALL day.

OK, you get the picture.

In some ways this fasting from coffee (life-giving energy in a cup) was making up for my not participating in the sacrificial time of Lent. My parents were visiting from Oklahoma AND I was on vacation during Lent AND I... well, EXCUSES, EXCUSES. I guess you can say I'm just making up for lost time and a little bad behavior ;)

There were several times over the 30 day period where I felt God looking down at me in utter amusement. He WANTED to give me coffee to help save my self from some form of embarrassment or another. I believe, there were times he was hysterically laughing and would have gladly given me a heaping helping of the carmel colored "sauce" I was so obviously desperately in need of. Many times I was tempted, like while I was at home healing from a painful car accident OR the Friday morning I spent snuggled up on the couch with my kids watching cartoons OR on the morning after Gavin refused to sleep until 3:30AM and I had to be at work the next day at 7:30AM OR, OR, OR...

But see, that is where asking for strength to resist temptation comes in. HE is AMAZING and will always provide what you truly need...

...even if what you may really need is just a great cup of coffee to make it through the day.

HUMDALAH! (Praises to God)

Let It SNOW newspaper?!?!?!

SERIOUSLY? Need I say more?

I leave for a moment to go the the restroom and I come back to a "blizzard" of newsprint.

There is a happy ending to this story...


Editorial note: No child, I repeat, NO CHILD was injured in the making of this living room disaster! ;)

RATS! It's The Pied Piper!

This Summer the Kingdom of Bahrain was fortunate enough to have The Missoula Children's Musical Theater Company host a one week musical theater clinic.

Auditions were held on a Sunday and the following Saturday the children age 5-18 performed a One Act adaptation of The Pied Piper. It's amazing how the Missoula staff molded the children in 6 short days - Lines, Lyrics, Choreography, Costumes and Staging! Hats off the the MCMTC directors and crew!

Gavin couldn't wait to see big brother Tanner as a "WAT" !

The set of Hamelin Town

Tanner the RAT!

The rats under the sleepy-dancing trance of the Pied Piper!

The King of the rats and his tiny furry cheese eating buddies.

Singing their little hearts out!

The ending number!

Tanner and one of his BEST friends Mia :)

Tanner RAT and his handsome Daddy.

This ol' theater chic is BYOND proud of her son... a dream come to true to see my Tanner up on stage. It's one of those "full circle moments" I've heard so much about and am just now starting to understand.

Break a leg!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Drive FAST, Just Don't FAST and Drive!

Yes, that would be my PSA to the Kingdom of Bahrain! Look folks, I love and appreciate the idea of fasting. As Christians we fast during the time of Lent for similar reasons but unlike our Muslim friends we don't abstain from all food and drink during the hours of daylight. When Ramadan falls in the Summer months temperatures exceed 120 degrees and fasting could last from 3:30Am to 6:30PM each day for 30 or so days.

Why all the talk about fasting you ask?
Good question.

I was in a pretty bad accident, an exhausted looking man who had been fasting since 3:00AM rear-ended me on Thursday evening. I was on my way home from work and stopped at a light. The man rammed into me from behind. Of course he was driving a SUV, he cracked and left a hole in my bumper, the collision popped my trunk open and now we can't close it... but that's the least of my concerns.

Last Friday I spent 4 hours in the ER, had X-rays and both IV and injected pain meds and anti-inflamatories. All I could do was lay around for 4 days. AND to make matters worse, I was look'n dead sexy in a neck brace. Reason 489,658,724,365,891,475 why people shouldn't fast and drive, for goodness sake hire a driver or take the bus. It's just so dangerous to mix exhaustion, dehydration, hunger and temperatures exceeding 115 degrees with the operation of a vehicle. However, he acted like it was no big deal, like he gets in accidents every day. His response to me was "The light turned green so I goed". Yup he "goed" alright. Right into my back side. Seriously?

Things are so different here, in the states we would have waited for the police to come and look at the scene of the accident and fill out a report. BUT NOOOOO, in Bahrain you have to drive yourself to the police station and then the police fill out the report. So I of course have no idea where the police station is and I had to follow him to the police station which turned out to be about a fifteen minute drive around greater downtown Muharraq (my local readers are laughing right about now). At this time the headache of a lifetime is forming in the front of my head and now looking back at the experience - I'm pretty sure I was in shock. For the record, I shouldn't have been driving. I called Paul who met me at the police station in what must have been record time! The gentleman spoke to the police officer in Arabic, handed him BD10 (about $25) grabs his yellow paper and leaves. The the police officer asks me for BD6 (about $15) WHAT?!?!?! This dude hits me and I have to pay money?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! Yup, I have to pay BD6 to obtain the police report. OK?!?!?!

Oh! Have I mentioned that NOBODY has said a word to me thus far. Nobody asked me what happened? Nobody asked who was at fault. NOTHING. How does someone fill out an entire police report without asking questions and/or looking at the vehicles involved? So I try to find out what's going on here and he says in broken english "The man said accident his fault, here report". REALLY?!?!? "HERE REPORT?" You've got to be kidding me. Thank God he didn't tell the officer it was MY FAULT! So he hands me the report like I know what to do with it. Did I mention the report is completely written in ABARIC? Just incase you don't know me: I DON'T SPEEK ARABIC, NO LESS READ ARABIC!!!!!!!!!!! Paul and I had to ask the officer what to do and where to go, etc. He too is fasting, grumpy and TOTALLY OVER dealing with me... All I wanted to do was go home. Go home and cry. Go home and take some Ibuprofen and sleep. Sleep glorious sleep. Then came the pain... so there's the gist of the story.

For days my neck and lower back were in a great deal of pain. I was on a slew of meds: Pain relievers, Anti-inflamatories, analgesic cream and the LOVELY neck brace I spoke of earlier in this blog post. Thank goodness Paul was not deployed because I don't know what I would have done if the boys had been in the car with me OR if I had to care for them by myself after the accident. Paul was amazing, he took over and really let me get some much needed rest and healing time. As it is today is day 9 after the accident and I still have difficulty bending over and I can't lift anything that weighs more than my purse. Basically, I've been pretty useless. BUT, I'm on the mend. Each day I feel a little better
than the day before and for that I am so very thankful.

The boys were very empathetic and tried to comfort Mommy with snuggles, snacks, kisses and handmade colored pictures. Gavin was very concerned about Mommy's "Boo-Boo" and one day he came out with the fence from his Fisher Price Little People Farm around his neck. He's quite clever because he was trying to make it look like my neck brace and it really did look just like it! See for yourself, Paul was quick to snap a photo of the precious moment so I could share it with you. Laugh till it hurts!

Captain Underpants!!!!

Weighing in at 36 pounds, knee high to a dinosaur, able to leap high curbs in a single bound with cheeks that no soul could resist kissing...

It's a BIRD.
It's a PLANE.
NO, it's Captain Underpants and his faithful companion Tee-Tee! ;)

Seriously, ya gotta LOVE this kid!

Saving Tala Island one coloring page at a time!

If you miss this little guy don't bother writing your Congressman... he'll be home in about 3 months! Hugs and kisses from our little SUPER HERO!

Ramadan Kareem 2011!

I can't think of a more spectacular place to celebrate Ghabga (late evening meal during Ramadan) than to dine with friends at The Gulf Hotel.

The Gulf Hotel Ghabga meal is served with classic Arabian flair... outside in a tent.

But as you can see, this isn't "just any ol' tent"! The tent was sponsored in part by Ford Motor Company and is larger than a football field, which is a feat in its-self. Then add the carpets, chandeliers, lavish lounging areas, perimeter of buffets, raised stage for a band and countless banquet tables, it really is something one must experience while living in Bahrain!

Traditionally the tents are split in two sections: smoking (sheesha) and non-smoking. Sheesha smoke is very sweet, similar to the smell of cotton candy being made so we opted for non-smoking.

The party doesn't even start until 9:30PM (which is pretty late to begin eating dinner but when in Rome, right?)

Our group of 11 from the squadron arrived "fashionably late" at 9:45 and we were some of the FIRST to arrive. By the time we bailed at midnight things were just starting to fire up. After a whole month of late-night feasting like this - how people can be productive at work the following day remains a mystery.

We enjoyed the vast spread, festive atmosphere
and lovely company!
Ramadan Kareem!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Let Summer Begin!

I know this post seems a little late but I have been trying to catch up on my blogging so you'll just have to hang in there with me, LAUGH!

The idea of "Summer" while living in the Kingdom of Bahrain is... well... funny.

Funny because most of the year feels like Summer, the other 3 months feels like Spring.

Back in June my Mom mailed the boys one of her MAGICAL boxes, I swear I think the thing weighed 400 pounds which defies all rules of physics because the box was only 12"x 12"x 5"! (I have blogged about her amazing abilities of care-package-paking in previous blogs... as you may remember.)

The kids freaked out when they saw all the contents of the "BRING ON SUMMER" box! Pool toys, goggles, dive sticks, sidewalk chalk, bubble wands, sand pails and shovels. And for afternoons when it's too hot, the hysterical cartoon "Gnomeo & Juliet" and fruit gummies!

They were so excited about the new pool gear
we HAD to try it all out immediately - so off to the pool we went!

Come on Bahrain summer, give us all you've got!
(Well, let's be kind... maybe not ALL you've got!)

The Class of 2023

No, that wasn't a typo.

Class of 2023... WOW! Right?

Tanner and his buddies celebrated their
Kindergarden Graduation on June 22nd.

I am honored to present to you The Bahrain School Class of 2023... the funny thing about that statement is that these are all children of military members and embassy employees... so, none of them will actually graduate from The Bahrain School. Actually, now that I think about it, none of them will be here to start the second grade. (Wait, that's pretty sad - and I don't "DO" sad in my blog so just forget I ever mentioned it! LAUGH!)

My sweet six year old!

The class performed two songs with rewritten lyrics that had to do with
leaving Kindergarden and entering the "BIG New World" of first grade.

The songs went to the music of:
"Start Spreading The News" and the theme to "The Adams Family".

Tanner receiving his diploma from the Vice Principal, Dr. Grooms.

The ceremonial tossing of the mortarboards!!!

We LOVE Ms. Katie Minehan!

Just a bunch of goofy first graders!

Look out world...

I PLAY all day!

It recently occurred to me that I have yet to blog about PLAY. Shocking!

If you know me personally you know that PLAY has been a HUGE part of my life, consuming most of my waking hours (as well as many dreams).

For those of you who don't know me personally or live on a planet other than Earth (laugh) I should introduce you to my third child (a true labor of love)... PLAY!

PLAY is the brainchild of my dear friend Sama Yateem and myself. Last Summer while hanging out at the Yateem Gardens pool watching our children swim, we discussed the SERIOUS need for more indoor entertainment options for children in Bahrain. We also agreed that we wished there was something educational for kids, something similar to the amazing Children's Museums that we had both visited in the United States and Europe.

The following week we got together and started brainstorming in hopes to create the perfect indoor educational and imaginative play-center. Weeks later we were approaching the Board of Directors of several local Manama malls. In the end we chose Seef Mall for location and business potential.

We acquired the super creative minds of 3Di, who helped us design the facility. I believe the design team enjoyed the project as mush as we did. At first they were a little confused when we asked them to make 4.5 foot doors and windows that begin 2 feet off the ground. By the end of the project they couldn't wait to show off the tiny grocery store checkout counter. There were several exciting months of making design, color, texture, hardware and soft supply selections as well as educational supplies and toys... SO MUCH FUN! I have discovered that I have a passion for the design development process.

Months later we were ready to reveal our dream to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Sama and I hired an amazing staff and were ready for the soft opening of PLAY on May 25. Surprisingly, we had a family show up the night prior to opening PLAY to buy a monthly membership... this had to be a sign... we WOULD be successful!!! PLAY would meet the needs of the parents in Bahrain, we just couldn't wait to see what the following day would bring.

Imagine the looks on our faces the following morning when we had a line of people waiting to enter the facility, it was so exciting that we opened the front doors 15 minutes early.

Two weeks later we were honored to celebrate our Grand Opening with the lovely Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al-Khalifa, the Executive Director of inJAz Bahrain. We were thrilled to show Sheikha Hessa and her guests around the facility and welcome them to a reception following the ceremonial ribbon cutting and tour.

PLAY has now been open for nearly 3 months and I still have to pinch myself to make sure I haven't dreamt the whole experience... PLAY really IS a dream come true and I am so very blessed to have been a part of it.

Where Fun and Learning go hand in hand!