Category Archives: Events

CREATE #REUSEQ8 ART…LIVE!

en.v & Zain To Create Crowd-Sourced Recycled Art Installation at Kuwait Scientific Center

In celebration of Earth Day, en.v – an organization dedicated to promoting social responsibility and environmental sustainability in the Arab world – has developed an interactive art installation to be displayed at The Scientific Center as part of the organization’s REUSE program.

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The interactive art installation, which takes the shape of a seven meter life-size whale constructed with a steel frame and wire mesh material, encourages participants to weave used plastic bags into the frame, thus reusing them in a creative way to complete the outer-body of the installation. This ‘crowd-sourced’ activity targets students who will be visiting the Scientific Center from private and public schools in Kuwait and visitors from the general public to raise awareness on the effects of consumer waste on Kuwait’s marine environment in a collaborative fun way.

Show your support for the cause by visiting the REUSE whale at The Scientific Center from the 17th to the 19th of April, 2014, between10am and 9pm. The event will include an environmental fair with engaging activities from a number of local environmental and educational initiatives, as well as live music on Thursday and Friday evenings from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

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REUSE is a program initiated by en.v in partnership with Zain Telecommunications to promote environmental sustainability and community participation in Kuwait. The program includes activities such as educational roadshows and competitions, community events, online environmental campaigns and workshops taking place throughout the year.

Happy Liberation and National Day! [Kuwait - 2014]

Wishing you all a fabulous celebration, vacation, and safe travels!

For the past several years it seems all the locals travel out of Kuwait during the holiday, making room for those from surrounding countries. It’s always nice to see others join in the celebration but sad that many Kuwaitis leave and don’t participate.

Hopefully this year will be different. It appears as though there are a number of events scheduled throughout the week and perhaps it’s enough to keep the locals… local.

Enjoy your holiday!

Happy Valentine’s Day! [2014]

Every year men all over the world (or at least in countries that celebrate Valentine’s day) are running around, making plans, ordering flowers, picking up the chocolates, and purchasing jewelry. All in the name of Valentine’s Day.

My husband is no exception.

*Google Images

*Google Images

Our first V-Day together was still ‘honeymoon’ phase of our marriage so it was quite traditional; flowers, chocolate, diamonds, dinner at our favorite restaurant, and the ever so romantic card with the handwritten love letter. The next two years consisted of pretty much the same thing with the addition of a new car each year. This year we’ve been snowed in for several days but my husband still managed to make this yet another special day. And though I certainly didn’t need another car this year, I have become a huge Harry Winston fan. Classy, exquisite, elegant.

There are times when I find myself stressed, upset, bothered, or just outright confused and I immediately get a sense of relief knowing I have my husband to lean on. I often think of how my life would be so different without him. How he really is my knight in shining armor, He’s the calm in my storm so to speak. There’s no gift he could give me that could even compare to the value of his unconditional love.

Wishing you all a day of romance, happiness, and fulfillment.

Spotlight on Guantanamo: An Evening with Esperanza Spalding [event]

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Grammy award-winning Esperanza Spalding and Human Rights First bring you the first LIVE online broadcast of Spotlight on Guantanamo, a night of performance and discussion from Washington, DC’s historic Lincoln Theatre.

In November 2013, as part of her ongoing campaign to take a stand for justice, Esperanza Spalding launched her new music video titled ”We Are America” to urge Congress to close Guantanamo responsibly. The video was released days before U.S. Senators were set to vote on a bill that finally would set Guantanamo on a path to responsible closure. 

Join the thousands calling for the responsible closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay for this special live broadcast. 

[source]

 

‘Tis the season for new traditions

For the past several years, especially since getting married, I couldn’t wait to be home for Christmas. Holiday parties, tree decorating, huge meals, and of course, endless shopping for gifts. And though I’m still excited about those things, it’s on a completely different level than I could have ever imagined.

As life has taken on a deeper meaning for us we find the things which once brought us happiness don’t quite cut it anymore. I can no longer find genuine serenity in a day at the mall followed by a meal at some overpriced franchise restaurant. Just as the idea of purchasing a lot of ‘stuff’ for the man who has everything doesn’t feel like the way Christmas should be spent. Yes, of course we’ll exchange gifts, but it certainly won’t be our priority.

After Sultana (the rescue dog from Kuwait) came to us in late October, it was a stark reminder that some things are far more important than material items. She’s certainly come a long way from where she must have been a year ago, but we still see signs of senseless abuse. Cowering her head when we reach to pet her, the obvious break in her tail, and the worn broken teeth. Yet with all of that she’s the most kind, soft, loving dog ever. The look in her eyes is that of a dog whose spirit has been broken over and over. Yet her ability to show us such unconditional love and trust is a true lesson. She keeps us grounded. And, well, she’s given me a totally unexpected Christmas present. Puppies!

Cuteness

Cuteness

So, this year around our house won’t look like a picture on a postcard. No extensive decorations, no tree with hundreds of gifts, and maybe not even a big turkey dinner (trying to convince hubby to do a movie and Chinese food). Instead we’ve decided to attend charity galas and dinners, purchase gifts for those in need (from local small businesses), and donate time and items to our local animal shelter. It actually feels like Christmas is supposed to feel. We’ve even encouraged the family and some friends to get involved so we’ll be doing what we love with those we love.

Yeah, it sounds a bit crazy, even to me. I couldn’t wait to get home for Christmas! I was so excited for my husband to experience a typical American Christmas. But as the months have passed and we’ve embraced the more simple (yet more valuable) things in life I knew that idea of a ‘typical Christmas’ was slowly changing. Eventually you get to a point where you realize there’s not much else your spouse can buy for you (though I am hinting at another house built on our land), and there’s really nothing material that your spouse needs. Love becomes deeper and more meaningful than a wrapped box. And what better year to start new traditions than our first one living in America together? So here’s to a great year of giving while managing to incorporate a little commercial style Christmas in the mix!

I haven’t uploaded any holiday appropriate photos for this post, so… puppies!

Black Friday crime and boycotting

For decades the day after Thanksgiving has been known as the busiest shopping day of the year, resulting in the term ‘black Friday’ among retailers. Being ‘in the black’ is a good thing for a company which might be operating at a loss or have fairly low profits.

For a number of years Black Friday has almost taken on a holiday feel of its own. Initially retailers would open their doors as early as 6am on Friday offering several items at a greatly reduced price. Eventually those times got earlier and earlier until this year when they were opening as early as 4pm on Thanksgiving. Not cool, retailers, not cool at all. We have opted to boycott any store that opened on Thanksgiving, Not just for Black Friday but the entire season.

*Google Images

*Google Images

Because I haven’t been home for a number of years we decided to totally submerge ourselves in every tradition possible. Including Black Friday — though we really couldn’t think of a particular item we were looking to purchase. But, waking up early on Friday and heading into town just felt like the thing to do. More than anything I love watching parents shopping for their small children, or the kids looking for that perfect gift for a sibling or friend, and the pet owners seeking out that little holiday treat for the furry member of the family. For me that’s what the holidays are really about… the giving aspect of it all.

Unfortunately, Black Friday isn’t such a calm, pleasant experience for many. The news has reported several criminal acts among shoppers, but nothing local to us. I like to believe living in a small town insulates us from much of the big city crime. So far people have been shot at, stabbed, and trampled while out shopping last night and today. If acquiring an items means you have to commit a crime to do it, then clearly you should be focusing on more important things in life.

This year we’re looking really forward to Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Being small business owners ourselves we always go out of our way to shop local. Knowing that we’re helping to support our community while shopping is such a great feeling. Our favorite being Paws at the Corner. Imagine that.

Hoping you all got your fill of Turkey and refrained from committing crimes on Black Friday! :)

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

This Thanksgiving is really special for us since it’s the first time we’re spending it in America together. I put a lot of effort into planning the menu and hubby has agreed to help out in the kitchen (he’s a great cook). We did all the pies, cakes, cookies, and brownies yesterday and the turkey has been in the oven since 5am this morning. I already need a nap!

*Google Images

*Google Images

Wishing you all a safe, happy, healthy holiday!

Intercultural marriage and the holiday season

It’s been 10 months since we’ve moved to America and sometimes I’m still in awe. Especially now with the holiday season upon us. Our small town has been transformed into a winter wonderland overnight. Lights and wreaths on every street corner, a snow slide (with real snow), and families popping into the locally owned shoppes looking for that perfect gift. It really is quite Norman Rockwell’esque.

During our daily outings it’s inevitable that we’ll see something new which always causes me to squeal like a child. “Look, honey! Look! Santa and his sled!” My husband smiles, gently holds my hand, and lets out a few ooooh’s and ahhhh’s. Surely more for my benefit than his excitement. Don’t get me wrong, he’s loving the holiday season and watching everyone behave as if they’re starring in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, but he’s not one to verbally express a lot of over the top emotion. There’s really only room for one drama queen. I win.

Several of our acquaintances have asked what we do to celebrate the holidays since my husband is from Kuwait, and how we handle the ‘differences’.  We don’t discuss religion but I assume they think I’m Christian because I’m American. And, well, I’ve never been Christian. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household and I don’t recall Christmas ever having a religious meaning in our family. No offense to anyone who celebrates it for religious reasons. But in our home Christmas was a commercial holiday much like Halloween and Thanksgiving. It was more about giving, volunteering, discovering ways to help others, and of course Santa and gifts.

Since my husband and I have been together we’ve spent Christmas in Kuwait. Each year he went above and beyond to make me comfortable as he was well aware of how I struggled through the holiday months. With every Christmas came gifts, social functions, and holiday dinners. He even suggested I put up a tree to ease my holiday blues, but I already stood out like a sore thumb in our neighborhood, I didn’t necessarily want a target on my back. I opted to be patient. I knew I would be home soon enough.

Holiday

This is our first year celebrating the holidays together in America and so far we’ve not faced any cultural differences. Though I am certain Thanksgiving is going to bring some challenges. Those bags which come out of the turkey body contain things I would only ever feed to the pets. Unless my husband gets them first. Livers, hearts, etc. are a meal for him and he just doesn’t understand how I can view them as ‘non-edible’. I cringe at some of the things he can eat and have even reserved a small part of our freezer for his ‘special’ food.

I’m sure marrying a man with such an open mind has allowed our lives to be so ‘normal’. He doesn’t make a big deal out of anything and feels everything can be simple as long as we communicate. I had no doubt this holiday season would be magical because he’s educated, intelligent, Westernized, well traveled, and overall cultured. He doesn’t allow a difference in culture to determine who we are as a couple. Nor do I. When I’m a stressed out mess he’s the calm in the middle of my storm. And when something as important (to me) as holiday season comes along he’s going to do everything in his power to make it perfect.

I’m sure some couples struggle through the holiday season and not because they don’t love one another the same way my husband and I do. But probably because of religious differences. Intercultural marriages don’t face near the challenges interfaith marriages do. Christmas to some is the most religious holiday of the year and their form of celebrating involves lots of church activities (I’m clueless here). There’s always a risk such behaviors could be offensive to a spouse of another religion.

As for us, we’ll continue to indulge in performing arts, road trips, pets with Santa photos (uh-huh), baking cookies together, and local volunteer opportunities. After all, it is the season for giving.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! And if you’re away from home, throw on a red scarf, grab a peppermint mocha, and bake cookies while listening to Christmas music. It’s what always got me through the rough times.

Saudi women staging grass roots movement to drive

I am incredibly late at getting this and several other things posted.  However, this is such an important topic and I definitely wanted to share this before the day ended.

Below you’ll find a beautiful statement by Rotana as well as her cover song ‘Team’.

Wishing the women of Saudi Arabia all the best!

“I have recently been so moved by the brave Saudi women of my generation, and the generation of women that laid the foundation before us. As an admitted ex-cynic when it came to issues of women’s rights in our country, you have showed me what it is to try, try again, try harder, try again, and never stop trying. No matter what. 

I recorded my version of the song “Team” by Lorde with tailored lyrics in solidarity with the cause of women’s right to drive. But to me, this song is bigger than that. It is a salute to any woman brave enough to stand up for her right and follow her dreams despite cultural barriers, and a nudge to all those who are on their way. 

To all the women living through their authentic self, and scratching the surface for others, thank you. You have inspired me to follow my dream. I sing for you. I salute you. 

On October 26, and every day. I hope we all drive, dream and stand up. We are on each other’s team!”

Halloween is coming!

Just as Fall is my favorite weather, Halloween is my favorite holiday. And it’s great to be home for the entire ‘season’ to enjoy all the events and festivities. I love that we can drive to the local bakery and pass pumpkin patches along the way, and that every store and restaurant is displaying festive decor. Or that every costume imaginable is available from a variety of stores in our area. Even for the pets! Yes, I do plan to get at least one pet to wear a costume. I’m sure they’re going to love that.

*Click image for source

*Click image for source

But aside from from the holiday visuals, we also have endless events! Everything from Haunted Houses (the best in the nation), to Halloween parties, and numerous Fall Festivals. Most of these affairs take place during September and October. Halloween isn’t just for children anymore!

Below is a list of a few ‘must do’ Halloween events. We’re super excited about visiting as many as we can before the 31st. For the evening of Halloween we have dinner reservations at Top Of the Hill which is an upscale restaurant overlooking Chapel Hill where we’ll have a great view of the infamous Franklin Street Halloween craziness.

I hope you all have a fabulous Halloween and get the opportunity to participate in some events in your area.

Spooky Woods – Spookywoods Haunted Attraction started by a dare of teenagers in 1985 to go into an abandon farm house when the founder Tony Wohlgemuth was 15 years old.  After getting a good scare from a family of bats they decided to make a haunted house that fall.  The haunted attraction now takes over the majority of the 60 acre farm after almost 3 decades of growth.  Kersey Valley has a year round team of artist and builders with a passion for creating fresh new experiences each fall.

Mountain of Terror – Randolph County’s Premier Haunted Attraction. Home of the original Maze of Mayhem and Underground Tunnels.

Nightmare on Scales Street – This haunt is inspired by the true story of madness and murder. Located within the walls of the legendary Klenner Clinic. You will travel through countless rooms of terror. You will confront your worst nightmares and come face-to-face with torture souls and endless screams. Definitely not for the weak of heart. Certified haunted by paranormal experts “Timestoppers Paranormal”.

Ragan and Holly’s Pumpkin Patch – Large selection of gourds and pumpkins, plus corn stalks and other fall decorating items.

Witches on Salem – Ladies Night Out! Wear a witches hat while shopping and dining to get special discounts at downtown Apex restaurants and businesses.

Cary’s Great Pumpkin Carve – Buy a pumpkin or bring your own, carve it, and light it up! Pumpkins will be judged in a variety of categories. After the pumpkin carving and lighting, gather on the Town Hall Campus grounds for your favorite Halloween TV specials!

Reel-ly Scary Cary Movie – Watch scary movies outdoors at Booth Amphitheater. New addition this year: A trail of terror at the outdoor amphitheater!

Harvest Festival — Enjoy the harvest by tasting a full course meal of the farmer’s favorite recipes of the season. Then, take home the recipes. Kids are invited to wear their Halloween costumes and join the parade at 10 a.m. There will also be free face painting and games.

Howl-O-Ween at the Conservators’ Center – Share the evening with the Center’s predators in their element, including trick-or-treat feeding with the nocturnal animals and howling with the wolves at moonrise.

Howl-O-Ween at the SPCA – Enjoy Halloween crafts, sweets, games, and a growlingly ghoulish fashion show put on by dogs currently available for adoption. Meet the winner of the SPCAs Best Black Shelter Cat contest and take part in a storytelling time.