Making The World A Bit Smaller

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It has been a few weeks since we left Doha and we are slowly adjusting to life on the other side of the planet. The Muppets have had to get used to not having as much freedom living here in Texas. Living in a compound in Doha allowed them the freedom of riding their scooters around, playing at the park and the club house and of course an endless amount of other kids to play with. At our apartment in Pearland we are on the ground floor and have a nice little park behind us and a pool. They are allowed to play at the park out back but with the days hot and humid they need to wait until the evening to play. The other night there were a few kids out there playing but the Muppets haven’t made any friends yet. We have tried to keep busy every day by exploring our new surrounding but being together 24/7 takes it’s toll on all of us.

The other day the oldest Muppet was online with his friend from Australia and another friend who is in Canada for the summer, the three of them played for hours talking and laughing like they were in the same room together. I figured I should try and set something up for the other two muppets so today we spent half the morning setting up Skype, iMessage and FaceTime accounts and connecting with friends.

For about an hour our little apartment in Pearland sounded like our Villa in Doha with the oldest and middle Muppet playing Minecraft with a friend in Canada and the youngest Muppet Skyping and playing with his two best girlfriends in Doha. It was a good feeling almost like everyone was here, and that our house was full of friends.

We are missing all of our friends and family that are all over the world at the moment and I am sure that as the weeks wear on and school starts for everyone the texts and phone calls will not be as frequent but it is good to know that right now we are able to make our world a little bit smaller through technology.

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The End Of An Era


When we made the decision to move to Texas in late February I knew that leaving Doha was going to be hard on all of us. However I don’t think that anything could have prepared us for the emotional roller coaster the following months and weeks brought. 

The going away parties, get togethers and play dates started in early May. It seemed like every hour of every weekend was  booked, that everyone wanted a little piece of us before we left and to be honest I wanted to hold on to every last piece of Doha that I could. 

When we arrived in Qatar almost seven years ago it was the last day of Ramadan. It was after midnight and as we walked off the plane with our three small children we were greeted by a wall of heat and the soundings of our new life. Over the next few weeks we learnt to navigate the city, how to entertain small children in 52 degree heat and to never leave your house with out a bottle of water. We had to learn to communicate with people who didn’t speak English as their first language and figure out which products in the grocery store resembled those from home for our fussy children. There were days even weeks when I wondered if we had made the right decision moving to the Middle East. 

However the following months and years brought about amazing friendships and we found a sense of community in the school and organizations the muppets were apart of. The day to day struggles that we faced in our first few weeks here became a normal part of everyday life and the muppets adapted to their environment. 

We created our own family which we shared Thanksgivings, Christmas’ and Easters with as well as the occasional Thursday night BBQ. They became our emergency contacts, shoulders to cry on and the people we could count on no matter what. We fell in to a comfortable routine of spending the school year together and saying goodbye for 8 weeks every summer as we all traveled to different countries to visit friends and family. 

Over the past few years we have watched good friends leave and move on to exciting new countries and jobs. Some people we knew that we would see again and others we weren’t sure. But we knew that this was all apart of expat life. 

Yesterday we said goodbye to the place we have called home for the past six years. The walls have been stripped bare and the only thing that remains is the markings my husband made of the growth of the muppets from year to year. 

You realize that once you have downsized your life in to 10 suitcases and a 20 foot sea can that all of the stuff we have accumulated over the years doesn’t really matter and we can probably live without. 

The things that truly matter we will take with us where ever we go. 

Tomorrow we leave the place where my children have spent half their lives. We say goodbye to our life here and move on to something new, exciting and a little scary. 

We have been truly blessed to have had this experience, as a family we have traveled to 8 different countries, had many adventures and made some amazing memories. We are all sad to leave but Doha will always be apart of us, because it has given us so much and we will take a little piece of it where ever we go. Off we go on to new and bigger adventures! 

So long Doha it’s been a slice! 

New and Old

  
It has been a few weeks now since the muppets and I made our way home to the Motherland. In Calgary we were greeted by unseasonably warm temperatures and the muppets were grateful not to have to put on pants to stay warm. We quickly fell in to a daily routine and both the muppets and I enjoyed the familiar sights of walking to the playground, the smell of the green grass and the sounds of the birds endlessly chirping. The muppets made requests to eat at their favourite restaurants, visit their favourite attractions and of course go in Nana and Papa’s hot tub. Our first week in Calgary was quickly booked up with trips to the zoo, movies with grandparents, dinner with family and friends and as many bike rides as we could fit in. 

The following week the muppets were excited to make their way up North to visit Grandma and Bampi. My in laws had moved in to a new house this past year and this was our first time seeing it. Everything was new and unfamiliar but the muppets greeted their grandparents with hugs and kisses and quickly made their way through the house checking out every room. They discovered the back garden which is shared with the other tenets and thought it was great that they had enough room for a full on soccer match. To top the evening off we were all pleasantly surprised when their father showed up just before dinner. He had tricked us all in to thinking he wouldn’t be making it to Canada this summer. When I put the boys to bed that night the three of them were wired thinking about all of the fun things we were going to do in the coming weeks. As I kissed the middle muppet goodnight he told me that he missed Grandma’s old house and wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to sleep in this new room. I hugged him and told him that soon we would be used to the new house and we would make some nice new memories with his grandparents here. He cuddled up with his teddy and muttered “I don’t like new things” and I kissed the all and left the room. 

The next few days were full of old & new things for the muppets. The three of them went to the West Edmonton Mall water park and were all brave enough to go on the big slides this year. We visited with friends and family and  they got to enjoy their first live hockey game in Edmonton.  The middle muppet thought the pop corn was the best part of the game (he takes after his mother) but he agreed with us all that it was a lot of fun. As I tucked them in to bed last night the middle muppet asked for extra hugs . I kissed him and pulled his covers up, “I really like the bed at Grandma’s house mummy” he said smiling “We have had a lot of fun at this new house” I smiled and told him that we still had time to have lots more fun and that just because something is new doesn’t make it bad. 
We have had a great few weeks back home, we have been blessed to see some of our wonderful friends and visit with our amazing family. The muppets have been able to enjoy some of the things that they long to do all year in Doha, and also experience some new and exciting things. I am sure that in the coming weeks there will be more adventures for the four frogs and this princess. 

It feels good to be home. 

The Shoot Out

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One of our first trips we took as a family when we moved to Doha was to Tanzania. The muppets were five, three and two and everyone thought we were insane travelling with them to such a place. Not only was it something my husband and I had aways dreamed of doing but my very good friend was getting married there. When we started to work out the logistics of traveling to an unknown place with three muppets under five we were both a little nervous. But we both knew that this was a once in a life time chance and it is one of our families favorite adventures. Not only did we make some amazing memories but we were able to meet some amazing people and see life in Africa from a completely different perspective.

Our good friends who’s wedding we attended on our trip have worked together with the surrounding community to build a school for the young children of the Mlimani Park village this past year. The boys and I were able to visit one of the schools while we were there and the oldest still remembers being shocked that there were no toys, computers and no playground for the students to play on.

A few months ago I showed the boys the video our friend had made talking about the school the three of them were happy and excited for the children of the village. I told the Muppets the Auntie L and Uncle L were trying to raise money to build a playground for the kids of the village. The middle Muppet thought that it would be a great idea to hold a bake sale or something to help them.

At the Muppets school they teach the students to be positive active global citizens. The younger grades participate in service projects as a grade level and are actively involved in the process of advertising for their event, collecting or selling items and learning about who or what they are raising the money for. In the higher grades the students are encouraged to create their own service projects. There are always kids organizing bake sales, used book sales or selling loom bands to raise money for one cause or another.

The middle Muppet was keen to run his own bake sale to raise money for the playground but I reminded him that in Lower Elementary he wasn’t able to do his own service project. I asked the oldest if he would be interested in doing something like a bake sale to raise money for the playground. He looked at me disinterested,”You know Mum” he started “Me and my friends we don’t really do the bake sale thing, we just like to play soccer and stuff” I told him that I understood giving up a recess or two would be a sacrifice for him but then I said “Just think of how proud you will be this Summer when you can tell Uncle L about the money you raised for the playground” (I know guilt trip right!) He told me he would think about it but the reluctance in his voice made me decide not to push him too hard.

The following week at school I presented the idea of raising money for the playground to some of the leadership team at the school. Everyone was very excited and we decided to plan a hotdog sale to help raise some funds. A colleague of mine has a son in the same grade as the oldest and she suggested that the boys do something together with some friends to help raise money as well. I told her about my conversation with the oldest and we decided to leave it in the boys hands and see what unfolded.

A few days later the school counselor came in to my office. She told me that the oldest had come to see her and that he and some of his friends were going to do a Hockey Shoot Out to raise money for the playground. I was surprised when she told me the news, when I had left the idea with the oldest things didn’t look promising. When I spoke to the oldest after school he acted as if it was no big deal. He told me that he needed some help with the posters and that we were going to have to get some prizes together. I asked him how much money he was going to charge per shot and he said “We are going to have to charge like 5 riyals a shot mum, because we are going to need a lot of money if we want to build a playground!” I laughed and then convinced him that it might be too much for one shot and that charging 5 riyals for 3 shots would probably be alright.

The month past and the boys planned their event. I helped them design some posters and me and the other mom found some great prizes for the kids. This week the boys were ready to go. They were super cute organizing kids in to lines, collecting money and giving out prizes. Of course the oldest Muppet was in goal so he was happier than a pig in sh*t. We had anticipated a big rush of kids but soon realized that the location of the Shoot Out was a little out of the way of the normal recess traffic. At the end of the 2nd day the boys had raised close to 500 riyals. The oldest Muppet came to me after school today and told me that they were going to do the shoot out again next week. He was excited at the prospect of raising more money and of being goalie for 2 more recesses. He also told me that we needed more posters and bigger signs and that we would move it to a different place. “Then I am pretty sure we will make enough money for the playground!”

I told him that I was proud of him and his friends for coming up with a great idea to help raise money for the playground. I also told him that whatever money they were able
to raise would help out with the park and that sometimes it takes lots of people to get a big project like this off the ground. I said that he and his friends should be proud of their contribution.

I am grateful that our boys are learning in an environment that encourages them to think like positive active global citizens. They are growing up in such a privileged lifestyle that I think it is important that they learn about giving back. We are very proud of the oldest guy for all of his efforts and hopefully we will be able to raise enough money to get this play ground built!

If you are interested in more information about Boma Africa and all the great work that they do click on this link here.

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A Puppy For Christmas

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There has been a lot of excitement in the Wilson household the past few weeks with visitors arriving, school holidays and Christmas. We also had an extra little visitor for the past 10 days a little pomeranian dog named Lupo.

We had gone to a friends house for dinner a few months ago and the boys were greeted at the door by a little ball of brown fluff. The three muppets love animals and instantly took to this cute tiny dog throwing her toys for her and rubbing her belly. The dog also quickly found my lap and her owner remarked that she was never this good with strangers. As the evening went on we talked about plans for the upcoming holiday’s and how it was their first time leaving Lupo in a kennel. I suggested that she could come and stay with us. We were going to be around all Christmas and that the muppets would love to have a dog for a few weeks, plus we would have a houseful so she would never be lonely. By the end of the night plans were set and on the 15th of December we invited little Lupo in to our house for the holiday’s.

She quickly fit herself in to our family, chasing the boys arounds the house and following me where ever I went. The rule about letting her on the couch was quickly thrown out the window and the little ball of fluff sat happily watching hockey, movies or just reading with who ever would have her. She was walked by all three muppets, both grandparents and was spoilt with cuddles and kisses. She learned the muppets bedtime routine and would be on their bed ready to give kisses to each boy before bed. The other night as the oldest asked for another Lupo hug he asked me when she would be leaving us. When I told him a few days from now his face fell and he looked as if he was going to cry. “I am really going to miss her” he said with a horribly sad face. I knew how he felt, I had gotten so used to having her around that not having her happy little face greeting me every morning was going to be difficult. I gave him a hug and reassured him that we wold be able to visit her and that maybe we would dog sit her again another time.

Yesterday morning as I unpacked groceries the three muppets and their friends came through the door. I told them that Lupo was going to be going home in about an hour so they should say their goodbyes. They all sat on the carpet giving her cuddles, playing with her and her toys and telling her how much they were going to miss having her around. When Lupo’s owners came through the door she was super excited, we all said our goodbye’s and the muppets were excited about the possibility of seeing her again in a few weeks. When I put the muppets to bed last night there was no little puppy giving them kisses and hiding under the covers. “I miss Lupo” the oldest complained. I gave him a hug and told him I knew how he felt, that little dog was only with us a few weeks but she made her way in to our family and our hearts. It will be a strange few days as we get used to not having a little dog under our feet, and I can’t help myself thinking that we may need another addition to the Wilson family 😉