The UpheavalMy husband accepted a job and was transferred to the lovely little island of the Kingdom of Bahrain. For those of you who don't know where in the world that is, it's a small island in the Persian Gulf beside Saudi Arabia.
My husband moved in December to start his job while I stayed behind in Texas to wait out the lease we had on our house and to get all of our stateside things settled. He found us a place to live with the specific instructions to find room for both of my Innova longarm machines. He did a great job with finding something that was small and cozy enough for just the two of us and big enough to house two huge quilting machines and all of my quilting and sewing goodies.
While my husband was in Bahrain, starting his new job and getting us set up with housing, I was back in the states getting all of our worldly goods situated for their transition. I had to empty out a storage unit and put it all in our garage.
|Everything from storage moved into one place ready for the packers|
|Our happy little pup, Mumford, getting used to his kennel|
The packers came and packed our storage items and took it all away to a storage facility. We will get back once we move back to the states.
|Ready for storage.|
|Boxes ready to move into storage|
Then it was time to tear down my machines. Since my husband was already over in Bahrain and couldn't help with my machines, I didn't trust the packers to break my expensive machines down. So I hired the best Innova team out there from Jo's Quilting Studio to do it for me. Jo is the Texas dealer for Innova and her son takes care of machine install and tear down. They came and broke my machines both down, labeling everything and crating them up perfectly getting them ready for their journey. It was such a load off of my mind to know that my machines were going to make it across safely tucked away in their crates. I pictured all the people that had to move those big heavy crates wondering what in the world was inside of them all.
|Levi breaking down my 26" with Navigator|
|Dustin breaking down my 22"|
|Breaking down the big machine|
|Crated and waiting for a another move|
|All of the quilts I have in the house. This reminds me of the Princess and the Pea.|
|Family moving furniture for Colby's new adventure|
|Colby and his two new roommates singing the lease for their first apartment.|
|Kennels ready for the pets to make their journey|
|Last thing at the house, cleaning and giving Mom bunny ears in the mirror picture.|
|Dad's cinnamon rolls are the best ever.|
|After all the rushing around moving things, de-stressing in my parents back yard |
looking at the birds is the most peaceful thing a girl could ever have.
|Dad and I finding out we can't siphon gas out of the car. |
Plus him wearing his Houston Astro's shirt in Texas Ranger country.
The TripThe day finally came where it was my turn to leave. I had sent everything else on it's way, even my precious machines and animals and now it was time for me. I had a long, long couple of days to get over to Bahrain.
|Early morning, bags packed, smile on my face, |
ready to travel to finally be with my loving husband
|Fantastic Italian lunch and lots of good memories.|
|My son and his beautiful family|
|I laugh every time I see this picture. I'm glad I took it|
when I landed after my two day travel ordeal. It's funny now, but
I was exhausted then.
|Our villa in Bahrain.|
|The fur babies were so happy to have their lap back.|
The CultureBahrain is an Arabic country which makes some people formulate high opinions of terrorism and strict Islamic rules. I'm hear to tell you that Bahrain is nothing like that. After two months living here, I find that these are all people that are just like me and you, who want peace in the world, who work hard to put food on the table and a roof over their families heads and who just want to be happy in life. Bahrain is a very progressive and diverse country. They do not have the extreme rules that Saudi Arabia has. In Saudi, women aren't allowed to drive or be seen without their Burka's on. There are a lot of other rules in Saudi that Bahrain does not have and I'm finding them all out as I go. It just makes me very glad we aren't in Saudi Arabia. Life here in Bahrain is practically like being in the States, just the people dress differently. Everyone speaks English to some extent so we have not had to try to learn a different language.
Most Bahraini people dress in the traditional Islamic dress, White robes and head scarves for the men and the black burkas for women. But it is all a choice. You will see the men wearing suits or regular jeans and shirts with ball caps on and the women have all types of different variations of their black dress. The most traditional being completely covered from head to toe with a flowing black fabric. There is the Abaya which is the black, long sleeve robe that goes all the way to the ground. Over that they may where another long piece of fabric that drapes over their heads and does not even show their face. There are not a ton of women that wear the completely covered Burkas. Some will wear just the head scarf wrapped around their hair and just showing their face, while some wear the veil that covers their nose and mouth only showing their eyes. Then.....you have the women that wear just the long robe, closed up, with their hair out and flowing, or the women that have the black robe on just over their clothes with it open just like you would see if they were just wearing a jacket. There are so many different variations of all the dress. I have been fascinated with it all really. The most prominent idea of women's dress is modesty. You do not see their bare legs at all and most times, no bare arms either. Since most of the women do wear the long black robes and head scarfs, it's so fun to see what kind of shoes they have peaking out underneath. I've seen teenage girls with sparkly pink tennis shoes. And talk about make-up. They make up their face like nothing I've ever seen before. I guess that since people can't see anything but their eyes or face, that is the way the express themselves instead of through clothing. I completely respect these women and the way they dress but I had to laugh once when I was walking through the grocery store. There was a lady in full dress Burka, completely covered from head to toe, but she had her glasses sitting on the outside of the face scarf. I also giggle when I see these ladies eating with their face veils on. They just pick it up, stick their forks (or ice cream cones) under neath and eat away. It makes me smile.
My husband and I have been trying to learn as much as we can about the culture and the best way we have so far is from our neighbors. We have met two of our neighbor families and had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with them about their culture and ours. It's very interesting to hear everything from the call to prayer five times a day, to the way they dress, to their food and traditions. When I first arrived, it was the beginning of Ramadan. Ramadan is the holy month for all Muslims. They fast during the daylight hours for 30 days and have celebrations and give to charity and eat like crazy fools after the sun goes down. We were told we were not allowed to eat or drink out in public. But of course, since we are not Muslim, we could eat during the day. We just needed to do it privately, out of respect. The Bahraini people decorate their homes like we do for Christmas just not as extravagantly. There are a lot of other things that go with Ramadan that I'm sure we will learn something new every year.
|Decorations of a villa in our neighborhood for Ramadan|
|Cityscape of Manama Bahrain|
|Inside one of the malls|
|Bahrain National Museum|
|Lots to learn about how they did their embroidery way back when|
|You can find quilting inspiration everywhere.|
This is a wall inside the Bahrain National Museum.
|The Tree of Life with my honey|
|The Tree of Life|
|Sunset across the bay|
|Yummy food. Turkish flat bread, hummus and mixed grilled meats|
I was able to take a tour of the the Grand Mosque. It was very interesting to hear about this and some of the aspects of the religion. All the women on the tour had to put on a head scarf and robe. This will probably be the only time I ever wear one. It was interesting to learn that there are no pictures or drawings of people in mosques. The only thing allowed in the decoration of a mosque are words and geometric designs. So, as a quilter, the geometric designs were extremely interesting to see. More quilt inspirations. Men gather and pray in the main part of the mosque and there is a section where women go to pray. The reason why they are seperated is that they don't want any type of distractions to get in the way of prayer.
|The inside courtyard of the Grand Mosque|
|I'm wearing the traditional Head Scarf inside the Mosque. |
Men were not allowed to wear shorts
and we all had to take off our shoes.
|Quilt inspiration in the rug of the mosque|
The SettlingWhile I waited for our household goods to arrive, I had lots of time on my hands. Before I came over to Bahrain, my husband bought me a little sewing machine that plugs into 220 volts and he had it waiting for me. Only a quilters husband would know how important a gesture that was. Then my aunt sent me a little quilters care package, with fabric and kits, and little sewing necessities. I would sew on a quilt top while my husband was at work.
|My little temporary set up to sew before all of my stuff arrived in country.|
|Command hooks to hold my design wall on the concrete walls|
|Every quilter must have a design wall.|
|It will all find it's place eventually|
|It took 8 guys to bring in these two long crates|
that have my long pools and rails in them. They all
seemed very confused as to what was inside so
I showed them a picture of the machines. I think
they were still confused. Haha
|My machines arrived safe and sound all snugged up in their crates.|
|My favorite quilt pieced and quilted by me and applique designed and finished by my mom.|
Its in the perfect spot in our new home.
|I have two large boxes and these hanging quilt tops waiting|
for me to get my machines up and running.
I will be finishing most of my personal and my Moms quilts
before I take on any customers.
|Getting setup for piecing. This is still a work in progress.|
|Unpacking the rails and poles from the long crates|
|My handy husband|
|She can breath now.|
|One machine up. The poles go on next and the computer box sent to get looked at.|
|My 22" Innova with lightening stitch. She's ready to go. |
Mumford has supervised us in the building of the machine the entire time.
|Both machines are fitting into one room very nicely.|