Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the road again

I don't know if any of you have tried to set up appointments with medical specialists, school enrollment, and living arrangements from about 5000 miles away. Even with the wonders of technology - the Internet and VoIP telephones, it's not an easy thing! But let me back up a bit...

Here's a reader's digest version that will bring you up to date. In May '07, Danna was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome. Up until this last month, her course of medication has kept the syndrome in check, and we've had a "normal" year here in Prague - exploring castles, traveling around Europe, and starting Kindergarten. Well... that's all about to change a bit. Danna recently stopped responding quite as well to her initial medication, and her doctors here have recommended that she move to the next commonly recommended treatment. Unfortunately, the Medical experts at the US State Department (Kevin's employer) don't believe that this treatment should be done here in Prague, and have set up a "medivac" for Danna for further evaluation and treatment in the US - treatment that could take up to three months or longer.

We've now adjusted to the reality of this "exile" from Prague, and have gotten busy the last couple of days! Trying to arrange plane tickets, funding & approval for those tickets, a school for Jad, and most importantly of all, trying to set up Danna's appointment with a specialist... all from 6-9 timezones away! (What did we ever do before the Internet?)

The latest in our ever changing lineup sounds something like this: we have an appointment set up with a specialist in Dallas, just a couple hours down the freeway from "home base" in Oklahoma City. We have a planned flight out from Prague this Thursday. Kyler's just started exploring the limits of his "climbing" ability, so the cross-Atlantic flight should be "fun". We've contacted a school close to Erin's parents' house in OKC, and it looks like Jad should be able to slide in to American kingergarten next week.

One "fly" in all this this ointment? Kevin "gets to" stay put here in Prague while the rest of the family flies of the the US. He's planning to join them for Christmas... But being a "geographical bachelor" is not that much fun. At least he'll get Jad's legos all to himself for a while, and won't have to share his "Asterix and Obelix" books!

The kids are thrilled at the prospect of this "adventure". They established pretty strong roots in Oklahoma during our home leave before arriving in Prague, and have been regailing us with stories of all the friends and family they're going to see, things they're going to do, and places they're going to visit. Of course, the aforementioned friends and family in Oklahoma are pretty happy about spending some time with the family as well!

By the way... though Danna has a Kidney condition, she's really not "sick" in the common sense of the word. Though she knows her "kidneys don't wook so well", that's a little less important to her at the moment than her collection of Princess dresses, or the schedule of Saturday morning cartoons! Her course of medications so far keep her happy, healthy, energetic, and full of beans (she has an opinion about everything, of course). The treatment that will most likely be recommended when she sees the specialist next week is the normal course of treatment for kids with her condition... A condition which is most often outgrown as the kids head toward the teenage years and beyond.

OK - more as we know it! We'd appreciate your prayers!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A cowboy in Prague

One of the great advantages of overseas living is that you get to rub noses (sometimes quite literally) with folks from just about every nationality in this big wide world. In Jad's Kindergarten class of 16, no fewer than 10 different nationalities are represented!

Last Friday was "International Day" at Jad's school. Being a red-blooded Oklahoman/Emirati/Omani/Zimababwean/Oregonian, there was no question as to what Jad would dress up as. A cowboy! What kid wouldn't? He even brought his stick horse "Silver" (as in "hi-ho, Silver - away!") along for the grand parade of nations.

In addition to parading around in national dress, parents in Jad's class set up activity centers representing each continent - helping the kids make a craft or learn something new along the way. Erin helped with the Africa table - in honor of Jad's first home in Zimbabwe.

This week, Jad heads off on a new adventure... his first experience as a Kindergartner in the America (technically, his "home country")! It's going to be quite a difference... most likely, there will be one or two nationalities represented, instead of ten. And as Jad pointed out, "everyone will speak English!" And... he'll get to ride in a yellow school bus! As a fellow Third Culture Kid, though, I can't wonder if he's not going to miss being a cowboy flanked by buddies in Kimonos!