Nobody Walks in Kuwait

Motivation, Where Are You?!
May 21, 2007, 9:11 am
Filed under: Life in Kuwait

As you’ve surely noticed, I’ve been rather quiet on the blog these days.  Perhaps it’s just the weight of daily routine without many “breaks” or anything terribly interesting going on, or maybe I just got tired of making similar observations on a regular basis.  In any case, the creativity just has not been there for me for the past few weeks now.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced a real motivational “drought”, but it seems that this is what I’m facing now.  Still, just so I don’t overdramatize or give the inaccurate idea that absolutely nothing at all is happening, here’s a bit of “news”:

– The Big Event of the past week was our first experience of a Real Sandstorm, which lasted a number of days and reduced visibility at some moments from day to “night”.  One evening, we noticed quite a hot, strange wind blowing, and before we knew it, we were surrounded by a “fog” of sand/dust, and people were walking around with hospital masks on!  I think that we’re going to invest in some of those, because when we had to go out, we were definitely affected in terms of breathing problems.  Despite the discomfort, I have to say that it was quite a surreal experience, like walking through a “lunar” landscape, feeling like an oven with sand thrown in!

– I’m continuing my Arabic classes, and, hey, I’m getting pretty good! 🙂  I can really start to read signs and even write a few things now…for example, last night I managed to spell out Hamas and Beirut! 😛 Not that I’ll have any need to write those particular words in the near future, but it does give me a sense of accomplishment.

– I will have the rare opportunity on Wednesday to attend a Kuwaiti wedding, so that should be very interesting to say the least…I’m looking forward to seeing vivid proof of the Kuwaiti ladies’ motto of “never too much”.  One thing is guaranteed…I will definitely be the one who is “underdressed”, since I don’t go for the super-flash look. 😛

Brown-Outs and Shifting Weekends?
May 8, 2007, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Life in Kuwait

Weekend may change » Kuwait Times Website

Hello again!  OK, I know I’ve been veeeeery lazy about the blog these days, but you’ll just have to trust that I’ve been “going through some stuff” as of late and so my focus has been shifting away from here.  I know, I know, excuses, excuses…

Anyhow, as further proof of the “excitement” of living in Kuwait, I offer several new elements:

– The link above states that a New Weekend policy is being discussed in the government here.  Oh, for those who might not be aware, the weekend here is currently Thursday and Friday, which do happen to be the days that my husband gets off.  What I want to know is…if they change the “official” weekend, does he still have to work on Saturday?  Such earth-shattering questions trouble my daily existence…

– I awoke this morning to notice outside the window of our “home office” that something seemed amiss.  Hmmm, what could it be…?  Oh, right, there seems to be a BUILDING missing that used to be right in front of us!  Oops, blink and you might lose a building…such are the vicissitudes of life in Kuwait.  Actually, though, I’m happy about this, because the loss of the aforementioned building gives us an even better view of the empty shell that was in front of it!  Whoo-hoo!

– I was in mid-breakfast the other day when the power cut out.  I waited a few minutes calmly, until it slowly dawned on me that it was indeed about 37 C outside and there was no air conditioning.  Twenty minutes later, the room started to feel a bit, uh, close.  Then, ah, the power was back on!  Hooray!  Until it cut off again a few moments later…you get the general idea.  Welcome to the Kuwait System of Power Management in the Summer (it’s not even really summer yet!).  For those of you not from California, I believe the correct terminology for this is “brown-out” (as opposed to a total “black-out”, which, if they were to occur here, we should all end up as puddles stuck to the floor).  I have since learned, in the words of an acquaintance, “Oh yes, that’s quite common!  Sometimes electricity, sometimes water.”

Well, as always, there is a Lesson of the Day in all of this:

You just never know what’s going to come next in life, so be prepared for anything!  oh, and…  I am far too “First World” and life in Kuwait is helping me to get over that!

A Rare Sighting in Kuwait
May 2, 2007, 9:31 am
Filed under: Life in Kuwait

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spotting quite a rare specimen on the dusty streets of Kuwait…I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw…

A white, European-looking woman WALKING on the “sidewalk” in the hot sun ACTUALLY CARRYING GROCERY BAGS!! :O

I almost stopped her to announce my solidarity and share my joy in finding that, though we may be an endangered species, a few of us DO exist...the Few, the Proud, the Non-Servant-Dependent!!  (OK, my apologies to the U.S. Marines for my terrible plundering of that slogan!)

I have to say, this sighting did give me some hope! ;P

Monkeying Around in Arabic
April 24, 2007, 9:50 am
Filed under: Life in Kuwait

Two items today…

  1. Pampered Pets: The other night, my husband and I were out enjoying the evening breeze on the waterfront, when we saw something we are definitely not used to…at first, I thought I saw two teenage guys walking a very small dog on a leash, but, when I looked again, it was no dog…it was a MONKEY! Maybe it was the fact that it was sort of walking on two legs and one “hand”…:P Anyhow, I have to say that I don’t really understand “walking” a monkey, much less keeping one as a pet (unless you’re Michael Jackson). I suppose I’m culturally conditioned to believe that monkeys belong in a natural habitat such as a rainforest or something…Aren’t they better off there? Or maybe they’ve gotten used to free food and air conditioning?? This is actually not the first time I hear of monkeys in Kuwait…perhaps someone can explain this phenomenon to me, because I’m perplexed…?
  2. Ata Allam Al-Arabiya: Yes, I’m officially undertaking the study of Arabic, that venerable language of algebra (aaargh!), coffee and other such delights. So, I’m currently struggling with pronouncing new, strange sounds like HHHA (like cleaning your glasses, as our teacher says) and KHKHKH (like speaking Dutch 😉 Not easy, and very amusing for my husband, I’m sure – just try walking around the house all the time saying, “HHHHA! KHKHKHA! HHHHA!” I think I’m going to lose my voice…but I will prevail!

Lessons of Life in Kuwait
April 18, 2007, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Life in Kuwait

I’ve been rather quiet on the blog lately, as I settle into a daily routine here in Kuwait, because I’ve having a bit of a tough time these past ten days, and I haven’t wanted to simply say just anything about it at the moment it’s happening. I don’t like the way so many people online expose their entire inner thoughts and personal struggles without thinking! So, I guess you could say that I’ve been spending some time thinking

About how many “life transitions” I’ve been through these past few years, and how I need to be more patient and compassionate with myself as I change…

About how much changing landscapes, countries, environments shakes you up and you come out some strange, new person you might not recognize at first…

About long it can take in life to actually become a REAL adult…

Mostly, though, I’m realizing this:

Life is one big school exam that never ends. It’s as though each day has a test, and then, as soon as you feel that you’ve passed that one, the next set of lessons begins…It’s simply amazing how much I have learned about myself already since my short time in Kuwait! And, of course, the challenges and lessons will continue, since there is no “summer holiday” from life, now is there?

So…I have recently decided to LET GO as much as I can and LET the transformations happen…let’s see where I will go from here… 🙂

Break Those Chains!
April 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Spiritual Corner

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s once again time to take a break from the daily rush of life, and step into the Spiritual Corner

Sever the chains of the ego. Set yourself free and witness the bright essence of your inner being. Discover within your heart the wisdom of a prophet without books, without teachers, and without prudence.

-Rumi, “The Life and Thought of Rumi”

Ahhhh! Don’t you feel better now? So refreshing! 🙂

Suicide bombers strike Casablanca –
April 14, 2007, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Geopolitics

Suicide bombers strike Casablanca –

These recent bombings in Morocco and Algeria are really affecting me, because my husband is Algerian, but, beyond that as well…I feel a great sadness, first for the victims of these acts, of course, but also for the  young men (and even some women) who feel that this is the best solution for the incredible problems they face.  This last aspect is a major tragedy of international magnitude which, I very strongly feel, is not being adequately addressed by the leadership of many countries.

Poverty, massive unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, great income disparities and other factors lead to such a feeling of hopelessness amongst youth that increasing numbers of them are turning to a life of extremes – crime or religious fundamentalism in its most distorted version.  The BOTTOM LINE is this:

Until the leadership of countries such as Algeria and Morocco make courageous decisions to push forward solutions to these issues, such attacks will continue.  This is, of course, not easy due to vested interests in power centers against major change, but, after all, what is the meaning of the word “leadership”?!  For the future of the Maghreb, let us hope that there are some true leaders out there!