My Extended Staycation in Kuwait

This Spring Break, some friends and I decided to do something bold.  Instead of jetting off to Egypt, Dubai, or Nepal, we decided to save some of our funds and see what Kuwait had to offer.  A staycation.  Things my friends and I enjoyed doing this week included: tanning by the poolside (after all, it’s currently reaching the upper 80’s); acquiring new pets (my new kitten, Leila, is purring by my side at this very moment… adorable); enjoying family dinners; going for manicures and pedicures at my favorite spa in Kuwait, Pretty Petals; shopping at Kuwait’s biggest luxury mall, The Avenues; and enjoying a free showing of the classic play Love Letters.  Kuwait has treated us rather well this week.  Sadly enough, the week has flown by (like all vacations do) and Spring Break is coming to a close.  What is great, however, is that unlike my friends who will be returning from their exotic Spring Break destinations within the next couple of days, I get to stay in this fun country.

These water towers, found all over the country/city, are iconic to Kuwait.

These water towers, found all over the country/city, are iconic to Kuwait.

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Not Your Average Summer Wedding

Last Saturday, I got to do something I have been dying to do since moving to Kuwait: attend a Kuwaiti wedding.

There is something fundamentally appealing to me about foreign weddings.  Having been to about a dozen weddings in the US, I know what to expect.  On the other hand, getting the opportunity to take a glimpse into another culture’s beliefs about love, wedding rituals, and style of dress is incredible. While in Ecuador, I went to a wedding and, to be honest, was a bit disappointed.  The wedding was great and there was a fun gathering (with delicious cuy [cooked guinea-pig]) following the ceremony, but overall, it didn’t feel much different than an American wedding.  I knew that, on the other hand, Saturday’s wedding would definitely be different than any of the six US weddings I have participated in, and boy, was I right. Continue reading

Taxi conversations

When trying to explain what Kuwait is like to people back home, it’s like trying to tell somebody about a piece of art you’ve seen in a museum by painting it for them yourself, right there on the spot.  I get overwhelmed trying to describe this place because it’s complex, yet formulaic.  I both know that I have been to places that are far better than Kuwait and that this is where I belong for now regardless.  I sealed the deal by signing an 18 month contract for wifi service yesterday.  That and telling my school I would be back for the 2014-2015 school year.  I highly doubt that I will stay beyond 2015; after all, by then I will have been here for three years.

What is it about this place that keeps me here?  And what is it about this place that pushes people away? Continue reading

Arabic Lessons for Grandma

I called my Gramma on Christmas day, from my parents’ pleasantly warm fireplace-heated living room.  We talked about how things were going, said our holiday greetings, then she said “We still have that book of blog posts that Judy adds to.  You don’t write in it often anymore though.  Why don’t you try to just write once a month?  That could work, right?”

As much as I may be too busy for any random reader, or even a friend, I am never too busy for my Gramma.  So you can thank her for this post.  InshAllah (God willing), I will keep posting, at minimal, monthly.  I am grateful that the reason I have been posting less is that I feel really at home here and have found… friends!  That and teaching is anything but boring, and means that I have a never-ending to-do list.  I have officially signed on for a second year at my school, so I should have an easier second year (though we are switching text books, so my plans won’t be completely the same).  Point is that I like Kuwait and, especially, my school enough to return to it another year.

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A Night Run Along the Salmiya Sea Walk

Last night, at around 10 pm, I had the weirdest urge to go running.
I know what you’re thinking: That can’t be safe, Tricia!

But, as difficult as it may be to believe, Salmiya is the first place I’ve ever lived in where I’ve felt safe running after dark, especially on a Friday night.  Kuwait may not have much of a conventional night life, seeing as clubs are illegal and drinking is banned, but Kuwaitis are still night owls.  Shops and eateries, small and big, are mostly open until midnight (or all night), streets are well-lit, and the people here are happy to shop and eat until early in the morning.  Whereas in Topeka, when the clock strikes midnight, you generally only find people out drinking, and there isn’t a huge crowd of fun-loving twenty-somethings (haha… looking back on my Topeka bar experiences, a more apt generalization would be approaching middle-age, should-be-spending-their-disability/unemployment-checks-on-something-more-useful, sound-a-little-too-rehearsed-in-their-off-key-karaoke-hits, leather-jacket-clad, as they say in Almost Famous, real Topeka people).

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DPT Vaccine Day

I tried writing this as a snappy facebook status, but it ended up being too much to fit into a reasonably-sized status.

Today, the school nurse was giving all 5th graders their Diphtheria Tetanus Toxoid vaccines.  The girls had been given consent forms for their parents to sign on Sunday.  We had prepared for it and they had bombarded me with questions about it, for a week.  Even this morning when I had before-school duty, 5th graders swarmed me and asked me last-minute questions about the dreaded shot that included (I kid you not) “Is it true that people are sick for 10-14 days after getting the injection?” and “Will there be fire coming out of the needle?”  I know you’re not supposed to laugh at kids’ questions to their face, but, hahahahah, I did.

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On being in Kuwait, and just being

Well it sure has been a while!  School began September 6th, and life has been moving at a neck-breaking pace ever since.

There’s so much I’d like to say about the weather, the culture, the food, the people, the teaching, the parents, my students, the school, but it’s 10:30 on a Thursday (the Middle-eastern Friday) night and I’m too tired to go into all that.  I just wanted to touch base and say that I’m still here, doing relatively well.

This picture alone could inspire a blog post.

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