Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The First of the Lasts

This past weekend was legitimately busy. The week prior I’d resumed teaching and I was a bit tired. It is exhausting pasting a smile on your face and motivating students 95% of the time you’re in a classroom, but, of course, the show must go on. Thursday evening after work I quickly freshened up and a former student and I decided to catch a movie. By the time we’d gotten through traffic jams in Salmiya we were left with two choices: watch Patrick, a horror movie, or wait for 45 minutes to watch Pompeii. We opted for Patrick…What a regrettable misfortune. It was brutal and I don’t recommend it. We laughed and made fun of the situation, so it's all good!

I decided to have a sugar-free Red Bull and salted popcorn. Now, can I please ask how in Kuwait, land of food of plenty, there is NO butter popcorn at the movie theatres in Bairaq Mall and Marina Mall? I’m all about the condiments: butter, mayonnaise, garlic sauces, dips, hollandaise, ALL of it. So when I go to the movie theatre, I like a little popcorn with my butter (no, I’m not joking).

In the U.S., I remember going to a movie theatre where you were given plain, salted popcorn and at the stand where you get napkins, straws, cutlery, etc, was a tap that distributed melted butter. OH. DEAR. ME. It was all over after that! I asked the cashier to be patient with me while he layered the popcorn and I layered the butter…You can NEVER have too much butter and it was sooo delicious! I may have gotten so excited at the whole butter-dispenser-contraption that the people in line behind my started laughing at me straight out-and not in a cute way. Anyhow, back to Kuwait where there is no such thing-at least at the theatres I have visited. It could be perhaps because they allow outside food into the theatres here. This isn’t allowed at theatres in Canada (honestly, who actually cares about how movie theatres in Canada differ from the ones in the U.S. and Kuwait, Mik? Right. Back to my outing).

Drinking beverages with an obscene amount of caffeine when you have stopped consuming anything with caffeine is…Dangerous? Hilarious? Both. After the movie, we went for sheesha (I may have smoked a teensy bit) and some food. I opted for a hot coffee (we were outside and it was chilly! Don’t judge me :P). I was a bit of a mess after the coffee. I was wide awake, wouldn’t stop talking (as if that’s different from ANY OTHER day), and was wired. Holy caffeine! It REALLY is the only legal addictive stimulant available to anyone, at any age, worldwide.

By the time I got home (it was a wee bit late), I had gifts in hand (thanks to my students) and was NOT ready for bed. I forced myself to sleep at 3am and woke up at around 6-ish. No comment. Let’s just say Friday was riddled with naps and I was a bit “off”. By Saturday morning though, I was back to my usual self and up and getting ready to go out. The Irish chef and I met my co-worker and his wife for breakfast. My co-worker has a great laugh. I’ll call him the Joker (he IS very funny!). The Joker and his wife are from England and have great senses of humour. We went to the Breakfast Club in Fintas (I don’t think I’ll EVER stop loving that place) and gorged on food. There was a large table of inebriated Kuwaitis behind us (but Mik, alcohol is ILLEGAL in Kuwait. So what? Who do you think has easy access to it? *Hint: The Americans aren't the only ones). They were so loud I couldn’t hear myself think which may have been a good thing. The English couple loved the Breakfast Club! The Joker’s wife is only in town for a few weeks before returning home to England, but it was very nice to meet her and I’d definitely love to see them living in Canada one day (the Joker loves Canada).

 The perfume I received as a belated birthday gift
 At first I wasn't sure about it, but I actually really LOVE it!
 HELLO, dates!!! Mmmmm, SOOO yummy!!!
The Italian frittata (this has DEFINITELY been featured on my blog before and it is DELICIOUS!)

That afternoon, I found myself having coffee with the lady I had the baby shower for, her husband and the Irish chef. We always have hilarious conversations and I found myself thinking that, although there are less than a handful of people here who I’ve made friends with, I will really miss them. It was bittersweet. I savoured every moment: the amazing company, the feeling of no (financial) worries, and the beautiful warm weather that’s just beginning to arrive. We parted on a high note promising to try out the seafood restaurant, Al Noukhaza, early in the week.

Since Kuwaiti liberation day is celebrated on Tuesday, February 25th and Wednesday, February 26th, we also got Thursday off-woooohoooooo! I LOVE the amount of paid holidays we have here! So last night, since we were officially on holidays, the couple from afternoon coffee and the Irish chef and I met for an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at Al Noukhaza. I was worried, since I have a sensitive stomach, but NOTHING bothered me and I ate a lot of the food there! It was sooooooooo goooooooood! I highly recommend going. It was about 11kd (almost $44.00 CAD) for a little piece of heaven on earth. I had lobster, shrimp, mussels, fish of all sorts and salads, veggies, pasta, soup, etc…The food was awesome considering it was a buffet. The dessert was also fantastic! I ate crème brûlée, fruite, chocolate mousse and a small piece of cake. There were also Arabic sweets. I would hesitate to recommend this place at all.

It was a sad moment as I said good-bye to the couple who are returning to Greece to give birth. They won’t return to Kuwait until the summer when I’ll have already left. For me, it’s quite difficult to say good-bye to people I don’t like, so imagine how I feel saying it to those I like/love. I waved farewell and, feeling sullen and pensive, walked home.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Another Year Older...Any Wiser?

Well turning 32 didn't entail any trips, unlike last year. Every once in awhile I like to ignore the whole thing because it's not that big of a deal to me. My parents rarely made a big production of birthdays, so for me all I really like to do is just have my favourite dinner and maybe some dessert. There are no gifts, no balloons or candles and I like it that way. It means that the day is just another day. So, aging this year happened quietly and I was allowed to do it gracefully and privately (without anyone at work knowing). With the exception of the Irish chef (who cooked me a DELICIOUS birthday dinner!!!), and the Georgian lady who took me out for coffee and dessert (sooo yummy!), I was able to let the day pass me by.

That being said, I did get spoiled this year: I have gotten myself a trip to Turkey...AND France! If I'm lucky, I'll be able to squeeze in either Belgium or Germany and Iceland!!! I'm sooo excited and thankful!!! Since I haven't had the opportunity to travel since starting at my current company, this trip is LOOOONG overdue. I'm going to leave May 1st and wrap up my trip on May 19th. I have to admit that the reason I'm even able to take such a long vacation is because I'm leaving my current job. 

This decision was not taken lightly, and it wasn't as easy as I may make it sound. What did make it easier? Well, for one, my sister has been taking care of my father on her own for a long time and I feel guilty that I've left her to do it all on her own; secondly, I'm actually ready to take a leap of faith and try to open my own business in Canada. I'm so excited about this chance and I'm going to take full advantage of it. I have to stop being scared and apprehensive. There's no time like the present :)  Lastly, I came to Kuwait because of an intense curiosity I've had since I was a little girl to learn about the Middle East and the Gulf, and I have learned a lot. Part of it, undeniably, was because I thought it would help me understand Habibi better, and of course, I needed to distance myself from him. So I came to the only place in the world he can't stand. I knew I'd be safe here. I'm no longer afraid of him finding me (he hasn't tried to do so in the past two years), so I feel confident that I'll be able to go home and never see him again. 

I also have to admit that my heart is no longer in teaching or in making a lot of money. Sure, it's wonderful to feel secure knowing that your bills are covered, but anyone who's worked in the Gulf, Kuwait specifically, can tell you that there is NO job security here. I'm not obsessed enough with money to live here. And so, I'm off to never return to Kuwait.

Another chapter will end and yet another will begin and I will feel at a loss for a reason to blog....Do I continue this chat in Canada? Ironically enough, my family doesn't even read this-even though the reason I began to blog was to keep them up-to-date with what I'm doing here. What a laugh! I have more followers in Brazil and Switzerland than I do in Canada! Hilarious, isn't it? However it is that you stumbled on my endless, random blabber, I apologize if I'm boring you. I really did intend to use this as a communication tool for my family in Canada and Japan....Yeah, they're not reading it in Japan either, hahahaha!!!

Okay, that's my short update (short for me, LOL!). I hope you're all well and that you stay cool ;)