Apartment Hunting

20 May

This phase has never really struck me, until yesterday. I have been researching, searching and talking about apartments for three months now. The first month was really light, just looking at prices and seeing what’s available. Now as the date of moving out of our current apartment draws near, the hunt is on!

The only issue…I don’t know my prey.

I am a hunter. Like many people. I hunt deer, I hunt for art supplies, I hunt for wild blackberries, I hunt for jeans and so forth. Everyone in a sense is a hunter.

Example…Deer vs Kuwait Apartments.

We will start with deer. There are laws for when, and where you can hunt them, with that comes a license. The best times to hunt, early morning as the sun comes up, and late afternoon. That’s when the deer are moving to find breakfast/water/dinner/a safe place to sleep. (Depending on if it was a full moon and clear out, normally deer will stay up and eat all night if they can see. PARTY!) Smell, I like smelling like dirt, because I don’t like purposely putting deer piss on me. I prefer hunting in a ground blind so I can nap without worry of falling out of a tree. Unless it’s winter, then I will be in a tree, it’s too cold to nap in the winter. Sounds…the difference of “Lets get out of here!” compared to “what is that?” to just them walking/running. Knowing what to pay attention too. What else…how to dress, is really important. Your weapon of choice. Each has it’s pros and cons. Etc. Etc. I am a capable independent hunter.

Apartments in Kuwait…I don’t know arabic, BOOM half if not more of the ads I see need to be translated. So already I’m not independent. Where should I look?…I’m learning what places are considered safe, others not safe at all and the nice areas. However, I’m learning as I’m looking. I spend a couple hours out tracking down places to see them only to find out from Noor, the family driver that this is a very bad area. Mark that off the list. I have searched countless websites, I have talked with friends, I have gone building to building. “Shlonik! Are there any apartments open?” Then continues the mix of arabic I know with the english they know. Normally I have Noor with me as back up, but I’m learning that when I enter and get the ball rolling I am less successful. Because of language? Because I’m a women? Because I’m white? I’m not sure…either way I’m a hunter. If my “prey” gets startled because I’m a white chick asking direct questions in semi broken arabic. I’ll taken another approach. I have now been seeking out apartments that are not even build yet. For one, I know that they have openings. Two, the men are distracted with working to really focus on what I’m doing. (checking water pressure, looking in the cabinets/closets, checking windows for drafts…the normal apartment check.) I’m starting to think that’s not a normal thing here. Next, the fun fact that Kuwait likes having ghettos, meaning a part of a city for certain groups of people to live. (social/economic) I have seen written/posted ad saying “Westerners Only” Some that say “Western Females Only” For one, that is incredibly creepy. Next there are areas where it says “Kuwaitis Only”. I have been hung up on twice now when I call these places. Now before anyone asks…Meshari is Kuwaiti and I have found myself in the position where Noor tells whoever is behind the desk “Her husband is Kuwaiti .” Boom, I get whisked to a different (always cleaner) room. Or I get taken care of next. Another prime example of discrimination. Sure, I am benefiting from it, but I feel like an asshole. It’s not fair. When I brought it up to Meshari’s dad he didn’t understand how it was unfair. He just saw it as “Of course you are treated better! Why should you have to wait?” I replied “I’m a person. He is a person. She is a person. They were their first.” And he retorted with “But they are not Kuwaiti.” It’s ingrained that they believe they are better than others.

WHICH brings me to my next problem. Most/Some Kuwaitis believe that they are better than everyone else and don’t have to follow laws/rules. Enough so where landlords do not accept Kuwaitis as tenants. Weeeeeeelllllll why is that? What are they doing/Not dining?! It has become common for a Kuwaiti to rent an apartment to serve as his/her love nest. However if that Kuwaiti doesn’t feel like they got full usage of that love nest. Maybe the couple broke up for a week, or one of them were on vacation for three weeks and they didn’t get to use the apartment. They do not pay rent. And to be clear, I have heard and witnessed this from friends, relatives and realtors.

That being said, yesterday I found myself at an apartment which I had already seen. They were using two different realtors, and they never post the names of the buildings. You literally have to make an appointment to come see it for them to give you a location NEAR the apartment. Then you call again as you get closer until they can give you the final location. It’s really irritating. Either way I was going to speak with them, maybe they would give me different information. I straight out tell them, I saw this apartment last month, the other realtor said that the landlord did not want us here because my husband is Kuwaiti. Is this true?

Come to find out…they do accept Kuwaitis…they just have to pay a whole year in advance. Excuse me? A year? 450kdx12= 5,400kd…I was saying “what the fuck?” over and over under my breath. Never have I heard of having to pay a whole year in advance! Who has that kind of money just laying around…and let’s just do the math for shits and giggles. 5,400kdx3.55 (exchange rate) = $19,170 USD… Stupid money…I can’t even imagine just being like ‘yeah sure, here ya go! No problem!”

Again…I don’t know how to apartment hunt here…or I’m just not very good at it.

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