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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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How do you like Kuwait?

18 May

I cannot count how many times this question has been asked. At first, I would answer politely with a smile. “The food is really good! And there is so many different people and cultures here!”

I have been AWOL for the past month or so because …to put it in lame man’s terms…it’s been shitty.

It really started with a “baby shower” aka Look at how much fucking money I have! SHOW CASE *throws glitter*

Women were being completely rude by American and Kuwaiti standards. “What is she?” They made me feel like shit because I wasn’t like them. They made me uncomfortable because I wasn’t wearing a pound of gold around my neck, or had a diamond the size of my eyeball on my finger. I was pissed because I was in a room full of shallow humans beings who were wearing enough money to feed a small country for years. I talked with women who were confused as to why I worked, who were confused as to why I had a bachelors degree. I couldn’t even mention my masters. I went to a baby shower to celebrate new life…and I didn’t even see the baby. I saw a waste of life instead.

Next, the blatant racism. It’s everywhere. The worst part is everyone is used to it! To them it’s normal.

I can feel this turning into a list…

I just read an article asking students to report any classmate that may be gay so they can get “proper treatment”. What the fuck?! It was in the newspaper! And it distinctly stated “They are not supporting any homosexual activities.” I knew before I came here that they are not openly supportive, it was more like “don’t ask don’t tell”. So seeing it published in a paper was over the edge.

Next, I have yet to hear ANYONE say “thank you” to servers or cashiers. (besides Meshari) But the looks we get from them when we say thank you, it’s like we turned green.

Next, it’s Kuwait they can afford to pay their workers a decent living wage. They choose not to.

It’s a fucking shit show.

OH Copyright…yeah that doesn’t matter here. Steal whatever you want. It’s disgusting.

In short, how do I like Kuwait?

I don’t.

 

 

Word Vomit Rant

11 Mar

This was going to be called “Job Search & Being Productive”…but as it developed into “word vomit rant” suited it better.

Since the age of 12 I have been working. Baby sitting and yard work were so I could join ski club and get those cool hoodies with your name on the back for all the sports I played in middle school. I upgraded to a horse farm where I worked for riding lessons. Then I milked cows at a dairy farm when I was 15. I rode my bike back and forth before I got my driving license. I had to save up for college, so while also working on the farm I worked as a secretary in the middle and high school during my flex periods. And if I couldn’t be busy enough during high school with cross country, musical, yearbook, the farm, track and the secretary gig…I started working at Subway so I could transfer that job to the city my college was in. In college I worked for subway till I found a job on campus that worked better with my cross country and class schedule. Then I added working for the graphics department…and so on. And this pattern of always working continued through till I left the States.

I have always planned. I have always worked. I have always had a car. I was independent.

In 4 days it will be two months “without” me working here. I am still designing remotely…and I am developing a class to teach online over the summer for Oswego. So I am WORKING…but I feel because I haven’t landed a job HERE I am a complete and utter failure. It’s sounds dramatic…but I have always had the plan and routine of one job flowing into the other. Or even having 3-4 jobs happening all at the same time. With the confusion of work permits, criminal records, health blah blah blah…I looked at jobs but never applied because I knew it would be months before I even set foot in the country and now once in Kuwait the paper work itself is taking exceedingly longer.  I have been actively searching for a month…I have a few nibbles, which is good, but my confidence is shot to hell.

“Hi, we love your work! Ohhhh your paper work isn’t complete…” *Click*

They don’t say that…but I feel I can’t push forward the way I want because both my feet are not on the ground.

And this last piece of paperwork that needs to be done is literally a fucking bitch. If I was in the States it would be easily taken care of…here a big “sucks to be you” at every turn.

If anyone in Kuwait tells you “Oh that will be easy, don’t worry about it.” Don’t fucking believe them. Do all your homework, understand the ins and outs…even if you THINK you understand…you don’t. Nothing is updated, nothing is a sure thing, whoever you go to will give you different information than the guy sitting next to him. And honestly …if you ask the same person the same question…you are going to get a different answer.

In lame mans terms…I am in a cluster fuck.

….

Anyway…I’m in the second day of this very odd, tech support, super non formal interview via text. So I have that. And many little birds have told me…that “I don’t exactly need the paper work to be done…to work right now.” Sounds fishy, right? Because it smells fishy and looks fishy too. Remember cluster fuck…but everybody does it and everybody is in it. Everyone is in the cluster fuck storm. I can’t change the weather…but I can sure wear a rain jacket…but if this storm is a monsoon…I guess I’m SOL.

Learn to dance in the rain.

To Q8 with Cat

17 Jan

Forgive the length. I pulled these from my Facebook, because all my friends and family wanted updates while I was traveling. And saying “Everything is good” doesn’t cut it for some of them. They get mini novels while I travel.

First leg of the journey is complete…Rochester was awesome all the TSA agents loved Clover. They made sure her crate wasn’t explosive, I got to get a tiny peak at the inner workings of the airport. (It looked very confusing). Said a fond farewell to the parental units.

Hopped on my flight, nothing to report. I sat next to a very boring man.

Everyone is unloading off the plane. I see Clover’s crate which is covered with “live animal” stickers and the like. A gentleman was there and asked if it was my cat. I said yes. I then asked him, if I could take her now or if she had to be processed or something. He told me I could just collect her at baggage claim. (She is in a pretty good sized crate.) EXCELLENT! I was told three or four days ago by a different woman that I would have to get a taxi and claim her at a cargo unit, so this was awesome! One point for the good guys!

My two HUGE bags come out first so I snag them. I have a back pack and small carry on, therefore you can tell there is no way I can carry all that plus Cloverface. I wait….and wait….and wait. I ask another gent where animals are dropped off, he points at a door across the way. I wait, and wait…wtf mate?! After being told to wait “5 more minutes” 6 different times, I went to lost luggage. I am a very patient person. So I quietly waited my turn, as an older woman was freaking out because she left her iPad setting on a seat as she went to the bathroom. A couple of pilots had their bags missing. Finally I get asked what I’m missing….At this point we have been on the ground 40min. I saw Clover and left her. I feel like the shittest cat-mom alive. So as soon as I open my month to say. “My cat is missing” My throat tightens, tears are pouring down my face. I keep saying “I’m trying not to be upset” The pilots are all “Oh no!” The lady helping me, hops sings to the rescue while the old bat shuts up real quick about her stupid iPad. Phones are ringing, walkie talkies are going off. Full on search for a little white cat at JFK. No luck. I cry some more. She was right there! I saw her, I should of just grabbed her off the tarmac. Half hour more passes with no luck, until I hear the woman say “You found her?! Ohh good! Can you bring her to us? Oh thank you!” BOOM I love this woman! Yes…now onward to the hotel!

Now remember I have these HUGE bags, plus a cat. And where the hell am I going?! Hotel shuttle, right. I snag one of the gents who was helping in the Clover search. We load up a cart, and head to the shuttle. We have our small talk, really nice guy. I call the hotel because the shuttles are never where they are supposed to be. Sure enough, we have to wait again. I apologize to the gentleman that I am messing up his day with my bad luck. He says something really insightful, that I can’t remember. (figures) And sure as shit, that shuttle pops out of no where. Farwell! Thank you!

Next to the hotel… my bags couldn’t fit through the elevator doors. My room is awesome. Chicken wings and a slice of pizza is on the way and Clover is scoping the joint out. *phew* This concludes this episode of “Cat to Q8”

Cat to Q8 episode 2. The time in the hotel was boring. Bath, movie, designed a few ads, shower, played hide and seek with Cloverface. She is a master by the way. Repacked everything. I stayed in the hotel for a full 22 hours.

Headed to the airport on the shuttle. The gentleman was the same as last night, so we chatted back and forth. I pay the 5bucks for a cart, which is still too small for all my bags. I get in line to Qatar airways. Everyone and their mother slow down to take a peek at Clover. Even a French family! Le chat! Alloyez! All the attention was nice because people parted for me and a woman from Qatar came to me lickitty split. She gave me short instructions which I already knew but it was nice that she wanted everything to run smoothly. She took all Clover’s papers to start her process. It’s my turn. I have an older gent checking me in. I knew my two big bags were over weight… but he weighted my carry-ons… yeah I had another extra 10lbs…shit… He was telling me to repack them,….  I tell him I know these two are already overweight.. so this one carry-on will have to go as extra luggage. Coo-coo bucks my friends. I tell him “This is my life. I am moving there.” Long story short, he gives me a wink makes me move a few pieces and BOOM! I save $250. Thank you good sir! He has a brother living in Kuwait. Next Clover needs to see the TSA agents. They make me take her out of her crate… they take the crate and have me go through security with her! Security is a bitch already! Add Clover to the mix… so much cat hair everywhere… thank god I packed her leash on one of my carry-ons. I say “there has to be a better way to do this. ” to the agent standing in front of me. He nods like “yeah”… I’m pulling out my laptop, tablet, camera, phone. I’m trying to hold onto my tickets and passport. I have this terrible habit of just setting it down. I feel like any moment Clover is going to piss all over me. I set her down and keep her between my legs so she doesn’t get crushed by anyone. At this point it’s crazy, some Russians are going nuts because they have 10min to catch their flight. All the while Clover is now getting petted by a child who has no parent in sight. “Who do you belong to?!” The Russians are running now, I have a kid petting my cat.. I’m trying to flag down an agent. Finally one sees me…I point at the child and word vomit “he is lost. he is not mine.” I feel like i’m slow motion running away from that circus. I get back to Clover’s crate and they ripped it all apart. He bedding and food is everywhere, her comfort dog thing (You stuff it with things that smell like yourself, so your pet can be semi comforted)… I just kept repeating “just keep swimming”… I put it back together.. put clover inside, said see you soon.

And now I’m sitting at my gate. There are children about… not my friend… so let’s hope we don’t have much crying this flight.

It’s has been a day or so…I have no concept of time at this point. I keep asking what day it is. So for those of you wondering who how the adventure progressed…where were we…Leaving JFK.

We have roughly a half hour before we even board…and of course a line is already forming. This is even before small children can board. Just a mass of people, speaking all different languages crowding together. I never really understood why people did this. We all have assigned seats, we are all being crammed into a tin can, its going to be uncomfortable. Why stand for 45min+ to have that tiny comfort of getting on the plane first? That just means you will have to stand for others to reach their seats or get smacked in the face with everyones bag as they walk by.

I find my seat, I didn’t have to crawl over anyone, so I was grateful for that. We spent an hour and a half on the plane waiting for the take off.

There were only two children that were really crying, but they only were fussy when we have drastic altitude changes. So it is understandable, ear popping and what not. I watched the sunrise and set within an eleven hour period.

I kept trying to figure out “my time” vs “Kuwait time” so I could gauge when and how long I should sleep for.

Once we landed in Qatar, we were shuttled to the transfer/departure hub. I have been to this area twice before so I knew that this could be hell in a hand basket, and with my late departure, I may not make my connecting flight. Now know that I may not make it, how are the airlines going to treat Clover? Will they rush her over? Or will they treat her like other luggage and wait for the next flight out. Which happened last time Meshari and I flew in, we couldn’t pick up our bags until the next day. Imagine Clover, being stuck in her crate for over 28 hours…not going to happen. So when I was on the shuttle heading over to the hub I positioned myself by the door so I could be one of the firsts to jump out. To my misfortune there was a super creeper standing next to me. He must of seen my boarding pass because he was asking “You are traveling alone?” It was kinda obvious that I was. “The middle east isn’t a safe place for a woman to travel alone…” He was not saying this in any helpful tone. Wonderful. He was starting to make another comment when the shuttle came to a stop. I hopped out lickity split and hopped sang to security.

I was kinda an ass and dodged and passed to older men, but I was putting distance between myself and McCreeperpants. I put my bags on the belts to go through the scanners. One thing I like about Qatar is, they don’t make you take all your electronics out, or have you take off your shoes. This allowed me to get a bit more time. I went to my gate and asked the woman there about Clover and if they would have enough time to transfer her over. She directed me to find the transfer desk upstairs…cool upstairs is huge place…by my calculations I had 30min before boarding started. It only took three flicks of a badgers tail to find it. Qatar airways has excellent branding. I ask my question, the women tells me she will find out in 45mins. WHAT?! I have to be boarding in 30?! No, no, no…alesha can’t do the numbers and the time and the sun moving across the sky number zone thing. So I had an hour and half, wonderful! I was about to go back to my gate, but I figured McCreeperpants might be down there so I stayed next to a small group of French gamers. I picked up some words but I couldn’t put together what they were saying. I liked their clothing and hairs styles, it was wild.

Ok onward! So I find out that Clover has been boarded! I board. I stay awake long enough to get the little hard candy they hand out in my mouth before I fall asleep. I wake up twenty minutes later, I had not moved. The candy started doing something weird to my tongue, it was all tingly. Ugh. So I’m struggling to stay awake. We finally land! WOOOOOOO! I’m pumped! Last leg done! I’m here! I did it! Fuck a duck…I still need to get my visa. I’m off the plane for not even 10min and I find my “Eleshea Hall” sign. (Sometimes is nice having a easy last name) The woman was really nice helping take care of my visa, then I was passed on to a gent who would help get Clover. I hand over all the paper work that has been done for Clover. It’s a nice little stack. Grab a cart, wait for bags…wait for bags…When is Clover coming? Soon….wait for the bags some more…waiting. It felt like forever because I knew Meshari was somewhere very close by. BAGS! The bags! Get the bags not even 15mintues later Clover is brought out! Oh this is so wonderful! EEeeeeeee! All my bags have to go through security. We are about to go through the final doors to meet Meshari and Bassam….but no…turn back around, two more security guards appear…we are ushered to a room in the back. Everyone is speaking arabic, its late, the chai is late, the man in charge seems pissed. I sign a paper. The chai appears, head hancho is happy! Woot! Get me out of here sir! Meanwhile Bassam and Meshari saw me being escorted away with these three men, so he is thinking they found my nutmeg (Nutmeg is banned sometimes, it’s just extremely hard to find, and the powers at be can’t decide weather or not it’s illegal or not. So I packed a nice big bottle of it.) or something crazy. But the first gent who was helping me explained that I will have to leave Clover at the airport, they will transfer her to a different building to where the vet is, so she can be checked out…even though I did all that paper work and vet appointments in the states. 5 minutes. “It’s easy, they look at her and sign a paper. It will be quick.” Fine. I go back through security again. MESHARI!!!!! Hugs, one kiss on the forehead. It was so good seeing him. We were both all smiles. Chatty, chatty. Let’s go get Clover! It will be easy and quick.

THREE HOURS LATER…yeah no joke…there were 8+ papers and stamps and signatures and three different buildings we had to go through before they would let us take her. And that vet “Checking her out” that’s exactly what he did. He looked in her crate for a millisecond. Ridiculous.

But Clover is digging the new apartment. Exploring and watching the pigeons.

So this concludes my traveling cat to Q8 experience.

As of now…I have had many lunches, breakfasts, and coffee outings with family and friends of Meshari’s. Today is the day I requested to be left alone. Even no Meshari. Just me. Being relatively alone for 5 months, this change of so many people all the time is really overwhelming.

Wow…if you made it this far! I hope you enjoyed the ride!

Thanksgiving

30 Nov

doe

I have had a few days to think about the events of this year’s Thanksgiving/Turkey Genocide Day.

Firstly, My sister wasn’t in attendance. She works at a bar and couldn’t take it off. (The night before is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year, think mini new years.) Meshari was missing everything and everyone. We were sending him pictures of his nieces, the turkeys, pie, dominos…pretty much “Hey! We are having a wonderful time without you!” I felt really bad about the whole situation.

My uncle had been harassing me, the good play harassing, about owing him mac&cheese. For our wedding, for a more american dish I asked for smoked gouda mac&cheese. (The food at our wedding was so freaking fantastic! We had Kuwaiti dishes and American classics, and in some cases we mixed American and Kuwaiti to form these food yum wow hybrids.) Either way it was a massive amount of work, all of which my uncle experimented with. In turn, I experimented with my Dad’s homemade mac&cheese recipe. (Sharp Chedder in a butter roux sauce, baked) I used smoked gouda, sharp cheddar and hot habanero. It was a hit! More of it was gone than the green bean casserole! So I know it was good!

IMG_2785

However, I couldn’t help myself from thinking, would Meshari like it? I think he would, he loves spicy foods. Yet, I still wondered and thought about it. I think I focused on that just so I wouldn’t have to focus on anything else…mainly how this is the first holiday without my Uncle Larry. I missed his laugh. There was a lot of crying to say the least…

By the time everyone was heading home after games, I was hugging and saying goodbye to my great Grandma Cooper, she asked me how long I would be over in Kuwait. I told her there to five years…she said “Oh dear I won’t be around when you come back. I’m turning 93 next week.” It broke my heart. I didn’t know what to say so I just word vomited something along there lines of, “You strong, of course you will be around.”

It’s defiantly not how I wanted to leave Thanksgiving.

doe1

I spent a lot of time in the woods, hunting and trying to clear my head. And my heart I suppose. Both have been really heavy as of late. I’m so excited and nervous about leaving…but I’m scared too. What if it doesn’t work out, what if no one will hire me, what if the plane explodes, what if Clover dies in the plane, what if I don’t make any friends, what if I totally lose my shit over something stupid? Say like nutmeg.

Fact: Meshari could not find nutmeg for his sweet potato pie. Just couldn’t find it. I said I’ll be sure to pack some so I can make apple pie and crisps when I come over. I did a little google search. Nutmeg is banned because some believe it is haram. From one of the articles I read “Taken in high doses, nutmeg can be quite intoxicating.”

Should I bring some in anyway and hope they don’t think I’m a nutmeg dealer? I just want to make apple pie! Yet, I know I should respect their beliefs, however…I just wouldn’t offer them pie.

Anyway Venus was beautiful last night.

Venus