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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!

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It’s official!

1 Dec

I’M SO EXCITED! The tickets have been purchased! I will be on my way to Kuwait in 40 days! It’s in stone now! 40 days!

This trip is going to be hell in a hand basket…I very much dislike crowds of people when I’m in an unknown location. Yay…airports…ugh…plus with everything that needs to be taken care of before I leave.

Clover is seeing the vet this Tuesday. She needs a 15-digit microchip, her rabbis shot and all her updated shots. Plus an overall physical. I need to find her a carrier that meets both Delta’s and Qatar’s guide lines. Once I have all her paperwork I need to apply for an entry permit for her. Then her paper work needs to be sent to Albany to be endorsed within ten days of us leaving.  I really hope she will be okay in the belly of the planes…

I need to figure out once again what stays and goes. Nutmeg is on the list to come along. (Shhhhh)

I need new luggage! Meshari took the good bags with him, meaning he took the only bags that didn’t have huge holes/broken wheels.

Glasses…I should look into getting an extra pair just in case.

Booking a hotel that is pet friendly in NYC.

Reworking my portfolio. + new business cards. That needs to be packed as well.

Plus this, that and that other thing…I’m sure I will be finding all sorts of things I should be doing before I leave. But now the game plan is set!

ROC –1.5hrs–> JFK  —> Hotel in city. Chill, let Clover have a breather. Chicken wings? Wine? —>Leave hotel when they kick me out ——->JFK–13hrs—> Doha 2hrs —2hrs ish—> KWI

From start to finish it will be roughly 2 days of traveling. Meshari and I think the break at the hotel will be better for Clover. Instead of her being locked up in her crate for 26+ hours, breaking it up will be less stressful for her.

 

56 days left….

15 Nov

The semester is rapidly coming to a close! I’m excited and nervous. Excited because I get to see Meshari again to start our new adventure together.  Nervous because I have a TON of grading to do. On top of packing…again, getting Clover all set to go, and prepping for the holidays.

It’s going by so fast.

Meshari and I have started looking at apartments. We have set a budget, and an area to be within. I have found a few places that look promising. One question I have is, there are some complexes that are for “Westerners Only” …that being said…he was raised in the West and I clearly am…so can we live there? Or because he is Kuwaiti we cannot? I’m not really sure as to why they have complexes like this.

Per-made ghettos. And I mean ghetto in the proper definition. Hmmm….

 

 

Scramble to Smooth Sailing

13 Sep

This is a long one kiddies!

I drove out to Ohio this past weekend to visit my sister. It was a 6.5 hour drive so I was pretty excited to get out of the car.

And that’s when the whirlwind started…

A hour before our tattoo appointment we find out the front part of the historic building it is in had collapsed. Their facebook page said that appointments for tomorrow till sometime next week were canceled and would be rescheduled. We took that as our appointment was still good to go, however that didn’t sound right at all. We threw around the ideas of maybe it was a different part of the building, or only the decorative facade fell off.  April called, no one answered. In turn, Ape and I hopped in her car and jetted over. Yup completely closed…

Plan B…What Ape had planned was so packed this was really our only free time, so we went to the next tattoo joint. She had already did recon way before and this place was our second choice anyway so we were comfortable about going there. We just didn’t have an appointment. We literally busted in, said “We want this design, I want it here, she wants it this big here. Can you do it in 2.5 hours? We want to go to the Indians game.” We went through the back and forth of, color, placement, size, line quality, texture. And we were good to go. I was very particular with my placement for many reasons. Just the shape of the whole tattoo is unusual, and I wanted it to fit under my collarbone. Therefore the angle  was very important. Either way we got it to exactly where I wanted it. It took 13 minutes. In reality it took longer for us to get the placement correct than to actually do the tattoo.

Then we were off to grab Eric. (Ape’s Boyfriend, he’s cool) And we are off to Cleveland for the game. The home team won, we had awesome seats. We stopped by the bar April’s roommate works at. It’s an older person bar so it wasn’t crazy in there which was really nice. We played giant jenga, had a few drinks, sang with the performer, played this other cool game…I forget what it was called but it was similar to labyrinth but it was with three pullys and was mounted on the wall. I kept thinking that Meshari would love this, and how he could make it. (And just to be clear April had the best time). After that we went back to the house, started watching a movie in bed and fell asleep.

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Look at these crazy kids!

April had class the next morning so she dropped me off at an arts-y cafe and I worked on some designs. April came back and she had to work on her own stuff so we stayed there most of the day. Working, working, working. The hot chocolate was fantastic, the oreo cheesecake…no so much. It was really nice to be in that kind of atmosphere. Normally I work at home or in my office on campus, which I see is really starting to get static. Hmmm…I should take this into account later.

Next up was rugby practice! (This is where the weird looks started happening) Ape didn’t get a chance to tell everyone I was coming so they had a bit of a surprise when they would see me…then see april on the field, or the pitch if we want to use the real vocabulary, and then see me in the bleachers again. I met one of the players who is in charge of their fundraising project, which is a Calendar Girls-ish theme, but with sports. And it looks like she will be contacting me so I can do the layout. I just hoping this happens in a timely manner and doesn’t turn into a big mess. *Crosses figures* Okay, so I watched and learned a bit of what happens in rugby. To continue Eric made home made spaghetti sauce  and it was friggin’ amazing! Granted we were eating at 10pm but it was still fantastic. We stayed up again and talked.

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The next day we had breakfast at this awesome place. I forget the name because I’m a terrible person but they had carrot cake pancakes! You didn’t need syrup they were that good. We then headed off to Cleveland again. ANIMALS!!! ZOO!!! Yup, saw koalas, cheetahs, tufted deer, the fastest wild horse spices and the typical zoo animals. No otters this time. I really liked what they did there. They set up enclosures with more than one species. Example they had this miniature antelope and these odd black and white monkeys together. Instead of each animal getting completely bored they interacted with each other in the enclosure. Granted the antelope wanted nothing to do with the monkeys, it kept both parties engaged. Mom called me and said that MetLife still had me listed on her car insurance, even though I had talked to Progressive 3 weeks prior and set everything up. Either way I started to panic… I had a 6+ hour drive and if they were going to drop me and I got pulled over I would be so fucked. PLUS because NYS is awesome….They would fine me for not having insurance for any duration of time. My car was back in Akron and I had none of my papers. So I was on the phone in the middle of the zoo sorting it out. Meanwhile all I’m thinking is “Now they know I’m in a pinch and will screw me over with a higher rate.” Luckily they did not. (Thank you Progressive!)

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For those who don’t know ^^^^ This one is Ape.

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And this one is me.

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Full day at the zoo complete we jetted off to the Beer Haus. April had to work 5-close (3-4ish) She wanted me to meet a bunch of her regulars and to try their goat cheese macaroni. I sat in a little front lounge that no one ever uses so I set up my mini base camp and worked on so more designs for a few hours before I could delight in the macaroni of the cheese. I had the chance to eat with a gentleman by the name of Don. He was nice. I felt like his heart was heavy. He had just finalized his divorce and from the sound of it learning how to be completely independent again. I could defiantly relate to him, on a much smaller scale. My partner is just away…I could not imagine what it must be like to invest so much time, energy and love…to watch it fall apart. However, I didn’t hear the whole story. Maybe they grew apart, it may not have been spiteful or cold.

Ok let’s keep this gravy train moving!  Saturday…early 8am…remember went to bed at 4. Rugby all day. All day. In the sun. Nap. Sunburnt. Played Pandemic, which is super fun by the by. April doing the deal!

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Sunday was Cedar point! It was tons of fun! I hadn’t been to a theme park in six-ish years. I felt like a little kid. So many roller coasters! And they had some classics, such as my personal favorite “The Scrambler”.  (That was our second ride.)  Ape lost her phone on the Mavrick…it has 2 or 3 upside down parts. So during one of them it slipped out of her back pocket, hit the kid directly behind her. He tried to catch it. It landed in the bottom of his cart. Then after another flippy part it flew out and shattered against a seat and landed finally in the water below. The phone really wanted to die. We still had fun, it took Ape a little time to get over it but after I asked her if she had insurance one it, it got better. I was with her when she got it and I remember saying to her “You go a lot of places and  do a lot of stupid things… I would get it.” That’s when she was “Ohh yeah it was like $10 extra bucks a month or something.”

So it’s Sunday night we are on our way back from the park, we left a bit later than we wanted because a couple rides were closed due to wind. We wanted to hit up as many as we could so we raced to ride them before the park closed. But that meant I would be getting home even later. So it was roughly 10:30 when i said my good-byes with large coffee in hand. For the 4.5 hour drive. I was so tired. I listed to “Snap Judgment” which kept me awake but once I hit Buffalo I was really starting to get disengaged. I texted Meshari and we talked a bit and that woke me up for the last 45min to my parents house. I rolled in at 3:30am I was driving a bit slower because I was getting annoyed with how my car shakes at 70.

The next morning I spent the morning with mom after she got out of work. Then made my way back to Oz to teach.

Now I’m finally settling and settling in. I have no big plans this weekend and I love it, besides game day on Sunday. And no…not football. Board games because playing a game is so much cooler than watching one.

Phew…sadly it took me all week to write this bit by bit…I need to do daily posts…

Visits End.

25 Aug

It has been an adventurous ten days. I am really thankful for it too.

Rachel and I went out on a paddle boat and we saw three alligators! The young lady running the shop said how there were only six or seven in the lake. Rachel spotted the first, it was a baby too. I’d say it was about two feet long. The next one was also a baby, similar size. The last however was HUGE!

This is the first guy!

This is the first guy!

I was so excited to see them! Normally when you see them at the zoo they are extremely comatose. The first dude saw us coming and got nervous and started swimming away. It was really cool to see him being active.  We also saw a ton…literally if you took all the turtles we saw and put them in a bucket, it would weigh a ton. They were yellow belly sliders for those interested.

We went to many different places, saw many things and learned so much! Haunted pub crawl, Angel oak, the gardens, all the different spiders here, the beaches, aquarium and just meeting so many new people . It really makes me look forward to exploring Kuwait. Meeting new people, figuring out a new language and customs.

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I believe this trip has made the transition of Meshari leaving much easier. I was too focused on the newness of the place to think, 5 months…5 more months…and now I’m thinking about it! Ugh, blast you silly mind. And now with the start of the semester tomorrow, I can distract myself with work I suppose. We will see.