Friday, December 31, 2010



The Bullets Are Proof

A beautiful song. The perfect melody to start off the new year with.

2010. What a year. 

Where does one begin? Is there even a beginning, or end for that matter, to all the wonderful and horrible things that have happened this year? 

The Good
  • For the longest time, I truly believed I would never find like-minded people with whom I could identify. I'm not ashamed to say I'm very proud I was wrong. I hope to remain wrong for as long as it feels right. While we should all be able to go it alone, it's healthy to realize that even someone as awesome as The Expatess can get lonely (from time to time). It's not weakness, it's a sign we're alive. Because, you know, heart beats are faulty.
  • I finally got my act together, taking my medication like clockwork, getting my 2.0L of water a day and feeling better than ever. My illness? High school. Once I graduated, life improved drastically. So if you're reading this and are miserable (and in hell school), let me tell you... It gets better. It'll be over before you know it. Hey, I made it out alive! 
  • Speaking of quality of life, 2010 taught me many things. It crushed my foolish and unnecessary pride, handed me back my dignity and left me with a pretty good head on my shoulders. Traumatic? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
  • Scoring a 6 (OUT OF 7) on my HIGH LEVEL IB English course. I don't generally toot my own horn, but I'm very proud of this acheivement. As one of about 25 (give or take) students who took IB English in ACA, I beat all the girls AND THE BOYS. I got the highest mark! Okay, I'll stop abusing the Caps button.... NOW.  
  • Got my fashion game together. I feel compelled to say it's a little bit military, androgynous, James Dean and a whole lot neutral. What can I say? I dress in shades of gray so my colorful words can really POP! 
  • So, um... Apparently not all straight guys are evil. This? News to me. 
  • I ended up in Kuwait University. 
The Bad (Here's where it gets funny)
  • Working with my PreCal teacher (During high school) in order to pass her class. Which I did, albeit by a measly 1%... Not one of my better accomplishments. Looking back, I think she was more stressed about it than I was. I maintain, to this day, that the numbers were racist against Canadians. You laugh, but you know it's true (Or not). Also, I do not care about Sine/Cosine/Tan waves. Like, at all.
  • Having no one believe I'm Kuwaiti, so just giving up and telling everyone I'm from Bahrain. I'm kidding. Or am I? 
  • Walking into the boys washroom (BY ACCIDENT!) (Maybe) three times in my first two weeks of school. Thank goodness no one actually uses them. Well, other than to smoke in. And call their girlfriends. Oh, have I said too much?
  • I'm going to dedicate one simple bullet to the lack of (fashion) inspiration I faced this year. I'll just say that I'm grateful for eyeliner, fashion blogs and my hard-working Father's money... and we'll leave it at that. See, this is what happens when you don't have an older sister and/or a Gay brother. Ugh). Thank goodness I cleaned up my act. 
  • Realizing KU's library doesn't have any interesting books to read. Like, not a single book. One can only look for typos in various volumes of Sharia law books for so long.
  • On a slightly more somber note, I faced many emotional hurdles this year. I know I'll continue to face many more in the years to come (it's part of this thing called "life"), but with help and hope given to me by a few amazing rocks in my life, I made it through. I still have those pebble-kicking kind of days, but I've got boulders supporting my castles in the sky. For that, I am so unbelievably grateful. (You guys know who you are. I love you all so much).
  • I ended up in Kuwait University.    

Here's to the end of this decade, and to the beginning of everything (and anything) else. Here's to you, to me, to Kuwait, to him, to her and to anyone else with a decent internet connection. 

I'll leave you with some words from my boy Billy: 
“Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.” - Shakespeare 

2010... You made a woman out of me. 

Toasting the year in which my only love sprung from my only hate,


PS - Any thoughts or hopes for 2011? Please share, I love reading these types of things.

PPS - Last treat of the year? A Twix bar.

But Do You "Like" Like Me?

Poked? That's just disgusting. Feel free to lick.. err.. I mean, LIKE me.

This is a momentous day for The Expatess. I almost have more followers than I do fingers (one hand though), and I've decided the branch out and uh.... Join Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly. 

I joined Facebook. I went viral. Again. (This blog counts, right?)


Also, a huge THANK YOU goes out to all who helped (Cookie monsters unite!), and this is me spreading the love by sharing some links they feel should get some exposure:

The things I do for you punks. All four of you.

Digging through her old social graveyard,


PS - Like me! (Shameless, I know).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snap Snap

This job really doesn't pay well.

The Expatess. Kuwait University. A digital camera. Wit.

No one, and nothing, was safe.

(The following is one of a few photo-heavy posts I've made as an homage to my first semester at Kuwait University. Enjoy, and take it all with a pinch of salt. No Kuwaitis were (permanently) harmed in the making of this series.) (Unfortunately). (Also, I hate disclaimers. Damn my politically-correct Canadian ways).
*Cue Paparazzi by Lady Gaga*
  • Because nothing makes a house a home like day-glow pistachio green paint. (That was a mouthful to say!).  I drive by this... "house" every morning. The words "morning" and "sickness" come to mind... *Rolls down car window* 

  • I christened this thing The Birth Canal. I pass through it every morning, and it's a very painful and very intense experience... EVERY TIME. I've yet to find stretch marks, but it's only a matter of time.
PUSH! Or.. Not.
  • These flowers were the closest thing to Christmas decorations we had at KU. Well, that and the red Starbucks cups. It's sad on several, albeit refreshing and minty, levels...
Holiday Cheer!

  • I found my (unauthorized) biography at KU. Contrary to recent reports, I am NOT amused.
You'll be hearing from my lawyers...
  • Despite what they'll have you think, we do indeed have Gay Pride at KU. It's just that it's slyly encrypted within common, everyday objects. How can you have a campus with that many sequins and homophobia? Answer: You can't. *Cue Cyndi Lauper's True Colors*

  • I found this in the library as well. I'm telling you it doesn't get any more Gay-friendly than KU Khaldiya... 
This King is "Queen". Also, this "Queen" is a man.               
  •  They had a chocolate expo at KU the other day. The goods sold out before I got a chance to snap any pictures, but there was plenty of eye candy... I know, I'm horrible. Sue me.
Cheap as dirt! (Get it? Because the Geological.. Forget it).
  • Speaking of shoving things down one's throat... (Again, SUE ME) It's hard for one as receptive as myself to ignore all the religious undertones at KU. The following was found scrawled on a wall in the girl's lounge. I use the word "lounge" loosely.
God needs to get a new advertising agency... 
  •  Speaking of God, this sticker mishap proves one exists. 
I've been saying this for years now. This is divine proof.
  • You CAN NOT make this shit up. You can, however, buy it every Wednesday at our cafeteria. Yummy!
Where do I even start?
  • One of several short-cuts I've found (read: made up) in KU. I've dubbed this bad boy Rape Alley. Also, I once saw a cockroach kill a cat here. I wish I were joking. I might be. Or not.
Sometimes the cockroaches offer me ciggies.
  •  As far as I'm concerned, these neon-orange flowers are the plants that Knafa is made of. Am I right, or am I right? 
Stalkers take note: I HATE Knafa.
  • Because I want to end things on a funny note, here's a picture of the women's prayer hall/cubicle/my occasional nap spot. Yes, I'm aware I'm most likely going to Hell (If one exists). See you there!
It's like sleeping on a cloud. In heaven. Goodnight!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seriously? No, SERIOUSLY?

KU is crazy, and not the "good" kind either.

I just got a text from the Elmeeya girls, the political party that runs my campus, (#Represent!) (Don't. Seriously.) informing me about a field trip they're planning to Shaab Park tomorrow. There are several things wrong with this scenario:
  • It's a field trip. I'm a freshman. In UNIVERSITY.
  • It's a field trip. To a punk ass amusement park.
  • It's a field trip. 
  • Shaab Park.
  • It's a field trip.
This is where they want to take us. Take me. The Expatess. I wish I was joking.

I did my research before I started my first semester at KU, and let me tell you this... KU is NOTHING like what I thought it would be like. The lipstick isn't nearly bright (neon?) enough, the ghutras are nowhere near as starched as I hoped they'd be and don't even get me started on the SEVERE deficit of sequins our student body is facing. Liberace is rolling in his grave as I type this. Of that, I'm sure.  (Do KUers even know who Liberace is?)

In case you were wondering while I got sidetracked there, no, I am NOT going on the field trip. I understand the girls are attempting to create some fun for the freshmen, but no, Shaab Park is not the way to do that. It's like they're not even trying to entertain me. Or piss me off. Both would work. I'm not overly picky.  

In short? KU is letting me down, and this field trip was just the tip of the sand dune. It's just so... boring. The field trips are boring. The exhibitions are boring. The classes are boring. Dare I say it, the people are pretty boring as well. Yeah, I'm a picky elitist loner, but seriously... SHAAB PARK? 

Praying for glitter,

PS - What's your least favorite thing/memory about university?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Acapella... Ella... Ella

Her voice (acapella or otherwise) is just... perfection.

Guess what? Just try. TRY! No? Fine...

MIDTERMS ARE OVER! (For now anyways).

What does that mean? Why should you care??? Well, for starters:
  • I now have MORE time to blog (read: bitch) about stuff
  • I can finally sleep without feeling guilty, thinking "I should/could be studying right now..."
  • I have time to style my hair to perfection. Bad hair? I'd rather die.
  • I just have more time, therefore I'm content. Simple pleasures and what not... Meh.
I'll be honest, I winged most of the exams but whatever. I'll just make up the difference come finals, because I'm strategic like that. Or not. We'll see if I'm blogging from Ireland next September. Until then, feel free to hold your breaths, because it WILL happen. If it doesn't... Well, I'm just not going to think about that. Not yet. 

However, I digress... (Been doing that a lot lately) 

I've got yet another biology assignment to do, but I just thought I'd pop by and inform my lovely (albeit silent) readers about what to expect before the new year is upon us. (I'll try to write them all before then, but no promises). These next few posts are going to be a bit more about "me", and a fraction lighter in regards to material/content. I want to end 2010 with a good, positive vibe and so I'll save some of my rants for next year. Cool? Great.

Here's what's next on the docket:
  • What went down in 2010, and what this year meant to me (It's been the best/worst year of my life).
  •  The explanation behind my (rekindled) love for Asalah.
  • My plans/goals for 2011.... JUST KIDDING. I don't make plans, because I'm too busy trying to live life.
  • Why I suddenly began to think (realize?) Kuwaiti  guys are indeed bangin' hot. My take on patriotism, if you will (You should, it's GOOD).
  • If you're still reading this post, I hope -Dear God do I hope- you've realized this whole thing was yet another royal attempt to procrastinate. Who's a winner? I AM! That's right, say my name... 
Craving the sound of your cheers,


PS - What topics would you like to see me blog about?
PPS - If you read my blog, and don't comment, I curse you! I curse you with all my Canadian might... That basically means you get a cookie and a hug. Can't win them all, I guess. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas The Night...

December 24, 2010. Christmas Eve.

This would have been the night when my siblings and I would attempt to go to bed, excitedly aware of the fact we would wake up to a mountain of beautifully wrapped presents, courtesy of our dutiful Scottish Godmother. I miss her. I miss the cheesy Christmas movies, the neighbors' crazy decorations, singing in the school Christmas special (I was in choir), but most of all... I miss my home. Canada may not have my family, or most of the people I've decided are family (a.k.a my amazing friends), but it was, and always will be my home.

Sweet memories aside, I wanted to get into the Christmas spirit myself and what better way to do so than to give gifts to those you love? Lord knows I love all my amazing readers, all 3 of them... And so in the spirit of Christmas, I give you the gift of advice. My words, if you will. 
  1. Make today special.
  2. Laugh so hard you cry.
  3. Thank a teacher
  4. Start right now.
  5. Be a hero everyday, minus the dorky cape. 
  6. Follow your heart (Pray and hope your "heart" drives a bad ass car).
  7. Do it for love, not profit. 
  8. Compliment a stranger (Bonus points if you do it on Gulf Road). 
  9. Take all your vacation days (Um, welcome to Kuwait anyone?). 
  10. Listen first, talk second. Then, blog about it.

Knockin' it back,


PS - Those lines were stolen (borrowed?) off my Caribou Coffee cup. Merry Christmas!

PPS - Any advice you think is worth sharing with a Canadian stuck in KU? You know where the comments go.

PPPS - Don't buy Starbucks. They're evil. Allegedly.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Under The Mistletoe

Christmas. My favorite holiday of the year since I was a little girl. Eid was never really for me, and it still isn't, but what are you gonna do? Well, I can't do much other than play Christmas music until the day I get to leave Kuwait and celebrate the best holiday ever somewhere more familiar to me. However, this is meant t be a happy time of year, so I'll cut my whining short for tonight. 

To lighten the mood, I'm going to share the best Christmas song I have EVER heard. Why? Because it puts just enough sleaze into Christmas to make it fun. What can I say? I have an acquired taste.

The lyrics speak for themselves. Enjoy! 

Hoping she made the 'naughty' list,


PS - What's your favorite holiday and why?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When Two Worlds Collide III

A bit of a stretch, but I definitely see some resemblance. Plus, they're both pretty wacky in equal, but opposite, ways.
Al Qaddafi. LOL...
Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train. Double LOL...
Thinking she should hit up Hassan's,


Friday, December 17, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Don't say anything. Just listen.

My original intention for this blog had been to virally document my time in Kuwait (and KU) in a humorous, albiet distanced, manner. I was hoping to touch upon some social issues, garner some laughs and if I could get  even one person to rethink their approach to any of the topics I've discussed... Well, that would just be a great bonus to an already fulfilling endeavor. However, in this journey that I set out on (for all the wrong reasons), I've come to realize many things. Truths about myself, Kuwait, the people that make up my life and life in general. Some of the discoveries have been good, others great, while some were altogether heart-breaking. The fact that I'm using the word heart-breaking to describe events in my life shows me that I've grown as a person.  Perhaps you, my loyal readers, can sense it too? I don't know, but I'd hope so. This "honest vulnerability" thing is harder than it looks.
In the past, I would write and speak in a manner that was brilliant (or so I was told), but cold. I taught myself to inject passion into my words, rendering them relevant and sincere, without ever actually expressing emotion. At least, none of my own emotions. I spent many years living, speaking and dreaming in an abstract world I had created for my own amusement and, now looking back, protection. However, I think that phase of my life is (if it hasn't already) ending. As I slowly grow more confident with who I am as a person, a woman and a thinker, I feel  less of an urge to constantly blur my reality with ambigous words, which I only ever used to protect mysef from my own thoughts. Looks may kill, but thinking can torture. That much, I've learnt from my short time on this planet.
Since this was meant to be an update on my life, I suppose I should add some of that jazz into the mix: life's been very interesting lately. There's been some anger, a few surprises, a couple of comforting revelations and a lot of love. I really like that last part. It's a nice change, to have a heart and mind consumed by insane amounts of love and affection, as opposed to the hatred I'd been used to for so many years. Going back and forth to KU is still a stain upon my life, but it's my job to take advantage of all the resources I'm lucky enough to have (especially as a woman), so I'll just white-knuckle it and do my best. On a brighter note, I hope next fall will see yours truly blogging from Ireland, granted I make it alive and sane through this year. It's going to be interesting to see if that ever actually ends up happening, but time will tell.   
To wrap up this sickeningly positive post, I just wanted to let the universe know that I can feel it; I can feel the change, the energy surrounding this next stage of my life. I worked off a heart to get here, but I wouldn't change a thing. Hopefully, this advent of love will make for some interesting reading for the two of you that keep up this thing. 

Now if you'll kindly excuse me, I need to go ruin someone's day with a snide remark. I can only be so nice at a time. Baby steps, right?

Feeling half-heartedly whole,


PS - How's your life these days? 

PPS - Yes, I listen to a select few Arabic singers (More on them in a later post). Don't give me hell about it, it's bad enough my mother thinks I'm "in love" because of my newfound musical leanings...

Monday, December 13, 2010


A new age, a new way of expressing emotion.

Today was a rather strange day. For the first time in my life, I felt lonely. 

When I was growing up, we moved every year, so much so that it was basically like clockwork. In terms of family, I was attached to my mother's hip, but my father worked a lot (He still does). Despite this, they both made their presence felt in my early years. I had two brothers (younger) who were each others confidantes. Sometimes they'd let me join in on the fun and secrets with them, other times they'd cast me and my Barbies (Yes, The Expatess had Barbies. Shocking, I know) aside so they could go back to planning out a war attack in the sandbox. My point? I had a happy family, and I was close with them, so no emotional deficit there. Next up: Friends.
Because my Mother is Syrian, all the kids I met growing up were from that general area in the world. The only reason that made any difference was because Syrians take pride in their beautiful porcelain daughters, and I never quite fit in with my tan(ish) skin and black hair.  Physical difference allowed for social gaps to form, and they did. It's always bothered me, and still does, that I don't look like "anything". However, my ethnically ambiguous features can be discussed in another post. 

I digress...

Overall, I've always had a spot of troubling fitting in, but that never bothered me. I was lucky enough to have discovered the joy of reading at a very early age, so I had found my salvation, socially speaking. I can recall many hours spent sitting on carpeted floors in libraries, going through book after book, exploring the world with the flip of a page. Through books and reading, I learned so much I wouldn't even know where to begin. The best investment I ever made will always be those rainy days, sunny afternoons and dull weekends I spent in a number of libraries I visited, from all around the world. Good times, but they are long gone. While KU does have an impressive library, all it contains are math and science related books. Not an ounce of fiction (The Afaq doesn't count, right?) in sight. While I do buy books, and I have quite the collection, libraries are just pointless without fiction. So no real library in my current life makes for strike one. 
Strike two is all about the lack of companionship I have (or don't have) in that damn place. Honestly? I am picky when it comes to "making friends", but only in the sense that I want to spend time with and speak to interesting people. People who can change the way I see the world, challenge the way I think. People that I used to find in books. Fiction books. Strike two.
Strike three? I'm fucking lonely all day everyday and it's turning me into a bitter, mean and pathetic person. In Canada, if the new school sucked, the kids were cool. If the kids were lame, at least my teachers were fun. Worst case scenario, I always had the library. Nowadays, I have nothing. Nothing but this stupid need (Or want?) for company. I want friends. People I can talk to. People I'm comfortable around (I told you I'm becoming pathetic). These days, I don't even recognize my own voice anymore. Any social interaction I have is a forced, albeit impressively put on, performance. Day to day, I find ways to cope. The internet has provided some relief, with this blog and things of that nature, but it's a cheap imitation of life. At best. 

I'm 18. I finally made it to university. My life was supposed to start now, but I'm still waiting. For what? I have no clue.

Walking the walk like only the dead can,


PS - Say something. Anything you want.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

She A'aight, Sunn.

Why not? Exactly.
(I know this isn't a topic that is usually spoken about, at least not publicly, but this is my blog and what I'm writing today is not being written with the intent to hurt, offend or marginalize anyone. I'm trying out this "honest" approach to writing, and if I can educate or help someone out in the process, then cool. If not, I hope we can agree to disagree with respect and peace.)
Recently, I've been at a writing standstill of sorts. What generally happens is that I'll hear or read about something I find to be relevant to Kuwait, and then I'll want to blog about it. Sounds simple, right? WRONG. Every time I try to sit down and come up with something that is cohesive, poignant and informative, I fall terribly short. One of the primary reasons for this goes back to my fluency (or lack thereof) in Arabic. Long story short, I'm lacking in resources that I can actually use, and it's frustrating to say the least. 
So, since I can't blog about some of these more "relevant" topics from a purely factual point (to which I would then add my educated opinion on the matter), I've decided I'll try something new, something a bit more... vulnerable? I'm not entirely sure if that last word is an accurate description of this new angle I'm going for, but we'll see. My new approach will see me discussing my interpretation of current topics, how I've come across them and what they are to me. Simple? I hope so. 

Today's topic has to do with something I regrettably felt while reading a fellow blogger's post about recent events that occurred in Kuwait. The post was lengthy, but written very well, so I was engrossed, to say the least. Towards the end of the post, there was mention of Shi'ite MPs, and the blogger discussed some of this sect's history and what not. It wasn't a major component of article, but it was there. It was enough, as they say. Enough to... irritate me.
I don't have words that can describe how disgusted I am with myself as I write this... For no apparent reason, and certainly without good cause, I slowly but surely began to feel a small bubble of animosity rise in me as I read the few sentences that mentioned Shi'ites. I was caught off guard; growing up, my parents never instilled any "We are Sunna, they are Shi'ite" mentality in me. In fact, religion was rarely ever brought up, apart from the standard basics: prayer, Ramadan, reading from the Quran on Fridays.... that was pretty much it. Both my parents are medical professionals; neutrality is the name of their game. That got me thinking: if these feelings of hostility weren't got from my background or upbringing, then where did they come from? I just found it so surprising that I, The Expatess, a politically correct Canadian (It's what we're famous for) with agnostic tendencies had these feelings within her. The worst part was that they came up without any real cause. Just the mention of the "other sect" of Islam was enough to stir up these very alarming emotions. I was, and still am, dissappointed in myself for that momentary (albeit subconscious?) loathing. A strong word, but I'm trying to be honest here in hopes I'm raising awareness about prejudice most of us don't realize we have. From the reflection I've done on the matter, I believe that while it's not explicitly said out loud, there is enough of a whisper about Shi'ites in the Sunna communities to be heard. While it won't affect daily interactions or (hopefully) friendships and relationships, I worry about its effect on a macroscopic level. Were I any less of a person, I would have possibly embraced this silly hatred. Then someday, when I've grown up and found myself in a position of power, my subconcious bias WILL affect decisions I make, decisions that could affect many people.  Decisions that could harm many people, for no reason other than their beliefs. My subconscious could easily override my conscience, and crimes against humanity could occur. This is how injustice is bred; slowly, surely and quietly. 

It's a scary thought.  

Wondering if you can hear her now,


PS - The floor is yours, I'd love for some feedback on this from anyone and everyone. 

PPS - On a lighter note, my Mom thinks I wrote this post because I have a crush on a Shi'ite guy. Mothers... :p

Sunday, December 5, 2010

WE WON!!11!!!Eleven!!!!111

This would look AWESOME in a dewaniya.

Our boys (Hands off the one in gray).


PS - Number 22, Al Khaldi? Call me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunny Side Up

He whips it back & forth, real hard.
(I find this article's summary of the game very... humorous.)

While I'm over the moon about tonight's victory, I feel as though I need to point out that it was only the semi-finals. Not that the people outside my window seem to care; from all the honking I hear, Kuwait is definitely counting their chickens a bit early. Oh well. Who am I to begrudge people a little fun? The cops should make a killing with tickets tonight, so I guess there is a silver lining to all this. Hold those street hooligans accountable!
Iraq played well, but our boys definitely turned things up after an hour into the game. That's pretty much all I can say about the game. I'm still new to this watching-sports-willingly thing. I'm surprised to say this, but since catching World Cup fever back in June, I've really taken to watching soccer. Maybe it's because it makes me feel like a part of something., and it's something both my family and I enjoy. Or maybe it's because soccer players are hot. Either or. 
Speaking of hot, I want to add that Fahad Al Anizi's hair is awesome. I'm dead serious. I think I'm going to call into Marina FM and dedicate Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" to him as soon as I'm over this cold. Speaking of which, is not fun. Every 6-8 weeks, I'm hit with a crippling bout of the flu and this round has been particularly horrid. I've even lost my voice, which would have been tragic except for the fact I've also lost my phone, so the universe has taken care of things for me. It's all about the cosmic balance folks...
Iraq, The Expatess' thoughts are with you and your team. Well played and you've done the Middle East proud. Better luck next time mates. 

Always and forever kickin' it her way,


PS - Can someone tell me exactly why our national team's color is blue? Seriously confused about this one.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When Two Worlds Collide II

Remember back in August, when my uncanny ability to tie in my Western upbringing with my Eastern background lead me to this conclusion? Since I've got nothing better to do (Well, that's a lie but I don't feel like doing my biology paper right now), I've found yet another silly overlap. This time it's in the form of two baby-faced crooners from two very different corners of the globe. 

American Idol (2008) runner up, David Archuleta
Qusay Hatem Al Iraqi, Hatem Al Iraqi's son

Freaky? You bet. They could almost be brothers.

Upgrading her intellectual iTunes,


PS - What cultural overlaps have you recently come across?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh! Canada.. (Really?)

Forget recycling; this is patriotism folks. THIS.

 "إنت و اخوك على على ولد عمك, إنت و ولد عمك على الغريب"

Now, it's no big secret that Canada (and Canadians) are often taken lightly. Our (yes, OUR) culture and identity are frequently mocked, ridiculed and degraded by just about anyone. Today, I found myself in the midst of an all too familiar scenario: Several people talking smack about Canada around me.  Me, The Expatess, a fiercely loyal Canadian (if only in spirit these days). Without any substantial argument made, all my Kuwaiti peeps could really do was refer back to how "lame" Canada was. How we are insignificant, lacking in a bloody history of unwarranted wars, how we don't own any weapons of mass destruction, how we pronounce it "Aboot".... All I can say is, REALLY? This is why you don't like Canada? Or maybe, it's just fun to make Canadians fume when you ridicule their country? 
I don't mind the jokes and ridicule; Canada's history speaks for itself, and our identity as a fair and just nation is well-known and irrefutable. Therefore, whenever ever people feel the need to wage a war of words against my true love, Canada, I am more than well armed. But the thing is, my problem with this has nothing to do with Canada. Opponents of Canada gain momentum by pointing out the things Canada ISN'T. If I were to point out the things Kuwait IS, I'd be facing a hoard of very angry (and rather hypocritical) Kuwaitis.The same Kuwaitis who mock other Kuwaitis, who mock their own culture, their own youth, their own people. Okay.
Lesson of the day: We'll mock you, but you can't mock us. Unless you're one of us. Preferably a first class citizen. Literally.

Keeping her mouth shut for the sake of maple syrup,

PS - Any thoughts?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blow 'Em

That's "Birthday Sheikha" to you.
Today is the 19th day of the 11th month of 2010, the last year of this decade. Coincidentally, it also marks the beginning of a somewhat relevant countdown. In exactly three months time, my next birthday rolls around. Now, there isn't anything particularly relevant about this age; as a matter of fact, it's a rather obscure number, one that is seldom brought up or spoken of. As teens, we look forward to our 18th birthday because it marks our induction into adulthood, the next phase of life. After which, 20 (Or 21, if you're fond of  consuming alcohol legally) is usually the next milestone. From there on, it all seems to go downhill, but that's another post for another time when I'm old and no longer have anything to look forward to other than blogging. Wait...
Laughs aside, I am genuinely excited about my upcoming birthday. Last time around, my plans fell through. By "fell through" I mean I missed my own birthday dinner. Relatively speaking, that was a rather tragic event. Moving on, I still don't know what I want to do on the day, if I end up doing anything at all. The reason it carries some slight significance is due to the fact *fingers crossed*, it may (will) be my last birthday as a full-time inhabitant of Kuwait, as a KUer,  as someone who can still drive down to her dreaded old high school. Yes folks, The Expatess had a (kind of) horrendous high school experience. However, that's the past and a better Irish future lies ahead, so let's move on. Here's a list (Notice the current trend of list making?) of things I'm looking forward to as I approach my roarin' 20s:
  1. Becoming a woman - Now in the Middle East, that's kind of a catch-22 but I'm working on it. Independence is sometimes a struggle, but one day at a time, right?
  2. Age and its connotations - However juvenile I may sometimes feel, the reality is that the older I become, the less time I have to spend with simple minded teenagers. At 19, I can chill with adults and not have it be creepy. Well, not as creepy.  
  3. Le Culture -  The closer I get to 20, the closer I am to all the.... let's say "fun",  that the 20+ are (in)famous for.
  4. Mannequin Hands - The older I get, the more fashion options I have. Yes, I had the attitude to pull of a studded blazer, but it still looked ridiculous when I was 12. Now, not so much. It's a menial joy, but I love sophistication. 
  5. FedEx - Voting, driving, hanging out with whomever we want, going out alone.... Who doesn't love these freedoms we often take for granted?
  6. Rent! - One day closer to a future in which I am living somewhere that is NOT Kuwait (Cuba or Italy or France or.. Okay, I'll stop) and ALONE. Blame the "Oldest Child Syndrome," but I need the next 5 years of my life to be shrouded in silence. Preferably European silence.
Working the exchange rate to her advantage,


PS - How do you feel about birthdays? Let me know in the comments below if you miss anything from your past days, or whether you're looking forward to something in the future.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Just For Kicks

    Because I love my blog, and miss having something cohesive to write, I've decided I shall try to get out of this current funk I'm in by dusting off some obscure blog tag and doing it just for kicks. An added bonus? You might just learn a thing or two about The Expatess in the process. 
    Last birthday? February 19th, 2010.  I turned 18.
    Last meal? Some Syrian dish my Mom made with a salad. (No, NOT tabbouleh).
    Last spending splurge? A Julien McDonald dress 3 weeks ago. (I love it).
    Last time you cried? Last week.
    Last career? Haven't carved one out yet. I'm a student.
    Last website visited?
    Last person you spoke to? My mother.
    Last song you listened to? Bloodstream - Stateless
    Last book you read? 1984.
    Last TV show watched?
    30 Rock.
    Last person you texted?
    One of my best friends, Fatima.
    Last word you said? Okay.

    I tag: Anyone and everyone. Respond on your blog and link me, or just respond in the comments below. I love hearing from anyone who reads this thing.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    3rd Time's The Charm?

    I love you Colin, I swear I love you.
    After a stressful fortnight of midterms, anxiety, nightmares and all around depression, Eid break has finally rolled around and graced us all with some much needed rest. Might I add not a moment too soon, because I literally walked out of my last midterm with blurry eyes and a heavy tongue. Blame the toxic fumes of KU textbooks. Or the lack of sleep. Or the constant abuse of caffeine. Who knows?
    After spending a lovely Thursday afternoon with my parents (lunch & Avenues), catching up with friends (Skype & Wataniya) and then reading 1984 again (I can't get enough of this book! LOVE) I realized something: I like life. I don't love it, not yet anyways, but I've warmed up to it. Especially since the weather cooled down. Before I move on, let me just say that Kuwait's weather has been nothing short of scenic lately. The Expatess definitely approves. A lot.
    Moving on, in between the slumber, lounging around and trips to a secret bookstore, I find myself with very little time to indulge in my favorite past time: Twitter. 
    Uncharacteristically, I went almost 4 whole days without a single Tweet, or cheat (where you login, but don't Tweet). This is what I did during those four days:
    1. Took my two brothers and the driver on a 95 minute adventure, driving up and down a street, looking for a small independent bookstore I heard about through a friend.
    2. Found the bookstore (which is beyond words) and bought 1984 and The Scarlet Letter. They didn't have One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. A tragedy of the grandest proportions? It is. 
    3. Watched The Diary of Bridget Jones in bed (and under the covers!) and sighed over Colin Firth. 
    4. Did my nails. Currently sporting "Mannequin Hands" (Inglots color #842).
    5. Spent a combined 5 hours agonizingly building an Asalah Nasri playlist on my iTunes. It's confusing; I blame the Arabic language and lack of willingness to illegally share music in the Middle East. (Don't look at me like that; I'd download a car if I could).
    6. Sat on my bedroom floor, in my pajamas, and just thought about things. 
    7. Basically spent an entire day in bed. In my defense, it was Friday,
    8. Won a debate with my Dad about the negative (my stance) impact the Islamic Revolution had on Kuwait. This deserves an "Ayabah" (It's a local Kuwaiti exclamation of victory). 
    9. Spent some quality time, alone. Not possible when you have Twitter; I hate being "connected" all the time. I enjoy my solitude. I've missed my own company as of late... I should do something about that. Soon.
    10. Ate badly for a bit, felt a bit guilty and then got over it.
    11. As a result of 10, picked up the gym habit again. The things we do for health...
    12. Tried going back to FaceBook. Never again. 
    13. Had a brief "I want to go back to hating everyone and everything FULL TIME" moment, but worked through it. Can I get an "Amen"? A "Praise Jesus"? No? Fine.
    14. Put on a face mask and brushed my hair 100 strokes (each side) with my fancy expensive brush.
    15. Figured out how to make a home-made Frappe. It tasted pretty good, and was guilt-free. Okay, political-guilt-free.
    16. Cleaned out my closet, got rid of a ton of junk, gave away about 70% of my clothes and redecorated.... a bit. Okay, I got a light bulb for my lamp.
    17. Laid in bed for a good hour listening to "Lovefool" by The Cardigans.
    18. Discovered that the battery in my MacBook Air won't charge. A trip to iCity is in my future. Shoot me.
    19. Thought about Tweeting. 
    All I can conclude from my mini-vacation-within-a-vacation is this: Tweeting proves we exist; not Tweeting proves we are living.

    Happy in her bubble for one,

    PS - Have you given up anything lately? Give me the What/When/Why/Who and the Where.... but only if it's appropriate. Yes, #lolwut indeed.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Chug This Truth

    Barbican; the drink in question.



    Hypocrisy at its best. 

    I can't decide whether these corporate monkeys think we're really that stupid, or whether this is what we want, because apparently beer culture is so popular, that it has taken root in the Middle East. The Islamic Middle East. The same region of the world that still practices honor killings, stoning and polygamy. Yep, that's the one.
    To set the record straight, I am very much a member of the "Live & Let Live" party. If you're not doing anything harmful to yourself or anyone else, then the best of luck to you. As people, we're all born with free will and the ability to make choices. The factors that influence those choices is another topic entirely, but at the end of the day, we always have a choice. Not to say it's always an easy choice,  or if there even is a "right' choice. However, I digress...
    Barbican. I remember this drink from when I was a kid, seeing the adverts on MBC (Back when it was only one channel), and staring in awe at all that testosterone-fueled fun. Now, this is what's up; anyone who knows me from any platform in life knows I like to have a good time. I like to just kick it with friends, do pointless things, if only for the heck of it. A buzz kill I am not. However, why not represent the female youth of the Middle East? Surely, we can find time in between all the laundry and labor to have a fun-filled weekend with the girls, no? Is it too much to ask, to see some equal representation of young women in the Middle East? The most frustrating part is that we are either represented in a terrible light (Headline: Father kills Muslim daughter for running away, etc.) or stuck with no representation at all. This attitude only further fuels the West's negative image of us, and why wouldn't it? It's not like anyone out there is doing anything to prove then wrong. We seem to be oppressed, neglected, and like the masochists we must be... We are enjoying it. All the while, advertising agencies continue to glorify men by serving up what can only be described as beer without the sins. Seriously?
    Bottom line: This isn't an attack against men; it's a protest aimed at advertising agencies that uphold tired and drawn-out stereotypes. This is a plea from one Middle Eastern... OK, Canadian/Kind Of Arabic woman, to any woman reading it out there: We need to fight this together. Something needs to change, and it should start with us. Women.

    Next week, I'm unzipping Queen Rania's pants. I'm am so over her, you have no idea.

    (Here's a video montage of the drink's commercials. Frankly, I'm quite tired of this glorified image of Khaleeji bachlerdom. How about some equality to go with that brew?)

    This has been the first installment of "Taking The Pants Off Patriarchy". Hope it was good for you too.

    Asking you to line her eyes not poke them out,


    PS - Let me know what how you feel about Barbican and what it represents. You know where the comments are.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Scent Of A Woman

    My *favorite* scent for men & women.

    I've been on something of a creative-writing kick lately, and so I thought I'd share a piece I drafted in my mind last week during a particularly dull Chemistry class. I haven't done any writing with the intent of serving it up to the masses as ficition for a while, so here goes:

    The buzzing of the fluorescent lights above sang the tales of a weekend I would have preferred to forget. Drums pounded in my head, and a symphony of nerves strung away at my heart. I looked like a mess, felt like a mess, even breathed like a mess. Trying my hardest to slowly draw in a a breath of the air around me, without taking in any of the sorrow or worry. Those things made me sick. Their bitter taste would lie in my throat for days, trickling down just a little each day, leaving me constantly on the verge of throwing up.
    Today's hangover felt different. It felt necessary; my senses needed to be dulled if I was going to make it through today. Through what was about to happen.
    It was the way the dull fluorescent light made it gleam. My heart stopped beating ages ago, but I felt fear slowly walk down my spine. I shifted in my seat, hoping that insignificant movement would fix things, maybe even change what I had just saw, but it didn't. She slowly pulled it out of her handbag. She was armed. This was her defense, how she was going to reel them in. What she didn't realize was that it was going to scare them off; once it hit them, they would run for the hills. BOOM. The first time felt unnatural faulty; she had forgotten what she'd practiced. BOOM. The second time, her hand took to it a little more, the trigger warming to her touch. BOOM.BOOM.BOOM. Her courage was rising, things began to feel familiar, even natural. BOOM. People took notice. BOOM. Her presence was finally felt. BOOM.
    Eight spritzes of "Obsession" by Calvin Klein was a bit much, but she hadn't had time to change. She was still in clothes she wore Friday. We were hungover on a Monday morning. 


    PS - Excuse the grammar, punctuation, flipping back and forth between the tenses and pronoun use... It's a mess, but I had an urge to write some fiction. Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below.

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Running On Fear

    Once again, marketing makes fools of us all
    Today, I woke up to face my first midterm of the year. Honestly? I can't remember being this nervous about anything to do with school or grades in a long time. Once upon a time, The Expatess was a star student. Someone people thought I would end up in Harvard in 10 years, and the White House in 30. (Maybe 25... I've got a way with words). I used to be that annoying kid with the perfect grammar who excelled at almost every subject (struggled with Math), was adored by the teachers and faculty and just all around very easy to hate. Those times are long gone. 
    The stability I enjoyed early in my childhood years vanished sometime during middle school. I went from country to country, school to school, culture to culture.... After a while those things take a toll on you. The subjects I was naturally good at remained within my grasp, but anything requiring dedication and time (Math) fell right through the cracks of my fragile young sanity. Long story short, my star dimmed after grade seven and I found myself dragging along in both school and life, all at once barely making it and yet somehow remaining distinguished. I hated the latter, because all it ever did was remind me that I was letting myself down. Letting me know every minute of every day that I had more potential than I gave myself credit for. However, I was too caught up in my indifference to care. It's strange how the more you see of the world, the less you're likely to believe in it. 
    Past chagrin aside, one of the main reasons I was pumped for KU (Well, the only reason really) was that it was undeniably the mark of a fresh start. I got my acceptance, got into the major I need to get to Ireland, I have great professors.... All the pieces, that I tore apart with my own stubborn hate, have begun to fall into place. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of confetti to pick up off the floor, but it's a start. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm using my potential. I'm taking life by the horns, and carving out a destiny I want for myself. Amazing, really. To realize that while success does not mean happiness, they are both things you control. I just can't get over how I'm actually spending each day bringing myself closer to the things I want in life. Sure, I'd love to be an English Lit major but I'm not exactly giving up a lot by going to medical school. 
    The point of this whole lengthy and wishy-washy post is this: When it comes to rock bottom, failure, lost potential etc. there was no one who beat me at that. I was the best at being the worst. But you know what? I got my act together and so can you. One of the few great things about life is that it's not static. Change is inevitable, you have control over your own life, so change it to what you want it to be. Just get up and do it. You have no future, and the past is gone. Seize the day and make it your own. I think I'm starting to understand what if feels like to be happy. Maybe.

    By the way, I didn't really come to this conclusion on my own. Someone much ballsier than I am helped me see the light. I owe him a Guinness at some point in the future.  

    Counting her quids and ready to tip,


    PS - I totally rocked the midterm today. Thank you flashcards, diligence and zero social life. Let me know in the comments below something you've recently rocked to the heavens and back.  

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Foga/Ta7ta/Over It

    Know the type?
    In the Middle East, we like to do things if only to irritate certain members of said community. Certain Feminist members. Certain things like glorying the idiocy of male youth. We like to depict their lifestyles as exciting sand-drenched adventures that only add to their boyish appeal. Oh, their reckles ways, with their free days spent jet-skiing with their buddies, and having a barbeque later that night as they all gather round for laughs and good ol' fashioned uber-male talk of how many girls they've "scored". Suffice to say, I'm hardly amused.
    MTV Arabia, a branch of the MTV family catered towards the Middle East, constantly glorify the bachelor lifestyle of young Khaleeji men. It disgusts me how they continually portray what is straight-up douchery as "innocent fun", classified under the "Boys will be boys" heading in society's bullshit manifesto. Another major aspect of this biased portrayal ofcan be found within the carbonated beverage industry: Barbican. Oh, yes. My paranoia knows no end. 
    I'll end this post here, as I've decided to develop this into a series (one of several) aimed at exposing bias that I am sick of. I'll be picking up this one-sided conversation next week, and my first victim shall be the aforementioned beverage.

    To quotes my first Pop love, Gwen Stefani, "I'll be happy for you, if you can be happy for me too". If you want to support their lifestyle and choices, fine. The least society could do is even the playing field and grant me the freedom to act like an idiot when I feel like it.

    Oh, and the name of this series is "Taking the Pants Off Patriarchy". No, the applause isn't necessary...

    Wishing they'd live and let others try,


    PS - What part of society do you feel often get off too easily?

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Boys Boys Boys

    Embody everything mentioned in this song, and I'll meet you at the aisle... 

    No lengthy intro today; I read this, found it amusing and then decided that as a Feminist trying to create equality in Kuwait, I should compile my own version of this list. Here goes:

    Real Guys: These guys are your buddies; gender does not exist around these guys because they're your friends. Laughs, jokes and advice are the bread and butter of these relationships. They'll always make you smile. I love them like family, and adore them like a schoolgirl.

    The Bell Boys: Very sweet, overly kind and considerate. They'll carry your books, pick up pens you've dropped and more. All these things make it even more difficult to let them know there's no future there. Be careful not to use them to simply tend to your ego or boost your own self-esteem. People are not meant to be used like toys. I'm a bad person, and so I try to protect these people from myself, because they don't deserve to deal with my issues.

    The Untouchables: These are guys you respect and admire, but there's really nothing like that there. Take in their wisdom, and learn what you can from them. They're something of a one-way road, so don't over think things. These guys confuse me, end of story.

    The Smoking Guns: Last but not least, we have them. Oh yes, these guys are dangerous in every sense of the word. They'll change the way you think, the way you see the world. Speaking to them will be a rush, only matched by the intensity in which they keep up intellectually. At first glance, they're not your "type", but they'll make themselves your type. Be wary of them, or they'll wear you down. Also,  they are very, very rare so think carefully about where you want to take things with them.

    Suffice to say, human relationships both fascinate and confuse me. Also, I love boys. Do you see my dilemma?

    Taking aim at her (alleged) intimacy issues,


    PS - Comment and below and let me know what you think. Recognize anyone off the list, perhaps yourself?

    **Don't take this post too seriously, we still live in Kuwait. If you did, then let me be the first to tell you, you are a douche.**

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Last Laughs

    Today is a sad day for comedy, Kuwait and The Expatess. It was reported that Kuwaiti comedian Ghanem Al Saleh passed away early this morning in London after losing his battle to cancer. You can read more about the details in this article here, as it would be dull and redundant for me to merely regurgitate what is already floating around the internet at this point.
    I'm not writing this post in a bid to say my few words of Arabic condolences, or to try to submerge myself in what's happening in Kuwaiti culture. I'm writing this post because as a young girl growing up abroad, the only (small) window I had into Kuwait was the television. While we all know that the portrayals of Kuwaitis in the numerous soaps that circulate all the MBCs, ARTs and Orbits are not an accurate reflection of life in Kuwait or its fine folk, it was the only real link I had to my roots while  living out a childhood in North America during the Nineties. I'm not going to go into detail as to why I wasn't more "aware" of my Kuwaiti background growing up (That's for another more appropriate time), but I'm thankful Mr. Al Saleh was a part of my life. I'm thankful he made me laugh during many Ramadans. He taught me how to furiously flip a ghutra, how to express outrage in a deliciously melodramatic way only an Arab man can. He showed off the hilarity of Khaleejis in foreign vacation spots, and made us all laugh at own cultural missteps. He founded a theater troupe, was a pioneer of his time, brought joy to many hearts, educated dozens and will be missed greatly.
    For all the laughs, all the nasfas and all the memories, I wish you peace and happiness where ever you may now be Ghanem.

    Bidding London one last bye bye,


    Standing In Lines

    Random update: Currently craving this. Deal with it.
    It's about 11:00 a.m. and I'm stuck in KU's library with nothing better to do than attemtp to get some work done/entertain myself with their beyond crippled internet connection. I am so bored right now that I decided I should take this pent-up frustration I have and blog. To add insult to injury, I get to blog about my disdain for KU from the university itself. At this point, it's little victories like this that help me get through each day...Well that and diet coke but that's less to do with my boredom and more to do with my caffiene addiction. *Cue eye twitch*
    When I made my blog, I had originally intended to use it to spread a message of sorts, but now after almost three months since I started it I've lost track of what the message was meant to be. I am in the midst of something of an identity crisis at the moment, and it's frustrating trying to distinguish the inner root of my problem from the apparent root, which would seemingly be KU. I say this because I never wanted this blog to be a viral dedication to my life, a digital diary if you will. I wanted to stir up controvery and create social change, a legacy I would leave behind once I got all the credits I need to transfer to Ireland for medical school....I had plans. 
    These days, I find myself in something of a dilemma. I am able to see a future for myself that extends beyond next month, but day-to-day I have no idea what to do with myself. Whether it's the lack of interest in my subjects, the dullness of KU or the sad reality that their library has not a single work of fiction, I don't know. All I know is that I'm somewhat lost these days.
    In other news, Scope TV was under attack a few days ago, and I'm interested to see how things play out and what story the media will come up with to explain away this little "incident".

    Killing time in this punk-ass library,


    PS - Let me know in the comments below how you've been feeling these days and let's toast to our united disillusionment.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    The Good Stuff

    You can do it Kuwait!

    Today, October 15th is Blog Action Day. The international community of bloggers will be coming together and participating in this event where they all write about a united topic. This time around the topic is water.
    Unfortunately, this has been one hell of a busy week with university and so I didn't have a chance to prepare a lengthy, self-righteous and most-likely obnoxious post in which I would shame you all for choosing to drink Evian and not caring enough about the droughts around the world. 'Tis life, and so all I really have to offer on this day is a bit of insight, some advice and maybe leave you with a few questions you should ask yourself next time you are privileged enough to have a drink of clean water. 
    Living in Kuwait, most are well aware of how precious clean drinking water is. We are lucky enough to have a government that has access to enough resources to provide us with this elixir that sustains all life. However, many nations are not so fortunate. A myriad of reasons keep water out of hands of those who need it the most, and it often boils down to money and politics. Pun intended. 
    Our planet being what it is, we should all aim to try our best in putting forth and effort when it comes to preserving the water we do have. Below are some tips you could consider adding to your daily routine:
    1. A "Navy-style" shower: Turning on the water, getting wet, and then turning it off while you scrub down and lather up your hair. Once you're ready to rinse, turn on the water and zoom!!! You'll avoid wasting precious water in those minutes you're not actually using it. Also, try to keep it UNDER 10 minutes in length, and the planet will thank you.
    2. Thoughtful Brushing: Similar to the previous tip, turning off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth. It may not seem like much, but it makes a difference when you consider the fact most people brush their teeth for 3-5 minutes a day, twice a day. 
    3. Fancy Pants Water? No thanks! Instead of using up an endless stream of plastic water bottles and harming the environment, consider buying a cute and colorful reusable bottle. It'll brighten up your day, and help you monitor how much of the good stuff you are taking in, so you'll avoid unintentional dehydration and stay on top of your health.
    For further inquiries into this matter, look no further than the site itself, which you can visit by clicking here
    For a mind opening article about the devious business behind water companies (written by a modern day Rocker!), click here.
    From one of Kuwait's own, an informative set of facts and a deeper look into the political aspect of this topic can be found here

    I hope I've given you something to think about and some useful tips you can implement in your day-to-day life. I know sometimes we, regular people, can feel fairly helpless when it comes to big serious issues like the global demand for water, but any small step taken brings us that much closer to a more just world.
    For further reading (and let's be honest, better posts), visit the site which i've linked above and empower yourself to make a difference.

    Putting her generation's digital age to use,


    Tell me if you participated in the even or your thought about this topic in the comments below. I'd love to hear your opinion.