Saturday, September 25, 2010

Countdown To Lockdown

Get it? I'll be imprisoned by my desire for an education.
Today it all ends, only to begin all over again. In this moment, as I sit here typing this, everything is everything. Tomorrow, everything will become nothing and I'll start over.

Today is officially the last day of Summer 2010. It has been a ridiculously crazy and insane four months. I've learned a lot about myself, life and Kuwait. Well, not really but it sounds nice to pretend I actually did.  Jokes aside, I did spend a lot of time just reflecting on who I am, whether she's who I want to be and what I can do to bring the two closer together. I suppose that's the hardest part about this whole transition, trying to reconcile who I am with societal expectations. For some reason, I feel as though I have to make a good impression in Kuwait. Maybe it has something to do with the country being so small, word (good OR bad) traveling so fast or my habit of turning everything into a dirty joke. Maybe it has to do with the fact I don't know anyone, at all (All my classmates are being GUSTed, whatever the hell that means).
Did you buy that? Yeah, neither did I. I mean as someone who attended 11 different schools in several different countries, I'm not really worried.
THAT is what is freaking me out, more than anything else. Well, that and the fact that KU's benches look like a tetanus deathtrap.

Thanking the good Lord for vaccines,


PS - Tell me about your University experiences and/or expectations. Misery loves company.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sit The Hell Down

Let's pretend they use these in KU

And listen to my rant. Please & thank you in advance.

Kuwait University opens it's Hell gates in 4 days and counting. Do you see the problem with this? I am not prepared. As I type this, my heart is racing and my head is pounding. I'm playing out several awkward social scenarios in my head on loop, anticipating hellish professors and trying to figure out how far I can make it out of Kuwait before my parents realize that S. isn't home. My guess? Not very far. Kuwait is stupidly small country, with an even stupider and smaller society. Your next door neighbor got a haircut? Check your phone, because I already sent you a text about it yesterday. News spreads that fast in Kuwait. So that means even if I do make it to Bahrain (Which is, let's admit it, an extension of Salmiya), they'll have dragged me back home in time for my first lecture. Great.
Seeing as how I can't escape this social apocalypse, here's my plan for the (HOPEFULLY) one year I will spend as a student at KU. It hurts just typing that last bit.
  1. Speak to no one
  2. Only listen to someone with the power to grade my papers
  3. Play dumb and deaf between classes
  4. Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  5. Get a BlackBerry so I can log onto Twitter in between and after classes. Oh, who am I kidding? During class too.  
This system has never failed me. Yet.

Averting her gaze from the almighty coneheads,


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time Flies, Drives, Drinks, and Smokes

And drag races in the desert.... Wait no, that's just me when I pretend I'm a free bachelor in Kuwait. *Sigh*
Anyways, today (September 21) is my two-year anniversary since moving to Kuwait. Realizing I've actually been here two years started my day off on a depressing note (I miss Canada), but I got over it quickly enough when the housekeeper handed me my freshly ironed clothes for the day. It's the little things in life people, the little things....
Here's a list of things I thought were true when I first came to Kuwait:

**Disclaimer: It gets worse as you go down the list. I was young. Well, younger. **
  • Any guy who is nice, courteous and well-groomed MUST be gay - There's nothing wrong with being gay,  but it's just ignorant to make assumptions. 
Favorite show as a kid.
  • Everyone is related to everyone else - It's still kind of true. Don't deny it. 
    Kuwaiti families are *slightly* larger.

    • Nobody buys anything from Kuwait - Anytime I'd ask a girl where she got something (top, purse, etc.), the answer would be "Lundun".*Cue Eye Roll*
    These were EVERYWHERE in high school. Ugh.

    • Everyone is filthy rich - My bad?
    Somewhere, in some desert, near some oil-well, this is real.

    • We're all famous - In one way or another, everyone has an uncle in the National Assembly. Seriously?

    • Marina Prison - I used to think only convicts hung out at Marina. Again, not entirely wrong...

    Reminiscing, cringing and  regretting a couple of things,


    PS - Tell me about anything you once believed was true, only to have time prove you wrong. 

      Sunday, September 19, 2010

      The Ugly Truth

      Despite the fact I did my very best to try and deny I was (part) Kuwaiti, it remains that I have always known this truth. While I will forever be Canadian and loyal to the country that gave me more than I could ever give it, I feel that now that they have Justin Beiber I can avert my gaze and focus on trying to shake up things in Kuwait.
      My revolutionary plans aside, I've spent some time reflecting upon my childhood and have compiled a list of the clues I so desperately tried to ignore. It seems that you can leave Kuwait, but Kuwait will never leave you. I would know, as I've tried. Ahem.

      Top Clues That You're a Kuwaitiya:
      • My childhood fascination with Cabaret and Drag Queens - A little known fact about me is that I've always been very much into makeup and glamor, and I still am to this day.
      Cabaret stage makeup

      "Kuwaiti-style" Makeup. Yikes.

      • The inner Diva in us ALL - I am, and always have been, a very strong woman. My non-Kuwaiti Mother claims I get it from my Dad's side of the family. The Kuwaiti side of the family. Coincidence?
      We are all Oprah, and Oprah is us.

      • The glamor of Chai - The last five years have seen a marked rise in the popularity of a drink I have always been aware existed. Hipster S. was sipping on Chai before it was the "It" thing worldwide.
      Use you imagination. Google has its limits.

      • Peter the Patriot - It's a very Kuwaiti thing to be patriotic, and while I do share your passion, I am unfortunately loyal to Canada. But, hey, let's all hold hands and sing national songs okay? 
       Can I have both?
       Canadian, Kuwaiti and confused,


      Let me know in the comments below if you've ever noticed some overlap between Kuwait and any other cultures you've been a part of.

      Saturday, September 18, 2010

      Elitist Ignorance

      Bu Qatada We Bu Nabeel (The Kuwaiti show in question)
       The other morning I was hanging out with my mother in the living, just chatting and having coffee. I was getting ready to leave the house, and she had MBC1 on, watching a program that would be akin to the popular morning show on NBC, "The Today Show". MBC1's version was called "Sabah El Khair Ya Arab", which roughly translates to "Good Morning To All The Arabs". Well, I hope that's what it translates to as my Arabic better than I'll admit to, but worse than I care to acknowledge. 
      As a Canadian/Kuwaiti in denial, I rarely ever watch Arabic programming (Unless it's linked to Naif Al Rashed. Don't Ask.), however a specific news segment caught my attention and for all the wrong reasons. From what I understand, the Moroccan government was expressing outrage at the manner in which Morroccan women were portrayed in several Ramadan programs, including the Kuwaiti "Bu Qatada W Bu Nabeel". As I didn't watch the show while it aired during Ramadan, I can't say much about it from that perspective. However, I realized that within the Middle East there is a rather disgusting elitist mentality in that some Arabic/Muslim nations are better than others. As a funny woman myself, I appreciate and acknowledge comedy. I understand that sometimes regional humor is popular; in Canada some of the best jokes are about life in the Prairies, or The Maritimes, where I hail from. 
      My issue with this topic isn't that Kuwaiti TV folk were mocking another country and culture, they 've done it enough to a point where no one cares, but rather how the women of an entire country are pigeon-holed and dismissed as being "promiscuous" for the sake of entertainment. It is both irresponsible and disgusting, and the Moroccan government and public have every right to be upset about this. As a Feminist, I understand and realize how difficult it is to promote the advancement of women in this region of the world, as there is a culture and mentality that are very "old-fashioned" and traditional. Funnily enough, the makers of this show never considered writing an episode detailing how young men from the Gulf are well-known to indulge in all the sex tourism this planet has to offer. Once again, patriarchy and male ignorance cast a shadow on us all.

      Trying to drink my coffee but repulsed beyond words,


      Thursday, September 16, 2010

      Summer's One Hell Of A Season

      How beautiful and serene.
      After much deep contemplation and personal reflection, I have decided to approach life from a new angle.
      As the this summer draws to an end, I find myself spending lengthy amounts of time reflecting on everything that has taken place, all the way back from June 2, 2010 up to today, September 16, 2010. I can say with all honesty that this has been the strangest summer of my life. Graduating from high school, starting several long-term projects, beginning drafting a novel that I know will never get published.... The list goes on and on. Having spent so much time repeating the same mundane activities over and over again, I feel like something of a zombie. I look alive, I seem alive, but in actuality I really am quite dead.
      Kuwait and it's good folk are notorious for their love of leisure, and the summer breaks here run quite a length of time. As of today, I have been in holiday for about 16 weeks, give or take a few. Math was never my strong point. Overall, 16 weeks translates into about four months, and let me tell you it definitely feels like it's been four months. I suppose it has to do with my childhood and growing up (We moved a lot), but now that I finally feel as though I have some stability in my life, I find myself feeling nothing short of stagnant.
      Since I know no other methods, I have decided on doing something of a spiritual withdrawal. I plan on avoiding music, my iPod, television and to limit my internet use for the next month. I began this new plan this morning, and I'm doing superbly as evident from this post. Right.

      Before I run off for a quickie bout of peaceful meditation, well as peaceful as it can get living in downtown Kuwait, I want you to tell me what you do when you begin to feel out of place or washed out. Do you pray, turn to music, maybe perhaps plan a weekend getaway? Let me know in the comments below, as I am in dire need of inspiration.

       Oohing and aahing whilst stretchming and yawning,


      Saturday, September 11, 2010

      Shaken or Stirred?

      Either way, some things should not mix. Take for example, fire and lighter fluid or how about drinking and driving? Both situations can often lead to grisly outcomes, which takes me to my main point: dubbed TV series and/or movies. You know the ones I'm talking about. 
      Look, three years ago the whole "Mohaned & Nour" thing was cute and I  played along because I thought the craze would fade away on its own. However, like that one really old plant we all have, this movement just won't die. I know this for a fact because I tried shooting it in the face, and...well I'm not allowed to discuss any details ahead of the trial. Yeah...
      Laughs and such aside, I'm serious. What happened to books and reading? Reading seems to have been tossed aside, along with manners and grammar. These shows and movies are stupid, low brow and a waste of airtime. As if it wasn't bad enough they were dubbing Turkish shows in a Syrian dialect, they are now making them with Egyptian dialects. That's just cruel. 
      The worst part of this whole craze is that these shows aren't even popular in their native Turkey. Before I continue, let me just say that I don't think Arabic shows are any better. Unless they're made by Naif Al-Rashed (Don't ask). On the other hand, the Bollywood movies are slightly easier to stomach (Read: Less gag-worthy) because at least they're kitschy. They may lack quality, but the Khaleeji dialect they're dubbed in makes them humorous. Well, more humorous.

      If we are to indulge in anything related to Bollywood, I find this to be the only acceptable form. 

      Dancing around a lone palm tree,


      Tuesday, September 7, 2010

      Bad Drivers

      I miss the snow back home.
      (I didn't even bother coming up with a catchy or clever title for this post. That's how unamused I am.)

      Kuwait, you have some of the worst drivers I have ever seen in my life. For a group of people that live in a country where alcohol is prohibited, it's just inspiring to witness the dedication some people (read: GUYS) have to horrendous driving. Seriously? Six-lane highways and a decent infrastructure should mean driving in Kuwait = EASY and maybe perhaps FUN? 

      Yeah. Right. 

      Racing the yellow light and endangering the lives of others,


      What is your least favorite thing about the roads and/or driving in "El Deera"?

      Wednesday, September 1, 2010

      Fallen Leaves

      It's that time of year again. It's September. 
      September (October when I was a kid, because it meant Halloween and candy) is my favorite month of the year, hands down. My Julys always play themselves out in colorful ways year after year, but that's a post for another time. Back to my point, I love September. Love it, adore it and eagerly anticipate its arrival every year. This year is particularly indulgent because I graduated from hell school (high school) this past June, and so that unfortunate cloud of gloom that would muddy September's lovely glow is forever gone from my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful I was born into a life that meant I have access to an education, but attending four different high schools does not make an already tumultuous process go by any smoother.
      My favorite things about September in Canada are (read: were):
      1. The leaves changing color. Walking to and from school was a visual feast bursting with golds, reds, oranges.....I really miss that. 
      2. Getting back to school, and just in time. At this point in the Summer, I've watched all the movies I can, read everything in sight and overstayed my welcome at the YMCA and nearby mall.
      3. The advent of all my favorite TV shows airing again! 
      4. September is the ultimate countdown to all the best holidays: Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah.
      5. Terry Fox day.
      6. It's cooled down enough to enjoy Tim Hortons again. I really miss Timmy Ho' can keep your Starbucks and Caribou Coffee.
      So, yeah. I've been feeling very nostalgic lately and my enthusiasm for KU fluctuates like the fledgling stock market.....One day I'm pumped, and the next I'm worried. Time will tell how it goes, so I'm just going to file my worries away until September 26, and I'll report back and let the blogosphere know how it went. 

      What's your favorite month of the year, and why? 

      Raking the imaginary leaves,