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.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's Funny Because It's True. And Sad.

**Disclaimer: This a REAL conversation that ACTUALLY took place. You can't make this shit up unless you're an Arab version of Tina Fey.***

My Brother: "Where can I buy work-out gloves from? You know for weights and stuff.."
Me: "You should go to that huge sports supply store in Hawalli, what's it called? Oh! Naif's Sport Supply."
Brother: "You mean Nasser's Sport's Supply store?"
Me: "No, you're thinking of Nasser's Chicken. Sheesh, and you call yourself a Kuwaiti..." 

Packing my bags as we speak,


PS - I'm sick today, and therefore miserable, so if you read this comment and let me know how your life is worse than mine at the moment. If possible.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Vote For The Future

 "Scientia potentia est (For also knowledge itself is power)"
Sir Francis Bacon 
Today was the first day of the elections at every campus affiliated with Kuwait University. The handasa majors put down the protractors, med-students ditched the cadavers and the ever ubiquitous business majors abandoned their BlackBerries as they stood in line in the sweltering midday heat, waiting for their turn to exercise their right to vote and support the party that fell in line with what they believe KU (and Kuwait) should stand for.
At this point it's no secret that I am a raging Feminist, and believe in a FULL level of equality between men and women. Before I continue, and for the record, my hatred of men has little to do with my Feminist antics and more to do with the assholes who feel the need to smoke inside KU's buildings, despite very clear signs that prohibit such behavior. You are not bad ass. You are an idiot. You are a male.... I digress; so after a bit of cautious poking and prodding, a little investigative work and heaps of simple observation, I voted for the "Istilafya" party. On the ballot, they are categorized under religious/conservative, which has lead to several people cry out against my choice to support this particular party. Apparently, as a Feminist it would have made more sense for me to burn my bras and protest against whatever misogynist occurrence I felt like having a go at for that day (Believe me, there's plenty to choose from in KUckooland).

I never justify the things I do, but I will explain my choice this once because it's rather shocking how narrow minded and short-sighted people can be when it comes to elections and casting your vote. In this case, I spent the majority of my first week doing several things: Walking around and discovering KU's campus, trying to learn about Kuwait's youth culture from observation and last but certainly not least, I observed each party and weighed on the things I saw them doing before my own two eyes.  Photocopies of sold-out textbooks, directions, the girls taking you to whatever class you had next....the Istilafiya girls left nothing to be wanted of them, which is a rarity when it comes to school/university politics. They are there for their female colleagues, END OF STORY. What people won't realize is that despite Kuwait's push for women to seek an education, the system still works against them. The minimum GPA's for any major differ between male and female applicants, with the minimum always being higher for females. The lion's share of priority and attention leans in toward the direction of the male student body, with them very much at the forefront of everything. As a Feminist, of course it didn't please me to see the girls running around doing the dirty work while the men buffed their Ray Bans and (further) inflated their egos by shouting fascist propaganda bullshit through megaphones. However, if it takes this Feminist voting for a conservative party to ensure that all her female colleagues needs are met, and that they graduate university with degrees in their hands, so then be it. Feminism is not some stupid romanticized Julia Roberts' movie; it is the fight to ensure women have access to all that men have, and that they are not treated or dismissed as though they are second-rate citizens. It is a fight I will always stand up for, no matter what I have to do.
If you still don't understand why I voted for the party I did, then you know nothing about what Feminism truly is.

Swinging a deal with a devil in a dishdasha,