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.