Friday, December 31, 2010
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?
- 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.
- 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.
|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?)
The Expat Files on that digital book with all the pretty faces. Or, my Facebook Page for short.
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
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...
- 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
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.
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
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...
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
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.
- Make today special.
- Laugh so hard you cry.
- Thank a teacher
- Start right now.
- Be a hero everyday, minus the dorky cape.
- Follow your heart (Pray and hope your "heart" drives a bad ass car).
- Do it for love, not profit.
- Compliment a stranger (Bonus points if you do it on Gulf Road).
- Take all your vacation days (Um, welcome to Kuwait anyone?).
- 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
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
A bit of a stretch, but I definitely see some resemblance. Plus, they're both pretty wacky in equal, but opposite, ways.
Thinking she should hit up Hassan's,
|Al Qaddafi. LOL...|
|Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train. Double LOL...|
Friday, December 17, 2010
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.
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
|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
Thursday, December 2, 2010
|He whips it back & forth, real hard.|
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
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?