Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Some Are Silver and the Others Are Gold

Life gets funny when you move. Like 5 minutes after I landed, my Kuwait phone stopped working except for advertisements. The company provided me with a loaner, just so AdventureMan could keep in contact with me, and then like a light bulb going on in my head, I checked to see if the problem was lack of money – yep.

I used to have a phone plan. I am not a big phone user. I discovered those wonderful Hala cards, and at the very max might use 10KD per month – I really am a light user.

When I arrived, my good friend two villas down had her movers – she is leaving. We had like six days of overlap. Three of those days, she had her movers there and I had people here helping me get the new villa set up. We would grab a few minutes when we could – not even enough time for a cup of coffee, but as I left, I thought “this is just like old times.” We’ve both always had busy lives, and we would grab time together when we could.

In the USA, when kids go to camp, we learn songs. It occurs to me that many cultures transmit cultural values in songs – I know I can still remember French and Spanish songs I learned in language classes . . . there must be something about singing that imprints things in your memory. One of the songs is:

Make new friends – but keep the old,
One is silver and the other is gold.

You sing it once, all together, and then you divide into four groups and sing it as a round until it is all finished. You sing it when you are leaving camp, and you cry.

Of course, we are all grown up now. We don’t cry when friends leave. (Liar! Liar!)

The movers are gone, my friend SMS’d me “how about a swim tomorrow?” and I SMS’d back “Sure!”

We lolled around in the pool, sort of theoretically exercising, but her equipment is en route back to the USA and mine is en route from Kuwait, so we were pretty lax, sort of bobbing around and laughing and catching up. She is trying to bring me up to speed on what is going on in Qatar, and I am trying to remember everything she is telling me. We walk home, head in our separate directions again. I have a loaner car, and I get to go grocery shopping ALL BY MYSELF!

I am down to putting away my last two bags of groceries when my loaner phone rings and it is my good friend saying “I have to drop my son at school, have you eaten, want to have a late lunch?” and I laugh and say “sure” and we plan to meet at 1:30, but the QTEL (Telephone) man comes (the company sent him so I wasn’t expecting him) and the problem is too complicated, so he will come back and I just barely have enough time to get to the meeting-up restaurant.

Ooops – no, forget that, I am going to be late, I had forgotten about the traffic, so I break the law and call my friend on my mobile and say “I’m going to be another five minutes at least, I am so sorry, go ahead and order for me” and she just laughs.

We have a great lunch together, still catching up on all I need to know, and I ask if they have plans for dinner tonight and she says “no” and I say we would love to have them come to our house for something simple. Like I have napkins; the ones she gave me because they were leaving, but I don’t even have a tablecloth with me, it will be something casual like spaghetti and salad and garlic bread and she says she thinks they would just love that kind of evening but she has to check with her hubby.

We talk talk talk and then her hubby calls and she forgets to ask if he can do dinner with us, but then my hubby calls and says we need to do blood work for our residency and can we do dinner another night (we already have another date set up with them) and so I get off and have to say “uh, I am sorry, but I have to take back that dinner invitation.”

This all seems convoluted and round about, but this is where those GOLD friends come in. She just starts laughing (I love it when she cracks up) and says “OK! But I’m NEVER going to let you forget this! You WITHDREW an invitation!” and then we are both laughing and oh, Lord have mercy, I am so thankful just to have a little overlap with this crazy friend, and oh, how I am going to miss her.

Some friends are just THERE, they know what the important things are. This friend has me all set up with a really good cleaning lady who will start on Saturday, she told me the really good tailor she has found, the best car rental place, and which car wash guy to keep far away from. She borrowed a cup of laundry soap. Tomorrow, she needs to come here and iron her son’s shirt for graduation, and she and her husband are bequeathing to us their leftover (legal! legal!) booze. Here is what takes it beyond gold – our husbands like each other, too. Our cats . . . not so much. Her cat wants to make nice, my cat gets all hissy.

Inside this grown up expat body is still the little Girl Scout from camp, making new friends, and treasuring the old . . .

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Biography, Community, Doha, Exercise, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Moving, Qatteri Cat, Shopping | 8 Comments

Facets: A Little about who we were in Kuwait

I saved some photos from our Kuwait life to share with you once we were gone. I know some of you think I went overboard with the anonymity thing, but I have had stalkers, even here on this blog, and I would rather error on the side of anonymity than have to deal with people who know too much about me.

We present a single facet, or maybe even a few facets or our multifaceted lives as bloggers. I am just sharing a few more little facets:

Here is where we lived – in Fintas, which means “large water container” from what I have been told. When we first got to Kuwait, and I would tell my new friends where I lived, they would gasp and say “Fintas!” like it was the end of the world. On a good traffic morning, it only took us ten minutes to get from Fintas to Salmiyya, maybe 20 minutes to the airport. It takes a whole lot longer, we have found, just to get out of Jabriyya!


This photo is taken from the pier in Eqaila Family Beach. My apartment was over the park and swimming pool. It was a never-ending source of lost hours for me, watching families, watching the school groups visit. My favorite is the families of ladies in abayas who would bring inner-tubes and float in the shallows on the hot days, keeping cool, keeping covered.

I have a good Kuwaiti friend who would tell me that when he was growing up, Fintas was just a small beach place, a place he and his friends would camp out in the hot Kuwait summers. There was just a tree or two, and a shack on the beach, he told me. He also used to camp on the empty beaches of Salmiyya. (!) I loved listening to his old Kuwait stories.

This was my living room. It had great light from morning ’till night. No, none of this is my furniture, except all the bookcases. 🙂 It was a furnished apartment.


This was my kitchen, which I loved because it was well planned, had great light and great shelf spaces. It also had a great place to store/display all my baskets:


This is Little Diamond’s bedroom, which was also my project room, this is what my project room usually looked like:

Project Room

Here is a photo of one of the best parts – the moon rising over the Gulf, right outside my window, and shimmering over the park:


This is what I look like:


Here is my other blog:
World in Stitches

I haven’t asked my husband if I can share his photo. When I get a chance, I will ask, and if he says OK, I will show you a photo of him, too. 🙂

You know what Pete looks like!

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Biography, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatteri Cat | 29 Comments

Pet Peeve

Well, it’s not so much a pet peeve as a personal preference. When I arrived in Doha, I found “sets” in all my bathrooms.


They weren’t garish, as you can see, they were just there, thick and fluffy, a toilet seat cover, a toilet mat, a bidet mat and a bathmat. None of them had rubber backings, which I consider a basic for a bathmat, which I DO like.

The others, I just consider dust catchers, and worse – unsanitary. Germ catchers. I took them all off, even though they were all brand new, I like the cleaner to be able to really clean all the bathrooms.

When I went to put them in the cupboard, the cupboard almost exploded with totally new “sets” all of which had been taken off by former corporate occupants. It is a total hoot.

I have asked AdventureMan to ask what is needed to get rid of these – if the sponsor wants them back (eeeewwwwwwww!) or if I can put them out for the trash guys who can sell them to someone who will sell them in the weekend market?

We also have a cupboard full of used DVD and Video players; I think previous occupants have been afraid to get rid of them. Another cupboard with four broken coffee makers, LLLOOOLLL.

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Hygiene, Moving | 2 Comments