Author: Um Abbas

Urban Kuwait

Some of the less glittery part… I’ve noticed the utter difference among certain housing areas, especially closer to the centre of Kuwait City, which is filled by flat units, there’s a huge contrast in between newly built housing and old, usually unmaintained buildings which at best look as rubble and abandoned, but actually accommodate poorer families.
Be it that the actual owner of the building doesn’t have the money to maintain them, or lets them decay on purpose, hoping for the families living there to finally give up and move out, so he can sell the rubble as land for much more money (one-time boost, though) than it would yield being a tenant building in the long run – these patches of land are mostly gathered, or if big enough, cleaned and on the place are build a new, shiny shops.

housing
Or, perhaps, a new, bigger, better and more expensive skyscraper filled by flats from the bottom to the top, but no more in the financial range of these poor families, which are time to time forcefully pushed out.
Most of the actual Kuwaitis seem to live in suburban areas in houses, villas, sometimes the houses accommodate very few flat units, depending on the size and number of floors. Our flat is, for example, in a house of three stories, taking the whole floor, all the 270m square. Nothing unusual in Kuwait; people in here really love to have it big. The flats closer to the city centre or in it are usually occupied by working foreigners, at least as I’ve been told. Foreigners can’t legally own any land in Kuwait (or houses, in other words).
Actual Kuwaiti gets either government housing, patch of a land to build on with a small government donation for the building process, or a flat in these suburban areas; if he asks for it. The process of getting this big boost in life takes several years though, and it’s not instant at all.
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Your Children are Waiting for You

We’ve been on a check with Dori’s ear, it’s been only a week we’ve got out of the hospital, it feels much longer to me, though. She’s, alhamdulilah, healthy again and fine, we just gotta keep an eye on the ear for the next year and look out for any signs of reoccurring infection.

Abu
Sabah Al Salim

One of the main problems and causes of death in Kuwait are reckless and stupidly behaving drivers on the roads; very common is that most of the drivers don’t seem to know how to drive a manual-gear car, as 90% of cars in Kuwait are on automatic shifting, and a lot of drivers just passed through the driving school without actually taking much from it. A widely spread custom is not to use any blinkers on the road and zigzag among the other cars (because you can’t just wait or drive by the speed limit, which on the speedway is at maximum of 120 km/h), so most of the people – except the driver himself or herself – don’t really know what’s coming next.
roadsignThat’s one of the reasons I take as a no-no for me driving in here. I don’t suppose myself as a perfect driver and I believe that I’m under the average of averages, but giving the light in a turn, letting the other cars zip properly, and simply having that common folk sense around other drivers is something I was hoping to meet in any other person behind a wheel, but perfectly lack in most of the driving peeps in here. And it really doesn’t seem to be related to the nationality. Kuwaiti, Indian, Pakistani, American, men and women, all are in the habit of being rude and idiotic towards any other traffic on the road, be it behind, in front of or next to them. I don’t even mention niqabi women whose niqab is pulled so up and tight that they have to tilt their heads backwards to even see the road in front of them, and I really can’t imagine what else they can (not) see.
Hence it is not uncommon to meet many, many warning messages on the highways and ring motorways, I was even making fun of seeing so many of them – that I will start collecting their messages.
Unfortunately for me I’m not usually quick enough with the camera, and today I managed to snap only two.
So for now… Your family is waiting. Your children are waiting for you. Don’t drive fast, death is faster. Speed leads to death. Punishment for speeding is prison or death.
I wish the drivers would actually take them seriously. (So I could drive too, without any fear of being squashed by a Jeep trying to turn right next to me in an one-lane road. Without a blinker.).
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All the Glitter (Under the Bisht)

We’ve been, me and my husband, invited to a dinner at one of the many relatives of his. Oblivious to the Kuwaiti tradition of making a walking canvas of myself just to silently compete with other women otherwise they’ll think I’m ugly (or poor), I’d put on my black abaya and scarf with small decoration on the sleeves and scarf, no make-up (which is my tradition), and no camel-hump (I don’t have enough hair to do it even if I wanted to, European genes are talking).
When I came, I was already partially overwhelmed by the glitter in the guest living room, all decorated in heavy baroque-like look, just in violet and silver, with very heavy, sturdy furniture.
I though didn’t, in all my innocence, expect what was coming (and that wasn’t even remotely close to a wedding party). Many women came into the room cloaked in black overhead abayas and bishts, but when the door closed (the men were gathering on a different floor of the house, and as I found out later, it was only about six or seven men, while downstairs I was being examined as a newcomer by nearly twenty piercing pairs of eyes), and their abayas got folded next to them… my eyes started to hurt from all the glitter and sparkles.

glitter
Image courtesy: Unknown source from Google.com


Arab women, Khaleeji particularly, love to blink. Small glitters, big glitters, silver and gold, diamonds and Swarowski crystals, and sixties inspired designs on clothes worn at home or under abayas decorated by, once again, something shiny, and a lot of accessories, rings, bracelets, heavy earrings and other unthinkable decorations; that’s all it takes to be happy among other women and to feel intimidating enough towards each other. To that, of course, is not-much-less-glittery and fancy make-up, sometimes literally re-painting the whole God’s creation, sometimes less and sometimes more, but surely often enough on a big part of population – even early in the morning. Occasions such as dinners, parties and weddings serve as an amplifier to all the regular glittering and make it all one big shine-factory.
Needless to say, that in all my natural modesty and shyness, I still felt a little bit too much as a grey mouse in there – but honestly, the imagination of making my face look like that scared me much more, really. It still hangs above me as the sword of Damocles anyway, as my wedding party still didn’t happen (unlike the marriage on paper).
I’ve got along the sixties fashion ’cause I am a bit on the hippie side, as my dear husband says, and I like to wear such dresses and shirts (without the blinkies, though); but I assume it will take some time to get used to all the sparkling of many Kuwaiti women, my sisters-in-law included.
If nothing, people will assume I’m a really religious person, rather than poor. And that’s good, right?
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New Hope

Just a quick update of my previous post, our lost and found puppy July found a new family few minutes ago. Inshallah she will be safe and sound since now and be happy with her adoptive husky friends which are waiting for her right now.
Good bye, July, I’m gonna miss your puppy looks when you wanna cuddle with us. Have a great life in your new place and send us a postcard sometimes :D
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