From Kuwait

How’s Your Ramadan Going?

With the month of fasting being in the middle, most of you who fast surely know their thing already and can get along pretty well – even I got used to the Kuwaiti tempo rather quickly again and managed to even add 30 – 60 minutes of cardio exercise into the daily routine without collapsing out of exhaustion, thirst or hunger – lets hope I can keep it even after Ramadan passes and my body won’t go all nuts from the change of regime once again.
I’ve found out, that I’ve got “Kuwaitized” a little – can’t talk for the behaviour (that’s a question you’ve got to aim at my husband, he’d know better) – but I remember clearly that when we moved to Kuwait last year, I’ve been offered at one of the dinners a special local sweets: Rahash (رهش كويتي). It’s basically a sesame seeds paste with sugar and God knows what else, it’s incredibly sweet and of course it tastes completely awful to an European tongue (unused to an Arab cuisine). I’ve tried it that evening and I’ve hated the guts of it. It doesn’t look particularly tasty neither to be completely honest; something between sand mud and a wet brick. But…


A year after and I can’t get enough. I’ve smuggled a small box of rahash into my room and every evening I eat it with bread (yes, that’s the best) as my suhoor, together with Pu-erh tea, because my Ramadan cholesterol level is probably around the high risk level – as for many other Muslims.
And here I thought I won’t cope. Hah. As if. Next year I’m gonna catch myself wearing a centimeter thick layer of make-up, I bet you.

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Back Home, At Last

Finally home! Settled again, we swiftly joined the Ramadan time, and are enjoying our moments of calm now. It’s summer, so no school for Dori, and fasting, so not much activities going on except the iftaars at my mother-in-law, which is always loud and vivid experience with so many family members gathered at once, starved and longing some Vimto and a piece of food. My MIL cooks great and enjoys a lot of rice and مرق, sambusak, spicy soups, herbs and bread. Quite traditional Arab cuisine, but really tasty – especially in Ramadan!
It’s our third day back home and sand already got up to greet us as well, so today no open-window-heater-style I do time to time to warm up the ACed room of mine.


The routine view from my window

Half of Ramadan is still in front of us and قرقيعان was celebrated yesterday and the day before, with kids dressed up in traditional Kuwaiti attires singing a song for treats, door to door – a bit comparable to Halloween or Easter in Czech, but more traditional and definitely not a derivative of any of mentioned above, but a very old tradition. Although I have to say that the maid armies kind of spoiled the traditional feeling, as well as some parties were simply going in jeans and T-shirts, so shame on you families! – قرقيعان is a nice tradition and Kuwait should take care of that heritage in a proper way, it would be such a shame to forget it.

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2 Months Gone, 2 Days Left

Tomorrow night, or better day-after-tomorrow early morning, me and Dori will be leaving Kuwait for period of time further unknown. My previous hectic week trying to stampify my life didn’t work out in terms of successfully getting rid of any visa problems Dori had – eventually, it did nothing, except cost us several hundreds dinars and some weight on my side.


2 months ago I came into a flat buried under the sand after a huge sandstorm.

Dori is still illegal, now with fancy fine on her head, which will be dropped if we leave Kuwait before the 31st of June, which we intend to. In fact, the tickets are booked for 3rd; so inshallah we’ll get out before they go after out wallets.
It doesn’t end by that, however. I’ll have to try out some more running, more complicated, more unpleasant, and once again with dozens of stamps for every dust and sand I want to carry. Well, not literally, but you know – sea of stamps for other stamps for other stamps, so in the end of the day someone behind another stamp might give us the final stamp; Dori’s residency visa.
I’m not particularly delighted by going away so soon again, but can’t do – at least my parenst will see their beloved and so far only grandchild after a year and a half, which is quite a time, if you ask me. She refuses to speak Czech, sometimes speaks Arabi, but her favourite of all times stays English, which she exercises quite a lot.
So yay us, heaps of stress ahead!

Other than that, life’s going on as usual. Heat is omnipresent, clouds are sparse while clear blue sky is a daily bread. It’s almost 7 pm now and outside shade temperature is 45 degrees of Celsius and not really dropping. The sea got warm and often brings to my windows a wave of humid salty air, which makes us sweat on places before unknown; cats’re shedding hair with the speed of fur-balls placed in oven (mainly when I get carried away with fresh airing my room by opening windows; the AC isn’t designed for that so it doesn’t give a damn, really, and makes my room – favourite hangout spot for our kitties – quite hot).

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A Year After

Dramatic heading, isn’t it? :) Not so dramatic content of it, however; it’s just been over a year I’ve been in Czech. Nothing much seems to be changed; Islam still lifts newspapers’ popularity with deeply suggestive content (I’m now referring to a magazine made by a newspaper claiming to be the most serious news oracle in the whole country, which put in sale a very blatant article pretending to be neutral interview with Muslim women, but ending being simply awful and once again damaging the fame of the small and already torn apart Islamic community of Czech Republic).
People still do stare on hijab, at least in the small towns, and officialities are still pain in butt to get done. I’ve, however, managed to get half of my work done already, which is positive – my criminal record didn’t require any waiting time anymore as it used to be, and I got it instantly after asking for it. Yay me!
Now the harder part, but inshallah even that will get through.
My travel wasn’t unpleasant, neither jolly, as I hate the murmur of airports and looking for the gates (Dubai airport has got around 300 departure gates, it indeed is very big and somewhat confusing place; Heathrow still leads in confusion, nevertheless.)
As I departed from Kuwait during the night, before fajr prayer came into the play, I’ve had the possibility to enjoy a great show on my second flight from Dubai, when we were crossing over Iran; Shiraz is a very mountainous area and offers a great deal of amazing aerial views. Early morning, clear sky, precious land under us, with tiny dots of housings and villages scattered throughout the mountains.




I’ve slept more than half of the flight and usually started to nap when clouds came into the picture, as that is rather boring (and quite painful for my eyes as well) to watch; woke up over Romania and enjoyed another bunch of hilly, snowy views, than woke up after Wien, which is almost at home, so I stayed up, read up a book from duty free shop I bought in Dubai, and enjoyed juices and chocolate a flight attendant kept on bringing to me, obviously fond of me, but without any signs of any kind of interest from my side – a little more tucked in the hijab and abaya, perhaps, after I realized it.
I miss my husband and little daughetr already, but things have to be done and they’re not gonna be done without me being here; so – let’s roll.

PS.: Excuse the quality of the pictures in this entry; they’re taken on iPod, as my camera was having a lift in my luggage so I won’t be dragging too many bags with me, and iPod was the only device I could use to get a snap of at least a little of what I liked so much. Plus, small area of economy class seating doesn’t allow much space to position myself, either.

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En Route

Going to Czech, tomorrow night. Some fishy, I mean – official, business over there for me to take care of; travelling light, with one small luggage, no husband and no daughter. Laptop and pocket money included, as a child of the modern age I ought to have some calming piece of electronics with me, plus some money to feed it, right.
It’s a short trip for not so jolly reasons and I hope it will be over swiftly and more importantly successfully. Well, I can hope in that; with my (our) luck, it will all go everywhere but where we desired it to go. But hey, we’re getting used to it.
Spring came quickly to Kuwait; so quickly that it took just about a week to go from 20ish degrees with fresh breeze to over 30 over the course of the day, and 20ish during the nights. I bet my new shoes that when I come back it will be already summer in full bloom, with it’s typically thick heat which makes you think you will suffocate if you breathe too much. Not mentioning the free showers every few steps.



Dori, although still rather illegal here, finally got to go to school, not the real deal, just a nursery at the time, but better than a wire in the eye. She gets her necessary company of kids of her age, some correction in behaviour from hijab and niqab wrapped teachers and most importantly she gets to know the system and language of Kuwait. About time.
It’s up to my unclear business in Czech now to make it possible for her to go to the real madrasa, with homework, teachers with whips and sticks (oh wait, not anymore) and you know… the real school she’s been dreaming about for ages now, since Ramadan perhaps, when her cousin Fatoom started to attend the big school. Nothing drags you better than a good example.
Wish me luck; I’m very certain I’m gonna need loads of it.
podpis

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