Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kuwait K9 Association hosts Kuwait Dog Show this Weekend in Mishref

Mishref Fair Grounds - Hall #7


Come to the KK9A dog show this weekend - taking place at Mishref Exhibition Hall #7 on December 2 and 3. It is free and open to the public. Bring your kids. Get great dog advice from trainers and breeders on site. Show takes place indoors for your comfort. See the KK9A FB page for more information on the group at https://www.facebook.com/kk9ateam/

This is a wonderful group of people who have become my friends over the years and have helped me immensely with Mikey.  They held a show last year and you can see the video here:  https://www.facebook.com/kk9ateam/videos/1327984713880822/,


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ayurvedic Massage: Diva's Ladies Salon Home Service





Ad:Symptoms like body aches, joint pain, stiffness of muscles - book your appointment for Ayurvedic relax massage in the comforts of your home- Promotional offer - 15KD - 90 minutes session. This is one perfect gift you can give yourselves and your loved elder ones.  Extremly friendly staff who will take special care of the senior citizen requirement.  Whatsapp-99006934.

Disclaimer:  I booked the ayurvedic home service for the "body aches, joint pain, stiffness of muscles" NOT the "senior citizen requirement." (They also do postnatal massage, which would be a really nice gift to friends who have just delivered!  I still didn't book for that - unless you count the pizza I ate last week from Sbarro as a small baby...)


I found Diva's through a Facebook ad and had a fabulous at-home Ayurvedic massage!  90 minutes of hot oil and really professional massage done by a certified ayurvedic therapist from Kerala, Ms. Reena.

I don't have the patience or time to go to a salon for a massage anymore.  I can't stand the traffic and by the time I get home from the massage, I'm all stressed out again.  I prefer to call someone to do the home service.

Ms. Reena brought all the equipment and set up at my home.  I was kind of concerned about the oil getting all over my room, but it turned out to be a non-issue.  They bring plastic sheeting to fit over the massage table they bring and nothing goes onto your floor.

The oil is some kind of special therapeutic oil that comes from Kerala that is supposed to be good for your muscles.  The therapist asks you not to take a shower for an hour after the massage to allow the oil to work into your skin.

I've had "massages" before where I thought the lady was touching me with a feather rather than actually getting into my aching muscles.  This was not one of those massages.  She knows what she's doing.  She worked on all my problem areas and with 90 minutes, there was plenty of time so it wasn't done in a rush.




The only thing I didn't like about the experience was that the oil is heated, so it gets a little smokey. I kind of felt like a fryer chicken at one point and I wish I had known so I could have ventilated a little better.  For those of you who are sensitive to smells (like I am), this is a consideration.

Don't expect it to be a Pinky's Salon experience.  Diva's home service doesn't have all the frills that Pinky's does.  Pinky's has obviously spoiled me for every other home service!:  They usually sets up with fresh rose petals, soft music, candles, and even a tea service with cookies or chocolate (THEY bring it all).  Diva's is a table and that's about it.  You should prepare to provide your own ambiance (and/or tea service!).

Overall, WELL worth the 90 minute experience at 15KD.  Check out Diva's on Facebook or Instagram.  They've got 2 salons and their prices are outstanding.

Slight word of warning:  Be patient (I'm not.,..) giving directions to your home on the first appointment.  The driver asked me for directions, but asked if I spoke Hindi.  While it is definitely on my list of languages to learn - sadly, notsomuch right now.

To book an at-home appointment:  Whatsapp 9006934
 Instagram:  @divasladiessalon
Website:  divassalonkuwait.com 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Divaladiessalon/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Arrested/Jailed in Kuwait?

People always assume that it is the role of the US Embassy to get people out of trouble in Kuwait.   It's not the mission of the embassy. You get your dumbass into trouble, you must be responsible enough to get your dumbass out.  I was searching for something else on the Embassy's website today and I came across the below.  It defines the role of the Embassy if you are arrested and/or a prisoner.  If  you or someone you know is incarcerated in Kuwait, you can take it a step further by contacting your senator or congressman to try to assist.

This is the Embassy's statement:

The U.S. Embassy cannot effect the release of U.S. citizens imprisoned in foreign jails. However, a U.S. consular officer will insist on prompt access to an arrested U.S. citizen, provide a list of attorneys, provide information on the host country's legal system, offer to contact the arrested citizen’s family or friends, visit on a regular basis, protest mistreatment, monitor jail conditions, and keep the Department of State informed.

 You can read the entire post here: https://kuwait.usembassy.gov/service/arrests-in-kuwait.html,

The below was posted on Western Expats in Kuwait group on Facebook.  So once you order this stuff, you should really read the Embassy's post. :D





Sunday, November 06, 2016

Just A Gigolo




So the new thing in Kuwait is gigilos  attracting women clients via social media.  I've heard that most of them are bidoon, but who knows?  Maybe they're Kuwaiti dudes too just out for some action while getting some side cash.  (It's all about the money.)  These guys are either handsome and/or body builders.   They offer "fitness instruction" and massage, but mostly get paid for full body massage/happy endings.

I met two online through dating apps so far.  Nice guys.  Conversations started out as they always do, "Where do you live?  What do you do for a living... yada."  Then, the conversation turned to talk  about them being fitness instructors and how they do great massage.....  he heh.  

[I'm wondering if my ex also falls into that category (Mr. Clean) as he has so many women on different accounts (yes, he's still at it, folks!).  Clean is NOT a body builder; That would require actual work and dedication.  But he is handsome and he is good at massage so maybe.]   

You know me - I have a sick sense of curiosity and I talked to both of them about what kind of women they meet, what they charge, etc.   Are they older ladies?  NO.  They are young and for the most part, attractive (so they tell me).

However, seems like they ladies aren't the only ones asking for their services!  One of the guys went to see a female "client" for a massage.  He said she looked just like Haifa Wehebe.  He couldn't believe his luck; tall, gorgeous, stacked.... until he discovered that her appendage was bigger than his! This kind of thing just cracks me up (so to speak).  So then, Haifa didn't want to let him leave.  She/he said she/he had influential friends and that she/he would call the police.  Gigilo dude ended up running out of the apartment.  (Giggles)

I'm sorry, but I will never be desperate enough to pay some guy to "touch me".  Unless it is a professional massage somewhere.  My gay masseuse, Alex, in DC who does a MEAN NMT (physical therapy) massage.  But he's gay and absolutely professional.


Hey Mr. Clean!  Listen to the lyrics of this song! 
  
"... there will come a day when youth will pass away.  
What will they say about you?  
When the end comes I know you are just a gigilo. 
Life goes on without you...."



Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Kuwait K9 Association Dog Show

Got a Gorgeous dog? Think about entering


Kuwaiti K9 Association are happy to announce the second tournament  work and show dogs tournament hosting a judge from a the global organization FCI and WUSV

Tournament will take place in a closed exhibition to avoid bad weather conditions.

Tournament will take place in the land of exhibitions in west of Mishref.

Tournament organizers:
@kuwait.kennel.club
@k9_inn
@aborwan2
@aldousariq8
@q8k9kennel
@kuwaitk9breeder
@royalpetcenter
@e.o.t_kennel
@petzone
Tournament date : 2/12/2016 to 3/12/2016

You can start registering now and for FREE!

In order to register, please provide the following documents:
1-Copy of Civil ID (both sides)
2-Copy of documents in which type of dog, date of birth and last vaccination date are shown.

Terms and conditions:
1-Dog will have to be from a well known type and not hybrid.
2-Dog in a good health condition and amputated parts from its body.
3-Dog is taking periodical vaccination regularly and last vaccination date do not exceed year.


Where to register !
1-Royal pet centre (Abu Yousif shop)
2-Kuwaiti K9 training club (Abu Rawan in Kabd area)

Companies that would like to sponsor tournament can contact us through the following phone numbers:
+965 96086119
+965 55355615
+965 99661211

Prizes:

1-Tournament cup and medal
2-Certificate signed by FCI judge and leader of the association.


Note:

Due to the participance of a judge from the World Organization of the FCI and the commitment of the World Organization laws it prohibits the participation of dogs descendants of certificates by organizations not recognized by the FCI.

if you have any questions contact us through the following :
+965 60426733
+965 66614888
+965 99661211

Monday, October 31, 2016

AWARE Events

AWARE is a cool place where people transitioning to life in Kuwait can learn about the country and the culture.  In my humble opinion, they do a LOT more than the official Kuwait tourism board does to promote understanding of Kuwait and to present Kuwait in a positive light to foreigners.  To learn more about them, go to their website at http://www.aware.com.kw/.

These are some of their upcoming events.


ATTENTION: AWARE CENTER WILL BE RELOCATING
18.12.2016
AWARE Center is moving to a new location (by December 17, 2016) from Surra to Abu Fatira New Address: Abu Fatira, Block 1, Street 101, Villa 23 Coordinates: 29.2037040 48.0970640





AWARE ANNUAL EVENT: CAMEL RACES
03.12.2016
Join AWARE for a day out at the Camel Races! This outing involves lunch at a Kuwaiti farm. Departure from AWARE: 11:30 a.m. Return Departure: 4:30 p.m. Ticket Fee: Adults: KD 13 Children; age 6 – 12: KD 5 Infants; age 1 – 5: KD 2 Children below age 1 (No Bus seat): Free (Please note: Camel Race Club does not charge an entrance fee) Limited Seats! Registration is though Cash Payments only. REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Sunday, November 27, 2016



OLD KUWAIT CITY
19.11.2016
Saturday, November 19, 2016 Departure from AWARE: 9:30 a.m. This tour will include historical sites in old Kuwait City such as Old Gate of Kuwait, Naif Palace & AlMana’ee Old Mosque. Bring along your camera and comfortable walking shoes for an enjoyable day out to learn about Kuwait’s past. Tour fee: KD 5 per person (Refreshments, Transport & Tour guide included) Very limited seats! Seats will be given on a first register, first serve basis To register, kindly email info@aware.com.kw your full name & contact number.



MOVIE NIGHT: BAS YA BAHAR
08.11.2016
The first feature film to be made by the state of Kuwait. It is a period piece about Kuwait before the discovery of oil when fishing was the predominant occupation. "Bas Ya Bahar" (The cruel sea) was produced by Kuwaiti producer Khalid Al-Siddiq. Bas Ya Bahar is a beautiful personification of the treacherous sea & a critical representation of the harsh life in Kuwait before oil. Movie starts at: 6:00 p.m. Movie Duration: 106 minutes Refreshments provided.



GUIDED TOUR: GRAND MOSQUE
12.11.2016
For a rewarding, spiritual & informative experience. This is a 1½ tour of one of Kuwait’s most famous landmarks. Ladies are required to cover - long sleeves and long ankle length skirt, otherwise the mosque will provide a cloak. If you have your own scarf you’re welcome to bring it. Cameras are allowed. Children are welcome. This tour meets directly at the Grand Mosque


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Con Artist

con artist
noun, informal
a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true.

"the debonair con artist lives by scamming rich women"  (that’s their example, BTW…)

“You might think you can spot a con artist because he's someone you instinctively "don't trust." But the term con artist is short for confidence artist -- they gain your confidence just long enough to get their hands on your money.”

That’s what he is.  When I asked a family member, ‘What is it that I see in him?  He’s not all that.’  She answered with, “Charisma.” 

So I tried yet again to send him messages saying, ‘I really don’t want to ruin your life.  Please reconsider by making payments or whatever you need to do.’  He said, “You have a money problem or what?  Take me to court.”  Really?  It’s like that?  He’s sure of himself.  Arrogant little shit.

With a great deal of thought, I am going to register a case, but not with a lawyer.  They are just another layer of bullshit in my opinion.  Lawyers in Kuwait aren’t the same as they are other places in the world.  And if you thought they were shady in other places in the world – Kuwait makes other lawyers in the world look like angels. 

I called a friend to verify exactly what date our business deal took place.  She and her husband witnessed the money changing hands because Asshole was there.  It was about a week before he dumped me.  That week was when things started to go bad.   Like him accusing me of being controlling; him spending a lot more time with friends and a lot less with me.  And now that I know him – I can tell his lying tone of voice and he was using that one. 

Those who know me have asked what is really motivating me to register a case (“It’s not money, then what?”)  Well, it’s like this.  Up until last week, I thought it was all my fault.  My confidence was brought down to a point where I really thought I was to blame for the break up.  I was too difficult.  too stubborn.  Too controlling.  

(Thank God, I'm not stupid enough to take out a loan in my name for him like he asked me to do - as he wanted a LEXUS.... It really pissed him off when I refused.  I was really a "difficult woman" then....)

He was a “good man who wanted a good woman.”  Yup.  He wants a good woman:  800 on one social media account that I found and more on others.  What is the definition of a “good woman”?  His next mark, most likely.

Having found the accounts, I could see that he never took us seriously.  It was all planned to get money.   There was no mention of me anywhere, yet there was a whole lot of poignant poetry for other women.  There were references during the timeframe when we were together.  Times when he had me absolutely convinced that his love was real.  I was totally confident at one point; ergo the con artist.  He painted a really nice picture of what our life was going to be like; then took the money and ran.  


I can afford to drop it.  Let it go. Move on.  But no.  Not gonna do it.  I get into a rage every time I think of his smarmy, laughing-at-me attitude.  It delights him that he got away with it. 

My question is this:  How many Kuwaiti girl/women is he doing this to?  On his social media accounts, they are all young and pretty.  Some are married. He mentioned to me that a married woman had “helped him” before with money (in other words – gave him money), but that her husband had put a recording device in her car and busted them.  Her dad told her to go back to her husband (they have 2 children).  I found her through his Twitter account and all her tweets are about how heartbroken she is.  I think I’m pretty worldly. I’ve been through a lot of BS with a lot of unscrupulous people.  I fell for his shit.  What about these girls?  They’re not going to go to the police and file cases.  They would be embarrassed. Their families would be embarrassed. They would just let it go.  I don’t have those restrictions.  Zero fucks given.

I talked to his dad and he told me to do whatever I want. His words were, “put him in the fire.” So obviously, he knows what kind of a scumbag his son is.  His sister still isn’t talking to me.  I will miss her.

Things are starting to click in my head.  Little details that are coming back; warning signs that I should have picked up on.  Like the time he took me to the movies and a bunch of his friends were going.  One of the friends told him (in Arabic, probably thinking that I wouldn’t understand) to, “… get her to pay for us.”  Obviously, he’s been bragging.  Other times, he got really angry when I saw what was on his phone screen or asked where he was.  Supposedly, at the time, he said that he was taking it for a lack of privacy.  But he over reacted every time I questioned him on anything. 

Con artist usually move on quickly to the next mark because they know their victims are getting suspicious.  That’s what happened.  As soon as the business deal was over, asshole went looking for a way out.   He found something small and made it huge and flipped it on me.  How do liars do it?  They practice.  A LOT. 

Some of you might think I’m saddened by all this.  Nope.  I got over that feeling.  I’m angry.  REALLY angry.  Angry at myself.  Angry at him. And that is what is going to propel me to do something about it. Legally. He made a conscious decision to work my conscience and win my trust.  I’m making a conscious decision to nail his ass.

The great thing is that I have exact addresses, copies of all his IDs, witnesses, and more.  All the evidence I need.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Moral Dilemma or Not?

Maybe you readers can help me out here.  I'm not really in an emotional state where I can handle too much more on my plate and I'm wondering what I should do about the issue below. (I learned, walking into work this morning, that our CEO - a guy who I really liked and admired - died of a heart attack last night. RIP, Haytham.  You were a good man and you believed in me when I wasn't sure of myself.  I learned more from him than I could have from any business school and I will never forget it.)



"The way they leave you tells you everything."

Coward!!!

As you know, I got dumped by the boyfriend.  (I should think of a catchy name for him, but all I can think of right now is "Asshole".)   But this was not after we had a business deal together where we would split the profit.  (I didn't write about this in the previous posts because I wasn't sure until now that it was intentional.  It was.  I have the evidence now.)   He actually took ALL the profit and then dumped me.  So, as you can imagine, I'm not knocking myself out too hard on blaming myself for the circumstances of the break up.  I also found out that he's one of those social media creeps that has multiple accounts and probably multiple women and maybe even multiple identities.  He lied to me a LOT.   Fine. Bygones. I did a lot of boo-hooing and crying and being upset (and freaking out my dog), but the reality is:  Now that I've stepped back and had a good ugly cry; I don't want him back now or ever.  (I posted about the break up in "Epiphany" and maybe I pushed him away, but dude - pay me before  you walk out!  I didn't push you THAT hard.  Man up, little girl! ... read on....)

His sister is one of my best friends.  I love her dearly. (More on that to follow)

I am considering filing a case for the money he owes me (as he refuses to return it or even acknowledge it).  I have a paper trail of bank-to-bank transfers which will help recover some of the money.  I do have a witness to some of the business dealings. The rest (cash given in hand) is my word against his.

If I file a case, because of some circumstances that I won't go into here, he is really going to be in a very bad position.  It will probably affect his future and lifestyle.  He could even face jail time.  So I have been putting it off.

Had he come to me during the break up and been an actual adult and spoken to me about this (and ANYTHING) instead of ignoring my many messages and phone calls, I might have worked it out with him.  He just left like a coward.  No discussion.  I sent him messages recently saying, "Please work out a payment arrangement with me or I will be forced to file a case."

Arrogance is one of his very strong lack-of-character traits.  His response, "I'm right.  Go to court." ("Right?"  Really?  Seriously?   I'm sorry, but no.  How is taking money from anyone "right?")

So my question to you readers is this:  Do I file a case and potentially ruin the guy's future or do I take the high road and let it go?

It wouldn't kill me to lose the money (around 2000 KD).  I'm not so concerned about how much I get back.  But - I feel like he did this intentionally to get one over on me and I'm not someone who backs down on her rights.

In his very few messages to me (and I feel this is intentional so there is no evidence of his wrong-doing) he said that he doesn't care about money and that he "just couldn't bear being with me."  Fine. But you usually know that pretty soon into a relationship - not like 6 months in.  And - I have known him for 3 years.  But again, if he had talked to me at the time about any of his issues with me like an adult would, we could have discussed it then - and even ended it as friends or people who might say hello on the street.

I had a hard time "bearing him" at times, but it was a new relationship.  I couldn't stand the fact that he kissed like a closed-mouthed chicken. (Me:  'Open your mouth.'  Him: "I don't like that."  WTF - are we in elementary school and you might get cooties?!)  Or that I had to initiate any intimacy (but God forbid never when he was watching television).  Or that he set rules for intimacy (OMG seriously?! Rules?  Either you're into it or you're not.  And these weren't the fun, 50-shades-of-anything type rules.  They were the type of rules that went like, "Only once a week."  Only this way or that way.... no snuggling, "I can't sleep." Bullshit.  If you don't want to BE there - leave!).   Or that I had to ask for his attention and time. "If I feel comfortable coming to you, I will."  He spent most of his time with his friends.  We had planned to get married (believe me, when he started spending more time with the friends, I knew it wasn't happening).  He said several times that he would buy me a ring.  Why doesn't your family know yet, then?  Why are you lying to them about where you are on the phone?  When are we getting married or at least engaged?  A girl likes to plan.  I was hoping to actually buy a dress and stuff.   "Stop being so controlling!  I AM the MAN!"   Okey dokey.   I can see how he couldn't "bear" being with me.  That is all so controlling and manipulative of me!   It was so terrible of me to lend him the money for the business deal (I got my part of the investment back, but not the profit).  It was so terrible and manipulative of me to help him in other ways.  Like the ten  Ralph Lauren Polo shirts (that' weren't up to his standard of quality), for example.

So things got serious.  He then asked me to take out a loan (his credit is bad) for a Lexus in my name and was very upset when I refused.  Whaaaat?  a Lexus?!  Seriously?  Now I'm onto his shit:  "Did you call your bank?  When can you do it?"  'Dude, my bank says that they don't see a ring on my finger or a marriage certificate and neither of our families know, so there is a delay...."  (In other words - phuck OFF!)

We broke up via his ceasing to respond to phone calls and messages and that was it.  He finally answered the phone one day about 3 weeks after the cut-off date and then hung the phone up on me.  I got my spare keys back from his family because he wasn't even going to do that.  Last thing I wanted was him to come around when I'm on the rebound with some other, non-chicken-lipped actual live human man.... (it could happen....)

Anyhoo, I put my feet up and I cracked open a can of whoop-ass and spoke to 2 lawyers and a legal expert.  I'm well within my legal rights....

When I announced to him that I was going to file a case for the money he owed me;  via text message (because he doesn't ever answer the phone), he sent my message to his sister (didn't reply to me), who immediately sent it to me and demanded to know why I would do that to her brother.  (She knew that he owed me money, but she didn't know details and she didn't know how much). She sent me a few messages back (communication issues must run in the family because she wouldn't answer the phone when I called).  She said, "Resolve it, but not in court!  Don't forget I am his sister.  If you lose him, you lose me."   Yo!  Did he give me a chance to resolve it?  I have asked him to call me or come see me to talk about a million times.  No answer.  Intentional!

 Now, I've lost a few friends lately and I seem to be on a roll. (I spend a LOT of time with my dog and now cat. I'm good....)   His sister has been a very dear friend to me - inviting me over when she knows I'm feeling blue because of her brother.  Listening to me rambling (but not in detail because why tell anyone your personal details?  What happens between a man and a woman is between them.) I don't ask her questions about what happens between her and her husband (and I told her this) so why is her brother involving her in our relationship unless it is to drive a wedge into our friendship (and obviously that was his intent and it has worked).  I told her if there is ANY way ANYONE could talk him into coming to me and resolving it amicably, my door and my phone is open.  Let him come and talk to me like a man.  I also told her that I am not her friend because he is her brother.  He has other sisters.  I'm not friends with them.  I am her friend because I genuinely like her.  But it seems like we won't be friends if I do anything to her brother in court.  If she's that good of a friend - why isn't she thinking of me and what he did to me?  If his intentions were good, we would still be together and he wouldn't have dumped me.  Or at the very least, he would have made arrangements to pay me back.  I've always been responsible.  I can't stand owing people money.  I wouldn't even take money from my parents.  I can't imagine walking around with that, but then I am a different animal I guess.

There have been cases about this type of fraud/swindling in the Kuwaiti media:  men making promises of marriage, etc. and then taking money from the woman (some women have even been stuck with large loans).  Many Kuwaiti women won't file charges because it is embarrassing for them and their families.  I'm not easily embarrassed and my family would support whatever I decide (but they would probably tell me to take the high road and forget I ever met him/them).  I don't know if I should (?)  Maybe he doing this to other women?


So, should I sue his ass or not? 

Post a comment or send me an e-mail:  amerab@gmail.com
If nothing else, your answers will be entertaining and I'm sure supportive (even if they are in Kick-My-Ass style!)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Stressed

Broke up with the boyfriend.
Suicide of a friend.
My sister had a cancer scare.

Thank God, my sister's cancer scare turned out to be something else/manageable, but during the wait, I felt like my guts were ground beef.

Man oh Man!  This past month has been tough.

I was also supposed to be on a plane to DC for a convention (and to see my family) at the end of September.  The day of my travel, my residency visa was still not completed and I couldn't travel.  

I can't sleep.  I can't eat (thank God for that one!!!).  I feel sick.  I'm tired ALL the time.  I know - I will give it some time and I'll be back to me now that all the crises are over.  And please - I know you are making me strong and that adversity builds character, but seriously; I'm strong enough now.  Thank you.  No mas.  No maaaaas!

Dorothy should have been laid to rest in the UK by now but is not and no funeral service yet (which is unfortunate as she reaffirmed her faith as a Muslim by posting the Shuhada on social media before she died).   Her body was finally repatriated 5 days ago.  She died October 11th.  I feel better these days, but I can't help but think about her of course.  I decided to keep her cat, Fat F*ck Louie (who is on a low-cal cat food diet now).  I really do love him and so does Mike.  I can't shirk that kind of responsibility to a friend who has passed.  Thank God he isn't a Great Dane or a pony.  What would I do?  (Yeah, I know - probably keep either of them and find a solution...)

I can't stop thinking about the boyfriend.  I wish I could.  I will I'm sure.  But there are so many reminders.  He has his whole world around him that I had nothing to do with (friends, environment, places he goes but I probably never went to, his home with his real mom that I never visited...).  But he was integrated completely into my life.  That sucks.  It isn't fair.  Everywhere I go, he's there like a frickin ghost haunting me.  My heart is ground beef (the cheap, frozen kind, not the expensive display-case kind) for sure and that thing is going to take some time to become prime steak again.  God help him because nobody can make someone else feel this bad without some form of bad juju.  (I didn't tell-all in my posts because some things are just too private to throw out there, but maybe someday you can read about it in my book and say, "Ohmagaaaawd!"  I have stopped blaming myself completely.)

I sent my sister some flowers, thanking her for not being terminally ill.  That kind of thing really puts all other issues into perspective.  If she had cancer, it would have been pancreatic and with about a year survival rate at average.  I would have dumped everything here (except for the pets) and gone to be with my family.  I started to look around at my stuff and think nothing is more important than being with the people you love - especially during a crisis.  Nothing else matters.  When she was diagnosed with cancer way-back-when, it put a 3 year wait on my move to Kuwait.  I was ready to be there for her again at all costs.

My life sounds like a sad country music song that keeps playing over and over. I'm getting sick of my own whining about it, so I will stop now.  But - in case you are one of my friends and you haven't heard form me in a while, this is why.  I'm retreating into a quiet existence (temporarily?)  for the sake of my own sanity.  I could also be a danger to society on the roads, so not a good thing.

Peace and loves.


I just saw this on Facebook. Damn guilt!!!

Sorry, but my 3 problems listed above are not your average, every day issues, are they?  Well, arguably the boyfriend one is, but how often do I have a real boyfriend (for more than like a month?)

Joys:

Strangers who send me AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL e-mail messages!
Going to see the camels
Watching the cat and dog run around my apartment
Unconditional love of the cat and dog
Solving issues at work
New friends
Talking to my mom every night on the phone
Pumpkin spice lattes
Facebook for management
My new cheap bracelet from H&M
My neighbor down the road who is helping the world by becoming a bee keeper (Honey, please!  No, I mean, as in, 'I would like some of the honey they produce, please.)
The weather getting cooler
Camping season starting
Cute new Fall clothes
The neighborhood stray cats coming to greet my car every evening
Feeding the neighborhood stray cats
My noisy neighbors just moved out
Shawarmas from Shawarmamatic
Business travel
The very nice reception staff at our office building (happy mornings)
Good hair days (thank you, Mirror Mirror!!!)
Boys who smile at me because of good hair days
My friend who reads my coffee cup weekly and gives me more hope.
Complaining about my problems (sorry, but this blog was built for therapy and so it is.)


PAWS Fundraiser - Concert November 2nd Help da Furry Things!

Appeal from my friends at PAWS

"We're holding a fundraising concert & dinner for PAWS on the 2nd of November. It's going to be a really fun evening with an international buffet. The musicians are 2 British guys and an American, Michael Lea, who play great acoustic guitar & mandolin. Unfortunately, we've hardly sold any tickets and will have to cancel unless we soon sell a lot more. Would you help us spread the word? We are counting on this event to help us raise money to help pay our sky-high vet bill. Please send the following poster out to everyone you can think of!  Thanks a lot!"

Your wish is my command, PAWS!

They do SO much for animals in our community and are often the only first responders who get there in time to save animals.  If you can't make it to the concert (and I will be there - try to guess who I am if you can!) - please consider making a donation to PAWS.



A little about PAWS.  They are also working with the Kuwait EPA unit to clean up and fine offenders in the Friday market.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

When a friend commits suicide

Note: This is my personal perspective about the suicide of a friend.  I hope that I have written it respectfully and truthfully.  It is as it happened.  I mean no dishonor to her memory or to her family.  Maybe it will help someone understand bipolar disorder better (?).

My former flat mate (that's Bridish for roommate) died this past week on the 11th of October, 2016.   I referred to her as "Dorothy" in some of my previous posts after Dorothy Zbornak of the Golden Girls.  If you follow my blog, you will  know, I don't use real names in my blog and I'm not here either.   Dorothy, the Romanian, and I were all sharing The Romanian's small apartment for a while after I got kicked out of my former place in Rumaithiya.

We referred to ourselves as, "The Golden Girls."  It was fun living together for a while, even though Dorothy and I were under extreme circumstances, the comraderie made it ironic and funny.  We were forced to sleep in the same bed in the small apartment.  Every night, I would draw the imaginary line on the bed that she was not allowed to cross (sometimes, we would find her huddled on the edge of the bed in fear of repercussion). We all giggled about it like teenaged girls going to sleep after a slumber party.  We arranged our suitcases under the bed like in a dorm room and shared the one bathroom.  But we all got along and we all slept well at night.

Dorothy was essentially homeless (although she didn't leave much of a "home" - sleeping with no bed on the floor with a blanket and not much else).  It was "company accommodation" - not much more than an empty apartment in the same building where her she worked for her former employer, a law firm.  When their business relationship ended (she wasn't getting paid and working 18 hour days, eating a roasted chicken every few days), The Romanian and I took her in.  I eventually found my apartment and she moved in with me (with only 2 suitcases and the stray cat that I had found and she took in).

Dorothy had a history of bipolar disorder episodes.  I didn't know until she had moved in with me that she had tried to commit suicide only 4 or 5 months before I met her.  D had a life of secrets as The Romanian and I quickly discovered.  Neither of us are the kind to judge or ask too many questions.  She wasn't willing to tell all; instead, she gave out few secrets and to other friends a few more secrets. It is only now, after her death, that I am starting to  piece together the puzzle that was her life.

D was kind to everyone.  Went out of her way to help others, even if she often couldn't fulfill her promises.  Her work as a paralegal through a series of several law firms allowed her to help both friends and strangers (me included) with our legal cases (which is how I first met Dorothy). Unfortunately, follow-through wasn't always her strong point. Neither was remembering agreements that had been made verbally. Or the fact that oops - that lawyer wasn't actually a lawyer, but a law student and therefore she couldn't possibly follow my case.  Que sera -  my bad for not doing my own research or doing things correctly.

She told me that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that she got into black moods where she felt like she just couldn't get out.  At one point, she told me about her failed suicide attempt by slitting her wrists (her best friend found her).  I thought (mistakenly) that since so many things had changed in her life for the better, this was a closed chapter in her life.

I didn't know very much at all about someone with bipolar disorder.  I knew it involved mood swings, but in the months before she moved in with me, I never saw any of it.  I saw a little bit of what could be termed "irrational behavior" but nothing significant enough to cause alarm.  Things like Dorothy not wanting to be confrontational and to avoid contact (and sometimes you just need to face up to it) or clinging irrationally to boyfriends who had done her wrong. Things that can be overlooked.  Other things bothered me:  Everything official had to be in my name because she didn't have any form of ID; no passport, no Kuwait civil ID card, no drivers license. Nothing.  I worried that the police would pick her up and deport her.  I nagged her constantly about getting a new passport and couldn't understand her constant excuses and delays. (Only after her death did I learn why.)

Dorothy was always laughing.  She had a great, hearty laugh and a funny sense of humor. She was great at giving others advice (even when her own life may have been falling apart).  Friends could talk to her for hours.  She seem strong and confident and someone who you could easily confide in.



At home, she lived in her pink bunny onesie and when she wasn't wearing that - it was PJs and her piggy slippers (I saw them in her apartment) that she adored.  She drank tea and smoked cigarettes and when she was around at home - was either watching rugby, Briddish serials on her iPad, or on her phone.  I see her still running around the apartment like this.  (And I know in my heart that she wouldn't mind me posting this photo as these were the things she loved.)

When we moved into a larger apartment, she would go into her room for days and lock the door, close the shades and turn off her phone.  She wouldn't come out for anything - not food, or even (as far as I could tell) to use the bathroom.  This would come after seemingly normal days at work (we worked in the same building and she didn't own a car, so I would take her to work and we would discuss our days).  I was really concerned several times because she was drinking pretty heavily; even kept alcohol in her bedroom.  I just chalked the alcohol up to being British/Welch. :)  But as it became more frequent, I started questioning if she was ok - or if she really liked me at all as she seemed to be ignoring me by doing that.  After days of this, she would emerge like nothing ever happened.  But it started freaking me out.

D and The Romanian started to go to parties together and not tell me.  Leading me to believe that maybe D really didn't like me after all.  After she dissed me on my birthday, I asked her to move out.  She took it much better than I would have expected.  In a happy voice, she said, "Oh that's ok.  I wanted to tell you anyways:  I'm moving in with my boyfriend.  We need the extra privacy anyways, so it all works out."  10 days on, I hadn't seen much of her because she was back hybernating in her bedroom.  (She must really hate me.)  I sent her an e-mail, pouring my heart out and saying that I'm just not used to living with anyone and my idiosycracies shouldn't make her uncomfortable in the place where she lived.  No response.  (She really must not like me.)  She moved out with nothing more than a note to say goodbye.

I attempted to reach out to her for the following month-plus.  She had lied about moving in with the boyfriend.  She went to stay with The Romanian for a while until she found a furnished apartment close to one of her best friends.  I went to The Romanian's and had coffee and Dorothy acted like nothing had happened.  Same when I went to see her at work.  It wasn't until I went to follow up on my legal case (former landlord case that has been dragging on), that I was informed by the firm that my agreement with Dorothy was not consistent with their understanding; that I would have to pay 1,500 KD to continue the case.  As you can imagine, it was a little disappointing.  That was the last I heard from her (late May, or June time frame).

She continued to be friends with The Romanian and everyone else.  She was close to the lawyers she worked with and Dorothy had a good social life.   I backed away and did my own thing.

If you saw D, you would thing, "Wow. This is a professional woman who really has it all together."  Always wearing business suits.  Worked for a prestigious law firm.  Always looked impeccable.  Spoke professionally and very well mannered.  Always laughing and the hit of the party.  Always made everyone - regardless of their social status - feel comfortable.

Appearances can be deceiving.  Never judge.

I received several calls from the lawyers at her firm around 11pm on the 11th of October.  I didn't answer.  I thought it might be something regarding my case.  Then, I thought better and called back.  Dorothy hadn't called into work for several days and was behaving strangely.  She posted strange messages on social media (although she was Muslim, she posted the shuhada, confirming that she was Muslim) and sent messages to several friends early in the morning saying, "I love you.  Please forgive me.  I'm sorry."  The 3 young female lawyer friends and the receptionist at her law firm got worried and went to her apartment to check on her.  They found her body, hanged.  D had taken the time to write a note (in a dying declaration, blaming her boyfriend and also including words for her family) and to send out the messages just prior to her death.  She chose a time and a method to ensure that she would not be found and revived (this time).  It had to have taken planning.

I wasn't shocked.  I go into "emergency-deal-with-it"  mode and then I break down later.  I guess I knew in the back of my mind that she would try it again.  I didn't want to believe it because she was such a happy-go-lucky person in so many ways.

I know Dorothy's boyfriend, He is a sensitive, quiet man.  I don't know the intracacies of their relationship (you never know what happens between a man and woman), but my gut instinct was that he would be grieving.  I called him and sent messages as soon as I heard, but with no response.

In Kuwait, suicide is considered a crime.  It doesn't happen here very often; when it does, it is usually a domestic worker in a horrible situation, but hardly ever a Westerner.  If there is a "dying declaration" in a note, blaming someone the victim feels is responsible, that person will be treated like a criminal.  In this case, M, was shown the crime scene photos (I feel as either a form of punishment or to see his reaction) and was questioned for several hours.  It was blaringly obvious from the types of medications D was taking and from the scars on her arms (and probably medical history the authorities had obtained by that time) that the only blame was on poor mental health.  M was inconsolable.  The police didn't tell him about the note blaming him, however, some of D's friends have been sending him messages, blaming him.  Perhaps he wasn't the greatest boyfriend in the whole world, but he's not to blame for her death.

The same question I've heard from many of her friends, spoken over and over again, "Why? Why? Why? Why?"  or "Could I have done anything differently?  Maybe I could have helped her."  Nothing could be done.  No one could save her. If someone is at such a low point where they feel they should take their own life, unless you are standing there and can physically take a weapon out of their hands or resuscitate them somehow, you can't save them.  And even if you do that once, they will find a way to try again.  They need PROFESSIONAL mental healthcare help.

Since this tragedy, all of us are now learning more about bipolar disorder.  In hindsight, I can see some of the signs.  Staying in her room for days was her inability to deal with stress.  And although she was helping people, I'm sure that working at a law firm was probably stressful and detailed.  She grinded her teeth very loudly at night.  Probably another sign of stress.  Alcohol, smoking, risky behavior - all signs.  (But - nothing every crossed the line with me or seemed too terribly abnormal.)

I have had crying bouts on and off.  The most difficult thing I've had to do was to pick up her cat at her apartment where she died.  I gave Louie to D.  I couldn't just leave him.   I was shaking as I entered the apartment, but still clinging to composure.  When the cat started wailing and looking around for her, pleadingly; that's when I lost it. The cat carrier was misplaced, so I had to hold him close to me.  He had never scratched me in his life, but I am now left with scars in several places. He fought not to leave her home.  And it broke my heart.  Louie is doing better now.  He's back with Mikey who he grew up with (and fought with like brothers).  Louie is a great guy and now I'm wondering if I will keep him permanently or not.  It is a moral question.  Why wouldn't I keep him?  I would have to give him up when I move back to the States.  My whole family is allergic to cats (including me, but for some reason, I've never been allergic to Louie and that is very strange).  I am worried that he will be bounced around to too many homes also.  He's been a witness to his mom's death. He's been traumatized.  I could feel it - even when I got him home.  I think he needs time in familiar surroundings to get okay again.  Maybe I'm over-thinking it - I don't know.

Dorothy left behind 4 children that she talked about constantly.  They are all living in the UK.  I can't begin to imagine what they are feeling.  She loved them all dearly and also talked about her sister in Saudi Arabia.  I am now getting to know some of her friends from other periods in her life and they are all kind and decent people.  It is all indicative of her kindness of heart.

Dorothy's story has been all over the newspapers and social media.  Not because any of her friends spoke to the press about it; but because crime reports are made to the media by local police.  Some of my friends (not mutual friends) start with, "Oh... I didn't know she was the one you were talking about..."

This is the third suicide in my life I have dealt with.  (Well, officially, Shamlan's murder was declared a suicide, but it was still murder.  And I didn't know until years later that it was murder, so to me, it was suicide.)  2 months after I learned that Shamlan had "committed suicide", a friend who had asked me to marry him, Hilal, (officially) committed suicide by jumping off an overpass.  He had come to me, days before, crying and I couldn't comfort him.

So, I had a good understanding of how to cope. The stages of grief for me were:  1,  Questioning why.  2.  Assigning blame  3. Waves and waves of grief that continue to this day.  So, I get it that some people are blaming.  I have been asked by several people recently (and I am sure that I will be asked more):  "If you were her friend, why didn't you do something to help her?"  You can only do what you can.  I offered many times to drive her to a mental health hospital for counselling.  All refused. All fell on deaf ears.  All were brushed under the carpet like there wasn't a problem.  And the next day, she would be back in her business suit, meeting with a client, smiling and laughing.

I don't wish this on anyone.  It isn't easy.  Like everything else, you just try to get through it and go on.