Sunday, November 23, 2008

Found a Home: Preparing for the Move

Thank you to all the well-wishers who sent me e-mails and words of encouragement on my recent home-search saga/drama. It has been HELL and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. People who go out of their way to be kind are like God sending you angels and it has meant a lot to me. I hope others bestow kindness on you all in return.

Something has GOT to be done about housing laws in Kuwait. I don’t even know if the Government knows how badly foreigners are treated here (discriminatory practices – which extend to Kuwaitis as well – as many landlords specify “westerners-only), how expensive it has become, or all the housing scams that are going on. Whoyagonnacall? Honestly, I had no idea how bad it was before I started my search. I thought it was easy. I have been giving out advice to newbies here on how they can easily find a home. Not so!

I finally signed yesterday on the place that I looked at where the homeowner said she ab-so-lutely wouldn’t allow Desert Dawg. I sent her a 2-page letter the following day saying, “You don’t know me and you certainly don’t know my dog, but let me explain who we are and why she is so important to me and why I would do anything to make her as happy as she has made me for the past 10 years….” Obviously, it worked. The realtor called and said she had agreed. We are now getting to a better understanding of each other. I haven’t fallen-in-like with her yet, but I’m working on it. I think she is trying to like me too.

As a woman, I plead guilty on this: How many times have you (women out there) looked at another woman and judged her solely on what she looks like; her hair, her clothes, her body, her make-up, her accessories…. I have; and I consider myself very open-minded. I don’t feel good about admitting that, but I do it (even more so in Kuwait where talking about other people is somewhat of a national pastime). Anyhoo, maybe that is what Homeowner Lady did with me. Bunny thinks so. She didn’t know me from squat, and yet when she read my letter, she knew me more and wasn’t so quick to pass judgement.

[As a side-note, this is why it is SO IMPORTANT to send thank-you notes after interviews, after parties, etc: get your name across! Let the person see you as a human, not a number in the queue. My mother taught me that and all during my teenaged years, I thought it was tremendously stu-pid. Now I see the importance. If there is a job I really really want, I send the person who interviewed me flowers and a card saying, “I’m your best candidate…. Hire me!” Branding.]

Anyhoo, the apartment (Mashallah, Mashallah, Mashallah) is enormous; the living room could fit my entire current apartment inside it (it is something like 12m2). It is the biggest apartment I’ve ever seen in Kuwait (that isn’t 2,000 kd/mo). It has an enormous terrace (WITH tal potted plants!) – a fully-furnished kitchen, 2 full bathrooms, covered parking for 3 cars, and comes with electric and water. A steal at 400 KD/mo. The search was kinda/sorta worth it. Yes, the apartment definitely was worth it; no, I would never want to go through what I did for an apartment again.

My friends have told me that only now am I coming back to my “normal self”. (Please define “normal”). That’s just it – I don’t WANT to be “normal”. Life is all about perspectives and I have mine.

Hiring a Local Moving Company

Getting 2 guys with a truck (lorrey/half lorrey) in Kuwait is easy, but I am hiring professional movers. During my “lean years” (both physically and financially), I did the U-Haul moves. I “invited” all my closest friends (both male and female) to help me move. I provided the truck, the moving supplies, the pizza and the beer; they supplied the manpower. In two words: NEVER AGAIN! I vowed that as long as I could afford it, I would never do the self-move again. So, armed with experience and relatively decent salary, I have contacted 3 local moving companies in Kuwait to provide me with “I don’t want to break a fingernail” quotations. I called MoveX (phone 22643380 or www.xunited.com), Pack and Move (don’t have their contact info and not worth it to me to search for it), and Global Freight (phone 2431 6530 or www.global-freight.net).

MoveX sent 2 guys (who didn’t speak English and got lost trying to find my apartment – making me wonder if they would get lost with my stuff on the way to the new place). They were lurkers/stare-ers. The one guy took a small piece of paper from his pocket and seemingly took notes, then came up with 300 KD (the top of his head) and left. I wasn’t impressed and wrote a letter to the owner of the company who has now become somewhat of a friend. Still… I worried. Pack and Move showed up on time, with a uniform, but was almost scared to enter my apartment (‘BOOO!’). He had a proper clipboard and took notes. I received a detailed quotation the next day via e-mail (impressive so far, eh?) for 469 KD (including a 100 KD charge for 80 meters of bubble wrap!). I wrote to them, asking them to explain why they were so much higher than other quotes and I got no response. So, I contacted Global Freight. The Filipino lady (yes, now there is a plus!) who came to give me the quotation, Haydee, was so nice that I almost invited her to dinner (but she had a cold and didn’t feel well). She was professional, had a clipboard, and sent me a quote the next day for 308 KD. DONE. I will let you know how it turns out, but so far I am really impressed with their service.

So now, let the furniture/home accessory shopping begin! I am going to have fun with this. Hi ho hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to shop we go…..

8 comments:

Purgatory said...

I should come over and behave badly to give the lady a different impression ;p

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the new flat Desert Girl! I never miss an opportunity to keep up with the ongoing desert saga; better than the best soap opera. Well, now I know where the parties are going to be when I go to Kuwait!!!! (joke) Schlumberger boy

Jewaira said...

Mabrook!
Finally.
When is the house warming party?

Q8Sultana said...

Mabroom on the new appartment!
Yay :o)

intlxpatr said...

Woooo HOOOOOOO Desert Girl, and it was the one you totally LOVED!

(I wondered where that entry went, and hoped hoped hoped that this was the reason)

WOOO HOOOOOOOO! Hot totally cool!

American in Kuwait said...

Wow!

Congrats DG, glad it is all over. I would suggest inviting friends to watch over the moving process.
It is almost the same as before inviting the friends but for supervision purposes only.

I have a Spanish friend moving to Kuwait this Friday and he will be looking for an apartment :-)

Take Care,

Khaled

Sreeyesh Menon said...

Lmao !! i really enjoyed this two posts on here.. abt moving to kuwait .. well, what can i say ? the 'joy's of moving to kuwait eh ?

But glad u finally got it all sorted. and abt the Dawg, I wonder when will these guys in this part the arab land learn to look at other animals as living beings ? ( not that they r doing a good job mistreating the human beings anyway )

Peace!

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