I got back to Kuwait yesterday and alls I can say is 'YUK'! I went from green to brown. Ew. Virginia and San Antonio were all flowers and greenness and then - WABAM! I land in the middle of a sandstorm. I knew I was back when 3 old fat guys (with "I'm married and well-fed" bellies) tried to give me their numbers at the airport. Girls, that's the place to go if you wants to catch you a husband (as long as quality doesn't matter much to you).
My journey began at Dulles airport. I arrived 4 hours early. It was my sister's birthday and they had dinner reservations, so I opted to go early. Let me just say that the United counter people are NOT nice (and I was the ONLY person in line). It is just as easy to be kind and friendly than rude and bitchy. The plane was delayed by 2 hours. And... to make it even more of a lovely experience... somehow they must have left my bags on the rainy tarmac because both of them came back soaked through with water. Phuquers! Whyyyyy? Because they're pink? None of the military duffle bags were wet. Why my Barbie cases? Whyyyyy???
At Dulles, there was an overweight woman in front of me at the gate in a wheelchair. The porter dude was having a hard time pushing her and pulling her carry-on bag. I offered to help. He wheeled her into the plane and for the rest of the flight - and upon landing in Kuwait - she was walking about freely. I probably shouldn't judge - maybe she just couldn't make it through Dulles and all the long walks. Maybe her feet hurt or her back or whatever. But... to be wheeled ONTO the plane? That is a bit much when she seemed to be fine from that point on.
Some people take advantage (like the time I faked being pregnant at Heathrow to get a ride on the golf cart thingy to the Heathrow Hilton - which is about a 15 minute walk. ....Bygones. I'm pretty sure karma bit me in the ass later.)
...Cut to the Kuwait customs portion of our journey. She's in front of me going through the x-tray machine. She gets stopped and is obviously (sigh) a newbie. Now newbies, listen up.... there is a right and a wrong way to pack to come to Kuwait:
Place all of your toiletries and other items you might want "overlooked" (in plastic - 100% plastic with no metal tops if you get my drift) into a large cosmetics case. Smaller containers (like the travel-sized shampoo bottles you can buy at the drugstore) are better. Big sized bottles no gooood. Bundle: Do NOT strew items about your suitcase like you are packing to go work at the flea market for the day. That will make the customs agents want to check your bag - as happened to her. [If you pack say... a water bottle (which is 1/2 a litre, by the way) next to a shampoo bottle in your cosmetics case and then throw in some eye shadows and a few lipsticks, people will understand that better than perhaps a large bottle of "mouthwash" in the corner of your case under your Wonder Bra. (Men, unless you are trannies, I have very little advice for you. Sorry. I guess you could fake being a trannie... )]
Mo' advice: Do not hold direct eye contact with the customs agents. I usually turn to talk jibberish to the porter dudes. Think of the Queen. Think of your dad in his underwear. Think of something that will take your mind off your bags. Unless customs dude is waaaaaaaaaaaay bagorgeous - there is really no need to strike up a conversation.
Wheelchair Lady got stopped and they were going through every little item in her case, poor thing. Perhaps it was karma (again, je shouldn't judge, but I'm just sayin.....)
I miss my family. I know that my sister probably wanted to have the house back to theyselves and all things have a shelf-life (fish begins to smell after a few days... yada), but still.... I miss them a lot. I wish I was closer to my younger sister. She does so much for me (and everybody else), but the thing I miss most is just hanging with her and laughing. We did some of that in San Antonio with my older sister too. We don't get to hang out just the 3 of us very often. I guess the last time was a trip we took to California in 2005. Time flies when life gets in the way, doesn't it?
My nephew is graduating from high school next month. I'm going to try to get there (maybe just for 4 days). I've been in Kuwait since he was 2 years old; his whole life. Dayum. I often wonder what I've accomplished in all this time, but I would be wondering that anywhere. I'm blessed. I know that. With all the vacations we get here, I probably see them more often than I would if I was working in the States. But, it is the routine, everyday things like having dinner together or calling to share our day that I miss. (Or looking out the window and seeing paradise on Earth.) Alas, once you go expat, it is hard to go back. It's a gypsy thing. Maybe I'm just getting old and looking at things differently. Je ne sais pas, mon amis.
Maybe it's just jetlag and the raging cold that I think I caught on the plane.