Monday, June 29, 2015

Suicide Bombing in Kuwait: Love Prevails

There are positive things emerging after the bombing here on Friday.  Contrary to the wishes of the terrorists, the country is unifying - and quickly.  Social media is springing to life with positive messages of solidarity.  People are acting out of kindness.

Although on a smaller scale, it is similar to what happened after 9/11 in the States.  "I fear you just woke up a sleeping bear."

Here are links to some of the positive shows of force around the country:

Kuwaitiful:  We Always Thought It Would Never Reach Us
(This one contains a video clip which I LOVE. Translated, it is a father telling his son that if anyone asks you, "Are you Sunni or Shiite?" you look them in the eyes and say, "I am Kuwaiti.")
Alison & Peter:  Dear Kuwait:
Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait: 

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Kuwaitis were killed on their own soil by terrorism.  In the 1980's, the Fisherman's Diwaniya (next to Marina Crescent - at the T of Hamad Mubarak Street and the Gulf Road) was bombed and many innocent people lost their lives.  Someone drove a car into the diwaniya and ignited a bomb.

History is bound to repeat itself as long as people don't know their past!  No one talks about negative history here.  It is like it never happened.  Learn, educate, and find solutions for the future.

But back on a positive note:  Love always wins over hate and I'm glad to see that good things are coming out of bad.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Attack on Kuwait: Sad day for my second home

The attack on a Shiite mosque on Friday morning wasn't about attacking Shiites.  It was an attack on Kuwait.  As such, the country has come together within a few short days.

I cried when I saw the photos on Instagram.  I cried when I saw the emotions on HH the Emir's face as he witnessed the destruction.  This isn't about our divisions; it is about our commonality.

I was at the farm, miles away from where it happened.  But, I know the mosque well (Imam Sadiq Mosque).  It is directly behind the building where I worked for 5 years when I first came to Kuwait.  I was new here.  I didn't know much about anything.  But, from my desk, I could hear the beautiful voice of the muezzin, welcoming people to prayer during the day.  I could always hear the emotion in his voice (and could tell when he wasn't feeling his best or had a cold). It was always very soothing; and I was hoping that he wasn't hurt in the blast.

Kuwait is like a small town.  Everybody knows everybody. (And everybody talks - which is probably why they were able to identify some of the suspects so quickly.)  I was immediately certain that I know someone who was directly affected by the attack; who either had a friend or a loved-one who was injured or killed (27 dead, over 200 injured).  I was correct.  Within hours, friends told me that their friends and professors or someone they worked with had died.

The talk at the farm was all about what happened - and my Kuwaiti friends' solidarity with other Kuwaitis (regardless of religious beliefs).  They were talking about their plans to go to a Shiite mosque for the next Friday prayers to show their support.  All of my friends planned to attend the mass funerals yesterday (where thousands of people showed up and stood together in 107 degree temperatures).

Coming back from the farm yesterday (the day after the attack), I completely expected there to be checkpoints around Kuwait. I had my registration and license close at hand.   There were numerous checkpoints during 2003 when American troops were moving into Iraq.  It only makes sense that there would be checkpoints around Kuwait.  But there wasn't even one.  I noticed more police patrol cars on the roads, but no checkpoints.  Maybe we've had a huge leap in technology since 2003 rendering checkpoints fruitless?  I don't know.  I would probably felt much more secure if I had had to drive through one.

Three weeks ago, I had borrowed a friend's truck to go to the beach to take my big dog, beach gear, and other friends.  The transmission gave out along the way and I was able to pull the truck into a parking lot at a mosque where I thought it would be safe to leave until we could get a tow truck.  The police came around approximately five times, asking us to move it.  They were concerned because there had been a terrorist attack at a mosque in Saudi Arabia recently  They were adamant that we move the car, so we did.  I wasn't upset, but perplexed by the hightened security.  How far do precautions go?

I guess now it is the end of innocence at mosques.  I've seen metal detectors being installed.  I hope that the tighter security will continue.  It is necessary I think.

I'm wondering if this is a spark that will unify the country against a common enemy.  I hope that people's eyes have been opened.  This kind of hatred can't be allowed to continue.  We are all ONE Kuwait.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Handyman Services in Kuwait

I’m not going to lie – I’m not a fix-it girl.  I have power tools; which I gladly let others use.  I’m not useless, but I can’t do the work myself and I know my limitations.  Plus with anger-management issues, you really don’t want me with a hammer in one hand and a power drill in another.  Not good.

And I don't want to get some guy from the jameeya (co-op).  I've had bad experiences with stinky feet and lost-in-translation instructions.  Noooo thanks.  I'm looking for professionalism.

I have been staying with my BFF until my Perfect Apartment is ready (Inshallah). Girlfriend is out of town, so I have been fixing things that need fixing (WHY don’t apartment building owners do maintenance when it is actually IN the contract?!) 

Anyhooser, I called (25682000 or 25683000).

“Filipinos in the house!”  Represent.  Ok, so three very nationality-proud gentlemen descended upon the apartment.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a small task, but they all worked diligently and got everything fixed – and at a very reasonable price.  I needed electric outlets installed, the kitchen equipment re-arranged, the kitchen plumbing (in its entirety) fixed – including drains and new faucets.  I’m calling them back this weekend to paint.  They are happy guys and I liked them all a lot.

Q8realtor has also launched a handyman service.  They don’t have a number -  you have to write in at is another one.  Their number is 99141086.  These guys do tiling also.  Woo hoo.

If anyone has used any of these services and can comment on your experience, I would appreciate it.

Bronchitis almost killed me.

I know - I haven't been posting a lot recently, have I?  I guess I have some catching up to do.

Almost a month ago, I was hit with bad bronchitis - in a day.  I often get bronchitis because I have asthma and it usually creeps in behind some kind of dust storm or humidity front.  The weather in Kuwait has NOT been the best this summer.  Extreme temperatures and a lot of dust.  No humidity, though.

I was on Arifjan the day it hit me.  In the middle of a huge project we are doing - at THE most critical period.  I've been working towards this project implementation since November... and I was stuck in bed.

I've never had such a severe case.  I've heard from friends that many people have been hit by bronchitis this year, leading me to wonder if it is actually something else that is being mis-diagnosed.  My doctor at IC had never even heard of MERS, for example.  I had to show her the CDC webpage.  That is scary.  My x-rays showed no pneumonia, but on a second opinion, the doctor said that the x-rays might not have shown pneumonia (either at that particular time or it could have just not shown up at all). He thinks that it probably was pneumonia.  Whatever the funk was kept me in bed for almost 2 weeks consecutively.

I was on IV antibiotics and the nebulizer for 10 days straight.  My arms are all black and blue.  I slept.  I slept.  And then I slept some more.  Even after almost 3 weeks, I am still coughing.

I am waiting for The Perfect Apartment.  I am still staying with my BFF in her apartment (she is in China so I am alone there).  I have found one that I'm in love with; I'm just waiting for the current tenant friends to move into their Perfect Apartment - which should be ready in a few weeks.

While I was sick, I haven't been able to visit Mikey.  I miss him so much.  I miss my little dog too (she's staying with another friend in another location. Thank God (and you, S) because she is too old and fragile to be able to handle life in a kennel.  I can't wait to get our little family finally reunited again.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Chocolates that Cater to Kuwaiti Palates: Lutece Chocolat

(No, not "pilates" - I said "palates".)

I'm a simple girl. I like simple things.  Once in a while, someone will ask me to review something and if (and ONLY if) I like it, I will write about it.  What is your return on investment going to be?  Probably some praise and a blog post.

So here goes....

Lutece Chocolat 

Got a request out-of-the-blue from a very nice Kuwaiti gentleman who asked if I would try his new-to-Kuwait chocolates and if I liked them to write a post.  Sure, why not?  I'm taking my Glucophage and my count isn't so high, so here goes.

This comes during the same week when a very nice reader, Kathy, sent me gorgeous flowers out-of-the blue.  It looks VERY cool to receive both during the same week, on different days; as everybody knows that I'm single and I work all the time and I really have no romantic prospects whatsoever.  Everybody now thinks I have an extremely considerate admirer.  As if....

I was expecting the usual chocolates (snore) - nothing out of the ordinary. But hey - do I care? Chocolate is chocolate, right?  There is never a bad chocolate (unless it is stale and then who wants that unless it is 3 am and you are really really desperate?)

What I got was unexpected.  These hit me from several different directions.

First, I'm one of those kids who will poke a hole in the bottom of each and every piece if I can't easily determine what is in it.  Most likely, if it is one I don't care for, I'll put it back in the box - hole and all.  I don't care.  I'm still 11 years old at heart.  But these came with a MENU!  It has pictures and tells you whats IN each one.  So cool. Like Russel Stover, but not as difficult (because Russel Stover chocolates have the menu on the inside of the box lid which makes it kind of harder - especially when you are handing them around to people or want to share a menu).

Armed with my menu, I set in.  But... I kinda came to a screeching halt when I saw how pretty they actually are.  Since they arrived in my office (and truth be told, I could NOT eat the entire box because it really would put me into a diabetic coma), my colleagues got to sample too and I got to hear their reviews.  They usually just grunt when receiving food (don't we all?) but this time I got, "Oooh's" and "Aaaaah's!" about how pretty the little chocolates are.

"They look like gemstones," or "They look like they've been hand-painted!"  So pretty.

So then I went to the menu to see which ones would be my favorites.  Holy Shhhhh!!! WATERMELON!!!  Who DOES that?!  In chocolate?  Could it be?!  Two of my favorite flavors together?  And yes, it actually does taste like watermelon.  That's a first.  I thought I had seen it all in the world of chocolate (and I'm sure you think you have too, if you live in Kuwait...)

Let me run down the list of my fav's:  Watermelon, rose truffle, saffron cardamon, and pomegranate.  Yuuuuuummmm.   

I like the fact that they are actually marketing to local tastes:  Rahash is Kuwaiti Rahash flavored ganache filled in milk chocolate.  Saffron cardamon is a local favorite. Hazelnut caramel, pistachio truffle.  (Have you guys thought about branching out do do wedding cakes in Kuwait?)

Is it getting dizzy in here or is it just me?

Anyways, Abdulrahman at Lutece, please come visit me in the hospital and I can't thank you enough for putting me there!  It was a lovely, lovely thing for you to have thought of me and sent me these wonderful treats.  Everyone in my office is thanking you today as well.  As you can see, your menu cover has their dirty little fingerprints all over it, so I hope you will be receiving a lot more customers soon.

Here's some pics and how to get in touch with them.

For dark chocolate lovers:  Blue Cherry and Cherry Raspberry in dark chocolate

Sidebar:  In keeping with my tell-it-like-it is method of operation....  Although it was nice to receive the chocolates for free (so that I would write about them IF I liked them - which I obviously did), I never received a thank you for this post, so I am having mixed feelings about actually keeping it posted here.  Good manners are everything and so is follow-through.