Thursday, 26 December 2013

My Grown Up Christmas List

Merry Christmas, everyone! A late, albeit sincere wish. My hope is that everyone had a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends...Alcohol wouldn't hurt either-just sayin'.

With no real Christmas shopping to complete (yes, sad, but true), I helped my sister shop for the presents we gave our family in Canada. Unfortunately, I had little to do with the beautiful presents that were wrapped under the tree at the end of the day. Last year I was fortunate to have to work on Christmas day, so although I felt the day painfully, having to work distracted me. This year, the company I work for gave us the day off because there are so many western expats. A very generous, but horrible gift for someone like me who sat in Kuwait and felt mopey because I wasn't with my family in Canada. About 70% of my colleagues had left to travel, so the office was extremely quiet.

To be honest, there were only a few things on my Christmas list this year: 1.) being with my family in Canada...Yeah, that didn't happen (am I really surprised?); 2.) I just want people to have love, joy and laughter. I wish all these naive things that I still inwardly hope for on a daily basis: that people are safe, healthy, fed well. Just listen to this song and you'll know what I'm talking about: I really miss taking part in Operation Christmas Child: and doing some good. Shouldn't I when I have so much to give? Lastly, I tried to get a new watch which, when I went to shop for, was a big miss. I shouldn't have even bothered. Let's be honest, I'd rather give than receive.

I did receive some beautiful gifts and cards! Thank you to some very wonderful people in my life in Kuwait. Living here wouldn't be bearable without people like you.

 The gift of dates and Arabic sweets (from Vivel) from a co-worker who knows how much I LOVE Arabic sweets!
 My "Christmas" tree. Reality: a beautiful plant from the wonderful Egyptian woman who drives me home and gifts and cards from friends :)

On Christmas eve, the Irish chef and I were invited to another gathering at our friends' place-the same couple who invited us for Thanksgiving dinner. Once again, we ate too much food and I even indulged in the spiral ham (DELICIOUS!). I thought the cheesecake was a bit odd, but the cake itself was very tasty! It's a vanilla sponge cake covered in a cheese spread (like Cheez Whiz), and had finely shredded cheese sprinkled on top of that. It was quite...interesting. It, weirdly enough, didn't taste horrible. It was OK after the first two bites. However, I'd taken about three bites and stopped and then couldn't bring myself to eat anymore. The concept was just a tad too unsettling for me. The other food was AMAZING and we relaxed and chatted for a few hours before excusing ourselves. It was a really nice evening as Christmas carols played in the background and the place was festively decorated; Christmas didn't feel like it was only happening outside of Kuwait.

The spread that welcomed us (although we brought the Patchi chocolates-yummy!)
 BEFORE we dug in. CHECK OUT that ham in the conventional oven! SOOO yummy!!!
 The food unveiled! I think a bit was from Mario's, the Filipino restaurant in Fahaheel...Still haven't gone there yet :(
 Hello chicken! Everything was so goooood :D
 The lasagne was delicious. By the way, did you know that lasagna (in Italian) is the singular noun and lasagne is the plural, but in Canada (and outside of the U.S) people tend to use lasagne...Interesting...Or not.
The spiral ham!!! The cheesecake: literally cheese on vanilla cake :)

Prior to Christmas eve, things had been a bit...Unnerving. Two weeks ago I had to complete my medical examination for my residency...Yes. Again. It was just as psychologically damaging the second time around. I DO have to praise the gentleman who took my blood. I don't know if he's an RN or a phlebotomist, but he was quick and it was almost pain-free! My arm didn't bruise either (last time my arm went lovely, dark shades of blue, black and purple).

All was not sugar and lollipops though. Earlier this week I was informed that my x-ray needed to be taken again. Sure enough I trudged back to the TB Unit (yes, as in tuberculosis). It's incredible, but I was under the impression that Canadians are immunized against TB. Annoyed to find myself back in this situation I did research and I found out that Canadians ARE immunized against TB as children (at least in Ontario), and can receive vaccination again as adults. I was immunized for a WHACKLOAD of diseases before I left Canada this past summer (not that I'm a fan of vaccinations), but I was ensured by the doctor that I was caught-up/up-to-date on everything. Yet, there I was, back explaining to a doctor that I didn't have a lung disease. Talk about deja vu (sorry, I know I'm missing the accent aigu and accent grave!).

So, again, I was given an all-clear and returned to work only to find out that the government wasn't going to grant me residency because of my police record check. EXCUSE ME???? It's not older than 6 months (I'd gotten it done in August), and I'd been in Kuwait practically since the day I'd received it. My record is clean. I was fuming. First my passport, then the x-ray and now my police record check? I'm thankful that my manager took control of the situation or else I might have just jumped on a plane home. As I've thought about this whole ridiculous process of getting my residency and Civil ID, I've realized what it is that annoys me so much: I find it offensive that I'm treated with such suspicion and even antagonism. It's unfortunate I feel this way, but it's something that, after 14 months of living here, has not changed. I feel unwelcome here. It's as if I'm not good enough for many grandiose people here.

On a positive note (because I refuse to dwell on the aforementioned point), I wonder what the new year will bring. I hope there will be travelling and I hope that I am with my family and friends in Canada and Japan. I also hope that job opportunities in Canada improve!!! I'm hopeful that the work that I'm doing will lead to something positive, and that I stop fretting long enough to take some risks! Life is too short to be as scared as I (continually) am. 2014, here I come and I'm not going to hold back! Sorry for the bravado; It's more like a mantra I've adopted to encourage myself because I am notorious for allowing fear to hold me back.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment