Sunday, 2 March 2014

Social Butterfly

Kuwaiti Liberation day and National day aka a glorious five-day holiday of doing not-a-thing were, I thought, going to be dull and were anything but! National day is celebrated to commemorate the formation of Kuwait as a country in 1961 (or so I’m told). Liberation day is a holiday signifying the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq in 1991 (the Gulf War/Desert Storm). The more I learn about the events prior to and leading up to the Gulf War, the more I realize how much the Canadian news broadcasting slanted the events so that we ended up believing lies. We don’t need to go there though.

The six days I was off (I took an extra day off today, Sunday) flew by! My mother used to call me a social butterfly, which I always denied, but looking back at the past six days I understand now why she said that. During the holiday there was a lot of coffee-drinking and food-eating, of course! I spent half a day meeting the Georgian lady’s elder sister and cousin and it was so nice to meet educated, well-spoken women who are beautiful inside and out. We had breakfast at Paul in Al Koot. Of course we couldn’t pass up espresso and ice cream, so we treated ourselves to that as well. It was not unlike many other breakfasts I’ve had with the Georgian lady, but the group was larger AND I saw a camel for the first time!!! It was incredible! Unfortunately, when I got up close (but not personal), it was making sad sounds (which my Egyptian friend has explained is a sound camels make just because). It looked depressed as people put their children in the saddle and took tons of pictures. I kept my distance, not out of fear, but out of the desire to allow it some breathing space. I felt horrible that it should be stuck tied up to a tent, out in the sun with tons of kids and people invading the animal’s space. I felt awe seeing such a magnificent animal. Seeing the camel made me want to get a pet. I won't, but if anyone needs a pet sitter, I'm available!

 The Georgian Lady and I
 A camel!!!
He had a whole box of greens close by in case he was hungry.

I also met with my former co-worker who just recently stopped working for my current company. This dismissal has political and racial roots that I will not get into or I will just work myself up. We went for coffee and chatted openly about work, the history and current state of the Middle East and Egypt (he’s Egyptian), and working so far from our families. He is a true gentleman and will be missed. He wanted to take the Irish chef and I out for koshari (he knows how much I love it), and so we ended up at a little koshari restaurant in Hawally (I'm sorry-I don't know the name of the joint!) and it was…Phenomenal! I LOVE koshari. I wish someone would move to little ol’ London, Ontario and open up a koshari shop! It would be a HIT with all the drunken UWO and Fanshawe students after a night of bar-hopping, and would be a welcome change from the traditional options: Sammy Souvlaki (AMAZING poutine, folks!), the Shwarma restaurant (LOVE fries with hummus and garlic dipping sauce. WARNING: do NOT eat garlic sauce if you plan on kissing anyone; it's delicious, but potent!)  and T.J. Baxters (booooring food alert here!) on Richmond Row! Just sayin’, y’all!

 We ordered and not even two minutes later we were served!
 Before the hot sauce and vinegar. Ohhh, LOOK at all the fried onions! They're to DIE for!!!
I couldn't finish it all, but considering the size, I think I made a sizeable dent! The small empty bowl behind mine is a second portion you can get if the first, larger bowl isn't enough ;)  
 My co-worker caught me mid-bite, hahaha! This place was no five-star restaurant, but at 750 fils for a (big) bowl of MAJOR deliciousness (and 250fils for the small second serving), as long as it's clean, I don't care what the decor looks like. Cheers to AMAZING food and company WITHOUT the snobbery and inflated food costs!

I met with the Irish lady (the same one we had the small baby shower for) and her husband. They had their baby just over two weeks ago. The Irish lady the Irish journalist welcomed a new daughter to their family. Their son, who is 21 months old, is still adjusting to having a new baby sister. He clearly wants to play with her and his impatience is sweet. The Irish chef and I grabbed some food so as not to show up empty-handed. We met the journalist's parents who are awesome! We stayed there for hours and hours chatting and catching-up. I love every minute I spend with this family. I will sincerely miss them and their company. The new baby is adorable with strawberry blonde hair and a pleasant demeanor. I didn't want to be intrusive and start snapping photos, so I apologize for not being able to show you how cute she really is, but it's not my place. I hope that this isn't the last time we see this family. I'm hoping that people will take up my offer for them to stay at my home if they visit Canada because it would be a shame if this is the last time I see these incredible people.

I may not have made many friends here, but the friends who I'm blessed to have in my life here are the kind of people you want to have in your life forever: brilliant, kind, funny, relaxed...They're the people who make influence you in such a way that you want to be a better person because of them...I'm not able to enunciate what I mean, but I mean that by knowing them I am a better person and I will continue to try and be a better person because of them. I may have let some friends go (in Canada and in Kuwait), but it's very clear that I my ability to judge the quality of people has improved. Many sincere thanks to the Georgian lady (and her sister and cousin), the Greek lady and her husband (who make me laugh and who I hope will one day move to Canada!), the Irish lady and her husband (I don't think I've ever met people who have inspired me to love life no matter how crappy it is and to keep on smiling), my co-workers who have shown endless support and helped me develop professionally (one of the BEST groups of people I've ever worked with), my students who I cannot even begin to list because, let's face it, it has to do with privacy issues; I know I've lucked out. I have amazing students here and I hope that they all continue to learn English because they're GOOD and I mean it. Lastly, I cannot forget our neighbours who always invited me over on a holiday so I wan't alone. They're very thoughtful and giving. If I've forgotten someone, I'll mention them in my next post. Until then, stay cool because it's warming up here! Wooohooo!!!

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