Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ordering DVDs online for delivery in Kuuuuu-wait

The other night, we were sitting around and it was too hot and humid to even venture outside. Plus, it was Friday and the traffic is horrific, so why bother?  The Man's son, Little Man, orders DVDs for home delivery on the internet, so he gave me the site (www.q8film.org) and we tried to order. There were 2 delivery timeslots:  4-8 pm and 9-11pm.  It was early; we opted for 4-8.  Nothing came.  We decided to go out and get movies from a shop (plus we were hungry).  Then, ironically, there was a dude in the parking lot and we ended up buying them from him.  (Dude asked if The Man was "the police" and we had a good laugh about that cause well - he is.)

Anyhoo, cut to Sunday.  I get 3 mysterious phone calls which I didn't bother to answer; followed by 1 ring, then hang up in 2 different calls; which means they are calling from their mobile phone but they want YOU to call back so that you have to pay for the call.  When that happens, I usually do the same thing in response - which I did.   They didn't like my voicemail either, no messages.  Whatever.  Then, The Man gets 2 calls from www.q8film.org (we gave them both numbers) telling him that the DVDs were ready for delivery.  WTF??? 2 days later?  DVD dude says that they delivery "4 to 8 days later".  Whaaaaaat??  En zain - whatever.

So tonight, The Man gets yet ANOTHER call (how many are we up to?  I've lost count...) from the OWNER of www.q8film.org, in an accusatory manner; asking him WHY we didn't take the DVD's?  I know - hard to believe, right?  No apologies.  This is the way of business in Kuwait.  Top customer service, baybee.  Owner dude went on to ask why we didn't see the notice on his site that said they have a day off (on Saturday).  Yeah?  So?  We ordered on Friday....  Get the POINT:  We no longer want the movies. RRRRR

And by yet another twist of irony, my friend, S, forwards me an e-mail from a site that she uses for clear DVDs.  I'm not going to publish the name because I don't want them to have any problems with the 5-O, but if you want it, write to me (as long as you are not "the police" LOL). I'm going to try them.  They look cool.

DG Thoughts on Sex and The City 2 Movie

I like the Sex and The City series.  I like the camaraderie between the female characters and the collective perspectives they provide. 

I finally found a clear bootleg copy of Sex and The City 2 (from a guy selling DVDs in a parking lot) and watched it last night.  First, let me tell you, I'm not a shy person, but going into video shops and asking for a bootleg copy of "Sex and The City" got me some serious stares.  Obviously dudes hadn't heard of it and thought I was looking for porn (I am shy to ask for that although I wouldn't mind... another post....)

I don't usually like to critique movies on my blog.  I leave that to others like that guy in the Arab Times who goes on and on about this movie or that and how they pertain to day-to-day life in Kuwait.  That isn't for me.  But, this one had an interesting aspect to it in that the characters in Sex and The City were giving their perspective on life in the "new Middle East" (as they said in the film).

I LOVED the opening scenes with the gay wedding.  It was so over-the-top and I'm sure that if anyone here sees it, you are going to see men's choirs singing at weddings and Liza Manelli presiding really soon.  Oh, and swans.  God forbid they start importing swans here. 


The film disturbed me on several levels and I can now understand why Abu Dhabi would not allow filming there; but then, I wondered if it hadn't been re-written after AD's decision as an intended retaliatory insult?  They decide to go on a trip to Abu Dhabi after Samantha meets a Sheikh who wants to promote "his" hotel, loosly based on the FABULOUS Emirates Palace.  He invites Samantha and her friends on a week-long PR trip.  They end up in trouble - and obviously embarass their host who cuts their stay short.

First  DG disturbance:  The girls go off to Abu Dhabi wearing completely inappropriate clothing.  That was the first thing that struck me.  They appeared to be wearing clothing out of a Vegas performance of Arabian Nights.  I couldn't figure out 1) who the HELL would wear that stuff and 2) if anyone would have the audacity to actually go to a foreign country in costumes that quite clearly might insult the locals. 

Next DG disturbance:  none of the girls, except Cynthia Nixon's character (Miranda), even bothered to open a guide book or learn anything about the country, culture, or religion.  Unfortunately, I have got to say that in my experience, the same can be said about too many travellers to the Middle East (and not just from the US).  People are just too damn lazy to learn about a new place.  Why would you want to go if you knew nothing about it?  Miranda's character was the voice of reason and would interject facts about the country and its laws every now and then. 

The movie ended up being filmed in Morocco, although they did manage to get most of the national attire of the UAE correct.  The same could not be said for the Arabic - it was butchered.

As mentioned, I generally like SATC and can handle the vulgarity, but this was waaaaay over the top.  There is one scene in a local souq that I literally had to fast forward through.  I found it very offensive and I think that had Samantha done the same in a mall anywhere in the US, she would also have quite an audience.  It was really distasteful.

It was an interesting look at UAE society, however, and made several good points.  It touched on the issue of foreign national workers in the country and how they are away from their families for so long (butler dude said he got to see his wife every 3 months.  In reality, it would be more like every 2 years.)  It also touched on how the younger generation of Emiratis are mixing the old culture with modern styles.

Obviously, you're not going to see this movie in the cinemas in the GCC, so you'll have to find a copy like I did if you want to see it.  I think I have the DVD guy's number if you want it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

They do WHAT to their skin??? Yo, Michael Jackson Wannabe's!

Butterfly and I drove around to 5 different beauty locations (including the shops on Salem Mubarak Street in Salmiya) AND including Jothen and guess what - there is no non-peroxide semi-permanent hair color to be found.  WTF!  No wonder so many of these girls are walking around with jacked-up hair, using 40 volume and permanent color.  Wacked.

DG Pet Peeve (#4,000,935):  Let me just say that just because you work in a shop that sells beauty supplies (and I'm referring to the Jothen store) doesn't mean you should develop an immediate snobby-ass, I'm better-than-you attitude.  The sales people there don't know their product lines and pretend that they do.  It's sad and pathetic and annoying (sapoying) at the same time.  Honestly, I have never understood why someone can't take pride enough in their work to become educated about what they are selling.  And if you don't know - ASK. Snobbery alone don't sell the product.

We discovered an enormous beauty supply place behind the Hilton Pharmacy in Salmiya (go to the blue-painted mahuwil and turn left).  The name of the shop is "American Line."  They should change it to "Chinese Line".  I found nothing American in there.  But hey - it is huge and it is cheap.  There is a small shop on street level, but if you go into the adjacent building (blue), take the elevator to the basement, there is an enormous shop down there with everything imaginable - AND a bunch of smelly, cigarette smoking men.  WHY do they employ ugly men in beauty and lingerie shops in Kuwait?  I have never understood that about Kuwait.  WTF are they thinking?  Ok, I could see some young, perky pretty-boys, but not hairy old men who just grunt at you when you ask them a question.  Ick.  That's just piss-poor salesmenship.  I don't even want to accept change back from them without rubber gloves and hand sanitizer.  I just know they are saving all the mental-images for later.

I did discover that one of the shops on Salem Mubarak Street has all kinds of American brands like Tigi's Bed Head line, Biosilk, KMS, and a few other well known US brands.  That's purty cool. I'm going back.  The one item that Butterfly wanted to by, unfortunately, didn't have a price on it and dude got the deer-in-the-headlight look; took us 3 attempts before he finally said, "My owner (not the shop's, right) comes at 4:30.  I will ask."  Dude...

Okay, so now you are wondering about the title of this here ditty:  Well, we went to buy 30 volume and developer from one smelly beauty queen.  He looked at us and said in Arabic, "This will burn your skin."  We were both totally perplexed. It is for highlighting your hair. I thought I was having Arabic language problems again (sometimes my translation skills become garbled).  What up?  He went on to do show-and-tell, pointing out that it will burn your body. .... Huh??  Me no get it.  We FINALLY figured out that Kuwaiti women use the bleach on their skin to lighten it and then use a stabilizer/neutralizer to stop the process.


I called up The Romanian; Guru of All Things Beauty-Related in Kuwait.  She confirmed.  Yes, friends of ours (Sheikha Minor for example) have done this.  Why the HELL would you want to risk cancer like that in lightening your skin?  I am still in shock.  Butterfly was in shock.  Both of us couldn't believe it.  I've been here for 14 years and I thought I had heard it all.  Well, obviously everything in Kuwait is a learning experience and you learn something new every day. 

Tanning in the US is a multi-billion dollar industry, and here I am in the Hottest Place on the Planet and they are using 30 volume to bleach themselves.  What is WRONG with the world?  You go, Michael Jackson, and take that skanky-ass mall-whore over-processed hair with you.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Drag-Queen Carnie-Ho's

Ok so last night I was sitting around doing something that I absolutely never in a million years thought I would do - participating in a book club. Not that I don't read - I do.  It is very cerebral stuff like Jude Deveraux romance novels (I call it "mind candy") about time-travelling rogue Scotsmen; or stupid self-help books that I intend to read, but then only end up skimming over while on the commode (things I bet you wish you didn't know about me, right?)  My life/reality is generally too harsh for me to get immersed into anything too thought-provoking or deep.  (Come to think of it, I could probably make that statement about my personality.  I can be "sensible book" when I want to be, but I make a choice when to turn it on.)  I totally enjoyed myself last night and now I want to read more fascinating stuff! 

I hadn't read the book for last night, mind you.  My friend who was hosting invited me, probably because we make eachother laugh and I haven't seen her in a really long time.  I went to her BODACIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL apartment overlooking the entire Gulf from up in the clouds and realized that my kickass apartment pales in comparisson.  Holy SNAP!  Just a gorgeous place. 

But, my friend, R (what the heck should I call her... hmmmm.... have to give that one a think), is so humble that I didn't feel overwhelmed.  Any woman who is obviously so intelligent, elegant, and with such an amazingly presigious job - yet who has "Frankie The Fish" (singing wall-mounted fish) on her bathroom wall, wins an immediate Desert Girl Seal of Approval (cue the orchestra!).  You rock, R!  I can't remember when I have laughed so hard,  and this morning - I can't remember all of what we were laughing about.

Oh - the one thing was the determination of the proper terminology for the most popular form of Kuwaiti make-up application (weddings, special events):  Carnival Hooker (or "Carnie Ho" for short).  Basically, it is Combat Make-up or perhaps Extreme Make-up;  it would be the "bunjee-jumping-off-K9" of all make-up application. 

  • Sidenote:  Kuwait, as many of you know, bans transvestites. (Sorry, if you are a real transvestite/drag queen, you are just banned.  That's it.)  However, I ponder the thought - if women dress like drag-queens, is that too illegal?  Women who dress like men who dress like women.... There is a thought for you.
  • Disclaimer:  As true of anywhere, not all that I say about the likes of the local population apply to EVERYONE.  I am making a sweeping generalization which is not to say that some ladies (and I mean that) in the local market are not incredibly elegant and apply make-up that is not extreme.  (Don't mean to piss y'alls off.)  The States has similar make-up styles.  (Has anyone seen "Jersyliscious?")

This came about  after a discussion about my friend, Butterfly.  I recommended her to R and other professional Western women in Kuwait who may need Butterfly's services. Butterfly  is a professional make-up, hair, eye-lash extension artist.  When I say "artist" I mean - she creates art.  Not abstract or face-painting outside your local side-show, no -----  art

Butterfly has been dabbling with doing Kuwaiti make-up for a local salon.  The salon patrons can't get their heads around the idea of natural looking make-up to enhance your natural attributes.  Nosireebob, these gals want it laquered.  Butterfly does air-brush make-up (as far as I know, no one else in these parts does it).  Air-brush technique allows for a light coating.  While patronettes think it's cool, the finished product isn't as deep as they would like.  What they want: think Earl Sheib or Maaco Paint Shop;  sanding, bondo, 1st coat, 2nd coat, clear coat, polish. (Then, put in blue or green contact lenses to complete the hook... I mean "look". It's Michael Jackson's Thriller - scary.)   Make-up in the Kuwaiti-hood? Perhaps, Butterfly,  you should do make-up the way you HATE it and you'll be a great success in the local market.  Think 30 years ago and colors de la rainbow, chica.  Think qinceniera in Tiajuana....

  • Photo is of Adam Lambert (a dude).  HIS make-up was NOT done by Butterfly. This photo is indicative of carnie-ho make-up application.
  • Sidenote:  Stinni and I are still planning to go to a local wedding together dressed as drag-queens and see how many compliments we get.  Butterfly, I'll get you to do some really hideous make-up and up-do's with lots of crystals.  I just have to get online to Fredericks of Hollywood to pick out a soiree gown.  I'm thinking fushia latex and some feathers, knee-high boots.

Butterfly also does Xtreme lashes (which takes about 2 hours).  They're semi-permanent lashes that last up to 6 months. They're AMAZING.  I so want to do that.  If anyone wants a copy of her sample work presentation or her contact info, write to me at amerab@gmail.com.  She also does African-American hair and has brought her own products from the States (like Moroccan Oil), so y'alls won't destroy your folicles with the crap that is available in stores here.

Disclaimer:  This last paragraph has ab-solut (TM)-ly nothing to do with the title of this post nor much else contained herein by in so far as it is stated above.  Amen.

So, after many a G&T and a few bottles of vino, we have determined that Desert Girl is going to get hair extensions.  That's right, extensions with real human hair Butterfly brought from HOLLYWOOD baybee.  I need a pick-me-up and I can be good for Butterfly's before & after shots.  Awesome, I'm going to be frickin Jessica Simpson (minus the body).  Woo hooo.  We have agreed on "titty length" (that wasn't my term, but I'm liking it) to give maximum drama.  Bada Bing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Navy Guys are Cool

My dad was a Navy guy.  My grand dad was a Navy guy (navigator on the FIRST US aircraft carrier, USS Langley). 

Out of all the people in the military forces, I seem to get along with Navy people best.  I think there is something about being out on the sea in a ship.  (Similar to Kuwait)  you are confined in small quarters (even if the ship does house 5000 people - it all becomes small after a few months) and you have to accommodate different personalities and nationalities.  The Navy folks I have met seem to be calmer (with the exception of a few former Tailhook culprits I knew).  My sailor friends in Kuwait are all great people also.

The first photo (younger guy) is my dad in 1942.  (We're Irish - pardon the booze.  There were a lot of other sailors in the photo.)  The 2nd is my grandfather. He was a Captain and forced my dad to join the navy.  Hi dad!  Hi Grandpa!  I miss you guys.  Did you like the white roses I left for you?  What's that?  Why am I spending my money on flowers that are just going to die out there when I could be using it for other things?  Well, I love you both (and Aunt Virginia and Grandma Marie) and I do it because I remember.

I have been cultivating a relationship with a big American defense contractor that deals with the Navy.  The customer dudes are former US Navy and they are wonderful, kind people with so much integrity and honesty that it restores my faith in mankind.  Seriously - ok maybe that is over the top, but it is like that.  Anyways, I feel that I am leaving them in the lurch by involuntarily leaving them to the company I work for.  I think they are feeling the same way.  Its not like I can do anything about it, but I feel very bad about it.  I know that they won't receive the same service and care once I'm gone.  C'est impossible.  Not gonna happen.  The top dude has gone so far as to offer to write to the company owner and explain that they don't want to deal with anyone else. If it does make a difference to the owner, and he decides to counter-offer, I have a stock response prepared...

Inevitably, however, the company will cut off its own nose to spite its face.  They'll fire me - at a mediocre salary - because I have integrity; meanwhile hire unqualified, unprofessional, inept people for more money with better perks (that I have never received even though they were IN my contract) who are willing to stoop to new lows.  Why can't we just do good, decent business here?  Why?  One retard (got the company car I wanted and way more salary, the swarmy bastard)  in my office said, "I'm sure it was nothing personal (to fire you), it was just a business decision.  Read my hips:  IT IS ALWAYS PERSONAL.  Dude, when you make a statement like that,  you are literally begging  Karma to whoop your ass.

I had a very nice conversation with a woman last night who will probably become a Desert Girl Role Model.  She's elegant, she's well-spoken, and she holds many of the beliefs that I do. She was also wearing Desert Girl PINK.  (Very good sales approach by the way. It didn't go unnoticed.) We talked a lot and we share the belief that if a company doesn't have integrity, we don't want to work there.  It all comes down to what kind of a person you are.  Money is not always a motivational factor (I'm going to keep saying that).

When I got shitcanned from Agility, the good people I worked with (and some of the shits) literally shunned me. "Persona non grata" one manager (who later came to my friends begging for a job in the local market) said about me and my colleague who were first in line of many Americans who were terminated.  WHAT could I have done to get fired?  Perhaps they never knew why, but with all the hot water that Agility is in now, I'm proud of what happened to me and why - even if people that I respected thought I had done something wrong (not knowing the full circumstances). Maybe they see it differently now.   I should be proud of this move now.

What is happening at my office now is somewhat similar:  When my sister had cancer, people wouldn't make eye contact.  They might make small, cliche conversation, and then walk away.  That's kind of what's going on in my office now.  People don't know what to say.  Generally, when employees of the company leave, that's it; no party, no gathering.  If you're really well-liked, the employees will get together during break hour at McDonald's or Hardees and pay for your lunch and wish you farewell.  The guy I replaced was MD of the company for TEN years.  No one even shook his hand.  Well y'alls, phuck that.  I'm having a party at my house and calling it a "colleague appreciation night".  Let ME thank the people who have worked for me and with me.  A-holes are not invited.  Maybe I'll go buy a box of fake Rolex watches to give to people who will never get them when they retire...

I have made it a task to leave my office squeeky-clean (Windex apple scent) and put all my hard and soft copy files in order.  I don't want anyone coming back and saying that I didn't do my  job to the best of my ability; or that I was a slob with dirty drawers.  I have opened my office window shades so that people can see that I have all my files in order - in boxes - ready to either go to storage or to whoever wants to dig through them. 

They won't care.  They have no value in lessons-learned or historical company business.  Do they have ANY idea how much money, time, or manpower they are wasting through the years?  Do they care?  The company paid KD 300,000 to implement Oracle throughout their offices.  That was 3 years ago.  What has happened?  The company now owns a US$ 1M dinosaur that NO ONE is using.  Why have transparency when we are doing so well losing money as it is?  Why bother archiving documents?  The company had a warehouse fire where all their documents went up in flames (no one archived the soft copies).  Who cares?  Just like me - Here today; gone tomorrow.  SO much potential, so much wasted potential for good solid PROFIT-GENERATING business.

Yak yak yak yak yak

All this and I haven't even had my coffee yet.

OH!  Speaking of coffee - Y'alls have to try the Mocha Cafe Deluxe at The One Cafe.  Oh... my... God.  I actually dreamt about it last night.  Yummy!  Butterfly ordered it the other day and now I'm hooked (as if my ass isn't  large enough).

In a week's time, I'll have plenty of time for HipHopAbs.  Will I do it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I want a gay following!

Here's what I want to know:  why don't I have a gay following?  I hadn't really thought about it until tonight when a new friend brought it to my attention.  Yes, there are gay folk in Kuwait; perhaps you wouldn't know that, but there are.  Bobarino knows:  When he bought his new phone and left it on the table in front of me to go to the boyz' room at Marina Mall, I programmed his bluetooth with the nickname, "I'm gay."  He found out fast.  There are gay people in Kuwait.  Some of them are married to straight people.

Do I have a Desert Girl gay contingency?  Have my happy-go-lucky Desert Girl colors drawn them in?  Ok, so I might not be fashion-savy or have links to places like Salhiya and Villa Moda where a gay contingency might like to shop...  I like gay people.  They're trendy and in-the-know. 

Here's what I want to know:  Are gay people reading my stuff and if so, do I make you laugh?  I certainly hope so.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All Part of the Journey

I haven't been in the writing mood lately and for those of you who know me - it is kindof like getting me to stop talking; virtually impossible (especially after sushi AND coffee - Oh.... my.... God!)

My American boss/colleague/boss (direct line manager) wrote me the nicest reference letter today that I have ever received. I almost cried, but that would have freaked him out; he's not an emotional guy and he is a man of very few words, but who I admire and have learned from greatly.  I hope that he won't soon be in the same boat I'm in; but again, if he does get terminated, it will also be a blessing for him ('specially cause they'll owe him a SHITLOAD of money).  I am going to write him an appreciation letter before I go.  Then, I am going to plaster his office with smileys because he hates them... tee hee.

I read the tarot cards for myself last night.  They never come out right if you do it for yourself.  This is the 2nd time I have read them for myself (once at the end of July) and both have come up with the Tower card.  Scares me.  I hope it is only about this job and not something else unexpected and life-altering in not-a-good-way. 

Oh, the other thing the tarot spread said was for me to know the power of gratitude.  I am very grateful for all the invisible angels out there who have sent me kind words of comfort.  This blog has been such an amazing blessing and when I have really needed support, you people have been there.  You may not know how a few words have affected me, but they have and I hope that your kindesses are all returned to you.

I have really really really been blessed throughout my life (word to The Big Man) and it is kindof like I am almost waiting for something to happen; like maybe I don't deserve all these blessings I have had.  When my sister had cancer, I wished I could have taken her place (especially as she was a new mom and wife); but then as it turned out, it was her own life-altering experience that changed her so much and helped so many other people in so many ways.  You never know how something awful will change you and in some way, change the world around you.

"Okay okay enough with the BS - what the hell is happening in your situation, Desert Girl..." .... you may ask.

I have had several job offers here.  I have had zero job offers there, although my x-brother-in-law (sister's x) who is a recruiter has volunteered to help me.  I secretly think that he is doing it just to find out for sure if his belief that I really work for the CIA will be confirmed and that somehow my resume is going to tell him that - as IF.  Like, ok, if I was a spy, do you think I would put it on my frick-in resume?  That would be dumb.  I'm just sayin...

What I have decided to do is yoga... meditate (I wrote type-o ,"medicate" which is true also) on it. I'm not making any rush decisions.  I am getting quotes to put my stuff into storage if it comes to that and leave my stuff there until such time as I'm ready to have it shipped.  (God, I LOVE Global Freight Systems!  Y'alls rock.)  OOOOOOOOOO saaaaaaaaa.   

I pray every night to God that He gives me signs.  If He wants me to stay, He will make it easy for me.  If He wants me to go, He will make it easy for me.  Everything is in God's plan.  It will all work out and either way, I vow to be happy.

Now to me being evil/mischievious:  Our HR guy is very nice and I enjoy flirting with him; especially because he 1) throws it back at me, and B) blushes a LOT.  I like him as a person, but notsomuch in an HR capacity.  There just isn't enough humanity in the H to the R part (I think that he knows he is doing things that are not righteous, but he does them anyway.  Eventually, you pay a price for that.)  Anyoooooo,  I have taken to messing with him.  I think he thinks I'm about to go postal, so I am making a lot of sudden moves around him so he jumps.  I am also sexually harassing all the male managers just for shits and giggles.  They can't fire me twice, right?  The next thing I think I'm going to do is buy a realistic looking machine gun and leave it somewhere in my office within eyesight.  (I know - that's just wrong....)  They all think I'm a crazy, angry white woman.  Slapperella also bought me a stamp (everybody in Kuwait MUST have a stamp - or your just a nobody).  This one says, "FUCK OFF" (I didn't just type that to be rude, that's really what the stamp says).  So, my last week here, that's how I'm stamping everything.  (Is that wrong?)

I have done several things since I got fired which have made me really proud (this is in contrast to that last paragraph).  I amped up the "helping people" portion of my show and I feel really good about it.  Pay it forward.  Youse guys:  thank you for letting me into your worlds.  Helping you is a blessing to me.  (What can I say?  I'm an ENFJ personality.)

I love you readers.  You have made me really happy latey and I thank you all for it.  Lots of virtual kisses on  your heads (that's an Arab thing - it means like real gratitude and blessings at the same time).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

On leaving Kuwait: The freaking out begins

My eyes have been so problematic that I have been tearing constantly.  Now, even I can't tell if I am tearing or crying. Both have been coming in bouts.  I couldn't sleep last night.  It won't be the first night.

I know what I have got to do, but the easy thing would be to stay here in my beautiful, bigass apartment and continue to stare at the walls - alone and semi-manless.  It is what it is.  I have had strange relationships before, but this one is the strangest. I have fallen in and out of love;  he says he'll change, and it is with a heavy heart that I know he never will.  His whole family accepts me.  His children adore me and I love them like they are my own.  I know that I'm part of the family. I know I am loved.  I'm just not part of his life.  "You can lead a horse to water" and all that.  You can't make someone want to spend time with you if they don't. When a guy leaves your bed to go to the diwaniya, there is something wrong with the picture.  Why would you want to leave a naked woman and go sit around with a bunch of smelly men?  I have used up all of my tricks.  And yet, I know I am going to miss him so much that it hurts.  He went to so much trouble to get us to where we are now (I can't believe how far we have come in 5 years) and still, I can't get him to just stay with me.  It is what it is.

The easy thing to do would be to accept another lame Kuwait job offer complete with zero job security and the inevitable 3 year tenure leading to yet another "reduction in workforce".

Which leads me to something that I want to talk about:  Getting fired in Kuwait.  I have been fired from almost every job I have held in Kuwait (never "for cause").  Am I proud of that?  Not necessarily, but it is the norm here for most expats.  It isn't like it is in the States.  They don't need to follow procedures here and there are very few reprucussions for employers who do decide to dump employees (which is what it amounts to - dumping). (Dumping in this region isn't limited to employees - friendships and relationships are easily forgotten after the novelty or benefit blush is off the rose.)  There is usually no explaination of why you are being terminated; culturally, many don't deal with any form of confrontation.   Many times there is no warning (and certainly not written warning - ever - regardless of how good a company's policies and procedures are. Case in point - Agility, my former employer.)   The employee is left to speculate. 

So please, if you are ever in the same predicament and find yourself terminated in Kuwait, don't be hard on yourself.  You are not alone.  We can start a support group.  Most of my friends have been terminated/fired/shit-canned in Kuwait.  We are the Chosen Ones.  We are the Elite.  We were fired because we spoke too much, or knew too much, or did too much.

I don't (and won't) consider myself a lesser-quality employee.  Damn, I know who I am and know what I have done for every company I have worked for - up to and including my current company of employ. I do hard work, I represent who I work for with professionalism and dedication.  If the big boys at the top get their pampers in a bunch, que cera.

I gave up on expecting appreciation and gratitude a long time ago; it doesn't come with the job in Kuwait (I combat that by sending "thank you" cards at every opportunity). In fact, I have come to the conclusion that 99.9% of employers in Kuwait only recognize money as a motivational factor for their employees.  They don't consider job satisfaction, pride, hours, or gratitude (or any other motivation for an employee to excel at their job.) Employees are not considered assets - they are considered commodities.
In my case, I believe that the attributes I posess - that make employers here hire me - are the same ones that they use to fire me.  I am a sales person and therefore come complete with a dynamic personality. I have an assertive (bossy?) American nature and it gets the job done. If I can't do something, I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that I can.  I ruffle feathers.  I piss people off.  I complete tasks on time and they are quality which make me proud.  If you do a good job, you anger people.  If you are assertive, you anger people.  If you do a job better than others, you anger people.  If you confront (God forbid in this society) to get a straight answer, you anger people.  How many Western expats have you seen come and go?

I never ever burn bridges:  here, there or anywhere.  During  most painful and humiliating termination I went through (Agility), I sent the Chairman a card and flowers thanking him for the opportunity to work for him.  I like Tarek Sultan.  I think he's a nice guy. I like his family.  I think he was swimming in a management pool of shit for a while and there were a lot of things that went very wrong very fast.  I just happened to be vocal about what I thought was wrong.  Ok, technically, I resigned from Agility - so said the legal documents our lawyers agreed on.  When someone escorts you to the door with all your stuff in a box, it still feels like you've been shit-canned regardless, but whatever. I don't burn bridges.

I do wonder what my family thinks after they hear the news (again).  I think they know by know how hard I work so they should have a good indication of my work ethic.  However, if I heard that someone had been terminated (again), I would wonder. Dayam y'alls are probably wondering, right?

I'm one of those people who holds out until someone tells me it is time to go. I have had other job offers while working here, but I have held on.  I stayed during the financial crisis (both global and company-internal brought on by mis-management) for the past almost-two years; while my friends were getting fired (good people, good work eithics); and while my employer paid late consistently month after month.  The former GM made my life so bad that I developed hypertension and ringing in my ears.  He tried to get me to quit and threatened and bullied me; making my life hell.  I weathered that entire storm.

I'm rambling... I will continue....

I am scared shitless of starting over again back in my home country with people who love me.  I came here 14 years ago on a Big Adventure.  Everything was new and fresh and a learning experience.  Now, strange has become familiar.  When I go back to the States, will I be lonely for this familiar?  What if I'm even lonelier over there?  Starting over is huge.  It is so overwhelming.

I do trust in several things:  God. God has never let me down. I'm a good person and try to serve God every day.  You might not see me praying, but I try to help someone (either in human or creature form) every single day of my life and I work like Hell trying to do what I can. I don't lie.  I don't cheat.  God helps me because of that and I know it.  I also trust in my sister.  It is because of the same attributes I have that God loves her.  She is blessed with a form of foresight.  She's told me that my life is going to change for the good.

I knew something big was going to happen to me when I drew the Tower card for myself during a tarot reading.  Sudden, unexpected change.  I didn't know what it was in reference to - and I was confused.  I know that all my foundations have been built on solid ground; but I didn't think about this job.  No, this job was not built on a solid foundation.  I took it last minute.  It was my second choice of places to work and I had a bad feeling about it, but needed the money.

More rambing, unfocussed thoughts...

Here, I am somewhat of a novelty and I have always loved that.  Just having the knowledge of Kuwait that I do and being American is kind of unique (I think).  I have had opportunities here that I could never have had in the States.  And - I should mention how much I feel loved by people I have met through the blog. I always feel invisible in the States. What happens if I go there and just feel common? 

And speaking of common:  guess what, people?  Everybody comes here thinking that they'll go back home with a big wad of money.  I'm just another one of those people who will get on the plane and wonder how the hell I am going to pay off my credit cards once I get there.  Everybody wants their family to believe that they have been over here "making it big" when in reality, most of us are just still living paycheck-to-paycheck with perks (like a maid, no taxes - all the expat luxeries).  Will I feel like I'm going home with my tail between my legs?

I'm freaking out.  I'm trying to keep it in perspective, but holy shit - that's hard right now.  I'm having all these random thoughts like:

  • There are no bidets in the US.
  • How can I meet men with more than just a smile?
  • Where will I find machboos or tashreeba?  Where will I find the special bread?
  • Can I find a dry cleaner that picks up and delivers?
  • I have to pay a pet deposit in an apartment.
  • Will my dog be okay on the plane?
  • Can I get used to the taste of real wine (not home made)?
  • Will I become an alcoholic?
  • How can I adjust to living in a tiny apartment again (unless I can live forever and ever with my sister).
That's just the short list for now and probably enough rambling for a lifetime.

Monday, September 06, 2010

On the Road Again

An anonymous commentor wrote to say that the sound of crickets means moving.  Well... guess what....

Today I became reduntant at work and supposedly they  are "reducing the workforce" (by one) and I'm out.  

Our chairman is an asshole.  That's right.  Go ahead - read it again.   He's an asshole.  They can't fire me twice.  He has a preconceived notion that you can just go out and "get" a contract.  According to him, there is no need to establish contacts or relationships, or even have a plan.  This is the genius who wanted to disolve our quality department because, "We don't need ISO."  Oh yeah you do - if you want to work on any US military contracts.  In the 1 year that I  have worked for him, I have met with him a total of 5 times; once because he forgot that I worked for him and called me in to announce that I would now work for him.  Me:  'But I do work for you....'  Him:  "Well, now it is official."  Me: 'But it is on the org chart..."  (which he would have known if he found any importance in checking our ISO system org chart).  Asshole.  Oh, plus, he is one of these guys who uses exclaimation points inappropriately.  Every one of his sentences is followed by !!!

Ok, so having gotten over the disgrunted employee stuff - this is a blessing (especially since they have to give me 3 months notice/wages and indemnity).  God always has a plan.   I laughed when the HR dude told me.  After his initial shock, he gave me the "opportunity" to resign (in Kuwait, t his means that you loose  your indemnity).  Yeah thanks, but no thanks.


My family needs me.  I need my family.  I am alone most of the time here in Kuwait - staring at my walls and wondering why I don't have a man who cares about me in my life (and if he says he cares about me, then why am I spending 90% of my free time NOT in his company). 

Gotta go, gotta go. 

I have had wonderful times in Kuwait.  I've met some amazing people and I've met some real shits.  I've had a hell of a run here.  14 years is a long time to spend away from your own people.  Alex was 2 when I left.  Now he's 16.  Time to go home.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Jiminy Cricket Must Die!

I have a very nice garden outside my apartment.  I love the green and being about to look out my windows and see it all - and for like a week out of the year, to watch flowers bloom.  The only problem is the insects that my garden attracts.

All summer long, I have had crickets in my apartment.  It is like a frick-in orchestra at night.  One starts, others answer:  louder and louder. 

I am a very superstitious person and have been told vehemently that crickets singing is good luck and to kill one would be bad luck.  So.... all summer long (while I've been here), I have been doing catch and release.  Most likely, they have just being going back to where ever they came in, and coming back like a cricket revolving door.  I can't even tell you how many Jiminys I have caught and set out to the garden again.  One night, the count was up to 5. Tonight, it was 4 with an added bonus of a baby gecko lizard without a tail (very cute I might add, but not when it is lurking under the refrigerator).  He probably went under there to go after the crickets.

The little F-ers are everywhere.  I have discovered that dogs are not natural-born cricket hunters either.  Desert Dawg seems undisturbed by my mad dash from the bed to the pantry or kitchen to hunt.

Sorry, Jiminy, but either relocate like now, or face the Pif Paf.

This is just F-ed Up!

I saw this today and it has got to be PhotoShopped/edited.  First of all, no one's eyes are that big unless you are a lemur.  Does the Arab Times check the credibility of these photos?  Looks like BS to me and it is way too soon for an April fools prank.