Our first hours in Kuwait

Sorry for the hiatus! Students came back to school on Tuesday and we’ve been busy! I (lissa) am currently teaching 3 sections of French (grade 9, 10 & 11) until the new teacher arrives. She’ll be here late Sunday night but I’ll probably be teaching for her all next week too.

So I told you about how we got to Kuwait…but we did actually leave the airport 🙂 All of the new staff met the admin & their families on the other side of the alcohol scanners. We all labeled our bags with our building number and apartment number so the porters could load them on the appropriate trucks. They had water & snacks for us while we got organized and waited for the buses. We were exhausted and it was quite overwhelming to be surrounded by so many new faces. We were incredibly surprised at how BUSY the airport was after midnight on a Friday night. We finally boarded the buses with the other people in our apartment. Now that we’ve been here a couple weeks, I don’t even really remember that bus ride in…it seems so long ago!

When we got to our apartment building we met our building host (Deb is in her 2nd year here and is the Middle Years Programme Coordinator) and she gave us keys to our apartments. We waited (and waited) for the truck to arrive with our luggage, but it gave us time to ask Deb questions about everything we could think of.

When we finally got up into our apartment (we’re on the 7th floor of 17, 2 apartments on each floor) we were a little surprised at how big it was…but also how sparse it was. We were told it was furnished and it was…but with much less furniture than we had expected. It’s a two bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with an open entrance/living room/dining room and a kitchen.

We’re allowed to do pretty much anything we want to our apartments. Our unit was not repainted after the last tenant left. If we pick out colors before the school repaints for us, they’ll do the painting how we want it which is really exciting! It’ll be nice to have some color and make the place our own. During the last 2 weeks, we’ve been to the mall several times and used almost all of our 600KD settling allowance. Ikea has become our new favorite store and we longingly browse Pottery Barn wishing we could afford it 🙂 These pictures are of our apartment the night of and the morning after we arrived in Kuwait. Hopefully in a few months (after we get paid) we’ll have new pictures to show you of a cozy, homey apartment!

Some interesting features of living in Kuwait:
1. In the summer, the hot water setting is actually “cold” and the cold water setting is actually HOT! The water is stored in large containers on the roof of our building. Because it is so hot in the summer, the water that comes directly to our faucet is hot from being stored on the roof. We also have water heaters for the bathrooms and kitchen. We can turn it on in the winter when the water coming from the roof will be cold and the water from the hot faucet will go through the heater.

Large water tanks on top of apartment building.

2. The switches for the bathrooms are outside the room.

Switches for master bathroom (outside of room).

Switches in the kitchen (washer, dryer, water heater, lights, fan).

3. There is approximately 1 outlet per room  and NONE in the bathrooms 😦

4. Most people don’t use toilet paper. We’ve heard that the pipes here can clog easily. So people clean with sprayers that are by every toilet (yupp…EVERY toilet we’ve seen has one of these with it!) and then dry themselves with toilet paper that they throw in small garbage cans that also accompany every toilet. We haven’t adopted this practice just yet.

10 thoughts on “Our first hours in Kuwait

  1. Hey! Keep stumbling on your blog through wordpress reader. Welcome to Kuwait, Hope you get used to the driving 😛

    Washing after BM is more hygienic than wiping, as it prevents fissures and urinary infection (in women)

    • I don’t know that we’ll ever get used to the vehicular insanity they call driving here… we just hope we can survive it! Sometimes I close my eyes when I’m in a taxi and pretend I’m taking a nap.

  2. Haha it’s always funny reading an outsider’s point of view.
    The water cooler/heater mix up is only common in older buildings but not in new houses or malls etc.
    The bathroom issue is something that always comes up in conversation with all my American friends who’ve spent time in the Middle East (particularly the Gulf). Toilets do clog easily, but using water on certain parts of the body (and then drying off with toilet paper) is a function of maintaining cleanliness for prayer. (Wikipedia gives a great, short summary on “wudu” – and why some parts of the body must be washed with water).
    Again, good luck with the teaching. I hope everything goes well 🙂

    • Thanks! We’re enjoying all of the cultural experiences. I think it helps us digest all of it when we can reflect on it out loud. Don’t be a stranger to the blog!

      • Of course! It’s best to write about these things and explore them instead of just letting them slide by. Do let me know if you have any questions about Kuwait or if I can help in any way 🙂

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