The Heart of the Matter

We know people in the context we meet them.  The when and the where, the circumstances that surround the seemingly random meeting of once strangers.  We don’t necessarily know all the people that person has been.  And even if you have been lucky enough to know someone your whole life, people constantly change and evolve, at least they should.

I have had this conversation more than once, “Can people change?”  My thoughts on this are not the point of today’s exercise in using big words (listen, folks, I teach Grade 3, ESL Grade 3.  2 syllables or more are big words for me).  It is merely to say that we do not know all the people someone was, only who he or she is in your life now.

This brings me to me and the decision to be here.  Within the space of 5 months I had accepted an overseas contract to teach in a country I’d never been to, had sold or given away pretty much everything I owned, said good bye to friends and family and flew to Kuwait, a country not known for it’s loving acceptance of an opinionated snippet of a girl.

Obviously it’s my mid life crisis.  Wait…didn’t I have that already?  Multi coloured hair, tattoos, piercings, half marathons and triathlons. I mean, isn’t it because I’ve lost my way and am trying to find some meaning?

How about this.  How about I’ve remembered who I am.  I am the girl who moved out at 17, who said “Why not” as a trail blazer, with a handful of the most amazing women, in the Navy.  The woman who moved to Montreal on her own, who returned in her 40’s to get her Masters at McGill.  I may have gotten lost for awhile, in the expectations of who I was supposed to be be, the role I was supposed to play.  But I’m back.

It is reminiscent of the scene in Hook, where one of the Lost Boys pokes at grown up Robin Williams’ face and after careful scrutiny says, “Oh..THERE you are, Peter!”

My father feels that I should be working towards security and a no cat food retirement.  A pension and a measure of safety. My friends in equal measure think it’s fabulous or I’ve obviously lost my mind.

Myself?  I refuse to have one regret.  I refuse to bet on the chance that I can do it tomorrow.  I refuse to accept that challenge, adventure and excitement are over, now that I am “old”.  I will do what it takes, for me, to wake up each day and say, “I can’t wait…”

Whatever your adventure is, big or small, I urge you to do it.  It doesn’t have to be on the scale of scary, it just has to make you get up and step ever so slightly away from your comfortable chair.  Dye your hair, dye one strand (fuck it, it’s only hair), try a new food, a new sport, a different style.  Move to Kuwait…I have a spare bedroom.

Just sayin’

 

 

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Not 30 anymore

Met up with the other Grade 3 teacher (actually now the Grade 1 teacher, they forgot to tell her…) a couple days ago.  She is also new.  When they sent out when we wanted to arrive, we both decided asap in order to get ourselves a bit settled.

So, natch, we team up to scout stuff out.

Wait.  She’s 32 and I’m 52.

Let’sjointhegymdoyouwanttojointhegymI’mgoingtoworkoutdoyouwanttocome?

I gaze at her through bleary jet lagged eyes.

Didn’t we just walk around in the 48 degree heat for 5 hours at the Souk, several stores and a mosque?

Ya, but it’s only 10 pm…

See, this is the thing.  Kuwaiti culture during the summer starts mega early (if you are so inclined, and nothing happens all day until 8pm minimum, when parents take their kids bike riding in the dark, people eat around 9, the coffee shops start hopping around 10 ( that’s a whole other blog on pick up joints) and people go shopping.

My old and tired teacher’s ass wants to be IN BED!! Where it belongs, awaiting the 3 am call to prayer…There are different prayer guys.  There is “I don’t care if you”re asleep, you get your ass out of bed and pray RIGHTNOW” guy and “Hey…I know it’s late and I’m sorry to disturb you but love and peace dude, give thanks” guy. It’s totally weird and wholly fascinating.

Walking in on prayer by mistake ( someone thought my classroom was empty) feels like I’ve just interrupted something so private and wonderful that it stuns me.  Especially as I do not consider myself as a person who gives religion a second thought.

I guess it is just a question of respect.  Something that begins, I think, in having respect for yourself, loving yourself and going from there.

I have so many things to tell you, but tomorrow is Student Day 1, so I have to prepare final lessons.

Always open to comments and questions.

Here’s to surviving tomorrow, Inshallah 😉

JZ

Stranger in a strange land

Forgive me for any errors (and also the copyright infringement on the title 😉). This is on my phone, while I slowly drink my coffee in Starbucks.

Around 12:30 Wednesday morning  is when I arrived “home” after traveling since Monday.  Immediately slept for 13 hours.  I so regret not paying the exorbitant  amount to ship my pillows and feather bed. I wake up at 2 pm yesterday and need coffee. Big need. I stumble outside. It’s 45. It’s a dry heat so it only feels like 43. It’s great. Really.

I ask some poor random man where to get a coffee.  I think I look fairly unhinged and he points and mumbles “ hotel”. Okay. Shakraan mister.

I walk into the hotel and I am the only Westerner. Furthermore, everyone is in traditional dress only. It’s amazing how immediately uncomfortable I feel. Not that anyone was rude or staring or disapproving. Not at all. I just felt different.  Almost exposed even though my clothes covered everything that respectfully should be covered 😉 A little insight to how immigrants may feel in some of our more homogenous societies

I end up at Burger King  Coffee is surprisingly good  I pay with the asshole equivalent of a hundred dollar bill because that’s all I have

My change is confusing  Our school mandoub ( the guy who does EVERYTHING) drillsme on currency math  I tell him I haven’t had enough coffee to multiply yet and fuck it  I’m paying by credit until the jet lag passes

I go shopping for food and stuff  Not only does someone unload my cart to the conveyor, they also push my cart out

I learn how to use my gas stove

I learn to jury rig the three prong to accept 2

I realize I’m gonna get fat on chocolate pistachio buns and better find a gym

I also learned that jet lag takes more than a day to go away

Oh  and when they stopped laughing, apparently I will be able to find a bike 🙄

I’m off in search of a coffee maker Bought a Turkish one, but I need practice Until then

 

 

Starting out

Here we go…

Been freaking for a couple of days about luggage and shit… I decide to upgrade to an Exit seat with room for feet and sleep and stuff….but I can’t.

I begin to become a little outraged.  What??  Am I not capable??  Is it because I’m a woman??  A decidedly older woman??  Okay not old…older… I try all the other seats, nope,nope,nope.

I am fucking capable of getting everyone off this plane safely, darn it. AND I rock at the pointing out of exits, back, side and front.  So I call up Air Canada and am greeted by Sebastien.  Sebastien lets me know you can only upgrade 48 hours in advance.  I might have suggested THAT nugget of info be posted.

Self-esteem firmly back in place, I enquire about luggage.  Seb ( we are on cool-dude first names now), sounds vaguely horrified at the amount of luggage I have and gently breaks it to me that I can only check one bag, since I am *ahem, economy.

I am resigned to paying 225 dollars and 2 goats to actually get my luggage to Kuwait.

  1. Print tags.  Luggage is right through to Kuwait.  This sounds small but if I had to get my luggage and fucking haul it from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 in Heathrow, someone would die.  I mean you have to take a 20 minute train to Terminal 4.  Score.
  2. Lovely little totally stressed girl says 2 massive over stuffed bags?  No probs…would you also like to check your massively overstuffed cabin baggage right through as well for free?   Hells ya!!!!
  3. Now I’ am here 2 hours to chill, one small bag and wearing what are really pyjamas, because I will be flying…alot.

Photo on 2018-08-20 at 5.44 PM #2

Until the next time my friends…. cheers lovelies.