Saturday, October 20, 2007

Now that I have some free internet and free time

I'm at loose ends as to what to say.

You can definitely tell it is coming on Winter. It gets dark here by 5:30PM, but not the same way as California, where you have twilight. Here, it's light and then dark.

But the heat hasn't decreased at all- it was 42 C. on Tuesday. So like right now, I'm sitting in a coffee shop with Carla and it's about 17 C. Maybe even 15. I look outside, and the way the sun is, I think "Autumn". I will then step outside, and then think, "WTF?"

Culture shock- yes, so much I sometimes think I'll never get over it.I know that this will be mild compared to getting off the plane in San Francisco, though. Maybe I'll send everyone robes to wear when I deplane...(joking).

I can sit and type on my computer, and then look up and see a flock of women in complete Muhajaba (headscarf and face cover, black) doing their shopping, and I get that electric sizzle at the back of my brain as they swoop and regroup and separate like so many birds. (I would try and sneak pictures, but they are VERY serious about taking pictures of the women here- you can be deported for it.)

Or I'll be walking down the upper hallway at school, and my skirt is blowing around my legs and the palm trees waving, and the maids walking by in bright turquoise uniforms and I think, 'How the hell did I get here?"

Or sitting in the front office, watching a string of children clutching a fold in their daddy's robes as he walks out the front door, Ray-Bans and attitude all. No, sometimes I think I'll never get used to it.

Yes, I wear skirts now. And I wear makeup to work. Off time is spent in my steadily deteriorating cargo pants, which I am starting to patch. No, I'm not sending pictures of me in skirts and makeup, you sickos. Some things just have to stay in Kuwait.

My IEP season is upon me, not like in California when they are all scattered through the year. We take care of all of them in 6 weeks, I have to turn them in all at once. I'm about half done right now.

School starts again tomorrow- we have to be on the bus by 6:30. I'm not sure why this would bother me, but it does. I guess because 6:45 in California meant that I would open the school, or B. would be there, and people would gradually drift in by 8:30. In Kuwait, 6:45 AM means I'm at the mercy of every other joker on the bus who chugged a quadruple latte at 6:15 and want to chat about last nights' Choir Practice.

Can you tell I miss my privacy?

Things are beginning to fall into place. My bills and the internet and my health are settling down, I found a KILLER bookstore in the middle of Dasman District, down the street from school. One of those comfy hole in the wall places where you can walk in and spend 6 hours without thinking about it. I actually bought a book about the Library in Alexandria , the old one, not the one they just built.

I have a houseplant. I found a drycleaner. I made pillows. I made Beef Stew. I got sick and got better. With the (notable) exception of peeing around my apartment, I think I'm established.

I will say, though, you can't test anyone or yourself more throughly than trying to establish residency in the Middle East two weeks before Ramadan, on 100KD for 30 days. No car, no internet, no phone, in September.

You will question everything about yourself, down to weather removing your wisdom teeth at that particular dentist would have saved you 100 bucks 15 years ago. If you've had a creative past, multiply each incident by the air pressure difference in your apartment and on the street, which wreaks havoc with your emotions. Multiply it again by the number of teachers in one building who are older with sketchier choices. Put them on a small bus in 45 C; shake.

Oh, let the games begin. ;-)

Nope. Nothing out there.

Had to check.

Gir'giaan Evening photos

This would be Yours Truly, Priscilla, AK and Iman in the coffee tent during the Gir'giaan Celebration. The next one would be my immediate neighbors to the right, above and below in my building.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eid Mubarak!

What does that mean?

(boing boing boing)

It's over, Ramadan is over! Things are open, wheels are turning, forced inactivity and stultifying heat complete! Finished!

A bit on the past few days...if there is anyone out there who can tell me how one acquires an infection in their sphenoid sinuses, just give me a shout. I'm trying to wrap my antibiotics around this one, and I'm floored.

I now have a great x-ray of my skull taped to the corner of my dressing table mirror, and a whole new type of antibiotic that I'm allergic to. But I feel better than I have since I landed.

About 10 days ago I started losing energy- all I knew was it felt really, really good to put the crick of my neck against the hard arm of my neighbor Judith's couch. I'd just lay there and doze during the evenings. I didn't have much of an appetite, and my whole body just hurt like I had the flu. Especially my lower back and legs. It felt too good to be laying down. I would fall asleep randomly on car trips out, and if you know me, that's an indication something is wrong.

The day of my last post, I went to my Assistant Principle and had her take me off all committees for the time being, thinking I was just working too hard and wanting to come back on an even keel. The next morning I woke up and realized I could not go in to work.

The Ministry of Education has a policy, that if you are sick for even one day you must have a signed doctors note. Otherwise, it is Leave and you must apply for it. So I stumbled next door and got directions from my neighbor, typed up some emergency lesson plans and took a taxi to the International Clinic.

It's a very nice clinic, very quiet and not like the whopping Kaisers and Blue Cross that we have in California. I was sent up to a waiting room, tenanted by two oversized African American men (from South Carolina), one woman and her daughter in headscarves, a man from New Guinea with a bladder infection ('TEN cups of water?' 'And don't use the bathroom')an irate Chinese man with a sinus issue, another woman with her daughter (about 12) who was snoring gently in the seat opposite.

About 9:30 doctors started to fly through doorways, on arrival. The mother with the snoring daughter roused her partially and pulled her inside by the arm, following a nurse. Women went to the woman doctor, the irate Chinese man went to a befuddled man doctor in half-glasses.

I sort of went to sleep until I was called. The woman doctor was the picture of grace and manner, sitting behind her desk, fingers spread on the top. "This is your first time in Kuwait? Welcome. What's the trouble?"

I explained, and she had me up on the exam table. She prodded my head (I winced) and then grunted. I was ordered downstairs for Xrays...

Guess what? the good news is that we found your sinus infection! The bad news is that it's in back! In back of your head!

Three hours and one allergic reaction to an antibiotic later, I was back out on the street with a new perspective on the holes in my head. They had skipped the oral, immediately putting me on intravenous meds, with the plan that I'd come back for IV meds for three days. However, the second day I started having chest pains and freaked the nurse out so badly she refused to continue. I knew it wasn't an allergic reaction (who wouldn't feel 8cc's of antibiotics being pumped into you by a nurse?) but they decided to go straight to orals after that. I couldn't say I minded- I mean that's 2KD for a taxi ride there and back, without arguing the taxi driver down in price.

So I'm much better. Ramadan is over, and I'm eating potato wedges in daylight at a cafe. I'm on vacation this week, and well rested. Can't ask for more than that. ;-)