Saturday, July 16, 2016

Our Home

I was going to wait until our stuff arrived and I was able to hang pictures, etc., but so many people have asked what our house looks like that I have taken some preliminary pictures.  So, without further ado the grand house tour.

Location, location, location

 Dining room (and bathroom #1)

Living room (and front door)
 The tiny kitchen (most Kuwaitis eat out) This is down the hall behind the dining room.

Laundry room (and bathroom #2) - across the hall from the kitchen

Bedroom #1 (main level also across from kitchen) and bathroom #3 (not shown)

Basement (sitting area 1 underneath living room)

Basement area 2 (underneath dining room) also known as the poker room

Staircase (upstairs/downstairs) - also 1 of the 4 doors to the outside "garden".  There is a 6 foot wide garden from the house to the wall around the entire house.  Basically, without sprinklers it is a sand moat.  As I have no green thumb to speak of, it is unlikely to improve during our tenure.

Upstairs hallway/sitting area (will likely become my office area) Master Bedroom is just to the left.

Gran & Grump's room (to the right of upstairs hallway) Bathroom #4 between this room and Braden and Gavin's room.

Braden and Gavin's room (complete with sleeping boys)

Jamie's Room (also with sleeping boy) (there is another bedroom between Jamie's room and Braden and Gavin's room) Bathroom #5 is outside of Jamie's room.

Master Bedroom

Another view of the Master Bedroom (and Bathroom #6)  There are no closets in this house.  Not a single one.  Not a coat closet, not a linen closet, not a pantry.  All the rooms have at least two of the cabinets pictured on the left, so we will make use of those.

The rooftop.  There are two of these massive Carrier HVAC units and the upstairs is still 80 degrees regardless of what you set the temp to.  There is room for furniture up here, if the weather ever gets mild enough, but definitely not a play area.

View of our street from the roof

So, for those counting it is 3 levels, 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms (3 full/3 half) and about 6000ft(2)

Friday, July 15, 2016

First Impressions

First Impression of Kuwait: It's HOT.  And, I mean, HOT, oppressively HOT at all hours of the day and night.  There is no respite from the heat unless you hide inside.  Do you see windows on the house?  No?  They are there, but they have huge mechanical, metal shutters that serve as both security and blocking out the heat.

So, this is our home for the next few years:

I haven't been able to get a picture of him, yet, but there is feral tomcat on our doorstep every morning.  I'm trying to decide if I should feed him.  I really want to, but looking around I feel like I would end up with dozens.  

Our street 

Our Street the other direction

The biggest challenge the first few days has been keeping the boys occupied.  Last night was one of the twice-weekly "happy hours" at the Embassy.  They brought out a water slide/bounce castle and the boys had a blast.  Many of the families travel away from here during summer break (did I mention it is hot here?), so not as many kids, but the boys made some friends.

 There are many challenges to starting our life here, but the biggest one is probably transportation.  Even if you have an international drivers license, you have to get a Kuwaiti driver's license to go along with it.  To get a permanent Kuwaiti driver's license, you have to pass a driving test, to take the test you need a Civil ID, to get a Civil ID you need to submit your passport, your resident's visa and an application... you get the idea.  You think bureaucracy is bad in the US?  The systems here make it seem like the US government runs with Swiss watch efficiency.  Unfortunately, we can't apply for our Civil IDs, yet, so we have had to apply for 30 day temporary licenses.  I'm assuming I should probably have redacted this, but since I can't read it, I don't know what to redact, if you know Arabic you can let me know what this actually says.

Temporary License
So, now I have a car and a temporary license, but I have yet to drive myself anywhere.  The biggest threat to personal security here in Kuwait is other drivers.  On average, 1.5 people die every day here in auto accidents.  Statistically speaking, the roads here are the most dangerous in the world for auto accident related deaths.  We have wonderfully kind neighbors who work with Ian and they have been driving us around.  Today we ventured out to the LuLu Hypermarket for a full grocery shop.

 I was going to take pictures of the tremendous selection and variety of foods, but there are signs hanging everywhere that say photography is prohibited inside the store.  Will have to figure out why that is.  Today's shopping excursion was moderately successful.  Found many familiar brands and some new things (strawberry filled croissants!).  Can't find stock in a box (chicken or beef) or Bisquick or Near East rice mixes, so will be looking for care packages.  :)
Shopping Plaza
 Didn't get a donut or coffee, but one of the many indications of the Kuwaiti love affair with American brands.  We have a Subway near us and have found Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, TGI Fridays, Cheesecake Factory, Texas Roadhouse, etc.  The list is seemingly endless.  The real test will be if they taste like home.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

And so it begins...

This week we packed up the house and moved into a hotel in preparation for our move to Kuwait.  We are so grateful to all of our family and friends for their love and support leading up to this adventure.  I just wanted to put this post out there to introduce the blog again and let people bookmark this site.  I'm sure I'll put things on Facebook, too, but this will be where I post most pictures and stories about our life and travels abroad.

Stay tuned...