So… the wonderful peeps at bazaar suggested that I might want to write this month about being an adult, and how sometimes, that sucks (not their word; mine). This is truth. Sometimes, the responsibilities of being all grown up just aren’t fun. Job, family, children, bills, blah, blah, blah – all conspire to rob life of quality and joy. Here’s my advice on that score: get pathologically pissy about carving out time for yourself to do something you enjoy, every single week. Drop the kids off at Grandma’s, turn off your gadgets (and I know you have more than one), and go do something that gives YOU pleasure. You’re welcome.
What I really want to say is goodbye. After seven years in Kuwait, Bill and I are returning to Canada to our daughters and grandsons. I think this has been the worst and the best month of my life. I hate goodbyes… but I’m so excited to smooch the Opasons again. It’s like living in the gray space. Sad to say “Goodbye,” excited to say “Hello!” At the same time. It’s a bit crazy-making.
Kuwait has been good to us. Professionally, I’ve been privileged to be a part of the measurable change, culturally and socially, that’s happened over the past few years. Mental health issues have become much more prominent, the stigma of seeking psychological help is lessening, and I’ve met some incredibly stellar peeps doing great things here; Kuwaitis and expats working together for the good of all of Kuwait’s residents.
Personally, it’s been amazing to be part of a multi-cultural, global community where everyone (but me) speaks at least two languages, where a profound sense of the ridiculous provokes genuine laughter, and where there is a genuine appreciation for the things that make us all different, and yet the same.
While there are things about Kuwait that aren’t wonderful (just as there are things about Canada that aren’t wonderful) I have loved living here. I like the weather (even the hottest day in August), the palm trees, the nearly endless blue skies (providing the pollution isn’t too bad that day), the desert, the coffee culture, and the food. Oh yes, the food. From our favorite Ayyame in Marina Crescent to the myriad of great burger bars, to the fact that McDonalds delivers. Not that I eat there… But if I did, I could get my filet-o-fish delivered. How cool is that? “How,” I ask you, “will I survive in Canada without Talabat?”
And don’t even get me started on the spa. I’ve been seeing the wonderful ladies at Nailz Plus on Restaurant Street in Salmiya every week for seven years. Guess how often I’ll be going to the spa in Canada? (Hint: think never. It’s waaaaaaay too $$$). The flat I will rent in Canada will fit nicely – with room leftover – into the sala of the flat I currently rent. When I run to breakfast on Saturday mornings (in the dark, freezing cold of the Canadian winter) I will not get to pass the informal show n’ shine that always happens at the Beda’a Starbucks. (Holy horsefeathers, Batman! Those are niiiiiiiiice bikes… and cars) Prime & Toast is a lovely front row seat for that parade of polished steel cruising by.
I never could understand those who complain, “There’s nothing to do in Kuwait.” In truth, there’s not enough time to do everything available. For instance, I never managed to learn to scuba dive, even though I wanted to and there’s great clubs here. I haven’t learned to salsa, even though there are real Argentinian salsa teachers here. I never learned Arabic (and I’m ashamed to say that. I certainly should have and wish I had) even though there’s lots of places to take language lessons. There’s choral music, orchestras, jazz bands, world-class drama troupes, theatre, football, rugby, baseball, swimming, diving, and cricket. Heck, there’s even lawn bowling! Cycling clubs, running clubs, badminton, basketball, martial arts, camel racing, horse racing, drag racing, drifting… I can’t name all the things there are to do in Kuwait. Of course, I had to go and look – but there’s definitely a LOT to do.
Actually, I guess I’ve come full circle in saying goodbye. When the responsibilities of being an adult become too much, pick something you loved to do when the only job you had was to get an education. (Remember those days?) Find out who else is doing that thing, and go join them. The quality of your life will improve dramatically.
*sigh* So long, Kuwait. It’s been a slice.
A Canadian psychologist traveling the world on a busman’s holiday, Dr. Susannah writes about anything that catches her attention. Bossy from birth, compassionate by choice, and funny by accident. You can visit: www.soorcenter.com or follow her on Twitter @drsusannah.