When Michael from EEK! (Expats Express Kuwait) first arrived in Kuwait 13 years ago, it was with his wife and three suitcases in tow. This was not for want of material goods, mind you—but simply because they were not planning on staying long! However, as with so many of our stories here: the opportunity evolves, the plans adapt accordingly. For Michael though, who studied both Psychology and holds an MBA, what stood out most about his early time here was the lack of resources available to aid the expat in their acclimation process. With that in mind, and true to his entrepreneurial spirit, he opted to do something about it by creating a newsletter in which newbies can be given access to the resources they need.
Originally launched as an expats advisory help desk about eight years ago, the EEK! story continues to evolve. Now in its sixth year of circulation, EEK!’s subscription base has grown from less than 50 at its launch, to well over 10,000 (Michael stresses here that EEK! is NOT an online magazine, but an e-magazine- so if you’re not subscribed you don’t get it—get it?). He says, “It seemed that many folks out there really had a terrible time adjusting, and it hurt at times listening to their stories of anguish. Friends used to refer people to my wife and I for advice, or at least our opinion on matters. It seems as soon as you’re here for more than a year, many see you as some kind of an authority on all things local. Of course you aren’t, but yes we could lend a willing ear and a reflection on reality.” EEK! is a result of that initiative.
“The interaction we have with our subscribers is absolutely phenomenal. We regularly receive 50-60 emails per day from subscribers who just want to say hello. We live for those messages and additionally find that a lot of EEK!’s content comes from these interactions. We feel so good about being part of Kuwait’s social scene, I can’t explain it to you. If your heart is in the right place (and your job is steady of course!) Kuwait is probably one of the coolest places to hang out. I know it sounds weird, but it is true.”
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most insane question you’ve ever been asked?
Is there anything to do in Kuwait? (From a newbie).
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Married my stunning wife.
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
Where would you like to live?
Where my family is.
What is your dream retirement location?
Mountains behind, sea in front, all wrapped in cotton-cloud skies and lush-green lawns.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
“Come oooon..” [Kurt Russell in Big Trouble In Little China].
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
What do you miss about your childhood?
Knowing so little: I thought I knew it all and reveled in that knowledge.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
Probably another one that’s worn by half of mankind’s men folk.
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
What is the toughest part of your character?
Who is your favourite historical figure?
Michelangelo’s “David”. That’s what you meant, right?! (LOOOL)
What in the world do you least desire?
Questionnaires and texts starting with “do you think we could…”.
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of, would make the world a better place?
Fresh air and books (watch these two in future).
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is a thing called…”