Of Russian/Polish descent, Krysia Derecki was born and bred in London, and then subsequently moved around, living in Australia, the Philippines
and back to London before landing in Kuwait. A truly global citizen, she is well-placed to understand and appreciate different communities, having experienced so many as a result of her father being a chemical engineer in the oil business, and her husband being an ambassador, here at least for the next three years.
Krysia humbly acknowledges that her ability to socialize and communicate with Kuwaitis, and residents of Kuwait at the top of their professions comes from an almost accidental place of privilege, and is using these opportunities as a force for good. Having read International Relations at the London School of Economics, it would be fair to assume that Krysia would be the diplomat.
Who is to say she isn’t, with the wealth of work she is embarking upon to document, through a twenty-minute podcast, the incredible efforts the women she’s had access to are doing in Kuwait to better the community we live in or to live more soulful lives. “There are so many amazing women here” she insists, “and I find them inspirational.”
This experienced documentary producer with international TV and Radio production credits from the likes of the BBC and ABC on topics ranging from football to the Victorians, has the slight frame of the trained dancer she was in her youth. Similarly, this belies the strength within it. It takes sheer determination and guts to survive the media world. A woman, a mother, dropping in out of nowhere into tightknit, old-guard broadcast communities has to essentially restart her career every time.
A soon as she’s earned her place Krysia has to leave again, off to place the first bricks for the foundations of a home life so her husband Jonathan is able to have his family around him while working for his country. This keeps their son feeling secure, loved and unafraid of global adventure. So, she has simply put a stop to this staccato career by creating a brand and producing her own content starting with a series of podcasts under the banner: “At My Kuwaiti Table.”
Having interviewed both Jonathan and Krysia, it is easy to see that these parents are exactly on the same page. Home is where they all are, a strong [albeit traveling] unit of three, and at six years old their son does not feel the pain of homesickness. Krysia has stayed in London before, for two years with their toddler son while her husband completed a stint in Bagdhad. The majority of their relatives are in London so there was a lot of support there, but this Kuwait posting has allowed them to be here together as immediate family which is a welcome change.
It is thrilling to meet someone who recognizes the beauty and history of Kuwait, is excited to be here, and recognizes the significant cultural experiences to be had. While she finds the sexes are separate, she loves that the women here are autonomous and very strong.
Sincerely she declares, “One year in and we’ve had a really great time”. Krysia loves nothing better than going for walks, wandering about and exploring Hawally, her producer’s mind cataloguing nooks, crannies and tidbits for future reference. Krysia also enjoys spending time in Mubarakiya, meandering through the stalls and watching their son discovering his own Kuwait, as well as making their temporary abode as homey as possible with music (Jonathan’s vinyl records collection) and books.
“On our first day here…people came up to us and they told us that ‘Kuwait has got its own charms, it’s so friendly, and there’s a real feeling of community’…and it has been [exactly that].”
TRUTH OR DARE: QUESTIONNAIRE
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
Are there birds in Australia?
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Booking Eurostar tickets with my friends to go spend New Year’s Eve in Paris.
What is your theme song?
“Always look on the bright side of life” Eric Idle (Monty Python’s Life of Brian).
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
Where would you like to live?
Kew Gardens, London, England.
What is your dream retirement location?
Kew Gardens for six months of the year and as the winter blues hit I’d hot foot it over to Sydney, Australia and hang out there.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde.
Which animal best describes your perfect partner, be it in business, or in life?
Border Collie Dog – Faithful, intelligent but still bouncy and fun!
Do you miss anything from your childhood and if so, what is it?
Sherbet Dip Dabs and reruns of Bewitched.
If you could change your name, to what would you change it?
I have many variants for my name so I am happy with it – Krysia, K, Kiki, Krysh.
How would you describe your handshake, in one word?
What is the toughest part of your character?
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Queen Elizabeth I.
What in the world do you least desire?
A car – strange I know as everyone in Kuwait has a car or covets them.
What do you think is lacking in the world, which [if there were more of it] would make the world a better place?
More community spirit.
Why do you think most people who do, like you?
I hope it is because I am fun to be around.
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is…”
…out there, sometimes you have to dig around to find it, and sometimes it is hard to hold onto but cherish it when you have it.
Follow AMKT on Instagram @AtMyKuwaitiTable for the ways you can listen to the podcast. Editor’s note: See the article “TABLE TALK” by Nejoud Al Yagout in this issue to meet the entire team behind the AMKT podcast.