Grocery Shopping

Grocery Store


Spice bar

Hope you like cornflakes! That's the most popular cereal here. Luckily we've been able to get the cereal we like from elsewhere.

The Rice aisle at Geantu

The fish... just hanging out - not behind glass or anything.

Mmmm, looks good huh?
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Grocery shopping is a different experience here. First of all, there are like 100 different grocery stores. The city is broken down into blocks and most of the blocks have their own grocery store. In addition to that there are little supplemental quickie marts scattered around, we have one down the street that's great for little things like bread and milk. Then there are the main grocery stores, which for some reason here seem to be in the malls. Its strange. The one we like the best so far is Geantu. Its in one of the newer malls, and as long as you go in the morning or daytime the parking isn't bad. Its big and well lit, it kind of feels like a target/walmart. We've been able to find most everything we're looking for. Plus they have a great fresh section.
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In the fresh section there is of course the produce, meat and bread like our normal grocery , but with a wider variety. There are so many exotic fruits/vegetables in the produce section. I wouldn't even know what to do with half of it. I saw 5 different types of pumpkins the last time I was there, pumpkins aren't exotic I know, but its just an example of the different stuff you'd find here versus in the states.
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The meat section has a lot more than ours usually does, but the added choices don't help me much because they're things like brain and tongue, etc. I stick to what I know when it comes to meat and stay away from the sections labeled "beef parts" and "chicken parts". They also sell China beef here, so you have to make sure not to get that. China beef I guess is banned in the US. I'm not sure why, but I'll take the advice and not ask questions.
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Other sections include a date bar, a dessert bar, an olive bar, a dried friuit/nut bar, an entire aisle dedicated to enormous bags of rice from all over the world (our favorite so far is the Indian rice), a cheese bar, and the spice bar (I'm sure I'm forgetting something...). The spice bar is cool. The spices here are really fresh (and potent) and they serve you the fresh spices out of big burlap bags.
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There is a ton of fish here too. I'm a little bit of a wuss when it comes to cooking fish. I like to eat it at restaurants when its cooked correctly. I personally don't like handling it and don't really know how to cook it. Being here and seeing huge piles of fish in this section staring at you hasn't helped my wimp-tendancies when it comes to preparing seafood. Maybe I'll get brave one day. Oh - and they sell dried fish here. It looks really appetizing, huh?
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Jason is hooked on hummus. He loves it. We ate at Nando's Restaurant last night and they served hummus as an appetizer, so it was an instant hit. I think my next experiment might be to try to make my own - does anyone have a recipe they'd recommend?

Happy Easter









I volunteered to take pictures of the Easter celebration that was hosted here. The kids had fun and I got some practice with our new camera. Here are some of my favorites from the day.
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HAPPY EASTER!

Sticky Fingers


Dates are big here. They serve them with coffee and tea and they are frequently given as gifts. They have all different kinds. Some of the grocery stores even have entire date bars. I've been wanting to make something out of them. I meant to get just plain dates but ended up with candied ones by mistake, so getting the pits out and chopping them up was a big sticky mess. The Date Nut & Spice bread I made turned out pretty good though!
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Baking here has been full of frustrations. Between all the ingredients being different than what I'm used to, vanilla extract is hard to come by because it has alcohal in it, they call cane sugar brown sugar - it took me a little while to find the real stuff (thankfully my grandmother sent me some though so I'm set for a while!), and baking soda is only found under the name sodium bicarbonate. PLUS, our oven seems to be tempermental. Sometimes the top coil decides not to pull its weight and therefore things don't brown the way they should, but the bottom coil is pulling double duty so it burns the bottom of whatever you're baking.
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I took my cousin Molly's advice though and doubled up the bread pan, plus the top coil seemed to want to cooperate with the date bread, so it turned out great! (yay!) I've been hooked on this gingerbread tea and the date bread is great with it. Its been fun baking/cooking while I'm not working. Soon that'll all be over though and we'll be back to simple/frozen foods, unless Jason wants to start cooking :)
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Here's the recipe to the DATE NUT AND SPICE BREAD I made, if anyone is interested. I have another recipe for the same bread that I'm going to try next to compare.
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Check out Molly's blog if you're interested in all things baking! She's a pastry chef in training and one of my best friends. Plus her blog is really cute ;)

More Plant Pictures





Here are some more pictures of the plants we bought! I can't wait to put them in pots.

Going Green


Another weekend has come and gone. We've been fairly busy lately, but haven't done anything too exciting. We hung out with friends on Friday night and stayed up too late, so Saturday we weren't very productive - and by not productive I mean we hibernated in the house for most of the day :)
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Sunday though we made up for Saturday's laziness. We visited the plant shops by the Friday market. It's a whole strip about half a mile long of just plant shops with indoor and outdoor parts. You can just meander from shop to shop. We almost took home a cat in one of the shops after Jason jokingly asked how much the cat was. He jokes with the locals and they don't understand him, but I think that's half the fun for him - seeing their confused reactions. ;) Boys... The guy walked over to one of the stray cats wandering the shop and scooped him up and tried to have us take him home with us. I resisted though, don't worry.
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I didn't get any pictures of the shops because the workers follow you around the whole time, which is a little uncomfortable. The line "I'm just browsing" (a.k.a. leave me alone) doesn't translate here.
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We came home with a Gardenia bush, an Egyptian Jasmine tree, and some curly bamboo. The Egyptian Jasmine tree has little white flowers on it that to me smell like honeysuckle (my favorite!), so I love it. I'm excited to watch them bloom. Their green is a nice touch to our home. Now I just have to read up to make sure I don't kill them. More pictures to come of the plants! Next step is to find nice (but inexpensive) pots to put them in. I'm going to try Ikea and the Friday Market first.

Happy Weekend!


Happy weekend everyone!
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We had dinner with friends last night and had Lebanese food. Everything was amazing! I finally tried the stuffed grape leaves. They don't look too appetizing, but they were delicious. The one I tried had beef, rice and seasoning in it. Apparently they boil them after they stuff the leaves and are tricky to make. I found some recipes on FoodNetwork though, maybe I'll get brave and try it myself one night! Click here for recipe They also had this banana pudding with pineapple in it that I loved. It was delicious. The pineapple gave it a lighter taste than normal banana pudding.
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We're almost all moved in now. The closet space is minimal, so finding a good solution to how to organize all of our clothes has been tricky. We also have to get help hanging pictures because the walls are all concrete to help it stay cool in the summer (and warm in the winter, I imagine).
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Everyone enjoy the weekend!

A Night at the Symphony


View from the smaller boat that houses the restaurant Al Boom to the bigger boat that has the ballroom

Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea


We went to see the Polish Symphony last night at the Radisson. The concert was held in a huge boat. The boat is connected to the hotel and houses the ballroom. It was an amazing concert. They had two pianists that were highlighted in honor of the Chopin year 2010.
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Today's a quiet day. Its actually a little boring. Almost all of our stuff is put away, we just have to get some help hanging pictures because the walls are all concrete block and we'd make a mess if we tried to do it ourselves.
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We have some fun plans for the weekend, including a baseball game (if the weather holds out), so it should be a fun weekend. The weather said that it might get bad today and tomorrow with dust storms and lighting. So far its clear and nice out though. A change in the weather is welcome here, good or bad its a change.

By Candlelight




Our new lanterns - I'm obsessed now, I just want more :)

Weekend Activities

In the parking lot where we went shopping there were little gardens of these flowers with swarms of butterflies, it was really cool to see! I've never seen so many and they let us get pretty close to take pictures.



This is where I bought my Dolce sunglasses - high quality purchase, I know :)



One side of the street where we were shopping was run down (that's where the fake purses were, go figure :), the other side was clean and very well maintained. This is a phenomena I see everywere here... a mansion next to a pile of trash. You'd think they wouldn't tolerate it, but they do.

Arabic graffiti

Across the street - See, nice & clean.
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Its been another busy weekend. We are much more social in Kuwait than we have been anywhere else :) At this point, we're trying to get out as much as possible and not pass up any opportunities. Its helped us feel more adjusted and the country not feel as foreign.
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We attended an event on Wednesday night in which I got to meet the American ambassador of Kuwait. She was at a 4 way walkway crossing taking a picture and I was at the crossing too, not sure if I should go or stay while they were taking the pictures. I decided to stand off to the side out of the way and just wait. She looked straight at me and told me it was ok to go. I felt like a dope, but its better to get told to go I guess rather than get in trouble for going and getting in the way.
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Yesterday we went shopping. We went down to an area of town that has a mix between regular shops and a whole bazaar section full of little holes in the wall carrying unique little trinkets and knock off's. We went with a family that frequents the knock off stores, so Jason benefited from their shopping with some free loot. I bought some ornaments and a new pair of sunglasses.
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Then we ventured out to another shop that's supposed to have great lanterns at an affordable price. There wasn't as much as I was imagining, but I found some cool stuff. I'll post pictures of my purchases later :)
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I stayed up late the past two nights organizing and unpacking. Our house feels so much better with our stuff in it. Our kitchen is white, silver and black, which seemed very harsh with the fluorescent lighting at first. But now that our stuff is in there, it looks much nicer. There are still boxes everywhere, but I'm working on it every chance I get! I'll be able to make some major headway this week.
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On a totally different note - here's an article talking about Kuwait's planned attempts to clean up its sewage problem. Honestly I don't see it or have to deal with it ever. Every once in a while you'll go through a smelly patch. The thought of what they're doing though is disgusting. I've never lived this close to the ocean, its a shame they've ruined it! I'm still trying to figure blogger out, so if this link doesn't take you right to the page - there should be a list of articles on the right and its like the 3rd one down. Let me know if you have any problems with it.
www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=mta0Nte3otu5mq==
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Everyone have a good rest of your weekend!

Our stuff has arrived!


All of our stuff will be here tomorrow (yay)! We've been living out of the same suitcases since January 21!

The Talking Turkey

:) He tries to keep up!

Pool Party






Vanilla Bean




Pool Party
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I haven't posted in a couple of days, so I'm making up for it with a really long one! The sand storms have finally gotten to me, I've been struggling with sinus issues for a couple of days now. I have allergies, but never have they been as severe as this. I finally took my mother's advice and used the saltwater nose wash though and it seems to be working. :)
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This weekend was eventful, Saturday especially. We were invited to a barbeque in the dessert by a Kuwaiti couple that we met at a get-to-gether (why everyone wants to barbeque in the dessert is still beyond me! :). We weren't too sure we were going to go, but then it was moved out of the dessert because of the threat of another sandstorm and it was now being thrown at the home of a Sheikh (pronounced like shake), which after asking around we found out meant he was a member of the royal family. Sounds impressive, right? However, keep in mind that the royal family is huge. The Emir has many many wives and so do the other members of his family. There are probably thousands of Sheikhs in the city, but we were curious just the same.
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It turned out to be pretty interesting. There was a really wide variety of people and food. The house was impressive from the outside, but what I was most impressed with was the two very large lots next to it that were dedicated to gardens. The Sheikh and his wife had a whole team of gardeners that maintainted two large (mansion size) green houses and animals.
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His wife gave us a tour and as we walked she pointed to every version of almost every tropical plant that I've heard of and some that I had not. There was everything from bananas, mango's, cacti, vanilla, grapes, tangerines, beans, pomegranate, tons of palm trees, more types of apples than I've ever heard of, plus more! I've never seen a collection of plants like this, even at the nicest nurseries. I finally asked her what she didn't have and she said that the starfruit hadn't taken :) I guess they have homes with equally as emaculate gardens in other areas of the world as well.
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The animals were fun too! The friends that Jason and I went with brought their kids so I enjoyed hanging out with them and the animals. There were big bunnies, tropical birds, turkeys, doves, deer, and tons of cats. The family had 17 cats plus several strays from the neighborhood that made her land home. We tried to hold the bunnies, but left the room from fear of being pooped on by the tropical birds that were sharing the cage with them. We talked with the white turkey (who knew there were white turkeys!?) that would gobble back to you. We didn't get to see the 17 cats that were being kept inside, but played with the strays.
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It was a definitely unique experience that gets added to the "Only in Kuwait" list :)

The Beach

Kuwaiti summer home
Crucifix shell

I've mentioned the beaches in one of my first posts. I still haven't walked on one, but we found one that might not be so bad :) The beaches, like I said, aren't manicured (for the most part). The water is dirty because... Get ready to cringe! Kuwait dumps most (if not all...don't quote me, but that's what I've been told and can smell sometimes) of its garbage into the gulf. Which doesn't do much for their already low beach traffic.

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However, we visited a friends house who live south of where we do and south of the garbage dumping. According to them, the garbage travels clockwise in the gulf so their beach is actually pretty good for shelling. I LOVE looking for shells, so I'm interested to check it out. We drove by briefly and I was able to snap these pictures.
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Apparently there's this fish that when it decays, what's left of it looks like the crucifix. Our friends that live down there have found one. I googled it and it looks pretty freaky. I'll definitely post it if we find one. I didn't take the picture above of the shell, its from google images.