It's not the preffered method, but its a method

Since I know you're interested in every part of the Middle Eastern culture... :)
View from the treadmill at the gym
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Some people in this part of the world choose to use toilets like this. I took this picture in the gym locker rooms (the next stall is normal, in case you were wondering!). Most toilets here are normal, they just have an added hand wash hose hung on the wall next to the toilet in case you want to get extra clean. Before prayer, 5 times daily, they're required to completely clean themselves. That's what the hose next to the toilets are for.
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Since privacy is such a big deal here though, the public restroom stalls are completely enclosed. The walls and the door go from floor to ceiling and there aren't the little peek-a-boo cracks around the door. I like that part of the bathrooms a lot! At the gym was actually the first time I had seen the hole in the ground toilet. All the other toilets are normal (just with the added hose).

Rug Shopping





We went rug shopping this weekend. We were looking at handmade Turkish rugs which are very big in this area of the world. No purchases, but there was so much to learn about and so much to look at. They have hundreds of rugs stacked everywhere each with its own unique story, so all you have to do is switch your position and new ones catch your eye. Its like buying art though, so it has to truly speak to us in order for it to be worth it :) We'll see...

Everything on my blog is brown!


So here's a dash of color! :) I took this in Austin last year.

A Day at the Beach


Notice how brown it is? Its not a problem with my camera. It isn't always like this. During the week its usually pretty nice with clear blue skies. The weekends though, without fail, have brought with them a dust storm every time for weeks now. Its not fun.
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All the maids with the children that they watch. Some of the maids were in the water fully clothed watching the kids. Ridiculous.
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Some of the villas at the resort
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Hooka station next to the pool
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The drive walking up to the resort
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Looking back to the parking lot from the entrance of the resort. You can see the manicured landscaping stops abruptly at the entrance of the resort and goes back to dessert.
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A gate to a summer home that we passed on the way home
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The beautiful scenery on the way home from the resort :)
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We went down to one of the southern resorts this weekend for a barbeque and a family day. The resort was out in the middle of nowhere. It was definitely an oasis from the surrounding desert; however it wasn't our cup of tea. The beach, as we suspected, was dirty along with the water so no one got in from our group. There were dying jellyfish scattered all over the shoreline so that you couldn't walk by the water even. We're told that there are summer homes even farther south where the water is crystal clear. I think I have to see it to believe it though.
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On the brighter side, there was some good shelling there though. Our friends and their kids came with us so it was fun looking for shells with the kids. I don't think people here really look for shells because the big ones were just sitting in plain sight. I love looking for shells, I don't know what's wrong with them! More for me I guess :)
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We checked out the pool too, which was much nicer and cleaner than the beach, however the makeup of the other pool visitors were all traditional locals some of which were covered in the traditional dress with their nannies watching the children. We're learning that there are some places in town that are very westernized, like the hotel that we exercise at, where you can dress like you would in America and swim in a pool like normal without people looking at you offensively in your bathing suit. We didnt' really feel comfortable at this place with the locals looking on. Overall it was an ok day. It was good to see, but we probably won't be back.
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Today we're going to check out the rug shopping! I'm pretty excited. I don't know if we'll come home with anything quite yet, unless one speaks to me from the display :)
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Happy weekend!

Wild Weather


This is a photo taken of the same dust storm from the previous post. Obviously this person had a much better (or worse...) view of it than I had! I didn't realize how bad it really was, especially since it didn't last long at all. Apparently people thought the world was ending and there was some panic. Now I can understand a little more. CRAZY.
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Click here to go to the photographer's page with her recount of the experience. The season she mentions, which is now, called Al-Sarrayat I'm told roughly means tomatoe. Its a time when the weather is very unpredictable.

I didn't sign up for this!

This is at 8am... the sun is up and it should be light outside!

View out the skylight

...30 minutes later
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We had by far the worst dust storm yet this morning. Within 10 minutes the sky went from a little gray to completely blocking out the sun. It looked like it was the middle of the night!
There was hurricane-like wind that was whipping rain, dust and debris everywhere. There were trash bags and debris flying sideways about 20-30 ft off the ground. Then thirty minutes later it almost completely cleared up.
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Sorry the quality of the pictures are crappy! Everything was thrashing around and there was no light to be found. Plus I had to be quick before the rain got worse!

Look Out Kuwait, I've gone Mobile






We got our new driver's licenses last week. Our government has worked out some sort of deal with their government in regards to the process because we got the VIP treatment. For the average person, we hear that the process to get a license is very difficult and sometimes its rejected for no reason to try to limit the amount of people on the roads. However, we were ushered to the front of the line and walked out soon after with no issues. The pictures above were from driving around today. Being the driver, I was in control of when we decided to stop and take spy pictures from the car :)
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I was so excited the morning we got our licenses because I knew that I'd get to leave work for a couple of hours to do the test. Sad? I know...
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We leased a car for me this week too! Jason's been scouting out all the dealerships and finding the best car for the best deal. We only looked at cars with 5-star crash testing and low rollover because of the bad driving conditions here. We landed on the Subaru Tribeca (are you smiling dad?). I drove it today for the first time with no incidents to report and I like it. It's a good size, not too big and not too small.
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Our favorite antique shop, the one I've posted pictures of, is closing :( I guess the rent is too high and she can't find another space for less so she's boycotting the country and moving her shop somewhere else. We went down to see what was left and there wasn't much. We bought one little trinket to give as a present, but there wasn't anything else that really stood out to us. We've heard of 2 other antique places similiar to this that we'll have to go check out. So we have more exploring to do.
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Happy weekend!

A Three Hour Tour








Here are some pictures from the dinner cruise we went on. The dust refused to clear up for the sunset, but we had fun anyways. Soon it'll be too hot to do stuff like this!
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Wish me luck as I start week #2 at the job!

Hmm...






I haven't posted in a couple of days because the work week has proven to be exhausting and somewhat frustrating. The job definitely isn't what I had hoped it would be and I'm finding myself spinning my wheels for no good reason. I have to do some thinking about what I'm willing to put up with in order to stay active as an Interior Designer while we're here in Kuwait and what my other options are.
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More to come on that subject...
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On another note - the week before I started work I was busy trying to accomplish all the little projects I had started around the house before I started work and didn't have anymore time! I got all the pictures hung around the house, I finished a little wedding book filled with all the paper pieces I've saved from the wedding like, invitations, cards from friends and family, pictures of the wedding preperation, the showers and bachelorette parties (basically all the things that wont be included in our wedding album from the photographer), we bought plants and I arranged them around the house, did some baking, and I've been doing some online back-to-work shopping which has been fun. Overall it was a good week and a good way to end my unemployment :)
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Now its time for some decisions... Wish me luck as I decide whether to ride it out or take a step in another direction.
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We're doing a dinner cruise tonight, hopefully the weather is great and its not stinky!! :)

Back to Work...


I started my job today. It was much different than the fun and layed back Austin work life that I'm used to :( Its pretty strict it seems. I have strict work hours with a time card (yes, like an old fashioned one). I brought a can of soup for lunch, only to discover that they don't have a microwave. So I ate my sad little granola bar and read a book while everyone spoke Arabic around me.
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I was immediately put on two projects and I feel confident with the knowledge of products that I took away from my last job. So I feel like I know what I'm doing - always a good thing. I'm hopeful that the projects will be cool despite the work environment. Keep your fingers crossed. Above is a picture out the window of the floor I work on.
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I'll be better prepared tomorrow and I have some new things on my agenda:
Task #1 - buy non-microwaveable lunch food
Task #2 - learn arabic
Task #3 - kick butt