Alison and Peter
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Kuwait, etc.
Our names are Alison and Peter and we are Canadians! We moved to Kuwait in 2012 to pursue our teaching careers. We had visited Kuwait and the surrounding region a little bit and we knew that we wanted to live in The Middle East.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I had been blogging about our daily life and sharing recipes for quite a few years, but it wasn’t until 2012 when we moved to Kuwait that we really decided to start blogging together about our travels.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Some of our favourite entries are trips we’ve been on.
But we also love the posts that share some of our daily life here in Kuwait. For example:
Tell us about the ways your new life in Kuwait differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I really don’t think that we suffered much of a culture shock. Yes, things happened that were different than in Canada, but we expected that. We had visited here once before, we had Middle Eastern friends, and so none of it seemed especially shocking. Of course, there were moments when paperwork or systems were different. But we learned to roll with it.
For example, going to the doctor in Canada is free. You walk in, you take a number, you wait a while and then you see a doctor who checks you all over and asks a ton of questions. You get a prescription, and then you go! Easy.
Here, you walk in, you fight in a line up for a while, and then you get to the front and realize you need these stickers from a machine that you pay for. So you leave the line, go buy the stickers, then try to push back into the line, give the stickers, and your Civil ID and then you get a number. You go sit down and wait to see your number pop up on a screen and it tells you which room to go to. You go, and likely someone else is trying to push in with you, even though it’s not their number. Then the doctor leaves the door open and asks you to tell him what’s wrong. You explain, you self-diagnose, and the doctor just writes a prescription for whatever. In my experience at the public clinics they don’t touch you; they don’t check anything.
Of course, this is all different at a private clinic, but those cost more money.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Kuwait? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I really do think that I was fully prepared for what awaited me in Kuwait. I truly don’t think I’d prepare any differently. I think having friends from the Middle East and having visited here once before really gave me a sense of what it’s like.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
We take taxis everywhere and so we get some pretty outrageous drivers and vehicles. One day we were walking to a main road to catch a taxi and one drove by and the driver didn’t have his hands on the wheels but was playing a pan flute while he drove! It was such an absurd scene that my husband and I burst out laughing.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Kuwait?
- Be flexible and don’t expect Kuwait to be like your home country. If you want it to be like your home country, then you should stay there.
- Try the food and embrace the culture. Don’t try to do all western things while living here.
- Familiarize yourself with what’s happening in Kuwait before you arrive. This will help you to know what’s going on and you won’t be too surprised or disappointed when you arrive.
How is the expat community in Kuwait? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community in Kuwait is thriving. There are so many different expat nationalities and tons of sports, arts and cultural groups. You really just need to do a quick search and you’ll find tons of ways to get involved.
How would you summarize your expat life in Kuwait in a single, catchy sentence?
Enjoying life with friends while planning the next vacation!