British Airways Kuwait Documentary

This is the first of a four part documentary about Kuwait that British Airways will show on board their flights. Etihad does the same thing for the country to which you’re traveling. It’s a nice way to give a brief introduction to the country you’re preparing to visit as the plane lands, and it certainly highlights some of the more interesting aspects of the country. The video below is absolutely gorgeous and presents Kuwait in such a positive light.

I found this video on 2:48AM blog. You can check it out for other posts about the British Airways short films on Kuwait.

 

Updated video emailed to bloggers. Enjoy!

Networking and small talk.

After what felt like a super long week filled with business meetings, studies, research papers and networking, I was finally able to relax a little late last night and catch up on some reading.

While browsing for interesting and relevant articles about networking I came across this piece in Entrepreneur. Small talk; probably my biggest weakness when it comes to business development. I like to think I’m easy to get along with, friendly, and approachable, but when it comes to knowing I have to chat someone up in hopes of creating a business relationship it’s a struggle. It always feels very forced and spurious. As a matter of fact, I’ve found my most successful business ventures have been with friends or former colleagues; people I have an existing connection with.

Much of my recent business expansion has been a matter of me investing the time required to generate pertinent training modules for individuals and corporations. Of course this depends upon extensive research into organizational weaknesses and types of certifications individuals in particular departments are interested in obtaining. Oddly enough, this is the easy part. My next step is to reach out to companies I have existing business relationships with and get them on board with corporate training. Seems simple enough until you realize while you’re suggesting ways to improve by utilizing targeted training, they’re hearing, “Your company is failing”. This is where that small talk becomes an important tool — and where I feel intimidated.

Obviously creating a more personal connection with a potential client makes business feel less formal. It almost feels like a positive interaction between two good friends. But getting there relies heavily on that small talk… that ice breaker.

So, if you find yourself in a position to make small talk, especially in a business setting, you might also find this article rather interesting. It’s simple, an easy read, and makes networking feel a bit less dreadful to me.

Full article

Happy Birthday, America! [2014]

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays and I look forward to creating some kind of little celebration every year; whether it be with friends, family, or just partaking in some public event. This year has required a bit of creativity since it’s Ramadan — a futoor cook-out.

*All rights reserved

*All rights reserved

Last night we experienced the first hurricane of the season (another one of my favorite things during the year) but today the weather is absolute perfection. Even a bit chilly with no humidity. Perfect for the evening’s fireworks events.

Remember, if you have pets, keep them safe tonight! Fireworks are very scary for animals and more pets get lost on July 4th than any other day of the year. Best to keep them indoors.

Wishing you all a fabulous holiday with loved ones. Enjoy! Stay safe, be smart, and don’t drink and drive.

My expat interview.

As people are contemplating a move abroad they often seek out a number of available resources in hopes of getting a little insight into their new ‘home’. I get a number of emails from those preparing to take that plunge and jet off to the fabulous land of sand I call home; Kuwait. Over the years I’ve hoped my blog has helped out some of those expats in finding a sense of comfort in Kuwait. The readers are the reason I’ve continued to blog as long as I have… and as boring as I’ve become. I don’t check stats, I’m not in a numbers competition, I just enjoy knowing I might be helping someone out there in the cyber world. Whether it’s someone who is taking a new job in Kuwait, or someone who’s considering marriage to a Kuwaiti — I hope I’ve helped.

Recently I was contacted by the lovely Erin at Blog Expat and asked if I would be willing to participate in an interview about my life and experience as an expat in Kuwait. Though I’ve never been into self promotion, blog promotion, or any type of ‘look at me’ behavior, I was honored by her request because I have such a great deal of respect for their site. It really is the go to website for expats planning a move to any country! I truly admire the effort they’ve invested in putting together such a fabulous wealth of information.

So yeah, if you’re interested in reading more about me, my life, my experiences, and what life in Kuwait as an expat (from my perspective) is like, you can find my interview here. Or on the badge to the right, near the bottom of the page titled ‘expat interview’.

Ramadan TV schedule [Jacqui -- CouchAvenue re-post]

Every year one of the things I really look forward to during Ramadan are the fabulous (that’s debatable) television shows. I prefer the ones that are filmed locally in Kuwait so I can say, “Hey! Look! I lived there.” or “Look, honey! There’s our favorite restaurant”. They feel more personal to me. And though I don’t fully understand everything they’re saying, I understand enough to get a solid grip on what’s taking place. The acting is often mediocre, the story lines are sometimes silly, and the production isn’t Hollywood standards by any means… but they’re awesome!

A few weeks ago I asked my husband if he could start Googling what programming we could expect this year (especially since the titles are sometimes written in Arabic), and I had planned on asking my sisters in law if they could give me some insight as well. Then it dawned on me… Jacqui!!

Each year Jacqui invests a great deal of time and effort into creating these incredible programming guides for the Ramadan shows. She even separates them into Khaleeji and Arabic categories. She makes similar lists for American programming, new shows, cancellations, etc. It must be quite time consuming but she clearly does it because she enjoys sharing this information and she’s great at it.

Below is 1 page of the Khaleeji Ramadan program guide she’s prepared, however, there are many more listed on her blog which can be found here. Definitely worth checking out!

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this list and how I’ve obviously come to depend on it. Thanks, Jacqui, for your time, effort, and making my Ramadan in America feel a little more like home.

*Click image for source

*Click image for source

Ramadan Mubarak [2014]

Wishing you all a wonderful Ramadan with family and loved ones.

Remember, Kuwait is an Islamic country and eating, drinking, chewing gum, or public displays of affection could result in a month in jail, a 100 KD fine, or both. Be respectful of the law and those who are fasting.

We’ll be celebrating the Holy month in America and I’m already looking forward to preparing fu6oor for my wonderful husband 5 days a week (we’ll be eating out the other 2 days). We just had a fabulous graish together while discussing some things we plan to focus on this month. I’m so blessed to be spending my life with one of the kindest, most compassionate, generous, empathetic people I know.

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Recruiting Americans

I was recently contacted by a former colleague to see if I could assist in recruitment for their US company with a large contract overseas (Kuwait and Afghanistan). Though I generally stick to recruitment for local companies located throughout the GCC, I agreed to give her a hand. O.M.G.

First of all, in 2014 the medical requirements changed a bit and became more strict when it comes to overall heath and weight. BMI now plays a significant role in whether or not someone will be offered a contracting position. And this isn’t just for new hires… this applies to current employees as well. There are a number of ‘replacement’ positions being filled because the previous employee wasn’t ‘medically fit’ to perform their duties. Ouch!

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OK, I understand the need to have semi-physically fit employees working on the US camps. Not that they’re toting weapons or fighting in a war, but they are employed on a government contract in support of the US Military.

However, these changes leave me facing a number of challenges.

When recruiting in the US there are a multitude of laws that apply. Such as discrimination. And though ‘weight’ isn’t a protected class, not hiring someone because of their weight can quickly turn into a discrimination lawsuit — with enough evidence. Additionally, I’m conducting interviews via telephone. I can’t even see these people to make a fair determination as to whether or not they might be a qualified candidate. Obviously saying, “Hey lady, are you fat?” isn’t an option. So I have to go into the ‘BMI’ speech, explaining the new requirements set forth by the military. Seems reasonable enough, huh? Well, have you ever seen someone (man or woman) wearing something that would look super cute on a size 2 but not on a size 22 yet they’re flaunting it as if they’re modeling for Victoria’s Secret? These are the people who have an over-inflated ego and delusions of grandeur. They think they’re showing off the perfect body all wrapped up in the perfect BMI. They’re totally out of touch with reality.

Speaking of out of touch with reality;

During this little recruitment project I’ve viewed a number of resumes/CVs from individuals who are obviously desperate to find employment in Kuwait (I say desperate because they’ve applied for 38 jobs and are qualified for 0). It’s been rather fascinating to come across a resume belonging to someone you’re familiar with realizing everything they portray publicly doesn’t resemble anything factual. We do check references, verify education (even when it’s supposedly overseas), and contact previous employers. As will any reputable employer — even those not affiliated with the US. So when you make claims about your education and/or employment history, make sure they’re accurate. And, if you were recently terminated from your position as a US Contractor because of medical/weight issues, disclose that at the beginning of the interview! As badly as some might want to keep that information a secret, it’s not. Not when you’re applying to work overseas on a US contract.

Note: Please do not ask if you can send me your resume/CV. These positions are all listed online through a number of companies bidding on an upcoming contract. Each position much be applied to individually and online. Wishing you all the best in your search for employment.

ISIS, Kuwait news, and misbehaving Americans

The past few days our news (morning, afternoon, and evening) have consisted of endless reports of ISIS, war, invasion, and murder. Of course we’re getting the glorified ‘Hollywood’ style reporting. The type which kept my mother worried for years — even while I lived I Abu Dhabi. So I decided the best place to get something resembling reality would be via the Kuwait newspapers I keep up with regularly. (We do travel back and forth a number of times a year, as well as having family, a home, and businesses there — keeping up with Kuwait is still an important part of our lives.) Fortunately, and as expected, I discovered there’s no media frenzy taking place in Kuwait regarding ISIS. If anything it’s only mentioned a couple of times. Desert Girl did an awesome post about it as well and she’s far more interesting than the local newspapers.

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What I did find quite interesting this morning were the number of articles regarding Americans and their criminal behavior in Kuwait. Some are about a month old, but I haven’t kept up with the crime section lately as it reads more like a trashy tabloid. However, ‘US juvenile rapes teen‘ did catch my attention. Followed by the drunk American story and the American threatening to kill his wife. Not that Americans committing crimes is a new thing, but it seems more prevalent in Kuwait now as compared to a number of years ago.

C’mon, people, if it’s a crime in America you know it’s a crime in Kuwait. Why run the risk of facing a judicial system you know nothing about in a country where the official language is probably one you don’t speak?

Supporting one another…

The other day I was talking to a wonderful woman who, like everyone else, is facing some unique challenges. She has a lot on her shoulders but is handling it all like a champ. She doesn’t quite realize how well she’s doing and I get the sense the stress is starting to affect her self esteem. She had mentioned to me something she’s become involved in and really invests a great deal of time and talent into doing the best she can. And she’s doing awesome! However, she’s feeling a bit hurt by the lack of support from her friends. She’s not asking people to spend money, invest their time, or lift a finger. She’s simply asking people she considers friends to show a little emotional support. It’s shameful she even has to ask.

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That being said, where do we draw the line in showing emotional support for one another? Just because someone isn’t one of my dearest, best, closest friends doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy for them or support them in something they have an interest in. Heck, I would do that for a stranger. 

So why is it so many people (especially women) seem to be so bitter and hateful towards one another? Isn’t the goal to share the limelight with someone equally deserving? Or even step aside and let someone else shine every now and then? What’s the harm in saying a few kind words? What are women so afraid of?

I was raised in a family of incredibly classy women who had a great deal of self esteem. I can’t recall ever hearing my mother, grandmother, or aunts being malicious or nasty to anyone — even if they were given reason. I was taught to ‘take the high road’ and it’s always worked out rather well for me. And by ‘taking the high road’ I mean either completely eliminating negative forces from my life or just outright ignoring the source. I have a theory — if you don’t pay my bills or feed my pets then how important is your opinion of me? Eh. Not at all.

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Of course ignoring those filled with hatred and negativity doesn’t always take me out of their line of fire. It simply means I rarely know about it, and when I do I certainly don’t allow it to affect me emotionally. After all, when someone feels negatively about us then obviously their opinions are skewed as well. And sometimes, well, they’re outright delusional.

But the question still remains; where do we draw the line when it comes to supporting one another? At what age do women stop cheering one another on and start attacking their peer? And what prompts the lack of support?

It’s often said ‘if someone hates you it’s because they can’t have you or can’t be you’. Is it really that simple?

I’m truly blessed to be surrounded by a group of great friends who happen to be very strong, confident women. We empower one another. Support each other’s ideas. And always reach out to offer a hand, a smile, or a word of encouragement. And I like to think we do the same for random strangers. Like me, they avoid negativity.

Some would say the ability to remove yourself from shallow, petty, bitterness comes with maturity. I happen to think it comes from a good upbringing by self assured, successful women.

“Girls compete with one another. Women empower one another.”