Unfortunately there’s been yet another major terrorist attack. This time in Paris where more than 100 people are confirmed dead in 4 separate attacks.

ISIS/ISIL has claimed responsibility.

Why? What on earth did these innocent people do? Why all the hate and murder?

I understand people of all religions and backgrounds are frustrated for a number of reasons. Everyone is angry and bitter. But isn’t it time to just stop?


Less than a week ago the determination was made that United Airlines would no longer operate their direct flight from Washington, DC to Kuwait (or Bahrain). At this time, and since 2006, they’re the only American carrier offering a direct flight out of Kuwait into the US and for many of us it was quite convenient even if not as luxurious as the Middle Eastern carriers.


Rumors are swirling as to the reason for the ending of this relationship; Kuwait being found guilty of discrimination on their flight from JFK to London by refusing Israeli travelers service is the most talked about possibility. The other is that United is stating the flight just isn’t meeting the financial expectations. Of course this too is a possibility considering the decreased number of US Contractors in Kuwait and the fact this was once a daily flight which has been scaled back to just a couple of times a week over the past years.

Either way the service is ending January 2016.

On a personal note, and the only reason we even remotely care about this… we have a number of tickets booked on this flight between March and September of 2016. Us going there, family coming here, summer vacations, holidays, etc. Tens of thousands of dollars and just as many MileagePlus miles. I’ve spent my morning cancelling flights and seeking out alternatives. However, United has a very strict cancellation/refund policy which obviously we’re requesting an exception to. They’ve explained it will take at least 7 days to process. Let’s just hope they don’t make this difficult.

I’ve always loved her and in some ways the lyrics to her songs seem to define my life at one point or another. Glad she’s back! (Side note: I find it quite interesting the guy in the video has ‘protection‘ tattooed on his hand in Arabic)

“And a million miles… ”

Do you ever think back to your past (recent or distant) and wonder why you didn’t take different action? Or why you tolerated certain behaviors? Stayed at particular jobs? Or attempted to salvage friendships/relationships that weren’t even worth your time? Do you ever just want to scream, “Past, you were a serious asshole!”?

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘don’t burn your bridges’. But what if what we once assumed were bridges were really just roadblocks preventing us from getting to where we needed to go, or being who we needed to be?

While deleting my LinkedIn account today I came across a few ‘connections’ that took me into a reminiscent place. A kinda dark one even. I remember the General Manager who was outright incompetent and wondered why I wasn’t more aggressive in conveying that message to him. And the Engineering Manager who got promoted based upon the length of her skirt, behaved like a cheap prostitute, and treated some hard working highly educated people like cattle. She was the epitome of unprofessional and having to deal with her from an HR standpoint was genuinely painful. Oh, then there was the ‘Legal dude’ who I often wondered if he graduated high school yet always claimed to have graduated with honors from some prestigious law school in the UK.


The memories of the professional relationships took me to thoughts of the more personal ones. The blogger from Kuwait I befriended who smelled like a 14 year old boy going through puberty who just got out of gym class and hadn’t discovered the miracles or deodorant. Why did I pretend I couldn’t smell him while I was quietly throwing up in my mouth? Or the guy who contacted me through the blog, asked to meet regarding a possible job (for him), had zero prior experience, no high school diploma (though he was 30+ and married with kids), and then conveniently ‘forgot his wallet’ after we ordered (I think we met at a coffee shop if I remember correctly). Why didn’t I say, “Oh, you have no money? Let’s cancel your order before we get started discussing your substandard CV/resume that you’re wasting my time with.”? The most amusing part of that meeting? At the end of my hour long waste of time guiding him on what he might want to do to secure employment he asked if I might be willing to give him some ‘pocket change’ because I must have a high salary. Why did I politely explain that I never carry cash? Why didn’t I scream, “Duuuuuuuudeeeee! Could you be any more of a loser if you tried?” Then of course there was the lovely guy who came to our office to present contracts for his rather large organization in Kuwait. Very professional and we had discussed me doing some consulting, writing ethics manuals, corporate policies, etc. Seemed incredibly professional and respectful. I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong when I woke up the next morning to 12 photos of his penis in my text messages. Yes, folks… Mr. Professional felt I may enjoy seeing his (less than) manly parts before we conducted business! Why did I just block him and avoid all future contact? Why didn’t I reply with ‘hahahahahahahaha’ and call the police?

So why all the venting now? Resentful? Angry? No. I don’t think so. I think it’s just that I’ve come to a place in my life where I’ve gained a great deal of strength and self esteem. Perhaps those things happened to me because, well, I allowed them to. Maybe somewhere deep inside I felt it was the best I deserved from others so I accepted nonsensical crap. I claimed I was letting things roll off my back but maybe that wasn’t it at all though it felt like it at the time. Maybe I wasn’t being strong, but instead I was being weaker than I had ever been in my life. And certainly weaker than I am today.

Now, as I sit here in yoga pants, a sweat shirt, and hair pulled up on my head looking like a meme of the typical housewife, I find myself wanting to reach out to my past and clear the air so to speak. But, since I don’t keep in touch with any of those people and have zero desire to speak with them, I can only clear the air with myself. I can simply remind myself that I am better, I deserve better, and I will never accept that level of bullshit from anyone else. Ever!

And at the same time I can secretly hope at least one of those assholes still reads my blog.

Though I rarely blog anymore, it’s still something I would love to get back to doing regularly again. About a year ago I made the decision to give it up all together and then soon returned only to post a handful of times. I had also once decided to close this blog and start a new one covering topics I felt passionate about in hopes of raising awareness or meeting like minded local bloggers. But starting all over from scratch almost felt daunting. I found myself spending hours thinking of names, looking up domains, etc. It was just too much for something I may not be as invested in as I hoped.

Over the years blogging has been replaced by micro-blogging, insta-bloggers, and other social media forums. People don’t often reach out to blogs for information or insight the way they once did. Which leaves us bloggers feeling as though we’re just typing away without a real purpose. Especially if we’re hoping to reach a target audience or share some insights into topics we’re passionate about.

For the past few days I’ve been reviewing some new themes. Simple and clean. Nothing fancy, nothing that stands out. I like clean lines. I prefer to have a point and make it without all the distractions. Which is what I suppose I’ll continue to do. I’ll do my best to share more often, even if it’s topics which may not be so interesting to my current readers. Perhaps I can start over without completely starting over? Here’s hoping!

So, it’s been just over 4 years since my husband and I were married and a little over 3 years since I wrote my initial post about our Arab/American marriage; a post which still garners much attention and encourages conversations among readers. It’s nice to share a bit of insight into our lives in hopes of helping at least one person who might find themselves baffled by cultural differences.

Before writing this post I thought it best to discuss things that might have changed over the last several years instead of writing yet another post about overcoming cultural challenges. Not only have I covered that topic enough but over time it feels as though our cultures are meshing to the point of becoming one in a number of ways.

Lately I’ve noticed that as women are commenting on the blog with questions about their Arab boyfriends (who are often students here in the US) I catch myself thinking, “How small minded and controlling he is!” Perhaps because my husband and I have both changed significantly since moving to America and what was once acceptable and even normal now feels confining and discriminatory. Not sure I could effortlessly move back to Kuwait and fit into a lifestyle I once felt so comfortable in. I know I miss my in-laws immensely, but fortunately, with technology and their willingness to travel, we see one another often.

Though I like to think my husband and I have never been superficial shallow people, that’s even more evident now. Holidays that once consisted of expensive gifts or vacations are now consumed with participating in activities with emotional value. Perhaps it’s a day spent at the dog park with our furry friends, or building a new cat house, or even just a family lunch at our favorite cafe. As we continue to grow closer we also seem to embrace more depth in life. We value things with meaning instead of things with a price tag.

My husband, who has always been more comfortable with the Western culture, fits neatly into his not-so-new life here. He has an incredible career, wonderful colleagues and business associates, and holds dear his simple yet meaningful lifestyle. He knows we’re making a difference regardless of how small it is.

One of the biggest differences I think we both experience is that sense of freedom. Primarily not having to be consumed with perceptions; a huge part of life in Kuwait. I’ve always been very independent, worked, managed businesses, drove, traveled, etc. And, fortunately, my husband always admired and encouraged that. Yet in Kuwait we still had to be concerned with perceptions. Would the neighbors wonder why my head wasn’t covered? Would they question who that Western woman was driving all over town alone? Would extended family members see me out and about and wonder why I wasn’t escorted by a man? While living up to those ‘standards’ wasn’t difficult, it did become emotionally daunting over time. Having to question every single move we made out of respect for some unwritten cultural rules that neither of us believed in definitely exhausted us. Here, the only respect we really have to show is to one another. And we do. Yet we have freedom to do as we please without wondering is the neighbor watching. If I want to head out at 5am for coffee and shopping (alone)… I do just that. No one cares. No one is watching. And no one would dare even question it. We want to rescue dogs… that’s what we do. No one is questioning it. No one is shaming us for having dogs in our home. And we certainly don’t have to worry someone will toss poison over our fence to try and harm our pets. We’re free.

Over the years, since writing my first post about the Arab/American marriage, the primary question has been, “How to overcome cultural differences?”. And as I’m sure my answer has changed over time, I can comfortably say the best advice I have is just to live the life you want to live. Be yourself. Love what you do and where you are. And if that person (whether it’s the Arab or the American) is supposed to be in your life then they’ll be comfortable with all of that. If they are constantly trying to change you then it’s definitely not the relationship for you. Yeah, this is pretty standard advice for any relationship regardless of background and culture but things can get quite blurred when the cultures are so very different.

Thanks to those of you who still hang around and read the blog during the very rare occasion I write something new. I always have thoughts and ideas running through my head and often think I should blog about them, but I doubt they would be of much interest to those who don’t know me personally. Perhaps someday.


Our deepest condolences to those directly affected by this horrific tragedy.

I am shocked and saddened something of this nature could, and has happened in Kuwait. I’ve never felt more safe than I did while living in Kuwait. I always believed Kuwait was immune to these types of incidents and to know otherwise is very painful.

U.S. Embassy Kuwait message:

Subject:      Security Notice for U.S. Citizens 2015-2

Explosion at Mosque in Al-Sawaber neighborhood of Kuwait City

There has been an explosion at a mosque in the Al Sawaber neighborhood of Kuwait.  There have been reports of deaths and injuries.  U.S. citizens should avoid the area.  Please stay current with media coverage of local and regional events. U.S. Mission personnel have been advised to continue to practice personal security awareness and we advise the U.S. citizen community to do the same.

Ambulances park in front of the Imam Sadiq Mosque after a bomb explosion following Friday prayers, in the Al Sawaber area of Kuwait City June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jassim Mohammed

Ambulances park in front of the Imam Sadiq Mosque after a bomb explosion following Friday prayers, in the Al Sawaber area of Kuwait City June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jassim Mohammed

Ramadan Kareem

Every year around this time I get super excited. Kinda like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to arrive.

While living in the Middle East full time there was this overall ‘build up’ in anticipation of Ramadan every year. And everyone seemed to share in it. The super markets would be so busy there was no parking, grocery prices would skyrocket, work slowed down in offices as everyone prepared for a month long semi-shut down, and families started preparing long in advance. Here in America (especially in the area we live), one would never know Ramadan was coming… or that is was here once it arrives. Nothing changes. Nothing is decorated. And only occasionally do we see a random church wishing a happy Ramadan to Muslims on signs in front of their congregations. But, it still holds a very dear place in my heart. I’ll still allow myself to get excited and prepare just as if I were in Kuwait.

*Google Image

*Google Image

Not too far from our home is an Arabic market which sells halal meats, seasonings, spices, Vimto, lebneh, dates, and other Ramadan necessities. I’ve been popping in there lately in hopes of finding l’gaymat and sambousa jibbin. So far no luck but I’m tempted to put in a special request in hopes of being accommodated. I do miss my mother in law’s cooking!

My husband totally understands my desire to indulge in our favorite treats during Ramadan and I’m sure his compassion comes from a place of sharing the same desire. As of today he’s started seeking out bakeries between here and NYC that makes all of our favorites. It’s an hour flight… and would be totally worth it. Or, well, I could just learn to make them myself but how disappointing would it be if nothing turned out edible?

No, of course Ramadan isn’t just about food (it just happens to be on my mind a lot as I start preparations). It’s truly about ensuring we’re being the best person we can be and to make a conscious decision to make improvements where we see fit. Sure it’s something everyone should do throughout the year, and I like to believe I do, but Ramadan is a nice reminder. Years ago I attempted to do a Ramadan post for the entire month by sharing little ideas of things to make someone’s day a little better. However, I simply no longer have time to invest in daily posts.

While things are certainly different during Ramadan as compared to when we’re in Kuwait, it’s still a time that brings excitement and anticipation.

Wishing you all a wonderful Ramadan with loved ones.

When my husband and I were first married 4 years ago the question of where to live came up… a lot. No, not which city, or which neighborhood. We had to decide which side of the world we were going to call home, settle, and plan our future in. This meant one of us was going to spend much of the year away from the country and culture where we spent our childhood and made a number of memories.

By the time we were married I had already lived in the Middle East for a decade, so in a lot of ways it too was my home. However, all of my family was still in America. All of my memories and childhood friends as well. But, my family is quite small, consisting of only 4 immediate family members. While my husband, on the other hand, has about 25 immediate family members. Then of course there’s the cousins, the aunts, uncles, etc. I don’t have any of those in my family. So staying in Kuwait seemed like the logical choice. But, it wasn’t the the choice we made.

After a couple of years of marriage I started longing for life in America. We visited several times a year, but it just wasn’t the same. And with each visit I was reminded of so many things I truly missed a lot more than I had previously thought. My husband, being one who never meshed with his culture, also started missing things from America. So, we packed up most of our belongings and our beloved cats and made the move.

Should all women married to Arab men expect he’ll be willing to do the same? Probably not. That culture is deeply rooted in family. And for a man to make the decision to move to the other side of the world with his Western wife is a pretty big decision. But, over the past several years I have met a number of American/Kuwaiti couples of have relocated to America together. I’ll admit, I was surprised.

So, how is life now that we’ve been here a couple of years? Well, we’re completely acclimated, have a large group of awesome friends, invest a great deal of time into the happiness of our furry family members, have our favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and a solid schedule. We live what most people would consider the ‘typical American life’ and we couldn’t be happier. I’ll occasionally ask my husband how he feels about the possibility of moving back to Kuwait one day and he doesn’t seem to be to keen on the idea. Right now he’s perfectly happy with a few visits a year to spend quality time with the family. And I suppose I’m OK with that too.