Published: August 30th 2011August 29th 2011
Spanish Banks (Vancouver, Canada)
Greetings from Kuwait! I made it here in one piece, all bags in tact, ready for the next phase of my life. My vanilla extract also made it through. We were met at the airport and given an allowance, water, and porters took our bags so we didn’t even need to touch them once we got off the plane. There were about 38 new teachers on the plane, most of whom I met in Frankfurt, but about 10 had already arrived or have just recently arrived since.
We got through the 40 degree nighttime heat and to our apartments—mine is huge with enormous windows and secret access to the roof between two buildings (even though I’m only on the 3rd floor), but it has gold fabric on all the couches, with gold curtains, and light blue walls…it’s quite the sight! We had to stay up until our bags were delivered, and at 3am, I finally crawled into bed, only to be woken shortly after by the call to prayer.
In the morning, we had a brunch at the orientation coordinator’s apartment, then went to school for the start of orientation. Every day after school, we were taken to a
Jocelyn and I went for a good little paddle around Spanish banks shortly before I left (Vancouver, Canada).
different place for shopping. Once was a “Lulu Hypermarket,” which apparently didn’t “have that much,” but had every conceivable thing I could imagine. I was delighted by the hummus/feta options in the deli. We also went to the Avenues Mall, which is over 2 miles long, and has an Ikea, a Carrfour, an Office Depot, more than 4 Starbucks, a movie theater, and a billion other stores inside. We had to wait to try and get SIM cards for our cell phones and sticks for internet, which took over an hour and a half to do (people lined up after us took almost 3 hours). We ran through Ikea in literally ten minutes (timed) so that we could catch the (free) bus back to the apartments.
We have been swimming several times as well, and it’s taken me almost all week to unpack and organize. I still have some things I need to by, particularly for the kitchen, that will help make me feel at home. It’s a bit tough, because I’m used to walking everywhere, and I won’t be able to walk around this area for several reasons. 1) It’s really hot. We walked around last night, and
Dinner at Ensemble (Vancouver--run by Top Chef Canada's winner; my friend opened a restaurant with him). Sooo yummy.
it’s bearable in the dark (around 38 degrees), but you still get sticky and dusty. 2) We live in a dodgy area. There are no roads directly by us, only sand tracks. It’s a poor neighbourhood, and the men stare, stare, and stare some more. My friend and I were cutting through a parking lot last night on our way to pick up some groceries, and a group of men completely stopped talking and just watched us go. It was unnerving. 3) We live far away from everywhere. You either need your own car (and since I haven’t driven for years I don’t want to here…lots of abandoned, crashed-up cars on the side of the road), or need a taxi (would get pricey every day). I feel a bit isolated and constricted by this fact—it’s weird. I feel like some of my freedom has been clipped, which I guess it has. It’s also weird to live right next to my coworkers as though we were in residence again. I haven’t had that since 2000. It’ll take some getting used to as I like my distance every once in a while.
I have my classroom, and I’ve decorated, so it
Five suitcases are all I have anymore...
looks almost ready for students to come, but I’m not planned and I’m not sure when that will happen. I have so much to do I don’t know where to start. I have a ton of reading to do, but I don’t know if it’s jetlag or a general sense of being overwhelmed, but I can’t focus enough to read anything. My internet is so very, very slow I can’t call home (I’ve tried 8 times and each time lost the connection or had such a poor connection there was no point in even trying), and it generally stops working after 2 minutes. Too bad it costs almost $120/month. Seems like a bit of a rip-off, no? In any case, I am fine and doing well—but I do foresee this being quite the transition! ‘Til next time…
ps. I don't live in Salmlya, but it was the only area of town I knew that was listed as an option.
There are more photos below