Where the grass is greener
Published Date: February 07, 2007 in the Kuwait Times
By Sawsan Kazak
I just moved to Kuwait from Canada about five months ago. I started working and I am building a life here. Family, friends, colleagues and even people who meet me for the first time are surprised by the fact that I was able to adapt and actually enjoy living here. Expatriates as well as locals have warned me about the boredom and the lack of freedom I would encounter here because I grew up in Canada, but fortunately for me, my experience has been the complete opposite.
I was born in Kuwait but moved to Montreal at the age of four and lived there for 21 years. Being back and working here, I am able to compare my lifestyle here as opposed to Canada. To start with, the opportunities here are unbelievable. Back in Canada I am a dime a dozen; everyone spoke English and French and the majority of people my age have bachelor's degrees.
In Kuwait on the other hand, I find that the aspects that made me similar to everyone in Canada, make me stand out in Kuwait. This has in turn opened up doors for me and landed me opportunities that I would have never had in Canada.
Besides the opportunities, I find that the lifestyle is much more relaxed. People are not rushing around and are not stressed. When arriving home, I am not greeted with a mailbox full of bills to pay and I don't even get mail here. I find that most people I know have more time for socialising than back home. On average, people here go out more and have more energy to do things after work and on weekends.
Furthermore when compared to Canada, the restaurants, beauty salons and taxis are, in general, cheaper. For a few Dinars you can have a really nice night on the town. Or even, a nice walk along the beach; its free and a great way to spend time with friends and family. (We don't have beaches in Canada. So for me it's still special).
Let's not forget the weather. People who have lived here their whole lives take for granted the weather that they are blessed with. Living in Kuwait, I no longer have to worry about snowstorms, freezing rain and black ice. I no longer have to shovel snow off my front steps in order to be able to leave, or pre-heat and clean my car for 20 minutes just to be able to drive anywhere. The worst that can happen here is a few days of rain, I will take that over any snowstorm, bring it on!
Being a girl in Kuwait, you really feel special. I don't have to pump my own gas or get out of my car to buy something at the corner store; some places even let me cut in line because I'm a girl. Also, because of the attention and incisive flirting, a girl in Kuwait will always feel beautiful.
You could walk downtown Montreal in a bikini and the most attention you will get is a few dirty looks. Whereas here, a girl could be returning from the gym with no make up on, jogging pants and a ponytail and guys will still give attention and attempt to flirt even if they know they will not be successful.
Don't get me wrong, I love Canada and miss it very much; but I can see myself living in Kuwait for a long time. I don't feel deprived of anything, nor do I feel bored. For me, it's a learning experience that I am really enjoying. I might never become a Kuwaiti, but I am a Kuwaiti at heart for life.