” Even when the Earth sleeps we travel.” Khalil Gibran
Conversationalist: “So how long have you been in Kuwait for?”
Me: “Well, 16 months!”
Conversationalist: “How long do you intend on staying?”
Me: “We are leaving for Bavaria, Germany, TONIGHT!”
Conversationalist: “Oh lucky you to be escaping the 50 degree heat. Are you back after the summer?”
Me: “Nope, this is us leaving the country. The same as you!”
And just like that the conversation stops. Why? Because there are so many of us leaving Kuwait for the same reasons. Costs of living is just too high. The quality of life for young kids is just not what we want for ours. The heat, dust and poor air quality. Secondary education doesn’t have the balance I would expect for private facilities. We can’t save. This defeats the purpose of being here, right?
And for these reasons, we believe that making a move to Germany would be for the best. The benefits in Germany far outweigh the reasons to stick it out here. I mean the boys do carry German passports after all. I can already see them cycling around town. Picking wild blueberries and strawberries. Trail hikes in green forests. Catching the local school bus. I picture the little town we will be living in and see Cathedrals against big blue unpolluted skies. I feel the 4 seasons and the crisp cold winter air after freshly fallen snow – no sand up my nose or in my mouth.
It comes with 2 big negatives though – Dad is not moving with us and my kids are not fluent German speakers. Both of these are only temporary glitches, as the schools say the kids will be integrated fully within 8 months AND dad will be visiting us every 3 months.
So how do I feel about leaving…. indifferent…. to be honest. Whilst I have no love lost in this land, I have enjoyed my time here and immersed myself in Kuwaiti traditions. I have met some of the most amazing fellow expats (and 2 locals – rare occurrence) here and my kids have made some lifelong friends. Kelsey said to me one day “Mom, it would be great if we could take all my friends and my school to Germany.” Yikes – guessing this is going to cost me in psychology sessions in years to come.
I have enjoyed visiting and haggling at the Souqs Mubarakiya and Safat. I love that these markets are still very much in use for the locals’ daily shopping. I love the Arabic food. OMG I love the Lebanese Armenian down the road. The smell of burning frankincense when walking past perfume shops. Really cheap fuel – even though they NEVER issued me with a license. The fact that the grocery store is open from 8am until 1am daily. The high luxury standards that the Arabs have, have allowed me to indulge in monthly beauty treatments that don’t cost an arm and a leg. The wonderful TES moms and dads I got to see every day at school pick up and drop off and who helped us settle in so quickly. Shout out to my AC – You have been my constant cooling system, and not once broken with 50 degrees outside. Delicious Indian food! I will miss all my little Zumba kids and my swimming clients. They were on my REAL journey with me.
Kuwait allowed us the opportunity to visit my heritage in Lebanon. I would like to believe that this was the reason I was sent on this path? A family holiday that will never be forgotten.
I will miss this and so much more, but I am totes looking forward to our new start in Sulzbach-Rosenberg and all the German bureaucracy we will be challenged with.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have lived in the Middle East for the second time and see things very differently this time round.
It was a rocky road initially (very rough actually) and we leave not because we don’t like it, but because of the circumstances.
Thank you to all those that made it a wonderful stay and good luck to those who are leaving. For those staying… don’t wait to visit the cities hidden gems.
Ma3a ilsalāma Kuwait.
Grüß Gott Deutschland