Sep 20, 2012
We’ve had particular questions voiced to us multiple times, so we thought that perhaps it would be best to give a clear picture to everyone of some of those answers. Enjoy!
1. Is it dangerous where you live?
The short answer: no. The long answer: absolutely not at all.
2. Does Alison have to wear a burqa?
First of all, when people ask this, they usually think that women who cover their heads with a scarf are wearing a burqa. This isn’t true. As a quick lesson: the head scarf is a hijab; the long robes like a thin outer coat are abayas; the scarf that is separate but covers the face (except the eyes), is a niqab; and the full covering that is attached from the top of the head all the way down over the body with mesh over the eyes is a burqa. With that cleared up, I don’t have to wear any of the above. On a regular day at work I am required to cover my shoulders and I either have to wear long pants to my ankles, or skirts that cover my knees. Nothing should be skin-tight or see-through. I don’t think those are terribly restrictive though, so I’m okay with it. If I were to visit a mosque I would have to wear a hijab and abaya, but it’s a holy place, so that’s understandable. Also, it should be noted that women are not legally required to wear any one of these items, but rather choose to. I have seen plenty of Kuwaiti women in all of the above.
3. How long are you living in Kuwait?
We have a contract until the end of the school year, however, if we like it, and the school likes us, it could be for longer. We’re open to whatever we feel works best for us.
4. What are your jobs like?
Please see this post.
5. Are you teaching ex-pat children? And what language do you teach in?
No. We are teaching some Kuwaiti nationals, other Arab nationals, and a smattering of other nationalities who live here. Also, we teach in English. It’s like when there’s French Immersion in Canada – this is like English Immersion.
6. How hot is it?
Obviously this depends on the time of year, and we haven’t experienced all the months yet. However, when we arrived it was about 48C on average during the day, and 37C at night. I’d say it’s similar right now, but perhaps a few degrees cooler. It’s definitely hot, and we definitely feel the heat, but you do get used to it. Also the heat is mostly dry, but we can definitely tell when it’s more humid. From what we understand it will cool down and we’ll need jackets. But I think that’s also in contrast to the fact that it’s still quite warm during the days and so you notice the drop in temperature more often. I’ll keep you posted on this one.
7. What does Kuwait look like?
Kuwait is in the desert, and so it looks much like you would think – sandy. And honestly, the sand does get everywhere. But Kuwait also has a big city (Kuwait City) which is made up of dazzling buildings and all the latest shops (IKEA, H&M, Carrefour, Zara’s, etc.). It has tall towers and unique shaped buildings, and it is really quite a lovely city.
8. What are your living conditions like?
That’s a trick question, because since being here we’ve lived in 3 flats and will have to move once more. This is because of a housing shortage at our school. It’s all good though. Our flats have been quite nice. They have a typical living room/dining room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. We also have a washer and dryer (but most flats only have a washer) in our kitchen. I’ll do a post soon with pictures of our place.
9. What is the time difference between us?
This one changes based on where “you” live, so the easiest thing to do is go to this link and you can scroll through to see my time vs. your time. It’s a handy tool that we use for Skyping friends and family!
10. Is there a Church?
Yes, there are quite a few options, and we’re searching out the best one for us. But yes, there are, and it’s perfectly okay to attend one.
There you have it! If you have any questions I didn’t cover, please leave me a comment and I’ll give it my best try to answer.