A Brief History and the Seasons of Kuwait

I thought this was interesting.

NB: Taken from the AWARE: Welcome to Kuwait Orientation Packet

Brief History of Kuwait

Kuwait has a history of over 250 years of existence as an independent political entity. Kuwait, or officially the State of Kuwait, was referred to by the name “Qurain” in the early 17th century. The name “Qurain” or Kuwait are diminutive of the Arabic words Qarn and Kout. Qarn is a hill and Kout is a fortress adjacent to water.

The real history of Kuwait dates back to 1672, when Kuwait was just a small village where the Sheikh of the Bani Khalid built his “Kout,” his fortress near the water.


Kuwait Map


The Seasons in Kuwait

When asked how many seasons there are in Kuwait, you may tempted to say two — spring and summer – but when you ask a Bedouin he will say there are many. The Bedouin, who traditionally spent most of his time outdoors, is an expert in the weather patterns. Below are the “seasons” of Kuwait, with the local names in Arabic and the characteristics of that season.


# of Days



Heat wave breaks


Aug. 24 – Oct. 14

Beginning of rain season


Oct. 15 – Dec. 5
Arbieenayat lishta

Peak of cold


Dec. 6 – Jan 14

Damp cold


Jan. 15 – Feb. 9

End of cold. Beginning spring


Feb. 10 – Mar. 7

Chilly, felt by elderly


Mar. 8 – Apr. 2

End of spring


Apr. 3 – Apr. 28

Beginning of heat


Apr. 29 – June 6

Unstable weather, possibility of dust


June 7 – June 19

Unstable weather, possibility of dust


June 20 – July 2

Hot wind and dust


July 3 – July 15

Hot wind, dust; night is cool


July 16 – July 28

Peak of heat


July 29 – Aug. 10

High humidity


Aug. 11 – Aug. 23

Of taxis, razor wire, and doves


So, I started this on the 10th  by making a bulleted list of things I wanted to write about. It might be too much for one post, but I better get started!

Taxis are incredibly prevalent here.  They are small cars, which is not the norm here and none of them have meters. They just kind of cruise areas where they often get fares, and beep at likely prospects. The beep is a question and if you look up then they will pull over.

The other evening, Kelly, Gabe, and I headed for Starbucks (almost as common here as back home, and they have Caribou as well) for coffee to brew (believe it or not, it is as cheap as Folgers here). On the way we passed by what I believe was an oil drilling operation. It was surrounded by at least 3 high fences topped with razor wire and there were coiled fences of razor wire running in between, and at least one of the fences was electrified. The traffic was at a snail’s pace (really, I could have strolled faster) and we came to a round about that had police stopping every car to check papers (they didn’t even want to look at Gabe’s, they just waved him on and said, “Go!”). Once we went through the circle they had two vehicles pulled over with several men in handcuffs standing outside of them. Excitement.

Each of the buildings that teachers for my school live in has a guard and the equivalent of a concierge. These guys will do anything for you, and take great care of us. A few of the things they have done for me are repair my electrical outlets, change light bulbs, and tote a box of bottled water to my door. When there is a problem, they repeatedly say, “It’s okay, madam,” even if it is a dire problem.

Speaking of bottled water, I do buy it to drink, but I brush my teeth with regular tap water. We have a filter (who knows when it was last changed) in the kitchen and I use that water to brew coffee or add to a smoothie. So far, so good. I am surprised at how readily water is available and even used to water … well, everything that grows. I guess the majority of their water is desalinated water from the Gulf.

I have some resident doves that sit on my window sill at the apartment as well as outside my classroom at school. They look much the same as doves back home, but have a more rosy hue to them. The other difference is their coo. To me, it sounds like soft chuckling. I often wake to it and then hear it again in the evening.

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I’ll try to get a better picture soon.

Get with it, Pam!


As expected I have not gotten to writing as much since school started. Of course the start of school was also the start of a small rise in the humidity levels. At 6:45 am, when I have to report for duty to watch students as they gather on the soccer pitch, I had sweat running down my back. Then I go inside to my refrigerated room.

I think I’ve estimated that I will see (by the end of Monday next week) about 800 students. I think I would be able to get all their names down within a month or so, except there are sometimes 3 students with the same name in a class and several more with the same name in other classes. Some of the most popular names are Abdullah, Salem, Faisel, Bandar, Reem, Haya, and Mohamed. I get my pronunciation corrected routinely. Haha

So on Friday, the lead teacher for Specials is having us all to her apartment for brunch. Then on Saturday I’m going to an orientation sponsored by the AWARE center.  (See previous post.) I’m going with Kelly and Gabe and I anticipate we’ll have a great time.

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Gabe and Kelly at Friday Market

All of us are so ready for the weekend. We’re all walking around exhausted from being on the go all the time before school started and then seeing students.  The first bus for school leaves at 5:15. Some of the people who drive leave at 5:00! I’ve been catching a ride with Gabe, who leased a car, and we leave at 6:00. It’s about a 20 minutes drive at 120km/hour. When we arrive to the walled and gated school, guards pull the first heavy steel gate open and motion us through. Then we have to stop while they walk around each vehicle (including the buses) with the mirrors on a pole so they can see under the vehicle before we can go through the 2nd gate and find a place to park.

My friend, Lucia, who shares my exact same birth date called tonight and I realize I miss seeing all the new teachers. Since school started, the middle school and high school teachers never cross paths with elementary. Lucia teaches middle school, so we decided we needed to make a plan to meet and spend a little time together. She is from Romania, but moved to Minnesota when she was about 18 and then moved to Arizona.  Almost everyone here has such interesting stories.

Whew! First four days down…


From the balcony of the superintendent’s apartment building at late afternoon.


Yesterday was a morning of moving things around in the apartment.  I rearranged my bedroom and puttered around doing other things. Then Kelly texted and asked if I wanted to go to Friday Market with her and Gabe.  It was huge!! When I get finances sorted out so I can access money from the states, I will buy some carpets from there. I found one out in the stairwell here that is really dirty, but my maid comes today and hopefully she can get it clean enough to feel like I can use it.

I bought a little cabinet from the Friday Market so that I could store my kitchen stuff, as the bottoms of many of my cabinets are broken.  I had to put it together myself and that took me a couple hours, but I love doing that kind of thing. Yesterday was a very long day though, because after the Friday Market we went to the Avenues (big mall) for Ikea. I found a cabinet that I would really like for my bathroom, but I need to be able to charge it. So, it will have to wait.

Whew! I’m all over the place today with my topics. I had to stay here to let my maid in and am now sitting in Kelly’s apartment while mine is cleaned. YAY!  Kelly, Gabe, and Dano went to school, but I’m going to wait until tomorrow. I just don’t think there is much I can do there today. We get our plan books tomorrow and I will hopefully be able to get a mouse for my computer and then I’ll be all set for what I need to do.  We’ve been told we have to dress professionally tomorrow as parents will be coming to find out what class their children are in and going around to meet the teachers. Should be exciting!

Meanwhile, I am going to sign up to take Arabic classes through a club here (called AWARE – Advocates for Western Arab Relations) that sponsors trips to see some of the historical sights around Kuwait.  They also offer Japanese language classes. (?)

Most of the people I’ve met here have had some experience traveling outside the US before signing up to teach abroad. Many have been living and working abroad most of their lives. Needless to say, it makes for great stories and lots of experiences.

I find myself wishing I had brought more tokens of home with me, but I’m determined not to collect a lot of nick-knacks while I’m here.  We’ll see how that goes.

I can hear the cleaning going on upstairs and look forward to returning to a clean apartment. Dust (from sand) is a constant companion and added to that is plaster dust from them getting the apartments ready for new occupants. I think the first thing almost everyone did was hire a maid. Some people went for 2x/week, but if it weren’t for the dust, I think I could go every other week.

Gabe is my neighbor (on my same floor-4th) and he is hoping to get a better internet service today. He has offered to share with me, so I hope I will have a good connection for some anticipated FaceTime conversations.


View from the back balcony of the superintendent’s apartment!


Taken from same point as the afternoon view.