August 25, 2013

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. We loaded onto buses and went to the Hilton just 5-10 minutes down the road. They offer memberships to use their gym (very nice), take their classes (various aerobic/pump/zumba/spin), use their spa, and pools, which have a gorgeous view of the gulf. One of the guys who swam in the gulf got stung by a jelly fish! It’s a wonder the heat doesn’t turn all the sand to glass.  We also have a small gym here, so I don’t feel the need to spend the big $$ to join the Hilton.

Today we went to school (about a 20-30 minute ride by bus) for all sorts of workshops. We are all operating on information overload, but it seems really important to know.

I opted not to go shopping this evening in favor of a quick check of email (sorry, once I get my own internet I will actually write to some people) and facebook, I went to retrieve the stuff I bought last spring via my buddy teacher (quite a character).  In the process, I was able to get a light for the bathroom and my outlets fixed (I had working outlets in only the kitchen and laundry room). In each room, there is one outlet with one plug hole. ONE! So extension cords are a must. I now have more amenities than I want or need. Ha. I may try to share the wealth. Meanwhile, I’m charging phones and computer in my own apartment rather than hijacking others’.  I still need to pick up said extension cords, ironing board, broom, mop, etc.  We waited until it cooled off a little. I think it was probably only about 95 as the sun was going down. It might cool off to 88 tonight. It does make a difference to have it be a dry heat however.

It has been nice to feel ‘in-the-know’ with most of these workshops. The ASK (American School of Kuwait)’s focus this year is on literacy with quite a push for Lucy Calkins (for all my teacher friends!).  I actually feel like I can be a resource on this here. They are wanting me to incorporate a lot of this into “drama,” which is what I’ve been hired to teach. I’ve been told this is quite a departure from past years, so I may meet with some resistance from some of the students (maybe even teachers).  We have six 45-minute periods everyday, but I have not seen my schedule yet. (I keep forgetting to check my school email and MUST do that tomorrow.) I believe I heard there are about 140-145 students per grade level.  It’s really quite a nice place and it is completely walled and gated.  I have felt no reason to fear here, even walking along the street alone at night (not far).

More text without pictures

NB: I’ve written a week’s worth of these and intend to post them all. They are still without pictures, because I am not at leisure to post for as long as it takes. I suspect I will not be able to keep up this pace of posting (I know, what a relief, right?) once school starts next Monday.

8/22/13        Shopping today. We went to the most enormous mall I’ve ever been to called The Avenues (though I’m told there are bigger ones) and I made my first trip to an Ikea.  I got lost. Once I found my way out, with a clock and a pillow, I progressed toward Carrefour (I think that’s how it is spelled), which is akin to Walmart or Target. 

Everyplace we go is by taxi bus and all the first year teachers go together. Some are talking of getting cars, but I’ll stick to the taxis. Everything looks so much the same here and there are few street signs except on the main thoroughfares, plus driving is a sport with few rules. There is some activity planned for everyday, and much of it is divided between social and work. During the workdays we are at school from 8:00-2:00 and the first week had something on for every afternoon or evening. That gives us a bit of down time somewhere in each day. The weekend was this big shopping trip today and then out for a very nice dinner at a Lebanese restaurant. Tomorrow is a trip to the beach. Some people have a view of the gulf. Every time I look, I can’t tell if it’s water I see out there. I’m told I need to watch the sunrise, so I’ll see if I can get some pictures of that.

 I did my first load of laundry and have some lovely unintended tie-dye on some things. Even though I have not turned my water heater on, the water is solar heated to such a degree that it caused the colors to bleed. Oh well, I’ll do better next time.

I brought some 3M Command hooks with me and am very happy I did as they have come in handy for getting things up on the wall right away. I’m still without a light in my bathroom and I am still not able to get the outlets to work.  I charge my computer at other people’s apartments or in common areas. There’s a community room (with books and DVDs to swap, a pool table, ping pong table, and benches), a gym with all sorts of equipment, and a pool to which all of us have access. My building is outside of the guarded gated place, but I feel quite safe here.

The high school and middle school are spread over 3 floors each and there is a large green space with a straw roofed hut in it between them and the elementary school. There is a CDC (Child Development Center) for 3 year olds, KG-1 for 4 years olds, and KG-2 for 5 years olds, then grades 1-5.  The CDC and KG classes are on a separate hallway and have a separate play area (high awning covering an AstroTurf soccer pitch size field). Grades 1, 2, and 3 are on the ground level and grades 4 and 5 on levels above 3rd.  There is a pool and a basketball court covered by a quilted-pillowy looking building made of canvas on the school grounds as well!

Those of you who patiently heard me out when I bemoaned the hurdles I had to jump through with medical exams, blood tests and x-rays might be interested to know that I will be going next week to have them all RE-done here! Seems a bit of overkill to me.

It seemed like a Harry Potter kind of day today, so I watched the Prisoner of Azkaban in stages during various breaks. Now it’s time for bed. I do wear earplugs to bed every night due to pretty constant and often loud street and construction noise.

News to me

It’s the weekend again and that is when I find time to ruminate on what needs to be done. I opened cupboards and drawers at school this week, only to be overwhelmed with what needs to be done. Same thing happened here at home. So I am inviting friends and family to come “shopping” at my house. Some things just need foster homes and some things need forever homes. 

Plus I’m still determining what I need to take with me. Alcohol is banned in Kuwait, so no favorite wine glasses need to come. 🙂 I believe I saw a picture of a pool in the complex I am supposed to live in, but modesty is highly touted so swimsuits or no. Maybe it’s only for men, as is entry into some buildings. Dancing is also forbidden. I guess we’ll call it “creative movement.” Boy, oh boy, is this ever going to be an adventure!