Ok. So I have said many farewells at this point to my people in NYC and Florida. I have shed many tears. I have answered many questions. None of which I mind answering because they are all questions I have asked myself. So I decided to share some of those answers here, in hopes that they (1) support you on your journey, should you ever choose to do something similar or (2) convince you of my sanity in making this decision.
Disclaimer: I speak with the authority of someone who has talked to a lot of people and googled a lot of information, but not yet actually been there. Therefore, I reserve the right to change any of these answers based on my own experiences and, with the moral code associated with Girl Scout’s Honor, I promise to update you of any changes.
Without further adieu, here are the top 8 questions I have been asked:
Where will you be living?
The school I have signed a contract with, the American United School of Kuwait, provides housing. They give me a one bedroom apartment in a building with other international teachers. The apartment has a TV, bathtub, and washer/dryer. Those are my major priorities, in that order. The TV because obviously I will need to find out the answers to important questions such as:
- What happens to the wonderful ladies of Litchfield in season 6?
- After Offred is picked up by Mayday disguised as eyes, what happens? The book ends there. What will Hulu do?
- What will be going on in Shane’s life in the reunion of The L Word?
The bathtub is on the list because there are few things more relaxing then taking a bath. The washer/ dryer because I have only had these mechanical joys in-house for one year of my adult life and I NEED THEM!
Anywhoodle, the apartment is furnished which makes me excessively happy. Kuwait City, where I will be living, is in fact, a city. Think high rise buildings and parks. Google it.
What happens the first day you get there?
I fly overnight to Amsterdam and then on to Kuwait. The day I arrive, my school hired a company that escorts new hires through the airport. So a representative from that company will meet me at the gate and help get me through customs. They will then put me, and my plethora of bags, into a taxi. The taxi will take me to a Starbucks (I love and appreciate the irony of this) where I will meet my mentor in person. When we get to Starbucks he will take me to my new apartment and will make sure that I know how to work everything/find everything before giving me some time to settle in. Then, I will start work the next day.
How does your salary work?
I make a certain amount of money that is more than I made in Florida and is not taxed. My dad (the ultimate authority in his mind) did some research and apparently you only need to pay taxes to the US government on wages of 100,000 or over. While I am making a nice sum, I won’t quite reach that baller status. Think nice presents for relatives at Christmas, not McMansion.
My school pays for the rent, the utilities, and gives me transportation to and from work. I was also told they drive us to the mall each weekend to shop if you want to so…yes please. Basically, there won’t be expenses other than food, credit card debt I hope to get rid of, and student loans I have accrued over my journey of becoming a teacher. Don’t even get me started on that last one. Another post for another day. Teachers, am I right?
Basically, I hope to save some money, pay off as much of my debt as possible, and see a ton of new places in the world. New to me, not new to, you know, the world.
Is Kuwait safe?
My daddy says it is, so that is what matters.
But seriously, it has a military presence and I will use my New York City savy and I expect to be just fine. I will dress appropriately and not walk thirty blocks towards my apartment alone at 2 am in heels. Not that this has ever happened dad. I swear.
Honestly though, I have heard from people there that Kuwait is actually very safe and secure and that there is greater fear of slow internet connectivity than anything else.
What do you wear?
Kuwait is a predominately Muslim country. As such, there are certain cultural expectations for dress, specifically for women. Kuwaiti women dress in a range of culturally conservative wear, but for those of you who don’t know, the head scarf is called a Hijab. As a “Western Woman” I will dress in clothing that covers my shoulders, most likely down to my elbows, and clothing that goes down at least to my knees. I will only need to cover my hair if I go to a religious site, such as a Mosque, which I will do from time to time as they are incredibly gorgeous.
How did you get this job?
By being fabulous. Next.
For real though, I did it through a free site called Teach Away. It allows you to fill out one central application and apply via the click of a button to many different countries. They also pair you with a representative who is there to bounce questions off of and also will point you in the direction of jobs that you may be more interested in. They also continue to support you even after you get the job with tips for the transition. I can’t recommend this site enough and will probably do a full post with more details on it later.
What kind of food do they have there?
I, actually, am not sure. I do know that I love the kinds of food in that area: Turkish, Indian, Mediterranean, so I am super excited to find out. I do know that they do have several American restaurants and fast food chains, at New York City prices most likely. However, a little taste of home from time to time will be needed. As will breadsticks from Olive Garden- which they have! Check this out. I found a website that organizes food delivery from American chains that are in Kuwait.
Will you finally meet a husband (1) and settle down (2)?
- Yes, he will be British. 2. No. Never. I like to wander too much around the world. I’ll bring the British husband and possibly kids along for the journey.
Why are there random photos of you in a pool in this post? How is that related?
It isn’t. I just got a new camera that takes water pictures. Don’t be a hater.
T-24 days till lift off!