Archive for the ‘Kuwait’ Category

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Maid Wages

November 7, 2007

Conversation with a a maid:

“You get paid KD45 a month?”

“Yes, it’s triple the amount I was getting paid as a fifth grade teacher in the Philippines. Is cleaning, cooking, watching children tiring and not the greatest job on earth? Yes. But it paid for my daughter to go to private school, college, and now she’s thinking of medical school. I also put my sister through nursing school with my wages. My daughter is going to have a better life than mine. I’m taking care of people I love back home. It’s worth it.”

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Daily Star not so Daily

October 26, 2007

No paper today. No paper yesterday. No paper on the day before yesterday. I called today to complain but was told nobody was there and won’t be until Sunday because of a course. (?)

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Two Shocking Things

September 30, 2007

One seen, one heard.

Seen: A guy wearing disdasha and a Marlboro-style gutra, sitting with a friend in the food court in Al Kout Mall, smoking. In broad daylight. Now, I don’t totally agree with the law about not eating/drinking/smoking in public during Ramadan. But it’s the law, nonetheless, and so people have to respect it, right? Mall security ignored him. I wonder if smoking in public is worth spending the remainder of Ramadan in jail.

Heard: My friend’s boyfriend (American) called a Chinese restaurant in Fintas last night. When he was through placing his order, the woman taking his order asked if he wanted anything else. When he told her he was finished ordering, she said, “You want girl?” He didn’t know if he heard her right and so she repeated it – “You want girl?”. He declined. Then she personally showed up at the apartment to drop the food off. When my friend’s boyfriend opened the door, the delivery “woman” followed him into his bedroom where he went to get the money to pay for the food. He walked back to the door, woman in tow, and as she was about to leave, she grabbed his hand and in it placed a piece of paper with her name and number on it. My friend was sitting on the couch the whole time. My friend tells me that these types of women leave at least ten post-it notes on all of the doors in the apartment building, with their numbers and things scribbled on them like “Massage”. They walk by the apartment building non-stop, in search of customers. I knew there were various prostitution rings in Fintas, but had no idea that one of them was being run out of a Chinese restaurant.

P.S. The last story reminds me of a few months ago, when driving through the Mangaf Sultan Center’s parking lot, I saw a Chinese prostitute in a mini skirt and knee length boots, searching for a customer. In was the afternoon and I had both kids in the car with me. Evidently, it’s a hot spot because my husband saw one there as well. At least it was nighttime though.

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Ramadan Tips for Maidless Fools Like Me

September 17, 2007

It isn’t easy coming up with fatoor/sahoor every night, plus clean your house and look after your children. Not easy, no, but doable, yes. Here are a few fatoor tips off the top of my head to help those of you who are crazy enough to live without hired help.

  • Ziploc bags and your freezer will become your best friends. When you make soup, double the portion. Ladle out what you’ll need for the night and then freeze the rest in ziploc bags and lay them flat in your freezer. To make it easier on yourself, you could freeze them in specific portions, so you know how much you have in each bag. I wouldn’t recommend freezing soup containing dairy so make the soup up until the point where you would add the cream/milk/whatever, and then freeze it as is. Defrosting is easy. Place the bag in a bowl and let it defrost enough for you to get the soup out of the bag, then pop into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it or place in a pot on your stove-top. If the soup requires dairy, wait until hot, then add.
  • You can also freeze things like sambosa, eggrolls, kibbe, etc. Just make sure you freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet first, then place in freezer bag.
  • Marag for tashreeba does well in the fridge for a few days. In fact, I think it tastes better on the second day. Gives the flavors a chance to develop even more than when it was fresh.
  • Buy a Dustbuster. These things are great for quickly sucking up all the breadcrumbs or other tidbits from the floor beneath the table.
  • Use a large microfiber cloth and a squeegee mop to clean the floor around the table. Wet the cloth in the sink with hot water, ring it out. Spray some disinfectant floor cleaner onto the cloth, drape over the squeegee part and wash the floor this way. This is for nightly use, once a week do the proper hot water/cleaner in bucket with string mop thing.
  • Face it, you’ll be in the kitchen a lot this month. If you have children, get them involved in the cooking process. They’ll love it and it’s educational. If they’re too young to help, bring some toys into the kitchen to keep them occupied.
  • Don’t get bored. Invest in a stereo system and/or television for your kitchen. I love cooking while listening to music.
  • Fill the sink up with hot soapy water and clean as you go along. If you have a double sink, use the other sink to rinse off dishes and put them straight away into the dishwasher. This saves a massive mess at the end of fatoor. And who wants to deal with a dirty kitchen with a full tummy? Not me.
  • Give yourself a break and eat out once a week. (But not at Applebees in Abu Halifa. They’re closed for renovation as we found out at 6PM last Friday night.)
  • There are lots of cookbooks and online recipes that feature meals made in thirty minutes or less.

If any of you out there have more tips, please share them in the comment section.

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Back From Vacation

August 15, 2007

And now I need a vacation to recover from the vacation that just ended.

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No More

June 7, 2007

Wanting some sort of a life outside of my home, hell, even ten minutes a day of deflating time (if you’re a parent, you know what I mean), I went in search of a live-in maid at the maid agencies in Hawally and Fahaheel a few months ago. I picked one out, and we waited a month and a half for her arrival. She arrived on a Saturday night and by the following Saturday night, she was gone.

In a nutshell this is what happened: I came home from picking my son up from school on Saturday. I made lunch, fed my children (and the maid) and then asked the maid to go upstairs with the children for ten minutes. Five minutes later, my son came down crying, saying that the maid smacked him on his head with a huge pencil the size of a stick that my husband bought for my son at an airport shop a few years back. The red mark on his forehead told me he wasn’t lying. I also learned that she pulled my two year-old daughter’s hair. When I asked the maid what happened, she naturally denied everything. She said she only took the pencil away from my son because he was writing on a wall. He’s not supposed to write on the wall but we make it very clear with all of our maids that if our children do anything wrong, to come to us and tell us so that we can handle the situation. So yeah, she was gone that night. I told my husband that she was the last woman I would bring into my home because I would not accept anyone hurting my children again. I’m done.

In the ten years that I’ve lived in Kuwait, it’s been one nightmare after another when it comes to housekeepers. My husband and I are not evil employers. Our maids get days off every week, rest periods during the day, free use of our phones and phone cards to call their family back home, all of their necessities are bought and paid for by us, we never yell, we treat them with respect until they disrespect us, they never look after our children for more than half an hour, I do all the laundry and cooking, I help out with the big jobs, there were many nights that they went to bed before we did and we sleep early compared to most other people.

Are most of my waking hours spent cleaning? Yes. I’m a housewife, it’s my job and it’s actually great exercise. Do I freak out when friends call to tell me they’re coming over? Yes, but I would hope that I have the type of friends who wouldn’t judge me if my house isn’t spotless. Are there times during the day that I wish I could have a live-in maid? Yes, many times a day in fact. But then I think of all the trouble they have put me and my family through and decide it’s just not worth it.

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KD28.100

May 26, 2007

That’s how much I spent at Carrefour on the first day of its opening. I got a total of 46 items. I kept the receipt and so this is a list of things I bought. (CRF = Carrefour brand, N1 = No. One brand)

CRF Powdered laundry detergent – the biggest box available
CRF Dishwashing liquid – 1 liter
N1 Fabric Softener – biggest jug available
N1 Liquid laundry detergent
Soft Scrub Gel with bleach
2 Small boxes of N1 powdered detergent
2 Toys for my parrots
2 CRF Kids shower gel
N1 Shower gel
CRF Shampoo
Large box of parrot food with dried fruits
CRF Spray deodorant
CRF Instant coffee
CRF Mixed fruit juice
¼ kilo Salami
Areen Orange Juice
Baguette (short and fat one, great with pasta)
Bag of mini rolls
Hardcover cookbook
4 CRF grocery sacks
Bag of baguette rolls
Pita bread
Sandwich bread
Pandesal x5
2 Croissants
Danao Actimel – 4
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
2 LatBri fresh mozzarella
Iceberg lettuce
Puck shredded mozzarella
Fermipan yeast – 3 x 11 gram packets
Gloria Vanderbilt capri pants
Capri-length sweatpants

Since I usually have to hand over KD20 for a pair of pants and the pants I bought yesterday at Carrefour are actually better in quality compared to the pricier pants in my closet, I’d say for that fact alone: Carrefour rocks.

[Edited to say that if you’re looking for American products, you’ll probably be disappointed. Most of their products are European and local. For me, it’s perfect but for other Americans, it was sort of a disappointment in that area. Everyone I talked to was in awe of the produce department though. For American and British products – Sultan Center and Lulu are the places to go.]