Every time I go back to Kuwait, I remember my first days in Kuwait. I think about how it was when I arrived in the desert.
Let’s start from the beginning
Imagine : at the end of June, you signe a contract saying that you have to start a new job in September. You have two months to get ready psychologically and administratively to move in another country. You have no idea about where the country you are going to. You only know that it’s a muslim country, it’s really hot there and sometimes, there are dusty days. That’s it. You don’t know anything else.
It’s ok ? You got it now ?
It’s exactly what I was living. It was so blurry. Impossible to know how it will go and how long I will stay over there… Nothing.
My flight Qatar Airways took off the 27th of August 2015 at 10H30 in the morning and the arrival was planned the same day at night. Around 9h30. It was hard to say goodbye. I was leaving to-a-place-that-nobody-knows for nobody-knows-for-how-long. My mom was with me, together we were allowed to take 60 kilos. 60 kilos look really big but at the end of the day, 60 kilos is nothing.
It’s really funny how the brain can remember some details. In the plane, I met a girl who was going to Bali for holidays. It was the first time I was saying out loud to someone I didn’t know that I was going to Koweit to live there. I was telling her that Bali was awesome and amazing, she will love it and she was telling me that I will have a so great experience in Kuwait. And I only felt the emptiness inside me.
Behind the door of the plane
We arrived in Kuwait at 10h30 at night, as it was planned. I am always fascinated by people in the plane when landing. In a hurry, they always almost run away. This day, I felt I was one of them : in a hurry, ready to jump off the plane as soon as the door will open. It was crazy, I was in a hurry as if the plane was about to explode. I just wanted to leave this plane, go out and see how it was outside.
And here we are. We are outside and the heat is so so strong. We landed at night, but I felt I was … in a oven. I said to my mom “it’s like someone opened the door of the oven in front of my face“. My lungs were burning. We went inside the bus and it was so cold inside. The A/C was at the max, I think it was only 20 degrees inside the bus, it means it was 27 degrees lower than outside.
The airport of Kuwait is a nightmare. Not welcoming at all. I remember I was looking around with my big opened eyes, I didn’t understand anything about what went around me. The first persons I met were not really nice, not welcoming at all. And the tiredness of the flight, the anxiety gave me only one will : go to the counter of Qatar Airways and take another flight to go back to Paris.
My mom is amazing. She was way more anxious than me but she tried to stay positive telling me that everything will be ok. But she started losing her mind when she couldn’t find her luggage. The airport is full and noisy, you can see luggages everywhere, people everywhere, and I didn’t know to who I could ask for the missing luggage. I was trying to make my mom be calm, but honestly I was more trying to not lose my mind. I didn’t want to cry in the middle of the airport, I didn’t want to start being crazy. But, believe me, the only thing I wanted to do was to go back to Paris.
Finally, we found our luggages and went out to take a taxi. A man wearing a dishdasha came to us saying taxi, taxi ! I felt as if I was in Thailand. I was in one of the richest country in this world, and I felt as if I was in Thailand. At this time, I had no idea about it, but I will have this feeling almost every day.
It’s 11h25 at night and we are in front of five Kuwaitis wearing dishadasha trying to find out where is our hotel. At the same time, a man opened the door for us and we sat in the taxi, our luggage in the trunk. The driver opened the door, sat and said yallah, go and we left the airport… Without knowing if we will arrive at our hotel one day.
When we finally reached the hotel
Without knowing how and why, we arrived at the hotel, without any problem. 25 minutes after, after driving in landscapes I can’t describe… Sometimes it’s high skyscraper and sometimes… the desert. Nothing else than sand. When we arrived, I saw a Ferrari parked in a wasteland full of trashes. Tradition and modernity…
The day after, I am sick. I spent two days in without being able to leave the hotel. I am stuck in the room. Outside, no one is walking, it’s too hot to walk outside. The first day, my mum counts the walkers outside… the result was less than fifteen. My mom was stuck in the room, without knowing what to do and where to go. And I was so sorry to be sick and stuck in the hotel. And.. at the end of the day, the sun went down, the streetlights start to light up and we started seeing people outside. The city is waking up : restaurants started to be full, all the families were outside. Finally, the streets are full of people !
We stayed 15 minutes looking outside from the big window, observing the country waking up from a long sleep. We didn’t say one word. I think we were juste understanding that this new rhythm will be my new rhythm, my new life. At least, for the next 9 months !