#20 I’m back in the Middle East!

So it has been quite a while since I have done my last post on here. This is mainly because it was a lil hectic in the moving process. If you are new to my blog then welcome! I have just recently moved back to Kuwait for my third year of teaching here.Β 

So let me fill you in on what has been happening in my life for the last 2 weeks πŸ™‚

My Travel JourneyΒ 

It was a long journey to get here from England let me tell you! A 9 hour wait in Istanbul would test anyones patience πŸ˜€ but I got through it somehow! Masks should be worn at all times both in the airport and on the plane with the exception of drinking or eating at a restaurant/cafe. I flew with Turkish Airlines from Manchester to Istanbul to Kuwait.Β 

In all honesty it is very easy to socially distance in the airport because it’s so big! It’s once you are on the plane that is the problem! I was amused how the pilot announced for people to remain socially distanced where possible in the aisle of the plane yet once you sit down you are next to a whole load of people that you have never met in your life. So for me it kind of defeated the purpose. We all tried our best to say safe for ourselves and others in the airport, yet once on the plane it just went out the window.Β 

At Istanbul Airport

The plane journey itself didn’t feel as long as you would imagine. I always seem to fly with Turkish Airlines so when work booked my flight with them I felt relaxed, despite the long wait. The food on this flight was actually really good. Usually I avoid plane food but the sandwich on this flight was great. Simple but tasty!

Arriving in Kuwait!

If you aren’t familiar with the country Kuwait already, it is a tiny country located in the Middle East (The Gulf) which borders Iraq to the North and Saudi to the South. There is a big expat community here however tourism isn’t really a thing in Kuwait. People usually come for work only, similar to the neighbouring countries.

I had my visa already prepared at the airport, all I had to do was collect the official letter from the passport control. So overall it was a very easy, smooth process as I had all my documents authorised and stamped in England beforehand so not much was needed once I arrived in Kuwait.

They then put all of the passengers in a long line where lots of officials from the Ministry of Health were going one by one to check if you have installed the ‘Shlonik’ app. Shlonik actually means How are you? in Kuwaiti dialect. This app was created to track all incoming passengers into Kuwait. The purpose is to make sure people are doing their 14 day quarantine on arrival. That means you can’t go outside at all, therefore delivery is your new best friend! We use Talabat here which some may have heard of or not. It’s great and you can literally find anything you need on there to be delivered to your door or building.

So back to the ‘Shlonik’ app! The ministry of health are checking that people have downloaded/signed up on the app before they go outside the airport. It will send you notifications to take a ‘selfie’ yes a selfie haha to the ministry 5 times a day usually. This app tracks your gps and will be able to trace if you have broken the quarantine rules. Mine wasn’t actually working as I needed to have Civil ID which I didn’t receive yet. They said that was fine and they would contact me via my WhatsApp later on. I’ll come back to that story time later! So once I finally reached the near end and ready to collect my luggage, they were carrying out the coronavirus testing on randomly selected passengers. Ofcourse I was greeted with ‘Where have you come from?’…England which probably wasn’t a popular choice due to the current disaster that is happening back at home. Immediately I was sent for another coronavirus test at the airport despite having a PCR certificate to show that I have tested positive prior to my flight. I was impressed though how seriously Kuwait was taking this virus and the measures that were put in place. But boy let me tell you, out of all 4 tests I’ve had done so far, that was by far the most painful one yet!

After that it was very straight forward, collected my luggage (2 suitcases and a hand luggage that had to be checked in under current COVID 19 rules). I was greeted with a staff member from Kuwait who dealt with my flight bookings, bought a new Kuwaiti SIM card from the airport and taken to my accommodation/new home.

Welcome to my apartment/new home

I live with another girl also from England in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. I bought a lovely bedding set from IKEA, simple but cute. As the furniture is dark I felt that colour wouldn’t really blend well with the decor. Therefore I decided on staying with neutrals which I absolutely love! Within time I think a nice plant for the living room, rug and some fairy lights will brighten up the place a little!

We have a tiny balcony that you can sit out on if you really want to but most of the time I have just been using it to hang my towels to dry! This can be done very quickly in this 40 plus degrees heat!

Already back to work!

A day after arriving here I was straight back into work mode, though a very relaxed atmosphere. Had some meetings and a couple of training sessions online on how to use the new platform called ‘edunation’.

Currently, children aren’t able to go back to school in Kuwait and there is no clarification of when that may be! So for now we are teaching online, in our apartments, in my case my bedroom. It has been strange as I had never taught online before so I had no idea what to expect.

I was however pleasantly surprised at how well the children have picked up the online learning style in the first week and overall happy to be back to learning! I think they have really been missing structure in their life so this has been a welcomed back to school phase for them. I’m teaching a wonderful Year 3 class who already feel like a little family to me! I have around 26 students, a mixture of girls and boys, mostly Egyptian and some Kuwaiti! I do have other nationalities as well but they are the majority in my class.

We basically had a week of getting to know the students and the class teacher as well as carrying out some assessments to assess where their learning is at and what level they are. This has been challenging as students have been out of school since March.

During my first week I also had the Ministry of Health turn up at my door in the middle of teaching which slightly awkward but nonetheless it went quickly. A simple check of any new symptoms etc and I was good to get back to my teaching! I now have just 2 days left (I get let out haha on Monday) which I’m really excited for!

I’m going to end my post here with some snaps of my virtual classroom that I had made in my bedroom…

P.S. It feels good to be back to blogging! x

7 Comments Add yours

  1. lebaneselily says:

    Welcome to your new home! It has been busy here too with online learning. Best of luck πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you lovely πŸ™‚ I can imagine… I’m still getting used to the whole online thing…slowly getting there lol I will be glad when we can go back to the classroom though

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah I hope you’re enjoying your new home. All those tests sound crazy, but I suppose coming from England it makes sense. You’ve gone at the right time- it’s now cold and raining here πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ Feeling settled in quicker than I thought I would which is nice πŸ™‚ Yes haha definitely grateful for the hot weather here πŸ™‚ Though autumn is my favourite season :/ Just hope I get to come back for Christmas

      Like

  3. Expat Panda says:

    Great to connect with you here! I lived in Kuwait for a year so reading about your experience made me quite nostalgic! Looking forward to reading more about your experiences as an expat teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reaching out πŸ™‚ I love finding other bloggers on here who have lived in Kuwait too, it can be hard to find! Qatar is such a beautiful country! I visited once and was amazed, especially how so many said it was similar to Kuwait and I found it completely different and so green!

      Like

      1. Expat Panda says:

        HAHAHA I am laughing so hard at people thinking that the places are similar because they are SOOOOO different. I have loads of information on Kuwait on my blog under the “Life in Kuwait” menu so do have a look if you’re interested! Reach out if you have any questions!

        Like

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