But sometimes all that newness is hard to navigate, especially when - like here in Kuwait - many of the streets don't have names, and those delicious restaurants are hard to find (hooray for GPS coordinates!). What if there is a language barrier? How am I going to find a stylist who speaks English well enough to understand how I want my haircut? It can be daunting.
The best comparison I can come up with for Kuwait City to the US is that it is like a sprawling suburban town nestled between the water and the desert. Replace strip shopping centers with malls, add some dust and you got it. At first glance there is nothing to do here. It's barren, there are no green spaces, there are only American chain restaurants to eat at, and you never meet an actual Kuwaiti person. It can start to feel claustrophobic and lonely. But like most things in life, you get out what you put in. There are many young (and some old) entrepreneurs trying to make their home country as great as they imagine it to be. There are new local restaurants popping up almost monthly (eating is the thing to do here since drinking alcohol is illegal), many focusing on organic, local, fresh ingredients. There are art galleries trying to create an art scene and fashion designers building caftan collections for Ramadan and beyond. The trick is finding it all.
Just like in an American suburb, having a car to get to said interesting activities is essential. Driving here can be frightening, but bring your best defensive game and try to remain calm. Also dressing appropriately will help you feel like you fit in, I'll discuss this in a separate post soon.
Speaking of, and getting to the point of this post, I've done my best to compile a running list of links and resources to help get you connected if you are new to Kuwait or looking for more than a walk on the Cornishe or a visit to The Avenues Mall once a week. Below you will find not only links to an expat mom groups, local news outlets and upcoming events, but also restaurants, shopping, and whatever else seems interesting!
Additionally here are the posts about my daily life in Kuwait City and my Instagram.
Eating All the Day. An American expat writes about her local food adventures (she's now living in South Korea, but check her archives for Kuwait locations!).
Bazaar.town The website for the locally popular English/Arabic free magazine (pick one up at Starbucks). They review newly opened trendy/fancy/delicious restaurants in addition to articles about business owners, and listings for events, music, and art.
Qout (farmer's) Market Farmer's Market on the first Saturday of the month from November until April. Best reason to go is the food "trucks".
248am. and 248pm for local happenings, thoughts from a long time resident, and upcoming events for day and night.
Bazaar.town as mentioned above.
AWARE Center. Great place for Westerns in Kuwait to become more familiar with the culture. Group tours to Liberation Tower, House of Mirrors, Grand Mosque of Kuwait, Dhow sunset dinner cruises, and camel races are scheduled regularly. They also offer Arabic classes and Indi-film screenings.
Kuwait UPTO DATE Follow them on Facebook for frequent posts about local happenings including traffic accidents (yes, that's right), events, news, and random photos.
Kuwait Times One of the only English speaking newspapers in Kuwait.
Desert Girl on Kuwait. Hilarious, frank, and sassy rantings of a single American girl living in Kuwait. She does not filter anything, and that's why I read it (hers is a totally different experience in Kuwait than mine as a new mom!). She also has great resource links on the side bar of her blog. Check it out.
Kuwait Moms Guide Pretty much everything you need to know if you have children in Kuwait including schools, after school activities, other educational resources, events, things to do, doctors, and even photographers and birthday party resources (birthday parties are a big thing here). Follow them on Instagram @kuwaitmomsguide or Facebook
Just Landed Classified listings for expats abroad (in general) that has an active Kuwait following.
Confashions from Kuwait. Follow her on Instagram for some seriously fabulous Middle Eastern style. She was my gateway drug to how fashionable women dress in these parts (Conservative? Yes. Dumpy? Anything but!).
Art Kuwait. Gallery and museum lists, opening details, and featured regional artists.
CAP Kuwait. Contemporary Art Platform Kuwait, the only space I know of that is holding relevant and insightful contemporary art shows in Kuwait (besides the newly opened Almakan below).
Almakan The owner foursome (two female, two male) bring Kuwait something refreshingly different. It's a restaurant (Street), art gallery, and studio all rolled into one. The kitchen cooks up very modern and artistic interpretations of classic Middle Eastern dishes and food in general. They cook what they want to serve you and the menu changes regularly. Check out their website for current shows and menus or follow them on Instagram @Almakan_kw