Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Family Suitcase Culture

Yesterday was one of those “deja-vu all over again” kinds of days as AdventureMan and I hit a store and bought suitcases. We will take extra baggage with us to Doha, to carry us over until our shipment arrives, and had been tizzying a little over just how best to do it. I remembered down in the souks they have cheap rolling suitcases, that, even if you just use one time before they break, are worth the price.

Then our good friend mentioned – just in time – that Carrefour was having a sale on luggage, and it was a truly incredible price, like three pieces for KD5.500. We went, we checked, we found the bags – marked at $80. with K-Mart tags. We each bought one set.

As we were pulling them out, I started laughing – we didn’t get such a hot deal. The tag said 6 pieces for $80. so that would mean the 3 pieces we got were worth – full price – about $40. We paid about $20 – so it was as if we bought suitcases at K-Mart for half price.

Suitcases – buying suitcases – are a part of our family culture. I can’t count the number of times my sisters and I have been someplace and we’ve made a run to TJMaxx to pick up another suitcase to carry unexpected purchases. We’ve always had loads of bags, when a friend visits and needs an extra bag going home, they are welcome to take one of ours. We had some friends, long ago, visiting from Moscow, and they took a bag with them to fill with fresh vegetables, something they had been craving in February in Soviet era Moscow. The bag came back the next year, filled with a beautiful Russian samovar they brought as a guest gift, and then the bag returned with them, once again, filled with fresh vegetables.


Some of my favorite suitcases have been great buys – but where are they now? I know a couple are in our storage locker, with collected linens and finds from faraway places. One of my husband’s best bags is in a closet in Pensacola, where we left it in case we needed it some time in the future. Slowly but surely, our collection of baggage has diminished.

Thus, the trip to Carrefour. AdventureMan groaned, hitting Carrefour around 4:30, as the teeming hoards arrived. To our amazement, a car left just where we needed parking. We were in Carrefour, found the bags prominently displayed, quickly decided they would do just fine since we only need them for one trip, and out again in under 30 minutes – how amazing is that? As it turned out, they were instantly useful as AdventureMan cleared some things from his office; the empty suitcase was soon filled.

It’s amazing what comfort 4 – 6 extra cubic feet of packing space can bring. 🙂

(I found the wonderful suitcase photo on Sister’s Choice, a delightful blog.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Moving, Relationships, Shopping | 9 Comments

May Rainstorm

We had a great day yesterday – we organized and worked all morning, then quit, dressed up and went out for lunch with people we really enjoy. We didn’t rush – we had one of those long, lingering lunches where the conversation flits from here to there and even after several hours, you know you still have plenty of topics left to discuss – and that there will be a next time.

On our way home, a few huge drops hit the windshield and AdventureMan said “oh look, a torrent!” because in Kuwait, unlike Seattle, unlike Germany, rain is precious, and even a little is treasured.

He spoke too soon, however. The rain stopped. Then, another few minutes later, the real rainstorm, short and sweet, happened, just enough to wash all the dust spots from the two day’s previous dust storm, off. (Meaning one day of dust storm, and one day of lingering dust haze.) A few bolts of lightening, a few rumbles of thunder, but nothing earth-shaking.

The smell of the rain falling in a dry and dusty country is unbelievably sweet. You smell dust, but you also smell freshness. The heat – it was 36°C/ about 90°F – seems to ramp up the clean smell.


It was short, intense, and sweet. All too soon, it ended.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Weather | 7 Comments