Our First Sand Storm

Growing up in the midwest, both Rachel and I have been through some pretty crazy weather in our lives. We’ve endured our fair share of snowstorms, tornados, thunderstorms, brutal hot days, and even wind chills -40 degrees. We even survived the epic Halloween Blizzard of 1991!  Well earlier this week, we experienced a new kind of weather phenomenon . . . . . . a sand storm . . . . and it was nasty!


One of our friends took this photo from our apartment building.

About 12 pm, the wind started to pick up (maybe about 15-20 miles per hour).  Within an hour or so, the entire sky and everything outside had a bright orange tint to it. The color was the result of the sun shining on the tiny sand/dust particles in the air. It was super eeeerry looking, almost like we lived on another planet or something. When you went outside, you couldn’t really “taste” the sand or “feel” it hitting your skin, but you could definitely notice it accumulating in your eyes.  After about 5 minutes outside, my eyes were full of sand. It kind of felt like when you wake up in the morning, and you have to pick all of the eye boogers out that Mr. Sandman left you while you were sleeping.


Another one of our friend’s took this photo. Notice the crazy orange tint to the air!

It was fun listening to all of the people gasp and talk about the sand storm.  From what I understand, it sounds like they are pretty rare during the fall.  They are more prevalent in the spring, and some can get bad enough where the visibility is so bad that it is nearly a “blackout,” which forces the closure of schools, government buildings, businesses, etc. Some locals here said this sand storm was a pretty minor one, so we are a bit intrigued to see what the “severe” storms are like. Probably the worst part about a sand storm, is the mess it leaves behind! The airborne sand finds a way to penetrate through the smallest of cracks around the windows in your apartment, resulting in a thin layer of sand over EVERYTHING! We were fortunate enough and had all of our curtains closed, which helped reduce the mess in our apartment.  People also recommend always closing your closet doors and dresser drawers to keep the sand from getting in all of your clothes. Usually my clothes are scattered in random piles on the floor, so it wouldn’t matter if my drawers were closed or not!     IMG_1585     Check out the crazy orange tint in these photos!  Keep in mind that none of them have been edited. They kind of look like someone added a filter to them in Instagram or something, but these are the real deal. Crazy eh? The best part about the sand storm is definitely how some people handled it. There were so many people walking around wearing those protective masks, like the one your doctor wears while he performs your knee surgery.  Some people even wrapped toilet paper around their faces and mouths, to protect themselves from the sand.  They were just walking around looking like bodiless mummies the week before Halloween!  Although everyone probably thought I was the crazy one, because I was just walking around inhaling all of the sand into my lungs.

It was neat to experience our first sand storm, and it was a nice reminder of why we moved to the Middle East . . . . to experience new things!  Let it be known that I would much rather experience a 4 hour sand storm than the 5 months of  a cold/snowy winter that our family and friends are having back home!

Adjusting to Life in Kuwait: Recycling

When you decide to move to a new country, you know there is going to be a few things that you will have to get used to.  Moving to Kuwait, we have had to adjust to things like the extreme heat, crazy traffic, no pork/booze, etc. Perhaps one of the hardest things we have had to get used to, is that recycling is virtually non-existent here!

Back home, it was rare if we ever had more than one bag of garbage a week. On the flip side, our recycling dumpster was always completely packed! We were super good about organizing our recyclable materials and took pride that on a weekly basis we were always recycling about twice as much rubbish vs. garbage.

When we arrived in Kuwait, and were dropped into temperatures around 115 degrees, it was a necessity to drink lots of water! Our colleagues advised us not to drink the tap water in our apartment, so we decided to just stick with bottled water.  Everywhere we would go, we would grab a bottle out of the fridge to stay cool and hydrated.  We could never find recycle containers in public, so we would always just bring the bottles back home with us so we could recycle them at our apartment complex. After a few days in Kuwait, and as our collection of empty water bottles was increasing on our countertop, is when we found out that recycling in Kuwait didn’t exist! It is hard to believe that it’s non-existent in a country where people are forced to drink so much bottled water.

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Our collection of empty water bottles, waiting for a recycling container.

Our collection of empty water bottles continued to grow, as neither of us had the courage to throw plastic bottles into the garbage. We were losing precious countertop space, and I knew recycling wasn’t going to magically appear overnight, so I took it upon myself to discard the bottles. However before I did, I used my superhuman strength to crush the bottles as small as I could, in effort to take up as little space as possible in the landfill.

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Before throwing the water bottles in the garbage, I crushed them as small as possible, so they would take up as little space as possible in the landfill.

We knew we emotionally couldn’t handle throwing plastic water bottles away during our time in Kuwait, so we did some thinking of what we could do to save waste. After a bit of research, we found a company in Kuwait called Abraaj Water, where we could order 5 gallon jugs of drinking water, then have them refilled as needed.

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Our new water cooler system from Abraaj Water.

We feel like there are multiple benefits of getting our drinking water this way:

  1. We are doing our part to save on waste and keeping recyclable bottles out of landfills.
  2. We are saving a lot more money purchasing drinking water by the 5 gallon jug vs. a case of 20 oz. bottles. It is just under $2.00 USD per 5 gallon jug.
  3. We are reaping the health benefits of drinking A LOT more water!  Since it is so convenient having a water cooler in our kitchen with ice cold water, we drink it all the time!

Apartment Tour

Mitch and I decided to take today’s post as a chance to invite you all into our home and check out our new apartment.  Mitch recorded and I narrated as we took a quick tour of our place.  We realized, that with the amount I flail my hands as I talk, the idea of me both narrating and video recording would result in a new version of the Blair Witch Project and would have people motion sick sitting in their desk chairs.  

So go ahead hit play, and welcome to our home!