Journaling is a big part of my life here in Kuwait. There are new experiences that I just don’t feel ready to share online yet, as they are very personal. As such, The American and I head to Starbucks multiple times a week to gossip about work, men and life. These sessions always have me in stitches within minutes, and provide excellent stress relief from busy days.
The ultimate purpose of these frequent trips to our favorite Starbucks is to put pen to paper about daily life in Kuwait. The gossip session help to remind us about what we want to write about.
My journal has become an amalgamated scrap book, memory pad, sketch book and a place to explore some different writing techniques. I collect things from dates, outings, parties – wherever I go to paste or clip into my journal. Our table at is always spread with different colored pens, scissors, bits of paper, glue and paper clips. [The American and I are constantly debating the use of paper clips or glue for attaching memories into our journals.]. We must look like an art project gone wrong every night.
I have been using my beloved Louvre Museum Pen that I picked up this summer to write in my journal from day 1. The American really does make fun of me for that, perhaps deservedly. The other night I was on page 154 of my tales of adventure when out of NO WHERE the pen went dry. I was devastated. I tried everything I could to make it start writing again.
I took the pen apart and blew on the ink tube, scribbled furiously – hoping that the ink would start running again, and even hit it against my leg, the table and my palm before admitting defeat. There was nothing to be done. The ink had run out, Khallas, finished, no more.
This pen and I have traveled many places together. We have created shopping lists, packing lists, and life to-do lists. We have shed tears and ink over big life changes, boys and moments. It wrote my feelings, my secrets and desires faithfully for three and a half months and 153 and a half pages. Of course I was a little upset about it.
I immediately stopped writing about whatever I was writing about to create a eulogy for my pen. I know this was all a little bit ridiculous, okay – maybe a lot ridiculous. But I was feeling sentimental, and what else can be done but give into these feelings? I may or may not have also written a Haiku in tribute…yes, I am blushing. Please do not mock me openly.
Feeling a little better, The American and I headed off to the local ‘Teacher Store’ in search of a new pen for me. It would have to be ball point, and it would have to be black ink. I wanted to continue the tradition that I had started and make my Journal look as uniform as possible.
The man that owns the store has seen The American and I on many separate occasions. He is brisk, does not speak much English and has never once cracked a smile. The last couple of times we have sauntered into his shop we have received a curt nod of recognition. I was convinced that he had ZERO sense of humor and for whatever reason did not particularly like us.
In one last vain attempt to revive my pen, I asked the men if they supplied refills for pens. He said in a gruff voive “What kind?” I pulled my pencil case out of my bad and searched for a couple of seconds for the pen, finally finding it I handed it over.
He took it apart, with a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his eye. I wondered what possibly could have amused him. Thinking to myself that I must have had something on my face, or in my teeth I was like oh great.
Looking at the ink tube he replied, in that same gruff voice he said “Not this one. Bic – cheap pen” There was a crinkle of amusement growing in his eyes. Dejectedly I asked to see what nice pens he had. Yes, I thought to myself, I was going to buy my first BIG GIRL pen.
After holding a couple of different pens and testing their ink, and writing capability – I settled on a beautiful metal purple pen, there was just one thing wrong with it.
“The Ink is Blue!” I whined to the sales man. “No problem, we can change to black.” He replied with a quizzical stare. [I could just imagine him thinking that this girl is nuts! Why does she care so much about black ink.] After a quick exchange of the ink, a few words by my hand I was happy – I had a pen!
The salesman’s assistant rang up my order and asked if I needed a bag. Before I could even open my mouth to reply the Salesman said with a laugh “What does she need a bag for? She has a whole pencil case!” His eyes were twinkling with humor and his voice was softened with a chuckle. I couldn’t help but laugh, even if it was at my expense.
|My Big Girl Pen|
Sometimes interacting with Arab men is very intimidating, perhaps it had been my purposeful manner when I entered the shop before that had created the business like relationship between us. Really, though – can you blame a Canadian girl? I am sure the next time I see him things will be back to normal, but it was nice to know that you can in fact joke around with the people here. Maybe it is time to loosen up a little with those whom I interacting with.