Yallah Yallah, Kuwait!

This photo looks like in an Autumn mood, but its taken on a bright, cool winter day (dry winter) somewhere in Kuwait.

Do you have a foreign word that lingers in your mind? or reminded you of a place you´ve been to?

I can understand a little bit of Arabic but I can´t read or write it. I think it´s one of the most complicated language in the world that I have ever encountered, German still on top! 🙂 In Arabic, so many intricate strokes,so many unknown lines, its really an artistic language, i meant on the writing technique.Arabic writing is a way of ” Kunst” .The very first time I have heard the Quran prayers, I find it really intriguing. I thought, are they singing, wailing or saying a poem? Hearing it almost 5x a day , then it becomes naturally a part of my senses, just like a song that reminds us of a memory. Whenever I hear it, I know that it´s the prayer time, or Salah. At work, when I see my Muslim colleagues gather and start their prayers, I know that the prayer call is always on time.

Everyday life in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf

In my days in Kuwait before, I always hear the word ” Yalla”. It signals a new day, a new beginning, and another call of the hour.

The Avenues and the Prestige— the most beautiful piece of Architecture in Kuwait where a shopping mall defines a whole lot of modern design, elegance and Function.

Looking back, there are many useful and simple Arabic words that are really helpful to Expats. It´s very handy if you happen to know and memorize them. The words ” Mashallah, ( normally means something beautiful, a form of adornment, or compliment) “ Salam Walaikom ( Muslim greetings of peace) , and “Inshallah” ( God willing..) are very important words to take note aside from the usual “Shokran ” ( thank you) and “Afwan ” ( you´re welcome)

But for me, the one that stands out is “Yallah “.

Yallah, Yallah means many things. It can mean, “let´s go” , or okay, or a form of agreement, encouragement and exasperation. When I needed to call a Taxi, I dialled “Brother” ´s number and just say “Yallah” and he immediately understands me.Brother is an expat from Bangladesh whom I really trusted while I was in Kuwait. It is very normal to get service in Kuwait so you can have a regular taxi service to avoid running into rude taxi drivers. With Brother, I felt safe and I don´t need to worry to much.I´ve lost contact with him so I don´t know anymore what happened to him. I hope he is safe during this time of Pandemic.

The word Yallah really depends on how you use it in a sentence. It can also means ” Hurry Up!” or quickly get it done.Just like the life of an Expat is always on the go for changes whether its a new job, a new place..or a new, challenging weather to get used to.

Friday is the rest day in Kuwait ( as well as in other Muslim countries). It´s a no- work day, and a day to rest, sleep-in, do groceries, meet friends, watch a movie or just stay at home.Normally I would visit the Friday market with my friends ; haggle like a pro, and often utter the word “Yallah” to convince the vendor. I terribly missed the authentic flavors of Shawarma and freshly grilled kebabs, the Biryani and Baklavas.The Madjool dates that I buy in Lulu Hypermarket is unforgettable.The hustle an bustle in the old Souks is really chaotic, but nevertheless beautiful to watch. The number of expats in the streets is overwhelming, as well as their authentic smell. It makes me dizzy, and claustrophobic. They say that smell can trigger memories in us. That once our memory is impaired, then our sense of smell is also affected. It makes sense though…

Yes, some things are really unforgettable…Ma´shallah!

The arabian carpets are laid down in the tiny streets of Souk Mubarakiya.Now I regretted that I did not buy one from these!

One of the fascinating things I did was watching the fishermen haul their boats and getting ready to unload their fresh catch of the day. Everywhere in Kuwait, you can have a glimpse of the Arabian Gulf . Aside from boat trips, fishing is quite a normal sight. Along the Road no.5, traffic is always heavy, and crazy. Since cars rule the roads and definitely Kuwaitis loves speed , it´s really easy to get distracted and things go unnoticed.It is a scary thing to ride your bike there. The weather is scorching hot, and there is definitely no cycling paths! Yaállah!

At the beaches in Salmiya, Khiran and Mahboula, are the perfect place to watch sunrises and sunsets. I lived in the area of Salmiya for a long time.I loved watching the sea from our windows and it brings me such nostalgia.Those were beautiful scenic views of nature, so simple and yet so precious.

A Fisherman´s idle times…
At night, the promenade along the beach and Marina malls lights up.
The ” Mushroom” water towers in Kuwait

Strolling through the streets of Kuwait can be quite strenous especially if you are not used to hot, dry climate as high as 48 degrees in Summer.Wearing long sleeves and long pants in a heat like this? and living in an air conditioned room for almost every single day…? Yaállah Kuwait!

But this weather did not stop me from discovering its hidden facets and gems. These “Mushroom” like water towers are really beautiful, and there are lots of Arabic traditional teapots spread all over the city, serving as water fountains landmarks.In Kuwait, we always drink from the bottle but I really don´t understand why they are fond of having landmarks in a shape of an arabic teapot?

Another beautiful landmark in Kuwait. It is lighted in Kuwaiti flag colors and illuminates along the roads going to Salmiya.

I wish that Kuwait continues to grow, as a city, as a place ful of compassionate people and that the expat community will thrive to be an important part of its growth. As an Expat, I believe that our stay in any foreign land gives us a chance to contribute something and make an impact to any circle we belong.

Salam, and Tschüss!

Kuwait Towers, a symbolic Architecture in Kuwait

Kuwait from A to Z

Beating the heat in Kuwait, an expat´s lifestyle

Life in the Desert, life in Kuwait

Hidden gems in the Arabian Gulf

I want to ride my bike , my Life in two wheels

Life in Germany with a Bicycle

Ask any expat who moved to Germany and they will say the same thing…riding your bike in Germany is pretty normal, it is a culture, a way of life, and the most ideal way to move from A to B.

My bike is one of my precious possesion when I came here. I ride my bike almost everyday, in all season. It became my partner in adventure, and my ever-present help!

Even before Corona pandemic, people here in Germany love riding their bikes to work, school, grocery shopping and to their Sonntags Ruhetag rendez-vous!

Once you moved here, definitely the question of getting your won bike will come to your mind.Just like what they´ve said, do what the Germans do and you´ll be okay.

It´s been decades since I ride my bike before I came here. My husband is Dutch so definitely he came from a country where bikes is more than the Dutch population so it never came to a surprise to me anymore.The first country in Europe that I explored was the Netherlands and seeing its capital, Amsterdam, with its beautiful canals…and bikes was quite a shock to me. I have never seen such number…( and styles!) of bikes in my entire life!

Take for example this Dutch Bakfiets.It´s an infamous Dutch legend. In the Netherlands, people use this so they can transport their babies, groceries, furniture, and even their pets altogether in one time in this sleek carriage, all in two wheels.

Amazingly clever right?!

So do as we are doing here in Germany.Cycling system has become smart, intelligent and the most efficient mode of movement.

Here in Germany, well at least here in Bavaria, I have spotted quite few of wooden Bakfiets in the streets ( or maybe they are also Dutch!), because here, we have a modern one. Bakfiets resembles our sassy Anhängers, or a carrier made of aluminunum, with a water resistant covering panels that is attached to bicyles.Trust me, almost 90% ( or maybe more…) of families here have this in their household.This is the perfect way to tag along your kids and toddlers ( from age 1-5) in almost everywhere you go. We used the Anhänger to go to Kindergartens, playgrounds, shopping, Doctor´s visits, and almost anywhere! We put our stuff in the baggage area and off we go!

Riding a bicyle like Germans do is really something to ponder.Watch a Mama with a Kindersitz in front or back with their child always make me smile and leave me breathless.One time, I even spotted a pregnant woman cycling, with her bump in two wheels! I remember my early days here when my child is still small enough to ride at the back of my bike. It´s such a special bond that we shared. Our first Cycling Tour was so memorable as well!

Nature and Bike always go hand in hand together

If you lived here,you will be amazed by German technology when it comes to cycling.Although everyone owns a car, still, many opt to ride their bikes everyday. Children learnd to ride their bike at a very young age, it´s a skill they need to master even while they are still in Kindergarten.Come to think of it, I learned to ride a bike I think when I was 12 or 13! Most children go to school by bike or by their Roller.One thing, cycling here has been made safe and accessible even for the little children.When you see children learning to ride their bikes for the first time in the streets, you will immediately smile.

It is indeed a beloved culture.

From reflective lights to side bags and different Anhänger types and cool Helmets, they got it all. Not forgetting their expensive E-Bikes,most older people ride their bikes as a beloved form of exercise and exploring the surrounding nature.

Early morning Yoga in the nearby Lake

Every weekend, it is very normal to see people in their bikes, cycling, touring, and sweating.They move from one place to another peacefully, safely, and graciously with their bikes. I asked a friend, where are you going in this time of the year, she´s all amde up, clad in Dirndl and heels, and yes, she´s off to a wedding, in her bike!

Bikes parked along the canals and Bridges became quite a European statement.

Most German cities and town have enough Cycling lanes so pedestrians, cyclists and drivers are seapated in their own traffic.But remember, don´t mess with cyclists because you will hear something that you might not wanted to hear.Cycling is a serious business here.You need to stay on your lane and respect others, that´s how it goes.

My Life with a two wheels

During Corona Pandemic, public transport became the last resort of transportation. Nowadays, if you are taking a bus or a train, then you need to wear a mask so most people prefer riding their bikes for free movement and avoiding contact.But guess what, sales of bikes during Pandemic soars!

Basically, If you asked me, you can survived in Germany without a car. But it totally depends on your location and where you lived.If your work is nearby to where you live, approx. within 5 km range then its doable, regardless of the season.If schools and Kindergarten is just around the next street , then I think a bicycle is a good investment.Travelling, shopping, and out of- town trips are different issues because of distance and weather concern.

But then here , there´s a saying that goes;

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”!

Bikes, Bicycles, and more Bikes

Germans have the right clothing gear for every season. I find it funny that that in most local shops, they have different clothing trend for every activity, in a given season. So from cycling protective gears, jackets and everything, they have solution for it.they even have covering for your shoes so it can´t be wet when it drizzles.I have seen it with my own eyes and I believe that here in Germany, what matters is you´ve got to do things as efficiently as you can. Most of the towns are car´free so looking for parking is quite always a hassle. If you can get through the city in your bike then it´s much better! Within 15km distance range, most Germans opt to use their Bikes to travel.Cycling has become a global trend and it continuous to be the number 1 choice of mobility here in Germany.

Transporting my kid in a Kindersitz

Living in Germany have opened my eyes for many things. Life in two wheels has became a great lifestyle for me personally, so I beleive that it can work with you as well. Consider this, you can explore your town so well with a bicycle, plus, you have the time in your hands.Daily exercise with your bike and real time sweating out in Summer days is absolutely priceless!When riding my bike, I always have a reason to take a quick break and sit under the tree and just watch life as it goes by.

Here in Germany, there are many Bicycle Flöhmarkts ( Flea market) who sells Bicycles in reduced prices. There are also many models to choose from to suit your preferences.Local shops like Decathlon, Radhaus, Willner Fahrradzentrum,Dropbar Bikes and Coffee and others offers many special offers if you decide to get your very first bike !

Remember, cycling here is not a routinary mode of commuting. Once you get hooked to it, you might explore more your options of travelling by going on Cycling Tours, which we have so much!It is good for your personal fitness and environment friendly so what´s not to love about it?

So when was the last time you ride your bike?

Identity symbol, the Kuwaiti style

Local Sightings : A Giant Kuwait Flag hang in the street during Hala February celebrations in Kuwait

You know you’re an Expat in Kuwait when the sight of the colors red, green, black and white has become a norm wherever you go.

One of the things that stands out and I particularly noticed while living in Kuwait for years was the local’s love of their national flag. It just sprouts everywhere! In the shopping malls, bridges, in the motorway, in almost all building’s facade,in cars and yachts,and oh even in the shirt that people wear! I’m telling you, visiting Kuwait during the festive month of February is quite an experience. As the biggest festival of Hala February approaches, around 4 weeks before the event, almost all houses including office buildings are heavily decorated with life-size Kuwaiti flag. The face of the Amir & the Crown Prince is also almost e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

You can’t get lost. These signs will be your guide that you’re still in the country’s premises.

In the Miya-Miya shops ( 100 fils shop or like the Euro shops), tons of things are being sold with designs of the flag as well. From head scarfs, earrings, hats, glasses, pins, dresses, almost anything that you can wear on yourself!  In my old neighborhood alone, where most of my neighbors are Kuwaitis, all villas have this giant size flag hanging from their roof top down to their basement. It’s like their identity symbol. A competition of the biggest flag and I don’t really know who’s winning. Children wear dresses made out of the Kuwaiti flag colors. The colors green,white and red are made into a frenzy lights that dazzled at night. Kuwait loves sparkling, dancing, and almost surreal light displays.Well if you’re in an oil-rich country like Kuwait, you will put lights everywhere,too. This country is really a must see especially in February when they are celebrating their culture, national pride and liberation in their National Day.

A girl dressed in Kuwaiti colors

I have never seen this kind of patriotism and pride which ever you may call it. Young children are part of this and they enjoyed it the most,for the fun part. In my home country, or in the Netherlands or even here in Germany on a daily basis. Even a Bakala in Kuwait has a flag in their doors. In the Philippines, flags and the ways that its being used is somewhat only  in sanctified functions.Here, I know that a surge of display of flags and symbolism comes very timely during sport tournaments and of course, during Football season and its fanfare.

Hala Hala Kuwait!

What local sightings do you appreciate or see in your neighborhood?

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Modern nomad

A Day in the life of a vegetable vendor in Kuwait

Typical sight inside the Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait, during the not-so busy times inside the wet market. Almost half of this old man’s life is spent as Expat in Kuwait, inside the souk working as a vendor and rumbling in the streets of Kuwait City. “Baba”  whom I fondly called him as I haggle for the fresh vegetables he is selling. Like the story of one Tea Boy ,life goes on like this, counting the days where a certain “magic”could happen and change the course of his routine, in his life spent as a modern nomad , or also known as Expat.

Do you like visiting wet markets? What fascinates you the most?



After the Sandstorm

Traces of Sandstorm

I stumbled upon this photo when I was looking through my archives tonight. This was taken after a sandstorm in Kuwait. This was the sight in the floor at work. Pretty normal during those days. Our office janitor would just shrug his shoulder and say : Alhamdullilah!

After  sandstorm which could last for days, I just stare at the traces all around me. The palm trees are soaked in dust, the windows, and the cars! Everything is drenched in dust, you can smell the pungent dust everywhere.If you notice the architecture in Kuwait, the buildings and facade are normally painted with shades close to this–Beige, rust, or somewhat close to 1011 (Brown beige) or 1015 ( Light Ivory).

The other day, I was cleaning our roller shutters and windows  and this thought made me smile. Here in Germany, almost all windows  are white, painted with 9010 ( Pure white) and you can see tons of cleaning products in the grocery shops. I was thinking that if it’s so dirty in Kuwait because of frequent sandstorms then why I only see Dettol  ?

Maybe they realize that its useless to wipe out & clean when in the following morning its gonna be dusty again.It makes sense.

My views during Sandstorm days back in Kuwait

I wrote before how Sandstorm happens in Kuwait and my experience of it. It’s a typical scenario and not surprising anymore for me. I guess when you live with it for years and years,  it becomes normal to you. One of the things that will happen to you when you move to Kuwait is that you will never wear clean shoes anymore. The soles of your shoes will always be dusty. There is dust in the pavement, in the road, almost everywhere. Flip flops? Oh forget it, it won’t work while you walk in the streets because your feet will only look like ginger soak in muddy puddles. If you stay in your car and never get out or walk, then you’re good.

After the sandstorm, we clean, we dust off and move on. That’s how life goes on.



Come and Go | Quest

Home is not a place…It’s a feeling.

” You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way  ever again…” { Azar Nafazi }

An Expat’s quest for  a place to call “Home”- You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere.That is the price you pay for the richness of living and loving people in more than one place.

I recently visited my home country last May   with my daughter, her first trip to the Philippines, and for me, Oh well, I thought of  it as another home visit, but a  rather special homecoming because it’s the first time my daughter would meet her Grandmother and the rest of the family. It is also my first time to travel alone with an infant for 15 long  hours . Yes, alone.

As I sit in the plane, looking out in the window, thoughts in my head are clouding again–Hmmm, here I go again,  I’m a visiting Expat –living a double life.

Why do I say this?

The feeling of coming home with an infant in my arms and going through the airport is suddenly unreal to me. Almost the same as the time I went home for quick vacations from work  when I was living in Kuwait for the last 8 years. I was shocked and confused to return and realize how out of touch I was with people who I knew, places and life in the place I had lived for many long years. For the first few days my hands fumbled on my phone because I forgot how to make a call, or even reload my phone, not knowing the codes anymore. I become  unfamiliar with the common places such as banks, streets, and even my favorite shops. My memory is still full of how I lived my days in Kuwait. On the other hand, everything was so familiar and yet, feels so unfamiliar. Sinking back into my old life was almost too easy, and within days my new life in Germany seemed slightly surreal.

I saw some of my closest friends but the feelings is not the same as before. I couldn’t patch the gap that time had created. I could only settle on the present time.Walking through familiar streets and places becomes a new discovery. Some places haven’t changed much in a decade, and yet, the feelings I had is somewhat strange.


No reason to stay is a good reason to go. 

Being able to slip from one life to another is a strange experience that many expats will relate to. By becoming an expat , I started a new life, but fragments of the old ‘me’ still linger in my native country, tempting me when I return.

I heard many times from fellow OFW ( overseas contract worker) , “I’m going home for good”. For good means that their life as expat wasn’t for keeps. The need to return to one’s old home is a never-ending yearning. That is why every home-coming is exciting, anticipated, and full of eagerness. But the secret that Expat doesn’t reveal is the shock of coming home.

Being an expat can be like being two people at once, split between two places. Half my identity belongs to Philippines, and by visiting, I revived that person, the person I was before I left. Even my feet set on another ground, a fraction of an inch of me belongs to Kuwait. It has been part of me and I couldn’t take that away. Walking now in the streets of Germany, I still feel very much alienated.

It’s a funny thing coming home.Nothing changes.Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what changed is YOU… { f.scott fitzgerald}

After visiting my home country, I realize that it isn’t “home” anymore. Looking back at Kuwait, I can’t see myself calling that place my “home”either. In a way, of course,  Ph  will always be home, but that sense of relief at being at the end of my journey only came to me when I was back together in Germany, in our new “home”, with my  daughter & my husband.

Makes me think: what makes home into home?

Because some little things I am missing in Philippines and Kuwait  are present in my old life, waiting for me to return, but when I was in there, I felt incomplete, because part of me now belongs to Germany and my new life here.

I guess the Quest continues…

Have you had any experience of going back home after long years from abroad?

This is post is in response to this week Photo Challenge : Quest

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8 Arabic Words to learn if you are an Expat moving to Middle East

Marhaba! Welcome to the Arabic speaking world. 

Aside from the food, language is the second thing that you ‘taste‘when you become an Expat. Trust me,learning a few local phrases  will save you from debilitating language bubble trap.Those everyday language dilemma,they will come.

I still remember my culture shock hearing Arabic for the first time. It’s neither ugly nor pleasant to hear, it’s just ‘unknown’ to my ears. I can’t understand a single word. It  sound so strange and I felt like my brain is tortured trying to dissect each word. At home I heard the prayer calls from the mosques and I jumped out of bed, and asked, “Is that  a global warning to evacuate the whole building or some kind of cult gathering,reciting their chants.”? I couldn’t sleep on the first weeks. My system needs to get used to it.

Looking back after 8 long years, I smiled at my poor mind. I realized that it really takes perseverance and “desire”to learn a new language. The other day, I was talking to a friend in English and suddenly I replied in Arabic, and here in Germany, I still found myself  uttering  basic Arabic words /phrases unintentionally like La ( No) , Aiwa (Yes), mafi ( nothing) and the phrase that becomes my favorite expression, Shuno Hada!?

If you’re an Expat in the Middle East, (or planning to be) these are the Top 8 Arabic words that you should know and learn. Knowing the basic lingo is always helpful. Arabic language has core phrases that are essential wherever you are in the whole region and speaking them as the way that natives do will definitely  bring a smile on their faces. Take it from me, learning the street language is the best way to integrate, its much easier &  easy to memorize especially if you don’t have time to study it formally. Remember, Arabic is a language where much words have no direct English translation, so go for it.

Learning new language- Love it or Hate it?

Khalas – literally means finish, end, and provocably, It’s over. This is probably the most underrated Arabic word that I have learned in Kuwait. It could mean a lot of things depending on when & how you used it. You can say ‘Khalas’ after a phone call, when buying something and you agree with the price, or simply nodding to end a long discussion. Sometimes it’s used to denotes Shut up! or That’s a wrap! Having a hard time to tell the taxi driver to stop, just say “Khalas” and you’re done.

Yalla  -means  Hurry up, Let’s go, come on,or can denote as well as ‘Okay’, when used indirectly. Yalla is my favourite word so far. In Hebrew, a combination of the Arabic word yalla means “let’s go, hurry up” and of the English word bye means “see you later”. This combination is used as a farewell expression (usually when you are in a hurry). Sounds like “OK must go, catch you later”

Shokran –  means Thank you.
A very straightforward ‘shokran’will be your next favorite word and will bring you a long way. People normally reply with ‘Afwan‘( or You’re welcome).

Assalamu alaikum –  Salam, or Assalamu alaikum literally means Peace be upon you. It is used when you  greet people and also before you part with them. It’s like the simple ‘Hi, Hello,and  Goodbye’ in English. Natives always reacts positively when Expats/tourists utter this word. Its one way to show people politeness & being courteous. Over the phone, I’d       love to say ‘Salam’after I’ve said Hello. It always brings fresh vibes in a conversation,          also before ending a call. People normally replies, Salam, or Wa Alaykum Salaam, Waleiykum assalam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh ( And peace and mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you).

 Masha’Allah  -Masha’Allah is a word that you use to show that you are happy about a good thing that happened to someone else.  For example, if your co-worker just had a baby and told you about it, you would say “Masha’Allah”.  Other examples of times when you would use this word are when a friend buy’s a new house or if someone shows you a picture of their child.  Basically, if someone talks about something good in their life, say Masha’Allah.

Insha’Allah – Insha’Allah is definitely one of the precarious words I have learned while being in Middle East. It confuses me at first, but later I understand when & why they kept on saying it. Although at work,I found it vague when I follow-up on things and they just replied ‘Insha ‘Allah’.Insha’allah ( pronounced as in-sha-la) literally means “God willing”. This is a phrase that is said a lot by locals on daily conversations.When you use this word, you want to make sure you use it before it happens.For example, you would say “Insha ‘Allah, I will see you tomorrow” (or  God willing, I will see you tomorrow).

Hamdullilah – Hamdullah is the opposite of Insha’allah. You say Insha’allah before something happens and Hamdullah after it happens. Hamdullilah means “Thank God”and you use it to give thanks for something good that happened. People normally utter this word after a meal, or when going after a hard time and its over. Don’t be surprised when you asked someone how are they doing and they just replied “Hamdullah!”. If you are so bored and doesn’t want to elaborate your answer when someone asked how are you doing, simply answer, ‘Hamdullah!’

Shuno Hada – or Shu hada means “What is this? ” For me, its more of a sarcastic way of saying “What in the world..??! ” or at things if it appears to be insane or unbelievable. I love this phrase because I saw many crazy things back then in Kuwait and I just laugh while saying “Shuno hada!?” Talking about Only in Kuwait, right?


Do you have any favorite foreign words? Feel free to share it in the comments!

If you would want to learn a new language, which one it is?


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How to get Married in Kuwait? | An Expat’s Guide

Tying the knot in Kuwait- made possible to make great memories with idyllic Sky Lounge in Radisson Blu Hotel .

Are you in an Interracial relationship-Expat that’s looking into getting married in Kuwait?

No problem, Here I wanna share with you my very own experience & tips how  can Expats can  tie-the-knot in a Muslim country like Kuwait. Believe it or not but we did it only within 2 months of preparations!

Recently, I have been asked many times  How and what is the procedure for Expats to be able to get married in Kuwait? “.I have  friends there who wants  to get married, raise a child & bring their family  there and I think living in this small-oil-rich country for almost 8 years gives me a legit reason to share my personal experience.I tell you, Yes, its possible & it can be done!

About Kuwait & Islamic Law

Kuwait is a Muslim country, in short, Cohabiting & Living-in with your partner, or Children outside marriage is against the Islamic law. It is HARAM and punishable by law. Now maybe you have read lots of news about disgraceful acts of Expats about this, but I’m telling you, Don’t be one.There are strict rules for family, bachelors and housing regulations that is being imposed, especially on Expats.Violating this is punishable by law . You don’t like to get messed up with this for sure. Getting married and the procedure itself is a pain in the ass and time-consuming,  the paper works in Arabic and formalities  done in all the ‘Wazara’ (Ministry ) are all part of the process that you need to do if you want to get married in a legal way. Under Kuwaiti Law, Expats can marry through the Court only if both of them holds a valid residency in Kuwait. If you are holding a tourist visa, you can’t marry there. For Catholics who wants a church wedding, you can get all the information Here. For Consulate/ Embassy marriages,  just contact your Embassy if this service is available. In our case, The Netherlands Embassy doesn’t have this in Kuwait so we opted for a Court Marriage .

Knowing the Requirements

I did my research and made a few calls and I was able to get all the required papers that is needed. This is basically depends on your nationality, Visa Status, Type of Residency & personal preferences. We both don’t have our families in Kuwait so we only opted for a simple yet a memorable wedding. Planning and getting all requirements also takes time so we prepared it diligently .

My husband (now) is Dutch, from the Netherlands and I am Filipino.We are both Non-Muslim, both Roman Catholics and both under Visa-18 (private sector) . So our situation is not-so complicated and but only needs a lot of paperwork. So here’s how we did it through Court Marriage in The Mojama Al-Wazarat / Ministry of Justice in Kuwait City. The schedule of Marriages is only Sundays & Wednesdays. You need to go there together with all the required papers get the schedule,or your  date & time of the intended marriage.If you’re a Filipino couple and wants to get married in the Embassy, you can also find all the information Here. Take note that the Embassy only solemnize only Filipino marriage.


Important Note :  Documents should be translated all in Arabic!

It is very important that all documents  should be translated into Arabic , to be  submitted to Ministry of Justice including all the Translations,legalized & stamped, legalized by the respective Embassies and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFa) before submission to the Ministry of Justice.

There’s always a huge line of people in MoFa so If you wanted to get things done quickly, you need to be super early.If you live in Kuwait, you know how the bureaucracy works in the Ministry and their timings. I don’t know how to explain this, but even a simple stamp & signature could take hours!! I really hate this but either way I survived it.

Sidenote: If it falls during Ramadan, please check their opening times.

Basic requirements for Court Marriage in Ministry of Justice-KW

( Both for Bride & Groom ) :

  1. Original Passports with the residence Visa & copy  (for  visa 20 needs the Sponsor’s consent )
  2. Original Civil ID card and copies
  3. CNI (Certificate of No Marriage or Single Certificate ) -Original copies , translated into Arabic and stamped & legalized by both embassies and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, (MoFa) located in Shuwaikh near KUNA or inside the Ministry complex of the Liberation Tower.
  4.  For Filipinos CENOMAR ( Certificate of No Marriage ) – this should be in original, red ribbon & authenticated from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines. Ordering this from the PH take time so you need to arrange this early.You need to bring this to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and they will issue another paper after stamping. There is a fee for these procedures in the Embassy. Call them to check for the cost.Both of these papers then should be submitted to MoFa for stamping & legalized. ( 5Kd stamp each)
  5.  For Filipino Catholics – NOC is required from the catholic church. This ( No Objection Certificate ) should be obtained from the Parish Church where you were baptized in your home country. They need not less than 3 months old. It should be stamped by the Parish church. You need to contact the Parish of the Holy Family Cathedral (Catholic Church) near Sheraton hotel  and arrange for appointment with the priest in charge.Requirements for NOC are the following :
  • Letter from the Parish Priest (where you are baptized/getting married ) requesting for the NOC.
  • Baptismal Certificate with seal & signature of the priest ( Fax copies are not acceptable)
  • Passport & civil ID copies of the person who needs the NOC.
  • Witnesses – 2 persons known to you but Catholics (not Family members ), with their respective Passports & Civil ID copies.

Note : If a church wedding has a legal status in your home country this may also be applied to you. The staff in MOJ will confirm during these things once you have your initial inquiry so make sure to call them first.

6. Bring the NOC /Certificate of Freedom to Marry to the Vatican Embassy (Apostolic Nunciature -Kuwait ) located in Al-Yarmouk.This is as per appointment basis only so you need to call first and schedule the appointment with the them.

7. 2  (Two) Witness to bring along during the court wedding ceremony with their original Passports & Civil ID must be present during the procedures.

 Set up an Appointment with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Once you are all set with all your documents, you need to submit these to the Ministry of Justice in Building #15 , first floor, ( They are just in front of the Liberation Tower ) . You will find many stamp machines there on the ground floor and kind staff who can assist you so make sure you secure it before the date of your marriage.You also need to bring exact bills for the machine.You don’t like to run around and get them on your wedding day!

They will check all the documents and confirm with you the date of marriage.You can contact them through # 22486444.The procedure itself takes only 10-15 minutes depending on the speed of the Authenticator for preparing the marriage contract. Your witnesses will also need to sign on the contract with their respective civil ID’s and passport. The ceremony itself  is very simple and only for formalities. You will get your Marriage Contract on the same day in Triplicate copies ( 1-MoJ copy and the 2 copies are yours) and that’s it! Let a native  check for the spelling, important dates or reference details because the contract is written in Arabic only.

If you are getting married here in Kuwait, do NOT kiss when it is announced you are married at the courthouse.  Public display of affection is illegal and the judge will have no other choice than to have you both arrested (especially since there are appointed witnesses).

Finally, you are MARRIED! Mabrook ! 

Expat’s marriage -Love makes it possible even you are in foreign ground.

Important Note :

Check carefully the Spelling, dates, and Names because what will be written in Arabic will be the basis of translations in your future documentations.You need to bring your Marriage Contract (Arabic) in Ministry of Foreign Affairs (KUNA-Shuwaikh/Liberation Tower Ministry Complex ) for another attestation before you can translate it on your preferred language and use on your other important documentation.make sure to invest in an accredited tranlator since you will use this document forever. Like us,You can also arrange to register your Marriage in your respective Embassies.

So, it’s not that bad right?

Expat Marriage in Kuwait- Made possible by Love. Radisson’s Blu intricate interiors accents our exchange of vows. A perfect setting indeed.

It’s tedious but with all these, we had our court marriage in the Ministry of Justice in Kuwait. I have never imagined that I would get married in a foreign country! Photography was not allowed inside the court but our Photographer was able to have his extra camera with him . He managed to get some photos during the ceremony so I am glad about it. I had my Kuwaiti sponsor and few friends come over as our witness. My in-laws flew over from Holland and decorated our apartment with traditional Dutch  Slingers. It was quite a surprise when we got home. We had our reception with our guest in Al Boom, which is one of the ‘Mohammedi ‘type of traditional Dhow boats turned into a one of a kind restaurant. We have visited them first during my birthday and on my husband’s birthday. It is really a special place for us.

We entertained our friends by having them have a glimpse of  the Guiness world record – Al Hashemi  as our backdrop. I have written before our amazing experience while seeing this gigantic boat. Meanwhile  we enjoyed scenic views from  the Sky Lounge of Radisson Blu Hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf. We got a very good package from them including the dinner & reception in Al Boom . The credibility of Al Boom is again proven and our guests were overwhelmed with the great food– so many choices! excellent personal service and the experience itself in dining in style . I need to mention that they gave us such generous complimentary cake, flowers, VIP access to the Sky Lounge & access to the grand ballroom of Al-Hashemi .

Our personalized and DIY made Thank you giveaway gift  with all our favorite soundtracks. Photo background was taken during our island hopping trip.

It was indeed a fabulous day .We will cherish this memory as part of our lives and Kuwait will always be close to our hearts where ever we are. If you have any special occasion, don’t forget to check out and consider this hotel. It’s all worth it.

Mabrook ! Gefeliciteerd ,  Congratulations on your wedding and  Good luck on your wedding preparations if you are looking for a marriage in Kuwait.Hope this post have helped you.

Do you have any experience such as these? Were you also married in a different culture ? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

You can also follow my Expat practical tips and Survival guides in Expat’s guide to Expating in Kuwait and make sure you hit the follow button below to follow this Blog.



The Art of Islamic Patterns

Over the years that I have been roaming around in Kuwait I have encountered so many different types of fascinating Islamic patterns that I truly find beautiful. If you are an art enthusiast like me, you would notice pure creativity in  single window or facade details. From doors to the walls, from floors to decorative Arabic mashrabiya.

Are you like me who ponders when seeing a work of art? for even a single pattern?

I am writing from my own perspective of things that I see here in Kuwait  but to quote Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.

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Islamic pattern is a pure Art. The Arabic calligraphy combined with decorative tiles which has been carved and all handmade is a gem in every significant building. Aside from the lavish cost of the whole building, I consider it as a treasure because it’s all made of hard work of skilled craftsmen.

I always like art and interiors, when I live in Kuwait, I notice that there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and  Amir’s palaces not only here, but in other parts of the world also.

Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.

The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.

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Although the size and grandeur of this chandelier from Germany  is huge, I was in awe just gazing at this marvelous dome inside the Grand Mosque particularly in the Amir’s entrance Hall.Every single detail was carved into perfection and unified patterns.


These decorative and colorful wall patterns are all geometrical figures which has symbolic meanings. The choice of color, shape and texture fitted perfectly to the base and provide aesthetical harmony.

If you take a closer look on Islamic design, you can mostly conclude that all these patterns are  based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.

Amazing right?


These gigantic lamps are also a striking piece accentuating the brilliant ceiling patterns.

Here is a quote from Eric Broug, who is a Dutchman &  one of the most active practitioners of Islamic geometric design working today.

“Geometry is really a universal language, everyone can – and does – relate to it instinctively,” he says. “There is a joy to be had in starting with a blank piece of paper and to draw lines and circles and end up with a pattern that is recognizable and beautiful. This process connects you very directly to a design heritage.”

If you wanna know more about this wonderful subject and learn from Eric’s approach, you can check out his books about Islamic designs here.

I never knew how wide & deep the insights of these patterns not until I browse on his writings about Islamic designs. He had a great job showing how wonderful world of these patterns.

As I have noticed,geometric patterns make up one of the three non-figural types of decoration in Islamic art which also include calligraphy and vegetal patterns.  Whether isolated or used in combination with nonfigural ornamentation or figurative representation,  geometric patterns are popularly associated with Islamic art, largely due to their aniconic quality.

These abstract designs not only adorn the surfaces of monumental Islamic architecture but also function as the major decorative element on a vast array of objects of all types. While geometric ornamentation may have reached a pinnacle in the Islamic world, the sources for both the shapes and the intricate patterns already existed in late antiquity among the Greeks, Romans & Sasanians in Iran.

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Take this Moroccan door detail for example,notice how the shape of the door knob that is exactly the same as the overall door patterns just the colorful designs & color are enhanced.

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Points for aesthetics is the similar floor & ceiling design. Such balance & Unity is achieved in this approach.The overall effect is so calming and yet striking to your senses.


Islamic artists appropriated key elements from the classical tradition, then  complicated and elaborated upon them in order to invent a new form of decoration that stressed the importance of unity and order. The significant intellectual contributions of Islamic mathematicians, astronomers and scientists were essential to the creation of this unique new style.

Considering the rich origin of these patterns, I am amazed how intricate the modern designs which were derived from the past heritage. If you visits various hotels, function areas and Diwaniyas here, you can find that these Islamic patterns are always present in the design.

I love the Art of Islamic Patterns, how about you?

Do you find any interesting patterns from your place of living?

What do you find unique in the places that you’ve visited?



Life in the Sea in Kuwait

Kuwait is more than desert , oil and delicious dates. I have seen beautiful sunsets here & extensive marine culture. Kuwait’s history is closed to the sea .But one thing that is very evident in Kuwait is either the lack of things or the complete abundance of it. Everything is in extremes, just like their love for leisure boats.

Life in the Sea in Kuwait

Kuwait is one of the largest leisure boating markets in the Gulf. According to figures from the Kuwaiti Government, there are now an estimated 15,000* registered leisure boats. Kuwaitis have always been sea people and the boat ownership ratio is estimated at one boat for every 44 Kuwaiti nationals and expatriates with higher incomes, a figure that is very high even for developed boating markets in Europe and the United States.


It is a typical scenario for me to see that boats are parked beside their cars in front of their villas. Some has been out there in the dust for times I don’t recall since when. There are many beautiful marinas around here where you can see huge number of boats docked. Here are my personal favorites, which I highly recommend for you to checked out  :  Marina Crescent, Souk Sharq, Al Kout , & The Yacht Club.

Water sports are the most popular activity in Kuwait, with the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, the coral reefs and a multitude of marine life attracting many scuba-divers and snorkelers. The KIM Center at the Hilton gives instruction and can arrange trips to the best dive sites, as well as offer kite boarding, water skiing and kayaking. For canoeing and kayaking, Dive Caroline is another good source for underwater adventure.

If you are a yacht enthusiast and interested to buy one for yourself, you can check out Al Boom Marine for their collection & prime boats & yachts for sale.Al Boom Marine is the biggest distributor and dealer in Kuwait for luxury yachts and pleasure craft; largest number of workshops; marine engines; diving equipment; spare parts and various other marine equipment & accessories. Al Boom Marine has various workshops and showrooms situated throughout Kuwait and caters not only for the recreational market, but also provides its services to commercial as well as various governmental departments and institutions.


Unlike the cozy houseboats along the Amsterdam canals, these boats exudes quite a different face.They are mainly used for leisure purposes and not to live into.The market is almost exclusively an imported one for small boats and yachts with a small network of boat distributors associated with all of the major Gulf boat builders and European and US shipyards. The boating season in Kuwait is from April to September, the opposite of that to the lower Gulf states such as the UAE, Qatar and Oman.


This shot is taken in front of Souk Sharq in Kuwait. This is a famous mall with an adjacent Fish market. On the far end of the promenade you can see these huge amount of boats docked in a rather picturesque view. It’s quite a sight to see different types of boats & yachts with the view of some of the prominent towers in Kuwait like the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Al Hamra Tower & Kipco Tower.You can also see from this side the area where the traditional fishing boats are docked. If you want to see how the fishermen unload their fresh catch of the day then this is just the right place.Many Expats frequented this place to get their favorite fish sold in the Fish market nearby.


These boats are Kuwait’s national pride. It reflects their personality & rather lavish lifestyle. Some of the private collection of yachts are displayed during the prestigious Yacht show in Marina Crescent yearly. If you wanna have a glimpse of how the event looks like & how sleek the boats on display then you can check it out here.


During the hot summer days, fishing & going on a boat trip is one the great things to beat the heat. The fishing excursion & boat trips can easily be arranged through the wide array of company who have boat rentals .


If you’re an Expat living in Kuwait or you have visitors &  ever want to rent a boat for the day or go fishing in Kuwait, then this site is for you. FishFishME offers boat rentals and fishing trips for Kuwait and the GCC. Each boat comes with its own experienced driver, and they range from 25 footers to 33. You can rent the boats either from Kuwait City (at Souq Sharq) or from Khairan.

Their prices are very reasonable, starting from KD 25 for a 25 foot boat that carries up to 4 people to Kd 80 for a 33 footer that accommodates up to 12. Trips last 6 hours, and can be booked either for a morning or an evening tour. You can use the boats to go fishing, cruise the sea, or visit Kuwaiti islands.Booking have to be made in advance. You can check out their site for more details on how to book or call Abdullah on Tel. 67665606. 

Sailing and power boating are also favorite pastimes in Kuwait, with glorious views of the desert landscape from the Gulf an added bonus. Trips to a traditional fishing dhow are offered by SAS Sl-Gazeer Voyages, and ferries run daily to Failaka Island from the Marina Crescent Yacht Basin. Nuzha Touristic Enterprises offers yachts with or without skippers down the calm waters.

If you want to look further for fishing trips & boat rental facilities in Kuwait, then you can check it out Here.