In this day and age, we have (sadly?) mostly succumbed to social media. I don’t think there are many people I know, that don’t have at least one of the big 3. I did pretty well avoiding the whole thing and only joined Facebook when I left Jersey for Prague, how else would my so called “friends” know what I was up to?! Since starting this blog, I realised that social media does play an important role in promoting, sharing and building content. It has also given me a beautiful online community, most are expats, and we all support each other from all corners of the globe. However, as I posted one for the ‘gram last night, Hubby laughing at my ridiculous angle, not daring to move a muscle. I questioned whether I was creating many of the misconceptions about me and my expat life. So I ask, what is real and what is just virtual reality?
Image one submitted into evidence. Doesn’t that look fabulous, sand between my toes, relaxing on the beach not a care in the world. Evoking calmness, holiday vibes, lapping ocean waves. How wonderful to have those moments, life must be so easy. The reality of this…….. It’s 9am and already 38 degrees, I was sweating my a$!@ off. I could barely put my feet on the sand to take the bloody picture! What isn’t in shot is that that lovely stretch of beach and ocean, is only permitted for members of the beach club, so not everyone can use it and makes it one of the few private beaches in Kuwait. About 20 yards from the shoreline is a floating barrier, which blocks access from the sea for security but also stops jet skiers coming into the bay to get a look at the women in bikinis! So whilst it is relaxing me sitting there, I have the incessant sound of jet skis belting past, its roasting hot and this is the only place I can enjoy the weather, without being covered up.
Anyone that is an avid follower of my Insta account will know or suspect that I have a serious coffee addiction. I have posted numerous images of the perfect coffee, branded cups in front of Marina views, palm trees or from the sun lounger. I have caffeinated my way around this desert and even our Saturday nights are now at the neighbourhood Costa. Whilst my caffeine habit has been developed over time, the real reason it’s hit this high, is because this is it for a social beverage. Kuwait is a dry state which means, no Saturday nights at the local bar, no lovely glass of wine over your date night pizza. So whilst this image of coffee and cake, makes our Saturday night look very PG, it is the only choice! During Ramadan it is illegal to eat or drink in public during daylight hours, that’s for EVERYONE Muslim or non. So this was great for us, to have a lovely cup of Joe outside, our sundowner, when we have been cooped up most of the day. So next time you see my lovely cup of coffee, you know the context, this is as exciting as it gets!
Seriously she spends all day by the pool, drinking coffee and then spends the rest of the time on holiday. Ahh that jet set life. Exploring far off places and living the glamorous 5* lifestyle. Oh to have endless free time and money eh………Wrong. Yes, we do travel, yes we have been to some seriously amazing places and I am very lucky and grateful. What you don’t appreciate is that whilst I love living in Kuwait….its Kuwait. This is by no means a piece of cake living here or glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, so yes if an opportunity arises we desert expats and locals like to escape. Just like my fellow Beans, that island bubble is claustrophobic and even a day trip to London can make you sane again, this is no different. Yes we like to stay in nice places, but who doesn’t? We (that’s the royal we) work very hard, make compromises being out here, its taken a long time, many countries, many months away from family, to get us to this fortunate position. So yes, we will enjoy ourselves once in a while, it just looks more fun because the Middle East does luxury far better than anywhere else in the world, but you probably spend more on your 2 week family holiday in Spain.
All you do is shop and eat! Those enticing images of my frequent breakfasts out, endless snaps of Avo and eggs, almond croissants and perfect views. Tagged with “the ladies that brunch” drums up images of middle aged women, cackling over glasses of bubbly, Botox and pearls. How perfect to have hours to waste over food, with friends. It is but also necessary. In all seriousness breakfast is my favourite meal and kuwait does some great ones. Whilst the avo and eggs maybe seductive the setting isn’t always. What you dont see past that croissant is that, we are sat in the middle of a mall, in an open atrium where everything is trying to tell you that you are outside or indeeed in some European city. The air conditioning blasting so much you are all sat there in cardigans, ordering a mock-tail to replicate a Mimosa! The heat is so intense here, no serious al fresco dining can be done, so the inside areas are designed to give you that outdoor/indoor feeling, which in most cases is beautifully done, but its no El Tico. The weekly catch ups with the ladies, isn’t just a frivolous to be seen network, its vital to survival. We all need those few hours, to let off steam, chat about the mundane, lift each other up if necessary and cultivate friendships. Without this, expat life can be a very lonely one, so I’ll take my avo, eggs, coffee and chat any day of the week.
The list is endless and I could pull countless images. Yes aesthetically, we all want our Social Media pages to look a certain way. Yes, I like to take photos that give that “perfect” snap shot of my life, maybe that’s wrong but I am certainly not the only one doing it. I guess we all want to hide behind the reality some days, draw people into the dream of life abroad, because this life isn’t easy and there are moments where you think, what the hell am I doing!? I won’t stop the posting, but I guess what I’m saying is, see beyond it. Have the conversations with people. If you know people who live abroad, talk to them. Really ask the questions, because I can guarantee, Insta or no Insta, their reality will be far different from the picture perfect postcard you have in your head.