When are you moving to L.A.?

Post by Mark

Since I’ve gotten back from my vacation I’ve been asked that question over a dozen times. The truth of the matter is, although it is something I consider every year when I visit L.A., I don’t think I’m leaving anytime soon. Other than the fact I still have things I want to accomplish while here, when I talk to family and friends living in L.A., I realize the grass is not that greener over there. I mean I’ve always known that, ever since I was a kid and played the PC game Theme Park. If you wanted to start a park in a highly populated country, you had to pay much more for the land. If you didn’t want to pay for land, then you’d have to build in a country with a smaller population which meant less income for your park. There were things you needed to compromise on depending on what country you wanted to build your theme park in, and its the same in real life. We compromise on one thing, but in return we have something else going for us here.

When people living in L.A. ask me about life in Kuwait. I tell them about how things are here and their eyes get all dreamy, wishing they were living in Kuwait and had our lifestyle. We generally have it pretty easy over here and in my case, super easy.

So yeah things aren’t perfect here and I’m usually the first to point the issues out, but if you don’t appreciate what we having going for us right now (we really do have a lot going for us), then you’re probably not making the best use of your time here.


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38 comments, add your own...


  1. Sharath says:

    I am sure writing a post about what are the things that are going for you here, will go a long way in mitigating the not so favourable sentiment for Kuwait. Its time we see some positivity.. what say Mark?

  2. Mr. Green Grass says:

    I grew up in Los Angeles and I live in Kuwait now. I get asked the same question all the time, and you know what? The grass IS always greener. I was just there this summer, and I’m not gonna lie… It was a dream. A whole month where I didn’t have to work and just go to the beach every day and play all night? First of all – I was lucky to have that month – most of my friends there were amazed I could even take that much time off (and I still have more days I can use!). Second of all… I didn’t have to work. When we leave Kuwait and go on vacation, we forget about the grind required to live in the places we’re visiting. The rent. The bills. The taxes. The insurance – car, home, health, and more, and a thousand other ways we have to pay out the nose, like water, power, electricity, phone and cable bills, etc. But all that does comes with a tradeoff. Long day at work? Well, now you have a couple hours of sunshine (if you’re lucky) to go swim in the ocean or walk to a park or do whatever. And if you’re an average person, MAYBE you can afford to take an international vacation in 10 years.

    People say Kuwait is great because you have the opportunity to save money and travel. I agree. But then I think “How great would it be if I lived in a place I loved where I didn’t even want to travel?” It’s all a tradeoff, and it just depends where your priorities are. But the grass is always greener. I was in Maui years ago, and I overheard a young man on the phone saying, “I’m just getting so sick of this place, I think I have island fever. If I see another perfect sunset I think I’m gonna puke. I guess it’s true what they say – the grass is always greener.” Imagine that. Living in paradise and absolutely sick of it. My take away here is – where we are doesn’t matter as much as how we make use of our time and what we commit ourselves to. In the past few years, I’ve made an effort to quit my bitching and moaning about how shitty things can be here. Things suck in Kuwait? Well, what have I done recently to help change them? Probably nothing? Then I shouldn’t complain. I’m not saying we should NEVER complain, because we should – we deserve better, because Kuwait deserves better, there’s no doubt this country is majorly underachieving and is falling victim to corruption, neglect, tribalism and xenophobia, not to mention a horrible case of entitlement and arrogance among some people, but we shouldn’t expect the government or outside forces to magically fix our problems, there needs to be a collective effort to fix our own problems. (And before the GTFO haters come out in full force… Save it, I’m Kuwaiti).

    I tell this all the time to friends and co-workers, particularly those from India or Nepal or Lebanon, or other countries which I think have amazing natural beauty and great people – I often sincerely ask them, on days where Kuwait may be getting them down, is it worth it? Is it worth leaving paradise for the desert? If yes, make the most of it! If not, and if you can be happy with less money back home, do it! Our lives are what we make of them, wherever we are.

    My apologies for the philosophical diatribe, but I suspect some people probably needed to hear this, myself included. Be good to each other out there, people. Life can be good wherever you are.

    Love and peace to all.

    • Ed says:

      Hey, you want to go get coffee sometime? :)

      Sorry, but I echo your/Mark’s sentiment and find it tough to constantly defend why I choose to stay in Kuwait, specially when the majority shit on Kuwait at every opportunity.

      “Life can be good wherever you are.” Indeed.

    • Jay says:

      The grass may or may not be greener on the other side, but let’s atleast get real when talk about the attributes of another country. You mention India, Nepal and Lebanon as places with natural beauty and ‘great people’ (as if there is a place with not-great people too). But how about all the lack of infrastructure, corruption, sectarian bias, dirt, pollution and rough weather in a country like India or Nepal?

      • Mark says:

        or lebanon (except for the weather). Thats part of the compromises of living there..

      • BetsyCake says:

        Yeah I agree with Mark. Lebanon also has lack of infrastructure, has a lot of corruption, is like the capital for sectarianism, and has tons of dirt and pollution. The weather is the only upside and even then it depends where you live. Beirut in the middle of July is definitely not as hot as Kuwait but is humid as hell.

  3. Sala6a says:

    Come to Melbourne!

  4. adly says:

    Its really simple actually : if you have a good job or business in Kuwait that allows you to live in a cool apt or villa and make enough money to travel frequently, and are hooked up with the right crowd so get invited to parties and chalets on the weekend etc, and have access to booze, of course Kuwait is great since youre basically living in a bubble (or gold plated cage, depending how you look at it). However, if not, and you barely make enough to get by, and you have zero rights and are bombarded with xenophobic comments and actions on a daily basis, whats the point of sticking around? you might as well be broke somewhere with nicer weather and a more open society…

    • aaa says:

      Lol at equating human rights with access to alcohol

    • Dfine says:

      Adly, your completely right that’s my point every time I have this argument. We are the privileged and fortunate, what about the others who has to drink aftershave and rotten fruit juice.
      Who live in a apt, with a partition in a room with 4 others. The Kuwaitis seems to forget doze when they speak about their glorified Kuwait.

      My other point is, whats important? fancy vacation ones a year or peace of mind everyday? Would I live in the US, hell no. With their vacation and health care system. No way. India and Lebanon, no thanks.

      I want to live in a country where the rights are equal, you are part of the country equal to the one who was born in it. You can buy and own a property or a business, the years you invest in the country bare the fruits of a future. Here you have expats who is born here, they don’t have a future. How sad is that.

      ADIOS

  5. Ahmed says:

    Not as an expat though. You will be reminded of that every single day. even though I am born and lived here all my life.

  6. Ipsom says:

    Can’t agree more with you on the last 2 paragraphs…

    it’s not perfect we got issues that make my blood boil, but I’m fortunate to be here

  7. Alexander says:

    I’ve been i Kuwait for over 2 years, would I consider Kuwait paradise? Not even close. Keep in mind this is my perspective on what I have seen and experienced. Although I have met many good people here from all parts of the world, Kuwaitis, Indian’s, Ukrainian’s, Filipino’s and so on, something is missing in Kuwait. What strikes me funny is that Kuwaitis seemed to either ignore or don’t care how they are perceived?

    I know we can’t be worried about what people think about us, but there are a few things we should notice. If, I ‘m well off I have no reason to look at anyone else like a bottom feeder. We are all created equal, maybe not with the same skin color or well to do wealth. Nevertheless, everyone has a purpose and loved ones in their lives.

    Here is what drives me crazy about Kuwait; I don’t understand the need for daily unsafe driving on freeways by Kuwaiti’s and expats. Where are you really headed (small country) that you find the need to endanger lives of others? Do these crazy drivers realize that in Kuwait the seat belt is not used? On a daily basis I see kids riding vehicles with no seat belt? Am I missing something here? Is it a death wise or just a parent’s plain ignorance?

    Let’s move on over to shopping mall. While in line at a checkout counter, a Kuwaiti steps in front of the line (not while I’m waiting) like he’s special. Look buddy there’s this thing called a line, so get to the back. Was there really a need for me or anyone to point this out? Common sense should’ve prevailed and this issue would have been preventable.

    If you visited LA or any place in the US you would notice people don’t cut line, if they do trust me you will be confronted. We don’t pass from the far left or right lane’s (solid yellow line) those are for emergency vehicles or disabled vehicles. We stop for pedestrians instead of speed up. Adly, stated some people might be living in a bubble and I agree. Those individuals disregard life and care only about themselves.

    Life is short so we need to make the best of it. I not better than anyone else, I make it a point to speak to anyone no matter race or religion. What’s more important, I don’t discriminate, just because someone is cleaning tables doesn’t mean I can’t speak to them. Everyone has a story and a perspective in life. Trust me, I have seen and experienced poverty in life. What makes me different is the following: It’s much easier to go from riches to rags if you have experienced it before. For those who have never been poor they would struggle and possibly take their life.

    I really can’t tell you what kind of night life Kuwait has to offer? I participate in the yearly 5K and 10K runs here in Kuwait and have met some really great people. Other than running, there’s not much I can add when it comes to entertainment. Although I don’t drink (alcohol) I feel attracting Western tourism is important. How is that possible? Look at Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar; they have a night life bars and hotels that serve alcohol. At some point the oil will run out, maybe not in our lifetime but eventually. Kuwait need additions plans or options to sustain its people.

    Last but not least, would I live in LA? Hell no, it’s a plastic environment with everyone trying to be someone. The beaches and bars are nice, but beyond that the cost of living is horrible and people can be rude. Driving in Los Angeles is ridicules and traffic is a nightmare. If you break down in LA and the sun is coming down leave your car where it is. Hopefully when you get back in the morning it’s still there. LA is a big city and it has lots, I mean lots of bad neighborhoods (Cholos).

    For what you pay in a home in LA, I can live in Waikiki or Honolulu off the beach. People in Hawaii are true to themselves, how do I know this? I was born and raised there..Aloha

    • Sam says:

      But what you described happens everywhere. You think people don’t drive rashly in the US or Europe? You think people don’t jump lines there? I’m sure these things happen, but again, since we’re in Kuwait, we assume that it’s specific to this region, but it’s not. It’s just normal human behavior. Some people are super nice, some are morons.

      • K-man says:

        To the same frequency though?

        The amount of times you’ll see someone drive like a moron in Toronto is rare, and the amount of times you’ll see someone skip a line is even rarer (definitely will be called out too).

        Whatabout-ism is a terrible way of looking at things, and that’s compounded when the “what about” examples you give are actually wrong.

        • Sam 2 says:

          Well, technically, Sam’s examples were not wrong. You just chose examples to prove him wrong. What about places like Egypt or India? Where lines don’t even exist and people just keep cutting?

          It’s true Kuwait isn’t better than most first world countries but it’s not the only place that these things happen in

      • Riba says:

        Nothing can match what I have seen on Kuwait roads.

        After years spent here I came to terms with everything, but the constant life threat on the roads here is something I will never get used to. I think this is my only major gripe with this place. It is so bad that we avoid leaving our home if we can. Casual red light running and *daily* wrecks by the side of the roads like in a Mad Max franchise is something you you not see in US or Europe.

        I stopped wondering why people don’t use common sense, safety belts or keep their children in their laps while recklessly driving, but I just can’t get over them constantly endangering me and my family. :(

        As for what’s normal – “normal” is what you have been taught since your early age in your family, whether it is cutting the line or respecting the others. Draw your own conclusions.

        • Dfine says:

          Couldn’t agree more. While in Spain on vacation we drover for 700K and we didn’t see one accident. Not one!!!
          Drive for 7K in Kuwait and you see plenty. When you confront a Kuwaiti about this issue they blame the expats driving. It get me soo soo mad. Bc the majority of Expats drive so careful bc they don’t want to loose their silence or car, not to mention their life. The Kuwaitis drive huge trucks, don’t respect anyone on the road. Tailgates, cross right to left, three lanes at the time, flashes you, drive on the emergency lane as it is their right.

          For me it is the attitude and entitlement, that make me want to throw up.

          Don’t get me started on the pedestrian situation. I will boil over.

          • Riba says:

            Truth to be told, I wouldn’t point my fingers at the locals. It is a combination of many unfortunate factors, all equally contributing to the problem. Out of control truckers are a minority, there is a fair share of women whose traditional dress code simply does not allow them to check their surrounding while driving, so they simply don’t bother to. Then there are people employed as “drivers” who were brought in using the cost as the only factor. I doubt many of them are literate, but they do sit behind the wheel. Move away from the city and you will have to deal with underage kids driving around. Add the fact that literally everyone has a steering wheel in one hand and a mobile phone in other, and the picture is almost complete.

            At the same time there is no decent public transport so you are forced to join the demolition derby taking place daily. :)

            But enough ranting for today.

  8. Jay says:

    Mark, can you list some not so great things about living in LA? Will make many of us feel better and less deprived :)

  9. La Croix says:

    I can deal with the heat. I can deal with the dust. I can deal with the Mad Max driving, but goddamnit I can’t deal with NO LA CROIX.

  10. Kurama says:

    I do agree that we are very lucky to be living in Kuwait and can even travel all over the world. But I’m never happy in Kuwait, it’s boring , there’s nothing to do here, it’s malls restaurants then even more malls and restaurants. Also you can’t live freely here, everybody wants to know you’re business and everyone is jealous of each other, when I’m in Europe nobody cares what youre wearing or how you look or what you drive. Unfortunately I can’t leave Kuwait ATM need to save up and then hopefully when I retire I can live abroad :)

    • Mark says:

      There are things to do here, not as many options as LA but probably more options compared to a small city in the States and I never find it boring. It’s really the company you keep, if your friends are interesting and fun it doesn’t matter if you hang out at home with them or at Mcdonalds, it will be a fun night no matter what. When I was in Knoxville a couple years ago and Lexington, there really weren’t many things going on there compared to Kuwait. I thought those two cities were pretty boring.

      It’s also not just restaurants here, but putting that argument aside, restaurants are where people in the States go out to anyway. Where else do friends go out together? Bars? Ok but we’ve got house parties or gatherings so we got that part kinda sorted out. People who live in NY or LA aren’t visiting museums or doing random activities every weekend. In fact I had this conversation with all my family and friends there, everyone had the same remark, they get to see LA when I visit. People live in their areas and don’t go out unless it’s to the area next door, but as tourists we tend to jump around all over a city, but that’s not real life.

      • Kurama says:

        Well it does depend on people’s preferences, that’s what you enjoy. What I enjoy is going out of house getting fresh air, walking in cool or cold weather, if people feel it’s boring in their city they can just drive to another city in USA. I get that from people too, I don’t understand people who live in beautiful countries and don’t go and explore it. I don’t really like parties or going to restaurants all the time. My friends do come over and it’s fun when they do, we watch movies and play on Nintendo switch but it’s more fun when we go on holiday together and go up mountains and enjoy the beautiful views. But like I said it depends what each individual enjoys :)

        • aaa says:

          “if people feel it’s boring in their city they can just drive to another city in USA”

          You realize it’s a really, really big country? By this logic if you think it’s boring in Kuwait you can drive to Dubai.

          I lived in a boring American city for years and didn’t have a car even

  11. 3azeez says:

    why would anyone want to live in LA? I was there recently. its a sad place.

  12. Osama says:

    When are you opening a theme park?? :D

  13. Laziale says:

    I don’t understand the big fuzz about LA and everyone wants to visit or even live in there, family relatives and friends who visited the city made it like it was heaven on Earth ! I visit LA in 2012 for 3 months, cross it North to south. I didn’t feel any connection with the city, actually i hated it! It was sweating Hot at noon so big with miserable all time busy freeways although I lived in Orange the shortest drive to one of my favorite places was 40 minutes. Good thing in LA are people really friendly and welcoming you with a smile.

    I may end up like french deutschland ppl do, save up Retirement and live in southern France or spain. Or maybe stealing 300 million kwd and live in London.

  14. Sumaiya says:

    That’s an interesting perspective. I’ve always thought of it the same way- there are advantages and disadvantages in almost every place in the world.

  15. ohoh says:

    “happiness/paradise isn’t a place, its a state of mind”


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