Thursday, February 28, 2013

Back in Paradise...

Did I Make It???

The hot burning question on all of your minds, I am sure.  I believe that I did!  If you remember, the original Lenten challenge was to give up shopping.  There was a built in clause that allowed me to buy one magnet and one keepsake from each country that I visited while on Lent.  For those of you who don't know, I recently celebrated my birthday in Dubai, UAE.  It was FANTASTIC!!  Dubai is everything that it promises to be:  BIGGER, BETTER, and FAKER (not a word, I know)!  Having grown up near Disney World in Florida, I felt right at home, but I digress.  On to the important stuff...the challenge.  I purchased the following in Dubai:

  • One koozie from Atlantis.
  • One koozie from The Irish Village.
  • One magnet.

 While some of you may be quick to think, "wait a minute, that is TWO keepsakes!"  I can justify these purchases by saying:

  1. This is pretty damn good for a girl with a shopping addiction who just happens to visit one of the world's most renowned shopping capitals.  
  2. Atlantis is pretty much a country in it's own right.  Therefore, I think I am good.  What do you think? 

Upon my return from Dubai, I realized that I needed rice.  Off to the Bakala I went.  Apparently rice is a big deal.  I mean, I am no dummy and knew that, but I wasn't expecting to be able to ONLY buy rice in 5kg bags (about 11lbs).  That is a lot of rice!

Don't let the price tag fool you.  I paid 1.400 KD for this bag of rice, two onions, and a head of lettuce.  Pretty good!  But wait, it gets even better.  When I arrived home, you can only imagine my joy when I discovered that the rice bag has a zipper!  That's right a ZIPPER!!! It's the small things...  

Bakala Total:  7.350 KD or $25.95

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alright, so it is not quite 50 eggs but I did get 30 and a free dozen from my neighbor! Why? Well, they are primarily for the pooch and I have developed a new affinity for egg salad recently.  Mimosa loves hard boiled eggs. I once read that they are great for her black fur, keeps it shiny and soft.  I believe it!  Also, since they are not refrigerated here, they last forever. I’m not kidding…months! I am so glad that I actually found non refrigerated eggs again! After living in Guatemala for four years I had grown accustomed to buying large quantities of eggs (because they are cheaper) and keeping them for longer periods of time.  Upon my arrival in Kuwait I discovered that all eggs here are refrigerated.  It was a sad day.  I was delighted to find eggs last night in Bakala Qamar!  And even more excited that they were not refrigerated! It’s the small things…
 I am off to Dubai to celebrate my birthday so blog posts will be suspended for a while.  I will be sure and stick to my rules:  only one magnet and one keepsake…this should be interesting!

Bakala Total:  5.950 or $21.00

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Interesting Tidbits...

Interesting Tidbit Number 1...

Today's trip to the Bakala was full of fun and exciting information!  First and foremost, it is exactly 111 steps from my elevator to Bakala Qamar.  This is a good thing as I find myself there almost every single day.  

Interesting Tidbit Number 2...

Our neighborhood Bakala is a bit of a rarity here in Kuwait, as it is open 24 hours.  I am not sure why they are open all night, but it sure is convenient.  Now if we could only get them to sell some "special water,"  all would be right with the world!

Interesting Tidbit Number 3 (I wish I had thought of this one sooner)...

The Stash 2/19/13
I decided today to take a photo of my stash.  It will be interesting to see how my shelves will look after this challenge.  Inevitably this challenge is making me reassess my current stock of food and use each item wisely.  As you can see from the photo, I have started with a pretty good stock of items making the beginning of this challenge seem not so tough.  I wonder what song I will be a singin' after my rations start to dwindle.  Stay tuned... 






Interesting Tidbit Number 4...

Remember in the beginning when I told you that this challenge was cooked up in my old apartment in Guatemala?  Hopefully, you don't have to think too hard, as it was only last week that this information was revealed.  Anywho, this challenge is now intercontinental as my former roommate Andrea has accepted the challenge!  Check out her progress here:   Want to take bets on who will cave first?!?! 


Interesting Tidbit Number 5...

Ok, so this one is really just a purchase update, but I have found out that my price is completely dependent on who is behind the register!  Today I got all of this...

for just 1.400 KD or $4.96.  Interesting because he didn't even weigh the veggies, just charged what he felt was fair.  I'll take it!

Shopping List:  Do we really want to keep this going?  Let's just keep up with the total spent!

Bakala Total:  4.950KD or $17.52

Monday, February 18, 2013

Questions Answered... 


Since starting this challenge I have been fielding tons of questions, which is awesome!  Because most of these questions are similar, I figured I could answer all of them now in one fell swoop:

Why on Earth would you EVER do this?

There are several reasons why I choose to  partake in Lent each year... 
  1. Without getting too personal or religious, I do actually complete a Lenten challenge for  the traditional reasons.  I believe that self-deprivation is a great way to remind ourselves of all the things that we take for granted everyday.
  2. It keeps life interesting!  As good ole John Cougar Mellencamp (or was he just John Mellencamp or John Cougar at that time...must Google that one) once said, "life goes on, long after the thrill of livin' is gone." Challenging oneself to something difficult makes life more exciting!
  3. I learn a tremendous amount about myself.  For example, right now I am learning that I REALLY need a hobby!  When did I become so materialist?  I remember the punk rock rebel that I was, but I am realizing that I have become the complete antithesis of that person.  When did that happen?  Why did that happen?  YUCK!   

You cheat, right?  I mean no one is going to know... 


I DO NOT cheat!  I have been completing Lent for many, many years and I have yet to cheat. If you cheat, what is the point? 

Ok, not true, I did give up smoking a few years ago and made it until day 14 and caved.  However, I knew that I was going to cheat, giving up smoking was on a whim and I wasn't psychologically prepared for quitting. I totally ratted myself out to all my friends.  I also felt terribly guilty and donated a sum of money to a charity that helps others quit smoking.  Other than that one time I have NEVER cheated.  I WOULD KNOW!

I have been known to "bank" a few of my Sundays so that I could drink during spring break, but I was prepared for this before the challenge started and it was part of the rules.  During Lent, you can indulge in whatever it is that you have given up on Sunday, this is why Lent is 47 (sometimes more) days long, but I normally refrain on Sundays and then quit a week early, hence "banking my Sundays". I have spoken with a nun concerning this practice and she assured me that, while this might not be the best method, it is acceptable.

Is a Nestle Coffee drink really a necessity?



Friday, February 15, 2013

3 Days In...

Only 44 more days to go!  Today I learned two interesting facts about Bakala Qamar:

  1. They deliver! All I have to do is make a quick phone call and all that Qamar has to offer will be delivered to my door.
  2. They do not have toilet paper.  I probably should have done a bit more investigation before starting this challenge.Luckily I am pretty well stocked on TP so this shouldn't present a problem for a while.

Bar toilet paper, Bakala Qamar really does have just about everything.  It is amazing what they have packed into these aisles.  Every trip I seem to find some new, eccentric item.  Today's item:

I doubt I will be trying these anytime soon, but by day 20 desperation might set in!

Thus far I have made two purchases at the onion, one can of coconut milk, one package of shredded cheese, and two Nestle coffee drinks.  Total 2.100KD or about USD 7.44.  These prices might shock you a bit, I know that I just had to redo the conversion math about four times to believe it, but it is actually much cheaper than our local grocery store.  Plus, without the allure of fancy impulse counters and glitzy Western packaging, I am much less tempted to pick up items I don't really need.  I am hoping to save a boatload of Dinar during this adventure!  Stay tuned...

Bakala Total:  2.100 KD

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let the fun begin...

It's that time of year guessed it Lent.  Each year since college I have given up something that I truly love for 40 long days and long nights.  It really is 47 days, but who's counting (oh, I AM!!!)?  My normal sacrifice has been my beloved friend-alcohol!  However, since I have just moved to a dry country, I feel that is not challenging enough.  And for some reason that is still unknown to me--I love a challenge.  So here goes...

This year I have decided to give up shopping.  Those who know me well, will know that this is without a doubt, my favorite activity, second only to breathing.  And I mean I LOVE IT! To give those of you who don't know me as well an idea of just how much I love shopping, on my first return trip home from Guatemala, I cried, literally cried when I first stepped foot in Publix (a Southern grocery store chain).  I love any kind of retail venue.  The mall, this goes without saying.  The grocery store, each visit is a minimum of two hours.  The hardware store, I have the floor plan of Home Depot memorized.  The craft store, it takes an act of Congress to pry me out of there.  The gas station, you would be surprised what wonders are hiding in those aisles.  You name it--I LOVE IT!!  I think you get the point...this sacrifice is a big deal.

Bakala new shopping destination.
What does this have to do with a Bakala you ask?  And what the hell is a Bakala?  Thanks for asking!  A Bakala is a local mini-mart.  Tiny, tiny, tiny, and small.  About the size of my mother's living room.  It has everything you could possibly need and then some.  To make this Lent even more challenging (remember I told you I love a challenge), I have limited myself to only shopping at the Bakala behind our house. I can't take total credit for this former roommate Andrea and I came up a similar challenge while we were living in Guatemala.  We just never got around to doing it...Andrea, if you are reading-- we could make this challenge intercontinental!

The rules this season are as follows:
  • I can only purchase necessary items that I am planning to consume right away.
  • I can only buy Mimosa's dog food outside of the Bakala.
  • I can not eat out, unless I am on vacation.
  • I am limited to one magnet and one keepsake from each country I visit during Lent.
I think that about sums it up, this one should be interesting!

Let the fun begin...