I’ve been in Kuwait for about 21 days and sometimes it feels like two HUNDRED and twenty-one days.
Jet lag, reverse culture shock, politics and a multitude of social commitments – and ohmyGod do Kuwaitis take their social lives seriously. I’m drained by the constant stream of activity: visitations, dinners, parties, brunches, coffees, et cetera. Apparently, whilst in Mississippi, I forgot what it’s like to be Kuwaiti. People are easily offended here! If I can’t hang out with so-and-so or meet up with this group or that, they will most certainly take it as a personal affront. The “I’m-tired-I think-I’ll-just-hang-out-at-home” American excuse is a faux pas in Kuwait. And it’s not like I don’t want to see everyone, because I do! It’s good to be back (minus the curfews!); I miss all my family and friends but I’m just having trouble managing my time. There are not enough hours in a day, not enough days in a week. That, plus: a) I no longer have my own car and b) I live at the end of the world…
Though I finally managed to unpack, my room still looks like it’s been hit by a passing hurricane. Why? Because I’m never home to work on it! And when I do eventually get home, I’m rushing to wash my face, take off my contacts and crawl into bed. I often doze off before jumping up to set my alarm for the next day because I have to go pick new sofas with my mom for the dewaniya* or drive my siblings to a doctor appointment.
I need to breathe, get my act together, apply for jobs, graduate school and I must, must, must start reading/writing again. I don’t even know where my journal is – which is rather worrying! Yesterday, I picked up Mrs. Dalloway, only to find Woolf’s sentences extremely long and taxing. I read most of the foreword by Maureen Howard, the first fifteen pages of the novel and then I fell asleep.
I fell asleep reading what has been described as “one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century”.
!هذي الكويت …صل على النبي
*The dewaniya or dwaween (formal plural also dwaniyahs) “are the core of Kuwait’s social,business and political life…where topics of interest are discussed, associates introduced, alliances formed, and similar networking activities undertaken. Formal diwaniyahs may be convened to discuss particular topics, sometimes with invited guest speakers. They are also called for particular purposes, such as election campaigns. Formal diwaniyahs are the root of Kuwait’s consensual political system” (Kuwait Pocket Guide).