“No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.”
– Chuck Thompson
In my opinion, Kuwait is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. There are so many differences between the United States and Kuwait that I’m slowly adapting to as the days pass by. First off, the driving is insane here. I challenge any American to name one city in the United States where people drive worse than they do here. I’m talking about people driving in two lanes at once, children sitting on the sun roof of the car as it’s going 80MPH on the highway, no blinkers when switching lanes, and no headlights at night. Needless to say, I will not be driving unless I am forced to against my will because I can barely drive well enough in Florida so I doubt I would survive in the Middle East. I normally catch a ride to work and when I’m headed somewhere in the city I will call a driver to come get me. Secondly, Kuwait is a dry country meaning there is no alcohol. I know what most people are thinking… How am I surviving without alcohol? We all know when I’m home, I drink entirely way too much and 90% of my snapchats are me completely obliterated with no recollection of when and where I am but I guess I’m trying to change that about myself because you don’t need alcohol to survive you know? At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Furthermore, the attire is different here. Most women wear an all black dress known as an abaya, along with a hijab that covers the hair and neck, and some also wear something called a burqa which covers the entire face. Men wear something called a dishdasha which is just a full-length robe. Not all Kuwaitis wear this clothing, I believe it’s generally up to the family but when you walk through the city you will definitely see a lot of people dressed in this attire. I don’t have to dress traditional but I have to be cautious of the way I dress when I’m out in public. Essentially, don’t dress like a hoe, don’t dress like you’re going to the club and don’t show too much skin. Pretty self explanatory. Another thing, Kuwait is expensive as shit. 1 Kuwait Dinar equals over 3 American dollars and its the strongest currency in the world so if that doesn’t make you feel poor, I’d be surprised. Sometimes you’ll walk into a store here and something that’s $25 in the United States is 25KD here so multiply that by 3. Not going to lie, it’s pretty easy to go broke in this country if you don’t have a good job but thankfully I do so I only feel half as broke.
Sometimes I wonder why Americans complain so much about everything and anything. Let me just share this quick little story with you guys. My first week here, I went out to eat at a restaurant with a friend and we were seated at a table near a Kuwaiti family. At the end of the table, their maid was standing there with her arms to her side the entire time they were at the restaurant. Maids are easily distinguished here because of the uniform they wear. After the family finished eating, the server asked if they wanted to get something for the maid to eat. The dad looked at the server and told her no, he grabbed a plate and took all of the scraps of food left over and handed it to the maid to eat. Now maids here aren’t your typical Molly Maid in America, maids in this country do literally everything; they cook, they clean, some of them basically raise the children. Never in my 23 1/2 years of life have I ever witnessed anything like that. I’m not sharing this story to talk bad about Kuwaitis because I have plenty of friends from this country and they are so humble, I’m sharing this story because it saddens me that so many Americans are so hung up on the little things that they can’t see the big picture. I am a firm believer in living your life the way you want to live it and if you’re unhappy in America, then move but it will be very hard to find a country that has the same rights and freedoms that America has. Just remember, living in a different country and visiting a different country are two separate things.
I feel really bad for some of the contractors here in Kuwait because their only friends are people in the military or other contractors so they don’t get to do much. The best part about living in a different country and traveling are all of the new and interesting people you get to meet along the way. Two of the coolest ladies I’ve met while being here are Mari and Melissa. I’ve spent every weekend with these girls and a few others since I’ve moved here and we’re always doing new things. Last Friday, we went to a concert held at a park in the city and then we spent a few hours at the Avenues Mall. Rule #1 in Kuwait: NEVER go to the mall on a Friday unless you absolutely have to because Friday is their day off here and everyone loves going to the mall.
I spent my Saturday at The Burrow this weekend. Probably one of the coolest gyms I’ve ever had the privilege of walking into. The gym includes a spinning room, yoga room, personal training area, boxing ring, Crossfit equipment and so much more. If you’re familiar with the movie Alice in Wonderland, you will understand the concept of The Burrow. When you walk in, everything is kind of out of place; there’s a random door against the wall, tea cups and cool furniture. The concept is actually genius, “we’re all mad here” is a catchy little logo they have. While I was there, I did a terrible yet fun 45 minute Crossfit workout with one of my newest friends from Scotland and Melissa taught me how to do a few yoga poses.
Being able to adapt is the key to living abroad, Kuwait is different but I like different. To answer the questions I get asked on a daily basis since I’ve been here: No. I’m not getting bombed every two seconds, I don’t live in a tent and I feel so much safer in the Middle East than I do in the United States. Danger occurs everywhere and terrorists are everywhere so don’t be quick to judge this fascinating country because the news says a thing or two about the Middle East. Just remember there is more to the Middle East than Iraq and Afghanistan. Every country has good and bad but the key is to be smart about what you’re doing, where you’re going and be cognizant of you’re surroundings. I challenge you guys to step outside of your comfort zones and see the world from a different perspective. If you open you’re minds, you will see that there is so much this world has to offer and it’s amazing. Until my next post, inshalla. 🙏🏽