Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My ears, eyes and heart are wide open!

I am sooooooo glad that this is not my first time in the country!!! I think the Culture Shock hit me hardest then. Standing in the airport,walking on the streets, it is obvious we are foreigners. I've traveled with John many places in Europe where we really don't dress or look much different from those who are German, English, French..until we speak. Here I am light skinned, dress different, I stand out in the crowd. The stranger who can be seen from afar, I am stared at; surrounded by "cultural" difference. The one thing that is universal, I have found that if I give a smile, I most often get one in return.  Even the women whose eyes are all that can be seen, a smile is detected .  There are many nationalities here in Kuwait. I am very thankful most all people speak English, and for some, several other languages as well. (that in itself is very humbling)

There is a lot of western influence seen here; McDonalds, Applebees, Sears and Ace Hardware for example. The malls are large, modern and actually expensive. There is a store, much like Walmart, with groceries as well as household products, toys etc. There are many things similar; yet even more things different.
I ventured out for grocery shopping on my own yesterday. I walked around wide eyed like a little girl in a candy store.   The variety of foods was astounding. The produce section in particular. Its not so much as what was there, but where it came from. Basically nothing is produced in Kuwait. Its a desert. So almost everything comes from another country. The avacado is from Kenya, potatos from Saudi Arabia, green beans from India, plums, Spain and strawberries from S. Africa. Lettuce and squash I bought from Holland, and peppers from Italy and dates and raisins come in from Iran. I also got Egyptian beef sausage to put in spagetti sauce and we are trying Phillipino toast for breakfast.  What a hoot! I was giddy inside myself to discover my world getting larger.

8 comments:

Carolina Moon Arts Studio said...

hey deb, do you have to cover your head/face when you go out? have you had to alter your wardrobe any??? love this info. such details!! miss you.

Amy Jo said...

You found some strawberries in the dessert? Cool! I can't even find any this time of year in NY!

Anonymous said...

Carolyn, I don't have to alter my wardrobe at all. It is very curious to me. Some Muslims are covered head to toe in black, only their eyes are seen. Some even wear black gloves. Then there are women in a black robe, with a black scarf covering their head but no veil. Others wear colorful scarves and dress in western clothing. Then there are some, no robe or scarf...they dress in western style clothing. My observation so far, there are more women covered than not. Other observations regarding clothing...they shop in the western stores...just wear it underneath. The dress here is not as casual as US. Men wear ties and suits for business. When women are in public, they dress. Of what I have seen in the stores, there is much more variety in clothing....more skirts and pretty blouses/shirts. There are jeans and dress pants...but for the appropriate times. Shopping has never been one of my favorite things to do...but maybe its because of the lack of style and variety. Who knows I may enjoy going shopping now.
-debbie

Anonymous said...

This is great! I love reading all this stuff and I loved talking to you this morning!! I hope you're taking plenty of pictures too!!

Love you, Cath

Anonymous said...

I am excited that I will be able to read about your experience! Miss you and Love you!!!!
Love, Colleen

neither one said...

Hi... ran across your blog and had to read it.. I lived in Lebanon, Saudi and Kuwait as a kid... it was a big change from the States but we grew to 'call it home'... I still have relatives living in Kuwait and my sister married and stayed. I found it a nice country... I need to finish reading your posts...Soak up all the culture you can.. you will be telling the stories for years! Enjoy!

laurie said...

hey deb - i think i have myself set up to follow your blog. i can't seem to get a picture up there of me though. i'm going to love following you guys! hugs, laurie

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie. It is so exciting to be in a different culture, even in Europe. I am looking forward to reading about your experiences and live in Kuwait through your eyes.
Cathie McAdams