The summer in the Middle East is by far the hardest time as an expat, although I usually do my best to avoid as much as I can, including Ramadan. Ramadan, for those who do not know, is the holy month for Muslims, which starts and stops based on the moon. I’m still rather unclear about that part and most of what Ramadan is. I just know that I’m not allowed to visit my Starbucks until the sunsets because otherwise I’d run right smack into their glass door. (If you were wondering, no I don’t own a Starbucks but there are so many on every corner, each of us could own one.) Everything closes, the people fast, and sit around contemplating- well again, I don’t really know but I would assume they contemplate their hunger pains.
As I was saying, summer sucks. Its 125 degrees on a good day, the sun never shuts up, and there is nothing to do. Summer starts around March and ends around December. During this time we start to miss home tremendously and start wishing we didn’t live here. “Ugh if I was home I would totally be at the beach” or “ If I was home I would be going to concerts/festivals/lake/boating/insert fun here”. We all know that we’d be in the same spot which is in the living room watching Kardashians avoiding summer outside. Possibly, most definitely with a beer in hand. Logically we know sometimes that it is not better, just different. Maybe more people to share the summer misery with, but nonetheless, we think the grass is greener. I always get “the fever” as I call it, which is wanting to move home. It happens every August. I remember our “expat counselor” who talked to us about living overseas and what it entailed before we moved to Hungary. She told us that our emotions would ride like a rollercoaster with a range of happiness to complete and desolate sadness and FOMO (fear of missing out). We’d have to tackle these feelings as they washed over us in an attempt to stay the course that we had mapped for our future. So here some of us sit thinking “Why do we live here? Can’t we go home, or even somewhere else preferably with 3-4 seasons?”
I’ve compiled some things I thought of this year while I spent two months in the States. For those who haven’t lived in the Middle East I may sound a bit pretentious, a little stuck up, and kind of a turd… but things are different here… so you will learn a little.
I now have USA culture shock. In a country where you can be, do, and say whatever, it’s amazing how many things that I encountered and thought “Kuwait does it better.” There are times when people don’t get it, and neither do I.
- I missed my maid. I had to mop and sweep my own floor AND fold my own laundry. It was horrible.
2. I couldn’t find Halloumi cheese anywhere but yet the choices in food at the grocery store were unending.
3. I tried unsuccessfully haggling prices at Walmart. Apparently that’s not a thing there.
4. We drove to get Taco Bell. No-one brought it to my door on a scooter in 15 minutes flat. I had to drive. I spent more in gas picking it up than I did on the food.
5. Speaking of driving… I passed someone on an entrance ramp the highway and turned left out of a straight lane. Oops? There were no cameras, so you can like, speed! (Not) My husband has literally forgotten what a blinker is, so a cop pulled him over and let him know where it was. Then as he turned out of the parking lot in front of the cop he again had to ask me where it was… Oh, and apparently you cant park on sidewalks, its considered “in bad taste”.
6. Wait, I have to PUMP MY OWN GAS??? And how much is gas????
7. My grocery bill was $80 plus all this other money. Something called tax… sounds stupid.
8. I got a doctor bill. Like an actual bill from the doctor. Insurance doesn’t just pay all of it?
9. “You don’t have a passport? What do you show when you travel?”
10. My waitress was rude at a few several restaurants and didn’t even ask to hold my baby… I was totally missing the awesome Filipino staffs. Hello Ma’am, Sir!
11. Emergency Lane apparently is for actual emergencies not for passing.
12. Inshallah, said no-one ever. Never.
13. There’s always a shock when I would say “ I don’t have a phone number just email me, I live in Kuwait.” Then you get that one shocked look and stupid questions… “ So.. do you… like, feel safe over there?” My response is usually “ I don’t know, do you feel safe over here with all the shootings in your own neighborhood?’
14. God people drive so SLOW here!!!! Yalla! Yalla!!
15. I couldn’t call my friends and ask if they wanted to go to Dubai for the weekend. They wanted to like go to the next city over. And drive. ew.
16. No-one wanted to wash my car while I shopped at Best Buy. So how do you wash your car?
17. “Do you valet?” Parking my own car is exhausting.
18. Where are all the camels?
19. The nearest Starbucks is how far?? 2 miles? That’s incredibly too far.
20. Last but not least:
I had to take my own groceries to my car. Worst experience ever.
Im sure all of you know at least a few of these, if you have more to add please comment!
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