Last week, Gabe and I were out to lunch when I noticed a couple sitting awfully close. I perked up and urgently whispered to Gabe,
"Oh my lands. Don't look now, but the couple behind you is getting SO SAUCY. And I don't even think they're married. Oh lord! He's nuzzling her hair! Her hand is on his thigh...IN PUBLIC!"
I. Was. Scandalized. My verbal play-by-play of their affection continued while we finished our lunch. At this point I realized had this little tête-à-tête occured in the US, I'd never notice. But here...it was dinging my Scandal Radar something fierce.
And therefore...at the end of Expathood: Month Three I'll proudly claim to have adjusted to the social norms in this country. Not assimilated, but certainly adjusted.
So, here's a little insight into my first three months, in three sets of three. Cause why not? :)
three things i've learned
one: With all that is going on in the Middle East this week, I feel I can't state this enough: the people here are peaceful. They're either interested or completely indifferent to our existence. It's so easy to make snap judgements about a culture thousands of miles away, based solely on what the media plays out. But please believe me when I say that what you read + see on TV is the exception rather than the rule. We are safe. We are respected. For that I'm so thankful.
And we have the utmost respect for those around us...even if they worship another higher power or live by another set of social rules than what we know...we respect their choices.
two: We have maids, and they will happily wash our dishes if I tip them. This discovery is both powerful and dangerous. I try my best not to use this knowledge for evil. ;)
three: The Kuwaiti Dinar is currently the strongest currency in the world. ($3.60 US dollars = 1 Kuwaiti Dinar) This is why I faint nearly every time we go shopping as I calculate cost conversions in my head. $13 for a head of broccoli, $14 for the amount of soy milk we'd pay $4 for back in the US...or $120 for an IKEA item that's $80 back home. It's add ups FAST. And it's certainly eye-opening.
I will never, ever complain about US prices.
three things i've loved
one: Unexpected camel sightings! There are beautiful, rare moments in which all the menial, dull or inconvenient experiences here are washed away when I realize I'm doing something no one would have ever expected. Not even me. Camels and melodic calls to prayer always bring on that caliber of joy.
two: Ocean view from our bedroom, office and living room. Ocean view, Gulf view. Whatever you want to call it...how I lived for years without an ocean view and access to innumerable sea shells is beyond me. Every morning between 4am and 5am, Lucky + I wake up to watch the sun rise over the rippled water. It's pink and orange and watery blue. Every color of lovely.
three: Holy canoli, girls. The shopping options can make this smalltown gal's head spin. From Forever 21 to Kate Spade...from IKEA to Pottery Barn to ZARA Home...you can shop your tush off.
three things i've missed
one: I miss ease. It's a complex thing to miss, or even explain, but for example: I miss waking up and getting dressed in 15 minutes without stressing about offending someone. I miss having my own car, and easily getting from point A to point B. I miss buying new bedding without having to perform mathematical contortions to decipher what size our bed is: US King? UK King? Middle Eastern King? Is that size in cm or inches?
two: I miss rain and flowers and chilly, dewy mornings. And estate sales and farmer's markets and bumping into friends at the grocery store. You could say I most miss the style of American charm I've known for 26 years.
three: I miss Target. There, I said it. Of everything my home country has to offer....I miss the Big Red Dot.
Whoever said, "It's the little things" was no liar. It is indeed the little things I enjoy here, and the little things I miss most. :)
Happy weekend, friends.