kuwait in threes.


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.


  1. I love the picture with the flowers. So cute! I also love hearing about your life there. You're so honest about it whereas sometimes I feel like bloggers only show the pretty sides of their lives. I actually just wrote a post about that.

  2. lovely pictures and a great post to read, thanks for sharing with us! it's good you can take joy in so much you're experiencing whilst you're there.

  3. well put, bethany! someday, down the road, you're going to look back, and realize how lucky you were to experience such an amazing thing! best of luck to you! XO. eden

  4. Nice post. It's so good to tag along and get a look at this amazing experience, as seen through your eyes. You tell your stories beautifully and your photography is always so perfect.

    We are only now getting our first Target stores here in Toronto (and I believe in Canada). They haven't opened yet, but I am so interested to finally see what my American friends love so much about the store!


  5. Bethany, I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed following your time in Kuwait.

    No matter how much I read about a place, and try to learn about a culture, it's the simple look into daily life there that has opened my eyes most about the Middle East. thank you.

  6. I still love your sense of adventure about this, even though it's not totally ideal.

    and all that shopping?! I'm jealous actually. even I don't have all that in upstate NY! but I do have Target, so I guess it balances out :)

    I'm glad you're getting adjusted :)

  7. I love seeing Kuwait through your eyes. Such a lovely post with stunning photographs. The first part really made me laugh.

    Did you know Fintas, Mahboula, Mangof and Fahaheel are where some locals bring their dates so they can hide and stay on the down low? Not so much now that we have Spoons, Menus and Al Kout which is bringing more local families. A few years ago it was popin' with affairs, secret flats and lustful meetings at cafes. It was a scandal for sure. ;)

  8. First things first, I'm so glad to hear you're safe. Also, that you have maids. This California girl is just a little bit jealous of that right now...

    I really admire you for packing up your things and moving to a completely different country. And not just a different country...the Middle East! I know it must have been quite an adjustment, but I'm thankful that you're finally starting to like it there and get used to it. And that sunrise? Absolutely gorgeous :)


  9. See, this is what I'm talking about. You're so not boring :). I love hearing about all the little things your learning. & I think I love you even more because you miss Target. I don't blame you.

    (I also really love the pics of the camels.)

  10. Thank you so much for touching on the people in the Middle East and their true attitudes to Americans. With all that has been happening I have seen people posting things about Muslims as a whole. When you really can't define close to 1 billion people as terrorists! Two years ago I met a man that soon became my best friend. At first I couldn't even pronounce his arabic name...but within just a few days I was laughing like I hadn't in years, and I felt like he and I were the same person. He was born in Jordan and now lives in Dubai, and is muslim. It is very important for people to realize that we are all the same, and you can find your soul mate or best friend in all the worlds religions and countries! Terrorists are not the majority, and I really thank you for understanding that and sharing that. Maybe you can introduce yourself to someone working at Kate Spade and gain a fashionable bff?

  11. You've summed up the beauty and hardship of expat life beautifully.

  12. This was such a lovely and honest post! I appreciate so much how eye-opening your journey has been to me about what living in the Middle East is like. The media really does screw around with our perceptions of the world, and I always look forward to your honesty and respectfulness of this new culture that you were placed in!

  13. i love this post!
    sounds like you're having a fantastic experience!

  14. I always enjoy your posts regarding Middle Eastern culture. It's always so interesting and eye-opening (and truly makes me appreciate "the little things" as you said). I can't believe those prices for simple things like soy milk!

    Glad to see you are adjusting well to everything :)


  15. I have been reading your blog for awhile and love it. I am not an expat, but my husband and I live in Korea for other work reasons. Our time here is almost done, it has been two years. While there are things I will miss about Seoul, I am anxious to return to the US. And also for a lot of the reasons you mention. The ease. It is what I have been feeling but unable to express! America is different and I miss her. And I miss Target! It might be number one on my list though. People just don't understand!

    I also like your words on Kuwait. My visit to that country and others in the area have been very different. I like to hear about the pretty things Kuwait has. I never got to enjoy a sunrise like you have shared in your photo. Although I do remember the camels!

  16. I always feel like I want to leave you these lengthy, insightful comments whenever I read your posts but then can't find the words to adequately express myself. Basically, you rock, and I am so happy the little things are still doing it for you.

  17. lol this made me giggle on more than one occasion.
    Being in Morocco for only two weeks I also found myself absolutely horrified by women baring cleavage or thighs (one was in yellow short shorts. HELLO NO NO!)
    And isn't the call the prayer a beautiful thing? It's so peaceful and soothing. I certainly wouldn't mind living in a place where I'd get to hear that every day!

  18. What a great post! And I know London is well SO different then Kuwait but I laughed at myself this morning when I thought... I miss Target:) Yep, we are AMerican girls at heart! xoxo


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