Tuesday, September 2, 2008

one week...

One week in Kuwait- I should be able to give you some general overview of the culture, sights, life here… I don’t think I can say much… I find it pretentious when anyone claims to “know” a place… unless they have lived there for years... and even then, I know so many that have lived in a place and could not tell you what happens just next door… this often happens with expats… many of the Westerners that I knew when I lived in Taiwan could not name a single Taiwanese person outside of colleagues at work… conversely, I knew dozens of Chinese and Taiwanese that are students at UW-Milwaukee or even have been worked in the US for years, that could hardly count any Americans as friends… for a few of them their English even became worse… it seems strange but perhaps their desire to come here and the tests it required, rapidly improved their English, but once they were here… most, at least that I knew, lived with Chinese roommates, had only Chinese friends, watched Chinese television and ate only Chinese food… in classes, they often had Chinese friends in class with them or knew Chinese that had taken the class before and got help to pass it… I have yet to make a single Kuwaiti friend… I’ve barely even talked to any Kuwaitis… all of workers in shops, on the street, at our university are from somewhere else… the city is designed around car culture… large roads and parking lots… “homes” are usually in apartment buildings or gated so there seems to be little way to peak into anyone’s life here… everyone has been away for the summer but the woman that first interviewed me for my new position, Maryam, just got back in town… she took me out to the Sultan Center for shopping… that is about the only thing that it seems you can do in Kuwait… besides the sand and the mosque, literally on every block, there are two or three shopping malls, literally on every block…
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