Thoughts by Becca: Kuwaiti Lessons

Al-salaam alaykum everyone,

It is I, Melana’s flatmate and current adventure buddy, Becca. I am guest blogging for this entry because I was given the opportunity to treat a very interesting patient. This man is an influential Kuwaiti who has been to more US states than I have and continually says wonderful one-liners with each session. He recently informed me that I was “to not shy away and ask anything you want to know.” The best part is he is completely serious.

To start, I was nervous about meeting him because he was going to be the first “traditional” Kuwaiti male I would know. He informed me that I would be his physiotherapist and thus he would be seeing me a few times a week, because in his words, “I am very lazy and I am old and I am fat.” I wish I was making this up.

He continues to make the treatment sessions more and more enjoyable with his pragmatic one-liners such as, “If you need 20 minutes to go somewhere in Kuwait you should need 45 minutes. Traffic is too much this time of day.” And he knows many influential people including the architect of the Kuwait National Parliament (and, of course, had him over to the house for a meal). His grandfather was a famous pearl diver because “he could hold his breath the longest and since there’s no oxygen his lungs were bigger.” Plus every once in a while he comes out of left field with, “I have a policy. I don’t spend 30,000KD ($100,000) on one car, I get a new a one every 2 years.”

In our last session we discussed the traditional headwear of many Muslims in the country and the every popular observation that three of the world’s most common religions came out of this small area of the world with, “Why this place? I do not know what it is.” He asked me my favorite meal (my mom’s chili) and proceeded to ask me, “fish, meat, vegetables or chicken, which do you want to eat?” and the questions kept going with, “beef or lamb?” “sauce or no sauce?” “vegetables?” “rice?”. The entire question string ended with him telling me I am joining him for lunch at his house next Saturday where there will be a lamb dish with sauce, vegetables and rice for me. Oh and I am to bring my friend Melana, whose name he was extra sure he spelled correctly. Whhhaaaaaattt??

All in all, a so far so wonderful time here in the Middle East. My inner anthropology nerd is overly enthralled by the cultural experiences we’ve been fortunate to partake in here thus far. Until next time…ma’ al-salamah.

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