If you’re ever considering moving to Kuwait, I have a tip for you:
Never leave your house/apartment without sunglasses and headphones.
Yeah, quite serious.
The other day, I went to the gym after school. Normally, i try to plan my time so that I don’t have to walk home after dark. I don’t know–I just like not being out after dark by myself. Call me overly cautious, whatever. Just me. But on this day, I had a meeting with a parent and some stuff I had to get done so I was running really late. On the way back from the gym, it was dark out, and traffic was literally stopping and people were staring at me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m white, blonde, have an un-covered head, or was in work-out clothes instead of a long skirt (or a combination of the 3), but people were stopping their cars and just watching me. This is in the city that never stops–literally I can look out my window at 3AM and see people driving by in a hurry. Stop signs here basically mean “slow down and yield”. People don’t stop. A few guys on motorcycles were yelling at me. They were speaking Arabic, so I have no idea what they were saying.
I could understand why people were staring at me when I walked to the gym–i was singing and sort of doing the dance from the movie Frozen–the song “In Summer” that Olaf sings (you are welcome for that mental image 🙂 ). But on the way back, I was just walking with my head down.
This is where headphones come in. There is a ridiculous amount of noise on the streets. Taxis are everywhere, and they all assume you need a ride, and just in case you didn’t see them, they will honk at you. Always. Also, if people see you, they may just yell at you. Like ‘hey look, strange white chick with non-dark hair! She would like it if we yell at her!”. So they will. I just put ear-buds in and turn my music up quite loud. I don’t want to hear it. If I want a taxi, I know how to get one and I don’t need them to honk at me 🙂 I don’t want to hear the people yelling at me. They won’t do anything, just yell. They really are harmless–so I’ve been told.
But if you make eye-contact with anyone, they may just approach you and try and talk to you. And to a Muslim man, “no” means “try harder”. So if he says “Do you want to ________”, and you say “no”, he’ll just keep asking. So the trick is to just not make eye contact at all. And I am way to curious of a person to walk around all the time with my eyes on the ground. This is where sunglasses come in. And if you know me, you know I love those sunglasses that are seriously tinted and reflective. Then I can stare at whoever I want, roll my eyes as much as I want, and look around and no one knows what I’m looking at. I haven’t had a problem with anyone pestering me. It’s perfect. People leave me alone, i get to see what I want, it’s a sweet deal.
If you’re worried–don’t be. I’m not a very friendly, inviting person. Some people will talk to anyone. I’m not one of those people. I’m not the type to sit on an airplane and talk to the person next to me for hours. I won’t strike up a conversation with the person ahead of me in line at the grocery store. I dont’ even talk to my neighbours. Usually. Believe it or not, I tend to be fairly anti-social. Until people get to know me, they think I’m shy, stuck-up, or quiet. (yes, I’ve been called all of those things). Of course, as you know, that changes once you get to know me. But people dont’ tend to approach me and try to talk to me. I’m not sure why–maybe the sunglasses and headphones scare them off. Or my thinking face looks to intense and “don’t bother me or else” going on. I’m not sure. I don’t care. I like being left alone when I’m on my own on the other side of the ocean 🙂