Sometimes being an American living in Kuwait is more difficult than others. It's not always the overtly apparent things like clothing, driving, or restrictions on society that are hardest to get used to. For me, it has been the demands and or expectations of my time that are exhausting both mentally and emotionally. Of course I am only speaking as an American who is living here and married to a Kuwaiti because a non-tethered American wouldn't face these issues.
I don't want to complain a lack of time because it's not truly that; it is rather the sense of obligation attached to time and how it is spent. Take for example the weekend. I work the whole week, deal with the children's demands, plan meals, and other motherly duties, so when the weekend rolls around, I want to relax. I want to not have to worry about what I am wearing, throw on some jeans, and languor in the luxury of forty eight hours of 'free' time. What happens instead is: Thursday after work is "family time", not our little family, mind you, but Baba Oud's and the extended family. Ok, that is understandable, but then we have Friday where the time is divided between prayer and what time we can eke out to go have a dinner in the middle of the day together as our nuclear family. Then, Saturday rolls around and it is another day of extended family obligation, and then the weekend is over.
Many would say, and have, "Why don't you just not go?" To which my reply would be that I have missed many a family gathering, but my husband pays the price for it. They ask where I am, why I am not there, what is wrong with me, and make plenty of assumptions and inferences that are simply not true. The fact of the matter is that it is just a huge chasm of cultural difference that separates us revolving around the ways of spending down time. I get it. And I am not saying that my way is right and the other wrong. I just would like to have some peace from the continual knock knocking in my head of compulsion calling and me feeling like a jerk for not answering.