Do you have a foreign word that lingers in your mind? or reminded you of a place you´ve been to?
I can understand a little bit of Arabic but I can´t read or write it. I think it´s one of the most complicated language in the world that I have ever encountered, German still on top! 🙂 In Arabic, so many intricate strokes,so many unknown lines, its really an artistic language, i meant on the writing technique.Arabic writing is a way of ” Kunst” .The very first time I have heard the Quran prayers, I find it really intriguing. I thought, are they singing, wailing or saying a poem? Hearing it almost 5x a day , then it becomes naturally a part of my senses, just like a song that reminds us of a memory. Whenever I hear it, I know that it´s the prayer time, or Salah. At work, when I see my Muslim colleagues gather and start their prayers, I know that the prayer call is always on time.
In my days in Kuwait before, I always hear the word ” Yalla”. It signals a new day, a new beginning, and another call of the hour.
Looking back, there are many useful and simple Arabic words that are really helpful to Expats. It´s very handy if you happen to know and memorize them. The words ” Mashallah, ( normally means something beautiful, a form of adornment, or compliment) “ Salam Walaikom“ ( Muslim greetings of peace) , and “Inshallah” ( God willing..) are very important words to take note aside from the usual “Shokran ” ( thank you) and “Afwan ” ( you´re welcome)
But for me, the one that stands out is “Yallah “.
Yallah, Yallah means many things. It can mean, “let´s go” , or okay, or a form of agreement, encouragement and exasperation. When I needed to call a Taxi, I dialled “Brother” ´s number and just say “Yallah” and he immediately understands me.Brother is an expat from Bangladesh whom I really trusted while I was in Kuwait. It is very normal to get service in Kuwait so you can have a regular taxi service to avoid running into rude taxi drivers. With Brother, I felt safe and I don´t need to worry to much.I´ve lost contact with him so I don´t know anymore what happened to him. I hope he is safe during this time of Pandemic.
The word Yallah really depends on how you use it in a sentence. It can also means ” Hurry Up!” or quickly get it done.Just like the life of an Expat is always on the go for changes whether its a new job, a new place..or a new, challenging weather to get used to.
Friday is the rest day in Kuwait ( as well as in other Muslim countries). It´s a no- work day, and a day to rest, sleep-in, do groceries, meet friends, watch a movie or just stay at home.Normally I would visit the Friday market with my friends ; haggle like a pro, and often utter the word “Yallah” to convince the vendor. I terribly missed the authentic flavors of Shawarma and freshly grilled kebabs, the Biryani and Baklavas.The Madjool dates that I buy in Lulu Hypermarket is unforgettable.The hustle an bustle in the old Souks is really chaotic, but nevertheless beautiful to watch. The number of expats in the streets is overwhelming, as well as their authentic smell. It makes me dizzy, and claustrophobic. They say that smell can trigger memories in us. That once our memory is impaired, then our sense of smell is also affected. It makes sense though…
Yes, some things are really unforgettable…Ma´shallah!
One of the fascinating things I did was watching the fishermen haul their boats and getting ready to unload their fresh catch of the day. Everywhere in Kuwait, you can have a glimpse of the Arabian Gulf . Aside from boat trips, fishing is quite a normal sight. Along the Road no.5, traffic is always heavy, and crazy. Since cars rule the roads and definitely Kuwaitis loves speed , it´s really easy to get distracted and things go unnoticed.It is a scary thing to ride your bike there. The weather is scorching hot, and there is definitely no cycling paths! Yaállah!
At the beaches in Salmiya, Khiran and Mahboula, are the perfect place to watch sunrises and sunsets. I lived in the area of Salmiya for a long time.I loved watching the sea from our windows and it brings me such nostalgia.Those were beautiful scenic views of nature, so simple and yet so precious.
Strolling through the streets of Kuwait can be quite strenous especially if you are not used to hot, dry climate as high as 48 degrees in Summer.Wearing long sleeves and long pants in a heat like this? and living in an air conditioned room for almost every single day…? Yaállah Kuwait!
But this weather did not stop me from discovering its hidden facets and gems. These “Mushroom” like water towers are really beautiful, and there are lots of Arabic traditional teapots spread all over the city, serving as water fountains landmarks.In Kuwait, we always drink from the bottle but I really don´t understand why they are fond of having landmarks in a shape of an arabic teapot?
I wish that Kuwait continues to grow, as a city, as a place ful of compassionate people and that the expat community will thrive to be an important part of its growth. As an Expat, I believe that our stay in any foreign land gives us a chance to contribute something and make an impact to any circle we belong.
Salam, and Tschüss!