Saturday, June 20, 2009


I know it's been a little while since my last post. It's been a hard couple of weeks (it's always hard to know what to post when it's a downer week)...but also a busy one! On Thursday night my coworkers and I helped to pull off a huge graduation ceremony for our university. Honestly, I was dreading it...4-11pm in a dress and heels! It was also a dust storm day so driving around was a nightmare. But when I saw our graduates proceeding into the gigantic room with huge smiles on their faces, I'm embarrassed to admit that I got a little teary eyed. It's always exciting to see people realize their dreams. Not only did these students graduate, but they accomplished a college degree in a second small feat. After six months at the university, it was fun to see students that I know proudly walking down that aisle with a little bounce in their steps (probably caused by the painfully high heels they were wearing). In so many ways, it was a typical graduation. The same music, the same caps and gowns, the same long speeches. But there were also some interesting differences. There was a Quran reading...sung with the same melodies that echo from the prayer mosques. There were families that showed up with their 2 tickets, and 50 relatives! There was an interestingly political speech by the keynote speaker (a Sheikh from the royal family) who came out strongly against segregation on our campus (all classes are segregated, which means trying to find ways to offer every course twice with the same number of faculty!). There was the regular seating section, the VIP seating section, and the VVIP seating section! Yes, a VVIP section for very VERY important people. That section contained members of the Al-Sabah family (the royal family), the American Ambassador, some other ambassadors, and other people whose names I can't pronounce. There was security, more security, and even more security! There were hired american and british guys in black suits and those secret service earpieces (I never did figure out who they were). One of them escorted me out at the end of the night when I was panicking from the crush of human beings...nothing like a strong security agent with an earpiece to make you feel safe! I also had the interesting job of monitoring the prayer room...we realized after the doors to the space opened that it was prayer time, and there were two prayer rooms but men were using both! In Islam, the prayer rooms have to be separated, so I had all these fully covered women coming up and asking in Arabic where they could pray! So we cleared out one of the rooms, and managed to segregate the spaces. So I stood there in my knee-length dress and heels shooing the muslim devout men over to the prayer room. Needless to say, I felt a bit odd. But it was an experience! And the best part was that they did a full buffet for the entire place! That means feeding at least 3,000 people...and it wasn't cake and punch. It was a full buffet! I was quite impressed. All in all, a successful night. Even though I'm still hobbling around on blisters, I'm glad I got to experience it. Here are a few pics from the and one of our graduates who worked as a peer leader in my center, a group of my coworkers and I (too many cameras going so we're all looking in different directions, hah), and a couple pics I took from the back to show the clothing differences between a graduation in America and one in Kuwait :-) The pics of the men show the traditional dishdasha which is the formal attire for Kuwaitis.

1 comment:

uncle yale said...

Very nice Amy, sounds like a great experience.