5 times a day, 7 days a week

When Jeff and I were living on campus at Hope College (our awesome alma mater), trains pass through town on a regular basis. During the day, in the middle of the night…all.the.time. Because it was downtown and there were lots of cross streets, we got quite used to the sound of train horns. By senior year, they no longer woke me up in the middle of the night.

When I lived in France, there were lots of churches. I remember my first couple days in Paris…the sound of church bells made me really realize I wasn’t in the States anymore. Eventually, the beautiful bells just became background noise and I barely noticed them.

In Kuwait, we’re (very) slowly getting used to something new. Muslims pray 5 times a day. For each of these prayers, all the mosques have a call to prayer sung by the Muezzin and played on loudspeakers. We have at least 3 mosques in a 1-mile radius of our apartment with one practically attached to our school. Even though we hear the call 5 times a day, it’s still interesting to me. Fridays are the holy day of the week for Muslims. Today, on our walk back from the gym, there were 2 simultaneous calls to prayer and 1 Friday sermon for the city to hear. Men in dishdashas (and a few women) flocked to the mosque next to our school to pray. The majority of Muslims in Kuwait are Sunni and 30% are Shi’a. Each mosque has an Imam who leads formal prayer. My goal is to make time this weekend to blog about the Grand Mosque tour we went on in September. 🙂

Here is a very short clip of the call to prayer of the mosque across from Al Corniche that I took a few weeks ago. If you want to see a longer one from the mosque in Kuwait City, click here (we didn’t take this one).

Sample weekend

Lots of people are curious about what our weekends might look like. While chasing camels and fighting our way through sandstorms may sound glamorous, we have yet to do either. Here’s what Friday looked like:

10am – woke up
11am – willingly subjected ourselves to Bodypump at our new gym. Ouch.
12pm – staggered to some couches in the lobby and surfed the net for an hour.
2pm – met up with friends to taxi to one of the malls nearby.
5pm – geocached our first international hide
6pm – grabbed a few things from the grocery store on our way home
7pm – made and subsequently ate fantastic pizza on leftover Iranian bread.


Saturday

8am – woke up
8:45am – hailed a cab and went to the Grand Mosque
9:15-11:30 – toured the Grand Mosque
12pm – cabbed back, had lunch w/ a friend (hummus w/ veggies & bread)
1pm-4:30 – spent the afternoon on the beach at the club.
5pm – grocery shopped.
6pm – made dinner.

It was an awesome weekend, one we hope to repeat many times over. I guess when you think about it, some of the things we did we couldn’t have done in the US, for better or worse. Either way, for those of you thinking we’re spending the next few years in some third-world country, rest assured we are not 🙂

Update (from Lissa): if you didn’t notice, our weekends in Kuwait are Friday & Saturday. Friday is the holy day in Muslim culture (like Sunday for Christians) so naturally they have the day off. After living in culture with Saturday/Sunday weekends for 27+ years, this change has completely screwed up my sense of time. I usually have no idea what day it is and how many more days til the weekend comes:)