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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 38, Monday - Muscat

Moved into the faculty housing this morning. It is extremely conveniently located seeing as it is on the second floor of the building where meals are on the ground floor and my office is on the first floor. The commute is terrific.

Uncle Rashid has been rather insistent on me practicing my Arabic, which is a good thing, however, today this resulted in the four of us in “my” office having a rather long discussion (in English) on the Arabic language and the difference between the formal Arabic, which I am taught, and the local Arabic, which varies quite a bit from country to country. I have had this discussion many times on my trip with the same general feeling on my part: I need to learn colloquial Arabic. I’m working on it.

This evening, Marwa and her mother took me out for a bit. First, we went to an expo where they sell everything: clothes, jewelry, perfume, snacks, furniture. It reminded me of the wedding expo I went to once in Seattle or the expo hall at the Puyallup Fair, but much, much bigger. Literally, thousands of people were there in this giant hall packed with booths. They kept commenting on how crowded it was but I enjoyed looking at everything and thought it was quite fun!

After the expo we went to dinner and then walked around the main mall a little bit. Marwa and her mom were great company and I really enjoyed the evening. Around 10pm or so they dropped me back off at the university. Setting the alarm clock was another reminder of my non-commute in the morning. :)

Day 37, Sunday - Muscat

Today is my first day at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), where Uncle Rashid works. We dropped Shetha off for classes first and then headed to his office. After a brief tour I was taken to “my” desk, here it is:

View from my desk
Uncle Rashid heads the Centre for Community Service & Continuing Education where I will be job-shadowing in the marketing department for the next two weeks. I will be working with Marwa, who heads the department and who I know from a few years back.

Marwa came to Seattle four years ago as one of the chaperones with a group of female students from SQU. I helped as sort of a chaperone/local guide with this group for their two week trip, so it was nice to see her after so many years. Another person I know here is Hameda, who also works in the same office and who I met three years ago when she took my sister and me to a wedding here in Oman. It is fun to see familiar faces and everyone wants to make sure I have a good time.

On a personal note, I love the fact that there is a tea station just outside our office (if you know me, you know how much I love black tea with milk and sugar). There are also dates which Shetha tells me are grown on the university campus. The university’s College of Agriculture has a farm on the campus where they grow various plants and keep some cattle. They sell fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, etc. from the farm and it is very popular because of its quality and freshness.

Settling in today, so not too much to write about, other than the fact that everyone here wants to make sure I enjoy myself and have everything I need. They are always asking if I need anything or if they can take me somewhere, which is so nice of them. As with people from this region in general, everyone is so generous and kind to me.

I sit in an office with three other people, and the gentleman in this office gave me a very pretty water glass to welcome me to the office. He told me that they each have one, so now that I am here I am part of the office and should have one too.

Tonight I was supposed to move into faculty housing at the university, but - something also typical of the region - schedules are flexible and I will be moving in in the morning. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 36, Saturday - Muscat

My first day in Oman! Technically, I arrived in Muscat on Saturday, not Friday, (partially due to the fact that I lost an hour because of change in time zones) but I included my airport experience on Friday because it was all part of the story.

In case you didn’t know already, I have been to Oman once before. Three years ago my family and I came and stayed for two weeks with Rashid Al-Kiyumi and his family. Uncle Rashid and his wife Hannan lived in Seattle for a few years and attended Seattle Pacific University; our families have been friends ever since.

When I woke up this morning, almost everybody was gone from the house for work and school, but Shedha, Rashid’s oldest daughter who I stayed with when we were here last time, came and said hello before she went to university. Rashid’s wife, Hannan, was also home and she made me breakfast.

Rashid, Hannan, Basil (their oldest son), and Shedha (their oldest daughter) all look pretty much the same as I remember, and they say I look the same as well, but the younger kids all look so much older! There are three younger boys and one girl. 

When the younger kids came home from school, we sat down for lunch. Now, I have to explain a little about meals. Breakfast we eat at the table in the kitchen (technically it is the indoor kitchen, the cooking is done in the larger kitchen away from the house a little). Lunch and dinner, however, are eaten in the sort of living room area. The space has a sort of a couch around the edge, which consist of stiff cushions on the floor and as back rests which are very comfortable for sitting or reclining on to watch tv, play cards, or just chat. The floor is covered with carpet.

Not the room we eat in, but same idea (this room is next to my bedroom)
For meals (lunch and dinner), a thin plastic sheet is placed on the floor - in lieu of a tablecloth - and the dishes are placed on it. Hannan gave me silverware to eat with, but since the traditional way is to eat with your hands, I did. Eating with your hands almost seems to make the food more real. It takes a little time to become good at it, kind of like getting use to eating with chopsticks, but it is not too difficult.

After lunch we read the newspaper and Abeer (the youngest daughter) and I worked on the sticker book I brought her while she told me the names of the animals in Arabic. We also watched some Arabic soap-operas and then we all took naps. The work day starts about the same as in the US, 8am, but ends earlier, it seems anywhere from 2:30 to 3:30 is typical, then you go home to eat lunch and take a nap so that you can go out in the evening.

Dinner was served in the same way as lunch and afterwards Hannan, Shedha, and I went out for a little bit. We went to a dress shop where my mom, Amanda, and I all got dresses three years ago, then we went to something called “Seeb” which is like an open-air market with small shops, much like the old souq in Kuwait. I believe Seeb is the name of the district.

Example of a dress (from the first store we went to)

Finally, off to bed because I start my job shadow at Sultan Qaboos University tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 35, Friday - Kuwait to Muscat

Spent the morning re-packing since it turns out I found some more things which need to make it into my suitcase. A little tip: turns out that it is true that if you roll your clothes they take up less space than if you lay them flat. My suitcase is proof.

This afternoon I sat outside during the day for the first time since being in the Middle East. Aunt Lina, Latifa, Nassar, Delal, Hiba, Dana, and I had lunch on the water at a nice restaurant connected to one of the malls. It was a little hot for me still, but you get used to it. I seriously think there must be some biological difference between me and the locals because they do not feel the heat the way I do. When they say it is getting cool, I still think it is warm. I’m serious, when then come to Seattle in August, they all wear coats.

Lina took me to the airport and went with me all of the way through the check-in (got me a discount on my baggage since they were over the weight limit) and then we said good-bye.

After waiting in line for a short time to go through Passport security, I was ushered over to the GCC Nationals line, which was empty. I noticed that most people going my direction were not GCC nationals but Indian nationals. Oman seems to be a common hub for people traveling to and from India. The other group of people on our flight was from a performing arts group of disabled people from China (I noticed them traveling in a group and saw that they had what looked like instrument cases with their group label on them).

Oman Air has been my best flight experience so far, but it isn’t exactly a fair comparison. Let me explain: after going through both the main security check and the security for my gate, I was sitting waiting for them to tell us to board when a gentleman from the airline came over and asked to see my ticket. I was afraid there was a problem, so I handed it to him and watched him scribble on it.

He handed it back to me and said, “You’ve been upgraded. Your new seat is 2D.” I guess it pays to wear a suit. :) I am also guessing that the flight was full and they were looking for someone traveling alone. Yay me! I have never flown business class before and it was very nice. They put a table cloth on the tray for your meals, bring you juice, and tea/coffee, and nuts and the meal was very good: ravioli with a fruit tart for dessert. I tried to enjoy it because I’m assuming that it won’t happen again.

After arriving in Oman, I went through passport control to get my visa and the guy looked at my passport and said that it didn’t look like me. I wasn’t exactly sure what to say since I know it’s an old picture but no one else has said anything, and it is me. It’s not my fault they issue 10 year passports starting when you turn 16. I told him it was me and asked if he wanted to see my driver’s license. He said sure, so I gave it to him. I’m guessing he has never seen a Washington State driver’s license before because he asked me about it being from the US and then he said it was expired. I tried not to laugh a little when I told him it was new (I got it right before I left home). He said okay and let me go through. I think he was just bored because it was the middle of the night and no one else was there so he wanted to talk to somebody.

Basil Al-Kiyumi, Uncle Rashid’s oldest son, met me at the airport and took me to their house. We got to the house around 1am (technically Saturday morning now) and we put my things in the guest bedroom. This is the room where my parents stayed when we were here three years ago. Driving to the house, it was fun to be able to recognize the roads a bit and the street that their house is on. It doesn’t feel like three years have gone by since I was here.
View of the common area of the Al-Kiyumi house from my room.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 34, Thursday - Kuwait

Today is my last day at Uncle Muhsen’s office. There was a staff meeting where we talked about an upcoming real estate fair and the company’s presence there. A representative of their ad agency came and presented some ideas for their booth. After the meeting, I got to help look over the mock-ups and give some ideas of my own. They seemed to like some of my suggestions, so we’ll see.
My desk

I spent the afternoon packing. Turns out I have quite a bit more stuff now than when I arrived. This has also resulted in the need for a box which I had intended to ship home. Slight problem in that the cargo company said that it is too light for them to ship and sending it through FedEx or DHL would cost more than the contents are worth. Looks like I’ll be checking the box with one bag and carrying on the small suitcase with my little red duffel bag.

In the evening, Latifa and some of her friends were hosting a birthday party which I was invited to. I was also required to dance most of the evening. There was a live DJ and they asked her to play some English music for my benefit. It was a good thing I had practice dancing at the wedding, because they do the same two-step dance at parties. It was all girls, but apparently there is a fashion trend among some of the girls to cut their hair and dress like boys, so half of us were wearing dresses and the other half were wearing collared shirts and kakis. I borrowed another dress from Noora’s closet.

There was also good food and Latifa made cupcakes which wrote out a happy birthday message. For drinks, they had the tiny cans of soda (or pop? I never know which to use) which they say are perfect party-size. I think they are cute.

By the way, there are two kinds of small cans, mini ones and skinny ones, I’ll try to get all three sizes, including regular, for a comparison photo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 33, Wednesday - Kuwait

After lunch today, Qadria and her son (who I had lunch with last week) took me around for the evening.

First we went to the old souq, called “Barqia.” I had been told about this old market - it is definitely the place to go for local and traditional items - but I had no idea how big it was. The maze of small shops has pretty much everything from fabric and traditional dresses to spices, toys, blankets, purses, etc. It was fun to watch Qadria bargain with the shop owners as well.


We decided that you really need a whole day at the souq to see everything, so I only got a small taste.

After the souq we went to the Science Center for the premier of this film about science, the Quran, and a pharaoh. It was mostly in Arabic, so I followed parts, but Qadria seemed bored so we left part way through.

I told them that I wanted to try to find some children’s books and movies to help me practice my Arabic, so we went first to a book store and got a few books then to a movie store where I got an Egyptian comedy. The idea of the books is for more vocabulary exposure and just to practice reading to become faster and more accustomed to the sentence structure. The movie is to help me practice listening with the storyline giving me context and visual ques. Plus, if you have ever seen an Arabic comedy, they are pretty funny (think old Jerry Lewis films).
The place where I got my books.
After all our shopping, it was time to go to dinner at Qadria’s mother’s house. This is best described through pictures:

 I am pretty sure I tried every dish on the table, and they were good.

Qadria’s mother was so sweet and kept telling me the whole evening how much I looked like my father and that I was her daughter now. Everyone in the family was so nice and I wish I had more time to spend with them but two weeks is going by very quickly. They were very generous with me and I hope that they come to Seattle soon so that I might repay their kindness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 32, Tuesday - Kuwait

Today I have a little video for you. This was done by one of Lina’s sons and has become quite popular in Kuwait (by the way, everyone says that it is pretty accurate). Enjoy:

Another note on Kuwaiti traffic: yesterday it took half an hour to get to work, this morning it took an hour. Maybe that is why people generally don’t mind too much if you are late (I'm half joking). Schedules do tend to be rather flexible here.
Diana's house at night.

This evening was another family gathering at Diana’s. All of the siblings who are currently in Kuwait were there – Lina, Seena, Diana, Muhsen, and Rima – as well as some of their children. I really feel like a cousin and feel very at home except for my only partial comprehension of the conversation when they switch into Arabic (it is getting better again though, like in Jordan).

Rima lent me an English/Arabic book that she bought for her sons who are starting to learn Arabic. It is a cute book with animal characters. As I started to read it, I realized that the English translation was missing whole sections of text. I like the bilingual books because I can read the Arabic to get the flow of the language and to try to guess the meaning; then, I use the translation to check my comprehension and to find words I don’t know, like “rock.”

Some words I can guess given the context and a related word I might know. For example: I learned the word for airplane in Arabic class, and in the book there was a similar word. Given the context I could guess it was the word for “birds.” The words are related because both objects fly though I am guessing that the word for airplane was taken from the word for bird, not the other way around. ;)

And that is how I am working on my Arabic most of the time: guessing. ;)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 31, Monday - Kuwait

Today is the one month marker for my trip! I left home September 18th and here we are on the 18th of October (by the way, this also means that my birthday is one month away, in case you wanted to know).

At Muhsen’s office today, I had some more meetings including some time with Muhsen himself. While I was meeting with Muhsen, he had a Saudi client come in and so I got to chat with him about doing business there. Rima also stopped by for a visit. After the Saudi gentlemen left, Rima started talking to Muhsen about a potential deal she is working on.

At one point in the conversation, which was in Arabic, she paused, looked over at me and said, in English, “I’m speaking in Arabic because I know you can understand it.” I laughed because I think she is over estimating my skills a bit. I can generally follow the conversation, but I often miss the details. Plus, in Kuwait as in Jordan, people mostly speak English to me, and typically a mix of half-English half-Arabic, with percentages varying among the age groups. I have fewer opportunities here to sit and listen to Arabic conversations as English is the main language used in the house.

This evening I finally went to a shopping mall to attempt to shop a little. Maha met me at "The Avenues" and we ended up going to a coffee shop (I had hot chocolate) and chatted most of the time. Kuwait is supposed to have some of the best shopping in the region and everyone keeps asking me which malls I have gone to. They are all rather shocked when they find out I have hardly been in the malls. I’m much more interested in visiting people and I have been spending most of my time doing so. Although, from what I have seen, this would be a great place to shop.
"My" juice stand in the mall, and I didn't even know I had a juice chain ;)
On the way home we blew a tire. I always thought if that happened I would feel the car shake or jerk or something, but we just suddenly heard a strange sound, like what it would sound like if you were driving around on a flat tire. We pulled off the freeway, got out, and saw this:

The picture doesn't really do it justice. Trust me, it was pretty shredded.

Looking back towards the traffic. 

I now know how to change a tire. Granted, I didn’t do any of the actual work because he wouldn’t let me help, I just supervised and took a couple pictures.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 30, Sunday - Kuwait

This morning, Nassar’s school had an assembly. He told us that families and friends could come, so I went. Regardless of the fact that we were late and I was one of only maybe half a dozen “families and friends” it was fun. 

First of all, we were late because while it might take us 15 to 30 minutes to get home from his school in the afternoons (the driver usually gets me and then we pick him up on the way home), it took an hour to get to the school in the morning. The drive in terms of distance should take about 10 minutes, but that does not take into account Kuwait’s traffic. 
Just a little traffic.
 Second, as to why I was one of only a few guests (actually, the only others I noticed were one set of parents), it seems that major assemblies where parents are invited generally take place in the afternoon to better accommodate the work schedule. I really don’t know what this assembly was for, but I knew Nassar was doing something in it and I wanted to support him. 

It ended up being some skits put on by the eighth-graders and then Nassar’s sixth-grade music class did a percussion performance. Nassar played the maracas.
Nassar is on the left side, fourth one in.
 At the end there was a game of Jeopardy and then we all left. While Nassar went to class, I went to work. 

This week I will be interning at Muhsen’s office (Lina’s brother). Muhsen, like his sister Rima, is in investment, but his company takes a less traditional approach. Sorooh Investment does Micro Portfolios (if you really want to know about it you can ask, but in case you don’t I won’t go into a lecture on finance. You’re welcome. ;) ). 

Several meetings and some emailing later, it was back home for lunch. 

Seeing as it is Sunday, I wanted to go to church in the evening and I really wanted to visit the church my parents used to go to when they lived in Kuwait. Since apparently there are only two churches in the city and the other one is Catholic (plus my mom sent me their website), I found it without too much trouble. 

 It was a very lively service and I was happy to be back in church as it has been difficult to do with all my traveling. 

And so begins week two in Kuwait! It is nice to not have to pack-up yet, and I still have a lot to see here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 29, Saturday - Kuwait

I woke up at 10am because my dad called me (I didn’t know it was him so I dismissed the call, which I felt bad about once I was fully awake, so I’m glad he called back!). I decided I had better get up anyways since I had been trying to fix the internet at home (which I have been without since Wednesday afternoon) and I had been invited to a lunch.

Aunt Diana (Lina’s sister) had invited me over to her house for a family meal with her husband’s family. Every week his family gathers at one of the sibling’s house for lunch and this week it was Diana’s husband’s turn.

The present I got from Diana's husband's sister's husband. They are Kuwait Police department towels. And they are pink. :)
I got more practice listen to Kuwait Arabic as people started to arrive. In the end, I think there were something like 30 to 40 people. I lost track after the first ten. Some spoke to me in English, but I got to listen a lot and speak a little Arabic. By the way, my nickname has become “Bella” because Isabelle seems to be rather difficult for them to remember and it often comes back as Elizabeth. They seem to like Bella and it seems to stick better (I know, I know, “Twilight,” but I did go by Belle in high school for a while, but Bella seems to work better for them).

I also surprised everyone each time I told them my age. The one sister said, “Really? I thought you were 15 or 16.” I tried not to look too disappointed. No, I laugh actually. My theory is that it is because I don’t wear that much make-up and here girls my age tend to wear a lot.

During the lunch, I ended up talking to the younger girls (middle school to high school age I think), since there were not that many girls my age there (most of them being away at school). I got invited to a party Thursday night, which they really want me to go to, and it would be interesting to see, but I think they had forgotten my age again, because I’m pretty sure the party is for like 12-15 year olds. They were all wonderful hostesses as they kept offering me things and making me eat more. Diana called Lina after to tell her that she had to take me out to dinner because I hadn’t eaten enough since I was talking the whole time. I told Lina that I had eaten plenty. I told you, I can’t make them happy.

We did go out for dinner (after I got on my computer to do some work but ended up talking to Amanda the whole time :) ). We went to a place called Wagamama, which I have heard of but this was my first time to eat there. For dessert we had Baskin-Robbins, then we went grocery shopping. That was fun. I like walking through grocery stores in different countries to see what they have.

When we got back I talked to my mom a bit (just to get everyone in one day ;) ) and went to bed “early” around 11pm, I think, because I have to get up early. Tomorrow, I will go with Nassar to school in the morning for an assembly and then to Uncle Muhsen’s office.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 28, Friday - Kuwait

Today was full of beach activities! Latifia, Nasser, and I started off with the ATV, which they let me drive (actually, that was probably the safest choice as I am the one with a driver’s license). Lina came with us too for a bit, so we all piled on and drove around on the road outside the house. Then some of the cousins came over and we drove over to their beach house (Aunt Seena’s).
View from Aunt Lina's beach house

Me on the ATV

Nassar and Latifa

Once there we decided to go back for our swimsuits, so we drove back, got dressed, and I drove the car back over because Aunt Lina needed to get some work done while we went swimming.

We got in the water and everyone was complaining about how cold it was. Let me tell you, these people don’t know what cold water feels like. The temperature was mid to upper 80’s and the water was barely colder than the air, after a few seconds it doesn’t feel cool at all, just the right temperature to keep you from feeling hot.

Me dressed to go swimming (this is over my regular swimsuit, I borrowed them from Noora's drawer). I'm standing in the room I slept in at Aunt Lina's.

From Aunt Seena's beach house

Everybody has jet-skis here and I quickly learned that the guys have a favorite past-time of driving up close and turning so that they splash you and you get soaked (if they do it “right”). This is also how I discovered that the water is really salty, since I didn’t turn away fast enough the first time and it got in my eye. I also got good at spotting guys coming to splash us and the only defense is to turn away and squeeze your eyes shut.

A little bit later, Maha got out their jet-ski and they took me out on that. They let me drive it around too, which was a lot of fun, and they said I’m pretty good. :) We also took out a thing called a “donut” which is like a puffy circle chair thing that you sit on, and hold on to for dear life if Maha is driving. I had a blast, except for the split second I was only half-on the thing and thought I might go flying (don’t worry mom, I was wearing a life-vest, and I didn’t actually fall off, only half way, onto the arm-rest part…)

Maha and Dana (Seena's daughters) with the jet-ski
We ate lunch at Aunt Seena’s and when I put some on my plate she said “That’s nothing! There’s no food there! Here…” and she proceeded to place twice as much as I had put on the plate myself (meaning 3x the original amount). When I had eaten that she put on more. No one is happy enough with the amount I eat. I can’t win. Oh, she also gave me the most amazing doughnut ever: it had chocolate icing with chocolate chips and chunks of toffee on top with some kind of toffee filling. It was really good. After lunch it was time to go since Latifa, Hiba (Seena’s daughter) and I had a wedding to go to.

In one of the rooms at Lina’s chalet, they have a “Wall of Fame” where anyone who comes to visit writes or draws something. I found where my dad had written when he was there and I wrote next to it (I had to get a chair to reach though…)

Invitation card to get into the wedding

We were supposed to leave the house by 8pm since that was what time the wedding started. I think we left around 9:30pm or something (in a limo, which belongs to Lina’s company) and we took the scenic route, apparently. We got there a little after 10pm and we sat down right before the lights dimmed for the bride to enter.

Our ride to the wedding

Hiba, Latifa, and Me

This is the jacket that I wore (to be more covered outside and when the men came in). Also, jewelry is a must, so Lina lent me a few things.
And now, for a bit about Kuwaiti weddings:

First, this was the women’s part of the wedding, so it was only females until the groom is brought in by his entourage towards the end. The room was a long rectangle with chairs set on levels about four deep along three of the walls so that everyone can clearly see the floor in the middle. Along the last wall is set up a sort of stage with a couch for the bride.

After the men had come in so everyone was covered and I could take some pictures. The bride is the one in white at the very end of the room. The groom is standing next to her. I wanted to give you an idea of the shape of the room.
The point of having things set up this way is so that you can have a good view of the bride as well as everyone who is dancing. This was a smaller wedding, so you could see everyone pretty well. Basically, if you are dancing, you are preforming for everyone else. I had not been aware of this when they taught me the dance. Lina had told me that mothers and grandmothers sort of scout out potential wives for their sons/grandsons/brothers at these weddings because it is one of the few times girls can be seen without their abayas and head-scarves. Think prom dresses.

We mostly watched for a while. Turns out we sat on the wrong side (we were there with the groom’s side) but nobody seemed to care. They brought around chocolates and coffee (my favorite was one that had something like crumbled Oreo cookie and peanut butter inside) and people danced for the next couple hours.

Every time a new song started, they played the same little refrain, which I could never quite make-out, but it was something along the lines of this guy shouting “Wallah, salaam, all-ay, Mohammad!” Don’t quote me on that though. Anyways, the music was also played really loudly so that if you wanted to talk to someone you had to talk right in their ear. After each song, everyone clears the dance floor, waits for the refrain and the music to start again, and then rejoins the dancing.

A cousin of Latifa’s was also there so Latifa and I finally decided to go say hi so that we could all dance together. The dancing, as I mentioned, is this sort of two-step which is done going down the long room one way and when you reach the end you turn around and do it back the other way. Then repeat. You also have to move your hands and arms as you go. People are going both directions and sometimes at different paces, so you kind of have to navigate around people while attempting to look graceful.

There were also a few specific dances: one or two where it was only the older ladies doing a scarf-dance, and towards the end of the night a few Egyptian ones where you belly-dance if you know how (I do not. I watched).

Groom entering
You can also go up and take a picture with the bride if you want. Around midnight all the women put on their abayas/head scarves/coats/sweaters/etc. and the groom and his wedding party finally came in. There was lots of traditional greeting of people and then all of the men except the groom left. The cake was brought out but before they cut it the bride danced for the groom (in the same way we had all done) and then their families gathered around them cheering and doing some special dances. Finally, they cut the cake. Now, one of the women had done a dance with a sword, and then set it down on the table with the cake and I was thinking “Wouldn’t that be cool if they cut the cake with the sword,” and they did.

Bride dancing for the groom

The Wedding Party
After that we got to eat, around 12:30 or 1am. There were dozens of things to choose from: skewered meat, pasta with lots of sauce, bread, hummus, cheese, etc. Then we went back to dance, with our shoes off. Somewhere in here the groom disappeared and I think the bride did too before we left, I just don’t know when, I never saw a big send off.

For dessert there were fruit tarts, crème caramel, chocolates, some kind of orange flaky thing Latifa made me eat, and more. This was followed by a little more dancing before we left some time after 2am. We had to go through a police check point on the way home and they made us pull over with a bunch of other cars. The driver went and talked to someone (they just wanted to make sure nothing crazy was going on) and we went home.

And that was Friday…
My shoes
The Wedding favor (it's perfume)