Tuesday, March 01, 2011
US Embassy National Day
I had a great time at the 4th of July party at the US Embassy last week.
That’s right. 4th of July in February. Well, there are several reasons for them to hold it on a different date. This year it was held right before the kick off of the National and Liberation Days. (Other reasons: The weather is always better earlier in the year; people start to travel for the summer; and the date is changed for security reasons.)
I went with Pretty Girl. I think (hope/pray) that she had a good time. She was a little nervous at first (the security was a little intimidating to a teenager visiting an embassy event for the first time), but I think everyone including the Ambassador and our hostess made her feel at home and cared for. (By the way, no glitches whatsoever at the security desk, thankyouverymuch, R! )
(I can remember being PG’s age back in the States and going to embassy parties – like at the embassy of Kuwait for example – and feeling intimidated and slightly overwhelmed. Where has the time gone??)
A few times, PG said, “I can’t believe this is Kuwait…” I told her to look around and remember, as it was her launching pad to the rest of her life (as maybe it was for me back on Tilden Street in Washington). I firmly believe (and I have heard this from several other people including our hostess) that PG is destined for great things in her life. I just feel it in my bones. I have the great honor of being here now and being able to help the process a little. She was extremely well-mannered (shout out to her parents for doing such a great job with her!) and polite. She seemed to intuitively know people’s characters and made little remarks as we walked away that reinforced what I already knew about her. Her observations were always correct. She had chosen a very pretty tunic with butterflies on it which was a very good choice for the social butterfly she is.
PG made some young Kuwaiti friends (also either in the exchange program or who had already gone and come back) and they were running around for most of the night. Almost every American fast food chain had a booth there, so it was hard to stay in one place. (I opted to stick to smoothies thinking it was healthier, but on my 3rd I decided - not so much.) I lost her for about an hour. I thought that she would be the only one wearing a purple hijab, but I counted 7. (It is one thing to lose your own kid or a relative kid, but someone else’s kid is probably not a good thing. I guess I have become a nervous nelly and I never thought that could happen.)
When we finally sat down at the end of the evening, we met some “interesting” characters (everything happens for a reason and I believe they were sent to deliver a message – keep your grades up!). The gentleman we spoke to was an international law professor who was formerly bidoon, but who had been granted American nationality through his educational value to the country. I didn’t know it until I asked him what his opinion of the bidoon situation is, as an international law professor. Half an hour later, I was still fascinated by his interesting and amusing conversation of the subject (with several funny injections of “I’m looking for a wife…”).
It couldn’t have been a better night. The weather was perfect, the lighting was perfect (reminded me of a square in a small town), the changing lights in the trees, the music, the fireworks at the end of the evening, the food. I only had 2 (well 3) problems: my skirt kept falling down (guess I have lost a little weight? I hope) and I wore the wrong shoes (I had no business in 3.5” heels on grass… but they looked cute, right?)
My friend who invited us couldn’t have been more hospitable and kind. She’s always upbeat with a contagious laugh and always a kind word. She’s one of those people who never has a bad word. I think she’s perfect for her job and I wish there were a lot more people around like her (especially to do what I love to do – connect the dots).
And speaking of gracious people …. I am getting nervous about the possibility of Mrs. Jones’ end of mission. I don’t want her to leave and I think I speak for a lot of people here also. She is just good people, down-to-earth and approachable. The fact that she knows the culture and the language so well is just icing on the cake. She is the kind of person that I aspire to be; intelligent and diplomatic, yet compassionate and not afraid to show emotion once in a while. As she did during her speech that night: She spoke of a long-time employee at the embassy who she obviously was very fond of. During her speech, she stopped because it was a fresh wound; he had passed away just days before and her voice broke as she spoke of him. She also said how much her embassy family means to her. After the speech, she walked around to each catering booth and stopped to talk to the people working there and to have her photo taken with them. Looking around at their faces, they were all extremely honored by her gesture. The true meaning of a graceful host is someone who can make everyone in the room feel welcomed and appreciated. I think she went above-and-beyond.
For all my BMCing about the embassy and the problems (mostly just getting past the people at the front gate - call it "process improvement"), the changes that have come about during Mrs. Jones’ tenure have been amazing. I truly admire her and her staff and most have been extremely kind to me over the years.
I ran into (literally) so many people that I haven’t seen in ages; the lawyer who helped me when I was leaving Agility/PWC, for example; several sheikhs that I never get to see (in Kuwait), and various old friends. You would think that since Kuwait is so small that you would get to see your old friends all the time, but there is just never enough time here and the time that people have off, they like to spend with their families. (Where did those relaxing Kuwaiti days go???)
Thank you, US Embassy, for a wonderful evening.
Thank you, Pretty Girl, for making me so proud.