Thursday, April 28, 2005

Alienated At Home

Ever felt alienated at home? where you just feel that you don't belong to whatever is surrounding you; whether it's the place, the people, or just the general atmosphere. This has been my dilemma for the past few years.

I come from an average, middle-class family. You can call it your simple, typical Kuwaiti family. And I was, well, your typical Kuwaiti guy. Coming to the US has broadened my perspective about life. It opened doors to me that I never even knew existed. It got me outside the box I was living in before. And for that I'm glad. It's the best opportunity that came my way in my whole life.

As a result, my personality changed a lot. I have transformed into quite a new person. My interests evolved drastically and grew more sophisticated.

Now I feel there is a disconnect between me now and my surroundings from back then. When I'm back home every year, I feel this major discomfort all the time like I can't wait to leave. I have a hard time initiating a single conversation that interests me with my family. I also no longer enjoy Dewaniya for more than an hour, while I ironically used to host my own Dewaniya every single night in the past. Sometimes I manage to engage in interesting conversations, but I eventually get struck with a typicality later that really turns me off.

As a result of that, my list of people whom I enjoy their company or places that I enjoy being at has shrinked dramatically. Very dramatically.

Sometimes for the sake of taking it easy, I'd just decide to go with the flow and play the old-typical-Jandeef role, but then I'm not being my current, true self. On the other hand, I stick to who I am now and I'm back to square one: a stranger.

I have to try to build bridges that connect me to my natural surroundings, but at the same time not compromise who I am now. That's my current challenge.

12 comments:

Jelly Belly said...

I can relate but with me I feel more lost between the two worlds.
Have you ever had the feeling that you don't belong in either place?
I do and I hate it...I wish I have the sense of belonging either here in the States or back in Kuwait…you see I’m just like you I can't be the old me around my old friends and family because I hardly know that person ...my biggest fear is how to re-introduce myself to them…I guess deep down inside of me I don’t want to be judged.

Broke said...

Dear Jandeef ..

Many ppl who studied abroad have been through the same thing .. But since you are comfortable and happy with the " new person you are " ,don't not worry abt it .. and regarding the alienation thing when you are back again to q8 , this will take sometime then you will cop with it ..
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This doesn't apply to studying abroad .. even us who have been sticking to our families and freinds throught out ourlives ... there is always some place where you feel alienated .. This is normal .

Blossom said...

I know how you feel although I didn't get my bachelor degree abroad but in my childhood I lived abroad and it really affected me made me visualize things differently ... This can concluded as the following :

1- You(not you, you in general) love famliy and friends but you think they are shallow and close minded
2- They are time wasters
3- Poeple in Kuwait don't mind their business
4-The common thing between Kuwaiti families is food !
5- Money has no value !
6- every body is dreesed the same
7-They don't follow the rules

Broken

I agree with you with

Ziena said...

ok i think this the right place to say : I AM SCARED!
thing is, i havent lived in kuwait at all, not only did i study abroad, i lived all my life abroad, my family has been telling me for a year now that i should come back and its where i belong. so i am actually quitting everything this summer and going 2q8 for good. i mean i have been there almost every year but for what! a week or so!! at least u guys lived there a bit!
ppl are gonna mock my accent! the way i dress! but obviously i dont give a damn and i wont change FOR ANYTHING

nanonano said...

Jandeef: i'm goin through the same phase u r talking about now..but the diffrence is i feel i'm much more...i don't know how to put it...much more sophisticated than my girl friends...all my life i wanted to b a career woman..but now i feel so disconnected from my friends..not because of anything but i feel that my goals in life much more difrent than thiers..

Jandeef said...

You know what kills me even more? It's when my family and friends tell me "Oh Jandeef what's wrong with you. You weren't like this before why don't you hang out and talk with us." When I hear that I feel kind of misunderstood coze I know if I open up, they won't get it. They won't think as deep as our discussion now. So what do I do? I just shut up.
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JB,
That's an interesting thought that slipped my mind. Yea I think I have a little bit of that too. Being in between. But my issue is not US vs. Kuwait. My issue is that the way I think has changed alot and now I find myself alienated.
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Broken,
As I said I'm happy with who I am now. My biggest fear is when you said "you'll cope with it." I want to cope and deal with it, but I don't want that to change me back to the old me.
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Blossom,
Most of your points are right on the money. Although living abroad is a big factor, but sometimes change happens wherever you are. Maybe being abroad speeds it up or makes it a more dramatic change.
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Ziena,
Yea just be yourself. Won't do you any good if you try to change to please people. But maybe having lived abroad all your life is a plus? since you don't have my dilemma of being someone before then changing to someone else, which kinda makes you question yourself all the time "Should i stick to who I am or change back to who I was." Sometimes being limited to one option is good, and your only option is to be yourself since you didn't have another option before.
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Nano,
That's exactly how I feel. My goals and interests are much more sophisticated, and you can't level down to them all the time. You can do that for a while until you can't take it anymore.

مبتدئ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
مبتدئ said...

Jandeef

Find a niche and stick with it

stich 'N' match said...

The best thing is to be comfortable with who you are, it might be man (1) or man(2), it might be a combination of both or neither. While you were at home, you were protected and shielded from the outside world. Now that you are in the US, the experience has shaped you and that is bound to be reflected in your personality. People around you will have certain expectations but they will also respond to your new found confidence and beliefs. Radiate that and you will fit right in. Mind you, in order to see the other side of the fence, you cannot settle in in a certain category; your restlessness will lead you to think, explore, examine and reflect.
This is a great experience, take it all in.
Good luck

Bloo said...

Jandeef, I keep arguing its something we put our selves in, not just a culture shock experience. Because I personally suffer a huge culture shock though I have never spent a time abroad except last September. People grow to realize things, learn a new. This is our time to discover our personalities, the things that we took for granted seem to shift, can you believe what I'm thinking right now? I have come to the truth I'm not a smart person, only a self-educated hard working individual, I'm hard working but not intelligent, not smart, not innovative. That's a depressive fact I have just realized, it took me what? 2 years since I started work, and just now I realized it. I love engineering, I love being part of it, but when people speak of a technical thing, I focus with extreme interest and eagerness to learn, and at the end I gain 50% less than the others. So it's yet self discoveries, and corrections… you are so coming to that, but above all… I ask you to come out of the frame and look into your life, to evaluate the things correctly.

Celebrity said...

I kinda understand what you guys are trying to say.
However, I don't face that, since I've been goin to a private school, with great friends, my parents have been educated abroad; and so I don't face any dilemma. 7amdilah.

I was kinda confused, as to how can that be the case, I remembered, you kinda pointed out your' from an average family; figured.

I dunno why I'm sayin this, but ohwell.

Wish you the best.

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