Since I am currently running on max 4 hours of sleep per night and have been invited to a LOT more social functions here in country since Ramadan started, I gotta tell you. I think there might be something wrong with me. I can't seem to stop fighting my surroundings and refuse to embrace the culture.
This is not new for me. I never have been able to do so. I refuse to wear the local garb, I can't seem to get the hang out of eating with my hands and using a Kleenex for a napkin. I'm starting to believe that this is frankly never gonna happen. And you know what? I kinda don't want it to happen!
The other night we were at a dinner and I was chatting with a German lady who is living here in Khartoum. She was wearing a scarf for her head and her hands and feet were covered in Henna. She lectured me for about 3 hours on the history of Henna, its meaning culturally here in Sudan and how long it takes to have it applied (we're talking DAYS if you do it the old way - which she obviously did). It was interesting for about 30 seconds. Then I just wanted out.
The whole time I'm talking to her, all I could think about was that she totally reminded me of those college girls who go to the Caribbean for spring break and come back with the braids. Newsflash: that hairstyle is not meant for white girls' hair. And guess what German Lady: You look like you just went to the Caribbean. Henna, that scarf and your shoes do not look right on you -- you can't pull it off. I don't care how much history you spout about your attire. You look ridiculous!
Now granted, I have seen women who have a natural style who can pull off different looks because they seem at home in them. However, for the most part, you're going to look like you're dressed up for Halloween if you do that. Write that down. Don't make me mock you in person.
I'm not sure what it is about the local garb that does not translate to westerners. The Sudanese look very elegant in their clothes. Their scarves stay on their head. When I was in Pakistan, I totally tried to be culturally sensitive (for about 40 minutes), but I could not, for the life of me, keep that scarf up on my head. It just kept slipping off my head!! I tried bobby pins, wrapping it really tight (Saudi Style) == NOTHING.
Obviously, there is some sort of secret ingredient that the locals won't divulge to westerners. However, I'm just not interested enough to try to find it out.
Sometimes? I'm Judgmental. Also, Seattle!
13 hours ago