Ramadan may be the month of prayer and religion, but in Kuwait it's also high on the social calendar. You get to see people you see only once a year-the people you seem to bump into in your travels, and in that once-in-a-blue-moon occasion that everyone turns up to. It's funny because Kuwait is so tiny, and it's believed that on a Friday afternoon you can see almost everyone in Avenues Mall (**okay, that might be a far-fetched presumption, but its true you see a lot of people, with a greeting every 5 steps or so you take to someone you know).
It's that time of year in which everyone has to "وجب"/do their social obligations. It's so funny that we put more importance on social gatherings and going around bidding Ramadan greetings than on Eid. I know we just go to my direct family on Eid, but come Ramadan we seem to find ourselves popping from house to house to almost everyone in our social circle; from our family elders (**that takes about a week, since everyone actually has a formal seating once a week; it's so weird and fascinating that no one's schedule actually clashes with anyone else's) to our friends, and eventually to the people that we have to go to since we have to reciprocate their visit.
A phrase that describes this whole process? "Easier said then done"; literally.
Why? There is no time.
Come "فطور" time which is at 6:20-ish, everything is literally downhill. It takes you an hour to eat/break your fast; if you do that at your Grandma's comme moi, you eventually find yourself at home at around 8 pm. People start going "إستقبال" -ing at 8:30, ish 9pm, so that gives you an hour to get dressed up to your nines, conceal that tired face that results from the fact that you have been fasting all day, and get yourself out of the house. That in itself is pure torture, since it's common knowledge that when you starve yourself and eventually eat, your stomach doesn't get with the program at first then starts working frantically to digest all that food, making you a bit lethargic and sometimes gives you a headache (**depending on how much food you consume, let's face it we're prone to stockpiling at "فطور").
When you do actually make it, and hit the road of Ramadan Greetings, it starts being fun. You get to see long-lost relatives (**the people that grew up with your parents, but eventually started moving farther and farther with life and whom they are not that close to, people you might have gone to school with, others that are your "إستقبال" buddies ((people you see on big occasions but can never get around to seeing in everyday life)), and Oh people you absolutely abhor..)
Seeing and being seen is known to give one a natural high, highly develop one's social skills, as well as clue you in on what's happening in society (**who's doing what?, and what's hot? and what's not? what everyone's talking about?). After all, aren't humans social animals?
Luckily all this takes just a couple of hours from like 9 pm till 11pm-ish, meaning you get home by midnight, settle down, and get a shocking reality check that it's almost time for "سحور". Thus you eventually have a light snack to keep you going for tomorrow's fast, when I say light, I mean it, since you already have been savoring snacks and drinks at every house you visit.
Whoever could stick to their normal nightly sleep schedule is a hero in my opinion? Social people never make it to bed till a bit before or sometimes after the sun is up bright in the sky; it ushers a new day, and we seem to say our good-nights, or is it good-mornings. *pun intended*
Once the first 10 days pass, and you're done with the "إستقبال"'s, the "غبقه"'s start to pile up. But that's a story all together.
I've already been all "إستقبال"-ed out, hitting up to 4 houses a day or trying hard to learn how to be a perfect hostess at either one of my Grandmother's houses (**who both formally sit in and welcome people on different days), wearing to tear new just for Ramadan bought clothes that I will not be able to wear much post this month, and embracing everything red- be it lipstick or certain heels with that color sole.
That all being said, I heart "إستقبال"s; they are fun, part of my culture, which in turn is part of who I am.