I decided that I should start writing some posts that are more personal to me. Who am I… Where am I from… What’s my story…
What is Kuwait? Where is Kuwait? What’s it like living in Kuwait? These are some questions I frequently hear… So here’s a little more about myself: a reintroduction.
Hey everyone. My name is Randa Hadi – born and raised in Kuwait. I moved to Miami when I was 17 for undergrad to study architecture at the University of Miami. Five years later, I’m here, in Raleigh. I have an older sister (who also moved to the States after high school to study architecture) and a younger brother. My mom is a civil engineer and my dad is a retired air force lieutenant colonel. I speak two languages: Arabic and English. Kuwait reminds me of warmth–in the literal sense (from the really hot sun) and the figurative sense (from family gatherings and cultural traditions). My best memories of Kuwait revolve around family gatherings, an obligation on every Thursday and Friday at my grandmas’ houses – it’s what I miss most. Growing up, the culture puts a lot of emphasis on family, and food was always somehow involved. Food is something that’s offered to say “thank you” and “we appreciate you for coming.” My life in Kuwait was very much repetitive because Kuwait is tiny and there’s only so much to do. Recently though, I have noticed new parks and museums that have been built. It’s been pretty cool watching my country evolve.
Kuwaitis hold a strong sense of community and, by association, a Kuwaiti will always look out for another Kuwaiti, whether the two know each other or not. When I moved to Miami, there was a big population of Kuwaiti students, and I found myself gravitating towards them because I knew that if I ever needed anything they’d be there for me. It was nice to have that – it was almost like a security blanket.
Though I visited the States a few times when I was younger, moving here was different. When I moved to Miami, I moved in with my cousin who moved to Miami a few years before I did. We shared an apartment for the 5 years that I was there – it was exciting to kind of have my “freedom.” Moving to Raleigh was different, once again. It was kind of hard because it was my first time living alone.
One of my favorite Arabic songs is a song produced by Zain, a telecommunications company in Kuwait. The song speaks to several things that Kuwaiti students studying abroad often look forward to when going back home.