American expats tell us about life in Bahrain and celebrating July 4
Time Out Bahrain staff
‘Working as a manager, musical liaison and businessman, my life is hectic all the time, hence why I live in the centre, Juffair. Having been here for just over five years, it’s been a pleasure to see the country grow over such a small period. It was around the time that the F1 was on when I first came out, and I’ve never experienced such a buzz in the Arab world.
‘I came to Bahrain to grow my understanding of Arabic culture and lifestyle. I already had family here, which made the move easier, and I found it no problem at all to make friends – contrary to popular belief, it is very easy making friends in the Middle East, but keeping them is the challenge. The country has a nice year-round temperature, it’s a central location, and the fact that the pace of life is relatively chilled is what I really like about it.
‘As for Independence Day, I’ll probably meet up with friends and family, and celebrate like I do back home. We talk and joke about the usual – making self improvements, reaching long- and short-term goals, and of course eating until we pass out. This is usually the same way I’d celebrate it back home, minus the international calling that takes place.’
‘I’m originally from San Diego, California, and I have been travelling to and from the small island of Bahrain on and off for over five months now. Initially, I was hired to come here and DJ. Bahrain is a stark juxtaposition to Paris (where I was living) and it was refreshing. At the same time, I met a lovely man – so despite my wild ride around the world, I had to come back here to see him.
‘I’ve made quite a few friends, and sometimes it can be a blessing to be away from your family. [Laughs] I’ve lived in America, New Zealand and Paris, just to name a few places, and Bahrain was the easiest to settle. In big cities, life is fast and selfish. I love that in many ways, but here your friends will go out of their way for you – that is rare. I do know a few Bahrainis too – they are kind, honest and generous with their friends. They value family and are still open minded, and most of all Bahrainis know how to smile.
‘On Independence Day at home, we always have fireworks and family barbecues, but in Bahrain it will be more relaxed. Hailing from Southern California, I do like beach bars and corner cafés, so while it may not be typically American, Muju’s pool parties will ring a bell of home this month.’
‘I live in Juffair, and by day I work as a teacher at Sheikha Hessa Girls’ School, which enables me to get out of the city. I moved to Bahrain two years ago with my mother and two sisters, but I’m the only one left as my family moved back – well, my mum moved to the UAE.
‘I miss my family, but it hasn’t been hard to make friends here, as people are very friendly and welcoming of foreigners. I also love the warm weather, but I would like to see more public beaches and for dirt roads to be paved. It also needs to host more cultural events for younger people.
‘When I’m not working, I like to eat out, and I love to go to the block 338 district – the steak at Meat Co combined with their rooftop ambiance is lovely. Moreover, the garden at 338 is fantastic for cocktails and nibbles. I also love Coco’s – the atmosphere is comfortable in all of these places and the food is very good.
‘One of these could be a great venue to celebrate Independence Day, but to be completely honest I’m really not sure how I will celebrate this year. In the States, we usually get together with family and friends, and have a nice barbecue at one of the public parks or beaches.’
America is more than a country, it’s an idea, dreamed up by a rebellious group of colonists, who, in declaring independence from the British on July 4, 1776, coined that famous phrase, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ And so America set out to be different – in its ambition for all its citizens, irrespective of their birth.
This took a long time to realise. While the United States became the world’s unrivalled superpower in the early 20th century, it was not until two years ago that the country gained its first black president, Barack Obama. Still, in this remarkably short time, the US has become the world’s biggest economy, contributed many important technological advancements, and played an instrumental part in the establishment of the United Nations. Not bad for a country that’s been around for fewer than 250 years.