I had a few days left in Kuwait and I suggested to my mom that we have a girl’s day and go get pampered at the local beauty salon. I feel that its very important to treat yourself once in a while for all the hard work that you put in. Not only do I like to maintain my figure, but I always make it a point to take care of my appearance whether it’s through a facial, manicure & pedicure or a sharp hair do.
Beauty is a billion dollar industry in the Middle East. Kuwait alone has thousands of beauty salons, spas, makeup boutiques and plastic surgery centers. It’s a walking fashion show here!
Beauty Salons in Kuwait are segregated because of the Islamic law discouraging the grouping of men and women to decrease the urges of temptation.
The businesses open up shop in high rise apartment buildings and signs are posted outside their window to advertise to the public.
As you can see from the image, the salon is located on the 2nd floor and the sign reads SARA LAND in both Arabic and English since there are many foreigners that currently reside in Kuwait.
No appointment needed. We walked in to a little space of a salon that had the simplest setup: two chairs, a sofa and one other room that they did facials and waxing in. The salon was run by a Philippina (woman from the Philippines) named Madame Sara. From what my dad said, she has been one of the most talented in Kuwait for over 20 years. She takes pride in her business and only hires the best Phillippina girls to assist her.
I came in thinking I just wanted to add a little shine to my hair, but then I noticed a beautiful hair color displayed on a manikin. The base color was a rich auburn chocolate with warm colored highlights. I fell in love!
My mom wanted the same, so the ladies started to prepare for our process. Madame Sara (lady with silver hair) consulted us both and showed us a swatch book filled with hair color examples. After we chose our colors, she instructed her assistants to get to work on mixing and applying the base color.
My mom and I began to engage in a conversation with the 2 Philippina assistants as we discussed topics from family life to Celine Dion. They loved Celine! And even more, they LOVED to sing. My mom agreed with the girls saying that Celine’s “Power of Love” was one of her favorite ballads but she apologized because she couldn’t remember how to start the song. Out of no where… Dali (the one assistant) belted out the song in the most beautiful sultry voice. It was so good, I got tears in my eyes.
“Walik! Bekafeh!”.. (Enough YOU!) My mom was not into me snapping pictures of her, so I’ll just sneak these two in for now.
My mom had heard from my dad that Madame Sara was married to an Lebanese Man, that was a bit taboo issue in the Middle East. Arabs are encouraged to stick to their own people and religion, and avoid any other cultures especially ones from the far East.
Most Philippinos come to Kuwait to work as nannies, servants and other occupations that involve long hours and very little money.
Curiosity kicked in, and we asked Madame Sara how she landed herself a successful Arab man. After hearing her story, I was in awe and hopeful that true love still exists.
Without hesitation, Madame Sara smiled at me and began her love story as she continued to do my hair. Long story short, this amazing woman left the Philippines in her 30′s with her two daughters and headed to Kuwait to pursue a job in cosmetology. When arriving, she kept to herself and concentrated on feeding her kids. She was invited to a child birthday party where she caught the eye of a Muslim Lebanese who was 10 years younger.
Everyone pointed out that he was interested but she stayed to herself. This man chased her for 3 years, made his brother and 2 sisters befriend her to get closer and his ultra conservative Muslim Mother adore her. After truly feeling his true love for her, she agreed to marry. But there was one problem.. even though Madame Sara converted to Islam, Kuwait law would not permit the couple to marry. The love birds drove to Iraq and found a place that would. Soon after, she gave birth to his son and another daughter making a total of four children.
Yes, the love story was very romantic and inspirational, but that’s not what touched me. I was impressed by Madame Sara’s Buddhist -like mentality as she radiated with peace and love. She was strong, independent and did not NEED her husband.. she wanted him as her partner. “His heart and mine are one”. She respected Islam and other religions and felt that she did not need to prove her connection with God to anyone but herself. She wasn’t against wearing a Burka, but she felt that it would not make her a better because she already was. She was secure with her heart and her spiritual connection and did not judge others for their way of life.
Life is beautiful to me even though it contains so much sadness as well. I am continuously being shaped and molded by every situation and person that I face whether they are positive or negative. Women like Madame Sara inspire and motivate me to do more and love more of life, like anyone should. Unless you believe in reincarnation, a person should LIVE life, make mistakes, take risks and LOVE hard (without harming others of course). Stop regretting the past and live for the now.
Don’t let life pass you by. You deserve to love your life.