By: Wafaa Dias
1. Food – You realize that although you know all the main Arab food dishes they’re still a lot of side dishes and breakfast foods you never knew existed. Arayes (عرايس), imsahab (امسحب), makdoos (مكدوس) are just some of the many that I have discovered being here.
2. Learning Arabic – While going to your Arabic learning center many people assume that you’re there to learn English, however being born and raised in states your actually fluent in English and you’re coming to learn Arabic. This fact seems awkward and surprising to many who thought you were a local.
3. Marriage – Your surrounding neighbors and distant relatives assume that you’d love to marry one of their sons and take him to America. However, you successfully dodge these proposals because of how ridiculously obvious they are in their intention of exploiting you for your passport.
4. Shopping – Since you have some knowledge of slang Arabic and your facial features may look like many in the region, you can buy something with confidence. When you’re in stores your able to trick the salesman into thinking that you’re a local by perfectly pronouncing how much an item is, this excites you because you don’t get ripped off as much as the usual tourist who clearly looks like a foreigner.
5. The Full Body Scanning Stare – The first thing you notice being here is that people stare at you so much and so hard that it’s as if they’re putting you through a full body scan. This is extremely annoying and although you try to get used to it, you just can’t because your just not accustomed to it.
6. Draining Family Visits – Although you enjoy the majority of your family visits you wish you could avoid some from how long and never ending they seem to be. Also you can’t stand those relatives that insist on commenting on your height, weight, and marital status even though no one asked them to.
7. Refugee Camps – You don’t flock to refugee camps and treat them like a zoo or circus because you know that people in refugee camps deserve to be respected and not hunted down simply for ambush photos. Poverty is real for you, your parents or grandparents may have been born and raised in those camps so when you finally do go to a refugee camp you go with respect and not with the intention of exploiting families hardships for ‘likes’ on Facebook and instagram.
8. Music – You now appreciate classical Arabic music. When you were a child you hated whenever your parents blasted classical Arabic music by Um Kalthoum or Abed Al Halim Hafeez, you absolutely couldn’t stand it! However, you now find yourself constantly listening to these musicians because you now love, appreciate and understand the full beauty of their music.