In the 25 years that I have existed I have discovered many things and here are a few, some are to do with me being an Arab girl being raised in a very western environenment and some are just life lessons..
So here goes hope you enjoy.
1. First and foremost I have learned is that life is hard, no matter how much I try to make it easy, it is actually just really hard. you may be reading this thinking what is this girl talking about well there is no other way to describe it other then this, when it's hard it's been really hard and when it's easy, even then there's always a catch of sorts. But live to enjoy thats all that I can do.
2. Nothing no rule, no person no barrier could ever or should ever be a limitation. This happens a lot in my life and I seem to have hit many a dead end on my journey in life, and now at the age of 25 I discover that this barriers are merely teeny tiny obstacles, constant battles with myself or others to learn a greater lesson and grow.
3. No matter where I go and what I do I will never escape the fact that I am an Arab, not that I ever would want to escape it, as a child living in London sometimes I did maybe want to, only to help fit in, as an adult I do nothing less then embrace where I am from. It makes me uniquite and quite frankly that little bit more interesting when I meet new people.
4. Lesson number 4 I have learned something that I have always known, this is something I am willing to fight absolutely anyone on! Nobody in this world makes food better then my mother! I grew up with a mum with the skills and willingness to learn in cooking every cuisine, her specialism is Arabic, however she can transform any dish into my favourite. As I am sure your mum's is yor favourite, I learned this at a very young age but it's a lesson worth learning!
5. Being asked where I'm from is one of the first things a new person asks me, comstanly I am asked this question, the one quesiton as a child I hated as an adult you learn to tolerate. I have been called anything from Irish, to American, to Spanish to Italian, to Greek to Brazilian to I could go on forever, one of the best things about being olive skinned is I am a chamillion, I can fit into absolutely every culture and every country.
6. As a very head strong Arab I have always been taught to negotiate nothing and that I am always right! However throughout my life I have learned that this isn't always the case, learning from others and negotiating and listening to peoples opinions leads to a better life in every sense, wether it be work, relationships or even something as simple as shopping, negotiation is key and being stubborn will get you nowhere and very fast.
7. At the age of 25 I have now most definately past the age of sitting with the kids at the family gatherings, but like many before me and many who will follow I found it very hard to let go of. Unlike most children I wasn't the biggest fan of growing old and becoming part of the older crowd I enjoy playing games and waching TV. Now I have to speak jobs future, life yadda yadda, but luckily I did find some good, old people are actually very interesting to talk to, when you break down the barrier of your old I'm young they have so many interesting conversations!
8. It's socially acceptable for me to drink a glass of wine, this is something I have never been raised to do, yet at some family gatherings, wedding and socials I drink in front of family ...WHAAAAT ! i know well I can't promise that all Arab families are like mine but hey doesn't hurt to feel mature!
9. The common fear of feeling foreiegn, this is a lesson I have never got used to learning, as a child I grew up hiding my foriegn to many people, as an adult its on my CV and I brag about it, the fact that I speak Arabic makes me a little bit cooler then Mr or Miss CV next to me who only speaks English. Being a little bit foriegn has opened many doors for me and makes me very proud now.
10. Everyone is the same.. over the years I have met many people from various cultures and one thing that I always find very inetersting is that we are all the same, you find that everyone does something the same, I meet a greek and we havemore similarities in culture then I would exoect, fromt the food we ea to the wway we act, same applies to when I meet a Spanish or an Italian or anyone, one thing to realise is that our common intestet is generally our love for food and family.
11. Bringing me very smoothly into the food category.. no food can ever be better then Arab food but there are a few out there that I would honestly say come close, it's a better experience in life to try everythign then to be afraid. For years I was afraid of anything with spice, black pepper was black listed in my eyes, my mum couldn't even put one chilli flake in anythign without me screaming, but I learned over the years I have aapted and taught myself, nothing is impossible and nothing should stop me from experimenting!
12. As a very common stereotype of many Arabs I do love a good shopping spree, I do love to buy a lot of things, my friends laugh at this, but its within my nature, I cannot seem to help myself, I do pride myself in liking to look good, if that makes me an Arab sterotype then so be it. What can I say I am. This is how I now see life, you can't buy taste but you can buy things that taste good. In fashion that look good. Being in a very western environment I have learned how to become a little more thrifty, I do but cheaper things, I even shop in thrift shops, so my lesson is that mix a bit of everything and it's the best cocktail.
13. One thing I will never get enough of are peoples stereotypes, from people thinking I am made of gold, oil or I must be related to a sheikh, none of which are true, but sometimes it's a little bit funny. What at one point would have and could have insulted me, no I just find it a little funny. As I grow up they get a little funnier, a little smarter. It doesn't mean I completely agree with sterotypes but i learn to live with it as good plain banter for most to fill a void of what otherwse would be a blank moment of no conversation.
14. So I don't want to fill this list with all the life stereotypes that happen to me, but this is the last one I promise! Well I'll try to make this the last. But one stereotype is the opposite of all s that people a lot of the time in my life have told me that I do not act like an Arab. My usual response is ... how should an Arab act?.. to which the answers are usually one dumber than the other, but it is entertaining and quite confusing why people seem to think that I should act a certain way to make me who I am?... It's funny because I've never gone up to a Swedish person and said hey you don't act very Swedish.. because like I am sure your thinking, what does that even mean? So this lesson is more of what to reply or not reply to such a strange question to be asked.
15. So my last lesson is one I am proud to share, I happened to find myself a treasure in somethings that my parents or culture may not always agree with, but this doesn't mean I will ever stop this. I love certain parts of life that other's don't and I love so much of being an Arab, but as long as I hurt nobody and never forget myself I see that the future will continue to grow.Heck there's no point in not doing something you love for the sake of offending someone, because in reality you will only offend yourself int he long run!
I know some of these anicdotes aren't necissarily life lessons nor will anyone read this and think that I am the worlds greatest writer, these are thoughts in my head that I thought are worth maybe sharing so that someone else will maybe think the same or completely disagree. The biggest lesson I will always learn is we are all different but very much the same.
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