As a lil girl, I was typical I suppose. I wanted to have a pony, be a princess, be a ballerina & drink cosmos on the beach. What? Uhh yeah..blame Melrose Place..no my fault kthx.
I was born in Kuwait, & like any Palestinian who head to Kuwait after the Israeli 1967 invasion, my dad worked in the family business, my mum was a social (like myself).
I went to the Universal American School; where EVERYTHING was possible, we were all equal & we had no idea genders went beyond body parts & religion was a culture.
So if I wanted to be an astronaut one day and a tomato the next it was all about seizing my dreams.
Early 90's Gulf war happened, and my dad decided to hold his ground, fleeing one country (Palestine) was more than enough, uprooting again would be too difficult. We stayed there till we were actually evacuated with only the clothes on our back and the car we drove across the dessert with many other 'Kuwaiti Palestinians' to Jordan. (certain details omitted to be mentioned in other blog-posts)
I knew nothing of this place, except a couple of visits; my mum insisted we have our summer vacations in the UK. Enrolling in school wasn't easy & the girls at (unnamed school) weren't very nice.
I looked different (yes I was a fat kid), I spoke different (broken Arabic/perfect English), I dressed different (my mum thought the whole catholic uniform was stifling for my character & uniqueness) & most of all I had a different way of thinking.
Yet I stayed positive (with much support of my mum) & I talked to everyone the same, no judging, & no pretenses. My mum tried her best..but I will never ever forget one incident.
First question,' من وين أنتي؟' a shocker really, to me you ask a person their NAME, & different questions about their personality..etc. ' من البيت ' was my my answer; again my Arabic was..oh whatever don't judge me..Apparently as a 10 year old I was supposed to know where I was from, the entire family tree & how I was related to the person asking this question.
FYI: safest answer now-a days IS من البيت
· if you say من فلسطين you get a look then you get: ايش هالعنصرية (at which point you walk away)
· if you say أردنية you get an even weirder look.. من وين؟ & then an investigation that leads to the fact you were trying to claim what you're not
· if you say عربية you get a smirk شوووو كوفي عنان ولا عمرو موسى (at that point just stab that person in the face) *JOKING* - CHILL
Second question ' انتي مسلمة؟ ' umm..yes, I guess? That triggered the thinking, reading, accumulating & finally reaching a conscious very personal decision to be an atheist. (no I will no discuss this)
Now bear in mind these questions did not come in a sequence or all in the same day but these are the ones I remember most.
Third question, which really REALLY pissed me off, 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' my answer with a pure innocent smile ' A Ballerina' (my mum made me watch swan lake, the Nut Cracker & the all other NY ballet performances)
My mum bought me a cream leotard, the pink slippers, & Tutu & basically the complete outfit; even the headband in preparation for the audition. & I couldn't eat, sleep or sit still.
to be continued..