Friday, February 19, 2010

What I'm Not

When I tell people I'm Arab, I get various reactions. Here are just a few:

"Oh...Uh...Interesting," as they slowly back away.
"You're Arab? But where's the dot on your forehead?"
"You're an Arab! Teach me how to make hommus!"

When I tell people I'm Arab and Mormon, they're mouths just drop open and they stop breathing for at least 34 seconds. How could that be? All Arabs are Muslim and all Mormons are white and live in Utah.

Honestly, although it gets tiring having to explain my identity to almost everybody I meet, I do like the fact that I can dispel the following stereotypes be merely existing:

-Non-white Mormons exist
-Non-Muslim Arabs exist
-(Most) Mormons don't wear bonnets
-Not all Arabs wear head scarves
-Not all Arabs are terrorists (although I do get pretty violent when I lose at Scrabble)
-Arab and Mormon women don't all get married at 18 and pop out 17 babies (but most do...jk...kind of)
-Arab women are educated and don't walk 3 steps behind men
-Not all Mormons graduate from BYU. Oh wait, I did graduate from BYU
-Mormons are allowed to dance
-Not all Arabs have names that sound like your clearing your throat when you say them
-Not all Mormons are related to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young
-Not all Mormons live in Utah, and not all Arab-Americans live in Dearborn
-Not all Arabs/Mormons are involved in polygmous relationships
-Mormons don't worship Joseph Smith
-Arabs don't worship the moon god of Saudi Arabia
-Some Arabs actually don't drink 52 cups of coffee. And some (ok, just me) don't drink any coffee

My first semester at BYU was a little rough. It had been years since I had been a full-time student, I was still adjusting to post-mission life, and I felt sad about moving away from my family again. Nuha knew I was struggling, and as a result, she called me regularly to check on me. By regularly, I mean 3-5 times a day. It wouldn't have been so bad if she had remembered that I was no longer living in the Eastern Time Zone.

Case in point: One morning, after an almost sleepless night filled with studying, my phone rang at 6:00 am. I picked up.
"Hello? Ma??? Do you know what time...?" Before I had a chance to finish my rebuke, I heard her sweet voice singing the following words to the tune of "Happy Birthday" :
"Good Morning to you! Good Morning to you! Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning, F$#K YOU!"
Any anger or frustration I had at the beginning of the call completely left my body, and I cracked up harder than I ever had. Who needs coffee to wake you up when you have Nuha as a mother?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Get A Clue

Happy Valentine's Day Eve, world! I'm not going to dedicate this post to love stories, romantic proposals, or any of that jazz. Instead I want to expose those who have no clue about dating.

Unfortunately, over the years, I've had a lot of rough dates. Dates where I sat thinking, "Eating an entire head of raw garlic would be more entertaining than this." I decided to share a few with you.

Once, a guy came to pick me up for our first date on a rainy Fall day. I sat on the couch awaiting the doorbell to ring, when instead, my roomie approached me to relay a message.

"Hey, Philip just called. He's outside in his car. He doesn't want to come to the door because it's raining and he doesn't want to mess up his hair."

It gets better. He took me to a fancy restaurant, threw down three glasses of wine within the first 30 minutes of our date, answered a phone call (from a girl) at the table, and then wrapped up the evening early by telling me that he probably won't ask me out again because he knows that I'm a "good girl". Did I mention that he was the one that asked me out? Or that he did ask me out again after that date? Yeah.

Here's another. When I was 21, I met a guy named Mike at a party. He asked me out for the following week, which I was pretty excited about. You have to understand that although I was 21, because of a strict upbringing, I hadn't been on a lot of dates. I had just moved out of my parents' home, and was just starting to delve into the dating world.

Mike picked me up for the date, which entailed getting dinner and going to a comedy club in Detroit. On the way to dinner, he said he had to stop at an ATM to get some cash. Well, the ATM machine "didn't work", so we tried another bank. He went to the second ATM while I waited patiently in the car. He came back after a few minutes, looked at me in embarrasment and said, "Sorry, I don't know what's wrong with these banks..."

Ready for this?

"...Why don't we just go back to your place and make out?"

Let's just say we never went out again.

Now I want to hear about your worst date! Post a comment and let me hear it...


One thing that makes my mom so entertaining is her funny way of pronouncing things. Case in point: My sister was 8 months pregnant with her first son, and my mom noticed some changes in her physique. "Sandy habeebti (sweetheart) you look like Bonny Tarrrrterrr." We all were confused. "You know, Bonny Tarrrterrr!" Still, no clue. "She's the one with the big bizzaz." (I'm pretty sure you non-Arabic speakers can figure that one out.) We finally realized that my ma was saying Dolly Parton. "Oh yeah, Dolly Barrrton.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I've never blogged before. Yep, that's right. I don't even really know what I'm doing, so please bear with me. So why did I decide to start a blog? A few reasons. For one, it's a way to share some of my crazy adventures with those who I don't get to talk to regularly. In saying that, this blog isn't just going to be me talking about me. I want it to be a springboard for discussions- whether it be about Arab politics or how to confront somebody who has horse-breath. I want this blog to be as interactive as possible, so if you have any suggestions for what topics I should cover, please let me know.

Of course, I can not have a blog without having a section dedicated to telling hilarious stories about the infamous 5'2" ball of intensity, passion, and bi-lingual/non-sensical cuss words- Nuha (my mama). Some of the adventures I share will be recent, while others won't be. Here's the first of my:


Since I was a teenager, I dreamed of the day I could move out of my parents' home. There was only one problem: I was Arab. Good Arab girls don't move out until they meet good Arab boys and marry them. When I was 20, I entertained the possibility of marrying my suitors who were decades older than me and looked like Gargamel just to get out of the house, but I couldn't do it. So one night, when arguing with my mom about coming home past my 11:00 curfew, I was fed up. I yelled at her, packed a bag and started walking down the stairs and out the front door. She did everything in her power to block the stairs but I shoved past her, ran outside to my car and started it as fast as I could, thinking I was safe. As I turned the key in the ignition, I noticed a figure bolting out of the house and before I knew it, she was on the hood of my car pounding on the windshield. So what did I do? What any good daughter would do: I put the car in reverse and starting driving off. When she realized I was serious about leaving, she finally jumped off. Don't worry- she didn't get hurt. Needless to say, she didn't talk to me for a month. But this story has a happy ending. I've lived away from home for years and she has come to realize that a girl could live on her own and not be a hussie. (I don't think I've ever used the word "hussie" before.)