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?


Leo said...

Hahaha! I love it

Coby said...

I also love it and look forward to all the Nuha moments

Britt said...

Janice! I'm so glad to find your blog! It's wonderful...keep the great stories coming!

maryp said...

Hilarious! I loved the first story of your mom jumping on your!

emilie said...

I like this entry a lot, and I remember when that story with your mom happened. It made me laugh again so much. I miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. And I totally remember your Mom's birthday expletive!!!