There’s nothing better than coming home after years of being abroad. And when you’ve lived most of your life overseas, that excitement to be returning to The Motherland is uncontainable. Then you land – the glitz and glamour of being home wears off and reality kicks in. If you’ve ever found yourself a little dazed and confused by your surroundings, then take a seat! No one likes being dizzy. Now that you’re sitting, read through this list of exactly what you’re looking for and didn’t even know it!
Greeting and Salutations
In the Arab world you find yourself bombarded with a series of questions starting with ones about your health and making their way to your seventh cousin nine times removed and their health – most of which are rhetorical by the way. All this happens in just one-long-extended-breath-with-no-breaks-until-the-end. Just nod and smile – good luck.
Broken Arabic – Weirder Accent
If you have a slightly off Arabic accent you’re made fun of – and when you’re super-native-status fluent, you’re still made fun of. It’s all out of love, they promise! Ya 7lailnah – cuz we’re so amusing. And if you haven’t yet perfected the use of RP English, you will be asked to repeat whatever you’re saying again because let’s face it, accents are weird to the unsuspecting folk.
The Gas Situation
True story: girl drives into a gas station. Girl gets out of car and proceeds to prep the car for a fill-up. Girl reaches for the gas pump and gets scolded by said gas station employee. Because growing up abroad, if you find yourself in need of filling up your car, you get out and do it yourself. But here, it’s an actual job and you must respect that.
The Chicken Nugget Conundrum
We’re taking this literally! You’re “foreign” enough without committing the blasphemous act of actually admitting your preference for eating a chicken nugget over a traditional machboos. What’s worse you ask? Admitting to enjoying a chicken filet or the ultimate sin – the schnitzel.
Too Much Tobacco
Friends take you to a shisha place and lo and behold, you get your very own shisha! Because on this side of the world, when it comes to smoking, sharing is not really caring – it’s unhygienic. So prepare your lungs for a whole lot of smoke – and all the fun-looking shishas available in all the unconventional spots.
Beep Beep – Bakala?
A phenomenon non-existent outside of the Middle East: You leave your car and walk past the confused man standing there in the street and into the bakala to buy something, only to be met by a more confused stare. You didn’t do it right. See the confused man standing right outside – he wanted to help you out. Get back in your car and honk your horn!
When someone does something for you and you want to thank him or her, just stick to a simple “thank you” or Shokran. Don’t try to use the complicated “I am thankful to you” that requires gender specification. (Male: Mashkoor – Female: Mashkoora). Because it doesn’t depend on your gender, it’s solely dependent on the gender of the person you’re thanking!
KDD Soft Serve
You might have had the greatest gelato from a little old man using his great-grandmother’s recipe and selling it from a cart. Or have had the world’s smoothest frozen custard that uses only the most decadent, and extravagant ingredients. Yet nothing, and we do mean nothing, can ever compare to the unforgettable and most addictive soft serve in the entire world – the KDD soft serve.
Step one: wait for a break in traffic to drive on to the roundabout. Step two: indicate and try to merge/exit from traffic. Step three: try again. Step four: go completely around the roundabout without pausing. Step…. – you get the point. Just try your hardest to make it around safely, and please don’t stop in the middle!
Bachelors vs. Families at the Movies
Yes, you usually get to sit wherever, but here there are rules. If you are a guy with a bunch of guys – go to the bachelor’s corner. If you’re a girl or a mixed group, the family corner awaits. So if you’re a guy going with some girls to the movies, we suggest you all approach the door together – lest you be shipped off into the bachelor corner and your friends eat all your popcorn.
If these experiences ring true to you, and you have more, let us know in the comments! And welcome back, you were missed!