25 February 2007

Missing Gaza?

My "sister" in Gaza
Sometimes when I'm reminiscing out loud, people ask me "Do you miss Gaza?". And actually I do. Even though it was (almost) all a big trauma for me, I actually sometimes do miss it. Strange as it may seem, to myself. But if you ask me to specify what I miss I really can't. Sure, I love my relatives and I truly do miss them. But I really don't miss living with them (meaning in the same house). We are too different. They are too conservative with traditions and too liberal with religion and I am too liberal with traditions and too conservative with religion (comparing to each other, not to bin Baz).

This year that passed I haven't almost had any contact with them, except for a few short and polite eid mubarak telephone calls. I really don't know what to say. I know they love me, but I also know they don't understand me and my choices. And when I cannot express my feelings in Arabic that well, I don't want even to try. I would only feel like a fool. I am still healing. I am still trying to get back on track. I am still not over it.

What I miss is simply that "something" in the Arabic way that just attracts me and my well-being. It has something to do with their (in some ways) very open-minded reception, and their (in some ways) very relaxed and elegant attitude towards life.

If I knew then what I know now I of course would have done a few things differently. No, really?!!. Yes, it's true. We wanted to try to settle down in an Arabic Muslim country. And even though Gaza would only be a nutcase's first choice, it still was kind of inevitable. We did first choose other countries like Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE, well, all of them actually, but ended up feeling lost and my husband was just too homesick to think straight. And of course, he might have made it, but I sure didn't and none of us could know that.

Looking back, we might not have done things in the best way or in the best order, or made all the right choices, that's for sure, but still... We did it without fear (as fools usually do) and that I think is what we benefited from in the end. If we knew what laid ahead of us we would never have done it, and we would just sit here and talk about it. But today I can proudly say "I lived in Gaza" and I actually wouldn't change that for the world.

A few days ago me and my husband was on the Internet checking something out, when one of his sister's daughters (from Gaza) logged in. She is the one of them all I could actually relate to and we could talk and joke about almost everything (even in my pour Arabic, imagine her patience). She is the one I miss the most. The day I arrived to Gaza she sat down next to me and said "Now you are like my sister". Those words meant a lot to me and they still do. I think she feelt as if I let her down by leaving Gaza. As if she felt that perhaps she wasn't as important to me as she might have first thought. Anyway, when she logged on I kind of froze and my husband asked me "What's wrong?" and you know, I really don't want to remind him of anything with Gaza as it is still an open wound for him (and me). But now, one year after coming back, I could admit in tears that "I miss her so much!"...


Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Salam Imaan! Va roligt att du e tillbaka nu! :)

Tiden går fort, ibland undrar man om man lever sitt liv eller om det är någon annan och man bara tittar på.

Imaan On Ice said...

This comment came from VAS, on my closed blog, so I copied it in here;

Dear Imaan, salam. I visited your pages several times in the past and even once we had an exchange of interesting ideas concerning what one puts and what one ommits in writing her/his blog entry. Thanks for your reply. I do not have the link to your new blog.
Wish you and all your family well,

Vas said...

I am glad I found your blog again. Thanks.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Salaam alleikum Iman,

I so so sooo relate to how you feel...about having lived in an Arabic country, the good, the bad, and the missing it now that you're gone as well....I lived in Qatar for 2 years and have only been back in the states now since July.

So many bad things happened to us...I totally know what you mean about the ignorance etc. Our beloved family cat was murdered in cold hasad by the neighborhood chidlren my son played with every day. That very act was the beginning of the end of it all for us. Ultimately we really had to leave because we wouldn't have been able to afford a private english-speaking school for our son who just began first grade this fall. But the fact that my employer broke their end of my job contract (a facet that they had put in writing nonetheless!) was really the final nail in the coffin for us.

Would I go back? Yes, under the right conditions. I am definitley NOT ever going to be the person I was before Qatar. I have fermented while there, and it was a good thing. I definitely left a big chunk of my heart there.
Ana behebek Doha.

Tsedek said...

One year already, Imaan??
Wow, time just flies by so quickly :(

I remember reading your blog when you were still my neighbor (albeit even practically on the ground separated by this conflict) -

Just doesn't seem like it is already one year ago....

loolt said...


You commented on my blog recently, and when I clicked on the link I realised I have read your old blog, and found it very interesting :)

Your new blog is just as interesting.

I was very impressed at your bravery at not only visiting Palestine but living in gaza! Mashallah aleiki :)True inspiration :)

Imaan On Ice said...

I'm very happen you're all back here again. Welcome back!!


Lirun said...