Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How do you do? My name is...

Well I guess I'll probably not use my real name. Yay for anonymity via the internet, although I'm slathered all over it in a million other ways. In fact, my real name may actually pop up somewhere all over this blog without my knowing it will. For now I will delude myself into thinking I can act spy-like.

I've been reading some other blogs by Muslimahs, namely converts married to Arabs/North Africans (of which demographic I fit squarely into) and I got bit by the blogging bug. We'll see how well this goes.

Part of the reason I felt the need to make a blog is, well, I have issues. Don't we all? Or well, I guess issues wouldn't be the right word, more like daily frustrations. And I'd like someplace to hash out some of the ideas I have in my head for making lemonade outta them lemons. Know what I mean?

Here's my main issue. I'm a convert. Only other converts know exactly how difficult it is to be a convert. I came out of the closet to my family this summer (and yes it IS coming out the closet just without the haraam homo-sexuality thing), and I also got married this summer. To be sure it went like this: went to Egypt- got married- how will I explain that to the family? better just tell them- "hi gramma I'm home from Egypt and by the way I'm Muslim.. oh and I got married too."

My mom and dad knew about the Muslim thing long before the rest of the family, mom I told 6 months after I converted, dad got it about 22 months after I converted, and the rest of the family got it sprung on them 4 months or so ago or about 29 months after I converted. My gramma is convinced that if she had known about it from the beginning she could have "saved" me. Which both tickles and annoys me to no end.
My other issue is that I am thoroughly multicultural. Before I was Muslim I was Mexican, and before I was Mexican I was actually white. In fact my skin still energetically protests that I am white although my "insides" have long since turned a nice shade of brown. I spent the later part of my growing up among Mexicans within whom I learned to speak spanish like a native, cook frijoles, dance rancheros, and swear like an erstwhile sailor (in spanish). In fact who I am as a person is broken up something like this:
2/5 Muslim
2/5 Mexican
1/5 White Minnesotan (which is definately its own brand of white)

I no longer struggle with my identity, alhumdulillah, what I struggle with is how other people struggle with my identity. I work in a Family Practice Clinic in a very Mexican part of the Twin Cities, and let paint for you, if you please, a picture of my normal day at work. Me at the front desk, very white, very hijabbed. Weary oldest son approches to translate for his non-english speaking mother. I speak to her directly in Spanish. Shocked silence while they double check the tint of my melanoma and the large piece of cloth wrapped around my head. Pretty much the same scenario each day. Although I do have to tell you that, surprisingly to me knowing how racist Mexicans really can be, most of them love me or are at least very courteous. I think its mostly because there is finally someone who speaks Spanish for them and they are grateful. Either way its a huge weight off my shoulders.

I'm considering becoming an interpreter and this is why its so important to me. I won't be a successful interpreter if no one wants me to interpret for them. I'm hoping my sunny smile and cheerful disposition can get me in, and if the reception I have received so far is any indication of the future, I think it just might be ok.
And hey, if I can be the specimen of probably the wierdest mishmash of multicultural human to come along in years, well the least I can do is be a good example of a Muslim while completely confusing everyone around me.

Its my job I guess. Just wait till Habibi teaches me to speak Arabic. Ooooooooh the anticipation.

1 comment:

UmmLayla said...

hmmmm, almost a decade waiting for my habibi to teach me Arabi... Insha'Allah you have better luck.

Rosetta Stone is my master plan... If I can bring myself to buy such an expensive program!LOL

As far as the mish-mash. It's a good thing you know all that He made us different nations so we could know each other thing. And that is where the world is headed IMHO. I think more and more people in this world are from multi-cultural backgrounds.