This is just a bit of ramble that for some reason, came out as an idea for my blog entry today.
I talk with a funny accent. A question I am always asked :"Where are you from". And I always have to give a complicated answer.
"Well, I was born in Michigan, my parents are Palestinians, so I lived in Palestine on and off for a few years, and hence the accent. Currently I travel around the country". I wish I could give a shorter answer, but I am not sure which part to omit. Identity confusion has always been part of my life.
It is one thing to move from Michigan to South Carolina(my parents did that after the kids were out of the house), but it is a whole different story to move from Michigan to Palestine. And gets even more complicated when you move back to Michigan from Palestine. We are talking about different continents, different languages, different school systems, different cultures, different traditions and different expectations.
To be fair, our inside family traditions and expectations were the same, whether we were in Michigan or Palestine. But everything else was different. I remember as a kid, I would always get confused about which way to write; English left to right and Arabic right to left.When speaking, I remember for the longest time, I would mix up Arabic with English while in Michigan, or English with Arabic while in Palestine. The former was worse. Because kids in Palestine learn English and could mostly follow what I was saying. But in Michigan, they looked at me like I was crazy. The good thing was that kids adapt very fast. So after a little while after the move, I got back to "normal", until we moved again, and that "normal" became not so normal.
All in all, I enjoyed my childhood,I was a very good student, and got along with every one just fine. But I guess somewhere inside me, I always felt like an outsider in both places really. That feeling started fading away with adulthood;college and work helped me establish an identity that somehow mixes my life experiences in both countries together.
As an Arab-American, I get asked many "cultural questions", I wish I knew more, but I really don't. My parents are not very "traditional", and I spent my adulthood in the States, so all I know, is what I got exposed to as a child.Maybe in future entries, I'll talk a little about our house in Bethlehem, my school there, a little bit about the culture, and the few things I know.
For now, one of the fun questions I get asked lately, is about our wedding, since I got married few months ago. Most people want to know of any cultural celebrations that took place. This is a question I can answer. Our wedding was very "normal" in most American standards, I got married at my church, an Orthodox ceremony, then the reception was very standard with the exception of few Arabic songs that were played, and my family(everyone really) were dancing to Arabic music. The highlight would be a tradition where the guys in the wedding would lift the bride on a chair, and the groom on their shoulders and dance with them. That was fun!
You have probably seen this on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. (One of my absolute favorite movies).
As a kid I was confused with cultures, as an adult I love different cultures, and wish I have known more, and held on to more of my grandparents traditions.