Sunday, October 30, 2011
What is like to grow as an Egyptian-American?
As part of the series in which the social topic of "what is like to grow bicultural" is touched, we are sharing the personal account of Miss C.W. Khalil ad hoc her own personal process of how she you coped, in her daily life, with having to live between the American and Middle-Eastern /Muslim cultures.
Below you will find the unedited version of it. Enjoy it my friends!
1.- How was growing as a Muslim in USA for you during your teenager years?
A.- It was tough, I always had to deal with the differences in culture and up bring between me and other people. It was hard to make friends considering how different I was. People were extremely mean, and I was too young to do anything about it. In the end I decided to move back to Egypt during my teen years after trying to fit in for 3 years with no success.
2.- What were the points of conflicts, that you dealt with while growing up, between your cultural heritages?
A.- Mostly social conflicts. Everyone expected me to get a boyfriend, dress a certain way. I didnt want to be forced into doing something I didnt agree on. I wasnt skinny enough, I wasnt open enough, I wasnt shallow enough. There was always something wrong with me. No one ever considered that maybe something was wrong with them. But I never held it against them. I knew people were bound to reject things they're not really used to. But no one really tried to know me and that was slightly disappointing.
3.- How do you amalgamate your cultural heritages in the one person you are?
A.- I try to stay open minded about certain things, but I also do my best to keep my traditions and morals intact.
4- What are the positive aspects that each of your cultural heritages have brought into your life?
A.- I got a chance to combine both worlds and get a perspective of things from both the Arab and the American points of view.
5.- Do you think that coming from diverse backgrounds, and heritages, help, as well as enable, you to server as a bridge between them?
A.- It does. You can always see things from both sides and try to come up with a way to blend them together to get results.
6.- What was your process of learning knowing how, when, and where to use your different heritages and backgrounds?
A.- It took a while to figure that out. By living in America and Egypt, I got a chance to interact with people and know what they deem acceptable and what they dont. You really just have to sit and observe how people behave around each other to learn.
7.- Have someone ever accused you of not being American, or Arab/Muslim, enough?
A.- Oh, all the time. During the revolution I was always attacked because I was saying what I thought about things happening in Egypt even though I wasnt there. People never understand that sometimes people on the outside have a bigger visual of problems than the people dealing with them on the inside. *Shrug* it never mattered though, I was gonna say what I wanted to say and I dont think anyone has the right to stop me.
8.- What aspects of your different backgrounds are you proud of?
A.-I'm not sure. Maybe being more open to different ideas or being straight forward and honest is a good thing. And maybe being conservative and somewhat calculating of certain things is also a good thing. But if I had to choose it would be honesty. I love the fact that I can say what I feel without sugarcoating it. Sugarcoating just seems like too much work for a lazy person like me (^-^) lol
9.- Have you ever been to Middle East? If so please share with us the experience and your feelings while visiting the lands of your forefathers.
A.- I lived there half my life. It's unbelievably amazing. Even if it's not the most open place, it's still somewhere you can always call home.
10.- What advise would you give to all the youngsters that are growing between two worlds and heritages?
A.- Dont forget where you come from is definitely something I would say. People may not be open to the way you are, or the things you believe in. But you should never choose to change yourself and your beliefs to fit in. It will be tough, and choosing what's the right thing to do maybe challenging. At the end of the day you'll be proud of yourself for being strong and confident enough in who you are to never change
Pictures courtesy of: http://aeamisr.org/