Women Immersed in a Culture in Decline Essay

Submitted By lulukadoo
Words: 1788
Pages: 8

Thunderstorms always seemed to rattle the shaky old cottage in the middle of the desert; and it had finally stopped and our family found tranquility in the night again. It was the summer when I was about five years of age. The melancholy night soon turned into hell once again. Our family was a woken with sounds of breaking plates and smashing pans on the ground through out the kitchen. The air all of a sudden seemed cold and damp with a smell of rotting flesh. Being the second youngest in my family of four siblings (my sister, Salwa, brother Saif, me, then Muhammad the youngest brother) I was petrified shaking underneath the quilt my Mom had made by hand for when I was born. I did not realize when this moment happened next, but suddenly my Father, Hisham, brought the Quran and began reading it to me while my head was tucked into his underarm. My uncle, who was accompanying us on this trip out to our agricultural farm in Alain, went out to the kitchen with another Quran and was reading a passage out of the it that scares away gin from wherever the passage is read. Suddenly, the ruckus stops in the kitchen and the night is safe once again. The universe has a funny way of putting us through periods of heaven and hell. It tends to enjoy some form of balance. Gin, in Islam, we believe are a forms of the devil himself walking on this earth with us. You usually cannot see them, but sometimes they like to uncover themselves and scare human beings. My father, the next day, being the male and the oldest in the house; had to explain to my mother and the rest of the family that there was a gin in the house the previous night. He forbade anyone to ever come out and sleep in that cottage again. Now our farm still stands to this day; but I have not gone and physically seen it with my own eyes since that day when I was just a young boy. My family resided in Dubai when this all happened. They currently live in Saudi Arabia, where they live with my grandparents and the rest of my family. Growing up, I can just remember that my father worked hard as a civil engineer. He would leave the house at dawn before anyone was up while my mother would stay home and wake us up for school, make sure we ate breakfast and got dressed, and never let us leave the house smelling foul or dirty. My mother, Sahar, is a beautiful woman who always wears her abaya (the traditional black covering that Muslim women wear in my country and other Muslim countries alike). Wearing the Abaya is not to degrade women, it is actually meant to cover up the hair so that men are able to keep it in their pants more often than not. In America, this is not the norm. Women feel that the more covered up they are correlates with the freedom that they inherited from their forefathers. When I turned 17, that was the year I graduated from my high school in Saudi. There was a big celebration and I already knew that my life was taking a bend in the knee curve! I was leaving for the USA in a month to go and live in East Lansing, Michigan, to attend the English as a Second Language program at Michigan State University. The previous month before I came to the US seemed to fly by like a wild horse galloping with the wind. I was soon face to face with reality, living at the Lodges, and not knowing but one or two words or English in a sea of Westernized culture. It was the most terrifying thing in my life. School began in late August, so finally I was attending classes where I was actually learning about the English language and beginning to be able to speak it fluently. Ironically enough, the Lodges was a haven for a lot of foreigners who went to MSU, mostly Asians and Arabs! Not too far away from my apartment lived three girls, Sarah, Sheereen, and Louise. Sarah and Sheereen were both Muslim, while Louise at this point was a Catholic. I remember the first time I met Louise she had very short (not much but an inch long!) red, spiky hair! She was a wild