Uprooting

The days of Eid are gone. The end of Ramadan celebrations brought a lot of work without a break … Just now I’m taking a moment to finally sit to write.
These days I was feeling very strange. One day in the way to a wedding, where I had scheduled a show with my band, I saw through the car window children in the street, jumping, laughing and playing with fireworks … The smell of fireworks and the image of happiness brought to my mind “Christmas.” Many people will think that the comparison is silly or that I miss so much my culture… well, are perhaps both.
The truth is that yes, I miss like crazy my country, my city … from my friends until my street tiles. It feels weird.
Once a friend who lives in Italy said to me: _I miss all the time! I imagine you! You’re in a place so different! “It was not exactly what I wanted to hear at that moment … But he was right.
My “process of adaptation” finish. I’m fine and more than suitable. But going through my writings I found some notes that I had made in a moment of deep anguish … says something like “All with what ever you think you identified in a foreign land that was a lie! That never was! is diluted in the tears that makes you sleep at night … It hurts! You feel naked, you feel cold! but has nothing to do with the weather because it is the skin of the soul that complains when we heard a deep sigh… I hate to feeling this emotional swelling! ” I stop reading as if it read something forbidden . I was totally amazed. My God! That happened to me?? I was possessed?? However, perhaps guided by this question, I continued reading: “I am a total stranger, a rare bird, a frog out of water! As if I had fallen as a stone!” I started laughing, and then I laughed more when I saw the date that I wrote this. At that time I spoke no Arabic, this doesn’t means that now I can give a speech about politics in Egyptian dialect but I understand and they understand me very well. Also at that time I was handling some papers on migration and making many procedures of this type. And I didn’t know so many things as I do now.
My God … I soon began to remember situations that made me feel more foreign than I already am … but if I mention all this term I will never end.
Then I noticed in that paper in the footnote was written in another color, as if I had made a previous reading, the following: “I remember the dream and the woman wearing NIQAB.” I made a pause and try to remember these two references.

The Dream

The dream was for me and whoever can believe, a very esoteric. On my first trip to Egypt one afternoon I felt misunderstood, nostalgic and anxious. Whether I went crying to my room, slammed the door… I lay down and slept.
Suddenly I saw a great crowd, a very diverse crowd. I was immersed in it. In the dream I knew I was in Egypt. It was an open place outside, it was sunny. People began to open, I see it appear my father (who died in 2006, 3 years before the date which I refer), I rushed over to hug him … in the dream I could feel every fiber of him, even its aroma and the strength of his embrace. I looked up and asked him _What you are doing here? But … how? You know where I am? He looked at me and smiled (that smile of great man) and said _Of course I know where you are!
I wanted to ask him so many things … anything! But it was the right question and the right answer. Esoteric? Magic? I do not know. It was beautiful and I felt invincible when I woke up … because until now I cannot remember why i was crying when I went to sleep that time.

The woman Niqab

I make a brief reference on the dress of women here in Egypt before telling this story. Egypt is a Muslim country, so most women are covered. Some use “Hegab” is a veil that covers the head and can cover only the hair or cover the hair including the neck leaving out only the face. It is interesting to see how the girls combine colors like the Hegab Blue with Blue shoes and Blue bag, also they use props such as pins or pins to hold it with different designs. Other women use “Niqab”, this means that only you can see her eyes. Generally the Niqab it’s black. Also there are the women not covered at all, whether they are Christian or Muslim who chose not to wear the veil. Clarified this point I proceed to tell the story.
Once on stage I note the presence among the public of a woman wearing “Niqab”. I noticed her presence because her look made me “feel her”. Never happened to you that someone looks at you and you “feel” it? That’s what I mean.
It is true that the eyes are the windows to the soul but even I could see only her eyes could not tell what her feelings: “like or dislike?” It was a very strong look but I could  not qualify in any way … Her eyes were very “on me.”
“She’s probably thinking that I’m crazy dancing half-naked and I’m going to die roast on the marble of hell” I thought so. It wasn’t very difficult to think that at that time. I tried to not look so much to not disturb or to not create misunderstandings.
Finish the show and I went to change. After that I was on my way to the roof of the boat then, I don’t know from where, this woman came along with another (who also wore Niqab) and without a word took my arm and both led me to the bathroom. My intrigue was boundless. Once inside the bathroom she said:_ “Mumkin sura maaki?” (Can I take a picture with you?) Although my surprise was inexplicable I say yes. Then she took off  the Niqab … it was a beautiful woman and was very friendly and smiling. We posed and her friend (who stayed “inside” her Niqab) took us 2 or 3 photos.
She said:_Shookran Gdan! Enty Zeil Amar! (Thank you very much! You’re like the moon) to which I replied: _ Al afwan! Enty kaman! (Welcome, you too!)
Finally I went to the roof of the boat. Wich part I didn’t understood?? I was so stupid to prejudge, or to want to guess what she was thinking about me. But also I felt a great relief, I felt that somehow “borders were gone”.

Now I know why I had written that I must to not forget this things.

Sometimes, being away you feel alone and feel that maybe people see you differently… After a couple of years I realized many things. Among them one is that you are never alone and that no one sees you differently. You are never alone because everything you can miss when you are far you have it deep inside your heart and it is perhaps “yourself” the main problem, not the people, not the “outsiders” … one has to solve things inside to adapt. “Nobody sees  you except yourself first… Ourselves and our prejudices are what make us believe that the other people prejudge us.”

People always ask me two things: If I miss my land and if I will come back… My answer to the first is very broad but I will try to summarize a bit: Sure I miss my country! But being a while away I learned lots of another culture and I cling more to mine. I can safely say, and this I know that many people living outside will agree, I am more Argentina than ever. Even in this uprooting I get more close to my Catholic faith, a “need for God” appeared.
I would return? ALWAYS … when? I still don’t know… 

2 comentarios en “Uprooting

  1. Suddenly I found myself going deeper and deeper diving inside your words, felt your feeling. I agree when you are outside your home ‘Argentina’ you feel nicked but it depends of where and with whom you are. You know, The strange thing is I have the same feeling when I came back to Egypt after long time I was in Europe. a lot of questions was jumping in front of me but the most important one was, Did the people changed or me? After 3 years living in Cairo I found the answer which is we are both changed, but let me tell you a secret “I’m still have the feeling in some how like a foreigner in my country.
    15 years ago Egypt was not full of Hegab or Niqab same like now and I think the Niqab came with the Egyptian women who stayed in the Arabic countries long time and came back home in the end or come and go.
    Notice: The Niqab is Arabic costume not Egyptian!
    We still have a long conversation about if it is OK or not for women to wear it in the Islam religion, that is because we started to loos our culture in Egypt because of the Arab culture which attacking us by the Arab tourists and the Egyptian who working in the Arab countries.
    Also 15 years ago we had festivals in the streets “not same like Argentina but closer”, for example there where a dance groups you can find at our fests and the most amazing thing is you can find a belly dancer with them do her show too plus magic shows, music players and much more!
    Greetings,
    Tamer Aziz

    • Dear Tamer! before all thank you for take the time to make a comment🙂 i apreciate this. I knew that in Egypt before was not full of hegab and niqab… but i think that if any woman want to wear hegab or niqab or wear jeans its very nice if “she choose it”… some people say the Islam say this that women must to cover, some other say the Islam never say this… this is long subject and i dont think people some day will be agree about this… Egypt is a wonderfull country, i love it, i love the music, the food, the warm people and the diferent kind of people you can find here… its amazing for me🙂 Its a big change for me, yes… but i choose to be here so i must to fix myself to here i cant expect the place fix on me …. the place is not a costume!🙂 From the deep inside my heart i wish the best future for Egypt… who ever come as president… i just can wish the best for the country that hug me and makes me feel “love” all the time… hugs to you!

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