Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spent the Day with a “National”

I made a new friend today.  She’s a mom from school and we got together today to discuss Halloween Party stuff at school.

She’s what would be referred to as a “National”.  This means she was born in the UAE.  She’s about my age (maybe 5 years younger?) and is married to another National.  They have a few children and she just spent a few years living in the US for school before moving back here in June.

In my typical, overly-inquisitive self – I couldn’t get in enough questions.  She was fantastic about answering everything.  I figure she’ll probably come across this at some point so I don’t want to mention her name or anything too personal about her.  I’ll try to keep it more to general stuff.

Here’s a few things I found out today:

  • Those black ropes around the top of the men’s uniform are great for hitting if two men get into a fight with each other.
  • Even though muslims are against tattoos – they have no problem with plastic surgery
  • They believe in something similar to karma (but it’s called something else)
  • If you do something which enables you to acquire money in an illegal and immoral way than it will bring bad luck on you and all your generations.  To get rid of it you have to do a sacrifice.  I asked (in my pathetic, naïve, wide-eyed, whisper-y way….”you mean like a person???”).  She was so good and so patient with me.  She laughed and laughed and so did I.  What the hell was I thinking???  She explained that they would need to sacrifice goats or sheep.  I asked why they wouldn’t just do that and get rid of the bad vibe.  She said you have to admit you did wrong first…..
  • They are really into matchy-matchy stuff.  It’s cool if your phone number and license plate number match.  People pay BIG money to get them to match.
  • They are into bling-bling EVERYTHING.  I notice this on their cars, but you also see it on their phones and all sorts of stuff. 
  • They have REALLY tinted windows for privacy so you can do whatever you want in your car and people can’t see you.
  • If you are at a meal with a national man, you need to let him pay.  It’s a cultural thing. 
  • If you are at a meal with a national woman, you need to let them pay.
  • If two nationals are at a meal, they will argue about who pays.
  • We had coffee and lunch together.  I let her pay at coffee but insisted to pay at lunch.  I can’t keep going out with her and letting her pay everytime – I would feel weird.
  • It is not uncommon for them to have a nanny for each child up to a certain age.  5 children?  5 nannies.  seriously
  • The abayas and Shaylas they were (the black long dress things and black head covering things) change with fashion like everything else.  If you want to stay fashionable, you get new ones every couple of months.
  • When they were in the US they dressed like Americans.
  • The clothing is a cultural thing, not a religious thing
  • They still do arranged marriages – but you don’t have to
  • They often have more than one wife – but you don’t have to

There was so much more that I can’t remember.  It was all really interesting and I’m glad she answered whatever I was asking. 

Do you get hot wearing the abaya?  Does your husband have other wives?  Did your dad have other wives?  Why do you have more than one phone?

Alright – so I didn’t reveal anything too personal relating to her.  I’m sure we’ll get together again and perhaps I’ll meet her husband at some point. 

I’m feeling all enriched here.  She may be the first National I’ve met, but luckily I’m not the first American she’s ever met.  Can you imagine?

No comments: