Thursday, 3 January 2008

Encyclopedia of me- chapter A



for ancestry

My ancestral roots hail from the Arabian Gulf, in a land better known as Hadramaut. As scary as this is going to sound, interpreted it means the Valley of Death. It is a valley tucked in between Yemen and Oman. And nope you are not going to get kidnapped or brutally stoned to death if you visit.They love visitors and tradition is that visitors be treated with outmost respect. The land is rich in history and tradition. Most of my family have spread their wings and made a global move. Even though I wasn't born in Hadramaut, where ever I am in the world, I never deem to forget my ancestral roots.As an Arab girl having lived most of her life abroad, I thought that it'd be nice for me to share a bit of what Arabic tradition is and how it has influenced me . This is my story to tell...


for acceptance
In this modern world , with travel being made easy and history books available at the local library, it is a lame excuse to not learn more about the different cultures around or our own for that matter .Learning new things is all about expanding our knowledge, don't interpret it as an overnight conversion. With everything we learn , there's always space to agree to disagree .That's where the true beauty of tolerance and acceptance is put to test.I have learnt what acceptance truly is here in Australia both giving and receiving.It doesn't fail to amuse me that I often hear Arabs being labelled as clad in ninja robe terrorists.The media stereotype things a bit way off these days and if you buy more than half of what they say , then I seriously feel you should alter your sources. It is the same reason I don't buy Gossip magazines because half of what's being said are simply put LIES. Things like Oprah had a baby or Cher was once a man!Indeed there are many things that need to be clarified. Firstly I personally believe that every creed, race or religion has it's fair share of the good the bad and the ugly ooo and the beautiful too how could I forget :) Acceptance is not always easy ,the capability of accepting differences is a truly a rare gift.


for aromas
Hadramaut is not far from the port of Mocha coffee.You know the mocha coffee we all enjoy at the local Starbucks, well it is originally from the land of Mocha. I love the smell of coffee, but I prefer it as an ice cream rather than a drink!In the Arab world, when you visit friends or family you are usually welcome by the graceful pouring of coffee served with dates and sweets in a room perfumed by incense known as bokhour. My grandparents were merchants who traded on the incense and spice route. They traded the things the 3 wise men brought as gifts, myrh, frankincense and gold. Till date frankincense is a huge source of trading in the Arab world. The Arabs have a liking for fragrant aromas. Ask any Arab and they'd probably tell you that they can't live without scent, not surprising then that perfumes actually originated from Arabia. You are probably wondering but errr I thought perfumes were French. Well the story goes that the Arabs introduced the invention of distillation to France where the climate was more suitable for the growth of different flowers to make the perfumes and tada that's where cultures combine and history lives on. I myself have taken to this tradition quite intensely. This is partly the reason I have taken to blending perfumes. I love my sweet aromas.

for aesthetics
The Arabs are an ostentatious bunch.If you've been or seen pictures of Dubai in the Emirates. You'd probably relate. We love our homes and are indeed house proud. Colourful mosaic tiles ,silk rugs and cushions to comfort the world, is a picture that truly depicts us.The word simplicity does not exist in the majorities vocab. The more pompous the merrier it is. The same goes for dressing. An Arab lady dresses to kill when invited to a party. When the black cloak comes off, you are taken to another dimension, try multiplying the scene at an Oscars red carpet by ten. Good food, music and dance plays a huge part in the Arabian life. Ooo and let's not forget Poetry, the Arabs are really good with their words. I am often asked what about all those arranged marriages we hear about in Arabia, well let me tell you that 80% will sail through it gracefully because they will fall in love eventually. Arab men are charmers and poetic and they'll tell you that you shine like the moon in their hearts so you go goo goo gaga and they give you shopping money and I guess ladies mostly love shopping money so it works out.No I'm kidding about the shopping money bit, the motto is you've got to live with it to love it. I do suppose in a way my appreciation for all things beautiful has come from the Arab in me like the doodling of curves from Arabic calligraphy. On an artistic note, my eyes twitch when things aren't placed in that right angle or colours don't match, have I said enough about colour coordination before. My sister makes a joke and says that I drape myself in aqua , line my eyes with aqua kohl and wear aqua shoes. Call that colour coordination! My friends think I have attention deficit disorder but I feel it's the aesthetics in me doing it's job. So I've concluded that my taste is infact very 1001 Arabian nights and this is where the chapter ends today. I hope you've enjoyed the first episode of my Encyclopedia of me Meme , Stay tune as I reveal more.Thanks for reading or as we say in Arabic Shukran!

Much blogging Love



34 comments:

Alison Gibbs said...

Adla what a fabulous post. I so agree with the 'acceptance' part that there is good and bad in all creeds/races/religions. It really annoys me when people are likely to judge someone by their raace/creed/religion rather than who they are inside.
Also thanks for the lovely history lesson.I look forward to the next instalment.
Alison

Cece Marie said...

I absolutely loved reading this post! I sincerely savored every word! I LOVE learning about your culture and really hope to learn more! Thank you for sharing with us, I really in my heart, appreciate it! In college, when studying other cultures such as Native Americans for example, it really was a personal awakening for me. I think it is such an amazing experience to learn about others' traditions and values. Ironically, the more I learn about other cultures the more I have learned about myself. I guess it is having a basis of comparison that helps enable me to see myself and my traditions more for what they really are. Oh, dear...I talk too much...just a couple more points! I refuse to read gossip magazines as well! It is a personal statement I am making by doing this bc I refuse to contribute to such stupidity and prefer to discover the arts, history, and other cultures if I need entertainment. I am American and feel very lucky but we really can be a narcissistic bunch. I agree that there is good and bad with every culture and religion and furthermore I think it is essential to therefore contemplate the values we are raised with. Ok, that's it! Sorry I was so enthusiastic! Thank you Adla!

Sarah said...

Hi Adla,
What an amazing/fabulous/beautiful post. I was glued to every word you had to say.
Your family history is VERY intersting, Thanks for sharing this with us.
I look forward to reading all 25 other instalments!!!
Sarah xx

Cottage Contessa said...

Great post Adla! Happy New Year! I hope 2008 is a wonderful year for you and your family. Thank you for visiting my blog, and taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Gail McCormack said...

A wonderful post Adla...so so true there is good and bad in all!
look forward to the next instalment

Alia said...

Adla , good post. I enjoyed reading it, you captured our culture well.

see you there! said...

I really enjoyed reading your informative post. I've always been inquisitive about other cultures - particularly their foods. I'm fortunate to live in an area with a very diverse population.

I'll be waiting for "B" in your encyclopedia.

Darla

Counting Your Blessings said...

I loved reading more about you and your culture! And your style is to die for. Blessings... Polly

Lori said...

Adla, what an amazing post!!! so very interesting to learn about your culture, i learned many things...thank you so much for sharing this and i am looking forward to your next installment!!!

Karen Cole said...

Adla,

Thanks so much for visiting me.

Your blog is beautiful and I think your encyclopedia of "me" is just wonderful. What a fabulous way to describe yourself and your culture, that I am much more interested in learning about than ever.

Happy 2008!

-Karen

Ali said...

oh wow Adla, you have a gift. Your blog is so original and interesting and an ansolute pleasure to read. I look forward to reading more of your alphabet of you. oxoxo Have a wonderful year hon and thanks again for a wonderful read. oxoxo Ali

Adla said...

Thank you so much girls for your wonderful and enthusiastic comments.Shall be on the roll with the encylopedia of me meme.. You are all welcome to join in the fun and create your own too :)

Much Love, Adla

Kerryanne English said...

Happy New Year Sweetie.

I have already been fortunate enough to have you share much of your heritage with me but also truly enjoyed this post. I look forward to the 'B' of the Meme.

Thanks for visiting me. I had a terrific time away and look forward to posting some photos of my new found treasures.
Hugs,
Kerryanne

The Nostalgia Fairy said...

Adla,
Thank you for this fascinating post.
Hugs,
Sandi x

LiLi M. said...

Hi Adla!!
It's good to read that I'm not the only one who enjoyed your post from the first word until the last!! I'm a historian and I do know that the Arabs introduced a lot of things into the old world (Europe) like our alphabet, all kind of medicine's (perhaps that was the source of introducing perfume making?? I don't know, but could well be) mathematics and I could go on for a while. Intolerent people usually don't know these things, and they do'nt want to know either. They just emphasize things they find odd and the (visual) differences, but there are an awfull lot of similarities between people of all kind, which makes it easier to understand each other, when you are willing to open up your mind.
Thank you for learning us about your background and the Arab culture, as all the others I just cannot wait to find out more!! Do you know the books of Khaled Hosseini? He is a talented writer who can write with colours, just like you! I also like to read the books of Kader Abdollah, who is a refugee from Iran, lives here in Holland and writes in dutch, but I'm sure his books are translated in English.
Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to learn more!
hugs L.

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