8 things to consider when moving out if you live in Arab countries

Friends series moving scene. ross, rachel and chandler moving sofa

For non-Arabic speaking friends, this video Moved out, is about young people who left their family’s houses and moved out.

I felt the urge to comment on this because it is always an argumentative subject here at home.

So let me first summarize the video for you and then I’ll explain why I felt the urge to comment about it.

Video Summary:

  1. The reasons behind leaving the house: the reasons could never be gathered in one list however, what was said above was age, urge of independent life (its about time) problems at home with one of the parents or even worse, both!
  2. How did your parents digested it: so its a spectrum of acceptance, from none to the totally supportive.
  3. How do you handle it on your on: Again a spectrum of bohemian life style to the well-managed home. messy apartment , ross's date Monica's apartment friends, tidy, clean neat
  4. What do you miss the most: HOMEMADE FOOD. delicious food, well prepared meal
  5. What do you not miss the most: arguments, comments on your life style.
  6. What do you love the most about it: Freedom, independence, privacy, Oh and walking around naked.
  7. What do you hate the most: Paying the bills. suffering from paying bills
  8. How people around you look at you (I’ll explain why this was asked later): people and the door guy never get it, how come young man/girl live alone or even in a shared studio? Odd!

* Big deep sigh *

Let us start the story with an introduction to where we live. I live in Egypt ( Arab world in general ) well these places have developed a norm based, i guess, on cultural and later economical reasons that you can only leave your parents house when you get married. Never before. And specially if you are a girl. It’s like forbidden, no matter what your religion is. However, its not I checked. So basically religion is not the reference when it comes to norms, it is the culture, the people around you, what will they say?! well to hell with them.

Here is why I felt the urge of commenting on this video:

  1. To show the infinite love & support to these people. BRAVO!
  2. It is a regular conversation here at my parents house, trying to convince them that it is the right thing to do, preparing them that I might do it one day when I am ready financially, which something that I am currently working on.

I can bet that 95% of the elderly in our society won’t ever get the idea. And it kinda make sense, they were born and raised on this, its hard to change.

How I see it, It is my present, it is my future and I should have the saying in it, nobody else should.

Why do I see it a must the whole experience of moving out, living alone, on your own completely until you are ready to partner with someone:

#Personal space:

personal space literally

BREATHE! you have your own space where you can just go home, relax, meditate do whatever you wanna do without people around, interfering, making a background noise. You have a plenty of ” me time ” and you are in control of the rest. You are free to invite whoever you want to share your time with. Unlike what happens at the parents house, people are imposed on your life. And don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and my brother and thankfully we are not a troublesome family, we live in peace we know how to co-exist most of the time. But still the introvert in me is just dying to leave.

#Independence:

How on earth will you ever feel entirely independent if you are still living in your parents house? How will you build a strong, independent character (not the cliche).

#Freedom:

Pretty much summing the two points above, but what i needed to clarify is we don’t mean by freedom, the partying all day all night life style. We mean freedom of choice, of making decisions.

#Accountability:

LET US LEARN THE HARD WAY. We do understand that life is not easy, and that is why we need to learn and we won’t learn as long as we are feeling safe that someone ( parents ) have our backs.

#Get ready for the next:

let the next be marriage, let it be long distance travel, let it be what it be but let me be ready.

Let us take marriage for example, when you are living in your parents house, if you are a girl you are leaving the cooking, tidying and these stuff to the mother. Same for the boys, they know nothing about housework, bills, fixing broken stuff. Nothing.

And then you ask them out of the blue when they get married to be responsible on a whole house, their partner and themselves and you expect them to live happily ever after! how about some preparations. How about giving them the time and space to let them develop on their own, explore the world and explore themselves and then when they are mature enough they can then carry the responsibility of this partnership.

Why it is not that easy around here:

#1 If you referred back to number 8 above( video summary), people in our society are not ok because they are not used to it, its different, its new and its odd. so if your parent are 50% ok with you moving out, they will still not give in because they know that society is not accustomed to this. and they do care about what people say, unlike us.

#2 Financial reasons:

To buy or rent a house or even a studio here is inexplicably expensive in a way past the capabilities of most young people here due to the low wages we are stuck with. So you gotta be well prepared for it before you move out, you don’t wanna ask for help after one month ( ego issues ).

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Leaving.

There is this quote that got stuck in my head ever since I read it couple of years ago.

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The first time I got across this quote, I was a total different person than the one I am today. And it felt so true back then, Yes I will miss the place and the people and of course I will never be the same. I have left a part of me behind.

The last 3 years were hard. It felt like the universe was literally crushing me. As if someone out there pointing at all the stuff that I love and make me happy to destroy them or take them away. I have witnessed my dream turning into a nightmare. It is impossible to pass through such storm and remain the same. Those hardships had left their marks, also they took a lot from me, but they had straighten me up. I became stronger, way too stronger than I ever imagined. I have learned to face my problems not to run away from them. I have learned to choose wisely, compromise because now I know I can’t just have everything I want at the same time.

So this quote doesn’t apply to my life anymore.

I am leaving now, and I won’t miss the person I am right now. Because its unchangeable. Those lessons are well learned & will stay for good. I am not willing to take a step back.

Things that leave marks forever.

How would you feel if, with every action you take, everything you eat or drink, you got reminded that you should take extra care; because we are just not an ordinary family. You as per the history that we are getting known for uniqueness in regards to our health issues.

That is pretty much the summary of my life lately, living with fear of sickness. Me & my family for the last couple of years have experienced most of our time in hospitals & doctor visits.

I will thread the cases below and you’ll get what I am talking about:

  • My aunt’s husband suddenly got sick & after diagnoses it appeared to be a brain tumor- benign. He was a doctor at one of the biggest universities here and he regardless his old age he was still full of life, but the tumor got him and even after couple of operations to remove this tumor it knew its way back; until it got him completely and made him partially paralyzed and then year or two later of course it was time to say goodbye.
  • By 2009, It was my first year of college when one afternoon after coming home from a dinner with family. My father taking his clothes off to feel something like a pimp a big one on his stomach. Heading immediately to the hospital and after running couple of tests and multiple doctor visits later. He was diagnosed with colon cancer, stage 2. Suddenly the word that scares us and feel pity over those who suffers from it, is now at our home, and its my father ! Cancer. When you are under such a shock, you sometimes tend to be completely clueless. I don’t know what was with me until this current moment. I was acting as if there is nothing. All what I was sad about is that mom & dad are not home and they staying at the hospital instead ! I understood how big and dangerous the situation was after dad came back home and after doctor visits and colonoscopy became our routine. Cancer takes years of follow-up and with every time we go for the follow-up process it scares me more. I understood how it was, I now understand how weak was my dad. How he was wishing for death instead of living with pain. How he wasn’t thinking about himself, but us, telling my uncle to take care of us if anything happened after the surgery. It was catastrophic and it left a huge mark.
  • 2015. Late July, my mom received a phone call that her brother is sick. So we did what became our usual, we ran to the hospital. After couple of check-ups it appeared to be something in the heart. And yes they defined it as “something” UNKNOWN. Something big blocking the blood bath from and to the heart. They couldn’t identify whether it was a clot or not. This was the worst because I was conscious, aware and awake of what is happening. So I felt the pain of everything happening around, but had to stay strong for my cousins. I lived each and every detail of the following: So it was the end of Ramadan our holy month and the beginning of the feast when he was having the surgery, I went the day before to check-up on him. He was shaking out of fear. I still remember how he looked, this picture never leaves my mind. So the day of the surgery, I finished work and went to the hospital, we heard good news the operation is done and he is in the ICU room now. So phew ! a relief. All of a sudden am walking down the hall when I met the ICU doc. who stopped me and asked if any of us is B+ because they need blood for him. !! what they had wasn’t enough. Attention, the tragedy starts from here: we managed to provide couple of blood bags as requested, and by the time I was leaving, I asked the nurse how is he, and the response was shocking, ” he is still in the surgery ” WHAT are you kidding me, they said he was out before, so she confirmed yes he was, but there was bleeding so he had to go back in there again. How come weren’t we informed ? nobody replied. They needed more blood of course, I knew later that he took over 11 blood bag this night only. And since then he got stuck at a coma for a week, with everyday passing we hear that there is a system failure, his body isn’t responding. We reached a point where we were praying for him to actually pass away, because it will be better for him and the family. It was the absolute meaning of torture. It felt like I am in the middle of the most tragic movie of all time. Watching my mom and her sisters and brothers falling down when they hear of a bad news about new system failure, watching his sons torn inside, lost. And watching a whole hospital staff that can do nothing to help him. And then of course by the end of the week, the one thing I wished not to happen at the first day he entered the hospital happened. He passed away. And that unknown thing, it was HEART CANCER. which is very rare to happen.
  • 2016. Not the time for break yet. It’s the time for my small family to hospital road again. Starting with my father who had a blood clot at his ankle and my mom having a surgery at her uterus, ending with my mother diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. Which was just confirmed by last week, and started taking cortisone. After a year of unexplained fatigue. Again, the one thing that I was afraid of, happens. I saw my friend’s father how he was totally messed up because of the autoimmune hepatitis, and I was so afraid of this disease. All of sudden, it hits the one person who is the closest to my heart, the weakest physically in the family. Mama.

One thing I learned passing through all these experiences, despite the fact of how we as humans are so weak and helpless when it comes to sickness, every time one of these incidents happen, I freak out and I burst into tears. But then I wake up and have all the strength in the world, to support and stand by this person in need. When my uncle got into the hospital I gave every single bit of my strength and energy to his sons. Even though it was hard on me. Same when I knew about my mom. I said so okay lets assume this is the worst, am I going to spend my time with her moaning about why it happened or I would stand strong, support her and make it easier on her. So I learned that no matter how hard the situation is, you find your strength in a way or another. You learn how and when you let your feelings control.

I can’t say how much time it took me to write this and let it out, and the pain I am feeling now. I have a very heavy heart unfortunately. I am sorry about the bad medical terms too, I am not a doctor. I am asking you to keep me and my family in your prayers.

May we all stay healthy, and strong when needed.

The side of mom that I never saw before

In order to know what is exactly the side of her I never saw before. You need to know how I always see my Mama.

She is a very strong woman, I guess that how we all see/tend to see our mothers, but she has this contrast in her character that I never actually fully understood. She can move mountains if she wants, however some other times she can’t just go from one place to another alone.

Seven years ago, my dad had cancer, colon cancer. I was in my first year in college, my brother was in high school I guess, so basically we were young, inexperienced and kinda lost. We weren’t responsible enough back then so she actually carried the weight all alone until we started to understand and digest that we have cancer at home. It took time before my dad thankfully survived, surgery, doctor & lab visits, late night doctors call. She has literally dealt with this all alone as strong as the strongest thing you can ever imagine.

She is a house wife, she has no work experience at all, being the youngest daughter in the family, having lost her dad at very young age, she was the most pampered of them all. She graduated years later got married to my father and that is it. Her life is just centered on her family, with few friends around she has nothing to do but us. Her business is taking care of us.

So with time passing, us growing old, having our own life outside the house, away from her.

Her life changed, we try as much as we can to keep her engaged in our lives  but still by the end of the day she spends most of the time alone. Recently, I have realized that she is becoming more afraid of this, of sitting alone at home. Turning all the lights on, locking the door, nonstop phone calls with anyone just to avoid the feeling of loneliness and to get over this fear. I have seen it, unfortunately and she breaks my heart, having no other alternatives in hand is killing me. She is weak now, age is leaving its effect on her; she is sick we have spent this year almost in hospitals, hence she physically needs extra care, emotionally too.

It breaks my heart when I see her alone knowing she is afraid inside. Seeing the strong woman who raised me up and used to do everything with energy and didn’t mind doing anything alone with this fear right now is a killer.

If only I can go back in time where life was simpler and she was stronger and I was able to be around her more.

Time is my enemy. It is taking away like as we know an we can’t just stop it.

If you are reading this send some positive vibes our way, we can use some. xo