While I was in America, I realized that there are certain things that some people seem to think about my life/the world/Arabs/the Middle East that are not necessarily true.
They think my choices are severely limited in regards to food. While I admit that I was overwhelmed by the insane amount of choices in America, (why does a bodega need fifty types of chips?) I can still get almost everything I want here. People would ask me what foods I wanted that I can’t get here and I couldn’t truly think of anything. Abu Dhabi has a very international population, with cuisine options to match.
They think media doesn’t reach outside America. Countless people asked me if they had “this song” (whatever song that might be) in Abu Dhabi. And I had to remind them that even if it wasn’t played in clubs (as most popular songs are) there was also this Internet thing that carried media all over the world.
They think all people can travel easily. Non-Americans/Westerners cannot travel easily, dear privileged passport holders. People seem to think my boyfriend can just hop on over to the States to meet my family and friends, no problem. And I’m staring at them like, “You’re kidding, right?” So then I have to tell them anecdotes about the numerous people I know who’ve been rejected by the American embassy. And then I have to explain that even Americans have to get visas to visit certain lands.
They think sheikh is pronounced “sheek.” It’s not, it’s pronounced “shake.” I know this is the media’s fault, but seriously, who started that one?