Back From the S.A.R

An even stranger trip home then usual. I always have a head swimmy feeling as I leave due to mutual sobbing with Umm Mr Outlines. I do not like goodbyes.

This is made worse on the way to the airport with the big, blue sign above the motorway which reads ‘GOOD BYE’, in big capitals. At this point I’m ready to shout out, “Let me stay! My Mum can post out Prawn Cocktails crisps and I’ll be fine!” On to the plane and Oreo is immaculately behaved for 95% of the journey and deeply unhappy for the final ten percent. More grim emotions at the baggage carousel where we experience the creeping dread realisation that while we might have arrived, our baggage hasn’t. Luckily we were reunited later that evening.


Oreo is struggling to cope with Life After Syria, as life in Syria consisted of a large cast of people on hand to pamper her every whim. Plus Syrian food, which she developed rather a fondness for. While back in the U.K, Oreo would choke dramatically in the presence of solid food, in Syria, she happily sat on Auntie’s lap eating whatever was offered. No, she does not sit happily on my lap for feeding either. I have to strap her into her high chair and even then she formulates escape plans.


As for Damascus itself, not much has changed since last year. The credit crunch so obvious in Britain, is not as visible there. Probably because they aren’t as fond of credit as we are.

The latest big Turkish drama is Wadil Zi’ab, which is about a vaguely righteous man defeating gangsters. Rather oddly, while you virtually never see anyone kiss on Arab tv, you can see the aforementioned gangsters breaking each other’s fingers at four in the afternoon.

I was very disappointed to  find the abaya police on the doors of two mosques I visited. Dudes, you need to mind your own business. Especially the chap who took a good look at my chest  before deciding I needed more coverage. Yes, only my hands and face were showing and no, nothing was skin-tight, but because I wasn’t wearing a manto (full length coat v popular in Syria) or abaya, I’m not sufficiently covered to enter the House of Allah. Very sad, especially the Umayyd which CHARGES MONEY for the abayas.


While in Syria, I closely followed the Off-food diet. This is why you eat anything you are offered. Arab hospitality + British plate clearing = Need to start exercising regularly again.

I also discovered Gonfe, which is a waffle filled with chocolate sauce and is delicious. I ate one with my youngest sister in law and we sat in a park with Oreo and meshed our broken English and Arabic into a conversation. As an example of just how broken my Arabic is, “Huwa la khayr. Huwa waled wasikh bi nisa’at” is me talking about Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently flogging shampoo everywhere.


After a trip to Syria, Mr Outline and I discuss the possibility of living there. As always, my feelings are hugely mixed. People talk about standards of living and that if you’re rich (which we aren’t) you can have a far higher standard of living then in the U.K. I’d still rather clean my own toilet and get to vote though then the other way around.

In the very tedious process of Being Officially Married and Having an Official Child In Syria, I officially Became Muslim. This involved a visit to a catastrophically dirty building, where the lights were low and the queues were long. Then,  repeating an extended Shahdah in front of a very grumpy Sharia Judge with incongruous wall hangings. He did not seem very happy about there being another Muslim in the world, but then he didn’t very happy generally. We’re still not Officially Married in Syria yet. More paperwork still to do.

Eid Mubarak everyone, may Allah shower you all with blessings.


No, I didn't take this

I didn’t take this


5 Responses

  1. I got to officially become a Muslim when I married my Turkish wife. But they didn’t make me say the Shahadah; one gentleman in the mufti’s office whispered to another, “He’s obviously Muslim, look at his beard.” And that was that.

  2. What should I say? Welcome to Middle East. Anyway, Eid Mubarak to you and your family although it is far way late!

  3. Oh, wow. I feel like I have missed reading about some fabulous adventures. This post hit home with me for some reason, even though the details are quite different to my own life. Something about living between two homes, two cultures, etc. It is all very familiar, including the official marriage paperwork!

    Hope you are well, which it seems from your writing.


  4. Syria seems a lot like Egypt where I’m from… I’d love to visit one day insha Allah…
    Good to see you still here … though you haven’t posted in a while… see you around soon i hope 🙂

  5. You made it! Alhamdulillah!

    I know it’s a strange, strange place but reading about your time there makes me want to hop onto a plane and experience it all over again!! I’m glad you enjoyed what you did, and I cringe at the… other parts. Experience any arabi toilets? LOL!

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