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Cultural Integration

Do you know what means *thank you* in suaheli? Or *Nice to meet you* in arabic? *No this soup is disgusting* in french (there is no disgusting soup in France :-))? Since I am travelling I try to be maximum able to communicate and not to harm the people in the specific country that I am travelling to. I greet and ask in the language of the country, and it takes me not so long because I am a very talkative person, if I like. Since I moved to my new world, I know how it is to be a foreigner. And I know how it feels, when you do not understand the conversation and you are the one that is the outlaw. The invitations are boring for you and the others because you are so different – really different. Dirty jokes about my private life as well as storries what I did on my last party when the dog did not stop barking ( the most beautiful big poodle named Gustavo) remain unfunny and you want to disappear with a helicopter from the scene.  

I learned my lection from this and I adjust myself to most of the situations I am in, private and business. Recently I was in Marocco. I do love Marocco as it reminds me when I lost my biggest fear – snakefear. About 2 years ago I decided to touch a cobra. Even the thought that I will really do it let my blood freeze the evening before and I woke up the next morning like I am in front of an exam and I am not prepared. The Snakeman assured me that the snake is hypnotized and I wanted to see its teeth, then I told him and her (the snake that if she, the snake does not bite then I will not faint) voila done and I felt like a hero.

As I do always stay in the Riads instead of the boring hotels,  this time I chose in the most beautiful Riad Flam (like Sheherazade) -I felt like I entered Paradise, but to get there you have to go through the dusty dark and not so safe Medina. As I hate when I have to say where and when I go – to be picked up or accompanied by the person I did not choose deliberatetly, I decided to use and wear the Abaya. The black Abaya with the vail covering your body, face and hair in black silk. It is and was an interesting experience, I must admit. You are always dressed perfectly and fast and if you cover your hair and face it really makes you feel safe, because there is nothing that is seen from you but you can see everything – and I felt safe with this. 

The touristbonus was gone for with my beauftiful Abaya as the motorbikes thought that I am used to the local  traffic and I jumped in the last second into one of these huge chillispicebags to safe my life. It was quiet challenging when my business called in and the man in the medina selling bread was shouting in a singing way to offer his goods. My gestic and movement to kindly ask him to be more quiet encouraged him to shout even louder. There are the limits for understanding and integration, one can learn the language and dress the local dresses but there is not such a lection for local habbits.

And while I walked through the Medina with my Abaya blowing in the wind, I felt like a real arabic princess, the real onces, who are heard before they are seen as their golden bracelets and earrings are singing in the wind. Walking with such a lohn dress makes you automatically walk carefully otherwise you would slip over your skirt ( this is the same when wearing a sari) and it looks female somehow better than jeans and sneakers. While carefully walking through motorbikes snakes local dentists sitting on the floor showing the pictures how the relief your pain, I thought on something that I remembered when  I worked for the airline and I was such a crazy young girl. We have been invited to a party in Bahrain. I thought, with my Abaya and the special paper we needed to identify ourselves in front of Religion Police, this will be a boring one. No drinks, no fun, no music, just this kind of visits when 10 people are sitting around a table silently. But when we opened the heavy door of a wonderful mansion in the center of Bahrain, it was rocking . And so it happened that we, some of my friends and myself , took off our Abayas and wore just bikinis and lipstick and we did the most crazy thing i remember  –  we jumped from the roof into the swimmingpool which we cooled with huge icecubes, again and again and again before we got back to our hotels in our Abayas covered body, hair and face and giggling about our secret having a breathtaking time. 

Life was never that much exciting before.


PS: Oh the end of the story with the barking dog,…….. I threw Gustafo his toy and he nearly jumped from the gallery of his elegant house in anticipation of the toy called Willie.

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