Moving from a hugely diverse area like Riyadh to a small, largely homogeneous area like WV hasn’t been the easiest transition. True, I grew up here and am thankful that I blend in; however, it doesn’t stop me from worrying about my children and husband. Is there enough positive representation of other races here? Do my children ever feel some type of way cause they are the only non-white kids? Are they the only Arab kids around? Do they realize this? I encourage frequent play dates with other Muslim, Arab, and Hausa children so that my children can have that exposure to their culture from many as many others as possible. I want them to feel that diversity is just a normal part of life, although it may not be so normal in the area we are currently living.
Even so, it’s absolutely easier said than done. How am I going to schedule a play date with a Muslim family if there aren’t any? It’s quite the dilemma. It also makes us incredibly friendly when we normally wouldn’t be.
One summer afternoon we were at the park and we saw a family we didn’t know. They weee definitely not from around here, but we couldn’t quite place where they were from. We didn’t even care, though, cause we just knew we had to talk to them. So we rounded up the kids from the swings, walked over to them, and did a family introduction. I am forever grateful we did that, too, because they’ve become close family friends of ours. They are a lovely family from Iraq. The grandmother treats my children as if they are her own grandchildren. Both of my daughters have found their best friend in this family, and I’ve found one of my best friends, too. I have really enjoyed how well our families mesh and how close we’ve become.
Yesterday my friend messaged me and told me to meet her out because she had something for me. I dropped what I was doing and went to meet her. Her mother had made special Iraqi warag eneb for myself and my friend that had recently given birth. It was such a nice surprise, and both my friend and I appreciated the gesture. I’m so thankful to have friends so eager to share their culture with me. Doesn’t hurt that the food was amazing, either.