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JustHere | June 25, 2017

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Do you have time for a qahwa?

Do you have time for a qahwa?

A letter to the nation that we all call home, be it for a few months or many years.

Beloved Nation,

Yeah, you are beloved. Don’t listen to the folk who are constantly using the ‘E’ word. Calling us expats and drawing divisive lines in the sand between you and us. Piling up the differences. Putting languages and cultures and religions and food and drink habits and dress codes all on top of each other, at odd angles, in an unseemly mess, so that they can build as big a wall between us, as possible.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Because, there’s this: though this isn’t my country, I live here. I work here. I raise my kids here. I get sick, get better, fall in love, adopt pets, get fat or thin and a million other things, all happen – here. On this particular piece of planet earth – that belongs to you – which you now share with others like me. So it’s kind of a ‘for better or for worse’ thing – till concluded contracts or deportation or exit permits do us part.

…though this isn’t my country, I live here. I work here. I raise my kids here. I get sick, get better, fall in love, adopt pets, get fat or thin and a million other things, all happen – here.

So today I was thinking, stuck as we are with each other, wouldn’t it be cool if we could just have coffee together, on and off? Like acquaintances. I mean, where we get to be civil and respectful, listen as well as speak with no pressure or a burden to agree or tear each other’s hair out.

I’m going to imagine just for a moment, what I would say to you beloved nation, if you were right there in front of me, smiling, coffee cup in hand. Here’s the first thing I would say.

“Chill.”

Yep. I’d say that and then I’d follow it up with an assurance that I am not here to destroy your culture nor dilute it. Seriously. I am not. Heck! I have my own problems to worry about. But that’s another story for another day. So anyway, like I was saying, I will reassure you that taking away from who you are is definitely not on my to-do list. Because the truth is, your roots can’t be stolen, your heritage can’t be tampered with. Your traditions can’t be contaminated. They are yours. For keeps. So you can chill. Really, you can.

And then I’d listen. To whatever you have to say.

Because that’s what acquaintances do – especially ones who are on their way to becoming friends.

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