Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I live with 5 guys

live with 5 guys? What is she talking about? She is a Muslim girl.

When I first came here I didn't have accommodation, since I changed my university. So when I arrived I went to the accommodation office and applied. I was lucky and got a room the same day. I straight away signed the contract because I was so happy. I wanted to live on campus, not off-campus. After I signed my mum who dropped me off at university asked me "Is it a single sex flat"? The truth was I didn't know. I didn't think about it because I was really happy to get a room last minute, and wouldn't have to look for a flat to live in. We asked the guy that works at the accommodation office and he told us en-suite rooms (which means your own room and bathroom) are mixed. My mum had this look on her face. She was worried that my dad wouldn't be ok with this and worried about drunk guys. I was more worried that my flat-mates are not that open minded to live with a girl that wears a head scarf, I can live with it but it would make life certainly harder, but what I wouldn't like even more is if I lived somewhere my parents don't really like. I would have to do it anyway but I would have this feeling haunting me.

Anyway, I took my keys and we went to check out my new "home". To get into my building I have to swipe my student card, to get into the elevator I have to swipe my student card, to get into my flat I need a key and to get into my room I need another key. This solved the problem of security which was what worried my dad. Plus, it's not really a flat, it's more of a corridor with a door in front of it. So I moved in. Now I live in a flat with 10 people, 5 girls and 5 guys, from Nigeria, China, Turkey, Caribbean, India, Pakistan and Ireland. My flat mates are nice, and the guys are decent.

I know in the arab world it is impossible for a girl to live with guys in the same flat if they are not close family. I understand the reasons. But I understand the circumstances too. I wonder if I would be judged by that back in Bahrain? I live on campus with a lot of security. I know there are risks but I like to feel like I can take care of myself. I am sure that a lot of people wouldn't let their daughters do that. They should have more faith in their daughters taking care of themselves.

Oh, my student ID card is horrible, my picture looks like one of those posters with "Wanted" written on them. I look like a terrorist/drug addict. My student number is 922923, that could be the reward for handing me in. I am seriously thinking about losing it to replace it. Is it worth £10?


  1. Liebste Nichte, Du schaffst das alles!! Da bin ich mir gemeinsam mit Deiner Mutter ziemlich sicher!! Ich verstehe auch, warum Deine Mutter das Gesicht verzogen hat, HEUTE kann ich das verstehen, damals vor 100.000 Jahren, als ich noch jung war ;-) und meine Großmutter entsprechend reagierte, hat es mich nur verwundert. Aber das ist eine andere Geschichte...

    Du lebst jetzt in einer "modernen" Gesellschaft und musst Dich da zurecht finden. Gut, dass du "halbe" Deutsche bist, dann fällt es Dir sicherlich leichter.

    Wohin strickte traditionelle und inmitten einer anders lebenden und denkenden Gesellschaft praktizierte Geschlechtertrennung führen kann, sehen wir ja an diesen elendigen fälschlicherweise so genannten "Ehrenmorden".

    Ich sage es mal ganz krass, wer nicht modern leben will, soll nicht dahin gehen, wo modern gelebt wird. Wobei ich "modern" nicht mit "gut" gleichsetze. Ich muss mich entscheiden, immer, will ich dies oder will ich das. Zu meiner Zeit als Studentin waren Wohngemeinschaften modern, ich habe in einigen gelebt und es hat mir rundum gefallen. Ich fand das großartig und natürlich lebten wir mit Jungs und Mädels zusammen, keine Frage. Das ist jetzt 30 Jahre her, also schon sehr alt, trotzdem ist das heute in Deinem Heimatland noch unmöglich. Aber Du hast ja zum Glück noch ein zweites Heimatland in Petto ;-)

    Bahrain wird sich ändern müssen. Viele Länder werden sich ändern müssen. Wir leben nunmal in einer globalisierten Welt, ob uns das gefällt oder nicht. Aber ich kann nicht auf der einen Seite die Grenzen (für beispielsweise Touristen oder Firmen) aufmachen und sie in die andere Richtung zumachen. Entweder oder.

    Die Jugend dieser Welt, zu der Du gehörst, wird das schon richten!! Ihr werdet in Zukunft selber entscheiden, wie Ihr leben wollt.

    Gestalte Dein Leben so, wie Du es für richtig hälst, Deine Eltern haben Dir das nötige Rüstzeug dafür mitgegeben. Gestern habe ich einen wundervollen Beitrag im Radio gehört: erziehen heißt, in die Fremde entlassen. Das haben Deine Eltern mit Bravour erledigt. Jetzt bist Du dran.

    Deine stolze Tante

  2. The only reason I posted this post was to show the arab world that it can work. It is possible for a girl to live alone abroad, and if it meant to live with guys in a flat to get a good education and be independent, so be it. I want people to see that an arab muslim girl can live on her own even in an environment with men without turning into the wrong direction as many people would say. Others would come up with security reasons which I understand but the world isn't all nice and wonderful and not everybody is bad. Plus, it is time to let girls take care of themselves, that's what their brains are for.

    A lot of things are not suitable or ok for many people in the arab world but this is how the world is nowadays, we have to make them suitable with our attitude, behavior and bring some fresh air on things. I am not saying that people should abounded their religion, culture or tradition because they would loose their identity but they shouldn't let them get in their way of fulfilling their dreams.

    Thanks for the support :D my parents have been great in preparing me and I am capable to know what is right and wrong and how to deal with things.

  3. Hi Mariam

    Congratulations on your new accomadation. I am very pleased that you- and your parents- approve of and that you have the opportunity to live with women and men from across the world. I know that this is cultural but I find it quite a shame that the sexes are often so segregated in the Arab world. I (female) live in Alexandria with a (female)friend and we are both unmarried which is seen as a rarity. Officially we are not allowed male visitors. We have made a far bit of (non-Egyptian) friends who are both male and female and we find it odd that we can't invite (male) friends to our house. I believe because of this segregation men and women cannot learn from or appreciate each other as people and men and women who are not related being together is immediately sexualized which is so unnecessary.

  4. @ darkfairyadventures

    I know what you mean because I lived in such a community for almost all my life. People see other people as man or woman not the person behind. And what is even stranger is when they see men and women who are not related together they immediately sexualize it as you said. But this is how it has been forever and this is how they bring their kids up so when women and men meet in any situation they can't behave normally, it's like men and women see each other as creatures from a different plant.

    I find it that most arabs can't be just friends with the opposite sex because they always keep their so called "friend" as a marriage candidate in the back of their heads. There is so much match making going on.

    But this is starting to change, you can see that with the younger generation.

  5. I lives in halls to at uni. There a lot of arabs male and female and everyone got on just fine. Yes sometimes it can be embarassing when some people come back drunk with a new "partner" and you hear things because the walls are too thin - but overall campus was a great experience.

    I have many egyptian friends from uni days and yes I find even the men are open minded and dont see you as a potential marry mate lol.

    I tried to make many arab friends so I can pick up some language but sadly my arabic is still terrible and with a strong british accent.

    I hope you love uni life as much as i did.


  6. @ Mahsa Al Thahiba
    All in all living in student halls is great, it never gets boring. And I never meant to include everyone when I said "that every arab is looking for a potential marriage candidate", there are opened minded arabs of course but there are also so many NOT opened minded arabs unfortunately.

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