Sunday, September 2, 2007

Where are you from, really?

This wouldn't be a blog about living away from the home country, if I didn't write about this.

But then again, I'm asked this question even in Canada.

For the most part, Egyptians think I'm a local. How do I know this? Well, if I'm with other obvious foreigners, I am completely ignored. I could be a driver, a gopher, or anybody else who can be loosely defined as "the help." The only question I'm usually asked (in Arabic) is in the "what are you doing here?" range.

If I'm by myself, the advantage is that I end up paying local prices for almost everything.

That is, until I open my mouth. Instantly, I get service, along with a suitably jacked-up price. And the question: "Where are you from?"

Inta min ein?

Min Canada.

Ah! Canada kwayyis! Wa lakin, aslak eih? (Canada's good. But where are you from really?)

When that happens, I feel like I never left home. Canada, that is.


Rajesh said...

Tum shola hein ya angaara ya tum fitna haein jo kabhi Englistan to kabhi Misar aur kabhi Kanadda mein nazar aata hai?

Great to see you here. I have not read all your blogs but I felt like leaving a comment.

It's a shame that we couldn't meet you guys when you were here in London. Any plans to come back? Do get in touch.

Rajesh Joshi (Kuch Hyderabadi sh'er arz karoon kya?)

Marie said...

Captain M has the same problem. He is from Oman and the second he opens his mouth, everyone's attitude towards him changes.

s said...

so when the locals ask "but where are you really from?", what do you say? i got that a LOT in ussr. 'yeah, sure, you lot are from canada, but you don't look like them - what are you really???'

Peter said...

Remember when that happened when me and you were in Brampton at the Kabaddi tournament? Same thing!

Glad to hear you're doing well, though, and keep the posts coming.



Yasir Khan said...


It's just like the kabaddi. Quite incredible.

Today, a waiter in our faculty lounge (we have wait staff in the lounge) was a downright jerk. So I didn't tip him. He asks for a tip as I'm leaving, and I tell him he'll get one as soon as he starts to smile at me.

I go in later, and the dude is all smiles.

Dwight said...

So where are you from, really?
CSIS called, wanting to know.