Arabic and Feminism

!  أهلأً و سهلأً

That means welcome and hello in Arabic. So I am home for the holidays at last! Really I didn’t mind my classes, but taking a break from the rush will be nice for a bit. The class I’m happiest is over is Arabic 101….I loved this class but felt exhausted after my four day a week class. Really I’m glad I took it, I can recognize words and read the script, even if I do not know what most of it means, it broadened my horizons and made me confident that not I can learn any language I want! I’m already majoring in Spanish, and may be taking Portuguese in the near future…I’d also love to learn French and German, but I should probably stick to two at a time haha. Needless to say, I am not continuing Arabic, having come to the realization that unless I went into a field that I would use it in, finding speaking partners is a little farfetched just for kicks…

However, because of this class I did have the opportunity to hear Rula Quawas speak. She is a Jordanian feminist who teachers American Literature and Feminist theory at the University of Jordan. In a culture where talking about sex is still taboo, teaching Kate Chopin is already a brave move, but she has helped the movement in many other was. She and many other women petition the government of Jordan for equal citizen rights for Jordanian women, a repeal of the law “Code 308” which encourages rapists to marry their victims, and for more awareness on sexual harassment. She and some of her students produced this video which in Arab culture is momentous.

It is hard for me to understand how speaking up about things men have said to me on the street would cast doubt on my own modesty and standing as a women, but that is what happens there. A truly amazing woman!




A cooking craving

I have a very extreme cooking craving at the moment. I’m living in catered accommodation so am fed a potato rich diet 3 times a day (well, I’ve only been to breakfast once this whole term so its more like twice a day) and my only kitchen has hobs and a microwave. So no cooking for me. And I am craving it. As in I have a pinterest board full of things I want to try and make, I have been avidly devouring masterchef professional and have now moved on to Nigel and Adam’s farm kitchen. I’m dreaming of making bread, making pasta, having parties, smelling spices.

Aren't they just the cutest?
Aren’t they just the cutest?

Who even cares about the family? The first thing I’m saying hello to when I get home is the cooker (well, not really, our cooker isn’t the most beguiling cooker out there and my parents will be paying for ingredients so I will probably still say hello to them first. But still, COOKING!)

In fact, it has got to the point where cooking programmes seem to be my go to after a night out. I get back to my room, probably after kitchen chats, at about 3am and my brain goes ‘aha, cooking’ and I inevitably end up with little sleep, 5am hunger and missing my next days lectures. It goes without saying that I am a fabulous student.

That is me. Except I am a woman and by 3am I'm not still drinking.
That is me. Except I am a woman and by 3am I’m not still drinking.

The thing is, when it gets to that point at 5 am in the morning I have managed to transform myself into a cooking don. I see Michelin stars and cute cafes on the horizon, people oohing and ahhing over my explosion of taste and doors opening for me everywhere. In reality, I am not that good (yeah I know I got you, I know you were really thinking, when will that restaurant be opening but unfortunately you will have to be waiting a while longer). I mean, I’m not bad at cooking and in fact I think I’m quite good; I definitely had a learning curve last year when I went from only ever having baked to cooking meals for 10 twice a week. But I still have a  lot to learn – however, I still know I will be disappointed when that recipe just doesn’t work or everything got burnt or shrunk in a weird cooking calamity. It just hurts, ya know?

Whatever the results maybe, I certainly having cooking on the brain so look out for some recipe/disaster posts when I return home for the Christmas holidays.

Ta ra duck,


Somalian Refugees

I’ve just been reading through stories of Somali refugees in Europe, told through the medium of a graphic novel. The art is beautiful and the stories themselves are fascinating and very moving. I’ve never thought about the process of asylum before; the thing that struck me the most was how much of life’s richness is taken away an what a waste it is of peoples lives and talents.

I highly recommend you go and have a look at this project, and take a few minutes to read even one of the stories.

Somalis in europe
The stories in Meet The Somalis were told to author Benjamin Dix and drawn by artist Lindsay Pollock. They are found on the Open Society Foundations website.