Friday, February 15, 2013

Could You Become an Ex-Pat?

Asalamu Alaykom,

You ready for the ex-pat life?

Take this test to find out!

Section One

True or False

T or F          1.  I'm comfortable taking public transportation                

T or F          2.  I know how to light a gas stove                                    

T or F          3.  Hot tea is one of my favorite drinks                              

T or F          4.  I like being, "a fish out of water"                                  

T or F          5.  Learning new languages is fun.                                    

T or F          6.  I can take a joke                                                        

T or F          7.  No matter where I am, God is with me                        

T or F          8.  I have a passport                                                        

T or F          9.  I enjoy foreign films                                                  

T or F         10.  I liked summer camp                                            

Section Two

What would you do?
1.  The waiter brings over a large bottle of water.  What do you do?

a) Tell him to bring it back and get a different one because it's missing the plastic seal.

b) Thank him in English.

c) Thank him in Arabic.

d) Slip him some money in order to get the best service.

2.  You see a nice dress in the window.  What do you do?

a) Ask a local friend to go in and find out how much it costs.

b) Try it on.  Complain about any inadequacies and try to knock the price down.

c)  Buy it with the understanding that you'll try it on at home and bring it back if it doesn't fit.

c) Give them whatever they want because the exchange rate is really good.

d)  Only buy clothes from Western chain stores like HM.

3.  A friend brings over a treat to share with you.  She then heavily compliments a kitchen gadget.  What do you do?

a)  Thank her and then ignore her desire for it.

b)  Joke that if she wants it you'll give it to her.

c)  Joke that if she wants it she can pay you for it.

d)  Give it to her out of gratitude for her kindness.

4.  Your inlaws like to watch the 2-hour video after each cousins' wedding.  What do you do?

a)  Find something ANYTHING better to do with your time.

b)  Sit and make the best of it.

c)  Sit with them and hate every minute of it.
d)  Sit with them and openly criticize their culture.

5.  A local levels with you that you need to wax your eyebrows.  What do you do?

a)  Explain with directness that your face is belongs to you.

b)  Listen and smile but don't wax.

c)  Feel insulted and hurt and stop being friends

d)  Take the advice to heart and get them waxed.    

How to Score

This is the section where you figure out your points.

No peeking!

Are you really done with the five questions?


Section One Scoring

 1 point for every "true"
.5 point for every "false"

Section Two Scoring 

Each set of possible answers was ranked from best choice (a) to worst choice (d).

Give yourself:

4 points for every (a)
3 points for every (b)
2 points for every (c)
1 point for every (d)

Basically, you have to look out for yourself while being an ex-pat.  It isn't the same as being a tourist where you live dangerously, throw caution to the wind and spend like there's no tomorrow.  You have to be open to new people and places as you remain intact.

Want to know more?  Here are the indepth reasons for the correct answers.

1.  The plastic safety seal is all that stands between you and dysentery.  Many "fine" establishments refill their plastic bottles of water with tap water and bring them to your table.

2.  Locals will try to get the most from your money since your streets back home are paved with gold.  It isn't there fault exactly; they just figure you're OK with paying more.  Don't!  If you plan to live where you shop then insist on local prices, otherwise you will come to resent how quickly your money goes.

It is un-Islamic to have two separate prices for different people.  If someone scams you, have a feisty local come back to the store with you to make ammends.  You do NOT want word to get around that it's easy to rip off that newcomer.

3.  "What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine," could be the motto of many female friends and family members overseas.  Here, if you compliment something, then the other person attempts to give it to you.  That's fine for them.  It's not going to work well for you over the long haul.  Quality is tough to come by and if you have something special from back home then hang on to it!  Seriously, there's somethings you'll never see in your life time so don't think you can pick up another one the next time you return for a visit.

4.  There's a lot of mindlessness.  You aren't stupid and can't sit idly for hours at a time.  Don't think you have to!  Live and let live.  If other people like an activity you don't, then they are free to do so ---without you.  Be independent enough to excuse yourself from things you don't enjoy or find haram.

5.  "You rights end where my nose begins," is one of the best quotes from an Indian friend of mine.  It's true! There's so much cultural baggage when it comes to beauty.  Don't let anyone dictate to you what you have to do in order to be acceptable.  I'm not advocating that you be offensive.  For instance, there are some outfits you simply shouldn't wear if you want to be respected.  However, most of a person's hygiene and upkeep comes under the heading of MYOB, "Mind Your Own Business!"

Interpreting Your Score

25-30     Pack your bags!  You were meant to live overseas!

20-25     Read some books and blogs.  Consider the options.

15-20     I'm not sure if this is the right life for you.

10-15     Maybe you should just go to an ethnic restaurant.    


Um Dayo said...

Ha ha! I loved this! I wish I read this before I came to Egypt!

Bonnie said...

Sigh, I WISH there was public transport here that wouldn't leave you with a slit throat if you happen to be white.....We will be in Egypt soon (I say grudgingly) I am still trying (begging) as hard as I can not to live there so iA we will see.

Anonymous said...



Well, there are different kinds of expats. Yaani, some expats can be living a couple of years in a foreign country and could score quite low in the quiz. LOL.

I like question 3. Oh man! I have been in a lot of those situations.

I tend to be a little socially absentminded and have done lots of 'mistakes' when it comes to this tricky situation. Sometimes I go right and sometimes left.

I have to agree with you on how to deal with this one though.

Say thanks and smile when an Egyptian woman compliments your dress, hair product, choice of face cream, perfume, shoes, bag, kitchen gadgets, etc. And say ALHAMDULILLAH internally if she forgets to say Masha'Allah.

You've got to understand something here though. Women here, I have observed, can compliment even the simplest thing that you hold if....drum roll please, they dont have it. They can have so many more things than you do don't, but they just don't have that little thing you do. it is what it is.

So just say thanks for the compliment.

Now, if it is someone you particularly like and you dont need that thing so badly then go ahead and give it to her OR better yet buy her a little gift and present it some other time.


Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Ladies!

Nice to hear from all of you. Sorry it's taken me forever to respond. I'm glad you liked the quiz. Yes, UmDayo, this would have been better to take sitting home in the States but then we might not have made it over here. Alhumdulillah for making a leap of faith on limited knowledge.

Bonnie! You don't want to come here? Was it something I said? ;)

I like Egypt...and I've been pretty ticked off this weekend at this and that so for me to still endorse it as a place to live is somewhat amazing. I don't know much about South Africa you are but if they want to slit your throat that's not a paradise either.

R., you had a lot of good observations. I particularly liked, " They can have so many more things than you do, but they just don't have that little thing you do. it is what it is."

Very true! They are not poor ladies. If they are married then they were set up like a queen upon marriage. What they are pining for is only more and better.

Love and Light!