One thing you will find once you’ve been on international teams for a good amount of time is that there is always someone that is “picked on” slightly more than the others. I don’t necessarily mean this in an extremely negative way (usually even the victim is quite amused) but it is a fact non-the-less. This role on this trip has not surprisingly usually fallen to me. I suppose most of it isn’t my fault. I am short, a female, and the “baby” of the group. Then again I suppose sometimes I ask for it, as most of my friends will know I tend to say quirky things that may make me sound like I’m missing some IQ points or just plain weird. Whatever it is, I find it rather amusing and fun. Thank goodness I’ve grown out of that adolescent sensitive stage where such banter would create tears.
This role is also true among our native friends that we have met here, especially in regards to “finding a husband.” See, it all started out when we went to an English school, where we sat down and had tea with some of the teachers before going into the classroom. The main teacher, let’s call him Benjy, mentioned that I looked like I belonged to a group of people that live in the mountains of this country. He then proceeded to jest that I should find a husband among them and live up in the mountains. This made us all burst out in laughter of course, and it continued to be a joke that would be explained whenever a new person joined the group. If that had been the only thing that happened in those regards, it might not have been so repetitious in our current conversations, however the real joke came when the kids were offered to ask us questions.
Now, I know that children sometimes have this funny notion that young single adults should finding a lifetime match soon, and I have encountered this many times working with such children, even at the tender age of 19. What I didn’t expect is a little boy raising his hand during this question time and asking me “Are you married…or something like that?” The poor boy was mortified once the crowd of laughter came.
Despite my own laughter, I had actually understood what he meant, because though it is not really appropriate to have a boyfriend/girlfriend (in the american sense) in this country, they are also well-versed in our culture through the media, so the kid probably did not know how to word his question. Nevertheless it has been added to the previous joke about marrying in the country, and it continues to be a trend among the group. Therefore I’m afraid, my friends, I may never return, for my friends seem intent on marrying me off. Do not fret, If such a thing occurs I promise I will write of my romantic life in the mountains with my Arab husband, because that’s the dream right?
P.S. Don’t worry, my parents won’t approve until he offers some good camels first 😉