Home > Personal Ponderings, Tunisian Life > Il faut que jeunesse se passe

Il faut que jeunesse se passe

Today, I decided that I am actually in a Latin American country in disguise/denial/permanent delusion. Everyone is soooo nice, lively and sexy! (More sexified than sexy) They also eat horribly and douse everything in sugar or oil, listen to music nonstop while wagglin along  and manipulate time to such an extent that clocks might as well not even exist. Also, I would say the gendered concepts here are more Latino than Arab- women are liberated objects.

So what brought me to my ridiculous conclusion? Naturally an accumulation of things but since details slip through my mind like a sieve, I’ll elaborate on the most recent experiences and ‘beshwaya beshwaya’ more will come.

Alrighty, Wednesday I went out for crepes with my two Romanian friends in the posh Lac area and discovered that I hate all crepes here, they are basically Indian chapati’s stuffed with bland cheese and basted in corn oil. Just like in Latin America. I freakin hate tamales and all offshoots. But for the non-parallel, I love the Keralia Slim’s (while on my Latin American travels, les cigarettes ne me plait pas du tout). This from the mouth of an asthmatic and supposed health nut! Whatever, I’m impressionable. Besides, I have never seen people smoke so much and in truth, I feel a little left out. I want to go on 50 cigarette breaks too! When in Rome do as the Romans do? Viable justification? I think yes.

Anyhow, Wednesday night was one of wonderful conversation in a perfect atmosphere. (Tunisian compatriots, go to Phukets if you havent done so yet) Diana is the Romanian girl who isnt here on an AIESEC internship. She’s been here for one year and has a story of tenacity. Bien que a cause de l’amour. She’s the second foreigner I’ve met here who has fallen in love with a Tunisian and decided to stay back, despite the lack of work or tofu.

The next evening, my boss invited me over for dinner and a sleep over. The first time I went over to her house for dinner, I had no idea she intended me to sleep over, because all she said was, “Viens pour le diner aujourd’hui’. However, despite my protests at having zero sleep-over gear and wanting to work on applications, she convinced me otherwise simply by citing the fact that everyone who visits her in the evening sleeps over. I take this whole ‘Do as the Roman’s do’ a little too seriously. Anyhow, I now know that when she invites me over for dinner, I’m spending the night. Which I have absolutely no problem with! Hager has two litle boys, one who is two and the other who is nine months- Dido and Can-Can respectively. Super cute and they make me miss my dead baby kitten a ton. When we enter Hager’s house, she turns up the Mosaiq FM on full, gives me a pair of pyjamas  (bonafide flood pants since she’s only 5″2) and then I happily feed the babies as she prepares the dinner and smokes her lungs away. That evening, her husband went to watch the Esperance soccer match, and came back with disgustingly delicious pastries. Then Lubna, Hager’s sister, came back from work and animated nonsense went to a new high. Dido decided  he doesn’t want to sleep so Hager iron’s my clothes ( she’s so stinkin sweet. she does my laundry AND irons them), while Lubna I watch a Tunisian comic on TV and play with Dido. Even the television shows in Tunisia remind me of being in a Latin American country, je te jure.

The next night is a Friday night and despite my wanting to work on applications so I can enjoy Halloween worry free, a friend of ours just got a job in Italy and would be leaving on Sunday… so obviously I had to attend the farewell party. I get home from work and make some dinner so that Fati & Lavi and I could have something to eat beforehand. I actually didn’t eat dinner because earlier that day I consumed an entire baguette by myself while fretting over what to write for my application #1. I can’t believe it. This is like the 5th time I have eaten a whole baguette on my own due to pondering over things I don’t want to ponder. I need to get my stomach stapled!!

So yes, we spent our night in Biwa where Anna’s (Polonais) boyfriend’s band plays regularly  (and where one of my co-workers does the sound). They are incredible! I’m not one to cast praise lightly but aside from the fact that these non-English speakers sing sans accent, they  alter their voice and style to the originals flawlessly- whether it be Bob Marley, Sting or Coldplay. Impressive eh? So that night, we ate those nasty crepes and sipped on yummy the au amands, chatted away, danced a little and thoroughly enjoyed being out altogether. Lavi and Fati spent the night (my studio is that well furnished!) and the next day, they went to the Medina with Sonia to take a last round of photos. I finally decided to stay home and “work” (ponder).

In all seriousness, I even decided to skip out on Halloween fun for my apps. I had such a good costume too! Ok here goes: I was going to continue with my usual trend of dressing up in some variation of skank ( we all know Halloween is really just an excuse to get in touch with our inner baddie) and be a Tunisian Hoebag. My ex-neighbor was going to lend me her prayer robe, fix a hijab on me and snap on her niqab, and then….I would wear scandoulousness underneath!! Haha!! It woud’ve been great. The party at the American Embassy definitely missed out. Well actually, the requirements were to be in costume and since 99.9% of people here think I’m Tunisian, perhaps it would’ve been me who would’ve missed out?

Irrespective of no Hallow’s Eve, I had a really nice sunny weekend where people popped by here and there which made me feel less like a boring hermit. OH! And I channeled inner wifey! I made an amazing soup. See, a lack of an Indian mother and a Whole Foods really foreces me to use those cooking skills and what I’m finding is I just love to cook. Before it was ‘I love to bake’ but that’s because I liked to give other people my baking. Right now, I’m finding that I really enjoy cooking and I like doing it just for myself.

Another discovery you say? I found that I am abnormally naive. Yup. A co-worker of mine came over for lunch and a long story made short- that involves my landlord, ex-neighbors, an armoire and a really aggressive father ( who got a piece of my boisterous back talk)- that afternoon conversation with him finally made me aware that I’m naive to the point of self harm. And perhaps it’s because I’ve always lived in small very trusting communities where we don’t lock our doors or worry about leaving valuables out in the open, but whatever the cause, my hopes are that my time in Tunisia will help me mature in that respect. I finally want to as well and when there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s odd because last summer in England, when I was living in a pretty bad working class neighborhood and doing interviews with pretty sketch Punjabi Indian guys. I cannot tell you how many times my college boyfriend either wanted to either smack some sense into me or fly over with an bazooka and pulverize the offender. Despite the fact that I was always getting myself in dangerous situations where I just barely managed to squeeze my way out of, I didn’t find my idiotic doling of trust diminish by even one ounce. Going forward, I know I wont be living in picuresque American suburbs and so this characteristic of mine is certainly one that has to go.

Ok, I’ve been taking too much time out of my workless day to blog. I think I’ll read my French book instead. It’s called “L’ignorance”. Talk about fitting :p You know it’s a good thing I’m having this revelation here. I’m in such a great, caring community that I’ll get the positive reinforcement I need to shape up and leave my Preeti Bubble. Very happy to have a Nicaragua Take 2!!

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