5 Things I Miss About Somalia

 

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It’s been a while since I last visited Somalia. Despite it’s flaws in the eyes of the world (I mean, what country’s reputation improves after two decades of civil war, right?), there are many reasons why I wish I could be there in an instant. I really miss being there. The entire paternal side of my family is from there, the North in particular, and so I always feel welcome and at home whenever I do manage to visit. Every now and again I am reminded of some odd thing that makes me miss it more than usual. Today, it was some frankincense scented incense. Of course, anything frankincense scented feels simply disappointing once you’ve smelt the real deal.

  1. The food is so fresh. The fruits here in the UK, whilst still delicious, just can’t compare to the mangos and bananas you can buy in the local markets in Hargeisa and Berbera. Meat is also much fresher, even though I don’t eat that much. Chickens, goats, ans other animals are usually killed and cooked shortly before the meal, unlike readily killed and butchered animal parts you buy in the West. The are certainly fewer ingredients available, but the overall freshness makes the ingredients you have pack a punch as it is. I also miss traditional Somali foods like angello, sambusas and xalwo.
  2. I feel so at home there. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life so far here in the UK and feel very British overall, yet somehow whenever I go back I feel at home in a different way. I suppose it has everything to do with having so much family living there. I’m always discovering new family members, distant aunts, uncles and cousins, that I had never known about before whenever I go back. Something funny about Somali society is that everyone who is Somali has a place in it, depending on who you are related to and their Clan. No matter where you grew up or even if you have ever been to Somalia itself, there will always be a place for you. It gives you a certain sense of belonging.  Also, everyone looks like you (in a way). I love the diversity here in the UK, especially in London. People from all over the world can belong here, no matter what their background. But there’s a certain different type of belonging you feel when everyone around you is somewhat like you. In a similar way to feeling you belong in a pack of students wandering around a university where you are all usually the same age and at the same point in life. In Somalia, we all speak our own language (which I should get to better grips with myself), we are all Muslim (that I know of), dress in a similar way and the fact that we all have Somali features. I still consider myself to be predominantly British and English at that, but it feels wonderful to fit so well somewhere else.
  3. Somali is spoken everywhere. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can truly immerse yourself in the language. If you ever want to properly get to grips with a language, having it being spoken around you and to you constantly is a huge help, if not a necessity. My Somali speaking skills always fade after I’ve been away for a while, although speaking to family at get togethers helps. Somali is such a poetic language and hearing people who have used it their whole lives gives you a new appreciation for it.
  4. The weather is nice and hot. Sometimes it’s far too hot for comfort, but all hot weather sounds a treat when another Scottish winter is approaching. The ocean is wonderful too. A rich, sparkling blue and warm to the touch. I’ve heard it’s good water to go diving in if you have the equipment, with colourful fish and coral reefs.
  5. The clothes. I often wish I could wear my Somali clothes often while wandering outside in the UK, because they are just so comfortable. They are light and cool to wear and full of colour. They also make choosing an outfit nice and simple, you shove on a baati and headscarf and you’re good to go! Having said that, I do love the way we dress in the UK, especially in London. It feels great to put together a sleek and stylish outfit with a variety of clothing styles. Not that you can’t look sleek and stylish in a Somali dress! It is definitely harder to find modest clothing though.

 

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Disclaimer: none of the images above where created by me, but I feel they accurately illustrate the things I try to describe.

Thank you for reading this far and have a wonderful day.

“You know you’re a stripper when…”

Salaam all.

So, I was having a discussion with some of the other girls while we were getting changed back into our regular clothes. As you may have guessed, we were trying to think up circumstances “when you know you’re a stripper”. Most of the other girls have been in this business a fair bit longer than I have, so they had some fairly interesting ones. While I’m not usually into “listy” posts I feel that this would be a good way to summarise it all.

 

“You know you’re a stripper when…”

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  1. You absent mindedly shove pound notes/dollar bills/ euros into your bra for safe keeping (of course, I also know many non-strippers who do this).
  2. Someone random calls out your stage name and you immediately turn around to it. Even though you’re not working and it isn’t your real name.
  3. You have to think for a moment before introducing yourself to someone or signing your name paperwork.
  4. You know all the local restaurants that are still open past 3am.
  5. You have a full wardrobe for your “normal” self and a separate one for your stripper self.
  6. Your stripper wardrobe could probably complete with a drag queen’s.
  7. You always have new bruises popping up as a result from pole work.
  8. When you can glace at someone’s boobs and can tell whether they’ve had a boob job.
  9. You hear a good song on the radio and immediately think about how you could make it work on stage.
  10. Particular songs remind you of specific clubs you have worked at.
  11. You’re out dancing with friends at a normal club and you have difficulty in not going into “stripper” mode.
  12. You find yourself trying out pole tricks on public signs.
  13. you consider coming home with £200 cash a bad night.
  14. Other people being naked around you seems fairly normal.
  15. Having a stop on your bum is worse than having one on your face.
  16. Jumping  and swinging around in 6-8 inch heels is no longer much of a challenge.

 

Only the last one was my own input. It’ll be interesting to hear if the others come up with any funny ones.