Back to London

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(Not my picture, but illustrates the journey fairly well)

It’s funny how you can almost instantly tell once you have crossed the boundary between Scotland and England. All the pretty hills become ironed out into smooth, flat farmland followed by a sign that says “Welcome to England”. England looks rather depressing in comparison. Not that I’m at all sad to be back. I’ve missed my family back in London, especially since I didn’t return for the winter break. I tend to call it “winter break” rather than the Christmas holidays simply because I feel odd calling it that, as someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. And yet what others call “spring break”, I still call “Easter holidays”, as senseless as that is. Perhaps because it just sounds too American.

I get to abandon “Henna”, my dancer persona, for a couple of weeks and go back to being nothing but my normal self. I’m writing this from my old room that I grew up in while my family bustle around downstairs, completely ignorant of that persona and the blog that goes with it. I was almost tempted to bring along my favourite pair of dancer shoes, but thought best of it. They are so comfortable and good for an ordinary night out without getting painfully blistered feet my the end of the night like normal high heels do. Plus most of my family couldn’t tell the difference (providing that they aren’t the clear plastic platforms that practically scream “stripper!”).My big sister is also hear for the week and would have questioned those shoes in a heartbeat. Part of me really wishes I could check out the local gentleman’s clubs just to see how they differ to the couple in Scotland that I’ve worked in, but I don’t see that being possible. The risk of wandering into another Somali here in London feels just too high.

It has been wonderful being around everyone from home again and hearing Somali being spoken all over the house. I hadn’t even realised how much I missed Somali music either.My sister feels it necessary to correct my pronunciation every once in a while whenever it sounds slightly too Scottish for her liking. It all sounds straight up English to my ears! I’m sure my Scottish pals would laugh at her for thinking anything I say sounds too Scottish. I also heard my mother speaking to one of her relatives in French and Tamashek the other day, which made a change. My mother’s side of the family is not Somali, but Tuareg. Most of her family still live in West Africa and are difficult to track down for a visit since they live a nomadic lifestyle. As a result, I’ve always felt more connected with Somalis and Brits.

One of my many cousins is getting married next week, so my mother, sister and I will need to have a dirac or guntiino ready. There will be relatives coming from Somalia, Kenya, the USA and New Zealand plus probably many more. They had better stock up on bariis! Needless to say, I’m very excited for the occasion!

I might not be able to update too frequently until I get back to Scotland. My sister is terrible for snooping and I really would rather she didn’t find the blog. I can already imagine her endless lectures if she ever found out about my exotic dancing habit. How funny it would be if I found out she was one. She’d never be able to play Holier than Thou with me again!

In the meantime, Salaam to you all.

John Oliver explains why religion shouldn’t be used to discriminate

I realise that what John Oliver says in this 14 minute clip is entirely U.S. based, but it is bloody hilarious and all so true. The man could easily make a career in comedy.

 

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It really is impressive how much progress the USA has made in the last few years. Only back in 2013 there was no legal way to bring in your same sex spouse into the country and give them a green card, not even with a civil partnership. For such a “modern” country, that truly is a disgrace. Luckily this was fixed back in 2014, but still. Rather late in the game if you ask me. Even though same sex couples could not marry in the Scotland, Wales and England until about the same time, at least they were still allowed to bring in their civil partners from across the globe! Sadly, I do not see Somalia, Saudi Arabia or many other countries in that general area of the globe to follow suit. While I like that the people are keen to follow the Qur’an, religious law is not something that any government should enforce. That is something personal between someone and Allah (or whatever faith they belong to).

I painfully admit that it was not all that long ago (early high school years) that I was a bit of an a-hole when it came to accepting gays and lesbians for who they are. Back then it was something I was convinced was a choice and not a part of who someone is, but I have adjusted my attitude since. I might go more into this in a later post when I have more time to explain, in fact I probably will. Ironically, it was the fact that I’m not entirely straight myself, which was the reason why I used to believe it was simply a choice.

However, I would like to add that this was my attitude towards homosexuality and such, not the people who are gay/lesbians themselves. Much in the same way that I have nothing against prostitutes. Their behaviour is considered “sexually deviant” according to many religions and cultures, but they don’t harm anyone and it certainly does not make someone a bad person. Also, I really have no room to judge anyone for sexual deviancy now that I’m a stripper. That would be both preposterous and judgmental beyond belief.

Anyway, if you fancy a good laugh I highly recommend giving John’s clip a watch.

 

The host of Last Week Tonight tears into people who use their religious beliefs to refuse services to LGBTQ people.

Source: John Oliver explains why religion shouldn’t be used to discriminate