Yes a blog!
Among thousands…. or millions (too lazy to check)
Will it work? Will anyone read it? I’m crap with computers, what if I’m doing this wrong? What’s the use?
I have to do create something or what little self-esteem has survived the grueling war it’s fought with my insecurity/anxiety/procrastination over the years will wave the white flag and fade to black (yes that’s how you spell grueling, I just checked with Google).
So without further ado:
I am a 25-year-old girl (woman? lady? female?!), I live in Algiers, Algeria but did a 7-year stint in England from the age of 9 to 16 for crimes I never committed. I now teach English at a language school in the city centre and spend what little I make on unhealthy food, endless bottles of water in a hopeless battle against dehydration, and trips to visit my twin sister abroad (miss you!)
I have created this blog to tell my story as a single, Muslim female living in an Arab/Mediterranean/African country, namely its capital city. Here is a brief introduction to Algiers:
Algiers in located in the centre of the north of Algeria, which is a north-African country wedged between Morocco and Tunisia. It is a coastal town with a population of nearly 3 million. There traces of hundreds of years of colonisation evident in its architecture, its food, its languages, its culture and people.
Algiers is crowded and busy and lazy and dirty and beautiful and bitter and kind and hopeful and full of despair. It is a hundred and one contraditions coexisting in a dangerous and suffocating false-calm that will one day erupt or implode.
Algiers is my parents whose parents died in an effort to free us from the French, and who now go misty-eyed with nostalgia over memories of a Madame Robin/Dr. LeRoi/ Soeur Therese, teacher, family doctor and nun who taught them, healed them, nursed them, treated them like people not cattle. And yes, they’re glad that their country is theirs now but things aren’t what they thought they’d be and they are defeated and deflated and sad.
Algiers is my students and co-workers, twisting their eager tongues to coax out beautiful and unfamiliar words in a language that will open doors to jobs, to education, to immigration, to every door imaginable, and even windows, gates, vaults, fortresses and borders. And all for just 8900 dinars per 30-hour course roll up roll up! Speak the Language of the World!
Algiers is a people struggling to come to terms with ten years of mindless violence at the hands of a group who thought they were acting for God’s sake. It is a confused and confusing mix of beards and veils and slim jeans and football shirts. Of Arabic and Islam and French and ‘Enlightenment’ (pff) and now English and The World Wide Web. It is people searching for who they are in mosques, crowded caf’s, language schools, sports clubs, shopping centres, street corners and countless shoddy housing estates.
Algiers is an endless argument where everyone is wrong and everyone is right.
Algiers is the fair and the brave and the honest and the hopeful and the ambitious dreamers gritting their teeth against the unfair and the mean and the petty and the mundane and the smell of tense, sweat-drenched bodies fighting for air on a packed city bus.
Algiers has made me who I am, and I don’t know whether to thank it or spit in its face.
So I will hold my peace, and vent my anger and my love in this relatively harmless way.
My name is Safia.
Welcome to my ThoughtBubble.