March 06, 2012

Russian hospitality

My brother is coming to visit me next week. Previous to this, the only time he left America was to visit Canada. He also currently lives next to a corn field. I'm very excited to show him the wonders of Abu Dhabi.

When I told my Russian roommates that my brother was coming to see me, they seemed very concerned with the idea of him staying in our apartment. "It's not illegal. He's my brother," I insisted before they could even attempt to pull the Tawajed clause card. (On my second day in the apartment, they had informed me that they would be sticking to the shariah law that states that it is illegal to have male guests step foot in the apartment. Lucky for me, there is a clear exception for relatives, such as my brother.)

Eventually, I gathered that their concern was that he might somehow happen to glimpse them in a towel during the half second walk from their bathroom to their rooms. I have no idea how I responded to that without laughing, but apparently I did.

"I guess it's ok..." they eventually acquiesced.

11 comments:

  1. I find it odd that your roommates are Russian yet forbid you to have male guests step foot into your apartment. Goes to show the power of stereotypes, I guess.

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    1. Which stereotype? That they're prostitutes? Because that's what my boyfriend assumed about them when I told him that I had Russian roommates, haha.

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  2. Why are your Russian roommates so into Shariah law? Are they afraid of what the neighbours would say?

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    1. Yes, they claimed it was because they were afraid of what the neighbors would say. They're also possibly Muslims themselves. (They don't communicate well, so I can't be entirely sure about that one.) And as Russians, they have way more fear of laws and government than I ever could. I mean, shariah law is the law here, technically speaking... but I've never seen it enforced. And I have broken or bent it many, many times in the time I've been here.

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  3. ...Why can't a male step foot into the apartment? Even the idea of that gives me a trapped kind of feeling. It's like guys can't even be friends. Is it illegal for a female to step into a male's home? Or is it not? I'm only guessing that it's illegal for two unmarried people to live together, too?

    This is maybe a nice new blog, maybe.

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    1. It's illegal for a male and female who are not related to be in private together. We can only be friends in public. And yes, it's definitely illegal for unmarried couples to live together. I know a couple who married solely to live together. But then, I also know many unmarried couples who live together (they just do it off the record.) Because the law is not enforced very often, the odds of getting in trouble for it are slim to none.

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  4. If the law isn't really enforced much, then all seems well to me! Hopefully (for your roommates) you and your brother look enough like brother and sister that the neighbors won't suspect anything and start talking.

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  5. I had a Russian friend who used to live with his mother and well... They rarely had people over at their house. I mean, they would much rather celebrate his 21st birthday at a park than at their home... I thought it was strange.

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    1. Interesting... I don't think I ever went into the homes of my Russian friends either. It's still a bitch move to impart their habits onto me. But this is interesting to consider.

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  6. You have a new blog! And you moved into an apartment with Russians? I am so behind on your life..

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    1. Da. When I got fired from the first school I worked at, I had to move out of there. So the new school provided accommodation with 3 other teachers. Who happen to all be Russian. They're from the same province in Russia and sort of knew each other before coming here, although not well, and they didn't all come together or start out working at the school we're all at now... I think.... their English makes talking to them way too annoying for me to try very hard. (Plus the whole banning my boyfriend on the second day I'd met them really made me indifferent to everything about them.)

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