Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ghasbet Aani . . .

Okay, so I made a rookie mistake today and forgot a cultural lesson I learned a while ago. Random tidbit about Egyptian culture. If you admire something that belongs to someone else, they will assume that you are asking for it. Occasionally you wind up with gifts that people are honor-bound to give you, but don't really want to part with. On other occasions you wind up with pieces of junk that you don't want either.

I spent most of the evening with a friend tonight, playing dominoes and drinking tea. I noticed that he was wearing a ring that I hadn't seen him wear before. Without really thinking about it, I asked him about his new ring. He took it off and gave it to me. I tried to refuse (three times being customary) but he kept insisting. So, I'm now the proud owner of a ring which has the word "love" engraved on the side. Thankfully most of my friends don't speak any English, so I won't have to explain what it means. But wearing it does mean I'll have to explain that I'm not engaged, I'm just wearing a ring, to dozens of complete strangers each day.

Not only do I have to keep it, I also have to wear it. It would be an insult not to. Fantastic, huh? I titled this post "ghasbet Aani" because it means "against my will" in Arabic.

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