Monday, June 12, 2006

My Origins

After my last post, i thought it would be appropriate to mention where i myself am from. After checking around online, i realized that people think that i'm Arab; a slight misconception. This post here is to clear things up.

Since my background is a bit complicated, i've developed two answers to the "origin question". The short version is, plainly: I'm American/Circassian/Syrian. (In no particular order here other than alphabetical.) The long version, is... Well, you might wanna get comfy. This may make an interesting read, especially for history-lovers like me.

Here in Dubai, my mom is what we call a "mix". Her father (my grandpa) is from a little village in Syria, and her mother (my grandma) is a white American (of European descent). They met while my grandpa was studying in the U.S., got married, then moved to Syria, where my mom was born. Since she grew up in Syria, my mom identifies a lot more with Syrian culture, and considers herself Syrian.

My dad is a different story. He's from a rather fascinating people known as the "Circassians" in the West. They're from the Caucasus region in what is now south-western Russia, and the name they give themselves is Adyghe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Circassians began migrating from their homeland into various parts of the world due to war and persecution by the Russians. With a return to Russia a difficult and unlikely route, much of the Circassian diaspora remains scattered all over the world. My father is from the Circassians of Syria. Culturally, he is more Arab than Circassian, having lived amongst Arabs all his life.

Now, about little old me? I was born in, of all places, Saudi Arabia. After a few years there, i was whisked off to America and the American dream. After a brief spell in Chicago, i finally landed in Los Angeles, the place i now consider my childhood home. There, i became an American, legally and culturally. Those years in LA bound me to America in more ways than most people know.

So now, after years of my parents' hoping and planning, i'm back in the Arab World. The good ol' UAE, to be exact. Around the world in 18 years, eh? I guess all this moving around is what created my love for culture, language, history, and travel. If i follow family tradition, i wonder where my kids are gonna end up? China? Venezuela? You never know. It is, to quote a famous Disneyland ride, "a small world after all".

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