Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Interview

SJ over at Pseudotherapy has an interview meme going on her blog and I thought 'Hey what the heck?'  The idea is that she could ask me any five questions that she wanted to and I would post the  questions and answers of the interview on my blog. I'd also post an invitation for anyone else that wanted to give the interview meme a go - but this time the questions would come from me. 

SJ was worried that some of the questions might be sensitive and said she'd change them if I wanted different ones - but they were fine. SJ, by the way, is an American that grew up in Libya and often posts on her blog her fond memories of her life here. 

Thanks SJ for taking time out to send me the questions. Here's my interview:

1. How did you meet your husband?

It's rather boring I guess, but here goes. I met him in the US he was a student and so was I. A friend introduced us. We hit it off right away. After about 6 months we got engaged and we stayed engaged for two years before getting married. Our anniversary is the same day as the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbour... lolol..

2. You left your home and culture behind to move to Libya. Was that a difficult decision for you, and have you ever regretted it?

It really wasn't a difficult decision - it was something that was assumed would happen long before I even married my husband. There are times when I regret coming to Libya which is only natural when you leave your country, family, friends and life and move to another one that's completely different and in a third world country to boot. The first year was miserable - but then so was the first year I moved from Illinois to Florida when I was twelve. Change is often difficult. But I have settled in, finding my niche here and I'm quite happy for the most part, although I do complain a lot! It's been over 12 years since I've been to the US for a visit - that's a long time. The Internet keeps me connected with my family, thank God for the Internet - without it I would have probably packed up and left long ago.
3. Why do your daughters have American names and your sons Arabic names?

The girl's names in fact are also Arabic. I wanted my kids to have names that would be known anywhere they might find themselves in their lives, nothing difficult to say or hard to remember or spell. I always say choosing a child's name is almost more difficult than giving birth - the discussion, arguments and interference from everyone while you choose the name is almost unbearable to me. Hubby and I nearly had a war over naming Nora (he wanted Noralhuda and I wanted Miriam and we settled on Nora in the end after having a big argument) and My father in law was none too pleased that I didn't name any of the boys after him. I had to tell him that if I named one of my sons after him than the next son would have to be named after MY FATHER - 'So if you want a George in the family we can name one after you.' I told him. That shut him up and he never brought up the subject again! 
4. Other than being with the man you love, what is the #1 thing you most love about life in Tripoli?

Hmmm... there are more reasons than one! I could make a long list. But at the top I would say that I can do what I want here. I'm fortunate enough that I only have to work because I choose to - my husband would be perfectly happy if I just stayed at home - and I could do that if I wanted to. Here I can do the things that I want to do, things that make me happy. I have time for interests and hobbies and have a large family too. If I lived in the US I wouldn't be so lucky - I would most likely be forced by circumstance to work just to make ends meet, and have limited time to pursue hobbies and interests - and most likely I would have had to stop at two kids. 
5. Have you ever experienced prejudicial treatment because you are American by birth?

Never, ever! Actually it's quite the opposite. Because I am American people go out of their way to be helpful, make sure I am comfortable, taking care of my needs and are just plain friendly. For example, if I go to a medical clinic the receptionist or nurses make sure I'm moved up in the line (which is embarrassing sometimes). Also, many times shop keepers have given me things for free- they are so happy to have an American walk into their shop. 
And here's the requisite tag:
If you’d like to play along, just follow these instructions:
  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (I won't post your email address in the comments.)
  2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


  1. Hi, i think it's a good idea.
    i'd like to be interviewed

  2. Wow, was this eye-opening for me! I can see that I had many misconceptions about your life. For example, I truly thought I remembered your daughters having "American" names. And I thought perhaps you were more "stifled" than you actually are.

    Thank you for doing this, Khadijateri. I enjoyed reading your responses.

  3. Hmmmm, interview me

    Sounds like a really different meme, like your answers. I am a NZer living in Brazil.


  4. Khaidijateri,

    I am writing because I'd like your advice. I'm a highly qualified and experienced EFL teacher interested in teaching in Libya. I've applied to different jobs, but each time I'm told they cannot hire Americans due to visa restrictions. I thought that the situation had changed when full diplomatic ties were restored and that companies could hire Americans now. However, I'm unable to find out anything from anyone about this. Do you know anything about the situation there? What schools would hire Americans? I hope you have a contact who might be able to fill me in on this. Please contact me at mariehowell@rocketmail.com.


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