The Arabic Granny and the Southern Granny…

dreamstime_s_30221865 The Southern granny has long been known in the media as being a sweet little “Paula Dean” type of character, humming a little tune to herself as she cooks fried chicken with a side of deep fried pickle slices whilst sporting a little apron with images of chickens or a funny little slogan on the front. When you walk into her kitchen, you can smell the cornbread being baked and with a big welcoming smile, she’ll offer you a big glass of sweet iced tea before you’ve had a chance to sit down.

Once you’ve finished eating, she won’t let you get up without a slice of one of her pies that she has undoubtedly prepared ahead of time for your arrival. Overall, you’ll feel very well taken care of, and she won’t let you wash a dish or do a thing. She’ll take care of all of it for you.

I had a granny like that back in Alabama, and my dear God, how I miss her everyday.  In fact, Christmas time is a very sad time for me because not only was her birthday Xmas, she died around this time of the year as well, so it always leaves me with a hole in my heart where someone used to be.  If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting one or being cared for by one, consider yourself very very lucky indeed.

dreamstime_s_10249187  As unique as my grandmother was, I did have the pleasure of being cared for by another, although, as I was her daughter in law, she expected me to help.

The Arabic granny greets her grandchildren in much the same way as a Southern grandma would.  She also has a big meal prepared, but the chicken will be part of a dish known as Byriani, so it’s cooked in a pot with rice, onions and fried carrots. Just like the Southern granny, the Arabic granny has a lot of sweet treats and home made bread for her family as well.  She even hums, but it’s not a bouncy little tune like the Southern granny, but a more somber tune.  dreamstime_xs_59217333

Everything for the Arabic granny is a bit on the dramatic side, although you should NEVER say this to her out loud, as it may get you a serious reprimand by the entire family, much in the same way a Southern family would react if their granny was questioned in any way.

Disrespecting her or refusing her food is not allowed by anyone who considers himself or herself to be a lady or a gentleman, and if you dare to cross the line, the men of the family will undoubtedly rise up to defend her, as she is sacred to them.

For a great story with a LOT more to tell you about the high position of the family matriarch in both cultures, why not pick up a copy of Desert Magnolia on http://www.bluejinnimedia.com today?

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What Do You Want to Know?

Dear Readers,

As I proceed with this blog, I’d love to know what your questions are.  What would you like to know about a blonde Southern woman who successfully (at least most of the time) lives in the Middle East?  I know you’ve got lots of questions, so feel free to comment and let me hear from you, or write me an email if you want to ask privately.  It will help me tailor my blog posts to answer what you’d like to know.

Here’s a little video for you, a personal message from me. 🙂

…a remarkable Authoress… my friend, Dedra L. Stevenson…

Seumas Gallacher

…an Authoress who has done the almost impossible… cloning herself into that  most marvellous of creatures… one with heart and soul in both her native North American United States, and her now Arabic family environment in the United Arab Emirates… but there’s more… her literary personality spreads across genres as you will read in her Guest Post below… enjoy meeting my great friend, Dedra L. Stevenson

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Being a Multi-Genre Author: The Challenges

My name is Dedra L. Stevenson, and I write books in several genres. I started out as a young adult author with my trilogy, The Hakima’s Tale, which continues to be a hit with kids all over the UAE and beyond. It’s available in 3 formats now: print, E-book, and Audiobook, and it’s about a young Arab American girl who learns that she must defend the human world from the impending attack of Jinn forces who…

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The Arab Family/The Southern Family

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Writing Desert Magnolia brought up a lot of interesting ideas that had been spinning in my head for a long time.  We have so many family stories that only serve to demonstrate how alike we really are.

It’s incredibly strange that each and every time I mention this to a person from either culture, they look at me like I’m nuts! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again though.  The deep South has a LOT in common with an Arab family.  There’s a reason that I feel so at home here. 🙂

First of all, hospitality is critical here. Hospitality and generosity. When someone comes to see you, you MUST take care of them in every way. They must have comfortable accommodations, someone to guide them around, and a generous supply of the best cuisine you can offer.   It’s your duty as a lady or a gentleman.  A stingy or selfish person is shunned and avoided. Now, I ask you…am I referring to an Arab family or a Southern family?  Impossible to tell? I rest my case. 🙂

Let’s try another one, shall we? The family is everything, and if someone from your own family is threatened in any way, as a lady or a gentleman, you must defend their honor. Ok, am I referring to a Southern family or an Arab family?

I love many things about the families here, and again, they remind me so much of how families in my home state operate.  People are just plain kind to each other, and they have the best manners ever in most cases. Respect for one’s elders is the most remarkable of these characteristics.  Both Southern folks and Arabs feel that it’s almost unforgivably rude to curse or even raise your voice at your parents, your Aunts/Uncles, etc.

However, there’s always a down side, but interestingly enough, the downside is also similar in both cultures….Gossip, yes that’s what I’m referring to. Gossip and comparing oneself to the “Jones” home next door.  If your neighbor has a Mercedes, often times, many families feel completely empty until they get one as well. Of course, I’m certainly not referring to everyone.  Generally speaking, fake folks like that are not considered part of the “real” culture, but they do exist. The general consensus is that if you’re fake and shallow, you’re not liked very much.

So, if they have so much in common, why all the tension? On my next blog post, I will share some of the funniest tales of the dinner table from both regions for you. In the meantime, why not try Desert Magnolia, my crime drama, on http://www.bluejinnimedia.com?  It’s available as both an Ebook and a Paperback.

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A Southern Girl in the Middle East

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Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The internet made the world become smaller in many ways, but lately, it seems that the world has separated again.  Rather than becoming one human species, we seem to be holding even tighter to the “US vs. THEM” mentality.  Does that mean that we are in fact “devolving” rather than “evolving”?

I moved to the Middle East more than 25 years ago.  You may find this hard to believe, but I hadn’t even traveled internationally before. Americans may not be surprised to read that, as it’s not uncommon for many in the USA to never even apply for a passport.  In many cases, people feel that they just don’t need one.

I got one, however, and I used it.  I came to the United Arab Emirates when I was 24 years old, and I did it solely for love.

I knew my husband could never be away from his family for years at a time, as he was much closer to his family than I was to mine, so I agreed to come and live here.  I really felt that it was such an adventure I was going on…a new land…a new language….new customs.  I had butterflies, as somehow I always knew that I’d never live my entire life in Alabama.

The trip went well, especially considering that my husband and I were coming over with our 7 month old son.  I had been “briefed” by the Saudi Arabian women that I knew in Alabama on Arabic customs, and felt completely ready to meet his family.

When I actually reached the home of my mother-in-law, however, something happened that set the fear in motion.  I heard that big Arabic gate slam behind us.  At that moment, my heart fell into my stomach. My immediate thought at that point was, “Oh God, I’ve ruined my life!  How could I have done that?”

Thankfully, once I got past the initial shock, and I got a job, my own car, and a few friends, I felt much better!  It didn’t take long to figure out that people are basically the same wherever you go, and Arabs and Southern people have more in common than either group would ever imagine.  We sit in the kitchen drinking our iced tea, and they sit in the kitchen drinking their hot tea.  They want to be known for being the most generous people to all their friends and neighbors, and so do we.  They like big homes, big cars, and luxurious surroundings, and so do we.

Once I eased into seeing our similarities more than our differences, life got a whole lot sweeter!!! Just like a big glass of sweet tea? 🙂

If you’d like to read more on this, why not give Desert Magnolia a try?  Find it and all of my works on http://www.bluejinnimedia.com

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Magnolia addresses issues with racism and stereotyping Muslims

https://books2read.com/u/me0nOZ
Links to order a copy via a wide range of online stores! Or visit http://www.bluejinnimedia.com

Desert Magnolia

The book, Desert Magnolia, by Dedra Stevenson, addresses the issues of racism and stereotyping Muslims in the USA.  Daniella, an American born Southerner, is asked to return home to Georgia to exonerate her cousin, who’s been accused of murdering her father.  Going home, however, means that Daniella must face the stigma of her conversion to Islam and the attitudes of those who felt that she betrayed her country by marrying an Arab.

Especially, in light of our newly elected President and the blaring racist platform that he’s used to rise to power, the story line of the novel becomes even more relevant. Get your copy via many online stores near you! Click on the link to access ALL online links for purchase, or visit http://www.bluejinnimedia.com for details on Desert Magnolia and other exciting stories.

https://books2read.com/u/me0nOZ

View original post

Desert Magnolia addresses issues with racism and stereotyping Muslims

The book, Desert Magnolia, by Dedra Stevenson, addresses the issues of racism and stereotyping Muslims in the USA.  Daniella, an American born Southerner, is asked to return home to Georgia to exonerate her cousin, who’s been accused of murdering her father.  Going home, however, means that Daniella must face the stigma of her conversion to Islam and the attitudes of those who felt that she betrayed her country by marrying an Arab.

Especially, in light of our newly elected President and the blaring racist platform that he’s used to rise to power, the story line of the novel becomes even more relevant. Get your copy via many online stores near you! Click on the link to access ALL online links for purchase, or visit http://www.bluejinnimedia.com for details on Desert Magnolia and other exciting stories.

https://books2read.com/u/me0nOZ