I was born in Jordan, into a middle class family with parents who believed that education & knowledge are vital for knowing, understanding yourself and discovering your path in life.
I was blessed with open minded parents who came to Jordan after finishing their studies in the United States. As a result they enrolled at the only mixed school in Jordan “The National Orthodox School.” Despite their beliefs in personal freedom and gender equality, they were affected by the Jordanian culture, which had many restrictions when it came to gender equality towards females and their role in the society. When you’re living in a community you need to fit in and you start compromising & adjusting certain beliefs in order to be accepted by your community, which is a normal part of human behavior.
I regarded my culture as chains holding me down and I rebelled against it, which resulted in socializing within a small group of peers that were brought up like me. I only realized that a big gap existed within the society when I enrolled in “Jordan University” & started working.
Time passed by & I met my ex husband whose of Iraqi & British descend & brought up in the UK. An open minded person that I could be myself with, I fell head over heals in love with him & I was married by the age of 22.
Our journey took us to different countries where we’d stay 3 years in each place due to his work. From Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain to finally Singapore, where we separated. A new chapter of my life started as a single mother in a strange country where I rediscovered myself and reunited with my culture.
It’s amazing when certain beliefs aren’t forced on you & you have the freedom of choice you start the process of reconditioning yourself. Living in the Arabic world made me more resilient towards the Arabic culture. It made me oblivious regarding positive parts of my upbringing, such as family values, compassion, empathy & trust within community members.
Living in Asia, I realized the importance of these values and made peace with my background. I started considering and evaluating cultural values from a different perspective.
After my separation from my husband and as a single mother in a strange country my journey of rediscovering my identity began. I found myself embracing certain aspects of my culture and practicing them in my personal and professional life.
I also embarrassed certain aspects of the Asian culture. From spirituality to the peaceful blend & respect within the Singaporean community when it comes to race, religion & gender equality.
Our culture is part of our identity, as it consists of values, beliefs that form our way of life. Our behavior has an impact on people that we have social and business encounters with and on our children. We also create a subtle force of change in the mindset of our families back home by sharing our experiences and our personal growth.
Today I’m proud of my Jordanian culture and everyone I’ve encountered has a positive opinion about Jordanians. As I contribute my family and social values to my Jordanian heritage and culture. I’m also proud that things are changing in Jordan when it comes to gender equality and female empowerment.
Culture isn’t print in stone, it’s a collective identity based on beliefs and values that change with time. But the most impressive part is Jordanians kept the core values that I admire and hold on to. From family unity, compassion, empathy & trust within the community in their dealings with others. As the saying goes “ A person is held by his word and is respected in the community by his kind actions towards others.”
Jordan is my home and where my heart is and Singapore will always be my second home where I discovered my identity in a blend of the values of two cultures .