This Week on teh Interwebs

There has got to be something more



I’ve always been interested in reading convert blogs and expat blogs. American Muslim expat convert blogs? Where do I sign up?! With one caveat. I’ve always had a natural aversion to two types of blogger- 1. the expat who thinks that somehow his or her experience in a given country is unique; and 2. those who define themselves specifically in terms of being what I call a “Married-To-Mama” and whose posts revolve around that. The second is really a subtype of the first in that golly gee wow, making babies and moving to your husband’s homeland is something NOBODY HAS EVER DONE BEFORE EVER ESPECIALLY NOT AMERICANS. There has to be something more to these people’s existence. Living abroad or marrying a brown dude isn’t enough for me because hey, I’ve done that too. NEXT!

And no, this isn’t the bitter childless (by choice, *ahem*) divorcee talking (ok only a little bit) but even though my old blog had a lot of “Married-To” elements and I talk about Algeria and Algerians A LOT, it was never from the point of view that I had exclusive information on what it was like to be “married to an Algerian.” I mean, some could argue that the ex was French *knee slap.* My aunt said on this vacation (see I am a good Muslim girl, I go on vacay with my AUNT for crying out loud) that I somehow have had a unique experience. To which I replied, “I’m special, just like everyone else.” And there are some “mommy” and “married-to” blogs I like. The common thread of those I like is that I also see the person behind the definitions- one mommy I know is into tech issues, another “married-to” I know is into participatory development, yet another “married-to” and I have a lot in common. And in the blogs I “hate”, it isn’t really the content that bothers me, it is the authors working from the point of view that they are the keymasters of expat living and multiculturalism. Have I “figured Switzerland out?” Oh hellz to the no. Am I, like Bourdieu, an expert *snort* on Kabyle houses? Most definitely not.

Probably what has me bristling is two blast from the past. For those of who who remember this post, the Baby Mama of the writer in question (who is surely thrilled that he continues to write and talk about me constantly as the focus of his “art”) defines herself solely as a mother which, as an aside, is the ONLY thing she has on me. This is in contrast to the tons of mommy bloggers I know who post and write about anything and everything under the sun. Secondly, some of these American expat blogs smack of what I saw as a student in the 90s in France- it always seemed like the Americans were on a race to have the most “French” friends, go to the most “authentic” local restaurant, make the transition to wearing black socks with sneakers (JOKING)…I don’t get why one person’s experience has to be more “real” than someone else’s, and I resent those who try to make it so.


Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “There has got to be something more

  1. absolutely. one thing i could never bring myself to do, even as a mother myself, was/is to the use of terms such as “umm whatever”. it always irritated me, even back in the days of yahoo clubs’ “niqaabi club”. obviously i accept it was fairly common at the time of the prohet (sallah a Allehi wa salam) but i think it was more of an honorific title attributed to others.

    over the years, i’ve avoided mother and baby groups (whatever the faith of people in attendance- and in fact some of the middle class geeen brigade are the worst offenders) as i find it frustrating to be in the company of people who’ve turned their children into an all consuming project.

  2. As UmmLayla and The Egyptian’s Wife… I suppose you might have to take my comment with grain of salt… However, I know what you are saying. I have never been a big fan of those really either unless they have something to offer other than the mom/wife stuff. Some moms are really creative and have all sorts of other content about things I am interested in. I myself was being sort of sarcastic when I named my blog because I live in a small town and at the time (2 kids ago before I was “the covered lady with all the kids”) everyone in my town knew me as “the Egyptian guy’s wife”. Hence the blog name…

    That said, somehow I see this type of blog (and woman) more in the new mom/wife/expat category. It’s like they have been a mom for a week and they decide to tell you all about motherhood and how it should be done *rolls eyes*. Or they moved overseas yesterday and think they have the system wired in the 48 hrs since they got off the plane. Depth please…. Anyway, I’m rambling. But I agree.

    Just be glad you don’t have to sit by them at school functions and pediatricians offices… They are just as one tracked and boring IRL. It’s like the career obsessed women just turn the dial to kid obsessed when they reproduce. PUULEASE!

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