Shahenda Abdelrahim Ali
After my graduation, I liked to master the English language in an English-speaking-country, so I chose London to study the diploma, but my father chose Brighton, advising me to avoid the hustle and bustle of the capital, he also delivered unto me the Ten Commandments.
My father told me “If you want to travel abroad on your own, there are four conditions that cannot be violated or broken”.
First: Do not live in a house of a family that has a young man or the breadwinner of the family is a young man.
Second: Do not ever run late to the house after nine pm, as the British people absolutely annihilate themselves with alcohol, they are over consuming alcohol until they Loss of (self)-consciousness.
Third: Remember every piece of advice I taught you during 21 years, especially that success and excellence are your goals in life.
Forth: spread your wings, know how far you can fly, discover the world, but always keep and preserve our cultural heritage and traditions.
On the campus where I studied, I had many colleagues and professors; most them are from different nationalities; Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Arab countries such as Libya, Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia, all of them are males, and I was the only Egyptian girl at the institute, they considered me whimsical due to my behavior, my gestures and greeting are different, it is unusual for me to kiss when i greet anyone. My Greetings are casual, a handshake, a smile and a “Hello” did just fine.
I also do not go out with them to celebrate every Saturday evening or attend their wild parties to discover the charming Brighton and its nightlife.
Once, a group of girls and me decided to dine out in the weekend and actually went neatly to the restaurant.
Through the charming streets and alleys in a cold atmosphere broken by the warmth of candle lights mixed with lamp lights, as if we are living in ancient historical times, we arrived at a restaurant on the coast of Brighton.
I did not like British cuisine, it is not a varied kitchen, you can just eat either fried fish or potatoes as a popular dish or a piece of semi-cooked meat with a steamed-cooked vegetable.
We had dinner and then drinks, and of course I was the only one who was ordered orange juice, which is good for my flu in the harsh winter of England.
After eating; Sarah, a German girl, asked a shocking question, which was; when did you lose your virginity, and asked us to separately relate our experiences in this regard.
The question was shocking for me; I did not know that there are entire societies where girls lose their virginity before marriage. All I know is that marriage is the only way to lose virginity.
I listened to one story after another, some of them lost their virginity at the age of thirteen, some at sixteen and the other at eighteen, most likely in ways that did not fit their ages. Their faces tell what happened that night. Their memories of this were not as happy as you might expect.
My answer to this question was brief. I am not married yet, but they asked in astonishment, what does this have to do with that?
I answered them, In my country, girls keep themselves after marriage, we learn this from our mothers, as if we are a treasure or a prize that one person can receive and he is the right person, who can open the locks of our hearts with love, and all this is under the umbrella of marriage.
One of them asked; did you have never tried love?
I told “love as a feel is not forbidden at all. A heart that was not filled with love did not experience the splendor of life and would allow hatred to enter his heart easily but I never make sex before and I am still virgin”.
My father taught me that love strengthens, love drives me to believe in myself, carries me to heaven, love is my wing to fly to my dreams.
My father taught me conditional freedom. My mother taught me to love with honor and sincerity. Do not deprive your daughters of education, do not deprive them of work, do not prevent them from traveling, do not destroy their future out of anxiety, fear, but invest in your daughters and do not spare them the time to raise them well.
Do not subdue them out of honor, but carve the honor in their minds and let them fly to the sky…I swear, they will be better than you wished for them.