Returning to the Philippines after having grown up overseas can induce quite the culture shock especially if you grew up in the Gulf region A.K.A. the Middle East. With a culture as rich and immersive as theirs, you're left with an archive of experiences that most Filipinos cannot relate to.
If you're one of the lucky people who have been blessed with the opportunity to live in the Middle East, chances are you'll understand exactly what we're saying below!
1. People automatically assume you've ridden a camel. It's so hard not to roll your eyes when they start asking everything you know about camels. The worst part is knowing that, once in your life, you've had to say the words, "No, we don't ride camels to school."
2. "So, you know how to speak Arabic?" Nope. You'd think we'd have learned after all the years we spent overseas, but we didn't. There was no point when half of the people you run into are Filipinos anyway.
3. You enjoy the look on people's faces when you debunk stereotypes. When people discover where you grew up, it's usually followed by questions that start with, "Is it true..." that range from stereotypical to downright offensive. It doesn't matter because you've got your counter arguments memorized by heart!
4. You have ridiculously high shawarma standards. You grew up in the lands where shawarma originated. You know by heart what does and doesn't go inside that pita wrap, so you can't be fooled!
5. You're not easily impressed in general. You don't gawk when a shiny luxury car drives by. Where you come from, you see Ferraris and Lambos driving by on a regular basis, and architectural marvels are part of your every day life.
6. You used to get excited about rain. Compared to the constant monsoons brought upon by the Philippines' tropical climate, you once knew of a time when rain only came once or twice a year. Those light showers were enough to call for class suspensions!
7. It gets old when people get confused with which city or country is which. No, Dubai isn't in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Seriously, get started on your geography homework, peeps!
8. You know of a time when Friday was your official weekend. You were once used to Fridays and Saturdays as the official weekend. And you're definitely a millennial who grew up in the Gulf if you lived in a time when 'weekends' pertained to Thursdays and Fridays!
9. Meeting someone who grew up there excites you. When you both discover you've lived similar childhoods, the awkwardness is immediately eliminated and the connection is automatic! That one revelation will provide you two a life's worth of inside jokes and shared experiences!
10. You would do anything to go back. You may be a Filipino by blood, but you will always call the Middle East your home. The culture may be far different from that of the Philippines's, but you'd do anything to live it even just for a day!
What's your favorite part about growing up in the Middle East? Share you experiences with us by leaving a comment below, habibis!
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