Tuesday 19 April 2011

An English girl in Algiers....Final Part

Breakfast table is set in the kitchen, fresh thermos of coffee, hot milk and croissants, aromas of my childhood, we eat our breakfast, and get ready to go to the airport, my sister precedes us to the car, waits downstairs, presumably to “heat up” the engine, “I thought we didn’t need to do that with new cars?”, my sister clearly irritated “it’s a bloody diesel engine” feeling irritated, she threatens to leave us here and drive away, so I say ok ok, rolling my eyes, “let's all wait in the car while you heat up the engine”

We set off for the airport, stopping in Bordj el kiffan (1) to say hello to my grandmother (Mani), who was very pleased to see us and greets us with four insistent kisses, two on each cheek, she invites us to sit and drink some lemonade, she talks to Steph nonchalantly oblivious to the fact that Steph is English, who in turn nods and smiles as I answer every question for her.
As I sit there looking at her, I realise what a beautiful young lady my grandmother must have been, olive green eyes, henna died red hair and beautiful soft skin.
“did you bring me la krime” she asks, I smile and hand her a gift bag containing the anti-aging crèmes we all get for her as a new tradition in the family, “there is also a pair of lacy underwear in there for you” she smiles and says kathar khirek(2), Steph is loving the fact that my grandmother seeks eternal youth with anti-aging cremes and lacy underwear at the tender age of 78. That’s how we love our Mani.

We have to say goodbye, so as a thank you, Mani sprays Steph and I with some perfume, and thankfully it wasn’t some local production with a pungent nauseous smell. It was Coco Chanel, I laugh lovingly at this traditional encounter, this old Algerian tradition of spraying ones guests with perfume, in the old days hosts would use a dab of orange blossom water that every household would preserve in a silver container that has an oval body and a thin nozzle to drip the liquid into their palms and dab it on the guests necks or dress, some would use the liquid to aromatise their beverages mainly black coffee and tea.
With that I give Mani four kisses, Steph follows suit;
“Call me sometimes la3ziza (3)” I promise to call and with a sunken heart I leave my lonely grandmother and we continue our way to the airport.

We land at Heathrow; look at each other, and without uttering a word, smile and stretch our bodies by raising our arms up to the sky, making a sound that emobobied satisfaction and making ourselves feel at home, MY second home.
It was cold and raining, it dampens our spirits immediately to find ourselves alone again, but we fight the holiday blues, dig out the cakes my mum packed for us and enjoy them with a café au lait, pretending we were still at my parents in Algiers, the pangs of nostalgia were ever-present, the only way to snap out of holiday blues is to make the return seem superior, so as a treat to ourselves and to mark our triamphant return we go for dim-sum followed by cinema (not very extravagant)

A very telling choice, Steph and I later discussed our choices as subconsciously comparative, by choosing to have dim-sum and watch a movie (in English, with no subtitles or doubled in French with lips moving not according to the original text) is a way of acknowledging what we love about London and what we missed out on in Algiers, for me perhaps as a pathetic excuse to confirm that my decision to come back to London is the right one and to silence that voice in my head that makes me want to stay behind in Algiers every time I visit, so I shush the voice “you see... you couldn’t do this in Algiers, and you would miss London so much"

Recognising that Steph was not the only English girl in Algiers, isn’t there a bit of Englishness in all of us
(1)  AKA Ford de l’eau – a district of Algiers that is on the sea and also near the airport
(2)   A prayer “may god multiply your wealth“used as a thank you
(3)   Dearest


  1. is that it?

    please sister taking that writing course you mentioned the other day!

  2. hahaha I knew it. I had an diffrent end to the story but went against it...I knew it's too simplistic but I will think about taking the course anonymous as long as you promise to revise your grammar ;)

  3. Saha yel mhibla.

    As a conclusion:

    1- thabi Tala3fi( b'sa7tek);
    2- thabi Tar7i (b'slamtek);
    3- thabi t'haragmi(rabi zeedlek
    fel love handles);
    4- yamak(rabi chadhalek) hiya le
    Big Boss nta3 Dz-Chick
    5- yamak has control over you.

    Therefore, as a singleton why should I bother and try the whole dating and feeding process with you? when your mum is the best short cut to you....lol. Haba saboon tarf ou kilou sukar wa twali Mrs Genetically Modified Algerienne.

    p.s. I am sure that we are neighbours fi l'Algerie.

  4. what a let down. part two was much better, next time bring Steven instead of Steph at least your parents will not think you are lesbian item, you are giving away lot of details about yourself, green eyes, fair skin, grandmother from the city .......


  5. Listen you ungrateful readers: just because it didn't end the way you wished it did - does not make it a let down...now, I have an alternate ending which I am willing to publish but you have to keep an open mind and also know that some parts are true and some are made up. :)

    @ Star: It's my grandmother who has green eyes and fair skin not me, as for the location, how do you know if it's true or a lie ;)

    @ Genetically Modified: you are right on 3 out of 5
    My mum really isn't the boss of me, she is the nicest and kindest of all mums and she wouldn't dream of getting involved in my life so...there.

  6. @GMA: you're making some good points there kho.

    so what do you think DZC, what say you, trying it out with GMA (if he's single and willing)?

    We might end up with some beautiful GMDZ kids ;).

    But then again, I might not have really understood his comment.

  7. I like how he sees dating as "feeding" since I am on a diet, I will be a cheap date ;) and we will have some beautiful GMDZ kids as you beautifully put it ;)

  8. i think it's just you fixating on your weight.

    so do we have a winner? greattt succccesss.

  9. Héhéhéhé, love this blog 'cause I enjoy the comments as much as the posts. It's like a 2 for 1! :)

  10. @Allison: yeah we're one big happy family here

    They dont cut me any slack

  11. you're waiting for GMA's feedback? lolol

  12. Yeah am dying to know! (rollies)

  13. btw i think star is not the real Star, that comment looks out of character lol.

    have you (previously) thought of using your blog as a more direct means to an end?

  14. I beleive it was STAR.

    And no I have not, not like our friend from Shlef seeking a man (not older than 49) from Bouira.

    I think I am going to change the story back the original ending...only if you ALL agree.

  15. "I think I am going to change the story back the original ending...only if you ALL agree."

    Yeah! Bring it on, Dz-Chick!!!

  16. how do you know it's her? do you have a way of knowing? am just saying. be aware.

    well maybe you should.

    as an artist myself (well one in my own right lolol)i wouldn't participate in coercing you to compromise your artistic integrity. so who cares if ALL agree or not, it's your story.

  17. @ Allison: IT...has been brought.

    @ Raul: you are correct sir, my story is my story, ready into what you like and believe what you like, so you're an artist of some sort yeah? You play Guitar if I remember correctly?

    No I don't have a way of seeing your IP addresses if that's what you're asking.

  18. Lovely..but I prefer part 1 and 2 because I never liked living Algeria..and the post depression and the homesickness..well done for telling off that voice in ur head..God it takes me a while to get back on track..but I do agree, we all have some Englishness in us....Haniya

  19. To add to GMA's (funny) comments, it's evident that DZ-Chick is also awfully homesick.

    Nostalgie, nostalgie, baby!!! :)

  20. Nostalegrie baby ;) coming soon on Dilemmas of a single Algerian girl in London

  21. oh my, you so tech-savvy babes! it was actually bass i told you i was playing last time.

    what sort of music are you into? jazz?

  22. Ok you might be right Raul, Star wouldn't call me a lesbian...or would she???
    I am not into Jazz...but I like all kind of music in general and to a certain extent. You like Jazz Raul?

  23. no idea. you just can't be sure.

    don't really like jazz. what do you do in jazz clubs then?

  24. It was a "for instance" I really don't get Jazz! Sorry Jazz lovers

  25. "Nostalegrie baby"
    - Nice play of words! :)

    "coming soon on Dilemmas of a single Algerian girl in London"
    - Oh boy! It's gonna be a long (sad) post I bet ya!
    We're gonna need Dr Margou's help here! :)))

  26. @ Raul: you were right, STAR is not our STAR. Her pseudo was nicked.

  27. how did you find that out?

  28. GMA has been teaching you some tricks already i see.

  29. Well I did say I was willing to be taught ;) x

  30. Short but sweet......

    DZ-Chick you make me want to go to Algeria.

    All your anonymous readers tend to be morons (in the great words of Bob Marley: who the cap fits let them wear it, so no offence if you are not one of them). Suggesting a writing course is ludicrous and your retaliation was great: grammar! Le chameau ne voit jamais sa bosse mais la bosse des autres, no wonder this is a North frican proverb, the cheek of him!

    I am extremely grateful for the moment of pleasure I spend reading your posts.

  31. Miss Polemique
    You been busy missy, fast reader at least
    Most Anonymous comments tend to be anonymous for a reason….


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