Thursday 30 July 2015

The Cautionary Tale

It’s probably time I announced to you if you care, that I am planning on moving back to Algeria. Many years and a thousand reasons later I thought it’s about time I returned home.

Reasons? Besides the fact that I miss my family, besides the fact I watch as my parents get visibly older and my nieces and nephews visibly and scarily less innocent.  I find myself missing out on so many things and finding myself alone here always trying to find a justification to it all, usually it’s of the type “What? It’s my life and I decide how to live it”, but more often than not I can find no real justification (to myself) for my lingering here on this island, where I am deeply happy and unhappy at the same time, where I am crowded and alone, lonely and lively, positive yet so gloomy, Always going but inevitably always staying.

So like every couple of years, I declare to all my friends and family that this was it, I am leaving! everybody shake their heads laughing and say “ah what you like!!” and I get a bit indignant but then give up on the whole idea and resume my life of miserable commuting to a shitty job working for a knobhead of a boss and get paid some dineros, half of which is spent on the miserable commute to the shitty job working for the knobhead of a boss.  BUT not this time, not anymore. This time I mean business; and LITERRALLY...well and a bit of fun!

So my mind starts to wonder about what my life would be like in Algeria, when I know I am there for the long haul and not a fleeting week where my mum makes my favourites dishes and my dad suggests to take me out to touristic sites and thinks it’s cute when “Je fais mon anglaise”.

What will I wear? I fear a wardrobe reshuffle would be in order? What do I speak? Algerian, French of English? What will I do? Can I get a job there? Will I be able to drive on the left hand side? Can I go to the cinema when the mood strikes? ; can I go out for dinner and stay out with friends? Will I get used to the infernal traffic, the driving antics of Algerians with their 7 lane motorways (actual lanes: 3) and their “Normaaals” and whatnots! I wonder about how long my grace period will last with my dad before he starts to scrutinise my everything and make me feel like I made a massive mistake!  

I think about how loud the local mosque call to prayer is but how comforting to hear the Adhan again, not so much for its religious meaning as for being one of the only things that never fails or changes, no matter what happens, there will always be that soft magical velvet voice singing, floating on the warm air making you feel home safe .

I think about how life seems so difficult yet so simple! I Think about constant stares in the street that often make me trip, I think about all the French speaking that seems to determine social class! I think about so many things, important and trivial that my head spins and I just want to take a big nap and throw it all to the wind and decide that what you were used to before, you will get used to again.  
But I decide that nobody should force exile on themselves just because there’s a lack of cinemas, first class gyms or Costa Caf├ęs or even freedom, democracy and justice in their country! Not because of the level of corruption or nepotism or the number of things that will rub you the wrong away on a daily basis, or the fact you will hate everyone and want to throw in the towel after about a month.
Time only will tell…

Dz-chick... Announcement one of two!


  1. Well, it is critical to be surrounded by like minded Algerians when living overseas.
    I am currently in Guildford and the Algerian community is brilliant (Brilliant as in, Friendly, Liberal, mixed), so if you ever feel home sick let us know. You are more than welcome to drop by. My wife make mean dishes and my 3 yr old son will never have enough Tatas and Tontons ;)
    We all thought of heading back to Algiers, especially now that all the UK aches are caused by immigrants, and even though we pay more taxes than most of them, they still see us as leeches.
    But... life is really tough in Algeria, and even with the ups you mentioned, the down are unbearable.
    Then again this is just me :)

  2. Badoubade Absolutely, the social circle is critical to the survival and I already have an excellently rich (intellectually) and fun circle of friends here in London and in Algeria (All over).
    I decided to take the positives with the negatives and just laugh it off...I am bracing myself :)

    Thanks for the invite as well, sounds like you guys have got it figured out!

  3. Homo Erectus (la visa la euro ghir fi l'homa ndoro)31 July 2015 at 00:00

    At this point I have to ask (maybe you wrote something about it though) : why did you leave Algeria in the first place ? if it has something to do with social pressure, bigotery and backwardness you'll have to face it x 10 as you're an emancipated single woman... If it was just a challenge or for the sake of change no doubt you'll find it challenging to start something new here in Algiers especially if you want to start your own business or something.. some ladies are doing amazing things so it must be feasible (despite machism.. or maybe thanks to machism hahaha) ..

  4. Homo Erectus What a good question! I remember when I decided to move to the UK it was over 15 years ago. I was so young! I moved here to study, I always felt I was short changed in my education and I was never interested in France, just had to mention France because I always get the same annoying question "Did you go to France first?" like it was a rite of passage!

    If anything I am, is adaptable so I have no worries, it's other people who seem more worried about me, like I just decided on a sex change or something!

  5. Homo Erectus (wlid leblad)1 August 2015 at 03:04

    khlass lazem ndiro fiha kehawi kich n'har ana wiyak ou ngassro bien.. the chick is back in town..

  6. Absolutely! Kahwa b'charak stp!

  7. Exciting news - and it's only announcement 1 of 2. How long are you going to keep us in suspense??

  8. I feel like I am reading myself through your story..... taking same road

  9. RCB 2012 Not long now...the second annoucement is big and it's coming on the last quater of this year!
    Have you started writing yet?

    Swm-Green I could have written it diffrenly and distanced myself from it so it doesnt sound so personal but I thought these thoughts alghough shared with so many of us, remain kind of personal! anyway! What's your story? care to share?

  10. I think you wrote something in the past about going back home and few years on you're still here dz bella! My advice to you was and still the same " follow your heart and take decision ". so that if you decide to come back to London after a year or two because things didn't work for you how you wanted it, then you'll look back and say" at least I've tried". After all you're still a young and very talented woman plenty of energy.
    Wish you all the success and best luck in your live whatever decision you take.
    Ciao dz chabba

  11. That's so sweet of you M .

    That's exactly what I thought, at least I would have tried, but I am not going with the thought of failure. It's gonna be ok. I am going home.

  12. " I am going home!" .. home, sweet home,.. you nearly made cry here ! ;)
    ..Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
    Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
    A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
    Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere.
    Home! Home!
    Sweet, sweet home!
    There's no place like home
    There's no place like home!

  13. That's actually a really nice poem, and I am really really not into poetry! Thank you :)

  14. Glad you like's a song, I'll sing it to you when is near time ;)
    buona giornata

  15. Oh my Dreams are coming true. Finally I can see you babe :D. For months, I've been wondering how does my pretty little single girlfriend (okay, maybe in the future) looks like. Will you go out with me someday ?
    Peace and love, K, your secret lover :*
    Ah almost forgot, I am 19 but it doesn't matter. Love is blind don't you think ?

  16. So you're back home for good, eh?
    Takes some balls but you're mra ounoss**
    Looking forward to reading your "made in bled" blog entries! :)

    **kind of superwoman

  17. Everything is relative. You say your professional life sucks and your personal life doesn’t seem to be fulfilling enough. These are two major cons in the should-I-stay internal debate, granted. But take it from someone who came back “home”, the cons column of the should-I-go should be much longer. And not just with the very good disadvantages you mentioned. You will find, as Homo Erectus said, that the backwardness and social pressure on women here has expanded in an unthinkable way. It’s not just the dirty looks and words. It seems like the air itself is suffocating, not just with the stench of the piles of dirt that seem to be everywhere, but with hatred towards everything female. The air will seem hostile. It sounds crazy and excessive, but it is how I felt and continue to feel. Like I’m moving in hostile environment filled with waves of negative vibes. It’s no joke and not for the faint of heart and it comes from everyone male and female -that’s the most shocking part.
    To me home isn’t a place, it’s my mother’s embrace. I came back because I thought life was about spending as much time as possible with the people you love and who love you back. And I’m still here because I still believe it. But it turns out to be immensely challenging. Because life in Algiers is not what it was 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. The hometown I knew no longer exists. The people who live here are nothing like those I remembered (most of them left the country and those who stayed feel like they’ve been replaced by a new population). So when you say you’re coming back home, I’m afraid home as you remember it doesn’t live here anymore.
    My home has been expropriated. And everywhere I go I’ll always be an alien. It’s a curse. We’re a sacrificed generation in this country’s sad destiny.
    I didn’t mean this comment to be so long. But I’ve been in your shoes and sometimes when things get bad it’s human nature to idealize the alternative. The only positive things here are a) loved ones, b) great weather, and sometimes c) a better living but that’s mostly money spent on food. Cause 0 culture, 0 recreational activities etc… And don’t get me started on healthcare or, ha, civism.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you haven’t made your decision yet you should speak to your (female) friends who live here and then multiply their hardship to the nth degree as you’ll have to adapt to it coming from a much better place. You won’t have to get used to what you were used to before, that would only have been difficult. No, what you’ll have to do is get used to a whole new level of “crazy” all together.
    But given you’re unhappy enough to seriously consider coming back, you might need to experience “el djemra” first hand to truly understand and make an informed decision about what matters most to you and the kind of life you choose.
    For me being with my loved ones trumps the rest. That’s why I’m still here. It’s the only reason I’m still here. But I hope your experience is different.
    Good luck no matter what you decide.

  18. Hello Mr L. You are actually one of my favorite types of people. So what I call "The con-blind type". that L Abbr must stand for "low" due to how low is your brain's level. why ? Because the way I see, you Have listed only the bad things about being here. The bad things only. The only things that are bad. Yes, I agree with you at some points. And I agree that some of which you mentioned are unfortunately true( Yeah some and not all).however ,you are criticizing life here as it is brutally unbearable. Like we're living in hell maybe ?. Under the control of the Ganondorf the king of evil ?
    I am wondering why didn't you list the "not bad " things ? The no.. I should I say: the "better "things. so you think you are living the perfect life there in Europe ??. you are talking about it like you are living in a paradise, where the lights of pearl are shining everywhere; who ever enters the UK is blessed with joy and fun and will never be miserable. he will remain there forever and never die. and his youth will never fade away?
    Tell me how much taxes do you pay for your amazing government every year ? How much do you pay for the rent ? How ugly is the Architecture there ? How fucked up and expensive is life there ? What a funny way of thinking you are living with.. Keep thinking of it that way, and you will find your self lost in the echo of your tiny brain's voice, telling you that you r living perfect life in the peaceful mushroom kingdom of the United Kingdom of the peace and justice . After all, it is not Even your country. I wouldnot have gotten angry if it was Yours
    Do they pay you for doing that ? For telling us how amazing is THEIR country ? For "advertising " ?
    Honey, do not listen to him,he is tryina wash your brain with his evil thoughts. just come to algeria. I, prince K, will be waiting for you. And we will get married on top of a mountain. and have house and kids.
    Peace and love, your crush, K

  19. M You might actually get a chance to sing it to me face to'll have to wait for announcement no. 2 ;)

    Peace & Love K Only a few years difference...of course we'll get married on top of a mountain and have babies, a dog a cat and turtle...maybe chickens!
    Also take it easy on L She wasn't advertising her life anywhere, she said she lives in Algeria now.

    Anonymous mra ou nouss? so you know!
    Sign your name please or use a pseudo...:)

    L Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts with me/us.
    I see what you're saying and half expect it all, but I have to try it for myself.
    I am not idealising the alternative, it's simply time, I don't want to wake up one day when I am older and regret not trying it. I'd hate to have regrets!

  20. Hello,
    I decided to go back home a few years ago after 8 years abroad, just like you I felt my life was miserable here and I wanted to live with my loved.
    My friends and family helped me to manage my expectations and told me that things have changed...
    Actually, everything has changed and unfortunately not for the best in most cases...L has really given a clear picture of the situation.
    But unlike L, I couldn't bear it. My experience turned short and desapointing (by the way couldn't even find a job despite a pH.D + 4 years experience). after 8 months I had no choice other then coming back here and starting again.
    That was my experience, i keep telling myself I've tried and to be honest I still keep the dream to go back (again)...
    Whatever you decide, good luck and all the best
    Miss Sue

  21. Miss Sue wow you bailed after 8 months! It must have been one hell of an experience!
    I am sure each story/experience is diffrent...can't wait to find out about mine!

    1. Indeed, it wasn't a "great" experience and I remember that I was sad and feeling guilty of giving my mum the hope that I was going to stay....though she fully understood and accepted my decision.
      and yes, you are right, each story/experience is different and I hope that yours will be better than mine.
      Popeye, to be honest I usually never give up on my dreams, but that one turned to be a nightmare rather than a dream...
      like you said, expats and Europeans or whoever is going there for business are treated like guests, no pressure or so ever but for "us" it's a complete different story. 0 mercy...

  22. I feel I read L and Sue story too many times (no offence hey!) and I find interesting to see how we (Dz-ers who live abroad including myself) seem to give up too quickly on our dreams when a Westerner would take up the challenge and attempt to change things for him/her and others, i.e. by opening a coaching business for fellow ex-expats trying to re-settle in dz-land.
    Just saying...

  23. Popeye yes I never thought of it like that! You're absolutely right!
    Algeria is full of foreign investors and Europeans developing their business and exploring their ideas despite all the obstacles and we Algerians just dip our toe in and say NOPE!

  24. Dz-chick: don't get me wrong I'm not downplaying the difficulties of re-settling in Dz-land, especially for a woman. Westerners are not subject to the same (social, etc.) pressures. They're mostly well treated and enjoy a better life than us for a variety of reasons. It's always been the case since I remember.
    It's just sad that we ex-pats seem to have lost faith in our homeland and fellow citizens. How many Dz-chicks, Ls and Sues are there out in the world, feeling isolated and struggling to adjust? How many other thinking/dreaming of going back to live closer to their culture, family, etc.?
    How come we're not able to get together and capitalize on that energy to try and change our country for the better?
    Those are my questions.

  25. Popeye I have no answer ...just more questions and thoughts! :/

  26. Why base your choices only on two places: city of origin and that of residence, you could always attempt living in a new country at a new pace and learn a new language ...that will be refreshing new chapter.

  27. Cefims SOAS Are you at the SOAS?

    You are absolutely right, I am thinking a little more outside of that circle now, maybe soon I'll be writing from somewhere else exotic

  28. Dz chick
    So have you moved to Dz eventually? If so, how do you find it there? Would be nice to read about your experience.

  29. Hi M No I haven't moved back...not yet!
    I am still having the usual London dilemmas if you want to hear about those!

  30. I see and I understand your decision that you chose not to go back.
    I'm not Algerian but been there twice and I cannot imagine myself living there. I can't see any joys for women there, the society is more for men than women, women can't enjoy doing anything outside home. There is also nowhere to go.
    Sorry Im not trying to offend your country. I'm just saying it's a difficult place to live if you are a woman there. I hope you know what I mean.



Most popular ramblings!