My name is Mrs. Novella, and I teach Middle East Studies here at the local college and kohl’s food dehydrator. Our class has been learning all about the culture of this part of the world, and we have been asked to blog about it every day this week.

We’ve learned that women in most Middle Eastern countries are expected to wear a veil over their head in public because men are seen to be superior and more important than women. We’ve also learned that many people in this region eat a traditional type of flatbread called naan with every meal–I guess it’s a lot like our pizza or French bread.

1. Favorite Middle Eastern dish

It’s difficult to beat a good falafel (fried chickpeas) or the delicious tabbouleh salad that I’ve had–or the delicious falafel sandwich I’ve had–at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, but perhaps my favorite is the traditional dish called baklava. It’s made of layers of filo dough with many different kinds of nuts and chopped nuts and a crispy sugar top. It can be excellent, even if it’s not as good as it was made in Northern Greece.

2. Least favorite Middle Eastern dish

Yuck! I don’t eat kibbeh, a dish made from ground raw lamb and bulgur wheat. And I’ve heard that the traditional Arabic soup is made of sheep’s head and feet.

3. Favorite Middle Eastern trend

I love the clothing on the women–their dresses are beautiful and flair out in the front with long slits up to their hips to show off their legs or feet. I could go out in something like that to a strip club, where I could make a lot more money than teaching here at college.

4. Least favorite Middle Eastern trend

Oh, that’s easy: the women have to wear veils! But I guess I better accept my place–that of a subservient woman. I’m just not going to let that stop me from being happy.

5. Best thing about Middle Eastern culture

There are so many things to love about this culture: their delicious food, their beautiful clothing, and the way they care for their family members. It is so heartwarming when a man takes his wife and all of his children out for a special meal or when he sets aside one evening each week to spend time with each child individually?

6. Worst thing about Middle East culture

The women are required to wear veils–I can’t abide that, and I guess I don’t understand why this is required. I don’t want to be a subservient woman under any circumstances; I’m going to do my best just to enjoy my life and be happy.

7. Best thing about living in the Middle East

This world has it all: food, sights to see, fantastic music, and of course so much history. We’ve learned a lot about the recent history of this part of the world–the discovery of oil in Iraq and the Gulf states is particularly interesting–and we’ve learned a lot about the past from archeological finds as well as found textiles.

8. Worst thing about living in the Middle East

You can’t take a vacation anywhere in this part of the world. I’m getting the feeling that we just have to go to Dubai or Riyadh, and spend our time there visiting malls, eating Western food, and shopping–like a woman in a harem would do.

9. What do you like most about Middle Eastern culture?

The people of this part of the world appreciate food, their families, history, and music. They love to laugh and have a good time.

10. What do you like least about Middle Eastern culture?

This culture is so strict–they are not as free-thinking or as independent-minded as Westerners (Americans). The women can’t wear pants; they aren’t allowed to go out in public without veils; they’re not supposed to ride bicycles; they aren’t allowed to drink alcohol; they are expected to stay in the house all the time. I just can’t stand it!

11. What are the best trends in Middle Eastern culture?

The Middle Eastern men have broad shoulders and love to wear long shirts with wide sleeves that show off their muscles, so I’m going to get a man like that for myself. I’m going to make my husband wear a shirt that shows off his shoulders and arms like a woman would in America.

12. What is your opinion of the West and its influence in this part of the world?

I suppose I could say that the Westerners have been a good influence on life here in the Middle East. The Westerners have brought lots of wonderful things to the Middle East: movies, music, fashion, and food.

13. What are some observed differences between living in America and living in the Middle East?

We learned about all sorts of modern changes between living in American and living in this part of the world–women drink alcohol; women drive cars; women wear pants; women don’t cover their heads; men aren’t supposed to be seen with their wives or daughters. We even learned that women can divorce men!


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