Archive for December, 2009
Check out my essay in the current installment of Fresh Yarn. Happy holidays, everyone!
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town…NOT
When I was a kid I, like millions of other children across America, ardently believed in Santa Claus.
The problem? That persnickety detail that I’m Muslim. Oh, and that I happened to be living in Saudi Arabia at the time.
There I was, in a desert nation, mere miles from Mecca, the birthplace of Islam, captivated by mistletoe, turtledoves, Christmas lights, and outlandish accounts of reindeer with remarkably unconventional capabilities.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Eid! Here’s my latest essay from the Wall Street Journal.
The Indian Thanksgiving
A naturalization test at an immigration office in Boston was the last hurdle standing between me and U.S. citizenship. But for me this journey had actually begun years before, on a rickety vessel you may have heard of—The Mayflower. Except in my adaptation, that leaky ship sailed down the Red Sea to the New World of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where I proudly played the role of a pilgrim in a kindergarten play at the American school. Decked out in a gray frock and a hat fashioned from black construction paper, I prepared to welcome a band of friendly Native Americans to the very first Thanksgiving.
In my five-year-old mind, it seemed perfectly logical that a scrawny Indian girl with brown skin and a Canadian passport should be charged with inviting those other Indians (feather, not dot—although I’m Muslim so we don’t have either) to celebrate the founding spirit of America. In a desert nation, no less, thousands of miles from Plymouth Colony.
“Sarah, is it?” asked the immigration official testing me. “So, where are you from?”
Easy question, no easy answer.