top of page

To Be a Second Generation Immigrant

I can only understand Arabic. I cannot read it, I cannot

write it, I like to say I can speak it but what I really mean is I

know how to say "hello" "how are you" and the names of

certain fruits. I do not pray or wear a hijab, I wouldn't even

know how to pray. Sometimes, it is impossible not to feel like

an imposter when I proudly announce I am a Syrian-American

woman. Yes, I am the daughter of another. My ancestry is a

predictable and sturdy line leading to only one place so why

does it feel so wrong to call myself Middle Eastern? I have

grown up on an endless list of Mediterranean dishes that I do

not know the name of, but their smells are imprinted in my

memory. Every corner in my house is littered with evidence of

my heritage, I know the look of an evil eye from a mile away

but I could not tell you what it means.

I am surrounded by family named Wail, Omar,

Khadija, and it reminds me I will not know what it is like to be

branded with your culture, something so permanent as your

name to announce where your ancestors came from. Instead, I

am left with the bump on the bridge of my nose, the curls in

my hair, the brown in my eyes that are so easily mistaken as

Brazilian or another ethnicity in the mixing pot that is not

well-known enough to be named, so instead, people lighter

than me will take guesses then ask "is that a country?" when

I tell them the name of my mother's home.

Being a second-generation immigrant is being asked

what Syria is like, and replying "I do not know". It is eating

Middle Eastern food and not tasting the inauthenticity. It is

praying to a god you're not sure you believe in because you

might, for just a moment, feel as though at least some part of

you is truly Syrian.

Recent Posts

See All

Divine Glimpses: A Child's Journey When I was a child, I saw God I saw Him, but it wasn't through my eyes I heard Him. but His voice never entered my ears I touched Him but never by my skin I was

The Wavelength of a Human called Lola

My collection encourages those to love the pain endured by heartbreak and explores the journey from a personal perspective/ The night you left I remember the night it happened I don't even think you r

My Roots Dunked Zeep

I met her during an overwhelming winter The gloom of Demeter exhibited With frigid frosted ground And unsparing winter wind Yet her eyes gleaming and mellow Causing my admiration to spurt out And when


bottom of page