On the Airplane to Lebanon

I used to wait anxiously for the summer break to come, so as I could pack up my things and go my grandmother's house in Aley, (عالية) 10 miles uphill Beirut.

The Vila My Garndmother Owned

I enjoyed the trip tremendously; traveling from Baghdad Airport to Beirut Airport, walking through the duty-free shops, and sitting on the comfortable airplane seats. Before I know it, the hostess would bring me the lunch on a nice tray. Oftentimes, She would give me a coloring book too.

I admired the beautiful, nice, and professional hostess, with her hair pulled to the back, wearing her elegant uniform. However, when I expressed my admiration, with the suggestion of becoming a hostess, my father snapped at me right away saying, “ no, she is a servant, she a maid working on an airplane, it is not a job for you.”

When, my mother noticed my disappointment with the answer, she whispered in my ear “ I wanted to be one too, and I was told the same thing."

In my mind, I couldn’t see how a well-educated woman was perceived as a maid, just because her job required her to take care of the passengers. I kept my admiration to myself.

I couldn’t understand, why society looked at working women as inferiors. Nevertheless, the positive side to this statement, if any, was that my family didn’t deny me the right to work. Thus, I was entitled to work, I just needed to find a “ suitable job.” I said to myself from now, " I will look for the positive aspects in each negative words I hear."

My understanding was enhanced since my aunts and  female cousins worked. Some were teachers and some were governmental employees.  My mother worked too, but only in Lebanon. She didn’t work in Iraq.


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