Why I’m moving to Egypt: identity, racism, and being mixed-race

I was 18 when I legally applied to change my name. I was born ‘Somayah Feisal,’ daughter of a Dutch mother and an Egyptian father. They divorced when I was very young. I don’t remember much from the time they were together, apart from two fights that occurred in the Netherlands, and that one timeContinue reading “Why I’m moving to Egypt: identity, racism, and being mixed-race”

Mirror mirror on the wall

“I am in such a hurry,” my roommate says to me one morning, cigarette in her left hand,  head literally hanging in the sink trying to get off the cleanser. She had a rough day at work the day before, and even after coming home immediately started working on another article she needed to finishContinue reading “Mirror mirror on the wall”

Auctioned off

27-01-2017 In Hebei at a a friend’s family celebrating Chinese New Year. Here’s a short conversation when meeting a friend of the family: * How old is she? “She’s 26 * Has she found a partner yet? “Not yet, she’s currently looking – I’m not looking *Maybe we can introduce her to my son -I’mContinue reading “Auctioned off”

I’m a bit of a pervert

He walks nervously around the gym space mumbling, eyes fixed to the floor. Then it’s time: “S..S..Sarah. I like you. Please don’t reject me” 雅婷,我喜欢你,请不要拒绝 – I didn’t know Chinese people were so direct “I watched on television that European people like directness” – You should watch less television. What do you like about me?Continue reading “I’m a bit of a pervert”

Misunderstandings on Love

17-11-2016 “Is Bingbing related to you?” I ask my roommate, Bree, about the guy that sort of lives in our house but then sometimes just isn’t there. He’s been living in our apartment ever since I got here, but I’ve never seen Bree touch him or smile at him; so I just assumed maybe theyContinue reading “Misunderstandings on Love”

Smog Kills & Instafamous

First of all; don’t be an idiot like me and do a workout in a park in Beijing when the smog levels are high. How self-defeating can you be ?! I don’t know wat astma is like, but I think it felt pretty similar. I also have a throat infection. It’s great. Also: After 10Continue reading “Smog Kills & Instafamous”

Why you can’t trust cats in Beijing

13 September 2016 I passed by a heavily meowing car on my way back from a birthday party.   I went back and got on my knees to check underneath the car, inside the wheels, put my ear near the hood, tapped on the windows. The meowing got worse and I was super worried. ItContinue reading “Why you can’t trust cats in Beijing”

The strongest woman I have ever met

August 1, 2016 The lady on the right, Guljekrem, invited us over for tea one day while we were just resting on the side of the road. We came back a second time to thank her. That’s where I learned Guljekrem’s story. She once had a husband and several children; all dead. She’s suffering fromContinue reading “The strongest woman I have ever met”

The deadly Karakoram highway

July 22, 2016 We nearly died, I was sexually harassed and I peed on myself, sort of The Karokoram highway is the road that leads from the city of Kashgar to Pakistan. It’s built in the middle of insane mountains, grasslands and rivers. Because it’s so far west, it borders or is located close toContinue reading “The deadly Karakoram highway”

The night(mare) train from Wuhan to Urumqi

July 3, 2016 The night train from Wuhan to Urumqi was one of the best (and absolute worst) experiences of my life. There were no seats left, so I had to buy a standing ticket for a 36 hour trip from practically east to all the way west. Locals warned me beforehand: “it’s not whatContinue reading “The night(mare) train from Wuhan to Urumqi”