Perhaps I am over sensitive. But I had always known that I have a strong sense of intuition. I am one of those women who follow my heart more than my head. Not a good way to deal with things sometimes, but its my heart that I often trust.
Last Thursday, we went out for grocery shopping in the afternoon but had to rush home quickly. Because my husband was expecting a phone interview. Phone interviews has been quite common for him. He is a contractor, we live on contracts. Perhaps that is why we have been moving so much for the past seven years. Its always about the contract. I’ll pack my bag and our belongings to where the contract determines where we would be.
This possible contract was back to the UK. I was somewhat looking forward to moving back to the UK. Back to having some personal freedom to roam around as I please as a woman. To take walks in the park and feed the ducks. To buy the potato salad from Marks and Spencer. Eat tau foo fa at Chinatown. Visit my favourite fruit farm. Walk around Tate Modern, napping at the comfortable couch on the 2nd floor. Catch a show at the West End, after queuing at TKTS. Shopping at Bicester. Driving round the Lake district in Autumn. Eating fresh crayfish in Scotland. Have a BBQ under my apple tree. Prune my roses in my garden. Weeding on my knees.
An hour before the scheduled interview, his recruitment company called him to ensure that he was home. They told him that they emailed the job description to him, and to wish him good luck for the interview. A contract for him ensures income for them. We had always used this recruiter. He got us the previous contract in London. And he knows the market and his customers well.
The call came. Thirty minutes early. It was from a reputable company, the main vendor in the UK for the industry my husband works for. And suddenly the guy on the other line said that my husband was not someone they were looking for. He was over qualified. They are just looking for a help desk person. The phone call ended pleasant enough.
But my heart told me it was something else. The recruitment company cannot be so wrong. They have been fairly professional. And why would they waste their time making sure that the interview goes on all right?
Somehow deep in my heart, I knew that perhaps it had something to do with our names and where we are at the moment. Reading KakTeh’s blog somehow I think confirms it for me. That Islamophobia is on the rise in the UK. And no one is about to hire someone with a Muslim name out of a Muslim country.
But I accept that perhaps it is just not meant to be. Perhaps we are just being idealistic, following our hearts too much, wanting to return to England at this time. After all it’s a good contract that we have here. No electricity bills to pay, no rent, cheap petrol and most importantly no tax. (Just a shitty exchange rate!)
Unlike Kakteh who has been in UK for 25 years, I only lived in London for 3. But somehow if anyone asked us where is home for us, our answer would be London. Odd perhaps, but we have been moving from city to city since we got married. 8 months in Hong Kong, 9 months in Jakarta, 2 months in Bombay. Singapore and KL sandwiched in between. We were practically living out of our suitcases. Until we moved to London to set up our first home together. And like Kakteh said, everytime after a trip elsewhere, somehow arriving either in Heathrow or Waterloo, I felt so glad that I was back in Britain.
However, I feel that something has changed in the heart of England. Something is now different. And as much as I do look forward to returning “home,” I know things are no longer the same before I left. And it does make me sad.
Even before the interview took place I thought how it would be. If we return to UK, it would be my first time wearing a hijab there. I only started wearing it here. I did wonder if I would have the courage like Kakteh and the rest of the brave women there to wear the hijab there. I wonder if my old neighbours and acquaintances would look at me differently, because they have never seen me wearing it. I wonder if they would think, “Oh they have just came back from XXXXX XXXXx, perhaps now they have converted to become extremists.”
And we would have to set up a new home up north. I had guessed that it would be much harder. That people would look at me with suspicion in their eyes.
Whatever the case maybe, whether we stay here or we go else where, I will leave it up to Allah. Perhaps some of you think its blind faith, but I will leave it up to him to decide what is best for us. If we stay here longer, I hope we get a better contract, and we stay safe. (There are so many road blocks lately and I’ve heard some helicopters circling above, I wonder if something is brewing again.) If we get to move on to the next location, I hope we will be happy and comfortable there too.
No matter where we live in this world, it has become the same. Safe is now a relative concept.
I guess at the end of the day, what’s most important for us, is that we get rezeki that is Halal and we’re happy and comfortable.
No matter where we live.