It was my first night settling in. I wiggled into a comfortable nook in the couch, put my feet up on the edge of the coffee table and switched on the TV.
...only to release a high pitched squeal.
There was a hijabi lady reading the news, in Britain! THERE WAS SOMEONE WHO KINDA LOOKED LIKE ME! And she wasn't even talking about terrorism, or women's oppression!
My first instinct was to send a pic to my insta story, the next to tweet about it. I had to share my excitement, after all.
That's honestly been the most remarkable thing thus far about this move. Seeing myself, reflected.
I can't quite explain what it is like to walk around a city - an English speaking city at that, which, for better or for worse, feels more like 'home' - and see myself in the faces of those around me. London is (visually, at least) truly multicultural in a way no other place I have been is. To think of myself as becoming part of that is something that feels remarkable, subhanallah.
It's delicious. I'm walking around and seeing hijabi women - of all the colours - wearing all the styles wander past me. I am yelling 'Al-Salamu Alaikum!!' to every single one of them, my toothy grin in their face. They look at me with bewilderment, but that's fine. Their confusion increases my joy. Because who they are isn't unusual here, and I guess that means I am not unusual either. Who would have thought it would feel so good to be 'not-unusual'? I mean sure, I've only been here for a few days, so it might be hubris, and sure, I am proud of who I am wherever I am, and sure, I love standing out...
...but for the first time, I know what it's like to be one of the crowd.
To have people say 'oh you're from Sudan? I love Sudanese people!' instead of being the first Sudanese person they know.
To walk around and see my aunt, uncle, brother...
...to hear my aunt, uncle, brother, grandmother.
And to see them right alongside my neighbour, my boss, my colleagues.
What a gift.