THE TIME I met Nadia was when I had my first international studies turtorial at the university, she was the first palestinian I met, the first muslim woman that I met, and ofcourse the first heejab donning woman I met.
I must admit, the years of watching news and docos about oppression of women in islamic countries all jumped into my head when I saw her, I kept stealing looks at her while the lecturer rambled on about the east timor Oil crisis, how could she allow people to oppress her in Australia ?
So as luck would have it (or now I wonder if it was more than luck), we were teamed together for the first group assignment, it was me, her, and two Cambodian girls who seemed to know each other and were content with just that, after they spoke and giggled away at thier names (call me nicky, heheh ! call me Christy, hehehe !). It seemed that we both had waited for this part of the introductions.
My name is Peter, I'm studying journalism, media and politics, I want to be a foriegn correspondent, I'm 23 years old... and I'm christian.
I don't know why I added that last bit in, it's like I needed to assert my relegious identity to her, even though the last time I went to church was in perth with the grandparents. I hope she woudln't notice or be on edge, I held my breath. .
-My name is Nadia
I was expecting anything in the world except that Toorak accent, even the way she said her name was ozzie, what ?
The fact was that I was electrified by her voice, so ... smooth, so careful, so... feminine. . .
-I'm studying arts translation studies and media, I also hope to work in journalism, I'm ...
what's she gonna say ? she's muslim ? I know that !
-From Palestine, but I came here when I was young.
I smiled politely and tried to hide the bigger smile in my mind, Palestinian aye ? no doubt she supports the suicide bombers, she probably doensn't thougth she doesn't seem the type. My thoughts about her shifited momentarily while we stood looking at each other.
She looked away and picked up her notes, "should we get started ?"
For the next hour after that, we planned our thoughts, strategies, topics etc... I worked formally enough, but in the back of my mind I couldn't help wondering about her, what does she think about me ? why do I care ? I wonder if her brother or dad force her to wear that head thing, should I ask her ? nah, not a good time.
Before we knew it, the hour was over, and planned for a further sitting in a few days. Even though it was to work, strangely I coudn't wait.