Anwar

Dirty

After my opinion a lot is dirty. I understand that since I am in the Netherlands. Not because it is not clean here, on the contrary. The streets, parks and gardens are much cleaner than in Syria. Perhaps that is precisely why Syrians who learn to rid themselves of dirt are important. When I and my fellow refugees were assigned their own house in Arnhem, we were shocked by the first time that we were getting Dutchmen over the floor. They walked in with their shoes. Rude to say something about it, so we left it that way. Afterwards we exchanged experiences with each other: “Did they do that to you too ?!” I mopped the whole house after the Dutch visitors were gone. “My Palestinian friend always wants to borrow my slippers when he goes to the bathroom,” a Dutch woman said to me. ‘Why is that?’ We do have our shoes when we are indoors, but we do not wear socks to the toilet. Like wiping with toilet paper, bah! The first days in the Dutch refugee shelter everyone went to the store to buy a watering can. We see it as follows: you break a raw egg in your hands. Are you going to get a napkin or wash your hands with water? When I temporarily lived with a Dutch couple, they insisted that I kept my shoes on. The lady of the house caught me that I was walking around her carpet. ‘Nonsense!’ she said. “Just walk over the rug!” With shoes, which have all the dirt on the street, I walked over her beautiful rugs. I honestly found it difficult. At the Dutch couple in the house I could only clean certain pans with a napkin. When I was alone at home, I secretly cleaned the pans with a brush. Nobody who sees it, and a lot cleaner. The next day the woman took the pans out of the cupboard. She looked surprised. Because they were so clean, I thought for a moment. But no, because there were scratches. An anti-stick coating, they can better call it an anti-wash layer.

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