15 Loves for 15 Years

Does that title make me sound like I’ve loved someone new for 15 years? Well, if it roped you into reading this- I have no regrets πŸ˜›

This is not a random post per se. This week marks 15 years since yours truly moved to England. I remember it like it was yesterday; a dishevelled looking little girl landed at Heathrow, at sunset, with nothing but a pink backpack and a prayer; please God let everything work out, let it all be ok.

Around this time every year, I get terribly home sick. This year, the feeling is doubled what with the warΒ situation. But, this is home now and instead of grieving and acting like some widow, I sent a prayer for Yemen and asked God to reunite me with it for a visit soon!

Then, I thought I would list some things that make me feel truly fortunate I can call this place home as well. Some of these are obvious some not so obvious. So here goes 15 loves for 15 years…

  1. The postal system. “You can get letters to your door?!” That was my reaction when I first saw my postman. In Yemen, on the rare occassion you got sent something, you had to go collect it from the sole post office in town, where you frequently got told your letter went missing.
  2. Free Primary and Secondary Education. My parents, God Bless them, worked double shifts to be able to pay our school fees. They could have sent us somewhere cheap. But they wanted a secure future for us.
  3. The concept of a queue- yep, lining up for things. Don’t take that ish for granted folks. Forget thirld world countries, Dubai which is the most modern and civilized place ever, lacks this basic concept.
  4. Electricity and water; the abundance of. I want you to think of the thickness (or rather the thinness of a pencil,) ok is that image now secure in your head? I once observed my aunty doing the dishes. The stream of water coming out of the tap was two times thinner than a pencil. I have never valued water more.
  5. Organization. Most tasks are a phone call away in England. You call to get an appointment with the doctor, dentist, hairdressers, your kid’s teacher. You call to get a taxi or book a table at a resturant. In Yemen, you just turn up and pray for the best!
  6. I know that people complain about the NHS a lot. But trust me, coming from a thirld world country, I can confirm that we are in safe (if slighlty annoying) hands.
  7. Drive-Thrus. Do NOT judge me, I am a lazy creature of comfort ok?
  8. Employment and pay. I complain about my pay a lot, rightly so- it is crap. Nonetheless, I get paid more than my relative in Yemen does, and they are a doctor. Let me tell you something- I am no doctor.
  9. Cinemas! We didn’t have any back home – pretty sure that is still the case.
  10. Creativity is encouraged here. Be it through school or work, rather than frowned upon as something that is a waste of time and unpractical.
  11. Travel. I love having the oppurtunity to travel pretty much anywhere I want and if my wallet and I were better friends, I would do it more.
  12. Fish & Chips. You knew it was coming haha!
  13. Traffic laws. Again, probably irritating at times but drive in an unmarked road with no traffic lights and dozens of cars all beeping at once and then you will realize what a blessing traffic laws are.
  14. Speedy internet! Need I say more?
  15. The weather. Yep I said it, you heard it. I LOVE living somewhere that is COLD the majority of the year! Don’t even get me started on snow!

Ok, so I hope some of that was fun to read! That was actually the aim, because if it was a 100% real talk list, number 1. for me would have been having Human Rights, that is the one thing I love about living here!

Before I go though, I just wanted to put this out there; this list is purely based on my experiences in Yemen FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Sure, somethings have remained the same, but I am sure somethings have made leaps and bounds of progress.

For instance, creativity is embraced now. Several of my cousins are in media based careers and are always applauded for it. Medicine is being taken more seriously than it ever has been and I am pretty sure you can call a taxi by phone now.

Hope you have liked reading this as much as I have loved writing it! Here’s to the next 15 years!

This is not me that day bu the way, but the photo is mine and it seemed fitting.

This is not me that day by the way, but the photo is mine and it seemed fitting.



    1. I know right! I was in stood in line in Abu Dhabi once, in Zara of all places, and people start to just cut the line. And British ole’ me was like; “no no no I must be mistaken, this is not happening!” – turns out it was πŸ˜…

  1. Dear Tamtam,

    My name is Ashlee. I’m co-founder of the Youshare Project, with the mission to connect people around the world through true, personal stories. I recently stumbled across your blog and read several of your posts including the above β€œ15 Loves for 15 Years.” I found it really interesting to hear your perspectives on life in England vs. life in Yemen. I think it would make a wonderful youshare, because it sheds light on both countries from a unique perspective.

    If this sounds interesting to you, I would love to email you directly with more information and formally invite you to adapt your story to youshare and share it with the project. You have my email address and website. I hope to hear from you soon.


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