Tea with Arwa: A memoir of family, faith and finding a home in Australia
Arwa El Masri is a child of many countries. She was born in Saudi Arabia, lived in America for a time, and yet, as the daughter of Palestinian migrants, Arwa did not have a country that she could call home. Her parents came to Australia to give all their daughters the greatest gift they could, somewhere they could belong. It took a teenage Arwa time to find her way in her new country and to reconcile her Muslim faith with her life as a young woman in western Sydney. But slowly Australia got under her skin . . . and into her heart. She lost her accent and stopped being startled when kookaburras laughed. She met her future husband, Hazem El Masri, in the most unlikely way. But he was not who she thought she should marry. Getting to know him made Arwa look at her own prejudice, reassess what was important to her and how she wanted to live her life. Her grandmother’s wisdom helped guide her. When she was twenty-three and newly married, this Aussie girl who loved John Farnham and Vegemite decided it was time for her to wear the veil. The first time she went out in public with it on she was shocked. Many assumed she did not speak English or that her husband had told her what to wear. Both were incorrect. Through telling her story, Arwa shows the importance of belonging for everyone and how alike we all are. Regardless of faith, we are all looking for the same things: safety, love, and a sense of home . . .
What people are saying - Write a review
I totally agree with the first wrtier. I LOVED this book - so personal and inspirational. It was great to hear about her faith and gave me a new understanding of loving Muslim people.
This was a great book - part memoir, part recipe book and deeply personal. I found Arwa and her story both fascinating, and inspirational. She writes beautifully and very sincerely about her life growing up in Saudi Arabia, the USA and Australia. The previous reviewer seemed to doubt Arwa's education etc. I never felt this way, but I must admit there were some simple details that were glossed over (e.g. her age, her job during university) and it would have been nice to hear more about them. All in all, I'm really glad I picked up this book. I felt as though Arwa were telling her story to me personally - it's very intimate. Moreover, I learned a lot about Islam and the Muslim-Australian community and culture that thrives in many parts of Sydney, and it was a lovely surprise to discover this new aspect of my hometown.