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Part Two

Salaam sisters,

I promised sister Nabeelah a continuation of my Brussels proper hijaab experience, so here it is.

Today (Sunday) I decided to go to the market in Brussels which is the biggest and the most multicultural market in Belgium I think. I go there often, because it is about the one place to be to buy halal meat and other stuff I need. 

This time was the first time since long that I went there, and it was also my first time in proper hijaab.

I hope this is common to new proper hijaabis, because again I felt kind of insecure before leaving my home in proper hijaab. That is, because there are no proper hijaabis here in Antwerp, where I live, and I still feel a little uncomfortable at it. So this morning, I got dressed, put on my white proper hijaab and white hijab. I had to leave the eyeflap up, because visibility is not good in white  proper hijaab especially not in bright sunshine. 

Over my garment, I put on a white with gold-threaded jilbob so that I was completely covered ,I also put on white gloves to match with the proper hijaab.

Before going out, I took a good look at myself. Yes, this was really me under there  It was a very hot day we are having a short heat wave here at this moment so I was afraid I was going to sweat a lot (I sweat easily when it is hot). But then I calmed myself down and miraculously  alhamdoulillah I started to feel much better. It was not hot at all , I sweat less, It was great !

So I went out the door and headed on my way to the train station (I donít have my own car) , It was early in the morning and Belgian people like to sleep long on Sundays so I didnít meet many people on my way except in the station. Some Jewish people were being very impolite and didnít let me pass, but I just kept on walking and they had to make place for me. Not to mention how I got stared at !

The stares became even bigger when I decided to not take my ticket at the travel centre but to use the ticket machine instead ! You should have seen the faces of the people around me Many people do not like to use these machines because they think they are complicated. And I, in my proper hijaab, was using it. I laughed interiourly when I saw their surprised faces.

The train I took was very full. It came from Amsterdam and was filled with Dutch people who were travelling by train to Paris. There was no other place free except next to a man (because of my back disease I cannot stand up for a long time so I had to sit down). 

Dutch people are  far more tolerant when it comes to being multicultural. The man I sat next to was clearly looking to make some conversation. He said to me that I looked as I was dressed up for some kind of festivity. 

I said no I am not and didnít continue the conversation. But I could see his surprise when he heard me speaking perfect Dutch 

The market was, as usual, very crowded. There were many girls in hijab, not proper hijaab. Again I saw no other proper hijaabi in the near presence. I got stared at, but less than when I wore the black proper hijaab. I guess white is looking less terrorist-like, like Belgian people tend to call covered women wearing black.

I got no remarks. When I spoke in French everyone even the Moroccan traders answered me in French. They did not start to speak Arabic or ask me where I was from or what I was doing or if I was married or divorced or anything at all. These were namely the kind of questions that I always got when I wore just hijab. I guess that is because people could see my white skin and wondered how my story goesÖ but here they didnít get a chance.

One man (Belgian) asked me if I wasnít hot under all of that , I answered a simple no and he asked no further.

When I was finished with the market I went back to the station with a full carrier. In the train there were less people than in the first so I could get a little bench of my own and nobody disturbed me. When I wanted to open the window of the train, a kind gentlemen did it for me.

When I got home, I had to walk down a lot of stairs. Another kind gentlemen proposed to take my carrier so that I wouldnít have to carry a lot of weight. I kindly accepted. He spoke English, so I thanked him in English.

Back home I realised what I just had done , I definitely will choose for proper hijaab (except on my work where it is not allowed there I wear just hijab what I already feel as an achievement because it is not easy for hijabis to get a job here). So I will wear proper hijaab back and from work , and of course when I go out for private and/or religious reasons. Alhamdoulillah I started to wear proper hijaab !