Photo: Maciej Matlak/Shutterstock

10 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Tunisia

by Alina Simindrescu Jul 8, 2015

1. You say inshallah (if God is willing) as a nice way of saying no.

You are always willing to help other people. Even when you can’t. That’s why you will never say NO to a friend in need. You think this word seems too rough and adding the magic spell (inshallah) at the end of a sentence in a subtle way makes the situation easier to handle.

2. You can say a whole story just using the ‘Z’ word.

The food is not the only spicy thing in Tunisia. You definitely know how to add flavor to your conversation, no matter what. Either you’re talking with an old friend or you just met a new one, the Z word is there. You just can’t get rid of it. It’s part of your daily greetings, stories, wishes and goodbyes. You know you can tell a whole story just by using it:

How was your holiday?
Happy for you, man!

3. You’d do anything for lablabiin in the middle of the winter.

Hot tea? Cozy bed? No, thank you. Everybody knows the solution to warm up on a cold day is a big bowl of lablabi. But it’s not just the idea of eating this special meal, it’s an entire technique. Cutting the bread in tiny little pieces, waiting for the steaming pot, all these are a part of the warm-up process. And when you start eating from that hot bowl you know there’s nothing else to beat winter’s chill.

4. You eat tuna with almost everything.

“Sorry, waiter, there’s some tuna on my tuna.”

Tuna, and Tunisia sounds like a perfect match. It’s true that you have a strong connection with this dish. When there is no tuna on the table, you know something’s wrong. You are used to having tuna on pizza, pasta, salad, omelet, you name it. No wonder when you tend to be rated amongst the greatest tuna exporters in the whole world.

5. Smoking chicha (hookah) is part of your daily activities.

In Tunisia, a day without chicha is a lost day. You just can’t imagine your life without it. When someone asks you about a specific cafe, you rate it referring to its chicha. Spending time with your friends, smoking chicha and drinking a glass of thé à la menthe while chatting about the latest news or playing Rami sounds like a perfect day, am I right?

6. Everything gets better with harissa.

You know harissa is not just a simple dish. It’s present in all your meals and you can’t start eating the main course without tasting the harissa first. For those who live abroad, every meal feels incomplete without the magic red potion; they’re still waiting for it when the food is served.

7. You know bread is the best cutlery.

There’s a saying: “Eating with a fork and knife is like making love through an intermediary.”

You can’t agree more with this. In fact, you know that food tastes better while eating it with your hands. That’s why you will always find a sink in any restaurant around Tunisia. You are definitely a foodie and you know how to enjoy your meals.

8. You know at least one joke about Libyans.

Your relation with Libyans has always been a special one. Your neighbours from the South are nice, but you like them as neighbours, and not on your streets. Getting in contact with them was enough of a challenge. Therefore, making some innocent jokes about their ways was just meant to be.

9. Half of your vocabulary is in French.

Tunisian language is unique and meaningful. It’s different from Arabic, because of its specific dialect. And if you combine it with French, you will have a completely new language, which is Tunisian. You met a lot of foreigners struggling to pronounce that tricky ‘ha’ and you are proud you can speak one of the hardest languages in the world.

More, Arabic speakers may not understand Tunisian dialect, but Tunisians can communicate in Standard Arabic without any problems. If you meet an Egyptian friend, most of the conversation will be held in English.

10. You love your food and you have the gift to make others fall for it too.

When you have guests, there is only one thing in your mind, they must eat a lot!

So you start to prepare traditional food which comes only in big-size portions. Suddenly, the word barcha (too much) is not available in your vocabulary anymore and you simply don’t understand when they keep saying that to you.

Spicy, tasteful, diverse, colorful.. You’re living to eat and not vice-versa.

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