Ayman Ramadan


After a few days in Amsterdam, I was on one of my daily walks when I came across my friend and colleague from Cairo, Osama, who was out on his bike taking pictures of the city. We decided to stop for lunch at a nearby Turkish restaurant. We went inside to order, and saw a young kid sitting in the corner, watching cartoons. We took our food outside to eat, and he immediately followed us with his football.


Footsteps in Noord - Ayman Ramadan

Osama asked the kid not to play with his ball so perilously close to where we were eating, repeating his request in Arabic, English and German—but the child couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand. As my friend grew increasingly frustrated and red in the face, the kid began to laugh at his confusion, and decided to encourage the frustration even further by throwing his football at Osama’s head. From time to time, the ball would roll into the street or get caught in a tree, and compelled by some strange innate politeness or protective urge, Osama would always go and get the ball for the kid, only to have it thrown back at his head again.

When trying to speak in a foreign country, one is often filled with frustration, hilarity, politeness and the sensation of being bombarded.