Friday, August 8, 2008

Finding My Direction




Asalamu Alaykom,






I might not be going to Saudi.

Today, I applied for my old job in town. I felt I had to. I'm not really good at waiting and it's actually been all of May, June, and July that I've waited for my visa. I don't fully trust the process. They screwed up and I am left waiting at my mom's without a job. Ramadan is coming and I don't want to be here.

My mom doesn't want me here either. When I told her that I wanted to apply for the job here, she said that I'd be better off moving out as soon as possible.

When I got all dressed up for the interview, I asked her if she liked my new lipstick (it's really neutral). Her answer?

"You're just like the little girl I babysit; always has to be the center of attention."

When I came back into the room (trying not to be hurt), I asked her if she understood that I had a job interview.

"Am I supposed to be nicer to you?" she shot back.

Sigh...

ya....

well...

umm...

it sucks.

Before this latest bad moment, I had been thinking how I could stay here and pay rent and help her out; like Islam teaches us to do for our aging parents. But, Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) didn't have my mom to deal with. He didn't have his mom having a glass of wine after work. He didn't have his mom complaining about watching her own grandson, while she goes out to watch other people's children. She isn't Muslim. I can't judge her for this. I'm just saying that, as a revert, the idea of "Paradise is at the feet of your mother," is hard for me to put into practice.

What made me apply for a job in town?

I needed some truth.

Truth is where it’s at.

Truth is with Allah.

Yesterday I felt that confusion set in.

The night before, I had been told AGAIN how much I was loved and cherished. I was told from Florida, by a man who can’t live with me or support me. This scrambles up a girl’s brain like eggs on a sizzling fry pan.

Then yesterday afternoon, I had another phone call from Egypt telling me how much I was loved by my former in-laws. They wanted to trash talk Mr. Boo’s dad. This is the same man who housed them for four months and tried his best to please them. Now, I am the first to say that my former husband isn’t perfect, but I really can’t enjoy a weekly mud slinging at his expense.

And then there’s NO phone call from Saudi. There’s no nothin’ from Saudi (ya, I know I should be writing proper English grammar, but it’s for dramatic effect). If I actually have a job, then how come I’m still waiting for a visa for three months PAST when they said it would come? I heard the explanation, but it’s lame-o.

So, I got out of the house. I sat in the backyard in a foul mood while watching Mr. Boo run around the trees. Then he grabbed the hose and sprayed me until I was soaking wet. It was one of the last clean outfits I’ve got after a week of being here (and not doing wash).

After I changed, we headed out on a walk.

I was mad.

Mad that this stupid area of town doesn’t have sidewalks.

Mad that the woman who was my friend here was no longer talking to me (thanks) now that I’m actually in town.

Mad that my mom was annoyed with me.

Mad that I’ve had to give up so much.

I took a long walk to find some truths. I walked past all the places I've been in my former life: playgrounds, schools, stores, friend's homes, restaurants...


"I'm going to rise up and find my direction magnetically".

So, I just headed where it made sense to go. I found myself walking to the nearby campus. It was once a very special place to me. I knew that I was succeeding each day when I made my way to the bus stop, after working all morning at a dry cleaner’s. I was not feeling like such a success yesterday, but there I was. I kept putting one step in front of another and just let my core guide me.

I ended up at a Middle-Eastern restaurant for some falafel. I first ate falafel in college at a makeshift Jewish restaurant. I loved it. Still love it.

I walked in and the cook greeted me with, “Asalamu Alaykom.”

Sometimes, to be honest, I just go to Muslim-run business or areas to be greeted with the peace of Allah.

In Islam, we are mandated to greet each other in peace, to bless each other when we sneeze, and to pray for each other when we die.

“One falafel, please.” I ordered politely.

“You mean one sandwich?” the Middle-eastern man tried to figure it out.

“No, I mean just one piece.” I said sheepishly and then headed over for some drink. Ahhh….Key Lime! I love that flavor! I sipped it while I waited. When he brought my food, he saw my two bills and some change on the counter.

“Just a $1.25 for the pop. The falafel is for free; for a taste.” And there sat two golden globes of greasy goodness. For free! My favorite price! I ate one and saved one for Mr. Boo once he woke up in his stroller. I gave a dollar tip and the man and I smiled at each other.

Life really can be easy and good.

OK.

So, here’s what I figured out:

I've been too busy getting my ego stroked by Mr. Florida. It’s unhealthy. I am back in almost exactly the same stupid place I was over a year ago. Yes, yes, yes, we love each other and we are hot for each other YET we can’t co-exist together so that is NOT a marriage. I told him that we are not really married and he’s thinking over ending it.

The relatives in Egypt are playing me. They are not who they say they are.  I can’t trust them like I wish. I will NOT be going to see them.

I don’t really have a job in Saudi. I mean---there is a job….and I’ve been given a contract BUT it’s not in my hand. As long as I don’t have a visa, I’m out of the picture. Ramadan is starting so soon and I don’t want to be in confusion then. I really want reality with a real job and REAL money.

I've got to stay in reality with what is actually in my hand.

I wish it was more falafel.

18 comments:

egyptchick7 said...

I just go into Arab-run businesses to show them who they appear to be this white goregous girl, spits out Arabic and shocks them. LOL! I say " Andik Coca-Cola?" as my intro, they open their mouths in amazement...lol...and they insist the coke is free, or whatever other food they offer...LOL....

L_Oman said...

Not sure if you've considered this, but from what I understand school isn't starting until after Ramadan in Saudi (please verify on this - it's something I heard). From the way things work over here in this part of the world, I wouldn't be suprised that they send you the visa just a week or a few days before you actually start working.

Do you not have a contact you can speak to at the school you'll be working for? Do you have a friend or an acquaintance who could check up on the issue for you?

If you're super keen on working in the Gulf, I highly recommend you try to apply for positions in Oman / UAE / Qatar / etc. You're bound to find something! Go to all the university websites in different countries and find out how you can apply. Now's the perfect time since school's around the corner.

You could also try applying at British Council - it's reputable and well-known so since you're into teaching ESL, try them out. Or Center for British Teachers - they have a website! There are so many opportunities in the Gulf!

Laila said...

Asalamu Alaikum sister, is there an email that I can contact you at?

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom EgyptChick,

Always love your comments. You are truly a flipside that makes life interesting :)

Sometime inshahallah, we'll have to walk into the restaurant together and REALLY get some attention :)

Asalamalaykom l_oman,

You are such a valuable commentator because you really know the whole way around the Middle East. It's tricky!

For me, here now...I don't know if I do want to go. I need to figure that out before I go knocking on the school's metaphorical door.

It's a bit difficult about my school contact, since he got into a marriage discussion with me. He views me as a possiblity and I don't see him the same. He's not an Arab man, by the way; he's a revert.

I think I need another week of figuring this out. The school here will either hire or not by the 14th. At that time, I'll need to get going. I'm kind of holding out until then.

Asalamalaykom Laila,

I don't post an email here BUT what you can do is leave a comment with the words DO NOT POST at the top. I can then read them and see what's going on.

Hope things are good with you :) inshahallah.

L_Oman said...

Yosra - seriously my dear. I'm sure in your shoes you see things differently than me BUT from my standpoint I sure as heck wouldn't travel if my 'headhunter' is a guy trying to pick me up!

1. You're married still!
2. It sounds...ick.
3. There are ways to get a job and there are ways to get a job. Do it right! Contact schools. Not dudes playing around. You're worth more than that, Yosra!

From the sound of it - you are not ready. Confused. Unhappy. Sometimes not physically well. Applying at a school in your town.

Stay. Don't go. If you have the qualifications, opportunities for teaching ESL at reputable UNIVERSITIES there (and all over the world).

Sure things are 'tricky' over here, but there are proper ways to do things...

I want peace for you just as you do for yourself. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings.

Anonymous said...

Egyptchick7 are you Muslim? If not, then I can understand your post, but if you are Muslim, then I'm sorry your post does not make sense.

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