Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Had an interesting phone call from Egypt yesterday. My former in-laws are telling me that they are not accepting of the first/current wife. She is not allowed in their homes.
However, they are asking me there and I just might go. When? I can see three weeks bunking with mom and then heading out. We'll see. If I go, inshahallah, I would love to spend Ramadan in Egypt with family (who love me still, alhumdulillah) than in a new country with no one I know. And honestly, I would look for possible jobs in Egypt, as perhaps this is an indicator of where I feel more at home.
Right now, however, I feel absolutely sick to my stomach. Something I ate? Maybe. But definately it's the enormity of all the work of leaving; of moving on to the unknown.
I wish all of you well. Please keep me and Mr. Boo in your du'as.
Monday, July 28, 2008
"Hi, Mommy. What are you doing?"
He then expertly puts the mic up to my mouth.
"I'm getting ready to fly on the airplane"
He flips the mic back to his mouth. "I'm not going on the airplane! I'm going to Baba's store! I'm going to run out and go to Baba!"
But then he puts down the mic and starts playing. Kids are resilient. I need some of this.
Did you see the GORGEOUS MASHAHALLAH GORGEOUS butterfly picture I posted? I didn't take it. Oooh, it's so lovely. And it was only a brief moment in time. I can't have that moment. I can only have a picture of that moment. It's a memory that's been caught; not the actual butterfly. And I love it! I enjoy it! However, I don't have to own it.
You get me?
I'm going to leave somethings...and some people...behind
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Mostly children's literature.
Here's how they once looked.
Where the Wild Things Are
Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles signed by Julie Andrews herself!
The Big Orange Splot
Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse
and (obviously) many, many more.
Then there was also...my HUGE QURAN (trans. Mohammad Asad, which is banned in Saudi) and my little Quran (trans. Ahmed Ali, which I will inshahallah be taking to Saudi). Fascinating assessment of Quran translations here.
It was all sent for $46.00, but these books are priceless to me.
Really, if you are moving across the country, send the books "Media Mail". It's the cheapest rate at the post office. You just can't include ANY thing that isn't a bound book, DVD, video, or tape.
Then, we went to Booga King. Mr. Boo can't say the 'ur' sound unfortunately, thus making the fast-food restaurant sound a little less appetizing. Oh well, we ate the fries and onion rings with gusto.
More boxes today, but I'll wait until Monday to send them. Really, that should be my last P.O. run. Tuesday, I'll need to run around to the bank, Salvation Army, rental office, etc.
Wednesday we leave.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Oh, and then THIS caught my eye. Did that Egyptian actress, Yousra, tell another actress, Hanan Turk, not to continue wearing hejab? I love reading the comments.
thinking I'd been out and been terribly bad.
I'd been having a date; having a lark
I didn't know he'd be home; waiting in the dark.
The light flipped on; I was startled and gasped.
He said nothing; just stared. Time? It elapsed.
Said I,"Well, at least you never go away,"
"but, I'm sorry, my darling-- you cannot stay."
My sandal went forth quickly to stamp him out
"YOU DISGUSTING ROACH!" was my shrill shout.
Then, he was gone.
He had seemingly disappeared,
When I suddenly sensed what I had always greatly feared!
That creepy little guy was now crawling on me!
He had wanted to "shake a leg" and was up by my knee!
"GET OUT!" I cried and moved like crazy.
Out he was flung, and he sat there lazy.
He'd gotten some action, much more than my date,
and he was off to another; it was getting late.
"Go ahead--GO!" I called as he scuttered.
"Just like all the rest," was the last I muttered.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
a pillow not propped up properly on the couch = my marriage
my hair found in the kitchen = my marriage
not all the labels facing outward = my marriage
a scratch on the big screen TV = my marriage
my son not getting to bed on time = my marriage
the DVD player pushed in on the entertainment center=my marriage
the mess on my desk = my marriage
my need to grade papers = my marriage
the cost of my son's haircut = my marriage
the cost of eating out once a week for under $20 a time=my marriage
picking my son's father up from the airport = my marriage
two juices and a small bag of chips = my marriage
It comes to this.
It comes to a list of stupidity.
All of these items on the list somehow became as important as the union of two souls brought together to praise Allah. All of these have been used as reasons to divorce me in the last nine months. How did that happen? Why did it happen? Subhanallah! Each and every item I listed has been allowed such importance.
What are any of you allowing to be equal in weight to your marriage? Does it deserve that much importance? Really? Or are the problems too petty to really list.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Found this U.S. Government report:
but we all know how accurate those have been, i.e., the report on WMDs.
Found this about the Saudi woman killed by her father for chatting on Facebook.
This article is interesting, but contains a disturbing photo of a woman buried up to her head amongst rubble, seemingly bloody, with no explanation.
This other article is about women driving in Saudi. I DON'T WANT TO DRIVE IN SAUDI! I'm looking forward to having a driver.
OK, this site is an upper, not a downer. I'll leave you with beautiful images of the country I hope to see before Ramadan.
When I learn more, I'll post more.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I'm not sure what's funnier: this video or the explanation from the teacher about his year teaching in Korea.
Cut and paste this link
Sorry that I can't seem to embed it in youtube.
Also, look for his old blog entries on the blogroll.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing, there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you, it's just no good
You teasing like you do
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
What is it that I'm doing for short-term gratificaiton?
What is it that I'm doing for long-term happiness?
That pleasure is so fleeting. It isn't something to hang onto and the more you try to make it into something it's not, then the more frustrated you become. It will never be what you want because what you want is happiness.
Happiness is not guaranteed in Quran. That's the Preamble to the Constitution you're thinking of. We Muslims are promised peace. I think that once you have peace you acheive happiness. No peace equals no happiness.
Peace resides in truth, safety, openness, connectedness, honoring, loving, fulfilled promises and shared faith and hope. When you don't have those things, then you cannot acheive that small quiet inside you which produces the calm and then the joy.
So enough of where I've been. I'm re-moving.
I thought about that strange turn of phrase: I'm re-moving. In surah 94, Allah says, "Didn't we remove your burden?"
Yes, I am re-moving to get rid of my burden. This has been a burden where I am: a quest for happiness with an impossiblity. No peace. No happiness.
And I've had enough.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
“I’m sorry, “said the exhausted nurse. “Usually, I have better luck.”
She had called in another nurse, this time from the ER, who had also failed.
“It’s his little veins. I keep digging and digging, but—“
I cut her off. I’m the girl who used to get faint in health class. I thought to be a nurse, like my grandmother and aunt, because I liked their white hats. I dropped the idea when I learned there was blood involved.
“It’s alright,” I comforted the two caregivers as I held my baby. “You are doing your best and that’s all I can ask. I can’t ask you to do more. I understand. I don’t fault you. Let me just calm him down and we can try again. God willing, we will get it this time.”
So, I surrendered him once more to being swaddled in the “baby burrito” while he looked at me with big dewy brown eyes. Those eyes searched me for the reason why I would allow this treatment; this seemingly cruel treatment. I reassured him the way I could.
“Bismallah a Rahman a Raheem. Alhumdullah Rabena ala meen. A Rahman. A Raheem. Maliki aw madeen…”
I spoke the opening verse of the Quran in his ear. It sounds like singing to recite Quran. The nurses probably thought I was singing. I didn’t tell them the words were holy messages from God; The Benevolent and Merciful.
I have a secret pleasure in sharing Quran with unsuspecting listeners. If anyone ever asks me about my Arabic language ability, I recite Quran, but in more of a conversational tone. I’ve shared The Message without ever letting them know.
The Quran is special. It is! Subhanallah! Created by God! At the zoo, which the baby and I go to all the time, I recite Quran for the animals. They listen.
There was a huge bison; a buffalo, chewing in the middle of its pen. We stood at the tall chain link fence, the baby and I, and I called to him.
“Asalamalaykom!” That’s the Muslim greeting which wishes peace from Allah.
Then, I went for The Fatiha, the opening verse. I said it loudly enough for the words to reach him, as he snorted out there in his field. I got no further than “Rahman” before he charged the fence. Subhanallah! He actually heard Quran and charged to the fence, then stopped right in front of me and listened. I told it all. No one else was around in this magical moment---just me, the baby and the bison.
Now, my baby was the bison. He was the wild beast reduced to only thinking of immediate need and the need to escape from pain. I recited Quran to him as he screamed.
“That’s good, mom,” called the nurse. “Keep singing. We’ve almost got it. There!”
Third time was the charm.
I got to hold him again. I unwrapped him from the imprisoning blanket and took his hot, sweaty, suffering body from its encasement. He held onto me and took in the satisfying breaths of relief. His hand searched, with IV attached, and taped underneath it the padded board. His hand searched for my hair.
Do you know how many times I complained that he was pulling my hair? It hurt. I would get upset. And now? Standing there, after all that had gone on for hours of failed attempts and different nurses and new ideas and tries? Well, I loved that tug on my hair. I loved that my boy knew how to find comfort and that I was his connection to calm.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Trajectory is the path a moving object follows through space. The object might be a projectile or a satellite, for example. It thus includes the meaning of orbit - the path of a planet, an asteroid or a comet as it travels around a central mass. A trajectory can be described mathematically either by the geometry of the path, or as the position of the object over time.
A year ago, I was in a hospital with my son, who had just recovered from an emergency appendectomy This was necessitated by his swallowing of six lead pellets he found inside a broken maraca.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
He always called the man Baba. It wasn't quite right. The man wasn't his father, but he was at least Arab. He was the second Arab man with whom the little boy had lived, and the two had been together for just over a year; a tough year.
What would make a single man accept a single mother?
It had been love. Love at first sight. Love like an addiction. Love like a tidal wave that is both awesome and terrifying and totally, totally unavoidable.
"Baba not Bubba Shrimp," the little boy spoke out of nowhere, like kids do. The randomness shocked his mother, who had tried not to think of the man who had divorced her.
The funny cartoon of a shrimp wearing a hat had to be explained, but obviously it was not a satisfactory explanation.
When the heavy rains came, no one shielded them. When it was time to eat, no one stood in line for them. They stood waiting behind a large man wearing a rain poncho emblazoned on the back with the smiling shrimp. When the day grew tiring, mother carried sleeping son like trudging through an endurance test.
Though a ridiculous comparison, she felt sudden empathy for those fleeing war zones, with the seemingly endless challenge of continuing onward no matter what. Yet, she had paid money to enter and now would gladly pay money to leave quickly. And they did leave. Bought a T-shirt and left.
The next day was going to be a bit of closure with Baba stopping by in the morning to pick up the TV he had loaned.
"What a jerk! He wants his TV back?" asked her friend.
"No, I want it gone. We aren't watching it and I want as much gone as I can before we leave in a month."
They were headed out of the country; out of his city, and out of his life.
The TV exchange hadn't gone well. There was a hug at the door, which wasn't asked for. The boy hadn't seen that one, as he had still been in bed. After the TV was brought down two flights of stairs, Baba had come back to say goodbye.
He had taken his former wife's face in his hands.
"You look like an angel," he spoke plainly. He wasn't actually a sweet talker. He had never mastered women, the way some men do.
Her hair was covered in modesty and she wasn't asking for the touch. She wasn't. He didn't mean to, but he did.
"Please don't," she said quietly in the hallway. She didn't want others seeing them, that's true, but most of all she didn't want Allah's displeasure.
The kisses landed on her cheeks and her forehead, but not her lips. To kiss her lips and to have her kiss back would mean that the iddah was broken and the divorce revoked.
The little boy broke the moment with his feet loudly plodding across the apartment.
"Hey, Penquenito!" Said Baba, who then scooped up the boy, wearing his new shirt from the day before. Baba read the shirt.
"High in the Sky Trolley," Baba read.
Did it say that? For real? She wondered how she had missed those words. "High in the sky," was the game Baba always played with her son. His amazingly strong arms would lift the toddler up into the air and they would laugh together.
She had hated her ex in that moment. How could he? How could he keep loving them yet not bring them back to his home? He had the house. She had moved out. He had done the divorce on her over small nothings and now everyone was injured from that uttering.
They still loved each other but they could not be together.
He left that day. She called him later to tell him off: He didn't respect hejab. He didn't respect her. He needed to apologize.
"For what? For loving you?" he questioned.
Yes, yes, yes. He loved her. He loved her to the best of his abilities, but he wasn't able to love her well. He was too hard-headed. He wasn't able to apologize.
They went for for days without talking.
Then, came, "Baba is not Bubba Shrimp." That was a fact. It was an important fact and it had to be told to Baba.
Mother made the call, then handed the phone to her son. The boy rambled on about the shrimp and then handed the phone back to his mom. She had to explain. The man laughed. She always made him laugh.
"I dreamt about you," came her ex's voice. "I dreamt that you were leaving and I was helping you move out all your boxes. They wouldn't all fit into your trunk."
He didn't know they were set to leave at the end of the month. She was planning it to be a secret escape. She thought to tell him right then, but decided to try one more time to speak to his heart.
"You know what won't fit? The boxes filled with hurt and misunderstanding. Can't you see that?"
It was a metaphor, sure, but they often spoke this way to each other.
"Wallahi, I'm sorry for any hurt," he offered. It was the most sincere she'd heard him.
"What about when you talked about divorce every weekend?"
"I was wrong." That was the first time he had said that.
"How do you think I felt?" she needed to know.
"Bad." was the too quick answer.
"Tell me more," since she wasn't going to accept that.
"I don't know. You tell me," he really did want to know.
"I felt scared. That's how it felt after I moved everything in my life to be with you. I lost my trust in you. Even now, I would love to trust you again. If only you could appologize for what you did."
"I don't want to stay in the past," he abruptly stated.
"But, those boxes are still sitting there! We can't move them out until we know what is in them! They are ruining any chance for us moving on!" She was desperate to be understood.
"No, no," he dismissed. "I don't want to go through any pain and drama any more. I only want to be happy in the present."
"Shut-up! Shut-up! Just stop doing this! You don't understand! You are losing me! You are losing any chance at being with me! If you really love me; if you really want us to be together, you have to stop denying our problems! Please! Please! Just..."
The conversation ended just like that.
"Then I wish you all the best," she ended it.
"I wish you all the best too," he ended it.
That afternoon, she was out with her son, who didn't know why mom was so sad, when they passed by a display of local attractions.
"Baba Shrimp!" he shouted and pointed to the brochure rack.
It made her laugh. The sadness lifted and she could see the funny shrimp. She called. He didn't answer. Her sadess started to fall down again. It truly was the end.
They grabbed the ad for Bubba Shrimp and walked back to the car.
While driving, she called him again. He didn't answer again.
"Alhumdulillah." She wouldn't drift into depression. She would thank Allah for the plan.
From the backseat she heard, "Give this to Baba!"
Her little guy wasn't going to understand. She could barely understand, so how could he?
He grew louder and more impatient,"MAAAAAMAAAA! GIVE THIS TO BABA!"
The turn-off to his complex was at the next lights. The car knew the way and headed into the turn lane without much thought. She knew now where she was headed, but didn't know exactly for what. There she was with a screaming, demanding boy and one way to cure it.
With the motor running, she walked up the pathway to the door. She wasn't going to knock, she simply bent down and slipped the brochure of Bubba Shrimp under the door. Then, she left, with her son in tow.
On the way home now, from the home they once shared, life began again. It had to. There was no other choice. Not every love continues. She had learned that with the boy's father, and she was learning it for the second time.
The phone rang. It was him.
"Asalamalaykom, Habibti. I was heading out the door and I saw the most amazing coincidence. Do you know what advertisement was delievered today?"
Should she tell him? This wasn't fate.
"It was me. I put it there."
"You put it there?" He sounded incredulous.
"Ya," she knew how silly it was.
He laughed. "Why didn't you knock?"
"I called twice and you didn't answer," she wondered.
"I was in the shower. What do you think? That I was ignoring you?"
"Well..." she didn't really want to bring it up, "this morning..."
"Ah, forget about it. Listen, we need to work on being together."
She countered,"I know you've been saying, 'no,' but would you agree to counseling now?"
"Yes, Habibti, for you: anything. I need to see you. Where are you?"
"I'm coming back to you."
The greeting at the door was public. The door shut and the kiss was private. The feeling wasn't of passion. Maybe passion had ignited their attraction in the beginning, but this was deeper than that. It was a realization that the iddah was over and that life is full of new beginnings.