Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weird Eid

Asalamu Alaykom,

It's a really good thing that Eid is celebrated for three days.  I actually could not believe how awful the first day of Eid was at our house.

My son and I hadn't been able to sleep with all the noise from the street the night before, so I couldn't get him up for the Eid prayer service; my husband went alone.  When he came back, I learned there was going to be yet another family funeral (that makes three this month).

I went ahead to make pancakes so we could eat together when he returned.  As I was just dishing up the hot yuminess, I heard the door shut and my hub hacking up a lung.  Yes, he was suddenly very sick.  I think it was something he'd eaten downstairs with his family.  Imagine fever, chills, shortness of breath, and unable to function beyond the level of a two-year-old.

So, that would be WEIRD NUMBER ONE

Alhumdulillah, after two days, he's better and the three of us still had the third day of Eid out as a family.  We went out yesterday.  Not a lot was going on in Egypt at 11 AM.


What I found strange was how many groups of girls were roaming around with total freedom.  Egypt has never really been safe for girls to be on their own.  Yes, there's harassment and it's gotten worse.  There was even a girl who was mistakenly run over this Eid as she tried to deal with a harasser behind the wheel.  She died.  So, who the *&%$! sends out their 8-year-olds dressed as cute as buttons onto the streets ALONE?  Who thinks it's smart letting a small group of pre-teens in new outfits to handle the harassers of the world?

What ticks me off is how these saaaaaaaaaaaaaaame parents would freak if the family's goat were gone---or even a pigeon had escaped.  They would!  They would yell and rank and rave.  Yet, they freely open the door and let their little honeys head into danger knowingly.  Astragferallah.


Have you figured out that I'm on a rant?  I am.  What's up with those moms who KNOW what modesty means because they were khimar.  That's not just a little scarf; it's a big whopping scarf which covers half their body.  They dress like nuns but buy Eid clothes for their daughters to look like prosti-tots.  Astragferallah.

In our own neighborhood, I was shocked to see a 10-year-old girl wearing a short dress that had a sequin tube-top bodice.  Disco had returned to celebrate a Muslim religious holiday.  Her mother would never be caught on the streets in such a get-up.  Why was it OK to promote her daughter's body?  Astragferallah.


I have to rag on the boys as well.  The boys don't bare their skin but they are shaving the sides of their heads.  Yep, the Mohawk haircut has caught on.  Last year, it was trickling down through the young dudes to the little dudes of the elite.  Now?  Everybody has a funky 'cut.

Astragferallah, I hate this.  In Islam, we are not supposed to ape anyone else's fashion or culture.  We are to appear neat, clean, trimmed.  By choosing to look like a Native-American tribe, we are leaving behind our identity.  If you want to tell me that it stopped being about Indians long ago, and it was worn by 80's punks, then that's not a great culture to adhere to either.  It's not OK to let our boys look like anything they want.  We have to THINK about what messages they are receiving from society and delete the dangerous ones.


One more thing about the boys:  guns as Eid gifts.  No, I'm not a gun enthusiast.  I don't like guns.  Real guns kill real people.  So, why-oh-why-oh-why-oh would we give VERY realistic toy guns to our sons on a day of peace and love?  Yuck.

So, I saw the scene on the street.  I'm not saying I didn't enjoy getting out.  I did!  I maybe left the house five times over the month of Ramadan.  I kept busy and mostly content because I knew that it wouldn't last forever.


Typically, people go out to have fun in Egypt on these days.  Where are the shopkeepers who want to make a sale?  I'm really tired of hearing how there's nooooooooo money in Egypt.  Yes, there is!  I had some and I wanted to buy but most of the stores were shut and locked, even after duhr prayer time.  Seriously, Shopkeepers, if you want to keep your life humming along, you need to get yourself out of bed.

I did see that Alef Bookstore opened on Arish.  That was a surprise.  I won't call it weird...or should I?  It was exciting to see it.  Horrible selection of kids' books but a decent amount of adult materials.  I might return to spend hundreds of pounds but I couldn't do it just then.  I had something else in mind.

Alhumdulillah, we turned down a little side street and there was a little hijab shop just for me.  I had told my husband that I wanted to buy a whole other scarf collection for my drawer.  I had cleaned out every hijab I didn't like or knew a bad story surrounding it.  I got rid of any with grease stains.  I got rid of any which really did show through.  I got rid of any which were too short, narrow, or slippery.  That eliminated a lot!

So, on the third day of Eid, I bought 10 new hijabs from one of the few stores which had opened.  I paid 250 LE in total and I was fine with that.  In part, I wanted to reward that man for being a diligent worker and really wanting to earn money.

Alhumdulillah.  It took me awhile but I was the only one in the store so that made it easier.  I will inshahallah have uploaded a picture of my selection:

I realized when I was taking these pictures that I had another weird on my hands which I hadn't realized at the time.  Take a look at the hijab store's shopping bag I was carrying around with me:

LOL!  That is sooooo Misr!  So Egyptian!  I go into a store to buy scarves in order to be modest and end up carrying them in a bag that has a picture of a sexy girl in a "LOVE ME" T-shirt.  LOL!

I'm really happy that my husband has such a good eye and helped me.  He spied that green and black hijab amid the store's displays.  I never had a person who helped me shop like he does.  Alhumdulillah for his good qualities.  Mr. Boo helped by playing a game on his birthday phone (if you've never had an annoying child whine to leave a store then you'll never know how MUCH I appreciated his quiet).

We returned Arish Street, where another hijab store had opened so I went over there.  I bought a hijab and sleeve covers to wear for my brother-in-law's wedding.  It's the golden beige scarf at the bottom of the picture.  I added one more white and purple scarf:

Grand total for the day:  12 new scarves.  HAPPY!  Alhumdulillah.

I should probably mention that I did have a new galabiya for Eid.  We bought it in Aswan this Spring (and yes, I really do need to upload those photos).  I liked it because it was white and bright.  Most of my galabiyas are darker.  When I pulled it out of the wash, I groaned.  There on the floor was a mess of wet newspaper.  It had happened again.  I had bought another embroidered galabiya which had used newspaper during the sewing process.

In this picture, you're looking at the underside of my dress.  This is after I had mostly gotten rid of the blue flower's newspaper.  Since the embroidery ran down the entire front of the dress, this was a pain and a half.  The only way to rid yourself of the half-a-dozen layers is to carefully pinch and scrape them out.  The scissors' pointed ends are for the tiny areas.  Here's how much wet newspaper I got off my dress:

I wasn't wearing the galabiya when we went out to Arish.  I wore it briefly on the First Day of Eid.  Sadly, my husband wants me wearing pants when we go out these potentially dangerous days, "in case we have to run."

Alhumdulillah, we weren't running.  We were walking.  Actually, we had been walking around a lot!  Mr. Boo was hungry and then some so we headed to the promised restaurant:  Domino's Pizza.  Mr. Boo has been fighting me for months that Pizza King is his favorite and that we can only eat their pizza.


That's weird.  It's hard to have a son who doesn't remember America to the point of INSISTING that some crap-a-dast-ical Egyptian restaurant chain makes better pizza than Pizza Hut, Papa John's or Domino's.  I really delved into WHY my boy would think like that.  I think he has good memories of our second Ramadan in Egypt when I took him out to Pizza King on Eid.  We really enjoyed ourselves that day.  Alhumdulillah.  I think my little guy holds on to memories like that more than kids who stayed in one home, with one family and one set of memories.  God bless him.

Domino's was GREAT!  OH MY GOD!  GREAT!  I cannot express how great it was to eat their pizza for the first time in Egypt.  I had been wanting to go there but had gotten the begging and pleading to go to Pizza King instead.  I couldn't shake it!  Now?  I have tasted REAL PIZZA and made my son understand what REAL PIZZA tastes like.

"Yes, Sweety, there is an actual pizza sauce we put on pizza instead of ketchup.  Doesn't that taste better?"

(Inaudible noise coming from boy stuffing his face with his fourth slice of pepperoni pizza)

Don't rain on my pizza parade and tell me that Domino's is NOT good pizza.  It is gourmet by comparison.  To think that I used to boycott it in America based on its founder's political funding!  All is forgiven!  Hand me another slice!

What's really great is that my husband also enjoyed the pizza.  We got one large pepperoni and one medium Philly Steak.  We drank a liter of 7-Up with that.  I swear that we downed the whole thing sitting there.

It was quiet (we were the only ones there), with no music playing.  It was nicely air-conditioned.  It was clean.  Seriously?  One of the best eating experiences I've had on Al-Haram Street.

We went home without any big problem  Alhumdulillah.  Later, at night, my husband returned with his brother.  I heard...


that he witnessed the aftermath of a fight.  He saw a man "with a sword in his back."  I tried to clarify and asked if he really meant a knife but he was adamant that it was a sword.  There was a lot of blood and the victim was put in a taxi and taken to the hospital.

That's Egypt for you!  At one point of the day, a place can be empty---like a ghost town.  At another time, that same exact place can be teeming with life, chaos and violence.  You have to ask for some serious protection when you leave the house!

Alhumdulillah we are fine.

Yes, Eid was different than I thought it would be.  Some things nearly drove me crazy but didn't because I was determined that they would not.  These were the most days my son and I have ever fasted consecutively and I wanted to celebrate.  I needed to celebrate.

I'll leave you with this funny picture from Domino's:

I was in the restaurant window to advertise their chicken pizzas.  It definitely qualifies as weird.  Not all weird is bad!

Weird, by the way, is an Old English word which originally meant, "fate" or "destiny".  Bascially, it's "naseeb".  When you view the weird moments as being out of your control, you don't get so upset.  Everything works out in the end any way. Alhumdulillah.


Marie Harmony said...

Everything works out in the end, that's very true Yosra.
Looked like you had a "special" Eid, in its own way.
I hope life will no longer be so stressful (it seems to be a bit). Take care and stay in peace.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Marie,

Nice to hear from you. I appreciate all your comments----even if I don't always respond back.

The stressful part was my husband getting so suddenly ill. I really didn't know if it was something we were all going to come down with or if it was just him. Alhumdulillah, it looks like he was the only one.

It is somewhat stressful going out in Egypt. You just don't know what's going to happen. It always feels very tentative. We're going out tomorrow so inshahallah we'll return safely again.

Everyone in Egypt is stressed about the political situation. I'm not going to blog about it too much. Yet, it's an undertow which changes how we function. It might even change the starting date for the new school year. We'll see!

Alhumdulillah, the really good part is that my insides (head, heart, body and soul) are doing well. My little family is doing well. Our home is coming together. I'm getting a new sister-in-law this month. It's mostly good :) Alhumdulillah.

No worries. It's just life. As an ex-pat here, I have to blow off a little steam every now and then over the Egyptian idiosyncrasies. Don't mind me too much if I rant. By the time it's posted, I've started to move on.

Hope you're doing well. Love and Light to you and your boo.