Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Day 19 Ramadan 2017

Ramadan Kareem,

I have set up a systematic way of reporting the day's events.  Today, the day seems to ravel away from my hand, so in a way I want to let loose on the blog and extend the craziness.  Yet, that would mean that I have surrendered to another's way of life.  Muslims don't play that.  We are different.  We do not surrender to anyone except Allah.



My husband made his version of omelettes, which are not formed as mine.  Salmonella is bad any time of the year, but especially during Ramadan.  The idea of getting food poisoning is not what you hate; it's the idea that you might have to miss a day of fasting.  I at the foul medamnes and drank the the mango-yogurt smoothie I made.  I wanted to eat the cucumber he'd placed on the tray, but he hadn't peeled it, so when he was done I asked for a knife.  Those grapes he mostly washed---I couldn't!  I really had to wash them again.   I really hate when I can't just accept what's offered, but the truth is that I can't!  It goes against my grain.  You'd think that I'd be more accepting; just eat ANYTHING, but fasting has the opposite effect.  Because there's less going in, each morsel must be the best.



After praying, I waited up until the wash was done.  Yes, washing clothes at 3:00 AM becomes normal.  The water pressure is really good then.

Also, I was not looking forward the end-of-the-year staff meeting.  I did have reason to be afraid.  Every year, our director fires off an off-the-cuff summary of who the leaving staff have been while at the school:  the crier, the flirt, the incompetent loser.  Sure, he doesn't slap these exact labels on the hapless victims.  He simply gives some remarks which lead the audience of the person's peers to believe the value---or lack of value---of their soon-to-be former colleague.  Often, there are off color jokes and semi-rude or lewd remarks.  We all dread it, and I especially dreaded it this year because I was one out of sixteen who was going to get roasted in public.


El Kid was staying home and that was a blessing.  I could just focus on keeping myself together as I rode the school bus.  Two days.  Two days.  Two days.

Once at school, I could search for the one lost book (and find it).  I could tie up lose ends.  I helped a co-worker write a cover letter just in case she was leaving.  I helped another co-worker get an email address for the school I'll be going to.  I also loaned a co-worker 200 LE because she really needed some cash.

Along the way, I found out that my son had ALHUMDULILLAH passed math.  That was key to him leaving school.  It's been too hard on him this year---especially having his first math teacher leave.

Everything was going well, and I was happy that problems were getting ironed out.


It was time for the meeting.  I gave the director my full attention while others joked and chatted.  I'm not saying I'm a perfect person, but I give respect where respect is due.  These teachers want respect for themselves in the classrooms, yet they act worse than the kids.

The joke was on me, however, when my previous attempts to ask the director what he had planned to say became the opening lines of his introduction of me.  He then went on to say how I've been criticized by parents and colleagues, and by children who don't always understand me and my way.

I was standing there unable to move.  I was expected to accept his assessment at face value.

Maybe he heard himself sound awful because then he tempered it by saying that at my core I'm kind.  He also added that I have done a great job with theatre.  He told them how I must be looking forward to walking along the beach hand in hand with my husband and he wished me the best.

My turn to speak.

What to say?

I was reeling from his assessment of my five years of service to the school as marked by criticism.  Really?  REALLY?  That is not what my time has been, yet that's how he saw it and was presenting it to my peers as such.  Wow.

Five years.

That's a lot of my life gone by.  I had spent agonizing hours wondering if I was doing the right thing by leaving.  Sometimes, you don't know how much you need a break until you start walking away and they tell you that your behind is too big.  Don't get mad; be thankful that you didn't waste any more time.  Be thankful that the truth is all out in the open.

I was not appreciated.

I thought I was.

I had been told in private, "You're leaving on a high note.  You can be proud of all you've accomplished."  In public, it was a different story.

Islam ain't like dat.  We can't judge this Non-Muslim man by Islamic adab, however, we can be mindful of how rotten it is to be talking out of two sides of your mouth.  You say one thing in private and another in public?  You want to take my record of service and make it seem like I've been a problematic employee.

What to say?

Here's what I said in the microphone in front of all the people I've worked with for half a decade:

"These comments always keep us on the edge of our seats...and in our jobs because no one wants to be embarrassed by what the director says.  I have just one thing to say...Jazakullah Kheir.  It's not English.  It's Arabic because it's better than "thank you".  It means that I'm asking God to bless you for what you've given to me and everyone of you has shown me some kindness, support, or help over the years.  It has not gone unnoticed.  Jazakullah Kheir."

Then, a co-worker brought me out a coffee mug (which has automatic bad memories attached to it) and she gave me a hug.  I teared up.  As I returned to my seat, a co-worker I'd helped earlier in the day touched my arm.  The co-worker who had called me genuine reached out for me and touched my back.  Then, a co-worker who has been very supportive of my theatre program gave me a big hug.

As we went on, more teachers were passively aggressively raked over the coals for who they were or what they did.  My German supervisor had the word, "stormtrooper" in her speech.  My son's math teacher got her first year failures brought to light.  A teacher who had had a difficult class was reminded of how often she had run crying from that room.

I don't know.

It's surreal how that all went.  It was made all the more surreal because I was fasting.

Then, I as I was walking out, I was approached by a teacher whose two children I've taught.  She told me that she was happy to have had me as their teacher.

"Do you have an education degree?" she asked.

"No, theatre," I replied, forgetting that my TEFL certification might be all she meant.

"Oh, well I have a education degree and I think you've got potential!" she tried to sound cheery.

Potential?  POTENTIAL?!  That's what you tell a twenty-something who's student teaching.  I'm forty-nine with over a dozen classroom years to my credit.  Seriously?



I made wudu and prayed.  Normally, I've been going home to pray.  Instead, I went to Allah.  I stood in an empty classroom, without any rug and, knowing that the bus would leave before long, I prayed.  I emptied my heart of upset.

I remembered how we can't be mad at those who truly don't know how wrong it is to embarrass me and shame me in public.  It's not his fault if he doesn't realize that the woman who never shook his hand in five years would not appreciate talk of me holding my husband's hand on the beach.


While I felt better, I didn't completely release my need to be affirmed.  I'm human.  Sure, I'm detaching from dunya, but I still want someone to tell me I'm OK.

As I was leaving, the little old British lady who teaches KG, stopped me.  She was sad I was leaving.  She understood why, though.  She also told me not to let his comments upset me, saying, "He does it every year.  He wouldn't be him if he didn't."

The Quran tells us not to expect more from people than they can offer.  If someone is blind, don't be mad that they can't see.



When I got home, my husband heard what had happened.  His main concern was the talk of us holding hands.  HA!  Good way to focus on the least problematic.

I had wanted to study Quran, but the tablet had lost its charge, so I slept.



I prayed and once again asked Allah to help me through these bad feelings.




We ate beef, rice, and potatoes.  It was supposed to be spaghetti and meatballs with a salad.  Funny how the time we spent talking over the menu got forgotten.  I was not pleased, but it was food.

Later, we had cookies and grapes followed by pistachio ice cream.



I made gifs like the ones throughout the post because at least I can control those and laugh a bit.

Now it's time for bed after a long day.

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