Monday, February 27, 2006

So I'm not normal after all....

Him: Inti meen alik aslan in inti normal?(Who told you that you're normal?)
Me: Everyone says that. Even you said it.
Him: No wait a minute. Matifhameenish ghalat(Don't misunderstand me). I said it was normal for you to be retaining fluid. That was a medical opinion. I never said you were a normal person. Di 7aga wi di 7aga(They're 2 different things). You've never been normal a day in your life. Or at least I've never seen it.
Me: Shukran. Allah yikhaleek.(Thank you)
Him: Ay khidma.(Anytime)
Me: Ma3 inak a7yanan tgool inak t7ibni.(But you say you love me sometimes)
Him: Mashi bas da mish 3ashan inti normal.(Yeah but not because you're normal)
Me: Yaslam. So what do you see in me?
Him: 7ilwa.(You're pretty)
Me: 7ilwa?
Him: Yeah I'm shallow.
Me: El7ilween ktar.(Lots of pretty around)
Him: Ana ba'a naseebi kida. A3mil eh?(Yeah but this is my luck. What can I do?)

So that's ok then. I'm not normal. I don't need to worry about that anymore.

But I'm pretty. I think I like being pretty better.:)

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Saturday, February 25, 2006


My mother is coming today. She should be arriving sometime this evening. Mixed feelings. I accept that this is something she needs to do for her own peace of mind. She is very worried about me. She's been in constant contact with me & with my husband & she's also been speaking to my doctor. But she feels it's not enough & she wants to see me for herself. Of course am always happy to see her. I miss them. But I find myself not expecting too much from her. Don't know if this means am finally grown up or what but this isn't like when I was little & I would get into fights in the playground & hurt myself & then go running to her so she can fix me up. She can't fix me up this time. I'm too shattered. I don't know what can fix me really. Time maybe.

Last night I spoke to my oldest brother. He & his wife have been calling everyday to see how am doing which I really appreciate. Both my older brothers have shown a lot of support & concern etc....However what I didn't appreciate was his reaction when I told him that Mama would be coming here today. He just went on & on about how I have to be responsible, that I can't alarm her like that & can't keep her flying back & forth all the time because she's not getting any younger etc...Now my brother has always been short-tempered & furthermore he has this naturally loud voice so he sounds like he's yelling even when he's not. And am not at my most patient these days so this quickly turned into a pretty bad fight.

First of all I think I have every right to have my mother come to visit me ESPECIALLY when I'm going through the most traumatic experience of my whole life. Second I did NOT NOT NOT mean to worry her! We made a point of not telling my parents anything at all until we were sure that I was recovering & would not be needing surgery. If I was going to have surgery we would only have told them afterwards precisely because I had no wish to worry them. And whenever I speak to them I always say am fine. I NEVER complain. Third I never asked her to come. Infact I did everything possible to convince her it's not necessary. Fourth we are going to take good care of her & make sure she's perfectly comfortable here. It's not like she's going to be put to hard labor in the fields for heaven's sake. Finally my mother is in perfectly good health (el7amdullilah). She was working 14 hour days until only a couple of months back. And just because she turned 60 & retired is no reason to start treating her like some invalid or confine her to her bed! Who does he think he is to make me feel so guilty? She's my mother too! How dare he suggest that I have less concern for her than him?

Basically I was LIVID. Just couldn't settle down for ages afterwards. When I did cool down a bit I started to worry. Why was he acting like that? Does he know something I don't? Is something wrong with my mother that I haven't been told? Was just fretting & fretting about that & suddenly my husband - who I guess couldn't take it anymore - picks up the phone & calls my brother, tells him that am not feeling well & that if he's going to upset me then he shouldn't call anymore etc........And they end up having an argument too. Great. Perfect. Just what I needed.

Called my sis in tears because I thought I could trust her to tell me the truth. Asked her if my mother has been sick or anything. She said no. Spoke to my father too & made him swear that she is ok. Felt better. Baba would never swear billah if it was not true. Then my mother called me laughing & promised that when she gets here I can take her to the hospital & have her checked out for heart disease & cancer & bird flu bilmara, telling me that me & my brother are both silly & should wait until she's dead before we start to cry over her etc....

Managed to calm down after that. And to calm my husband down too. He was still pretty angry. Getting worried about him too. I noticed that he's been blowing his top & getting into a lot of fights at work these days which is not like him at all. It's also not like him to be yelling at nurses or be a jerk to everyone generally.

Earlier yesterday he was out picking up my car (which was stolen because we left it parked on the Corniche for like a couple of days btw but the police managed to find it abandoned with some parts missing.). At some point on his way home he called to check on me & I couldn't believe how furious he was getting over traffic. Swearing, using the wheel as a punchbag to the point that he came home with bruises on his hands & arms. Ya3ni am usually the one freaking out over traffic & other people's bad driving while he's laughing at me for getting irritated by little things & telling me I should try driving in Cairo(no thanks)! This isn't like him. He's a very patient, careful driver usually. When I pointed that out he started complaining about all the paperwork & burearocracy & stupidity they put him through at the police station when he was getting my car. What can I say? He's becoming like me. It's not the traffic or the burearocracy that is upsetting him & we both know it. He said:"Rabena yi3adi elyomain dol 3ala khair." I just find myself repeating that prayer.

And just so I let it all out, something else that got on my nerves yesterday. My friend M.( the one who named her daughter after me & my best friend together with D.) has been coming over everyday, cooking for me, bringing me presents, trying to make me laugh etc...basically staying quite a while usually. Yesterday I noticed that she hasn't been bringing baby LouLou with her. And I happen to know that she never does that when her children are so little. She feels bad enough about leaving them with nannies & going to work all day so she takes them everywhere if she's going out in the evenings. Besides I wanted to see the baby. I love that kid. So I asked her why she doesn't bring her. She got uncomfortable & started fidgeting & mumbling about not wanting to upset me etc....So now my lifelong schoolfriend, college friend & now work colleague thinks I've turned into such a psycho that I can't stand the sight of her daughter.

Yesterday & today I find that my mood has changed from numb & listless to angry. I walk around not tolerating anything or anyone & I keep wanting to scream or say horrible things in reply when people say nice things to me. Maybe I have turned into a psycho.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It's too big for the two of us to live in - this apartment. Why do we need all these rooms? We don't. A one-bedroom would have been enough. This is too big & cold & empty & lonely. This is such a lonely house now. It's strange how this unborn child - a child who never lived here - who was never even expected here - and yet he leaves all this space. I swear the house feels like someone who lives here just died. Does it feel that way to you too? I don't know. I don't know how you feel. We can't seem to come together, to talk. We're each in our own corners. And this time the distance is my fault. Can't blame you. You try all the time.

And why am I thinking he?Why not a she?I don't know. Just a feeling. I keep picturing a little boy.

I get tired of walking around from room to room. And cold. I want to go back to bed but first I want to know where you are. Are you even home? So I pretend am going into the kitchen & on my way there I look in the living room. There you are. Reading. You ask if I need anything. I say no am fine. I get myself a glass of water because I have to look like am getting something. Then I go to bed & sleep.

When I wake up it's dark outside. And you're sleeping next to me. But you're not really sleeping. I can tell from your breathing. You just have your eyes closed because you felt me move & you don't want me to leave or ask you to leave. You don't want to leave me alone anymore. Or maybe you don't want to be alone anymore.

I turn on my side so my back is to you. It gives a little distance. Then I ask if you're asleep. You say no. Your tone is wary, challenging, as if you're asking me what am going to do about it. I have no answer. I lie there listening to our breathing for a while then I roll over into your arms. You catch me. You ask does it take that much thinking about.

It's actually physically painful to be hugged or squeezed these days. My entire body feels like a swollen limb. Something about fluid retention. Even my face is swollen. It's not unbearable pain. Just an overall sensation of soreness & discomfort. Not very cuddly. In addition to the occasional cramp of course which IS unbearable pain & definitely uncuddly.

All normal they tell me. Infact am so normal am told that unlike most women who miscarry I won't need a D&C. My scans are almost clean by now. That means they don't have to operate to remove the remains of the baby from inside me. And they tell me that like it's good news. Am supposed to be pleased. What can I say? Not very warm & cuddly.

But now you're holding on pretty tight. And it does hurt a little. But not as much as I was afraid it might. And the contact is good. Reassuring. I tell you that. And you say good, that's normal.

Normal. That word again. It makes me want to scream. If am so wonderfully NORMAL then why didn't I keep the baby? I swear if I hear that word one more time....But am swearing in silence. I don't say anything.

I am so cold. I register that am wearing so many layers, socks & am under the covers & still cold. Am always cold these days. And your bare skin feels hot. So which one of us is normal? I put my hands on you & you comment that am freezing & you get up to turn the AC off. Then you come back. Am wondering if I stay will I stop feeling cold or will I make you feel as cold as I am? Just like I ask myself all the time if I talk to you will you make me feel better or will I just hurt you?I know you're waiting. You want me to say something. Ask a question. Answer some of your questions. You think it's crazy that it's been 5 days & I still won't talk about that day - that the thing we both think about all the time we can't talk about so there really isn't much talk.

I close my eyes, hide my face against you & pretend to fall asleep. Then I feel your fingers in my hair moving my head back so you can look at me. Now it's you looking at my face & I have my eyes closed & am not sleeping. And we're right back where we started.

You give up & let go & I go back to my hiding place. This time it's not across the house or across the room or even across the bed. I'm hiding in you from you. Damn but am getting good at hiding.

I don't relax though until you're asleep. For real this time. And am safe for tonight? Safe? What kind of sad, sad world am I in now that lying there sleepless & alone for hours has become my idea of safe? And how normal is that?

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Friday, February 17, 2006

My husband woke me up at about noon a little before Friday prayers to ask if I was coming to the mosque. Told him no, that there wasn't enough time for me to get ready & why didn't he wake me before.

Went back to sleep for a little while. Then I got up thinking I might as well pray on time. No point in missing the fard just because I missed the sunna.

I remember feeling fresh, hyper, in a great mood. Prayed, had some cereal. Then I got a call from the dry-cleaner's. Just informing us that our clothes were ready to be picked up. Called my husband to see if he wanted to get them on his way home. He was getting a haircut. So I thought I might as well go. Felt like getting out.

On my way back I suddenly felt like a walk. That happens to me a lot when driving by the new Corniche. It is so beautiful & the weather is so lovely these days. So I called him, told him I was out walking on the Corniche & that he should join me there when he's done. He said fine. Parked the car, walked for a bit, then I decided I might as well make it a good run since I was wearing my sneakers.

I don't know how long I was running before it happened. Not too long. All of a sudden I felt this gripping, excruciating abdominal pain. The cramp lasted only a few seconds then it was gone. But it was such a shock. Never felt anything like that in my life before. Sat down for a while to see if it will happen again. It did. Only worse. So I got up & tried to walk back to my car. But the pain was so bad I knew I couldn't make it. Gave up on it & just hailed a cab & asked him to take me to the emergency room.

I had a miscarriage. 6 weeks. I was 6 weeks pregnant & I didn't even know. Never expected it because we had no such plans so soon. Yes I've heard that nothing is 100% effective but still I kept thinking there must be some mistake. Was just staring at the doctor telling me things like the 'pregnancy terminated itself'. What pregnancy?

They said that I wouldn't need any treatment, that my body seems to be recovering normally. They'd already given me something for the pain. He said that he wants to admit me for a few hours for rest & observation. Then the doctor asked if there was anyone I wanted to call.

That was when I noticed that I didn't have my cellphone with me. Must have dropped it somewhere on the Corniche. Together with my car keys. And even my purse was in the car. All I had was some money in my pocket. Also remembered that my husband would be going crazy looking for me.

Told the doctor I needed to call my husband. He looked relieved. Considering the fact that I came in off the street with no identification looking like a vagabond & not even knowing that am pregnant he must have thought I was a prostitute or something. And extra-marital pregnancy is illegal in UAE.

But I didn't call him. I fell asleep as soon as the doctor walked out. When I woke up it was 7:30 pm & he was there. Standing talking to the doctor. I said his name & he came over & took me in his arms. He asked how I was feeling. I said fine but I didn't want to talk. He said ok but the doctor wants to keep me overnight for observation. I said no please I want to go home.

So he brought me home. And I told him I want to be alone. I was in bed staring into space & crying for 2 hours. He keeps coming in to check on me so often it's driving me crazy.

I know we have to talk but I don't want to. Don't want to say it or hear it said out loud. Don't want to believe it. I never said a word to the doctor either. Never asked a single question about my 'condition'. A little while ago I noticed my laptop on the bedside table & well I've read everything about miscarriages that Google could find. Still doesn't seem real. Yeah I have the symptoms. The pain & bleeding. But I can't believe I lost a baby today. A baby I never knew anything about except that he died & that I have pain & bleeding. It's stupid & I just can't understand this or begin to imagine how or what I feel or should feel here.

Today was the loneliest day I ever lived.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


My alarm went off at 6:30 like every morning. I hate it. It is always so painful to be jolted awake like that especially when you're as sleep-deprived as I am. Infact I hate it so much that every few weeks I have to change the sound. Have stopped using my favorite songs because it makes me hate them. Once I use something as an alarm for a while I get to a point where I simply can't stand to hear it anymore.

This morning I let it ring for a bit. Then I heard K's disgruntled, sleepy voice saying will you turn it off?That's my cue to get up. I turn it off & jump in the shower. Once done am faced with every morning's dilemma. To blowdry or not to blowdry? Can't walk into the office with my hair dripping wet. Not professional. And my hair takes forever to dry. But blowdrying everyday is bad for your hair right? In the end blowdrying wins. So I switch on my blowdryer & almost immediately he's shouting from the bedroom:

Him: Ir7ameeni ba'a!(He's asking me to take pity on him.)
Me(stalling for time): Saba7 Elkhair.(Good morning)
Him: Saba7 Elward. 3ayez anam. Mumkin?(Good morning. I want to sleep. Ok?)
Me: Almost done.

I finish blowdrying & when I come out of the bathroom he's fast asleep again. The point is to condition him to sleep through this type of noise. He's got to get used to my blowdryer. Can't do anything about it.

One good thing is that now am actually awake before I leave the house. Because of these early morning skirmishes. Before marriage, I used to get up & get ready & leave the house without saying a word, drive to work half-asleep & walk into the office like a zombie to revive only after not one but 2 morning coffees. Now am probably a much safer driver. The Department of Motor Vehicles should send him a thank you note. And the people in my office too. Now I actually smile & respond when people say good morning.

Not great for his sleeping rythms though. He's almost always awake by the time I leave. Truth is I like it. Inconsiderate of me I know but I actually don't make any special effort to be quiet because I like having him up & about before I leave. I miss him. These 25 or 30 minutes before I leave for work & maybe 10 minutes after I finish work, that's actually all the time we manage to spend together during the day.:(

Of course I always say am sorry when I've disturbed him but am actually much sorrier on mornings when I haven't disturbed him. If he only knew how much I enjoy disturbing his rest. His fault for being such a good sport about it. He's not the sort of person who grumbles a lot or gets up in a really bad mood if you wake him. If he was I probably wouldn't slam things about so much in the morning.

Sigh. Can't wait for the weekend.

When I get to my office I first go into the bathroom to put on some make-up. Only ever bother if there is a presentation or a demo or something because it gives me a little extra self-confidence. Public speaking is still a bit of a challenge even after all this time.

The presentation went ok I think. Not brilliant because it was a tough audience. They had some questions that I didn't have the answers for which is never comfortable. But we are still at the inital stages of the project & at least now I know the areas we need to focus our analysis on in the future. The next presentation should be a little easier.

Got back in my office about 9:30am & found some good news. Seems I got the second highest grade on the Germany workshop. Phew. If I don't pass the test they make me pay them back for the training & the trip. Not to mention it doesn't look too good on my record. So that's a weight off my shoulders.

Got to work on my use cases & lost track of time until about 20 minutes ago. That's almost 11:30am. Just remembered the new trainee. She's been sitting in my office on the internet all morning. Completely forgot am supposed to give her something to do. Sent her off to the library to get some CD's. When she comes back I guess I'd better spend sometime with her. Teaching is not my forte. And this girl is such a quiet, little mouse. Not very responsive. Doesn't ask you questions. Doesn't show interest. You wind up having to explain things to her then as HER questions to find out what she understood & what she didn't. Don't have an awful lot of patience with that. Don't think she's enjoying it either because she seems to spend most of her time making herself inconspicuous so I'll forget about her.

Oh well here she comes now.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Yesterday after work I found myself driving to our old building. Just completely forgot that anything has changed. Didn't remember until I was actually in the carpark. Sat there looking at the building for a while & teared up a little. It's too much. Someone else in my Mom's office. Someone else in my Dad's. And other people in our house. And in my brother's house. You'd never believe that my family lived in this place for 26 years. It's like they were never even here.

Called my Mom. At first she was worried but then I told her where I was & what happened. She has this really cute habit of telling me off for crying when she is crying herself & naturally am not allowed to point that out. She sent me home with advice that I shouldn't get myself & my husband down with these mood swings because men like cheerful women etc....If she only knew the mood swings he's had to cope with from me.

Drove home still feeling something heavy in my chest. When I got in he was getting ready to go back to work. That sucks. That when I get home from work he's usually on his way out or he's already left to go back to work. Was really relieved to have caught him though even it was only for a few minutes. Couldn't face the prospect of coming home to an empty apartment yesterday especially. Gave him a hug & a kiss hello then hung around while he finished getting dressed & left.

As soon as I closed the door behind him the sadness came back to me. Tried to shake it off by keeping busy. Had my shower, changed into jeans & t-shirt, did some odds & ends around the house. Then I heated up some food & sat down to eat infront of the TV. Didn't work. Couldn't eat a bite. Didn't want to eat alone.

In the end I decided to go out & do some Valentine's Day shopping. Finally managed to shake off the depression. Finished & looked at my watch. 7:00pm. And he won't be home til 9. Went home to drop off my shopping. Then I got on the phone. Remembered that I haven't actually called anyone since I got back from the honeymoon. So I called everyone. Was on the phone for an hour. Then I went out for a walk on the Corniche with some friends. Lost track of time until he called at around 9:30pm. He said I guess we're going out to eat tonight. He must have noticed that I didn't cook. Totally forgot actually. Told him yeah or we could order if he was tired. He said no let's go out. He asked if I was ready & we could just meet there or did I want to come home & change for dinner. Told him that I wanted to change & anyway I didn't have my car with me. Suddenly I was really hungry. Because of the walk & also because I skipped lunch.

It was nice going out on the town with him again. Just like old times when we were still dating. Dinner & dancing. Had a flash of depression when I realized this was our first time out together since we got back from the honeymoon. Don't know why. Didn't like that so much time was wasted. Told him that. He said no we have all the time in the world & that I should relax & enjoy myself instead of worrying about it. My hero. I liked it that he didn't nag at me for having been away there even though I'd given him an opening. Or about what I was wearing like I was expecting him to. Commented on both. He said that I seemed a bit down today & he was just trying to cheer me up.

Cool so now I know that I can get away with anything if I just manage to look pathetic & forlorn enough. Have already noticed that tears seem to work very well with him. Still one must use one's weapons with wisdom.

He was really sweet last night. I won't forget it.


Friday, February 10, 2006


Earlier today I called Baba in Casa. He was at the mechanic's. Some problem with my mother's car.

Asked him what he thought about the Danish cartoons business.

Him: Ya 7abiby ya Mo7amad. (O beloved Mo7amad.)
A voice next to him: Ya 7abiby. (O beloved(reference to Mohamed))
Then another voice: Allahuma sali 3laih.(May God bless him))
Him: Ya Ra7man.(O Merciful God)
Him(to me): Inti ma tisma3i?Elnas tsali 3laih.(Didn't you hear?You pray for him too.)
Me: 3laihi alsalat wasalam.(Peace be upon him)

That was it. Somehow I was expecting he would say more. But he changed the subject. Guess he doesn't like to talk about it maybe? Or maybe he doesn't want me thinking about it anymore or getting upset?

The two voices were one of the mechanics & another guy who was there getting his car fixed too. They overheard & decided to join the conversation.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Why Are We Surprised?

As a general rule I try not to comment on politics here. The reason is that I can take politics & controversy in very small doses which I prefer to take on someone else's blog rather than have it hound me here.

But I couldn't let the image above pass without comment. Looking at it the first question that jumps to my mind is why are we surprised?Why are we surprised that people think Islam is a terrorist religion founded by a terrorist when we do things like that?

Someone prints something to the effect that the Prophet(pbuh) is a terrorist. As Muslims we are - quite rightly - horrified. Why are we horrified? Because we know that this is unjust, that our Prophet is being maligned. So in our concern over this distortion we do what? We issue death threats & blow up a Christian Church in Iraq & storm embassies & declare our contempt - in the name of Islam - for freedom of expression.

Am I missing something here?How exactly do such actions help to clear the Prophet's name or present the image of Islam as we would like it to be presented?


Tradition & Courting

While on the subject of Arab wedding folklore, I really enjoyed Libyan Violet's latest post about courting in Libya.

Check it out.