Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Waiting On each Other

Him: Can't you sit still?
Me: Just getting your coffee. Geez.
Him: Ya sitti ana law 3ayez 7aga ha2oom binafsi. Momkin to3odi ba2a?
(If I want something I'll get it myself. Can you please sit down?)
Me: Tayeb law ana 3ayza?
(What if I want something?)
Him: Ana bardu illy ha2oom. Wana fi deek elsa3a? Dana akhdimik bi3naya. Inti ma tit3ibeesh nafsik khalis.
(I'll get it. Am always at service blah,blah,blah etc.....)
Me: What? Ya3ni am confined to a chair now?
Him: Confined eh bas da inti hatganini(You're driving me crazy). Bossi(Look) I want you to practice sitting still for 15 minutes. If you can't make it I think we have to get help at this point.
Me: You know these repeated references to my supposed mental incapacity are getting a little offensive. This is what I get for waiting on you hand & foot?
Him: Waiting on me leh(why)? Howa ana 3ayel(Am I a child)? La sama7allah mo3awaq (God forbid handicapped)? Ana 3ayez 7ad akalimu.(I want someone to talk to) Akalim el7eetan ya3ni(Should I talk to the walls)?
Me: Tayeb khalas a3sabak.(Ok calm down)
Him: Thank you.
Me: Ana maqsudsh adayqak(Didn't mean to bother you). Just trying to help. It's all because I love you. Wallah.
Him: We7yat abooki?(Really?)
Me: Yeah.
Him: It's not because you get restless & you have to be doing something all the time?
Me: No that has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Him: Whatever.
Me: Why won't you believe me?
Him: Maybe because you wait on everyone?
Me: Do I really?
Him: Yes. You always take over & play hostess. If you can't find anything else to do.
Me: Does it bother you too much?
Him: Only when I'm trying to talk to you about something I feel is very important & I keep getting interrupted. I can't concentrate.
Me: Sorry.

Mama always told me that you should wait on your husband enough to make him dependant on you but not enough to make him take you for granted. When I asked her why, she said that we women have maternal instincts & like to feel needed.

So is he dependant on me or taking me for granted here? Because it's kind of true that I can't sit around doing nothing. And I am always jumping up to get things for people mainly because I'm hyper & I need a reason to move so I figure I might as well do something useful. I do it with everyone it's true. But when it's just me & him in the house the focus is on him so he gets treated like royalty basically. Not that he appreciates it or anything.


Friday, April 21, 2006

The phone rings late at night. We don't have an extension in the bedroom & neither one of us wants to get up so we just let it ring. A little while later his cellphone starts ringing. It's his sister calling from London. She always forgets the time difference & calls at these crazy hours. I try to hand him the phone but he says no let it ring, that he'll call her in the morning. I have a niggling little doubt about that. I don't want to get into any arguments with her about why he doesn't call her or why he didn't pick up the phone. She can't get rid of the idea that I'm constantly scheming to seperate him from them(his family) & control him etc.....

When I get up for work on Thursday morning I go into the living room to check the caller ID. Yep it was her on the landline. At 2:00am. I go back into the bedroom & tell him 7abibi please don't sleep all day & forget to call her. He mumbles something unintelligible & I know he will infact sleep all day.

When I get home from work he's still sleeping. I knew it. I check the caller ID again & find a call from her. Then I check his cell & there's 2 missed calls. So she called 3 times. Now am starting to panic.

I try to shake him awake. Which results in a wrestling, tickling match & I forget about her for a while. Until he tells me that he's going up to the pool for a swim. I tell him I think you should call your sister, that she called not less than 5 times in less than 24 hrs, that there might be some emergency. He says he will.

I go into the bathroom for my customary end-of-the-working-week bath, hair treatment, personal pampering & grooming session. By now, he knows better than to interrupt me or try to get me to hurry up. He even puts on my music for me on his way out.

When I come out not less than 2 hrs later he's not around so I figure he's still up on the roof. I make some fresh strawberry juice with lots of ice. Then I take the pitcher & two glasses up with me.

Sometimes I think me & him are the only two people in the building who actually use the pool. Don't know why. I hardly ever see anyone else there. Except this time I find him sitting on the edge of the pool talking to 3 STUNNING blondes in 3 even more stunning bikinis. So where did they come from?

Upon closer inspection it turns out that only one of them actually deserves to be called stunning. The others weren't stunning - just naked. One of them - not the stunning one - just moved into the bldg a couple of floors on top of us. The others are her friends. They all work in airlines. Doing what exactly?

They were very sweet actually. All Arabs. From Lebanon, Tunisia & Syria. I decide I can trust him alone with them while I go downstairs & get juice for everyone. We sit up there talking to them for a while. I forget how long but the weather gets kind of hot so we go back downstairs & he remembers to tell me that his sister is coming later today(Friday).

I'm so freaked out about her that he's off the hook about the 3 blondes.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Opening

"The 'opening' (fath) is the sudden revealing of Divine Reality and thus the end of the illusion. It's like a ball of snow which one throws in the ocean. The ball of snow is the ego (nafs) and the ocean is the Divine Reality. The ball of snow is nothing but frozen water. Once thrown in the ocean, it becomes again liquid. Ego has only a transitory and illusory existence if one considers it in itself, cut of its origin. In the same way as the ball of snow, if one relies on its present state, with its actual consistency, it seems different from water; it appears to be of an original nature. Actually, it is nothing but water, a drop similar to all the other drops of the ocean. There is only one water and various states of this same water."

Shaykh Sidi Hamza al Qadiri al Boutshishi

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Life is full of little ironies isn't it?

I make the decision to set one of my best friends up with my uncle. To all intents & purposes the plan is a success. They are officially dating now. I should be happy for them & I am. Except that:

1) If he's her boyfriend does this mean that I have to see him everytime I see her? Because that's kind of uncomfortable for me. He & I are close in age & kind of good friends but he's still my uncle. There are things that I can't say or do with him around. I love my family but I really don't want to go clubbing with my uncle. It's not the sort of thing you do with an uncle around. It's just too weird.

2) She knows everything about me. And there are things I would just die if she tells him. Can I trust her not to tell him?I mean do couples ever really keep things from each other?

3) She gives me too much information. There are comments that I don't usually mind hearing from a gf about her partner - but not when the partner is my uncle. That's embarrassing. It grosses me out for some reason.

4) Despite all attempts to the contrary I find myself more involved in the details of their relationship than I want to be. She keeps coming to me with issues & questions. She & her mother keep trying to pump me for information. Information like how like or unlike his ex-wife I think she is. That's not a question I want to deal with.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006


We were on the phone all night yesterday. Long distance. And he said we talk too much, it's crazy, he doesn't spend that much time just talking with anyone other than me, it's not him. So I ask him so you don't have long conversations with your friends? He says not personal conversations. Not that long. Not without being high. I say what? And he says that nothing makes him open up like decent weed.

So he used to smoke weed. And he has nothing bad to say about it. He says it was part of the high school & college experience. That it was just part of being at that age. He even asked me didn't you? You never tried it?

What could I say? I went to high school & college too. I went through that age. But not only have I never tried it. I've never seen it. I've never been around anyone who did. Contrary to popular belief, I spent 5 years at college in the US & I was never exposed to drugs. No one I knew did drugs or admitted it to me. No one did drugs infront of me. No one tried to sell me drugs. I say contrary to popular belief because no one here believes me when I say that, that it was not all one wild beach party, that it was actually a lot of hard work, that we had to STUDY.

All the people I knew there worked like 3 jobs to pay off their expenses & spent the rest of the time studying. At weekends & holidays we'd all go out & they'd get drunk & I'd wind up being the designated driver. Because that's something else I never tried. I liked watching others get all silly & giggly. Was never even tempted to try a sip. But it was funny to watch. And nice to be around happy party people. Except when someone would throw up in my car - which was also my brother's car. Disgusting & not easy to explain to said brother. Thankfully that didn't happen too often. But that was about it.

The weirdest thing is hearing him mention that so casually shook me so much I didn't respond. I didn't know what to say. So today I went around asking everyone I saw or talked to if they'd ever tried drugs. And I found out that my brother did, two male friends, my friend M's husband, my uncle T. all did. And it wasn't just guys either. Some of the girls did too. Am looking at everyone around me with new eyes now. I feel like I missed some party that everyone else went to.

So it wasn't that I didn't know anyone who did it. I just didn't know they did it. Don't know what that says about me. That they wouldn't even tell me. That I wouldn't notice.

I know this is something in the past now. For all of them. My husband doesn't drink or smoke anymore. The worst he'll do is smoke sheesha maybe once every month or something. He doesn't even drink tea or coffee that much because he's long since turned into this health freak who's into working out & eating healthy. And he prays etc....

And yet it upsets me. It wasn't expected. I didn't think he was the type. I just didn't. It's something else that makes us different.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stolen Land I

A fellow blogger by the screen name of Solomon2 asked me to respond to Jews Stole Land?

Before I say anything I would like to request that anyone who chooses to comment on this particular issue should stick to the topic at hand. The subject under discussion here is whether Israel has illegally taken possession of any land or other property privately owned by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs or not. Period. Full stop. End of story. If you have something to say about that I would love to hear it. If all you have to share is your opinion of Hamas or your personal analysis of Islam kindly take it elsewhere. And for those who are wondering I utterly & unequivocally condemn Hamas & terrorism under any name & in any cause. However this happens to be off-point here. Thank you.

These quotes are from a report entitled Israel and the Occupied Territories
Under the rubble: House demolition and destruction of land and property
by Amnesty International posted in 18/5/2004.

First historical background:

"Between the two world wars the British authorities ruled Palestine under a League of Nations mandate, which ended when the State of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948. Arab protests against a UN partition plan were followed by war between Arab and Israeli armies from which Israel emerged victorious. More than 800,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from Israel and became refugees in the Gaza Strip, West Bank or neighbouring countries. Two parts of mandate Palestine remained outside Israel: the Gaza Strip, which came under Egyptian administration; and the eastern part of Palestine, which was taken over by Jordan in 1950 and became known as the West Bank. Hostilities between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967 ended in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel) and the Gaza Strip. Israel also occupied Syria’s Golan Heights (annexed by Israel in 1980) and the Sinai Peninsula (later returned to Egypt).

The Palestinians who remained in Israel after the establishment of the state became Israeli citizens but were placed under military rule until 1966. Many became internally displaced after they were expelled or fled from their villages. The land and properties of the Palestinians refugees and of those internally displaced by the war were confiscated. Today more than 1,000,000 Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel, known as Israeli Arabs, account for some 18% of the population of Israel. Most of them live in northern Israel, in the Galilee and Triangle regions; about 100,000 live in towns known as mixed towns (such as Haifa, Ramle, Lod, Jaffa and Akko); and some 130-140,000 Bedouins live in the Negev in the south of the country. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip some 3,500,000 Palestinians, more than 1,500,000 of them refugees,(6) have lived under Israeli military occupation since 1967 and some 200,000 live in East Jerusalem with a special status as permanent residents."

Ok that was in the 40's & 50's. What about now?

"For decades Israel has pursued a policy of forced eviction(1) and demolition of homes of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the homes of Israeli Arabs in Israel."

"More than 3,000 homes, hundreds of public buildings and private commercial properties, and vast areas of agricultural land have been destroyed by the Israeli army and security forces in Israel and the Occupied Territories in the past three and a half years. Tens of thousands of men, women and children have been forcibly evicted from their homes and made homeless or have lost their source of livelihood. Thousands of other houses and properties have been damaged, many beyond repair. In addition, tens of thousands of other homes are under threat of demolition, their occupants living in fear of forced eviction and homelessness.

Forced evictions and house demolitions are usually carried out without warning, often at night, and the occupants are given little or no time to leave their homes. Sometimes they are allowed a few minutes or half an hour, too little to salvage their belongings. Often the only warning is the rumbling of the Israeli army’s bulldozers and tanks and the inhabitants barely have time to flee as the bulldozers begin to tear down the walls of their homes. Thousands of families have had their homes and possessions destroyed under the blades of the Israeli army’s US-made Caterpillar bulldozers. In the wake of the demolitions men, women and children return to the ruins of their homes searching for whatever can be salvaged from under the rubble: passports or other documents, children’s schoolbooks, clothes, kitchenware or furniture which were not destroyed."

"The destruction of Palestinian homes, agricultural land and other property in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, is inextricably linked with Israel’s long-standing policy of appropriating as much as possible of the land it occupies, notably by establishing Israeli settlements. The establishment of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories violates international humanitarian law,(2) and the presence of these settlements has led to mass violations of human rights of the local Palestinian population."

Now let's look at some examples of how these demolitions & evictions are carried out:

"Forty-year-old Nabila al-Shu’bi, who was seven months pregnant, her three children Anas, ‘Azzam and ‘Abdallah, aged 4, 7 and 9, her 48-year-old husband Samir, her sisters-in-law Fatima and ‘Abir (aged 57 and 38 respectively) and her 85-year-old father-in-law ‘Umar, were left to die under the rubble of their home, when it was demolished by Israeli army bulldozers on 6 April 2002 in the old city of Nablus. The Israeli army kept the area under strict curfew for days, denying access to rescue workers, and it was not until a week later, on 12 April, that their bodies were found under the rubble of the house by relatives and neighbours. It is not known if they were killed by the collapsing walls or if they died later from injuries or of asphyxiation. Two other relatives survived trapped under the rubble for a week.

When the army briefly lifted the curfew on 12 April 2002 Nabila’s brother-in-law, Mahmud ‘Umar, started to dig in the rubble of the house with the help of his neighbours, hoping to find his relatives alive. They continued to dig after the Israeli army re-imposed the curfew after two hours, in spite of warning shots fired by Israeli soldiers in their direction. They first came across a small opening on the ground floor of where the house once stood; miraculously, in the small space that remained, 67-year-old Shamsa and her 68-year-old husband ‘Abdallah were still alive. The rescuers went on digging through the night and eventually found the bodies of the other eight members of the family, all huddled in a circle in a small room.

Neighbours whose homes were demolished at the same time as the al-Shu’bi’s house and who fled when the demolition began, told Amnesty International that the soldiers did not warn the residents to evacuate the houses before beginning the demolition. No comment was issued by the Israeli army about individual demolitions during these large-scale military operations.(16)"

Nice, huh?

"On the morning of 5 September 2003 Israeli soldiers blew up a seven storey building in Nablus in which eight families lived, including 31 children, most of them less than 12 years old. Ibtisam, a teacher and mother of four children (three girls aged 13, 9 and 9 months and one boy aged 11) told Amnesty International: At about 9-9.30 pm Israeli soldiers called on all of us living in the building to get out; they used a megaphone and spoke in Arabic; they said we had to leave the building immediately. We were in pajamas, the children were in bed already; me and my husband took the children from their bed and we all went downstairs as we were, we didn’t even have time to get dressed. It was the same for the other neighbours; we all have children, we all scrambled to get the children from their bed and get out. It was a panic; I didn’t have time to take milk or anything else for my baby; I just had time to wrap her up. We were scared, didn’t know what was happening. I was still in pain from the recent back operation I have had and I tried to explain this to the soldiers but they were rude and did not allow me to sit down. They took us all to the school across the road (the Said Ibn ‘Amr School), blew up the door to get it open and put us all inside, we women and children in the basement and all the men on the third floor. We were kept there all night, with no food, water, nothing; we had no idea what was happening with our husbands, we were worried; we kept trying to get the children to sleep but most cried and did not sleep. There was a lot of shooting, heavy shooting from tanks. At about 6am the soldiers allowed me and four other women who had small babies to go back into the building to get milk for the babies; we needed things to change the babies and for the other children too but the soldiers only gave us 5 minutes. The building was in a bad state, it had been fired at a lot. Before we were allowed to go in, at about 3.30am, the soldiers had sent one of the men in with a group of soldiers to inspect the place, then they sent him back to the school and later they sent him back in with another of the men; just the two of them without the soldiers, and told them to go bring the body of the armed man they had killed. They found the armed man who had been killed by the army; his head and right arm were missing, his left arm was broken and he had other injuries. He was armed. The two men took his body downstairs but left his gun upstairs and the soldiers sent them back up to get it and made them inspect the body before they approached. Then the soldiers took the two men back to the school and we all stayed there a few hours more. Then suddenly the soldiers blew up the building, without telling us and without allowing us to go in to get anything. We were left with nothing, in our pajamas. Why did they have to blow up the place? There was no one left in the building after they killed that armed man; he didn’t live in our building, we didn’t know him and didn’t know he had got into the building; how could we know? I stayed in my apartment, we all did, and all the more so after dark; how can we know who comes in and out of the building? It was a big building. We had saved for 14 years to buy this apartment; it was fully equipped and we had lived in it less than a year. Now we have nothing, all our furniture, clothes, documents, money, the children’s school bags, our photographs, everything got buried in the rubble. The children have been traumatized by what happened, they saw their home destroyed, and every day they see the rubble of their home and don’t have a home any more. Now me and the children are staying with my father and my husband moves between relatives; it is very difficult. What am I supposed to tell my children when they ask what happened and why this happened to us? We just want to live in peace and dignity, we ask for nothing else". There was no comment from the Israeli army about the destruction of this building."

"In the village of ‘Izbat Salman, near Qalqilya, the Quzmar family, like their neighbours, lost most of their land when the fence/wall was built around their village. ‘Abd al-Nasser Quzmar used to work in Israel but with the outbreak of the intifada access to Israel became impossible and his land became his only source of income, the only means for him to support his family of six. He invested all his savings in the family farm to make it more efficient and productive, built greenhouses and a sophisticated irrigation system for intensive cultivation. When Amnesty International first visited the village in October 2002, ‘Abd al-Nasser Quzmar and the other villagers had just learned that the fence/wall was going to encircle their village, destroying much of their land and cutting them off from the rest of it. Marks made by the Israeli army on stones and trees indicated where the fence/wall was going to be built, tightly around the village. However the villagers were not notified in advance of its exact locations. Some only found out when the Israeli army bulldozers arrived and started to uproot trees and whatever else was on the land and others found the military orders for the seizure of their land left by the Israeli army posted on trees. The villagers’ protests and court appeals were to no avail. Thousands of olive and citrus trees and vast vegetable orchards were destroyed to make way for fences, ditches and patrol lanes. Most of the remaining land belonging to ‘Abd al-Nasser Quzmar and his neighbours is now on the other side of the fence/wall, and it is difficult at best and often impossible for the farmers to reach their land."

Some people were made refugees not once but several times:

"In a three-day operation which started on 10 October 2003 the Israeli army destroyed some 130 houses and damaged scores of others in Rafah refugee camp and nearby areas, making more than 1,200 Palestinians homeless. According to UNRWA 76 refugee homes were completely destroyed, 44 were partially destroyed and 117 were damaged. Several non-refugee homes were also destroyed in the same operation near the refugee camp. Most of those left homeless were children.

Hamda Radwan, a 67-year-old refugee and several of her relatives were among those whose homes were destroyed. Hamda, a refugee, had previously lost her home in 1948, when she and her family had to flee from their homes in Jaffa during the war which followed the establishment of the state of Israel.

Suha ‘Abdallah, whose house was partially destroyed in the same operation, told Amnesty International: "There was no tunnel or anything in our home, anyone can come and see for themselves; part of the house is still standing but it is not safe anymore; the remaining walls could collapse at any moment. The soldiers know that we didn’t do anything, they came to the house and my husband and my son were there and they told us to leave immediately. We had no choice. They smashed some things and took other things and destroyed part of the house; why? And now what are we to do? Destroy the rest of the house ourselves so that it does not fall on anyone".

"You have a very striking picture of people fleeing. But fleeing to where? If you're in Rafah, you can't go south because there is a border, you can't go west because there is an ocean, and you can't go north and you can't go east because there is nowhere to go. You can't get out of Gaza. So, if you've been a refugee many times over there is no longer anywhere to where you can flee".

Peter Hansen, UNRWA Commissioner-General, speaking after the large-scale destruction of refugee homes in Rafah (Gaza Strip) in October 2003.

"On 23 June 2001, at about 3am, the Israeli army threw stun bombs and used loudspeakers to call on the inhabitants of the Barahmeh district of the refugee camp, along the Egyptian border, to leave immediately. Within two hours 20 houses were destroyed. The Barhoum family lost 11 houses, in which 75 people lived.

Suhaila Ahmad Salim Barhoum, a widow, lived in one of the demolished houses with her son and daughter and her brother. She told Amnesty International: "I woke up at the sound of the army shooting and I ran off inside the camp with the children; other times when the army shot we ran away and waited until the shooting stopped to come back. But this time the tanks came up against the houses with the bulldozers. When they left there was only rubble and dust left in the place of our houses. I had a nice house; four rooms, one for each of us, the kitchen, the bathroom and a hall. I built it four years ago. My previous house was demolished in 1982, when they established the border. Then my house was right where the border is now. After some time I got some compensation but it was not enough, and I had to wait to have enough money to build a new house. And now I won’t be able to build another house again; I have nothing left, nothing for my children".

Suhaila’s aunt, 70-year-old Fadhiya Suleiman Ibrahim Barhoum, lived in a house nearby with her two sons, their wives and their 12 children. She told Amnesty International: "They destroyed the house with all our things; I worked all my life and now I have nothing left, and my sons have nothing left and they have children; one has eight and the other has four. The house was three homes, one for me and two for my sons; there were six rooms and two bathrooms, one for each of them. We worked so much to build our house. God help us, I don’t sleep at night any more. And they keep destroying more houses, every day more houses; maybe tomorrow they’ll destroy this one too (her relatives’ house where she is staying). God help us; why this on top of everything else? The army also destroyed my land, over there, near the house (pointing to the rubble of her house nearby); all my olive trees, you can still see them, there; they uprooted all of them, didn’t leave even one; they uprooted them from here, from my heart; even if I plant other olive trees, I won’t live to see the olives; I’m too old, and I have no more land and no home, nothing."

"The police poisoned the fields with airplanes; they must have used something very strong, poison, because we got sick. At first we thought it was a chemical attack from Iraq; the television had talked a lot about Iraq launching a chemical attack on Israel in the American war in Iraq; I hadn’t thought much about it but when the planes came to throw this gas, this poison, I don’t know what it was, I was terrified; my husband was not here, he was in Be’er Sheva and I was alone with the children and I was very scared. The children got really sick; I got very dizzy… Some people vomited and even fainted. I didn’t know what to do. I though that’s it, it is the chemical attack; then later I learned that it was the police, to kill our crops. Why do they do such things? To bring airplanes to kill our crops? We have nothing here, you see; we don’t get water to irrigate our fields; you can’t cultivate the land without water; and even that little bit we manage to do they destroy; why?"

A resident of an unrecognized Bedouin village on the destruction of crops in March 2003.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Home Alone

Me: Allo?
Him: Saba7iya mbarka ya 3arousa.
(Greeting usually offered to brides on the morning after the wedding.)
Me: Hi.
Him: Ya kharabi 3ala hi. Eh nayma?
(My God the way you say hi. What were you asleep?)
Me: La.(No.)
Him: Wi kaman mish nayma?Bti3mili eh min waraya?
(Not asleep?Then what are you up to(behind my back)?)
Me(With a glance at my companions): Ana fi elshari3.(I'm out.)
Him: Ya nhar abooki iswid. Kaman fi elshari3?(Oh my God. You're in public?)
Me: And I'm not alone.
Him: Aiwa. Meen ba2a illy ma3aki?(Ok who are you with?)
Me: D, M & S.
Him: Wana ish 3arafni?(How do I know?)
Me: Ti7ib tkalimhum?(Would you like to speak to them?)

Then before he has time to answer I give the phone to my friends who take turns speaking to him. When the phone comes back to me:

Him: Lazim ya3ni tikhribi bait ahli?This is a long distance call.
(He's asking if I had to cost him so much by making him speak to all these people.)
Me: Sub7anallah. Inta illy tisa'al ish 3arafni?
(I thought you wanted to be sure who am with.)
Him: Tab3an mish batamin?
(Of course. I have to be sure.)
Me: La La tkhaf. Sharafak bilhifz wilson.
(Don't worry. Your honor is in good hands.)
Him: Wadi7. Bi-amarit manti btinzili timshili fi elshari3 winti say7a 3ala roo7ik kida.
(Sure I can see that. From the way you walk around in public sounding so ready for it.)
Me: I'm not....what you said!
Him: Gayez ana biyitahay'li wallahu a3lam.
(Maybe I'm imagining things.)
Me: Aiwa inta fhimtni ghalat.
(Yes you misunderstand me.)
Him: Ana dayman kida bazlimik ma3aya.
(Yes I always have the wrong idea about you.)
Me: 7aram 3laik. Allah ghalib.
(This is 7aram.You should fear Allah.)
Him: Khalas madam inti bit2ooli fi el7ifz wilson.
(Ok if you say it's in good hands.)
Me: Bas la tita'akhar 3lay.
(But come back quickly.)
Him(laughing): Nizam ya til7a2ni ya matil7a2neesh.
(You mean I'll save you (from committing adultery) only if am fast enough. It's touch & go. )
Me: 3laik noor. Waqad a3zara man anzar.
(You got it right. You can't say you haven't been warned.)
Him: La inti kida 3adaki el3aib.Bas 3ashan khatri tib2i tshidi 7ailik shwiya in public. Mish fi kol 7ita wala 3ala ay 7ad mayastik di.
(I know. You did your part. You warned me.)
Me: 7adir.
Him: Yi7adar lik elkhair.
Me: 7abibi?
Him: Ya na3am.
Me: Allah yikhaleek la tita'akhar. Ana mish zayak. Ma ta3awadt a3eesh wa7di.
(Please don't be late. I'm not like you. I'm not used to living alone.)
Him: Ya 7abibti. Inti bitkhafi?
(Do you get scared?)
Me: I don't know. Maybe. A little.
Him: Ana ma2darshi ata'akhar 3laiki. Bas 3ala ma arga3 kalimi 3amik wala 7ad min su7abik yeegi yibat ma3aki.
(I'll be back as soon as I can. But in the meantime ask your uncle or one of your friends to sleep over.)
Me: Maybe I will.
Him: Omal inti bitsafri liwa7dik ezay?
(How come you travel alone?)
Me: 7abibi it's always with people. And I always have a roommate.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Lonely Weekend

"Sometimes only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated."

Alphonse de Lamartine


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


My husband's birthday is coming up on the 23rd. He's going to be 32. Haven't decided what am going to get him yet. But he's decided what he's going to get himself.

Me: A motorbike?Another one? Then what did you sell it for?
Him: I sold it because having it shipped over would have been too much trouble. Easier to buy one over here. Besides it was getting kind of old.
Me: I really thought you were done with all that.
Him: Done with what?
Me: This biker stuff. Isn't it a bit adolescent?
Him: I take it you disapprove?
Me: Does it matter?
Him: I don't like it when you disapprove of me.
Me: I don't like it when you disapprove of me either.
Him: Great. Then let's agree not to disapprove.
Me: You'll never keep that up. You disapprove of me all the time.
Him: I do not.
Me: Yes you do.
Him: Not all the time. Only when you worry me.
Me: Well you worry me when you say you're going to buy a motorbike.
Him: Why?
Me: They're dangerous.
Him: Cars are dangerous. Planes are dangerous. Hell, life is dangerous.
Me: No, this is different. I'm going to be terrified all the time knowing you're on a motorbike. They scare me.
Him: Ya 7abibti inti everything scares you.
Me: So you want to make it worse for me?
Him: No I want you to get over it.
Me: Please don't.
Him: Are you serious?I've been driving those things all my life. And I never had any problem. They're vehicles. You just have to know what you're doing.
Me: You drove one in Sweden. It's different here.
Him: Yeah the weather is much better here. Less snow on the roads.
Me: No wonder you don't want to have kids. What kind of family man drives a motorbike?
Him: Howa ana kol ma akalimik hat2ooleeli kids?
(Everytime I talk to you you tell me kids)
Me: It's not about kids wallah. I just really don't want you to. I just have a bad feeling about this.
Him: Going psychic on me? Ya sitti ela3mar biyadillah.
(Not sure how to translate that. Basically it means Allah decides when you should die so it doesn't matter how dangerously you live. An Islamic premise)
Me: Don't say that. It's not funny.
Him: Mumkin tihdi?(Can you calm down)
Me: Are you going to do it?
Him: Yes.
Me: Fine. Then don't tell me ihdi. Ana 7urra feeha a3sabi.
(I can do what I want with my nerves)
Him: You're not being very convincing.
Me: You didn't tell me to be convinced. Your mind is made up. So don't try to make it sound like it was my fault I didn't convince you. I don't know why you bothered to tell me aslan.
Him: Akhabi 3laiki ya3ni? Mayisa7ish bardu inti mrati tibi'i akhir man ya3lam.
(Did you want me to hide it from you?That would be wrong - that my wife should be the last to know)
Me: Katar allah khairak.
(Thank you.)
Him: Can I suggest we drop this for now?
Me: Whatever.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Two Points

1) Global Cairene has some wonderful images of Dubai. Check them out.

The timing works great for me because I have my own personal reason for feeling especially sentimental about Dubai these days.

2) With references to some of the comments on my post about female sexuality, several people responded that physical attractiveness is relative. I agree completely. It depends on individual taste more than anything. My girlfriends & I often disagree on which guy is attractive why. Am sure it's the same for men too.

So here's a question for anyone who wishes to participate, would you say you have a 'type'?What do you normally find physically attractive? Is it always the same thing(s)?

UPDATE: Just realized that I didn't mention my type. I apologize. I should have answered the question first before asking others to. Not really sure whether a married woman should be talking about having a type. But will do it anyway. Don't think he'll mind because he's most definitely my type.:)


1) Tall(as in taller than me).
2) Broad-shouldered. Shoulders are the first thing I notice.
3) Black/dark brown eyes with very dark lashes & eyebrows.
4) Good teeth. Translation: nice smile.
5) Sharp features.
6) Some facial hair. I don't mean a muttawa beard. But a mustache is nice & a bit of beard.

Friends tell me I go for Mediterranean types. Tall, dark, intense-looking & hairy. But I don't think that only applies to Mediterranean men.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A MidSummer Night's Dream

Got to watch a performance last night. Not the best I've ever seen but a lot of fun nonetheless.

Yesterday afternoon I was on my way out of the office when my boss opened his office & said ta3ali(come here). And then fadali - which is his version of itfadali(be kind enough to come here). Usually I think it's cute when he tries to speak Arabic. He doesn't really. Just some heavily-accented phrases which keep changing as he forgets them & picks up new ones. But I didn't think it was cute then. It was already 2 hrs after the time am supposed to go home. I was exhausted. And besides we don't get paid overtime.

It's not something I'd normally do but I told him sorry got to run talk tomorrow. And turned around & walked off before he had a chance to reply. It was strangely satisfying. He's a nice guy but he just doesn't know when to quit.

In this spirit of sustained rebellion I decided I wasn't going to do any work at home either. Went home, had a bath, changed, dressed-up & made some phone calls to see where everyone was & what they were doing. Result was that I had a choice between going for coffee/tea & sheesha with one group, going ice-skating with another group or meeting the third group at the International Bookfair. The bookfair won. The ice-rink was too far & I didn't feel like sitting down at a coffee shop after 10 hrs of sitting down at work. True I was a bit overdressed for the it but intellectually starved as I was, the bookfair was the place to be. I'd forgotten the traffic though. Absolutely nightmarish.

It's not that the bookfair was a disappointment. It's just that it was too crowded to really see any of the books. So we ended up just walking around all over talking & laughing. Which was nice. Made a mental note to go another day on my own to buy books. It's not really a group activity.

Around 8:30 I called K. to see if he was getting off work on time. He wasn't. He said one more hour. So I decided to do something I haven't done in a long time. Go to the clinic & take him out to dinner. Just like old times.

So there I was hanging around the waiting room. Got to talking to one of the patients who was also a friend of K's. A Swede. Nice guy really except for this habit of being too physical. He leans in too close to you when he's talking. I understand that he's very tall & I'm kind of soft-spoken but still that's no reason to suffocate me. And then he's always touching you to make some point or the other. I don't want to make it sound like the guy is a lecher or something. He's not. It's just the way he is with everyone. I know he doesn't mean anything but am not really comfortable with it. And I feel ridiculous constantly dodging & moving back or out of the way. I thought it was us Middle Easterners who are supposed to be too touchy-feely & Europeans who are supposed to be stand-offish & remote.

In the course of said conversation he explained that he wanted his wife & daughters to come out & live with him in Abu Dhabi but he was worried that the local culture is too restrictive for women etc....What I wanted to say was that if you know it's so restrictive then why not keep your hands off me? What I actually said was well maybe you should have them come out & visit you & see for themselves how they like it. Truth is I really can't think of anything a European woman can't do in UAE but didn't feel like going into all that. I mean come on. The guy lives here. He can find out for himself.

He was K's last patient so when I saw him leave I went into K's office & waited while he cleaned up & got ready to leave. Told him we're going out to eat. He said fine where. I said I didn't know let's just drive around while we decide.

We took his car but I made him let me drive. We put on some music. One of those endless conversations interrupted by occasional companionable silences or singing along to the radio. And I guess I stopped concentrating on where I was going - that is until he asked if we were going to Dubai. Then I looked at the road & saw the beginning of Shahama. That's a city on the suburbs of Abu Dhabi - on the road to Dubai. So I said yeah why not. I couldn't resist the temptation of more highway ahead where I could drive as fast as I want. I hate driving in the city, dealing with traffic. It makes me feel so hemmed in.

He didn't object. Actually he looked too relaxed to object to anything. He'd pushed his seat all the way back & was lying there with his eyes closed. Probably too sleepy to object. Am surprised he managed to see where we were going.

A little while later after I'd decided he must have fallen asleep, he said we're going to Dubai mashi bas akeed we're not coming back tonight. So I asked why not. He said because we're going to be too tired & that I should find a hotel. Told him you find a hotel - am driving. So he got on the phone. It hardly took him anytime at all. He just booked us into the first hotel he called that had a vacancy. It would have taken me much longer because I would have been really picky & tried to find the nicest one, the best bargain etc....

When we got to the hotel it was almost 11:30pm. And I wanted to laugh at the look on the receptionists face when he offered to send someone to pick up our luggage & we told him we didn't have any. We'd completely forgotten about that. No change for work in the morning, no toothbrushes, nothing. We decided to worry about it later because we were getting really hungry by then. The guy was trying to be helpful asking if he could direct us to any special place in Dubai. K said no we were trying to think. And I could see the guy's mind working. Lunatics, he probably thought. Felt like explaining we only ended up here because we happened to find ourselves on the road to Dubai & didn't know what else to do.

Turned out the hotel was hosting a performance of A MidSummer Night's Dream. We were over an hour late but the tickets came as a complimentary gift with the room. And it had dinner included. So we thought why not. At least I got rid of the feeling of being all dressed up with nowhere to go. A late-night theater performance warrants getting dressed up for. So my new skirt & make-up didn't go to waste. It's a good thing I've read the play & watched it more than once before. Otherwise I'd have been pretty lost coming in at the middle of the show like that. I enjoyed it. He slept peacefully on my shoulder through the whole thing. Sigh. All my attempts to interest him in the Liberal Arts have so far come to nothing. I married a Philistine. He hates opera & theater. And we missed the dinner because I didn't want to wake him by getting up & going to the buffet during the last break. When the play was over they'd already removed the food. Good thing too. I didn't think it looked very appealing.

But the problem was that we were still hungry. So we went out on the town. At 1:00 am. We ended up having dinner in a very noisy Cuban restaurant. It had a live Latino band & was still open when we arrived at 2:00am. It was great actually. Just what we needed to revive us. We didn't dance much. Too busy eating. But the atmosphere was electrifying. A really happy crowd.

They kicked us out at 3:00am - their closing time. So we moved to another restaurant in the same hotel that stays open 24 hrs a day for dessert. I can't believe how much we pigged out last night. It was embarrassing. We ordered so much food & actually managed to finish most of it. We didn't stay too long though.

About 3:30am we went out to search for toothbrushes, deodrant, a change of underwear etc....We managed to find a 24 hr Co-op. I can't believe I actually bought underwear from the Co-op!Never did that in my life before. We were laughing like crazy people.

So we went back to the hotel, changed into bathrobes & sent our clothes for laundering because we both planned to go straight to work in the morning.

Didn't get to work this morning until 11:30. 4 hours late. And he was 2 hrs late. That is DARING. Much more for me than for him. No one would really tell him anything. They just rescheduled a couple of his morning appointments. Unless he made a habit of this sort of thing & income went down drastically or lots of patients complained, he's pretty much his own boss. Not me though. My boss had words to say. He's so pissed off at me that he hasn't called me into his office once so far. What a punishment! As if I was dying to be in a meeting with him. Am much happier sitting in my office day-dreaming & smiling to myself like an idiot.

Oh one more thing. When I told M. what happened last night, after she got over the exclamations that we were idiots, going all the way to Dubai & not doing anything special etc...she reconsidered & decided that actually it's nice that we can be so spontaneous - that she missed when it was like that in her marriage & that if we had kids we wouldn't be able to do things like that on the spur of the moment.

At first it got me down a little. It made my maternal instincts act up again & I'd more or less managed to suppress them last night. But then I thought about it a little more. And well she's right. We've only been married a few months. It's reasonable to take sometime to enjoy being together before we take on more responsibilities. Thinking that made me feel some peace. I mean the longing is still there in the back of my mind but from now am going to try harder to keep it in the back of mind & bring other things to the forefront. That's my new resolution. A somewhat late New Year's resolution let's say.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Keeping my eyes open

That's the main point of this post. Don't have anything in particular to say. Just feeling very, very sleepy. It's the last hour of my working day & am just spent. Didn't get any sleep last night. Caught myself dropping off a couple of times as I stared at my sequence diagrams. So I went & made myself a cup of coffee & decided to do something other than work in the hope that it will help me keep my eyes open. Don't really relish the thought of being caught fast asleep on my desk. Management would complain methinks.

What is strange is this decreasing tolerance for insomnia that am developing. Am the woman who could do 3 or 4 sleepless nights in a row. Now I can't even handle one?O How have the mighty fallen!

Saturdays are always a bit blah for me. Not just because it's the first day of my working week. It's also my husband's day off. The thought of him getting to sleep in & then spending the rest of the day sunning himself by the pool while I have to drag myself out of bed at 6:00am & spend the rest of the day slaving away at my office makes me feel something is very wrong with the world. It must be in violation of some treaty. There are moments when I firmly believe a woman's place is by her husband's side. Especially when said husband's side is located on the poolside.

Oh dear. Almost done with this post. Ran out of things to say. And guess how long it took?18 min. 18. Not even 20. Still 40 min to go before I can go home.:(