Monday, June 26, 2006

Nothing in Particular

So sleepy. Got up just before 5 this morning. Was exhausted but couldn't go back to sleep until I heard the call for prayer. Then I heard my husband get up to go to the mosque. I don't normally pray Fajir(dawn) on time. He'll get up, wash, go downstairs to the mosque, pray, come back, throw himself on the bed & be out like a light in two minutes flat. He doesn't have to get up for work until 8:30 anyway. But me once I get up I can't go back to sleep. And there isn't time anyway. I start work too early so I just pray whenever I get up.

But today since I was up anyway I told him I wanted to tag along. Of course we had to drive to a mosque because the one just downstairs doesn't have a section for women but I've had my rant about that. It was a new experience. Have never attended dawn prayers in the mosque before. Well I did actually. In Ramadan in Casa. But that was only for 10 days out of my whole life. And am not going to compare praying in Casa to praying here. There's a spiritual dimension that is competely lacking in this country. The zikr, the nasheed, the beautiful prayers you can hear coming out of every mosque almost all the time - especially in Ramadan. I can remember opening the windows in my grandfather's bedroom right after we came back from dawn prayer & they were just chanting the 99 names of Allah, over & over again from several nearby mosques. The voices were all so gentle & the way they intermingled was so powerful. It was beautiful & it filled your heart.

Congregational prayer here is too mechanical, too contrived & before Sept.11, it was too politicized. At least now the political dimension is gone but still it alienates me. Maybe because I was raised on a different set of beliefs, a different sect/cultural interpretation. Maybe this is why listening to sermons here is like listening to someone preaching a foreign religion with tenets that never become truly familiar no matter how often you hear them. I miss the sense of religious belonging that I experience on my visits back home.

I was the only one in the women's section this morning. It felt like having the whole mosque to myself. Kind of like praying at home. The Imam had a really nice voice. I felt from his accent that he might be Moroccan & it turned out he was. Which just added to the nostalgia.

Went home feeling virtuous & reassured though. It's this high that I get on days when I've completed all my prayers on time - which is not as often as it should be. But since dawn is the one I always miss & I didn't miss it today I figure that's off to a pretty good start no?

In my newfound spirit of virtue I decided to cook us breakfast as a change since the only meal we have together on weekdays is dinner. I made foul(beans), felafel(ta3mia), French omelette & I set everything on the table with labneh, zaatar, olive oil, coffee & strawberry juice. You can tell that I've been to too many international breakfast/brunch buffets no?

Of course we couldn't eat all of that. Some of it went back in the fridge. And the rest I packed up in aluminum, microwaveable containers to give to the security guards & cleaning boys/ladies downstairs. More virtue.

On the way to the office he sent me sms saying basically thanks for breakfast, that everything was delicious. Which was sweet.

I was naturally late for work. You can't expect me to get up at 5 in the morning & make it to the office by 7:30. It's weird but I never make it on time if I got up early because I'll get all excited & come up with these ambitious projects for what can be done with all the extra time. Am much more likely to be on time if I got up at 6:45 or something.

The person I kept waiting this time was a bit of a VIP. A pretty big client. Good thing my manager was out of town or he'd have killed me for keeping this guy waiting. In addition to being a VIP the guy is also very, very hot. It's truly amazing the number of gorgeous Egyptian guys I know. Especially older guys. For some reason the new generation can't seem to keep up the same standard. I don't know where all the good genes go. But I digress.

I remember the very first meeting I had with this guy was about 2 years ago. A friend of mine - also Egyptian - works for him. When I came out of the meeting I told her this is your boss? And she told me "Shofti?Talat sineen wana mista7mila elgolb da kolo" which means "3 years I've had to live with all this". Poor girl. He's a Brit who speaks English with this amazing Pierce Brosnan kind of accent. Now I've always loved the British sense of irony. And Egyptians are also famous for being funny. So you can imagine someone who combines both. Meetings with him are a riot. Basically the man is a god. He is tall, fit, gorgeous, highly educated, very successful, filthy rich, funny, charming, you name it. The Eligible Bachelor of the Year. And every year. He's also 41 years old & never married - very unusual for an Arab. A confirmed bachelor. I know so many girls who tried & failed to 'catch' him. We're talking 18 & 19 & 20-yr old girls here. Half his age & they're all dreaming about him. I hope he doesn't turn out to be gay. We don't THINK so because he's a flirt & doesn't seem to have any particular aversion to checking out the female talent in his line of vision. But you never know.

I once had hopes for my friend D but she said he was too much like a movie star & that he intimidates her, that she just wants a regular guy.

In other news, he is the only person I know who calls me 'ya bashmohandesa' which means 'Engineer'. I don't think of what I do as engineering & no one else calls me that. And he once told me that my name was very unusual & that he used to know a bellydancer in Egypt who had the same name.

The meeting went ok. Not much ground to cover really. My manager had prepared a proposal for them before he left & he wanted me to present it so I did. He raised some issues I was not authorized to act on so I had to tell him we'd get back to him. I faxed my manager the minutes of the meeting & am waiting for instructions on how to proceed.

And now am sitting in my office with the lack of sleep starting to catch up with me. Called my husband. He couldn't be reached. Hate it when that happens. Sometimes when he knows I didn't get enough sleep the night before he'll call to check on me at work. Only sometimes. He did it a couple of times so now I consider it a God-given birthright & feel disappointed if it doesn't happen.

Called my mother next. Me & her used to talk twice a week after they left. Then when I had the miscarriage we started talking everyday & now we can't stop. I have to speak to her from work everyday. My Dad is getting upset. Since I talk to Mama in the morning when he's at work, I don't bother to call in the evenings anymore so I never get to speak to him. Mama tells me all his news anyway.

That's something else that's bugging me. Over the last 2 months, first my father, then my mother have gone back to work. So now both my supposedly retired parents have full-time jobs. I can't help wondering then why did they leave here? That was the reason they left. Baba kept saying how exhausted he was, how he wanted to spend time in his country with Mama & his relatives & my younger siblings before he's so old he doesn't recognize people etc.....So he resigns, moves back home & only 3 months later, decides he can't stand retirement & goes back to work. Then Mama does the same. So why didn't they just stay here? I would have loved to have them near me. Did he just want to move back because of his brothers, sisters etc...?Are they more important to him than me? It has to be him. Mama doesn't have any family in Morocco so it can't be her. I haven't said anything to either of them because what's the point? But I can't help feeling a little sad & hurt.

9 Comments:

Blogger Leilouta said...

You shouldn't feel hurt about it. I am sure he loves you more than anything. Plus, he knows that you are in good hands with your husband and that you don't need his help everyday.I know a few people that age who just want to go back to their countries to be closer to their roots and their memories. It might be very important for them. My mom's friend moved with her husband to the USA not long ago. It took her 3 years to convince him, his son lives in the states too. He stayed a few months and couldn't take it. He had to go back home.

6/26/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Twosret said...

"The meeting went ok. Not much ground to cover really."

I guess you covered for us the most important aspect of the meeting THE HOT GUY lol :) Thank you that was refreshing to hear. I'm a proud Egyptian :)

Next time you are in a meeting like this Loulou you have to use your cell phone camera and post the picture :) you know those guys can be either very innocent or they break your heart I think your friend is wise.

6/27/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Sorry I got distracted with the gorgeous guy and forgot to comment on your parents situation. When people get older they get back to their roots and become more attached to their country.

I think it has nothing to do with you, they want to be home may be?

6/27/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger FallenEssence said...

Don't feel sad, I'm sure their intentions were to relax and retire but the vibe i get is that they are workaholics. My mom is like that as well. It's not that they have a preference but without work they tend to feel useless.

Now, these hot egyptian men you see, you're lucky. I moved here a year ago and have only seen 3 (count em 3!!!) hot guys and that is including my fiance. Maybe the hot ones are all in UAE.

6/27/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger stillsmokin' said...

the guy definitly sounds like a catch for the the single hotties out there...lol :)
about your parents, i think its completly normal for them to resume work again. they probably thought they could stand the retirement days, and found that they were kinda bored..especially if they are workaholics!
my parents are getting pretty old, my dad is 66, turing 67 next september and my mom ain't far from that either. he still works in kuwait and has been planning to retire for about 3 yrs now, but hasn't taken that step yet. He has nothing to do here in cairo, he plans to come and go between sa7el shamaly (north coast) or el gouna (hurghada- red sea). But he still hasn't taken the step cause he gets mellowed out by the end of summer, shit mid-summer even, and start planning out his work schedule even before he travels back to kuwait!!
so in your case, it was probably something similar, and has nothing to do with you...a parents love for thier children is endless i believe :D

6/27/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger moi said...

The part about Fajr prayer was very touching; sometimes I wish I lived in a Muslim country just so I can pray Fajr in the mosque.
And about your parents, they probably didn't intend to go back to work, but for some people, retirement can be tough because they might feel useless and bored, and decide that they have no choice but to go back to work to fill up their time. And maybe the working environment there is not as stressful as it is in UAE. Don't feel bad, just invite them for a visit soon :)

6/28/2006 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger FreudianSlip said...

I know exactly what you mean about that high you only get by praying the full prayers.

6/28/2006 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger Me said...

Loul,

"The voices were all so gentle & the way they intermingled was so powerful. It was beautiful & it filled your heart."

God bless you ! I can almost hear them! Here in Egypt on Eid morning it's sometimes something like that...

"Went home feeling virtuous & reassured though. It's this high that I get on days when I've completed all my prayers on time"

I can relate... I love it when I pray my prayers right after the Iqama...

"But I can't help feeling a little sad & hurt."

I don't think you should ya Loul...they didn't plan it this way...ya3ni they didn't know they were going to work again when they went back...you know that! You're a big girl :-D Which brings me to something...(off topic)

I'm glad you got past your troubles... really I am... and you keep proving that while you're sometimes a wild passionate woman... you've got a wise head on your shoulders :-)
This is getting pretty long but I have a confession to make...lately I haven't had time to read my favourite blogs and comment... but sometimes I would pop my head and see what you were up to ... but I never had the time or energy to comment... I'd read the comments and find that some were saying what I would've said... so I'd go without commenting.... it didn't happen a lot... but it did happen ... and I wanted to own up... I feel I've been a bad virtual friend :(

6/29/2006 01:15:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Meme,

You have been missed. But you're not a bad virtual friend at all. I understand. Just don't keep disappearing on us like that.:)

6/29/2006 10:23:00 AM  

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