Teen: to fit in

Allow me to share my theory of teen years in simple language…

  • 0-12 years: Exploring with pure innocence. Egocentric. Living for the day. Smooth.
  • Early teen years: Choosing peer group, the game of “fitting in” begins, it all seems possible.
  • Mid teen years: Trying to fit in. Acting phase, having two personalities; one in school to satisfy peer pressure, other at home to satisfy parental pressure. Believing life can easily be double faced.
  • Mid to late teen years: Realising it’s not easy to fit in. Playing it safe, a little here a little there. Internal conflict manifested in disinterest, boredom, depression and/or rebellious behaviour. Rough times!
  • Late teen years: Realising “fitting in” will not thrive. Finding faults in peer group. Attempting to build own identity.  Tough times, but quite a ride.  

Later on: Enjoying newly developed identity. Responsible. Standing up for values, life becomes much easier! Well, with annoying minor incidents of each of the above!

 

Agree/Disagree?

(Captured @ the Great Wall of China)

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27 on the 27th

On the 27th of this month I turned 27..

27 years of happiness

27 years of love

27 years of blessings

27 years of joy

I am very thankful, I’m very grateful. Alhamdulilah..

Happy 27th Birthday to me.

………..and Happy birthday to my reservoir of thoughts! YES, my blog is ONE year old today 🙂

Human rights!

My dear blog followers: Arafa was full of Human rights, this post is not Hajj(part 3) 😉 .. certainly not as pleasing but just as important, read on.. 

He (my Mr., my Shahrayar) comes back late every single day complaining, sometimes it escalates to cursing. Not on me (he dare not!), but on what he relays in this little story of his.

Check what the Mr. has to say :- 

Human rights!!

Once upon a time I met this slave, a skinny man with popped eyes, you could clearly see he is overworked. This man has to get up at dawn – and with no time to have any food in his guts – starts working till mid day where he is given a short break to catch his breath and eat so that he can continue working till dusk. By night-time he is completely worn-out as he has his evening meal and heads to sleep to recharge for the coming day. His master – a fat man with a big belly – who uses slave drivers to get the slaves working hard, gives the slave days off to avoid criticism over the controversy of his slavery acts.

The slave drivers – big guys with big trucks which they drive around to check on the slaves – are slaves too. But they are favored by the master because they ensure that the work is done. All the slaves get food and shelter but the slave drivers get to drive the big trucks and punish their fellow slaves. The slave drivers would threaten their fellow slaves to cut down their food quota if they did not perform.

The idea of running away has always lingered in the mind of the slave every night as he goes to bed, but he would think about the savage world out there with no food or shelter, he would undoubtedly not survive a single day … next morning he would wake up from dawn and continue working.

The master – being in the 21st century – has learnt cleverly how to avoid human rights’ laws and pay no heed to human rights activists’ demands to free the slaves. He grasped that knowledge cunningly by reading the law and using the loopholes and weaknesses in the system to keep onto his slaves. Although he does not practically own those slaves – for legal reasons – he surly has leverage on their livelihood in a way that enslaves them with no chains around their ankles.

This may sound by far very uncommon to you. But that slave is YOU, me and everyone who works for big corporations. If you replace the words; slave by employee, slave driver by manager and master by board of directors you will find the story fits you just as well. Oh and don’t forget to replace food and shelter by salary and housing allowance.

Today, big corporations make millions of dollars from the work done by the low-level employee. The ratio of generation of wealth to salary is incomparable, where the most worked is the least earned and vice versa. Today, job security is the chain that is wrapped around our ankles. The 21st century has given human beings freedom within the laws but in reality slavery has just changed name and form.

Open your eyes to how entangled we are in a system that reduces our freedom of time, where we stay and what we eat. A world order that has been created systematically with boundaries that are very hard to break free from. The sad fact is that we are all slaves of the 21st century.

Ice breaking with cousins!

You might’ve noticed that I avoid treating this blog as a diary of my daily encounters, but last night was an exception. A memoir I’d like to include. Something I’d like to go back to and enjoy re-living the memory.

Wednesday early morning, I fought the H1N1 controversies currently surrounding the world and got the H1N1 JAB, not because I’m freakin out and plan to avoid it like the plague, but because it is compulsory for those who go to Hajj, and my urge to perform Hajj (specifically this year) is stronger than my urge to avoid the vaccine! YES.. I have decided to perform HAJJ this year Inshallah (Coming soon -> Hajj-dedicated post)!

The afternoon was uneventful, just runnin’ around to prepare for THE evening ahead.

The evening was a gathering of cousins in my house. Sounds normal, casual and sorta what’s the big deal, right? Wait..wait.. let me explain. We are a huge family (Mashalla), not only that but intertwined to a great degree. My father-side cousin is married to my mom’s aunt who also happens to be the sister of my grand-mother, oh so so complicated you don’t even want to go there. The point is, it’s difficult to mingle with everyone in a family gathering (we have loads of them gatherings by the way!). What happens in all gatherings across the years is that cousins of similar ages hang out together and I’m talking about hundreds here, and we slowly miss out on the other ones, the younger specifically. We do ask about studies/work and the formal stuff every now and again, but we do not talk much about the juicy stuff if you like!

They were always there, always around us but not until one of those younger cousins got engaged, did we stop to realise that time took us by surprise! Now they’re grown-ups, they are ladies and are  getting married one by one. We’ve missed so much of their childhood, we do not want to miss out on their young adult phase. We urgently needed to break the ice, I repeat: urgently! 

Last night, we (myself and my sisters) invited 13 of those cousins. The once young and annoying (Sorry! if you’re reading this, that was when you were way younger, runnin’ around, screaming, crying and laughing out loud!), now mature ladies, aged 13 to 25, of elegance and rigid viewpoints!

In fact, they themselves had a not-so-cool image of us, they were flabbergasted when they first entered the house, seeing us fully groomed in young trendy fashion and ready to rock n roll, oh not that rock n roll, but ready to kick some fun! Lady Buth (one of the cousins) said she expected a formal dinner, everyone with their abayas on, on a dining table with plate mats and home-made dinner, obviously that was not the case!  We kicked off the gathering with some sight-seeing around my house, then random chit chats dipping nachos in rich cheese dips, jalapeno and the must-have salsa dip, gulping down popcorn in bulks and munching away chocolate bars! Then came the PIZZA! 3 large pizzas served with cheese sticks dipped in a sauce of choice (tomato or garlic – see, healthy ingredients!). Had the pizzas with chilled fizzy drinks to fizz us out even more!

Then, then, then… the serious bit starts, the GAMES! Hide and seek? No. Find the hidden object? Nope. Hang the donkey tail with your eyes shut. Nah! The games were confessional games to further break the ice and add some vibe to the gathering. The first game involved each one of us writing a personal question down, putting all questions in a bowl, each picks up a question and is forced to truthfully answer it. The game went super super good. For the second game, we had our names written on a piece of paper, folded and placed in one bowl and the same names again in another bowl. Two names are picked up at a time, those names exchange comments or things they “like” about the other. That was an eye-opener, we never knew what they thought of us, they never knew what we thought of them, so again this game went beautifully perfecto!

Junk without the sweets? A sin. We had rich red velvet chocolate cake served with frigid vanilla ice-cream, also, marshmallow chocolate (again!) cake done and brought by the cousins, the cake was as sweet as they are! The 3 course meal all in all could not get any better, or actually could not get any junk-ier, but let’s be logical here, one time won’t hurt, right? It’s not my fault if they don’t make up for it now, I suggest go for green salads, vegetables and fruits for a week to wash away the junk. E7m, I myself had more of the nachos during lunch today. So…Do as I say, not as I do!

My guests left the house at 11.30 pm, all dazzled with the amount of ice-breaking we did, very unexpected, very casual, very random. In 3 hours we managed to reveal the most discreet of life matters to each other. We managed in those hours to strengthen our bonds, to crash down the formal boundaries, to dissolve false perceptions, to achieve a level of equality and mostly to dig into each others’ lives like friends of the same age.

Whatever the ingredients of this night, it was sure a night to remember.

Family by chance, friends by choice!

Blog – behind the scenes!

Teeth whitening? Weight loss? Money making? Baby making, and many other immoral ones! What’s up with this new outbreak of SPAM in my blog?

You don’t see them among other comments because every single day I’ve got to delete at least 2 spam comments. Annoying!

Do you get them too?

I chickened out

Oh yes I did. I feel like a failure. I feel betrayed and defeated by my own self. I’m still in denial and I like to blame the circumstances for this withdrawal from such a courageous act. How I wish I could just go back and … do it!
 

Let me explain. On my trip back to Muscat from England, I felt the urge to write, to fill a piece of paper with the most powerful tool in the world, with words. The Mr. was sitting beside me, his eyes fixated on a tiny screen in front of him, indulged in what appeared to be the “monsters against aliens” movie. I asked him to bring me the notebook from the overhead locker, he laughed hysterically to what I thought was on my request, apparently it was on something he’d seen on the screen, a monster fell down or something close to that. I politely asked again if he could get me my notebook from the overhead locker, another laughter, a very deep one this time. My compassionate self chose to let go of my urge to write and let the Mr. focus. There must be something more important after all, the monster again ready to take a serious step forward, maybe?

It’s difficult to suppress an urge, I’ve never thought it would that difficult. Alas, you learn a lot when the one and only person you know among some 200 others, on a place above ground, on air,  chooses a monster over you!

I felt lonely and I seriously needed to vent out. I saw nothing but a pile of magazines hidden inside a pocket in the seat in front of me. There, my eye glittered, I produced a gentle squeak of laughter that only echoed back to me, because again the Mr. was deeply entertained with monsters and aliens! I picked the “duty free” magazine, and started searching like a nurse trying to look for a good vain in a fleshy area for a prick. I found it!! Spacious, colourful and inviting… and I wrote……

words..

words..

 

I spilled those words out, put the magazine back in it’s pocket to rest in peace, covered myself with the blanket provided and sighed in relief. I’ve always imagined I’ll write something in a bottle and drop it at the sea to see where it goes. That was kinda unrealistic, this thing I did was very realistic. It could easily reach a reader’s hand, I was really eager to see what happens next. If you notice, my blog link was there, so the reader could and hopefully would get back to me, sometime!

Just after this courageous act, I knocked gently on the Mr.’s shoulder, told him what I intend to do, he laughed, looked at me and said “I like the idea, but you can’t do it!… you simply won’t”, I said “WHAT?! Why not? you’ll see…”

The captain announced that we have started descending. My mind was on auto-pilot at the moment, driven by innate powers, I took the magazine and had it resting on my lap. The last thing I remember was this piece of paper (the picture above), with my words on, on my lap. We arrived safely, came home, I opened my handbag to take my contact lens solution out, and………. the paper was  in my handbag! My courageous act was……..in my handbag!

I know…. I feel like such a coward! I’ve turned one of my fantasies down, I feel hopeless. I came back from this experience, with 3 words, “I chickened out…”!

 

Back. Wolverhampton. London. Courses. Eid

I had a good break, fully rejuvenated and fresh to start blogging again. Also, packed with great knowledge and a good boost of confidence to go back to work next week!

This is what my journey looked like, I’ll try to make it short and simple for you readers, so respect that and read on 😉

Have you ever used all modes of transportation in one single day, I proudly did for my trip from Muscat to Wolverhampton! Do I recommend it, a clear cut “NO”, it’s exhausting… but was great fun I must admit. We (the Mr. and I) were dropped off by car to the airport early morning, the 8th of September, took a comfortable flight to Birmingham airport, the tram to the train station, the train to Wolverhampton and our legs on a rainy evening to the hotel.

Wolverhampton:I expected a small town, I was mistaken it was a lively city just outside Birmingham. Fairly new, with shiny buildings, very different from those of old cities in the UK. The course was a 15-min walk from the hotel, not too bad, quite refreshing to start your day walking, considering the good weather of course. We’ve been quite lucky with the weather during our two week stay in UK this time, it doesn’t usually go that way!

The 2-day “Adult Stammering Intervention” course by two respected and well-known professionals in the field was phenomenal, in fact they declared that this was the last course they do together as one of them had already retired, call me “lucky”.

On the 12th, 4 days post-arrival, we took the train to London.

London:the city of diversity I’ll happily name it. You walk and hear 101 languages echoing back and forth, you do not feel outcast, you just fit in wherever you go. I remember hating London so much when I was younger, the last time I was there was with family, I was say 15 at the time. My father is not exactly calm, just imagine what he’d be like in an underground station trying to catch the next tube, with children roaming around fascinated by things they’d never seen before. His temper evaporates, then condensates on me to give me a tainted image of London for some 11 years, an image of rush and fury that is. London has definitely managed to erase that old image, I actually now understand why people go head over heels in London. I cannot imagine myself living in London, it’s too “hype” for my liking, but I totally understand those who love it. The city has changed drastically, it’s become exceptionally diverse.  Walking and staring that’s what you do when you’re going around. You just enjoy looking at people rushing, hugging their plastic cups of coffee in one hand (here we go with the love of coffee again!) and a bagful of papers or a laptop in the other! All minding their own business. I particularly liked the formal looks on people from head to toe, actually from head to ankles (in suits), their foots in casual trainers for a comfortable run to and from work place! What a sight. Love life, love London! 

Why was I in London again? Oh the course! The second course was the Palin PCI (Parent Child Interaction) for early childhood stammering, in simple language, Stammering therapy for preschoolers. The course was top notch, well structured and beautifully presented.

Practical for Omani culture? I don’t know! From the title you can tell what it’s all about; the aim of this therapy is to promote parent-child interaction, it’s achieved by recording video tapes of each parent playing with the child. Mother playing with her child (acceptable, but video recording this interaction, typically not!). Father playing with the child (not culturally acceptable, recording it, no problem). Go figure! I’ll have a hard time applying this exact strategy, I’ll have to make a few adaptions, until we’re more open to this notion of video recording the Ma’s and convincing the Fa’s that going down to your child’s level and actually playing can help in stammering. We’re a practical nation, the first thing parents usually ask in clinic after my long session of reassuring, explaining and choosing a therapy method is: “shai duyaat?” (Any medicine?). You just love them, so simple, get the medicine and go home!   

On the 20th of Sept, Eid was announced in London, we broke our fast one day earlier than family in Oman! I could’ve made it to Oman for eid, but it would have been extremely tiring to celebrate eid right after an 8-hour travel. Another reason or the “hidden agenda” to be more precise is because I had made plans to meet some special cousins namely; Miss.W, the well-known Kamakazy and Soulmate -yes, she’s behind the comments around this blog-!

This may sound harsh for some or illogical to many, but I enjoy Eid abroad just as much as I enjoy it at home. Eid has its special scent that follows you wherever you go! As long as I’ve got some family members around, I do not mind it one bit. We’ve had waffles and coffee for breakfast, instead of the meat and rice ( Arsiya- usually served on breakfast, day one of eid). Then, had the best shawarma anyone can ever dream of, in fact I’ve read reviews on the internet suggesting that it is the best Shawarma in the whole world. HEAVEN… Shahrayar can tell you all about it, he secretly got himself another bite of that heaven the next day (while I was shopping with Soulmate)!  

Not to bore you and prolong this post longer than it is now, I’ll leave you with the taste of shawarma in your mouth. Don’t bother getting one from wherever you are, that London shawarma was exceptional!

I’ll get back with more stories about this trip, oh and pictures also coming soon. No not of the shawarma unfortunately, I wouldn’t share the mouth-watering Tehini with my camera 😉

Coexist

Dear media, leaders and terrorists,

Other nations throughout history have coexisted, why can’t we! Our ideologies may differ greatly, but our common grounds are much much greater.  We’re physically, emotionally and psychologically “human”. It all goes down to two simple words: Recognise + Accept.

I came across this video below, it’s quite old, but I couldn’t hold it back for myself to enjoy only, so there you go… enjoy his simple yet powerful message:

Kudos to you Moez Masoud, very well said… Mashallah!

Only there…

Only there, a mother kisses her lost son.

Only there, a son grows to meet his fathers’ expectations.

Only there, a childless couple meet 3, 4, maybe even 8 of their kids, touch them, feel them, speak to them.

Only there, a long lost friend is with you over a cup of coffee, discussing today matters as casually as it may get.

Only there, a student yet to take an exam, passes with flying colours, maybe even excel beyond expectations.

Only there, a severe agony is kissed goodbye.

Only there, a trauma is healed leaving no scars behind.

Only there, a forfeited love is brought back to life.

Only there, a twinkling star is within reach.

Only there, there in a dream, fantasy is real.

Only there, during sleep, we’re transferred to a scene beyond our imagination and left to….dream! Maybe for a minute, maybe for an hour, we don’t even know, we don’t even care. We live it, we indulge in that precise moment and that is what counts.

We dream during sleep and we question “why this dream, why that dream”. Do we stop and thank GOD for giving us tangible fantasies.

 

Good night, sweet dreams...

Good night, sweet dreams...

 

If you laugh after a dream, thank Allah for that moment of absolute bliss.

If you cry after a dream, thank Allah it was just a dream.

 

 

 

home..

where all the thinking takes place

where all the thinking takes place

My aunt was around my area at the time of prayers last week, so she called saying that she’s a 3-minutes drive to my house and is passing by to pray. In circumstances as such I thank God first and foremost, and then Linda (my housemaid) for having a home welcome to sudden guests 24/7! Otherwise, I would’ve had a panic attack, and some minor temper tantrums running from one corner to the other, making sure every piece of mess is well hidden (by that I mean; violently pushed under the bed, or forcefully shoved inside the nearest closet). With the presence of a maid, all you need to do is entertain your guest, offer some fresh fruit juice or even beg her to stay for dinner!

Linda is a blessing -most of the time, I must add- (details about Linda coming in another post Inshallah).

So yah the aunt comes in, she goes into the bathroom, one minute later, the door is wide open and I hear “Darling, you a need a new soap dispenser, this is useless, it doesn’t work” I go straight in and with a quick twist it works just fine and I say “you’ve just got to lift up a lil bit, then it’ll work”. She goes back in, I hear another shout from behind the door “Darling, the flush isn’t working”, I go “Oh for that aunty, all you need is to keep pressing and enjoy watching the junk flush away”. One last roar from the bathroom and I hear “Darling, the shower head fell down, it wasn’t fitted properly, you need to call your contractor, those people never do their job right” I go “Oh no aunty, this… Just keep it vertically straight and it’ll stay up and still”

For a moment I thought we’ve paid so much for the renovation of this house in the name of quality contemporary design and now we’ve got to deal with these unexpected itsy bitsy faults, damn! Then it occurred to me; isn’t this what we call home? When you’ve figured your way round things to work perfectly, just a twist or a pull or sometimes a pat on the item and it works just fine? Aren’t all homes like this? These quick fix-it moves become a natural habit and life goes on pretty smoothly day in, day out.

I love home…

Eight months ago, this place was barely fit for human habitation, now I’m lovin it to bits..

 

Dining area

Dining area

our relaxing space

our relaxing space

My special area

My special area

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