Friday, November 03, 2006

Skinny Skeleton

So I finally was taken to the hospital on Wednesday. I knew that I should have gone earlier seeing as the pain in my wrist was getting worse and worse. I thought that after a few pain killers and balm the swelling would go down and the pain would ease up ... but I was definitely mistaken.

It wasn't until I woke up in the morning and spent 20 minutes trying to zip up my skirt - because I couldn't get a grip on the material - that I realized that maybe I should get this checked out.

Of course the usual excuses stopped me from going earlier:
- it's nothing, it'll go away
- i don't have time
- what if something's wrong?

So I went. And they took an x-ray. And as I was sitting in the doctor's office staring at the image of my hand and wrist, all I could think of is, wow, my fingers look really skinny. If only the image of my skeleton could walk around instead of all the padding that surrounds it!


After admiring my skinny skeletal image for a few minutes I finally heard the doctor's surprised tone of voice. Apparently I had fractured my wrist a while ago (anywhere from a few weeks to a few months ago). He was asking me all sorts of questions like - when did it happen, didn't I notice, why didn't I come for treatment, how did this happen?

I waited for a few seconds to take it all in and I was like - I fractured my wrist? When? How?

He wasn't amused. But I was serious. I mean, sure I remember a time or two when I hurt my wrist - perhaps from kickboxing or from weight lifting - but I couldn't specifically remember. Besides, I think I have a high tolerance for pain (plus I'm stubborn).

Anyway. There was no way in hell he was putting a cast on my wrist. I mean, my wedding is in two weeks - TWO WEEKS (brief anxiety attack here).

Ya, so he'll have to wait. In the meantime I have a stupid bandage on my wrist that limits my every movement and makes things really difficult for me. Hrumph! Oh well - it's better than the cast, coz' you better believe I won't be wearing it at my wedding!

Now back to dreaming about my skinny skeleton ...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Making a Difference

I was so thrilled on October 13th to turn on my computer and see among the the top 5 headlines: Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh win Nobel Peace Prize.

I wanted to jump up and down with joy - in fact I did a little!

What a great achievement! Sure, a nobel peace prize is given out every year, but this one was different for me ... obviously the first connection is that he's Bangladeshi. The second thing is that what Yunus has achieved really shows that change is possible ... that you can make a difference, even if it's a small one. We all have this power in our hands.

Yunus started a micro-banking system about 30 years ago. He gave small loans (e.g. $9) to poor village women (note: he started giving the loan to men first, but then found that they could not handle the money, so then he started lending only to women). With this money they were told to do something - anything - start a trade, buy some material, hire someone to do something if they didn't have the skill. They were to pay back the money whenever they could - no interest, no penalities, nothing ... and what happened? These women who were in desperate situations started their own small businesses. They didn't have to take to the streets and beg. They could work and earn money and take care of the family.

They had responsibilities and they carried out their work with pride.

My favorite quote from him is:
"You cannot go on having absurd amounts of wealth when other people have problems of survival," he said. "If you can bring an end to poverty, at least from an economic point of view, you can have a more livable situation between very rich people and very poor people, very rich countries and very poor countries. That's our basic ingredient for peace."

I think, if people properly gave their annual 2.5% zakaat (charity money in Islam) then so much could be done. I'm not saying eliminate poverty or anything like that ... I'm talking about taking little steps - but all leading to the right direction. Even if you eliminate the religious aspect of it, you can't say that giving for charity is not good. How can we, who have so much, not open our hands a little to make a difference?

The Bangladesh government is in such a pitiful state ... but what I have seen year after year is that individuals are using their own money to better their neighborhood, their streets etc. etc. It's so great when you see people willing to spend a little of their own money to help other people -- and not just other people, but these steps help the country as well.

So Yunus has shown that if you try and if you want to ... you can make a difference.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Going Postal

Does anybody know where the phrase 'going postal' came from?

I'm sure it has something to do with someone going insane at a post office ... like I almost went today.

I don't understand people that work in some of these government offices. Why are they so sullen, bitter, moody, and angry? They've got one of the easiest jobs in the world and yet they act as if asking for a stamp means that they have to move heaven and earth for you.

Take today, for example. I went to the post office and got a package slip. So I went to the counter where I'm supposed to claim my package. When I went the counter and placed the slip in the tiny window, the guy who was just sitting there staring off into space, gave me the look of death. I swear, his look clearly said - could you not see that I was busy doing nothing? Did you have to make me actually do some work today? I was so angry.

This is their job. If they hate it, why can't they find something more motivating, challenging, or exciting? And it's not like it takes great skill or energy to do what they're doing.

He grabbed the paper out of my hand and said 'shenoo hatha'? Thank god there was that glass barrier between us because I swear I wanted to reach out and slap him. I just ignored his comment and finally he snapped 'bataka' - I calmly handed him my id card - silently thinking to myself -- if he had simply done his job without an attitude, then both his day and mine would have gone so smoothly. Finally my white package slipped transformed into a pink one which he shoved in my direction as he barked 'rooh Keifan.'

I knew this was going to happen as all personal packages go to Keifan, so I quickly rushed there.

I was pretty excited as I knew this was my birthday package from D and I really wanted to get it so that I could open it tomorrow. It was already 12:25 and I knew that the post office was closing at 1 so I just hoped I'd make it there on time.

Thank goodness, I did. I went to the express package counter and they got my package in a minute ... now came the time when they were going to go through my stuff.

I was really hoping that they wouldn't ... I mean, it's my birthday present. It's wrapped. I wanted to open it ... and of course, above all, I didn't want to see what was in it, I wanted to wait.

So, I took a chance and told the guy - I know you have to open it, but I don't want to see what's inside. He was a little suprised at my statement. So I explained, tomorrow's my birthday and I want it to be a surprise. He just said ok, have a seat.

I heard him open the box and cut through some paper and then move things around. I didn't want to look - I didn't have the heart to see all the wrapping paper all over the place.

Finally I heard him say he was finished. I went to get my box and saw that he hadn't ripped any of the paper. He had just slit the top to look inside. I was so relieved. So he handed back the box and said Happy Birthday ... then paused and had a slight smile on his face and said (with his hand still on the box) do you want to know what's inside? And we both just laughed as a exclaimed 'No!'

See -- is it so difficult to have a bit of a sense of humor and be nice? I mean, he was polite so I was polite to him. He worked quickly and efficiently, and I appreciated it.

Why can't it always be like that?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tick-Tock - The Clock won't Stop

I can't keep up. I mean seriously, where does the time go? It's not like I spend hours lazing around or anything. In fact, it's the opposite.

So I start my day with a list of 100 things to do. As I strike off 20+ things, I add on 30+ things ... It's never ending!

I enjoy staying busy for sure, but now I've created a new meaning for the word busy. It's getting really frustrating.

A big part of it is Ramadan timing. I can't get anything done during the day. When I do have time in the afternoon, all the shops are closed. And if I set out to do anything in the evening, I spend most of the time stuck in traffic. It's making it really hard to get things done ... and now the pressure is mounting. Registration of my car, grading papers, working out, getting things for my new apartment, wedding plans, Phd work ... and that's just the beginning - and you can forget about time for family and friends. I don't know how many times I've said no to outings etc. but I just can't do it. When I do have a spare moment I just need to be by myself to recuperate and get ready for the next list of things to do.

They say we should enjoy life and stop and smell the roses ... at this point in time, things are moving so fast, I can't even see the bloody roses!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Pill Popping Bliss

Okay, so my title may not be the most attractive of titles. I guess it's not even something that I should be proud of, but what can I say ... I'm finally sleeping.

I've always been hesitant about taking sleeping pills or sedatives. But this summer my insomnia go so bad that I went into Boots and got a bottle of herbal sleeping pills. I tried them out for a few nights but found that they were really relaxants. So instead of being able to fall asleep, I would just lay in bed, relaxed, but wide awake. That definitely wasn't my idea of a solution.

A few weeks later I had a nasty fall down the stairs. As horrifying as that experience was, I have no complaints as the medication iw as taking for the pain put me soundly to sleep. And what can I say, it wasn't too long before I became hooked.

I didn't depend on them right away ... it wasn't till another few weeks later when my insomnia was kicking in that I decided to reach for that little bottle of magic pills to just try and get a good night's sleep ... and what do you know ... it worked! And so I took a few more the next night, and then the next, and then the next ...

And each morning I woke up feeling great because I had a good night's sleep.

Seems good, doesn't it ... well, not to everybody.

My friends are a little concerned about my growing dependency on these pills. To calm them down I told them that I'd give them up ... and I did ... well, for a few nights ... but those nights were so restless for me. I had trouble sleeping. When I slept I couldn't stay asleep ... and then I'd finally wake up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck.

So my argument is ... what harm can a few pills a night do when the results are so good? I get to sleep. I feel rested. And when I wake up, I'm ready to go.

I guess I'm caught in a dilemma right now. I don't want to be addicted to these pills. And actually for the last week I haven't taken them at all ... but the bad nights of sleep are really getting to me. I just don't know what to do ...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'm back ... I can't believe how long it's been since I wrote ... especially given the tons of things that have been going on in my life over the past few months.

So here's a quick update:

First of all -- the biggest news of the summer is that D and I got engaged!!! :)
Though we had talked about it before it still came as a bit of a surprise. And I was a little nervous as we told his parents, but they were so excited for us ... a few days later I flew to tell my parents about it and they were just as excited! There was a lot of happiness and joy in the air and it was thrilling to tell my family. Of course wedding plans started right away ... and with 200 immediate opinionated family members, it's not always easy to mange ... but we're making our way through it all --- I'm sure I'll have details later.

Second --- the trip to the States was good. I had a great time in Boston. Felt extremely relieved to get rid of my storage unit in NY ... oh my God - what was I doing with all that stuff??? And I had the weirdest things come out of my boxes! I got rid of most of it, but even after donating things I ended up spending $1000 shipping things back home! Will I ever let go?? After getting that task out of the way H and I headed to NYC for a luxury weekend at the Waldorf Astoria. We had a brilliant time. As we drove into the city I realized that I absolutely loved NY. I never miss the US but as soon as I enter NYC, I feel nostalgic and long to move back to America.

Third --- I quit working at the advertising agency!!!! I am so relieved! There were two main reasons for the move - I really wanted my afternoons back & they weren't paying me enough to keep them occupied and two -- it just wasn't fun anymore. The company environment changed and I started to dread going to work. And I refuse to feel that way!

I'm so much happier now that I've quit the job.

So that stuff basically brings me to the here and now ...

I'm getting settled in my new flat which is slowly taking shape and turning into the cozy place I want to call home. I'm still waiting for D to finish up work in London so that we can be together. And work has started again. My class is great and I'm enjoying it so far.

That's the basic update from me ... will be back soon with lots and lots of details :)


Friday, July 07, 2006

Silence in London

The day was like any other -- everybody was going about their business ... rushing to meetings, hailing cabs, chatting with friends, laughing ... D and I were on the train heading into central London when the announcement came on reminding us that there will be a 2 minute silence in rememberance of the 7-7 bombings last year ... Has a year already gone by? What a chaotic day that was - I'll never forget the anxiety that built up as I was stuck in a train, waiting for news - my family and friends desperately trying to contact me to make sure that I was ok - everyone reaching out to each other to comfort & console ...

D & I walked out of of the train and were on the platform when everyone stood still ... London had come to a stop. I was amazed at the stillness in the station but I desperately wanted to catch a glimpse of what it was like in the city -- what a powerful feeling to have everybody stopped at the same moment of time - remembering ... whether it was remembering the exact event, their friends, their family ... what it all means ... why it all happened ... what can be done to make this world a better place ... whatever it was ... everybody was in it together ... and I could truly feel the power of silence.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Glimpse of a Geisha

I didn't get too many good reviews about the movie, but heard that the book was excellent ... After reading it I think excellent is an understatement. The book was completely enchanting. The story itself held me captivated ... put together with the style of writing and the wonderful descriptions, I was completely lost in Sayuri-san's world ... Her story was heart-breaking and inspiring as well -- to see how hope can help a person pull through any situation that comes her way ... how love can be such a driving force towards achieving goals ... to realizing that we never know what lies in our destiny ...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Separate Lives

Another divorce. I just feel so numb at the thought of it ... no, that's not true. Numb would imply that I'm not feeling anything - but that's not true. I just haven't been able to put my finger on the exact emotion as yet.

It's always been something that worries me. It's such a sad thing to happen. Heart-breaking really ... but then again, I do understand that sometimes people just don't get along ... or sometimes, it just doesn't work. I definitely don't think that people should stay together just for the sake of staying together and not wanting to disrupt their 'lives.' I've often said that I think it's better to be alone and happy than with someone and miserable ... after all, life is short ...

Still, there's something disappointing about it. I guess because it scares me. The idea that people can be together for years and years and then realize that it just doesn't work ... it's scary.

At the same time, maybe it has nothing to do with time. I mean, I've seen all sorts of situations. Arranged marriages lasting for 30+ years ... 'love' marriages breaking up within one year ... marriages for the sake of convenience lasting and growing into something special ... marriages because they think it's the 'right' thing to do falling apart soon after the exchange of vows ...

So anything is possible, and we can't predict the future - how our lives will change, where we'll be, who we'll be with ...

I guess we just have to give it all we've got and take comfort in the knowledge that yes, we did try to make something happen ... and it just didn't work ... but we did try.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Lingering in London

There's something about London that makes me so happy. I know a lot of people find it chaotic and busy ... but maybe it's because I come here for such short periods that I get to enjoy the atmosphere without being caught up in the dreary weather and the rush hour commute ...

But today, D and I were huddled under an umbrella, walking hand-in-hand through the crowds in Piccadilly Circus and I just felt so happy. I felt completely carefree and at ease and it was just wonderful to feel that way after such a long time.

There are other things about London that I love as well. I love sitting in Hyde Park with my notebook - watching people and writing ... I spend a lot of time writing here. It's like my creative edge sharpens as soon as I step off of Heathrow Express.

We spent a few hours browsing in bookstores today -- it's something I miss so much in Kuwait. It's so hard to control the temptation to pick up all the books that catch my eye ... and I really shouldn't buy anymore. I need to finish reading all the books that I've already bought before I buy again ... but of course that's easier said than done!

Well, now that I'm back from Canterbury I have a lot more time to relax and enjoy the London atmosphere. Even though I've been here several times there are still plenty of things for me to do and see ...

Tomorrow will be another wonderful day in London ...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Huge Success

Would it be funny to say that I felt like a mini-superstar?

I was nervous like you won't believe. I my hands were shaking so much that I had to put my notes down because I felt that it would make my nervousness so obvious. I thought I'd be lost without my notes, but I just took off ... and it was great. It was a topic that I felt comfortable with and passionate about.

I actually didn't realize how well it went until the audience asked me to continue to talk even into their tea break! So I went on and I loved it. We had to leave the seminar room as another presenter had to get ready for his presentation, so I walked out of the room surrounded by six or seven people all hoovering around me ... I was amazed and so happy. Like D said ... I was a superstar and for the first time I didn't feel too shy about admitting it (just a little though).

I learnt a lot from the conference and felt that it was a very productive trip and the start of many more I hope!

Now my vacation finally begins!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Unveiling in Progress

I deleted all my blogs today. I had thought about deleting them a while ago, but I hesitated. Then I realized that there really was no reason to keep up a bunch of posts that had so much to do with a past that I have now moved far away from.

There are so many things in me that have changed. More than that ... there are so many things about my vision of my life and my future that have changed. A lot of my blogs seemed to be so negative and depressing. I just don't think that's who I am anymore. I'm not denying that they are a part of my past ... after all, if I hadn't gone through all those events and experienced those emotions, I wouldn't be where I am right now ...

I took some time to think about some events that happened in my life this month. They made me realize a lot about myself - about how tough I have been on myself, about how negatively I have looked at many aspects of my life, and about how weak I have been in terms of reacting to others. I finally managed to see that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. I actually realized that I had some worth.

So, today is the start of a new beginning ...