Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bookshelf Identity

As per Faraz's general tag, my bookshelf. Let's see what we can deduce from the random stuff here.

Exhibit A

Textbooks from school, as well as one (very out of place) Stephen King book which I have never read. I promise you I didn't buy it. It was a gift. Various writing guides, a book of super-old English plays, stuff on mental health. In the left bottom corner there are some copies of The Muslim Voice from when I was editor (vanity much, I know).

Exhibit B

My favourite textbook of all time: Deviance and Social Control. That was possibly my all-time favourite course. I realized that society does not like deviants such as myself, but that it's okay because there are people out there who understand. As well as other random texts. The Brothers Grimm complete compilation of stories (which I borrowed from the MSA office once when we were cleaning it out. Nobody knows why it was there in the first place). Let me take this opportunity to say that they were perverts. All the fairy tales you read are watered down versions of the originals.

Exhibit C

Top left corner is a bunch of AlMaghrib course packages, then there's cream, sunglasses that I never wear, a jar of seashells I picked in Egypt three years ago, old poetry books. The Muqaddimah is there somewhere, too. Have yet to make a significant dent in it yet.

So Deduce what you will. Analyze what you will. I think it's a fair representation of my interests (except that Canadian Literature book which was full of super super boring stuff. Not that I dislike Canadian literature in general).

So how well do you think my bookshelf represents me? Not that you know me, really.

Friday, August 24, 2007

♥ Canada ♥

I'm back, and it's great. I missed the quiet. I missed actually having the option of putting a seatbelt on in a car. I missed the pedestrian's right-of-way. I missed cleanliness and not being fearful of encountering large crawling things every time you venture into the outdoors (and indoors too actually). I missed fruit! Oh man, I missed fruit. Peaches and bananas and oranges and grapes that don't have flies hovering over them.

The funny thing about changing environments so fast is how you end up feeling about yourself. In Egypt, I'm practically considered irreligious. Aparently all the really dedicated Muslim women wear niqab or are on their way to doing so. But I just tended to blend in with all the other hijabi women. It was harder for me to focus on my Islamic identity there for some reason, even though you hear the athan 5 times a day and there are mosques everywhere. There's something about being in a non-Muslim country that makes me feel like I need to hang on to Islam a little tighter, that I need to be a stronger Muslim here. Someone please analyze this for me since I'm still too jetlagged to think straight.

I've decided that I love Canada. That is all. And now I am off to sleep for the next 15 hours.

PS: if anyone has a job they'd like to offer me, please feel free to do so. Thanks.

PPS: anyone wishing to phone me should realize that I no longer have a cellphone. Will likely buy one once I have more than $40 in my bank account. Bye.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Buckles and Beads

So I'm traveling back to Toronto in a couple of days. I'm looking forward to coming home. Sometimes I get so frustrated here because I don't know my way around and have to rely on other people (who are often unreliable) to take me places. That's what I most about home: my independence.

But then, being still unemployed when I get back is going to suck. Being unemployed in Egypt isn't that hard since you'd fit in with the majority of people anyways. I think I'll miss it here.

Sometimes I think it'd be okay for me to live here for longer, to get a better taste of what every-day life entails. For some reason I've been thinking about what the Sound of Music would've been like if it were made in Egypt...

Bright neon clothing and shiny gold buckles.
Bearded old men with thobes and bloody knuckles.
That scraggly grey cat and the tune that it sings.
These are a few of my favourite things.

Bad English grammer on storefronts and t-shirts.
Glittery hijabs and tight short beaded skirts.
Half pound sandwiches fit for fat kings.
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the cars smash
when the streets stink
when I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things,
and then I don't feel so bad...

So yeah, Egypt has definitely had some unforseen effects on my brain cells. I need to re-grow them and come back to Canada.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The girl is MARRIED

No, not me. My sister got married yesterday here. So far two of my sisters have gotten married in yeah, it's been a busy time :)

It was chaos, pure and utter chaos. We went to the mosque and found that it was packed with other people who we didn't know. They had apparently double-booked the place: 2 nikkahs at the same time. So we sat in the crowded and hot prayer area and waited for the other nikkah to be over, which took just under an hour. My sister was sitting there and saying to me "uhh can you go make sure this isn't MY nikkah going on" since we couldn't see anything due to the crowdedness of the place. People pressing up against you while you're trying to breathe in the moment, very distracting.

So the unfamiliar crowds finally dissipated and we were left with our guests, mostly family (of which we have an unspeakable amount). There we were, looking over the balcony at the men's area, pointing out our cousins, waving at random relatives, listening to our uncles making speeches before the marriage was performed. It was surreal. You know when you have to do a double take in your mind to make sure what you're seeing and hearing is actually real? That's how it was.

Then she went down to sign the contract and fingerprint it, and came back up. We watched our dad with her fiance, now husband, "giving her away." And it was really a couple of seconds and it was over, and I looked at my sister and thought, you're married now. I cried like a baby, it was pretty despicable. To make up for it, I took around 200 pictures.

So the groom's family gave out chocolate and mango juice to the Egyptian crowd. Another custom they have here is that the groom gives the bride the "shabka" which is jewelry, including a diamond ring and blah blah. So what they do is put the jewelry on a platter and walk it around the mosque for people to ooh and ahh at. My sister was irritated. We all came back to our apartment and ate cake and drank pepsi and 7-up from glass bottles.

I must have greeted at least 80 people, most of which I didn't know. And each one got three kisses (sometimes four, depending on who they were). It was interesting, watching all these people, some complete strangers congratulating my sister so sincerely. I couldn't tell if it was genuine or not. I'm pretty sure every single person who said salaam to me said "3obalik," meaning "may you be next." I was afraid. The pressure is on.

The end. Amongst all the stress and arranging stuff for the wedding, I told my sister that as long as she's married by then end of the night, nothing else matters.

Now that's the end.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A summary of why shopping in Egypt is hard...

a) hideous clothing.

b) english that gives me a headache.

c) naked, dismembered mannequins.