What 29 year old me has to say to teenage me…


Yesterday, I was talking on the computer (cuz you know how international calling goes these days, right?… haha) and doing mindless facebook clicking: One friend’s profile led to another friend’s profile which led to the profile of someone I am not longer in contact with on FB or otherwise. Nothing serious, I just had a phase when I went through and removed most of my high school connections. At the time it was freeing.

At any rate, this no longer FB friend is doing well (and I had no doubt that he would) He’s apparently in medical school or maybe graduated from there and has a cute girlfriend/fiancé. All in all kudos to him. I am writing this entry about this encounter because this guy used to be that boy: The one that was soooo into me (and I had no idea why) and would be annoying/creepy about it. Well that is how I felt about it then. He was never stalkerish, but would wait for me in the mornings in my classroom. He had no business there, no friends there per se, so it was painfully obvious to my friends what he was doing. (un)Fortunately, through no fault of my own, I was habitually late to that class… ha ha…. But he faithfully waited like everyday for moooonths. On the rare occasion I actually got there before he had to make a dash to his own, all he would do was smile with one of those goofy, awkward , dorky smiles you see on tv and say hello.


Sometimes its better for all if things are left unsaid… ha ha…


Ugh, I was teased quite a bit for that. But, that was then, and this is now. My how things have changed! Ha ha… First off, NO! seeing his FB profile did not change my mind about not wanting him…. Ha ha… I’m genuinely happy for said brother.

Looking at his profile just made me think about how much life changes. Gazelle has gone from pushing 30 to being damn near dragged over the line into the next decade and has started to think about how have I changed.

I always like to think that it’s the people around me who change, but I, at my core and for several layers of epidermis after that, am still the same old girl from the block. But Alhamdullilah that is not true. I have matured in my thinking about a a whole slew of things. For one thing, I could have handled the situation with Early Morning Romeo a lot more smoothly. I was never mean (was old enough to know better than that!) but I can’t help but cringe at my immaturity in all of our interactions. I can’t turn back time, I can’t change a thing, but if I could, 29 year old me would whisper in 16 or 17 year old’s me’s ear and say… get it right girl! Ha ha….

What else would 29 year old me tell teenage me? Hmmmm… probably something about embracing that aweseome size 6 body while it lasts, because aside from that fall semester after your extremely malnourished junior year abroad, it’s NEVER EVER EVER EVER getting back together…. Ha ha… but seriously, I would tell me that the things that I think hold constant aren’t necessarily true.


Yeah I used to be pretty badass, now it’s all gone… sigh… wait, it probably was never there like thaaaat to begin with… ha ha…. The past is always how you remember it, right….

I would encourage her to follow her mind a little more than her heart, because the heart can say some crazy ish that makes no sense and will take on wild goose chases for things, careers and people you can’t have. But your mind knows that you know better than that… ha ha… So yeah maybe teenage me would not have been so caught up in the other point on that – Gazelle- early morning romeo- Mr. ugh, I can’t believe that was a thing for as it was

Triangle…. (Because that was a mess and made me a mess, and was full of cringe-worthy episodes).

Oh God, if that was the higlight of my love life…. yikes!!!!!!!!!!! I demand a refund!… ha ha…

Maybe I would have buckled down and been a computer science major and had more options. Maybe I would have know that just because a 6 foot three guy with a basketball player’s build, Elite University degree and killer smile pops out of no-where and we happen to hit it off, it doesn’t mean anything…. Because you will discover that he kind of sucks as a person… ha ha….


He sucks, like as a person… he just, sucks 😦 … ha ha…

Naw, what I would probably tell teenage me is that you smart, kind and important so own it! Sometimes I look at older pictures of myself and sigh because I don’t think I saw then the awesome person that I see now.

So yeah , I guess that’s 29 year old me’s advice to 30 year old me: See the awesomeness that you are NOW, relish it, embrace it, and OWN it!

Even if the scale is a little (or a lot) heavier, even if you get tired and can’t party like you think you could have when you used to… ha ha… you will probably look back and think, dang I was so cool. Let’s hope this time around, you don’t say, I wish I had know that back then.


So Yeah, all of this to say it’s time to reflect, on a lot of experiences and interactions and figure out what pearls of wisdom 29 year old me can give to 30 year old me and probably wishes she could give to 16 year old me… ha ha…

Expect more posts to come…


دا الي ناقص—- That’s Just What Was Missing!


دا الي ناقص (da ili na-is) is a phrase that you say in Arabic when a situation goes from bad to worse.  my translation in the title should be read with sarcasm.  Now, onto my post:

When my uncle passed on I was angry.  It didn’t make sense, his life trajectory was not what I have been raised to believe happens.  Upstanding member of the community, a man that worked two jobs so that he could support not just his nuclear but his ever-growing extended family.  He worked to death.  He worked so hard that his body never rested and doctor checkups didn’t take place… until it was too late and the cancer was too strong.  He fought cancer and won… only to lose and die a slow, painful death, his very mind and body deteriorating with him.  Where was his reward for being such an exemplary individual, the kind whose quiet poise and love is only really appreciated after he was gone?

So yes, suffice it to say,  I was angry.  Angry at life.  And Disappointed in life and God and everything.  I just didn’t know it.   And then, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer.

دا الي ناقص!!!!!!!!!!!!

My aunt’s diagnosis scares the beJesus out of me for a lot of reasons.  On a personal/selfish level, unlike my uncle she shares my gene pool.  And so I am thinking about mortality, about life, about God and about what this all means.

On the larger and more important note she’s my mom’s older sibling, and I see the worry on her face.  She knows her sister is a tough cookie, but she’s also a stubborn cookie.  Her state means a lot of shifts and changes for my family.  This has taken some time to sink in, but it eventually did.

And then unexpected tragedy struck again… a family friend passed away.  It was so weird.  Mainly because I had heard her voice on the phone just two days prior, had been to her home the week before.

دا الي ناقص

Just another example of how people can be with one moment and then, poof!  Gone forever the next.

Her passing while it perhaps should have made sense, hit me like a ton of bricks for a number of reasons.  For one, she wasn’t much older than I am.  Second, she had been battling really bad health for several years, including a weak heart and lungs (requiring her to be hooked up to oxygen all the time).  When she first became ill, the fact that she was eventually discharged from the hospital was a miracle of sorts.  Her profile was one that doctor’s said had less than 10% chance for survival.

I think because of this,  we were all lulled into a sense of security.  There was a sense that the worst had passed with her and there was no where to go but better health. Indeed her health had improved over the years.  Things were supposed to be looking up.

There was no indication that she would die.  She just went to sleep and didn’t wake up.  I still remember being woken up by the cries of her mother on the phone as she kept repeating the fact that her daughter is dead.

*Mecca’s life seemed all too unfair.  A young woman cut down in her prime, whose body essentially became a prison for the last several years of her life, who died undoubtedly without having done many of the things she would have liked to.  These things, are recurring themes in my mind… especially when my mom noted she seemed to drift off to somewhere else sometimes, like she was remembering better times, when her trips out doors weren’t controlled by how long her  portable oxygen tank would last.

I hope that she is resting in peace now.  There is nothing left.


Sadly, this has been my life for the past few months.  Of course, there are other things still, that take up my mind, eat up my soul, and stress out my body.  (Right now, fighting the worst case of pneumonia I’ve had like, ever…. I forgot the extent to which being sick sucks دا الي ناقص 😦 …

I’m tired of the condolences, have no words left to console anyone (not even myself), and am wondering why event the solace once found in prayer so elusive.

But as some random Arab guy told me, “you’re not alone… cheer up your condition could change in the near future.”     Let’s hope so.

I guess I just wanted to mark the moment, as a way of not bring all this baggage into the future… What happens in 2012, stays in 2012… (I hope).

Despite the successes, accomplishments, great new acquaintances and friendships, 2012 has been a crappy year in so many ways, and I am not at all sad to see it go.

I guess I can find solace in the fact that I can now relate Arabic language proverbs and colloquialisms to whatever I’m going through at the moment…. (*cricket noises*)… bah!  who am I kidding?

Here’s to 2013 being a very lucky 2013…

*not her real name

On Losses and Gains…


I went to the doctor yesterday… to get my physical form for the Fulbright filled out.

Things went pretty quickly, but I ws surprised by something, perhaps pleasantly so…

I weighed in at 10 pounds less than I did just 10 months ago!  I am still confused about that, because I don’t know where the 10 pounds went, and am thinknig that maybe the doctor’s scale is a bit old and not functioning properly.

I had heard it quite a bit near the end of my Egypt stay from people that أنت خسيتي خالص!  that I had lost a lot of weight, particularly around the waist… but it never felt like that to me…

But now that I am back home, and packing up for yet another transatlantic trip, I am going through the things that I didn’t take to Egypt and seeing if they might be useful for wearing in Morocco.  And by golly, things fit really well, things that didn’t fit before I left for Egypt now do!

I’m not quite back to where I was when I graduate from college, but I think I’m pretty close… weird.  But yeah, 10 pounds though seems like a lot…. still doubt it was that much…. my friend’s digital scale in Egypt had me at about 3 pounds less. The analog scale here at home has me at about 7 …. 7 pounds.. hmmm I can live with that… ha, ha…

and what is this weight loss due to?  stress!  I mean I ate out almost every day the second semester … unlike Qatar where I exercised 5 days a week for an hour, I didn’t do diddly… but for the most part I only ate one big meal a day… sigh…. I mean I hope it’s not because I contracted some worm or something, I mean the loss would have been much more dramatic, right?


Sheesh, the way some people exclaimed when they saw me, you would have thought I was obese when I first got here… I guess that’s why I didn’t put much stock into what they were saying… apparently I should have.

Now I’ve go to  get to used to this new, old body… I never really realized anything was different, my clothes for the most part, seemed to fit the same… but I guess not… in restrospect there were some changes, I just didn’t know what the true cause was.

So this is a loss, that in a way is a gain…. completely unexpected.