خذي شايب يدلعك ولا تأخذي صبي يولعك: Marry an old man who will spoil you, not a young one who will only give you headache

Standard

A few days ago on Facebook, my status was the title of this post.

After a looong dry spell, I had an unexpected brush with the possibility for louuuuuuuuve…. Ha ha…

 

The suitor was cute, educated, spoke at least three languages well (including English!… ha ha) and for whatever reason was impressed with me. There was only one problem …

 

Okay one main one among many that had yet to be discovered:  He is old… much too old, for me. He doesn’t look it, which MashAllah is good  for him, but the fact still remains that he more than 10 (but less than 20—- and no it’s not 19) years older than I am.  I was bothered by that fact.  The context, I will spare,  but he’s a serious minded individual looking to settle down in late age.

I am no spring chicken, but damn! I’m not Catherine Zeta-Jones or Celine Dion. For whatever reason I have been binging on Romantic comedies and Disney Classics: Love stories and then some… I think they messed with my head ya’ll!

I did some reflecting and realized and said to myself that this is an individual that is looking to get serious very soon and I am not in that zone.  It wouldn’t be right to just go along for the get along.

But part of me did some reflecting and said, hmmmm … I’m awesome, I know that. But, how can I tell if this person recognizes that or is just getting the best that he can get now that he’s old(er) and perhaps can’t catch the PYTs of his own race. (Yup, he’s not black).  Being here has made me even more sensitive to this phenomenon: Older (usually) white men bagging young(er) beautiful black women.

 

Something like this… Love is does not have an age, I know, I know. But…

 

Now this guy is not white, but he’s not from an ethnic group that completely embraces black people (are there any that do???!!!). And I just can’t tell if he was attracted to the novelty of the black girl who not only speaks Arabic, but his dialect as well— and I didn’t want to discover what someone would probably never admit anyway.

 

Not every man is Joe DeBlasio, you know!…. wait is his first name even Joe? or did I just make that up?

His directness took me off guard, but then I realize that older men have no time to waste. I, on the other hand am not in quite so much a haste.  One of my friends made a good point, her dad is ten years older than her mom and now that they are older he can’t be as active as she is. Then I remembered that my dad was 11 years older than my mom and he died, leaving her with little kids to raise at a pretty young age. Then I started thinking about Celine Dion (praying her husband pulls through) and I wondered if this was something really worth trying out to see if it fit.

I am not one for “practice” and see where it goes in relationships. Things are less messy that way.

I mean, look at me writing a journal post about something that is a whole lot of nothing, but because it very easily could have, has got me thinking, reflecting etc.

I guess I’ve realized that talking to people for the purpose of marriage is heavy stuff, and I’m not sure I am cut out for it… it’s too much pressure…. Ha ha… then again, the last time I did it, it was with someone older than myself and with some of the same time of our lives differences coming up.

Oh well.  I guess when you end up alone after a little bit of excitement, the threat of spinsterhood rears it’s ugly head in your subconscious.

 

And this is what it says…Guess it’s a good thing I stopped watching Glee when Finn died…

In the mean time I can stare and continually be rattled by the new coworker who looks just like the high school sweetheart…. How fitting that I be around such a constant reminder of the folly of teens and early twenties on the eve of my turning thirty…. #FML

 

… No, Rabna Kareem, so I am keeping hope alive that the next frog I kiss (figuratively) will be a prince.

 

Advertisements

My Real Unemployment Chronicle #3: You see my glory, but you don’t know my story

Standard

Alhamdulilah!

I have a real job now. I have an awesome job that is a great fit with me, my personality, my skillset and what I like to do.

But as the barrage of blog posts before this one show, it was not a walk in the park.  But as I say, Rabna Kareem!

Even at this organization, I applied for positions and was turned down, some invited for an interview, some not.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was encouraged to apply out of the blue for a position that I didn’t even know existed.  Surely, I thought, I would be granted an interview since someone reached out to me about this posting. I was wrong.

yes, I do little kitty, yes I do…

And like so many other networkingish positions before, they didn’t even give me a heads up until I emailed to ask about the status of my application.

In the wake of my disappointment about yet another let-down (one that I totally didn’t see coming in such a blatant fashion), I saw the posting for the position I have now.  Dejected and demoralized, I figured I wouldn’t even get an interview, but I would go ahead and apply anyway to “stick it to the system.”

Yes, and somehow I thought revenge would be to turn in an application that I was sure they would not consider?…. wt heck?…. I am just grateful that it was part of a larger plan… Rabna Kareem 🙂

Well, things don’t work out the way we plan, but in my case, that’s ok!

I am gainfully employed, and InshAllah, will continue to be so.  What’s better yet, this girl is dusting off her suitcases and headed to…. undisclosed Arab country!….ha ha…. I have been saying Alhamdulilah!  for a while now, because it’s the only phrase that encapsulates how  I feel.

Some people don’t know how hard this journey has been, some due.  But I know that some will look at my paid internship and look at my job now and think, “wow, she has it in the bag.”

Actually the picture is far more complicated than that.  I don’t owe it to hard work, dedication or any of that stuff that some people like to talk about. All thanks is due to my Lord!’

Free at last! Free at last!  Thank God almighty I am free at last!

And to those of you still in the job search trenches… keep your heads up! Rabna Kareem!

It’s Been A While, but I’m Back in Style….

Standard

Wow, it’s been a month or so since I last posted… I wish there was something I could do to change that… but I’m not sure there is.  I have been thinking of bowing out of this blog, I’ve had this online identity crisis before, so we will see how it goes.

 

The truth is, I don’t feel anonymous, and when I don’t feel anonymous it makes it hard for me to put down what I’m really thinking, seeing and feeling.  My choices at this point are to start all over again, turn the blog to private or keep doing it how I’ve been doing it.  There are pros and cons of each decision, and short of going back in time and making it so that certain eyes never learned of its existence, I will have to make a decision at some point.

 

It’s all further complicated by my attachment to this particular space.  I like my online name/persona, I like my blog address, heck I even like my username and password… ha, ha..

On Desire as the Root of suffering

Standard

I don’t remember much from world religions class in high school, but I do remember that a central idea in Buddhism is: Desire is the root of suffering.

I’ve been thinking about this concept as of late, and am trying to put it into practice.  No, I’m not Buddhist.  But I think there is something to it.  How often do we go around  wanting things and torturing ourselves because we don’t have them, can’t have them?

Whether it’s the trophy husband/wife, dream job/fellowship/scholarship, financial life, social life etc. I think a lot of people fall into this pit.  Did I?

hmmm not sure, but I’m trying to rearrange my priorities.  Maybe I will have a better attitude about life if I can try to think about things within this prism.  As a believer, His grace/provenance and guidance should be enough.

Maybe I hate my host family because I desired too much, maybe I tire myself out with the unnecessary pressure I put on myself for things that are beyond my control to a large extent.  Maybe I regret my educational pursuits, because there is something in human nature that always makes us see that the grass is greener on the other side, that makes us question our choices in 20/20 hindsight. And don’t even get me started on social/romantic choices.

All of that is a thing of the past.  Desire is the root of suffering is my new mantra… although I wonder, could the opposite be true?  Could suffering be the root of desire?   Could you need to feel the burn in life in order to push yourself harder, to be faster, stronger, wiser?

Today I put up a facebook status, that was basically my realization of two important facts.  1. For every year since 2004, I have spent at least 1 month abroad.  2. Each of these experiences  in turn, made me appreciative of the fact that no matter what, America is the place I call home.  Some of these trips at least, involved real, raw suffering. They made me desire to be back in the place that I perhaps otherwise would have taken for granted… even though it too is/was filled with it’s own sets of obstacles…sigh. That’s life folks. Can’t live with her, can’t live without her, (does that even make sense?)

At any rate, I will see what I will discover in the next few weeks and months,  from here on out, I’m trying to desire as little as possible.  He who expects nothing is never disappointed.  I don’t know if Buddha said that… but something to keep in mind.

I’m not going to turn into some ascetic or anything, but I’ve been needing a fresh page for a long time… I don’t know if this is it… but here goes nothing.  Which is what I desire.

Limbo

Standard

I am in limbo right now, on so many levels it’s not even funny….

From Arabic tests to relationship stress to what the heck am I doing after this summer? Were the choices I made mine? were they the right ones?  am I blaming all those around me without being introspective?  Am I striving in the areas that matter?  I don’t know.

I guess it’s all part of being a grown up.  But it’s not easy to sit here, and feel like I’m in limbo… like there’s a million other places that I would rather be than Egypt… like speaking ARabinglish is getting old, like I made a wrong turn somehwere, on the highway of complacency and satsifaction with life…

but I know this is all because of the unknown, 2 months to go and so much has be done in this time period, it’s daunting… I guess in this respect I’m kind of life Egypt itself, waiting to see whether the outcome is something that will be good or bad, whether life from here on out will be better or worse…

wait did I just compare my first world, BAP problems to those facing one of the most important nations in the Arab world?  Yes I did… wow, I need some humble pie with a side of get back to reality sandwich.

On Settling

Standard

 

Although in French knowledge of another Romance language would enable you to read this... the summary-As a woman get's older she goes from ridiculously high requirements for a man she will be with to being desperate. It's sad, but kind of true.

 

What does it mean to settle?  How can one tell if he/she is settling?  I am once again musing about marriage/life/romance… lol… I promise to get back to Egypt at some point…

But this topic is what today is on Gazelle’s mind… once again, it’s not completely because of the boy… that may or may not blossom into something worthwhile, but what is worthwhile is thinking about this.

I’ve read parts of the book “the case for settling” and I think the author makes a good point.  From what I gather, she does a study of sorts of women in their late thirties who are still unmarried and why… most of them are still single because they dumped past boyfriends because things did not feel absolutely perfect: he was too short, or too boring, or adventurous or bald or had annoying laugh or swallowed his food weird… I mean some of these reasons were just plain ridiculous.  The main idea is that marriage is about partnership…  don’t think of marriage as finding the one that will light your fire, think of it as finding the one that will help you run a non-profit organization….Some may disagree, but it’s kind of true!

Marriage is not about finding the love of your life (well, not necessarily) it’s about finding a life partner who will honor, support and cooperate with you on big things like buying a house and having babies to little things like cooking dinner and washing dishes.

People think about marriage as something about fire, sparks, emotions and attraction, and I don’t think if I ever thought about things that way.  Much more of a practical girl, the things that matter to me are:

 

Is he nice/kind to me?

Does he respect me?

Will he value me as his wife?

Does he value my opinions even he doesn’t share them?

Will he be supportive when making important life-altering decisions?

Will we he be able to be real with me and tell me when I am straight-up tripping in a respectful manner, no matter what?

Will he put up with me even when I’m looking/acting crazy?

Will he give me as much attention as I need, and not as I want?

Will we be spiritually in-tune?

And it goes without saying that I think he should at least have a Bachelor’s degree and preferably a Masters.

There you have it, my complete list…   It’s funny because it’s a simple list and there’s probably quite a few people who fit the bill… I didn’t always things this way… there was a time when I would sit around waiting for feel butterflies in my stomach or to feel “just right.”  That sense of peace and awe when you you’ve met the love of your life…  maybe “the case for settling” has infiltrated my brain, but I’ve changed my perspective.

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be attracted to Mr. Right or Mr. Good Enough.  It just means that even if I end up with Mr. Good Enough, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have a happy, healthy and long-lasting marriage (the end goal).

Needless to day, when the time comes, I will probably settle, not on the big things, but on the romanticized notion of what love and marriage is, according to movies, shows, films and novels.

On Apprehentions about Race(ism) in the Arab world… (and by Arabs in America)

Standard

One of the reasons why Egypt did not find a way onto my “been-there, done that list,” is because of my apprehensions about being black in a brown world.

That is, I knew that color  is important and that darker skinned peoples did not always fare too well, and did not know if I could handle being in a place like that so soon after being in Morocco.

Now, it’s not that these fears have evaporated at all.  But Alhamdulilah I am a little older and have had other brushes with being black in a brown world so I can handle it… or can I?

Race relations, or colorism or whatever the heck you want to call it, in the Arab world is a beast all its own.  I am trying to flush this out more and more before I get there…again.

It certainly felt like “White makes right” In Qatar, but that of course was with certain caveats.  Nationality outranked everything. In class, I certainly felt like my white, American counterpart was seen as the strongest, the most interesting, the smartest… even more so than European students in my class.  In fact, some of them even joked about how instructor(s) doted on this individual while they could care less about anyone else.

I of course blogged about how people treated me one way when they thought I was a black African (which technically I am) and completely different way when they found out I am American.  By the end of my stay there, I began to reflect on certain things, and feel  that some of my instructors at least, had an estimation of me as a student that did not match up to the grades I received from the very courses they taught!  Yes, there were student who felt the same way, but them I just ignored.  I won’t go into longer explanations of what

The two incidents that stood out to me were: One instructor in particular, although he tried hard, could not hide his shock at finding out   that I would continue Arabic at the graduate level upon my return to the U.S.  2. the program itself misprinted my final grade on my certificate (an entire letter grade).  On one hand I chocked it up to one of the many randoms that happened in Qatar.  On the other hand, for something as important as this, one would think that they would have taken the time to put the correct information on there.  And then the thought came to me, this program is not that big, everyone pretty much knows each other.  How could this kind of mistake happen?  Was there something working in the subconscious of the instructors that be?

Is this the reason behind my conundrum?

Fast forward to my fall semester here in the U.S. and I am met with a heaping helping of frustration and incompetence.  Not one, but two instructors blatantly insulting my intelligence weekly if not daily.  Instructor A: Egyptian.  He was disorganized and his lessons inherently incoherent.

I could go on and on about the hell that was his class…lol… but the most important thing for the purpose of this post is that He always, always put me down.  The literature that I enjoyed reading was “nonsense”  (he literally told me this).  If I produced a particularly well written piece of work,  I was praised for it, followed by the question “Did you write that yourself, I mean without help from anyone else?”   Honestly, I did not get it.  paperwise, and based upon my performance in the summer, I was/am one of the strongest students in the program… so why was this guy insulting me? There was slew of other problems with this instructor.  He certainly did insult almost everyone in my class…(although not the same intelligence focused, comments that he threw at me).  So I don’t know what was really up with him.  Could have been color, could have been his crappy personality.

Instructor B was even worse.  Instructor A was so horrible (as were/are many other facets of my program) that I almost did not detect his treachery before it was too late.  Instructor B always gave me blank stares when I spoke, you know those  “why tf did you just open your mouth?” type stares.  He never understood me when I spoke… like Ever.  It practically became the job of the native Arab in my class to explain to him what I was saying.  I was perpetually perplexed because my accent while noticable, is not thaaaaat bad.  I would go on to venture that I speak far more clearly than many of the other people in my class that other people, native and non-native alike have remarked at their difficulty in understanding them (people, might I add, whom this instructor never seemed to have problems understanding and who sat further away from him).  But what really irked me, is that the other native speaker understood me just fine.  So what was his problem?

To add insult to injury, when it was my turn to lead class discussions, he actually gave me the questions that I should ask, something that he NEVER did for any other student in my class.  He actually even read each question to me and explained what he wanted to ask… I can read Arabic just fine.  In short, the instructor treated me like I’m slow to the take.   Again, I was perpetually perplexed.

But, I didn’t mind too much because my grades on all of his exams were “excellent” (literally his words, not mine) as a matter of fact, I scored an A- on an exam where the native speaker in our program scored a B., one of the highest in our cohort.   My final paper, he could find no fault with substance wise (to start off with it was on a topic that he has woefully no knowledge of) and it was clear that it was thoroughly researched, well thought out.  I won’t lie, that assignment was probably my favorite one the whole semester, and so I relished reading the sources (English and Arabic ones) that brought my paper to life.  Contrast that with many of my classmates who literally put something on paper the week before. … I am not saying that they are not intelligent, capable individuals, but I put months into my work and it showed.

After quickly praising my work, he slammed it because I did not separate it into sections (something not stipulated before) and because I did not use the word “I”!

My final grade for the course, a  B+ was a kick in the face.  He had no real reason to back himself up. Thankfully I never throw anything away, and prefer correspondence in writing… so I was ready to challenge this nonsense.  I was in the right, and  had all the hw, tests, quizzes and emails to prove it.

The issue was resolved in a compromise of sorts.  But what I leaves me a little bitter about this experience is the question, “why? ”

Why was I being denied the grade that I had earned?  What was it about me that made this man, who did not know me from Adam, evaluate me so low?  At least one conclusion, reached by those other than myself, Arab and non-Arab alike, is that for this man “White makes right.”  It would not be a stretch to believe that he could not look past my skin color and acknowledge my intelligence.

But, I don’t go too far down that road, because I have to ask myself, How much of this is my perception?  How much of this has to do with race(ism)/color(ism) Being at work, I will never know.  But what I can not, unfortunately ignore, is that it is there at all.

I know all too well that it exists in the Arab world.  I have friends and acquaintances that have intimated as much and or blatantly said what I would call racist things.  As well as  people who have been disowned for going “black.”   I have Arab friends and acquaintances who have objected to people calling them racist terms usually reserved fro black people.  Not because they are inherently wrong, but because they aren’t ethnically black.  Yes.  I know all to well that racism exists in Arab societies whether it be Arab country X  or random Arab instructor living in the USA.

And that is what I am thinking about as I go to Egypt. Qatar certificate aside,  before this program, the thought never occurred to me that I could be graded down because of race… unfortunately, that could be the case….sigh.

Some of the Arabs I know certainly seem to think so… Whatever the reason may be, I’m ready to document every interaction and file every piece cw, hw and exams… sigh.