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

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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!

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When did religion begin employing telemarketing tactics?

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During the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college, I decided that I wanted to chill out, go home and just find any old summer gig (in lieu of pursuing an internship or some other intense program).  It was a mistake, one that to this day I regret.

Try as might the only job that I eventually could find was working as “customer service” for a prominent cellular phone company.  But this was back in 2003 and the thing that was all the rage then was home phone service that offered unlimited calling to anywhere in the country.

My colleagues and I were not actually equipped to answer customer service concerns. Instead, we were trained how to try to coddle (angry, sometimes irate) customers who were not happy with some aspect of their bill or service to … Yup, you guessed it- offer them the chance to enroll in more phone services.

You’ve all been through it.  You get the telemarketing call, you tell them you are not interested.  What do they do in response?

Give you a thousand rebuttals, usually prefaced with a man “Ma’am/Sir I understand your concern with X but (insert sales pitch here)”

It was awful.  I don’t have a sales bone in my body, so I just tried to pass people on to the real customer people as quickly as I could while not being penalized for lack of “sales.”

you know how many times I got responses like these?…ha ha

Today on the bus, something happened that, like those telemarketing pitches are annoying. I was texting my friend who was waiting in the airport trying to catch her flight.  A girl sitting next to me saw an opening.  She tapped me on the shoulder and offered me a flier invitation to attend her church.

I’m hip to the game at this point, and am not in the mood to even try to be polite.  But I see that the flier is expensive it’s in color, on glossy stock paper and embossed.  I tell the girl that I probably will not attend so don’t give me the flier, save it for someone who will come.

But wait, there is more.  She is no satisfied with what I have to say.

At this junction can I ask something, why the heck do people, particularly “religious” people who want to smack you over the head with their jumbo Bibles, keep going.  It’s like when you politely decline it’s read as an invitation for even greater glory as they bring you over to their side.  Sigh.

Her rebuttal was “But the event is not even for today”

Um, ok, but I just told you without even reading the flier that I am not going. So, I told her point blank, I don’t care when it is, I will not go.  Please save your flier for someone else.

I then go back to texting my friend.  A normal person who respects a person’s personal space would leave it there.  I think Jesus or one of the apostles said something like if people will not receive you, then leave and shake the dust off your feet as you go out.  (In other words stop trying to force yourself on people).

But oh no, she was not done. Her next tactic, to ask me, “well, what church do you go to?”  Um what? I was angry at this point this shit (excuse my language) was straight up out of those how to “witness” (bka prosletize) video.

I just told her point blank with a very firm tone and without looking away from my phone, “I don’t want to have this conversation.”

She was apparently shocked that I should dare rebuff her encroachment on my privacy, peace of mind and conversation with my friend- finally put the darn flier away and started chatting on her phone, probably about me…. ha ha….

Maybe I should make fliers with these and hand them out to every Bible thumper that comes my way…ha ha

Can I just declare that I hate effing incidents like these?  They didn’t bother me so much before, but I hate them now!  Leave me alone, leave everyone alone! Stop trying to cram your religion down my throat!

I don’t want to go to your church!

As I told my friend in the text explaining what happened: I know that God loves me, I don’t need to attend your church to find that out!

I’m sorry but it seems to me that this rise in the number of randos handing out church fliers, trying to talk to strangers about their particular church or “Jesus” in particular tends to be a numbers game.  The cheesy scripting “Hey, what would you do if you died right now?”  “Do you feel alone, sad or depressed?” “What do you want God to do in your life today?”  —- all of which I have heard used on yours truly—argh!

It just smacks of naivete and insincerity.  Yes, you sincerely want people to believe what you believe, but are you really thinking about that individual’s state of being right now?

Ok, maybe this is what I need to do next time?… or is the picture saying that this what Bible thumpers do?…hmm… let us reflect..ha ha

Are you actually listening to what their concerns are?  Or are you so busy trying to tick of the next thing on your list of tactics that you miss the point.

If your “witnessing” reads like something that came out of a can of Spam, I would suggest that you reexamine yourself.  “Winning Souls” is not a numbers game and people can tell that you are indeed treating them like just a number.

… ha ha

I’m not a fan of proselytizing, but I usually can deal with it in smaller doses.  I know what some people respond to this kind of approach, and are grateful for it.  That is fine for them.  I respect that. But, I also think that when someone politely declines your advances, I think it’s just a matter of respect and courtesy  for them and for yourself, that you drop it.

It seems to me that if you continue, then you are “starting something.” Anyone who believes that God is the one that converts people/changes hearts, knows when to shut up and go about life because GOD is in control of everything.

I am picking on the Bible thumpers in particular today, because quite frankly I am only ever approached by strangers from Christian sects.  I think when we talk about religious discussions among family members, then we are talking about something totally different (just an ending caveat).

I’m not an atheist, but this might be a nice change of pace…ha ha…

On Realizing that My Life is Like a Cancelled ABC Drama

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Circa 2006, Taye Diggs starred in Daybreak, a drama about a man who was stuck repeating the same day over and over.  I enjoyed that show, and was probably the only who did as it was cancelled quicker than you can say whippersnapper.  It seems boring to have to repeat the same events in each episode over and over, but it wasn’t.  Each day, he grew more cognizant of the difficulties that would face him the next time around. Every time he made a different choice, said a different thing, the outcome for that day changed.  But, the more he did things differently, the more things stayed the same for him.

It struck me today as I headed home, that my life, much like that of Taye Digg’s character, is stuck in repeat.

The more that everyone else around me changes: get old, die, marry, have children, overdose on drugs or happiness- the more I stay the same.  I mean, people have a hard time believing that I am almost thirty, instead mistaking me for 23 or 25-year-old.  And then, there’s the issue of de ja vu.  I have come to the weird realization too many times to mention as of late, that I have been in similar situations throughout my life.  You can feel the same anguish, fall into the same despair or even laugh the same crooked laughter but so many times.

So yes, the world around me is changing.  People around me are changing, moving in and out of my life.  But, I remain constant.  And after a while, remaining constant starts to feel like going backwards , not in a cool time machine kind of way, but in an utterly hopelessly stagnant kind of way.

The soundtrack of my life?… who knew all it took was a Google search

It’s something that’s hard to vocalize, and even harder to codify; My cold reality is that no one on this earth really understands the thoughts and feelings that I am trying to convey.  Maybe that just comes with the territory.  After all, like this post, I mince my words with the right mixture of opaqueness and candidness, just enough to leave everyone, including myself confused.

In yet another session of trying to explain my mental, spiritual, emotional, physical (insert any other sphere of life here) plateau to a friend, I just gave up.  “The fact of the matter is,” I told her “My life is probably better than what I think it is, but it’s also a whole lot worse than what other people think it is.”  And that, I guess is true for many.  Only the person wearing the shoe knows that it rubs against the pinky toe in the most abrasive way, or that it cuts into the leg at the top part of the heel.

Overall, I’ve just given up.  Yes, given up on everything.  Maybe this is what would have become of Taye Digg’s show- maybe he just wakes up one morning and says “You know what, F—this sh—-” and then rolls over and goes back to sleep.  It’s like when you were a kid and thought it would be cool to run upward on an escalator that’s headed down, rarely does it end with the result that you’re gunning for, at least that’s how it always worked out for me: over, and over and over again.

Sometimes, My life feels like this…

So yeah, my life is like a cancelled ABC drama.  I didn’t know where else to make this declaration because, to be honest there is no one in particular that I can tell this kind of thing to.  Everyone I know either won’t understand, has too much on their plate so I can’t add the burden of knowledge of this amorphous thing that I carry around, or just doesn’t give a damn.

And yes, I count my blessings (if only life were as simple as preschool Bible song).  I am grateful, but I’m not content.  Yes, I’m not someone who is being trafficked, I don’t have to cross landmines to get to fresh drinking water and I wasn’t married off at the age of 12.  But my problems are not first world problems (not purely).  But I can’t help it if my pain is pain too- if I touch, see, taste and smell it every day… on repeat.

They Say that if you left it all out, you’ll feel better…

So here I am, crying out, not literally (well not all the time) but mentally, or perhaps physiologically.  Maybe if I get these thoughts down now, I can wake up tomorrow, and find something new.

But how can that happen? You know, the other effect of the show being cancelled in its first season, is that so much was left unanswered.  While we did find out who was responsible for his never ending day, we will never know why Taye Diggs had to live life in repeat.

I’m writing this down with the hope that someday, five years or so from now, when I come back to read this entry on my probably defunct blog, I will be able to recollect how I feel but not feel how I feel.

On Life Kind of Really Sucking…

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Yet again I start a post and the darn thing gets erased… sigh.

I’m too lazy to rewrite everything, but the gist of the story is this: heard about the suicide of someone I know.  Someone who would have been one of the last people I would think would do such a thing.  Someone who was also carrying a deep secret: years of being a child molester, maybe even more than one victim, actually almost certainly more than one… sigh.

The pain this person caused in life and in death, makes me think about human nature, Divine Will and all that jazz.

Yes, I am contemplating questions that aren’t new… no one has the real answers to them.  In the past, it was enough for me to think about a little and then give up because it literally made my head hurt.

Is suffering really a part of Divine Will?  Are people brutalized, children born only to die of starvation and disease a few months late and individuals work their whole lives only to see all that effort go up in smoke via fire, economic crash, accident, injury etc. Does all of this really have meaning?( In terms of it all serving some higher purpose or making sense in the end).

Surely these people do not suffer so that those in a better position feel more grateful about their lives in its totality, no matter how horrible one facet of it may seem…

but, like I wrote up there, I have no answers… will spend this time reflecting on these questions.

In Pictures: Christian Images in Egypt

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Iconography from the oldest church in the oldest monastery in the world

The curtain separating the holy of holies in a Coptic Church (the Holy of Holies is where the Holy Communion is kept, I think)

The entrance to St. Anthony’s monastery the first monastery in the world

How most big Coptic Churches tend to look

I just loved this sign it reads: No blessing and not acceptance for anyone who writes on the monastery’s walls…

gotta love the multiculturalism in this carving… Jesus loves the little children….

Jesus

 

the alter at the Catholic churchCatholic Church statue of a saint

In Egypt: Tatoos for Babies?

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For the first time I am in an Arab country with a indigenous Christian population that does not live in secrecy.

I am still trying to make sense of the nature of Christian-Muslim relations, but today I wan to talk about a phenomenon among the Copts.  Relations between the two groups are not always the best (but that is another blog post).  I personally don’t want to offend anyone so I make it a point of duty to try and learn how to navigate the Muslim and Christian world here.  And in Egypt that means even little things like greetings.

It’s no surprise that although I have studied Arabic for too many years to count, I don’t have much knowledge about Arab Christians.  Most of my teachers were either from 99.9% Muslim countries or clearly never interacted with Christian,  so I have zero Arab-Christian experience.  I am trying to make up for that by attending Arabic-language church services (and that also is a whole other blog entry)  let me tell you, it is plenty different).

At any rate, a key part of navigating the Muslim-Christian world is knowing how to tell which religion a person is.  This is certainly not something that I am used to doing so it was a little hard at first. Someone’s religion is just not the most important aspect of a person’s identity for me, at least not when you first meet them.But it certainly is here.. like much of the Arab world it’s question number 2 or 3 right after “what is your name?”

Needless to say, it’s my experience that Christians have taken offense to my greeting them “in  Muslim way” i.e. saying assalamu alaikum.  So I want to avoid such moments of awkwardness from now on.

Back to the main point this post. As about 95% of the women here wear scarves, figuring out their religion is not hard.  However, there are some Muslim women who do not cover their hair and so, I can not just assume that a person is not Muslim based on this alone.

Copts, the majority of Christians here are making this weeding out/classification process a lot easier because so many of them have Tatoos!!!!!!!!!!!

yup that’s right a lot of them get a cross tattoed to their wrist!  I asked one of my classmates about this and apparently they get them when they are pretty young, although she got hers when she was much older.  I googled the topic as I didn’t realize it was something that people had done in infancy and I found this article with video that was pretty interesting.

A tattoo is certainly the ultimate demonstration of fealty to your confession, but I don’t know what I think about little kids undergoing this procedure.  Tatoos hurt, like a lot.  Then again, so does circumcision.

For now, I guess thic Coptic-tattoo thing will just be fascinating to me!   Unfortunately it’s not the sort of thing that has ever come up in a single Arabic class.   I am even toying with the idea of getting one. But who am I kidding, I am a total wuss… it looks painful.