Monday, January 30, 2006

update..

Just wanted 2 let you guys know that I don't think i'll be updating 4 a while. I have been blessed with a severe case of tonsillitis (for the second time) and I have been extremely passive for the last 3 days. The fever, cold, heachache, sore throat, loss of appetite and nausea are getting on my nerves! I don't usually get sick, but when I do... it's BAD!

Will be contemplating my next post's topic.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Older-men-magnet!

When I first moved into my flat, I was fully aware of it's location's draw-backs. I was aware of the fact that this flat was situated in GHETTO Leeds. We're talking about the area where MOST murder, rape, robbery, bullying and sexual harrasement cases take place. Now as STUPID as this might sound, as a student studying in the U.K, one has to keep track of his/her daily expenses. Living in the city was out of the question! It would've cost me a fortune! Living anywhere else meant that i'd have to worry about trasport fees as well as accommodation fees! Therefore, living in Hyde Park was the most rational decision.

I have to admit that hearing gun shots in this area has been as common as hearing cars pass by!!!! Nevertheless, Hyde park remains one of the commonest student attractions. It's cheap, it's 15 minutes away from the University of Leeds and it has a variety of convenient stores fit for a student's daily necessities!

Anyways, now that i've given you a summary of what to expect, should you decide to visit Leeds and Hyde Park in specific, let me get to the REAL story.

In order for me to get to uni, I must walk up this HUGE slope that leads to the main road. Before getting to the peak of the slope, I usually make a pit-stop at a small grocery store to buy a couple of things.. you know, water, cigarettes (sometimes), top-up my credit.. that sorta thing. The thing is however, the shop-owner happens to be an old, preverted, silly Indian man. Everytime I come into the shop, he greets me with his usual flirtatious comments such as, "sweety-pie","my love","sweet-heart".. etc. Usually, listening to the phrase "love" after every sentence is not too worrying around here. British people tend to use that word ALOT! But as for all the other comments, they're a bit uncommon!

At first, I kept telling myself that this man is old, he's married, he's a father of two, and his kids are as old as I am, so he's around what? late 50's? So I chose to ignore all his silly remarks and continue shopping in his store.

Things got a bit extreme when I decided to walk into his shop one very fine day to top-up my credit. He looked at me with his pathetic eyes and explained that he loved his wife and kids more than anything in the world. Why he was telling ME this was beyond my understanding but the next few lines solved the mystery,
"You know, I have NEVER cheated on my wife. You hear alot about different men taking advantage of their helpless wives by sleeping around with as many women as they can gather. Not me. I am a faithful husband and I intend on keeping it that way. Now... I was thinking. You're a lovely girl. You're smart, you're beautiful, you're kind and you're genuine. I can tell just by having these short conversations of ours every now and then. So why don't you let me take you out for a nice cosy dinner at my place sometime during the week?"

I looked at him in disgust and I couldn't help but find the IRONY in his question amusing. As funny as this might sound, I really didn't want to be rude so I kindly said that I didn't think it was a good idea and I walked out.

Passing by that certain store was NO longer an option after that incident, but I decided to give him another chance and plus, I was desperate for a pack of fags!

"Riiiiiiiiiiinnnnggggg" went the usual door bell hung on the top of the door to attract the person behind the desk's attention. There he was, looking as old, filthy and ugly as he always did. "Hello sweetheart. Long time no see. I hope I didn't scare you at your last visit because i've realised that you don't come round here anymore. Well, not as often atleast."
"No, no i've just been busy with exams and uni. You know us students!! (nervous laugh)"
"Oh yes I can imagine. Well it's really nice to see you again love. You made my day. Come here (arms wide open awaiting a cuddle)."

I personally froze in my position (it could've been the weather cuz mind you it was BLOODY cold outside, but in this case it was definitely the situation I was in). He approached me and put his arms around me while I sheepishly patted his back.
"It's good to see you my sweety-pie. So how about that dinner?"

I WAS SHOCKED! I couldn't help but feel guilty for not wanting to be rude the first time he had asked me the same question. Nonetheless, the bastard has asked me out again!
"You can give me your number and you know I live upstairs, so we can meet here and i'll take you up. Do you like red or white wine?"
"I don't drink!"
"Ok then coke it is."
"Paul listen, maybe I didn't make myself too clear the last time you proposed this offer, but I really don't think that's a good idea."

He then grinned cunningly and started walking closer to me until he had me cornered. He put his arms around me again and looked deep into my terrified-looking eyes. For a moment, he leaned closer to me to give me a kiss, but I quickly responded by pushing him away and leaning to the other side.

How I left the shop and how things had gotten to that extent HAUNTS me until this very day.

All I can say is that I AM NEVER PAYING THAT ASSHOLE A VISIT AGAIN!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Islam...

Being an Arab in England can be quite difficult at times. However, nothing beats being a Muslim in this country. Not after the terrorist attacks that took place in London over the summer. From bullying to nasty looks to hostility and isolation, one can only wonder what the future is yet to bring.

The amount of times i've gotten into debates over the topic of Islam with the most RANDOM people are countless. From taxi drivers (both British and Indian/Pakistani), to shop owners (both Muslims and Hindu), to teachers, friends and the passenger sitting next to me on a plane, i've had 'em with ALL!

What surprises me the most are the different views those people had.

The Muslim taxi driver, who was originally Pakistani but had lived in England for the past 25 years, thought that as a Muslim who'd experienced life in England, this was no place to bring up his daughters. He decided to take them back to Pakistan, where he registered them into all-girl Quran teaching councils, wed them to the finest Pakistani men and bought them the perfect homes. Allow me to add that these girls had never been introduced to the hijab or the strict rules of female and male separation before they moved to Pakistan, so the culture shock must've been a GREAT one!

The Hindu shop-keeper, who had asked me to leave the shop after I had innocently asked whether or not he was Muslim on the day of Eid so that I could wish him a happy Eid, thought that muslims were a threat. He explained that Islam was too strict, "extreme" and unacceptable. "I am Indian. When I bump into another Indian, it brings me joy. Out here, it's nice to meet people who come from the same country as you. Who understand you're culture and your life-style. Who can relate to your feelings of detachment and isolation. So it's nice to go out, talk, have a laugh and a few beers and keep intouch. However, when this Indian turns out to be a Muslim, that would be the first and last conversation we'd ever have. Muslims are nothing but trouble!"

The British taxi driver, who's daughter had been co-workers with one of the London suicide-bombers' sister, thought that the public's impression of Islam was appalling. "It's a shame that people can be so narrow-minded and judgemental at times. You know that girl, the guy's sister, was a lovely woman. The nicest girl you'd ever come across. She didn't have a CLUE what her brother was up to and yet she was sacked after the London bombings. To tell you the truth, I think she's better off. The harrassment, black-mailing, threatening and bullying was getting outta hand. But I mean the poor girl had nothing to do with it!"

The British guy sitting next to me on the plane who kept answering my every attempt to explain what Islam was all about with a sarcastic laugh, thought that Islam and Muslims were ridiculous. "Does the Quran tell you that your religion is better than other religions? Does it ask you to bomb every other Christian, Jew, Hindu..etc? Is that how your God claims you earn Heaven? What about me? Just because I happen to be a devout Catholic does that mean that I don't get the right to go to Heaven?"

However, the best debate i've come across so far HAS to be one that I personally did not take part in. I was watching a programme on MBC 4 entitled "Heaven". It was actually an American programme from abc but it was recorded and was being viewed on MBC 4 that particular day. The programme involved a variety of interviews with a range of religous figures such as the Dalai Lama, a random pope, sheikh and rabbi. The programme was obviously in English!

When it was time to shed some light on Islam, two fairly contradictive interviews were taken. A Palestinian prisoner, held captive in Israel for attempting a suicide bombing on Israeli soil, and a sheikh/ lecturer at a well-known American university, were asked the same questions. The questions were fair and quite predictable but the ANSWER to one particular question SHOCKED me:
Interviewer: "What were you thinking when you planned this whole thing? Do you think that by committing suicide and killing hundreds of Israeli men you would be considered a martyr (shaheed) and therefore go to Heaven?"
Prisoner: (in Arabic) It's not in my hands. All I want, is to end up in Heaven.

When you read the man's reply it doesn't really strike you as shocking. What WILL strike you is the translator's interpretation of his reply:
"I hate all Jews, they should all burn in Hell!"

Along with each debate I received a word of advice:
The Pakistani taxi driver told me to go back to the Middle East and leave this life of temptation and sin behind. "Women belong at home!" He told me to always respect my parents' wishes and be an obedient girl. He even asked me to get married to the man my parents thought was appropriate, "you're parents know what's best for you. See how my daughter's lives have been so successful!"

The Hindu shop-keeper thought I was a good example of a broad-minded muslim woman. He asked me to speak up and let other Muslim people become aware of the amount of fear and terror they're causing. Then he asked for my number!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The kind British taxi driver told me he thinks the British public will soon get over it! He also added that he thought that our religions had alot in common. He then smiled and said, "you never know, I might just see you in Heaven."

The guy sitting next to me on the plane wished me luck (with a sarcastic laugh). He thought I was talking bull-****.

The questions I have in mind are these:
Who creates this impression of Muslims and Islam? We can blame the media to an extent but we have to take some of the blame too. Extremists in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan don't exactly make us look too welcoming... "you're either with us or we bomb you"! So, is Islam really that strict? That harsh? That "extreme"?

So many more questions......

Any answers?

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's about time!

You didn't really think I'd dedicate a whole post to Lym and another one to verbose without dedicating one to you did you? Tsk tsk tsk.. Here goes:

We started off as two little girls with the same interest, Barbies! Hiding away from the world to make our own Barbie soap-opera! We spent alot of time together, it was inevitable, our mothers are sisters!! But that wasn't the end of it. In addition to being cousins we were always the best of friends. Even though we never had anything in common, except for our secret Barbie obssession, we somehow managed to get along very well, and my God we were inseperable!

We argued, we fought, we didn't speak for weeks, ignored one another for months and we even wrote each other hate mail! We allowed others to come between us and we let our pride get in the way.

I remember those days like they were yesterday. 12th grade was stressful. We were all under alot of pressure and we were all feeling very worn-out and fed-up that the slightest comments caused the not-so-slight arguments! There was alot of drama, alot of tears, alot of unnecessary words used by the both of us, but in the end...... we came through!

What amazes me the most is the fact that we've both changed so much and yet we're still as close as we were 10 years ago, if not closer! I know for a fact that the girl I knew 5 years ago is NOTHING like the one I know now! I also know that i've changed! Whether we've changed in a good/ bad way is irrelevant at this point ;) because all i'm trying to high-light is how strong our relationship has been. We've managed to maintain our friendship for almost 17 years!!!! Do you know how long that is??????

You know i've always loved you. I might not say it as often as i'd like to but you know that i'm not really into the whole 'expressing your feelings to one another' thing. I have SUCH good memories with you. I can't help but smile everytime I think of the times we spent together doing the craziest things. From skipping school to go to Qantab, to going to the love shack for a 7abba, to reminding you of what to do when you both enter and exit your car, to driving around the whole of Muscat to try and find a place to eat, to driving down to Mutrah to see what's changed, to moving from one sheesha place to the other, to spending EVERY night in Kargeen, to witnessing your COUNTLESS embarrassing moments on the road, to and to and to......... the list is endless!

You have taught me sooooooooooo much. You have ALWAYS been there for me. You've always known the right things to say at the right times. You've constantly supported me when no one else did. You've stuck by me, knowing I was wrong, when no one else did. You've patiently listened to me complain about the most ridiculous things for hours. You've been a trust-worthy friend. You've been nothing but a life-saver since... I can remember!

Us singing along to the GAYEST and the most 7AMAS songs while trying to find a life is definitely one of my best memo's. You know you have a nice voice! Maybe one day we can BOTH try to do something about it!

I miss you... I spent a whole month following a certain routine each day, that being:
wake up- brush my teeth- change my clothes- call you to plan the day- lunch- internet- talk to you again- meet up with you- find a life with you- visit love-shack 4 a 7abba with you- drive around a bit more- dinner?- home- speak to you AGAIN!
and now, I can barely speak to you on the phone let alone do everything else! I've grown so attached to you. Leaving you was definitely one of the most difficult things I have had to do.

You really have made me realise alot of things about myself! I hate to admit it but I feel like there's something missing in my life now that we're not together! The funny part is, this post sounds like something I would dedicate to an exboyfriend or something! haha. Well, I know it's gay and all but i'd rather publically announce it then call you and tell you this in person! NOW THAT'S GAY!

Well, I hope that i've been a good friend to you as you have to me! I might not thank you enough for everything you've ever said or done but you know i'm more than grateful. Being your cousin/ friend has been a privilege!

I love you more than words can describe..

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's cold init?

So i'm back in Leeds. Wasn't really looking forward to it but hey, i'm here now so I might as well make the most of it!

Everything and everyone looks the same. To be perfectly honest, as much as I LOVED Oman and I enjoyed every minute, I don't feel like i've just come back. Studying for my exams is taking my mind off things. I don't really have much time to think of my family and friends and so home-sickness is not an issue.

It's ABSOLUTELY freezing out here. The temperature is around 4 degrees C. This can only be disadvantageous. It means that the complexion I acheived by spending almost one month under the sun is going to VANISH. It's funny how I need atleast 2 months of non-stop tanning to become two shades darker, when it doesn't take more than 2 weeks of this awful British weather to bring back the ghostly look I usually end up with!

So after spending atleast 4 hours in both Dubai and Amsterdam, trying to revise as much as I could for today's exam, I concluded that I definitely work better and remember things a whole lot easier when I revise in public. The thing is, you know how you can either understand things better when you revise individually or you can do so when you have someone else explaining things to you? Well, I always thought that I was the type of person who liked revising independantly. Group revisions were never my thing. Studying in a library was something I wouldn't have even CONSIDERED. I usually talk to myself when I revise. Talking in a library is not only not-allowed, but if I were to come across someone sitting in a little corner talking to themself i'd think they're insane!

I'm definitely jet-lagged. I slept at around 7 last night and I woke up at 5 this morning! I think it's very convenient at this stage, especially when I haven't done much revision for ANY of my coming exams! The fire-alarm had to interrupt my precious sleep by going off atleast SIX times last night! Allow me to add that this fire alarm is so loud that you can probably still hear it if you were standing atleast 2 Km away from my building! So you can imagine how loud it is when it's in your ROOM! I was TERRIFIED! There I was dreaming about Oman, my friends, 7awasna, my family and cats when this EAR-SPLITTING siren-like noise woke me up in panic. It was really scary you know. In addition, thanks to the fire-alarm, I started thinking of my exam and how my revision was inadequate. I started panicking even more but I managed to fall asleep whilst worrying about it!

The only enjoyable thing about being back in England is that I get to watch British t.v! I have a routine you know! I start with brain teaser, flip to countdown, watch the afternoon movie, catch up on deal or no deal, move to ready steady cook, then to the weakest link and finally to the simpsons! You know what verbose??? I DO watch alotta t.v! No wonder I have this annoying Amercian accent!

Anyways, I would just like to add that I don't think i'm going to be updating 4 a while. My last exam is on the 20th so I might just update my post after i'm done failing! :)

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

One can always dream.

I remember mentioning in one of my previous posts, how badly I wanted to transfer to Brisbane. I also recall explaining how difficult it was for me to accomplish this due to the ministry's reluctance. I know I made it seem like I had given up on trying to convince the ministry, and that I was UNwillingly prepared to spend the next three years studying in the U.K, in order to satisfy my parents' wishes. However, as a rebel (haha) I believe that this is not something I am used to! I don't normally give up on something I really want that easily. As for the 'satisfying my parents' wishes' part, well, what can I say, this is MY future right?

I arrived in Oman about 3 weeks ago. I spent the first 2 weeks travelling to and fro the ministry trying to see different people, hand-in the necessary paper work, break down infront of the weak-hearted, and finally explain myself to the people who mattered.

I pushed myself to the limit. I did EVERYTHING one could do. I don't think i've put this much effort into ANYTHING. I wrote atleast 5 different letters containing several reasons behind this sudden urge to transfer to Brisbane. Let me just add that my reasons were far from ridiculous. They were GOOD, powerful, and legitimate reasons that SHOULD have convinced the ministry to grant me this one request!

How could one create sympathy amongst people who do not have hearts? I guess that's where I went wrong. I ASSUMED that my reasons were powerful enough to convince the ministry that I was infact uncomfortable in Leeds. I don't want this post to be too personal, but to cut a long story short, something happened to me in Leeds. Something one would consider shocking and unacceptable. Don't let your imaginations run wild! But this "thing" that happened to me has had a huge impact on me and my impression of Leeds in general. It's just made me feel really uncomfortable, scared and quite..... I don't really know how to explain it but let's just say that it has had a major impact on me. Enough to make me DESPISE Leeds atleast!

So back to the ministry. For those of you who haven't figured this out yet, the only reason i'm running after the ministry is because I am fully sponsored by them! Anyways, so after stating my reasons behind this request to several people in a variety of letters, I was told that a certain committee, which usually deals with cases similar to mine, would be meeting up next week to discuss such requests and finally decide who's eligible or worth helping and who's not.

It has now been almost 2 weeks since. The ministry hasn't contacted me, but then again they never do. What's highly unacceptable is the fact that NO SUCH committee has had NO SUCH meeting to discuss NO SUCH requests! NOTHING has been done. After calling the ministry almost 20 times, I was repetitively asked to either contact someone else or write ANOTHER LETTER stating my reasons once more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people I had spent hours and hours trying to explain myself to claimed that no such case had been presented to them and that no such conversations had taken place! The people I had sent all my letters to claimed they had never received them. The people I relied on to support me, claimed to have done so but with no use.

No words can describe how hurt, helpless and frustrated I felt. Never did I think that accepting a scholarship would cause me this much misery. I was ignored. Everything I had to say was ignored. My letters were useless. My time and effort.... gone to waste.

On Tuesday the 10th of January I will no longer be here. Personally speaking to the ministry will no longer be an option. My conditional offer at the University of Queensland will have to be ignored the same way the ministry has chosen to ignore my letters.

What I do have to look forward to are my exams!!!! Haha.. the one's I haven't studied for that is!!!! I should be grateful for what I already have shouldn't I? What do I have? A scholarship? If i'd known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have even CONSIDERED applying for one! I'm getting the best education? How? I'm not studying, attending classes or paying attention if I do attend them!

What now?

God help me.........

Monday, January 02, 2006

What can't kill you can only make you stronger.

So I met this guy a couple of days ago. I'd seen him around in the past but i'd never really gotten to know him. To be prefectly honest, he was my ex-boyfriend's brother and that's as far as it went! I remember that when I was dating his brother, this guy NEVER really liked me. I don't think he approved of the relationship, or maybe he just didn't approve of me! I'm not sure what the EXACT reason behind this hostility was but I know for a fact that he could NOT tolerate me! I didn't date his brother 4 long, barely 2 months, and after I broke up with him, I never saw him nor his brother again.

So, I walked into this restaurant the other day and to my surprise he was there, I mean my ex's brother, sitting with a friend of mine. I said hi and whatever and we BARELY spoke. However, when another friend of mine called my name out in order to get my attention, this guy's facial expressions changed instantly. He looked @ me in shock and said, "You're mimi?" (using my real name ofcourse) And I looked @ him and said yes. He then continued, "I know you!!!!!!" and I said, "well ofcourse you know me I dated your brother!!"

Anyways, so from then on, I kept seeing more of this guy. Turns out he's a good friend of one of MY good friends, so we always ended up hanging out @ the same venue! It was good, I got to know him better, I got to tell him a bit about me and he got to tell me a bit about himself.

Can I just point out that I have not only been single for almost a year and a half but I haven't had a crush on someone in a VERY loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time!

So now that you know this piece of information I can get back to my story.

I don't know why, but I began looking forward to bumping into him. He always managed to put a smile on my face, and he was so sweet. I can't begin to tell you how charming he was. I don't know why I am using past-tense because HE STILL IS as charming as he was when we first met!

We ended up partying @ the same place for new years. Alot happened that night but to cut a long story short........... alot was said, and maybe it shouldn't have. I said too much and he didn't react the way I had HOPED he would. Let me just spit it out..... he was DEFINITELY NOT interested! Sound familiar?? I know what you're thinking... QUEEN REJECT RIGHT? I know, I told you. My luck with men is quite........ SHIT!

Now the funny part is that this is what I gathered by speaking to him that night. My other friend, who is also a good friend (if not a relative) of his, disagreed. I had previously informed her of my true feelings, and she had promised that she would do her best to hook us up. After I had POURED MY TRUE EMOTIONS out to the subject, I was pretty convinced that I would have to spend the next couple of days trying to get over another REJECTION! But, according to his relative/ friend, I was wrong! She confirmed that he WAS infact interested. She told me that she had spoken to him earlier on and he had basically pointed that out himself!

Now like I said, I have been rejected so many times before it's become more of a routine! I don't know if I can handle being rejected once more, and especially not by someone I ACTUALLY like!

I'm supposed 2 meet up with a couple of friends today and he's supposed to be there! I'm not quite sure what i'm supposed 2 say. I haven't done this for so long I feel as though I have forgotten how to handle these situations! I feel as though I am 15 again!

The suspence is killing me....

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Any plans?

Everyone seems to be really into the whole partying mood now that new years is on the way. I mean I have to admit that I too was looking 4ward to it. I had everything planned out. My cousin n I were gonna catch a ride to Dubai to meet up with a couple of friends, and then attend this party held in the middle of nowhere. Apparently a number of dj's from all over the world were gonna be there busting their moves, so it sounded like alotta fun.

Well, it's the 31st of December today and I still don't know what i'm doing tonight!!!!! Dubai got cancelled, dad thought it was too dangerous with all the wadis and what not, due to the constant rain we had this morning. This is the problem with Oman. When a little rain decides to honour us with it's presence, it creates a RIOT in Oman. We had no electiricity in the house for atleast 4 hours this morning. Not to mention I heard that the traffic lights weren't operating this morning for the same reason! It's not bloody Tsunami u know! Ma balak if it was!

Anyways, back to my plans for new years! So there was this party @ the automobile club which I planned on checking out, but sadly, I couldn't find myself a ticket and after making thousands of phone calls to try and hook myself and othersup with tickets we decided it just wasn't worth all the effort!

I wonder what I will end up doing tonight!!!?? Let me just list the various ways in which I celebrated the last 4 years, to show you how important it is 4 me to DO SOMETHING:

2000- went to Qurum natural park with my cousins and ended up staring @ a projection of a "towell" clock on a white screen to countdown the last 10 seconds.

2001 + 2002- don't think I did ANYTHING!

2003- drove to Mc donald's with my cousin to have a meal. Bumped into my ex... didn't go too well!

2004- I think I was too busy stydying for exams or something!

2005- Partied @ Bustan but was asked to come home @ 12!!!!!!!!! Beats the whole purpose doesn't it!

2006- I can pretty much ASSUME that it's gonna be something like pizza hut!!! Hahahaha.. I hate this!

Well anyways, I hope you have BETTER plans! Happy new years everyone! :D