Denizens of the Bus or Immigrants to Nowhere...
Me to caretaker: Sorry, did you see which bus just past by?
Caretaker: Sorry, I didn't see the number.
Me: That's OK, I--
Quadruple amputee: Are you going to miss us when we go on our Disney cruise?
Me *smiling*: Yes.
Quadruple amputee: Are you going to write?
Me: I can't--I won't have your address.
Quadruple amputee: Oh.
When I was a child, my father made me a most wonderful present; a small bow and arrow out of twigs collected from the trees he planted in the front yard before I was born. He carved grooves into the wood with one of the numerous files he owned and let me play with sometimes. He made the unladylike toy to celebrate no particular occasion, not to reward good behavior, but just because. I was...
Arab children, Corn ears of the future, You will break our chains, Kill the...– Nizar Qabbani, “Verse” s. 20
Books Read in 2012, part 5 (last one)
I completed reading 22 books this year, including four classics, four novels featuring characters from Istanbul, three Iranian-American memoirs, modern classics, fiction and my first graphic novel. Each book is listed in chronological order completed along with a brief review, and my favorite reads from this year are highlighted in bold. Here are parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. The Possessed: Adventures...
"Attempting to reestablish connection. Please...
The miles between us are shortened by man made miracles, yet underscored by the inadequacies of the virtual. A thousand, “I love you“‘s tinged by tungsten and the glow of my screen is an unequal substitute for my head on your shoulder, the squeeze of your hand, an afternoon spent laying in the grass. The curve of your face is still identifiably yours, though pixilated. The depth...
Lately I seem to find myself doing housework to Arabic music from the 1950’s and ‘60’s. I imagine I’m declaring love that surpasses understanding or reason while I iron shirts, and asking God for patience with a lover’s thick headedness while wiping down the countertops, complete with emphatic hand gestures and head tosses.
The Sacredness of Steam or the Tao of Tea, part 2
Although it’s not a tea, the yerba mate is on my tea shelf, along with the metal straw used to drink it. Along with a scarf that used to smell like him, and a few photographs scattered on my computer, the bitter grindings of this South American plant are the remnants of how I spent my time with my first love. We were both students and strangers in another country, spending our free evenings...
Photoset of Snow in the Middle East and Turkey... →
Who wouldn’t grin at the sight of an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in Jerusalem wearing a snow blasted beard? Or at grown men having a snowball fight in Jordan? Who wouldn’t have their breath taken away at the sight of a frosted Istanbul? Or at blankets of snow in Jerusalem? Both heartwarming, and saddening (a kid in Jerusalem built a snow Hamas Rocket; the snow in Syria did not deter...
I’m twenty-two years old, and I still get antzy when I’m falling asleep and I notice my closet door still open.
Books Read in 2012 part 4
I completed reading 22 books this year, including four classics, four novels featuring characters from Istanbul, three Iranian-American memoirs, modern classics, fiction and my first graphic novel. Each book is listed in chronological order completed along with a brief review, and my favorite reads from this year are highlighted in bold. Traveler of the Century, Andrés Neuman. I...
Books Read in 2012, Part 3
I completed reading 22 books this year, including four classics, four novels featuring characters from Istanbul, three Iranian-American memoirs, modern classics, fiction and my first graphic novel. Each book is listed in chronological order completed along with a brief review, and my favorite reads from this year are highlighted in bold. Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri A...
Books Read in 2012, part 2
The Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht Surprised that an author so young (Ms. Obreht was 26 when she wrote this) could garner such high praise for her first novel, I eagerly began The Tiger’s Wife. A Serbian doctor’s grandfather goes missing, and in between learning about her grandfather’s fate, Natalia remembers their pasts and the Balkan folk tales that he taught her as a young...
When a man is in love how can he use old words? Should a woman desiring her...– Nizar Qabbani, “Language”
Books Read in 2012, part 1
I completed reading 22 books this year, including four classics, four novels featuring characters from Istanbul, three Iranian-American memoirs, modern classics, fiction and my first graphic novel. Each book is listed in chronological order completed along with a brief review, and my favorite reads from this year are highlighted in bold. B as in Beirut, Iman Humadyan Younes. Set in...
Loins girded and wallet trembling, I actually got my Christmas shopping done early this year, being mostly done four days away instead of on Christmas Eve. Apparently, threats of the Mayan apocalypse or true procrastination kept just enough shoppers away so my head wasn’t spinning most of the time. After 5 hours of shopping, my head did spin and pound afterwards, no doubt in part due to the...
I have the numbers of the barcode of my local library card memorized.
Last night I spent twenty minutes discussing the twelve year old Korean drama “Full House” with a Korean man. He was surprised and somewhat delighted that I was familiar with and enjoying what was, and still is, a very popular serial. I also asked several questions about Korean vocabulary and grammar. “How do you properly say muot?” “What’s the difference...
[bleep] my weekend, part 2
This is part 2 in a series documenting a maladroit weekend of particularly inept moments. You can read part 1 here. ** Saturday—After the conference, I headed back up the K’s apartment. K and her then boyfriend, A left the conference early to work on A’s entry for their college film club contest. After a long day of work for all of us, we decided to kick back, relax, and...
Denizens of the Bus or Immigrants to Nowhere--Part...
“Oh, I thought you were an artist,” a girl with a dark pony tail and black hoodie sitting across the aisle from me suddenly proclaims. Most of my first experiences of public transportation were in a formerly Soviet country, where talking to people you don’t know on the bus is generally discouraged, I try my best to ignore her. Surely, she must be talking to someone else. Maybe to...
Friend: In Heaven, I don't think there can be a perfect tea. It's perfect already. Well, maybe there will be loose leaf tea as opposed to bagged tea.
Me: And there will be more of it.
As a General Rule,
Don’t date anyone who makes you feel like a babysitter. Life is hard; you shouldn’t have to parent someone who should already be an adult. Don’t associate with anyone (except maybe your parents) who patronizes you. Life is hard enough without being around someone who talks down to, disrespects, or babies you. Truly negative people who can’t find the good in anyone or...
Who is the real stranger—the one who lives in a foreign land and knows he...– Elif Shafak, The Saint of Incipient Insanities (351)
The Smells / Scents of
jasmine in bloom cigarette smoke (preferably in foreign countries) diesel exhaust water on hot, dry rocks and pebbles warm, clean laundry straight from the dryer newspapers books either new or old the air just after it rains the hair of a loved one crushed pine needles fresh cut grass a chlorinated swimming pool in the middle of summer the air right after a snow storm fresh sawdust...
On The Sacredness of Steam or Tao of Tea, part 1
I had never seen tea in a foil package before. The shiny surface of the raspberry tea packet intrigued me, as I turned it to look at the bright Ukrainian sun glint off it. In the middle of summer plus humidity, my first morning in Illichovsk was greeting me with more sweat on my brow than I would care to admit. Here, my host said, the hot tea will make you feel cooler. I was skeptical of what...
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can; Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be. But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones?...
Would you like fries with that?
Our parents, all children’s programming on PBS and high school guidance counselors were wrong; you can’t be anything you want to be anymore—you become what you have to be, and a slip of paper you willingly traded 4 plus years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars for isn’t the employment (“or your money back!”) guarantee that it used to be. I was a bit...
The heart chooses its own tongue. Sometimes it is not the one you were born...– Kara Vanderbijl