Friday, August 28, 2009

Ya3ni If only

If only it was possible to be totally anonymous

If only people weren't so curious about your true identity behind that blogger alias

If only I could be assured that noone I personally know will ever stumble upon my blog and think it's me.

I would have like such a kickass blog right now.

It would be like the arab-american muslim version of sex and the city.

If only I can freely talk about my experience, the experiences we all relate to growing up Muslimah and american, the thoughts we'd never want our babas to know about...the contradicting conclusions about our existence we've come up with....all those time you've had to ask Allah (swt) desperately for forgiveness or pray for some serious strength. I'd blog about all of that and it would be a pretty kickass blog.

Our experience is unique and our story needs to be heard. Unfortunately I'm not going to be the one to tell it.

Ya3ni...if only there actually was such thing as freedom of speech.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reflections on first day of Ramadan

I was nervous about this Ramadan starting. I want to take advantage of the added blessings of this month, participate in the nightly prayers, and read qur'an daily. At the same time, school is very demanding. I'm in class all day on most days and then I'm expected to come home and memorize a large volume of material. There's a couple of classes that I worry regularly about passing.

Although it's possible, I find it really hard to be productive when I'm fasting. It doesn't help that I've been addicted to coffee since the age of 15, nor does it help that the vast majority of muslims on my campus feel that being students of the health professions exempts them from fasting. So I'm artfully trying to rearrange my schedule to maximize efficiency. I know what my limits are so before Ramadan I focused on my two hardest classes and tried to get ahead as I can. I figured I can do the lighter studying while I'm fasting. The result of that is that I got a little behind in all of the other classes.

So on the night before Ramadan I stayed up as late as I could to "study", I ended up spending half that time or more on facebook. I slept in late and dragged myself to the library in the afternoon where I shared a study room with Persian Princess and another friend. They had gotten there a few hours ahead of me and I just kept complaining to them about how I can't study. I barely studied 6 pages of immunology and left the library early...still complaining. I was invited for iftaar and afterwards we went all went and prayed. I bumped into one of the dental students and we got carried away in conversation and eventually told to "be quiet or get out". I was happy that I got to pray at the masjid but I knew it's something I'm not going to be able to do regularly.

I came back to the hotel around midnight and Persian princess was sleeping. I stayed up again to "study" and slept in. I went to the library late into the afternoon and only checked one thing off my study list before I was falling asleep on the table. So I said "goodbye I need a nap" and all 3 friends I was studying with expressed that they're worried about me. They said I'm not studying enough and I'm going to fall behind and have panic attacks like I did last year. That made me get just a tad bit defensive as I reminded them how I'm ahead of all of them in optics.

Yea, I'm worried about me too and decided that tonight I'm skipping the masjid and praying on my own so that I can go to the library instead. I'm also considering skipping iftar with friends. Neither of those things are fard and I just simply must accept my circumstances and do what I have to do.

Ramadan Kareem to all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Have you heard of Kombucha?

I first heard about this stuff in the Bethenny Frankel book when I read it months ago. She replaced coffee and other caffeinated unhealthy drinks with a daily serving of kombucha. It's pretty much fermented Chinese tea that contains billions of probiotic flora (lactobacillus bacterium and S.Boulardi) that's been flavored and bottled for us to enjoy. You can actually see the bacterial cultures floating around in the bottle!

Among it's claimed benefits is to support digestion, metabolism, immune system, appetite and weight control, liver function, body alkalinity (which I've been lectured about by my nutritionist), cell integrity, and healthy skin and hair. Mind you I don't believe in miracle drinks, hence the word "SUPPORT". I figured if Bethenny does it it's got to be good for something.

There's only 2 places in my whole home town that sells Kombucha and of them is Whole Foods! I've been drinking this stuff since I discovered it and I can definitely attest to the digestion and appetite control benefits. I also just really like it, I like the way it makes me feel especially when compared to the way drinking caffeine makes me feel. If you're trying to ween out of your excessive coffee fix or even those sugary drinks you're hooked on, I definitely recommend you try this it. My personal favorite is the Synergy brand guava goddess kombucha. I'll warn you's acquired taste!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The crazy thing that happened yesterday

At the moment I'm homeless. I've been staying in a hotel with my friend Persian princess for the past week and although the situation has gotten to be stressful due to the fact that the space is small and we both have lots of stuff-it looks like we have no choice but to stay for another week. It's really more like a motel, but the sign does actually say "hotel". I'm leasing a really nice apartment in a downtown high-rise, and she's purchasing a cute little condo; however neither of our places are ready for move in, nor do we know exactly when they will be, nor did we foresee this coming when we signed our leases. We agreed that as soon as either one of us gets the key we'll both vacate the hotel and the other will stay with her until her place is also ready.

So early Sunday my alarm clock rings for fajr and I dutifully get up to make wudu'. I come out of the bathroom and realize I have no idea where my prayer clothes are. I looked and looked but I didn't want to turn the lights on or make too much noise and wake up Persian princess. After a few minutes I just thought "efffff this" and went back to bed........without praying.

When I got back up a few hours later I had plans to spend the first half of the day in the library. I was proud of myself as I exited the "hotel" room rolling my laptop briefcase and carrying my hot pink kate spade tote looking like the nerd that I can be, I noticed a few police cars in the parking lot and random broken glass everywhere with people standing around. I realized quickly that someone's (or more than one) car was broken into during the night. "Wow that sucks" I thought to myself. I walk to my car and put my briefcase and bag in the passenger seat oblivious to anything. I closed the door and turned around to walk to the other side and that's when I first noticed the pile of glass next to my car.

I looked up and gasped in horror as I saw where the glass came busted window! I waited my turn to file a police report which took some time considering I was one of 4 busted cars. I had boxes of stuff filling my back seats (I drive an SUV) so that's probably what inspired the break-in. Coincidentally my GPS wasn't in my car, it was in Persian princess' since we took her car out the night before. I had an expensive piece of jewelry in a bag in the back seat inside the actual jeweler's bag, but alhamdulilah they completely overlooked that. We couldn't tell that anything was missing right away, but a couple hours later the cops called and said they found my purse in the bushes. It was an empty purse with random junk in it; the purse itself is worth a lot more than its contents but obviously the thieves weren't women and didn't know that. At least I got my purse back.

The whole situation for me combined with everything else I'm going through was just too much for me at the moment...too much on my plate and that whole thing almost sent me on the edge. I had to step back and keep saying alhamduillah alhamdulilah alhamdulilah and remind myself that it could have been way worse and in reality it's not a big deal..nothing was taken from me (except a window really) and noone was hurt.

Thankfully I am surrounded by supportive people who wanted to do things to ease the stress on me. Persian Princess was just being extra nice to me and offering to do all these little things for me. Some fellow optos offered their place if I wanted to leave the hotel and rides if I wanted to drop my car off somewhere. One of the arab med students insisted I just give him the key and he'll take care of of getting the window replaced because if it was his sister he'd want someone to do the same. Now that is some Muslim brotherly chivarly that we don't see enough of nowadays. I'm not one to get guys to do favors for me, but you know what I think I'll let him do that. I'm just too stressed out right now and having someone else take care something on my list of things to do is going to beneficial to my mental health at the moment.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Letter to my family and friends

The first thing you must know is that I love you! I appreciate your presence and I'm thankful to have you in my life.

I'm not going to be answering my phone, returning phone calls in a timely fashion, chatting with you on facebook, or texting for fun like we like to do. I'm not coming home in the near future. I won't be home for Labor Day or Thanksgiving and I realize I'm going to be missing engagement parties and birthdays. I'm sorry that I haven't openly extended an invitation for you to come visit like I normally do. I hope that you didn't get annoyed at me when I expressed that I can't have visitors this semester.

Please don't be annoyed at me and please don't think that I don't appreciate you. Understand that this semester is not only difficult, but also a critical one for me. I'm not talented enough to maintain my long distance relationships, my school social life, and my 22 credit graduate hours. I realize that for some of us we have gotten close over the past few months and my new attitude would make me seem like a bad friend, sister, and daughter...and maybe I am those things, but I ask that you be the better friend and try to understand what I'm going through and keep in mind that it's temporary.

Of course though, I have not forgotten about our girls' ski trip!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


It's the feeling I'm overwhelmed with at the moment. I got here this morning, to college town. It was a 15 hour drive punctuated with a dinner date with an old friend and spending the night at Randy's grandparents home (she's visiting them) on the way.

Leaving home was really really hard for me. Harder than it ever was. Normally I'm optomistic and excited, but it wasn't like that this time. I was so sad and I still am. I've had a constant lump in my throat for like 4 days straight. Angela texted me on the way and I had to exercise restraint to not cry. I already miss everyone so much.

It might be different this time because I'm not here under the best circumstances which I don't feel like getting into right now. Maybe it's different because I'm tired physically from working and I didn't quit early enough to give myself a break before school starts. It could also be different because of things that happened in my life the past month or so that I haven't properly recovered from. However think the biggest reason why things were different because this time when I came to leave I felt like my family really needed me to be at home. My mom needs me to keep her sane and calm, my sister needs me to be her friend at this stage of life, my brother needs me to keep him in check, and my dad needs my constant reassurances.

Now I'm bymyself. I'm crashing at a friends place because my apartment is not yet ready, she's out clubbing with some other friends which is an extracurricular activity I haven't adopted (and never will). My ex-roomates who I was friends with no longer live here. 2 of my close friends from last year graduated. Another handful aren't in town yet. I have noone else to call that can be here for me right now. So I'm by myself and instead of picking out my outfit for tomorrow's orientation, organizing my papers, and making my list of things to do-I just want to bury my head into a pillow and cry. I can't help this sadness that's overcome me.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thinking about getting the Blackberry Storm?

I just got the blackberry storm 2 days ago after my Samsung PDA Of 3 years decided it doesn't want to serve me anymore. Despite the not-so-hot reviews users gave it on amazon and other sites, I love mine!

I think that since I got used to using a touchscreen I didn't find this blackberry non-user-friendly which is what most people say about it, I definitely didn't want to go back to pressing buttons but if that's what you're used to than you might not like it. The free applications are useful, the screen is really clear, the keyboard buttons and icons are big enough for me, and I found that it's very easy and convenient to check and send emails. I've heard the iphone is a lot easier to navigate; I don't have too much experience with the iphone so I can't comment there. All I know is that I'm more than satisfied with my selection!

Ok I have to admit it wasn't complete smooth sailing, I've been unable to send text messages but that's actually more of a verizon network problem than it is a blackberry problem. Also general web browsing is slow and probably not too practical to use, but that's the case with the iphone as well. Hopefully I won't be getting too distracted in class!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tearful endings and exciting beginnings

I'm leaving again.

This is my last week home after being here for about 5 months. I'm going back to school town this week and starting the semester on Monday. There are a lot of sad things about these days, but there's also a happy side.

Since I've been home I've reconnected with a lot of my childhood friends. I was working with my best friend Angela so I saw her on most days. We also work out together and she has served as my relationship counselor. Suzy's home was the location of many evening girl gatherings around the hookah, coffee, and maybe a rented DVD or a card game. Randy has been my partner in crime ever since she moved back home a couple months ago when she separated from jerkface (her husband). I've also made some new relationships like with my friend Sam who might just be the friendliest hot girl I'll ever meet. In addition, I've actually become friends with my sister; we've been hanging out a lot lately. So saying goodbye is going to be a really difficult thing to do....I mean REALLY difficult. I've already gotten a head start with the crying.

I'll also no longer be working plus I have greater expenses, which means I have to readjust some of my spending habits if I don't want to get myself in trouble. No more Sephora, massages, and facials. I'm also going to be saying goodbye to having responsibility-free evenings that I've been spending hanging out, liesure reading, or watching tv. Another aspect I'm not looking forward to is despite the fact that I've been doing pilates and cardio regularly-I've been eating a lot of bad food and I'm going to university city having gained about 10 lbs since I left it. I've considered going on a crash diet but that lasted about a day. It's ok though, I know it'll come right off once I get settled into my new disciplined and scheduled routine. I'm definitely going to go back to training or take up pilates if I can find a conveniently located studio.

I've also already had a rough start, my apartment isn't going to be ready until september so I'll be staying with friends until then which is not going to be the most convenient thing.

Despite all that, I have a lot of things to look forward to as well. I really love the city itself, it's a comfortable place to be living in. I'm excited about going back to school and having the opportunity to achieve. I actually can't wait to sit in front of a set of lectures in a library and study; I can't wait to do well and kick some test booty! Especially after spending these past few months working long hours and making a very modest hourly wage. Now I just want to be the best eye doc I could possibly be!

I'm excited about the people. I miss my school friends and we've already been making plans for when we all get back. Also, I'm excited about meeting people in the new classes..I know there are going to be some new muslim or arab faces a few I've already gotten acqainted with thanks to facebook. Socially speaking, I think it will be a fun year.

Another thing I have to look forward to is my new apartment! I'm going to be staying in a really nice downtown luxry condo. Thanks to the economic and housing crisis, me and my roomate were able to negotiate an awesome deal. The drawback is that it's kind of far from my campus, but it'll be worth it and it's a fair arrengement since it's the midpoint between me and my roommate's campus.

Plus, I made a deal with Randy that if I do well this semester we're going to go on a girls' vacation. We considered a European country, but less of our friends are going to be able to join us. So now we're leaning towards a ski trip. Vail, Colorado perhaps? Anyone been there before?