Watch Out for the Bomb!

If you’re following the news in Calgary – which, unless you’re stuck here, you really shouldn’t give a damn about – then you would have heard about the bomb scare we had last week. Apparently a guy trying to get into the court house was carrying a suspicious looking package that led to the whole surrounding block being evacuated. They even brought in a futuristic looking robot to pick up the package and take it to safety – it was a scene straight out from the Terminator.

The police handled the matter perfectly well – aside from giving out any useful information about who the hell the guy was and whether the ‘suspicious package ‘was actually a bomb (they confirmed 3 days after the actual event that it wasn’t a bomb – apparently it took the robot three days to come back with the package to them) and thankfully no-one was hurt, but you know what was the first thing that came to my mind when my husband called to tell me about the bomb? Not that my husband was only a couple of streets down and her could have gotten hurt – although that would have been more logical-so please don’t tell him that. But all that came to mind was me hoping that this wasn’t another crazy muslim, terrorist, AlQaeda-going-crazy-and-killing everyone scare.

You see as a practicing Muslim, these things hit home really hard. And while the Boston Marathon was a nightmare to the USA and everyone involved and my heart goes out to all the victims and their families, it worries me on a personal and general level the emerging perception of muslims as a race.

This is not a political blog, nor a serious one for that matter. So I’m not going to go on about the future implications of Islamophobia and the racist undertones. Hell, even purely muslim countries are extremely Islamophobic which is an ironic paradox and hypocritical, to say the least.

No, what worries me is that a bunch of crazies are defining what the world thinks of me and setting the standard for ‘people like me’. You see although I’m a die-hard rebel and refuse to confirm to any preconceived set of ideals or norms, I will only use one label when identifying myself; muslim. It’s not about what I think of other people, or the world as a whole, or what I wear and eat (although that does weigh in) but it’s about who I am at heart, what I strive to be and what keeps me strong. It’s a very private and personal thing, and if you knew me personally, you would know that I don’t look it, or go around saying it, but I’m proud of the muslim in me.

So that’s why the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard about the bomb was that it would be pinned on another crazy Islamist fascist. And while it didn’t turn out to be that (I actually don’t know what it turned out to be), if it had the whole media would have gone crazy analysing Islam, muslims, their faith, their thinking, their hijab and practices, and how it is all so backward. Much like Boston, no one would have stopped and called these bastards what they really were; a couple of crazy, delusional, sick assholes, who in no way represent any type of human being. That’s it, full period.

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Frost-bitten Toes & 50 Shades of Grey Party Game

I’m half Canadian and that means that the minute the weather shows the slightest promise of being warm, I act like I’m living in the tropics. And here I am living up to those exact expectations, sitting in Starbucks beside the window in my shorts and t-shirt, enjoying the sun and freezing my toes off because the Starbucks air-conditinoning is cranked up to high. And now I have a very valid fear of getting frost-bite in my toes even though it’s almost 20 outside. My Egyptian half just looked at the past sentence and laughed it’s half head off. Almost 20 and I think it’s summer? Anything below 25 in Cairo and that means winter is not over. Ah, the paradoxes of coming from opposite sides of the world.

So why did I start with a meangingless – although totally Canadian (minus talk of hockey) rant about the weather and coffee? Because I just don’t know how else to dive back in after a 3 month absence. I feel ashamed, embarrassed and somewhat of a loser being gone so long, but…. and there is always a but – I had very valid reasons; my mom, sister and her kids were visiting for two months and ensuing family drama happened. As well as being totally tied up emotionally I was their 24/7 tour guide/driver for most of their visit. And then the two weeks afterwards were dedicated solely to the clean-up and detox that the house and myself needed to go through.

And on top of that I am half-heartdely frantically trying to get together everything I need to start my new blog so I can go live somewhere within the next couple of months.

So I make no promises, because I am obviously crappy at keeping them, but I really, really want to be back. And now that Jo is in part-time day-care (which is screwing my over financially – but keeping me from going insane), I’m hoping that I’ll try be more consistent.

So I’m signing off because for the past 15 minutes the Fifty Shades of Grey Party Game that is in the board games display in front of me has been calling out to me to go have a look. I wonder what people do when playing that game. Answer kinky sex questions? Or act out scenes from the book? Now that would be one interesting party game.

Crossing the Line…

20121214-151541.jpgI was reading the news today and came across this article. A Quebec filmmaker is being charged with corrupting morals, and first reading I thought it was a joke. But then I realised it was serious.

And then the shock settled in. After all, I come from a society that will prosecute you and charge you with blasphemy, treason and disturbing the peace for even thinking of questioning the ruling party and society. If the country is saying red, bet your sweet ass that you could end up in prison for saying blue.

I lived in extreme fear throughout the revolution that if any of the old ruling party members came to power, my husband would end up in some political person somewhere for tweeting his opinions. And I was not being paranoid or obsessive. It was a very big possibility. Heck, I can actually count onto hands people and friends I know who were placed in political prisons or taken in for ‘questioning’.

Which was one of the biggest reasons I was so happy that I was moving back to Canada. Here I have the freedom to be who I am or what I am without fear of being called out. In fact the acceptance of me, my opinions and my faith here is much more than anything I’ve seen back in Cairo. I actually blew up at my MIL once and told her

“If the West are as racist as you are towards Middle Easterners and Muslims, then they have every right to discriminate against us.” As you can imagine, that didn’t go to well.

Anyway back to home and the special effects filmmaker Remy Couture that is being charged with ‘corrupting morals through the distribution, possession and production of obscene materials…’ the jury has to decide whether his work is …obscene and dangerous enough to actually incite people to act out what they see…’.

What the fuck!

Since when do we care that the stuff we see could persuade us to act it out in real life. In that case why do we have all these action and horror movies? Where is the prosecuting Crown with Grand Theft Auto and Saw? Heck, why are we even watching Dexter? Aren’t we worried that the people who love that show so much will be incited into becoming serial killers of their own?

What can I say? I guess tyranny and oppression of freedom of speech is the same anywhere in the world. Whether you’re prosecuting an awful and obscene comedy movie or a gruesome and obscene horror movie.

Weekend In Pictures

I had a relatively quiet weekend. Other then being sad over the train accident in Egypt and being pissed off at inconsiderate and rude people, it was an enjoyable family-bonding weekend.

Me and my husband take turns sleeping in on the weekend. So Satruday was my day to get some zzzzzzs. Woke up at 9am to this scenario:

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Push harder

Apparently my 6 year old has decided to abuse the free labor of his 15 month old brother.

I had a healthy breakfast of Indian Figs.

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Yes it’s an IKEA knife. I love that store, always have. Even if I had never worked there I would have still loved it.

If you don’t know this fruit I suggest you go out right now and buy some. While they don’t look that appealing, they taste like heaven; not overly sweet with interesting textures. They are one of my favorite fruits, along with pomegranate and guava. I used to buy them off street carts in Egypt during the hot steamy months of July and August. And eating these symbolizes the long lazy months of summer, the salty breezes and pure white beached filled weekends by the Mediterranean in the North Coast. Be careful when cutting them though, they have some nasty splinters embedded in their skin. Says the lady who had to pull them out of her fingers one too many times.

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We then got dressed and went to our local Registry where I sat for, and passed, the written driver’s exam. I now have to wait 3 weeks for my Egyptian license to be approved and I can sit for the practical exam. Which I’m pretty sure I’ll fail at least twice. To further understand why I am positive I will fail, even though I’ve been driving for 12 years, look up Egyptian drivers and traffic. Well, at least I have my learners permit which I can use once we get our car. We finalized the paperwork of said car on Saturday. We’re currently looking at the Nissan Rogue (anyone out there would like to tell us what it’s like?) and keep your fingers crossed, but we may have a car by next week. That means no more walking around with 10kilos of groceries in -15 degree weather.

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My driver’s license (yay)! And the car we’re thinking of buying

Then it was off to Boston Pizza for dinner (more of that here). And our weekly grocery shopping whereupon we froze while we puffed and huffed to carry our food home. See above paragraph.

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Give me a smile…..

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Adam multitasking; drinking and coloring at the same time.       

Sunday, we took a walk around the neighborhood where Adam got to ride his bike and Jo took a nap.

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We’re tapering off from two naps to one with Jo and he’s giving me pure and utter hell about it. There are days where he will sit in his bed for hours but stubbornly refuse to sleep. And Sunday was one of them. So going for a walk was the only way we could guarantee he would sleep.

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You can’t make me sleep.

We ended up walking quiet a bit and decided to stop by the nearby shopping center for a cup of coffee. I went to Second Cup because it was closer than Starbucks and remembered how much I love Second Cup. Other than the fact it’s Canadian, which in itself makes it awesome, they have great coffee. Plus they are so much more cozier. Check out their Christmas display. I love it.

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And look at those the Britto mugs. So pretty!

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Anyway I had a caramel cappuccino. Which was really good and pretty useful for the walk home in long sleeved T-shirt and -2 weather. Unfortunately, by the time we got home it was iced cappuccino.

But memo to self; I need to go to Starbucks less and start going to Second Cup more.

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My (hot) caramel cappuccino

All in all it was a great weekend. Productive, fun and relaxing. Just my kind of day (days?). Makes me all set for the beginning of the week. So crazy week, here I come!

 

 

Labels & Kids; Can I Avoid ‘Nerd’, ‘Terrorist’ or ‘Stinky Pants’?

Yesterday I read an article about an American muslim mom (On Telling My Children They Are Not Terrorists) and what it was like growing up in Florida and what it’s like for her kids growing up now amidst all the ‘terrorist scares’. I have to admit I can totally understand. Well in a way I guess. Growing up in Toronto in the 80s and 90s, we obviously didn’t have the whole ‘terrorist’ issue to deal with. And my 5year old A. and 1 year J. are still not in any position to experience anything, being that we just moved from Egypt where they’ve been living all their lives.

But I can still relate. Growing up I always felt different. My parents weren’t like other parents. I couldn’t date, couldn’t drink, didn’t celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Easter and so on. Add to that my age difference (I skipped a year, so was the youngest girl in class), my different cultural and religious background and my social disabilities; I couldn’t (can’t) make friends easily and was a bit of a loner and rebel. I was pretty much a poster child for the classic unpopular geek/nerd portrayed in movies.

My parents relocated to Egypt when I was in junior high school. Which means that I don’t know how I would have blossomed had we continued in Canada. But I do know I blossomed in Egypt. Don’t get me wrong, I was still different. Not in terms of culture and religion but in pretty much every other aspect. And it’s back in egypt and the upper economic class that I grew up among that I started dating. And was subjected to drinking, drugs and such, maybe even more than I would have experienced in Canada. I was still the rebel, the nerd, the geek. But this time I rejoiced in the difference. I embraced it because it made me who I am.

And now I have kids and am back to square one. A. is a miniature copy of me in terms of character, temperament and personality, if not looks. In him I see all the trials and tribulations I went through as a child. And it cuts me up. I don’t want him to be lonely. I don’t want him to end up playing alone on the playground because he doesn’t know how to befriend kids. And now I have to add another worry to my list; I don’t want him labeled a terrorist, a savage or a backward.

Life always finds a way to catch up with us. So no matter how far you run, eventually you will have to face that big bad wolf one day. And my monster has arrived. So how does an ADHD, unsocial and awkward mama who currently has no friends in the city she lives in help her equally ADHD, unsocial and awkward son build his social skills? I don’t want him to be voted ‘most popular boy in school’. I just want him to have good and sincere friends he can always count on.

And on that note, I end my week. With the major challenge up ahead all I can do is try, keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Press Reset

So what’s new?

Nothing much; gave birth. Got mastitis – had an operation. Got my dream job, worked on my dream job for 6 months, travelled half of them, missed my family, missed my kids. Then my husband got his dream job – in Canada! Quit my dream job. Packed my life, my two kids and moved to Canada. Currently living in a city where I know no-one and no-one knows me. Have become the dreaded stay-at-home-mom/housewife. Career going no-where, social life non-existent and completely killed my sense of self.

But life is still good. So I’m back to blogging. Especially since I had to give up my weekly blog on Supermama. Up till now haven’t decided where this blog will head; parenting? Interior design? Life? Writing? Life as a transported expat?Who knows, maybe one of the above, maybe all of them, maybe none of them. Either way,  I’m on for the ride…