The move..

The move is sneaking up on me much quicker than I’d anticipated.  A week from today a removals firm is coming to pack and remove most of our furniture and belongings. I have been doing some packing myself.  C hasn’t had a chance.  1st August is the day that I leave sunny Surrey and head to Hampshire.  C and I are both getting a bit nervous. It’s a big move by English standards.  At least that what all our friends/colleagues keep telling us. 

Today I’m off and I’m meant to use this day to  finish packing up the personal items that we don’t want the removals company to handle.   The sun is shining outside and I’m reluctant to spend my day indoors.. I’m finding myself working for five minute spurts then going into the garden for  twenty minutes. 

I’ve not been good at coping with change.  Work colleagues have noticed abs they’re making it very difficult for me to leave. The day before yesterday I was asked if I wouldn’t mind having a long day on Tuesdays through out August.  Apparently they really need me for a couple of clients. I think they’re trying to help me come to terms with all the big changes that I’m going through.  The job is really nice and I’ll be working with a couple of adolescents who only speak Arabic.  My weakness is simple;  if someone is in need I can’t refuse to help if I know I can do a good job.  I said yes.  I’ll be in London every Tuesday in August and I wont finish until 9pm. This means that once a week (at least) I’ll spend the night at my parents place.  Somehow this has eased my mind.  My colleagues are also trying to see if I can do half a day on Wednesdays. I think this would be really good for me until I’m settled.

My biggest issue is losing my independence and not finding an adequate job.  Although I submitted my notice work are reluctant to let me go. Officially it’s been accepted and unofficially they want me to remain on a part time basis.

I’m feeling excited and sad about moving. Sad because there are so many big changes going on with my friends and family and I am usually the person to support and help out.  I feel I’m going to be so far from everyone.  In general I’m a woman with routine and keep myself very busy.  There are many communities that I’m not going to be part of and I’m going to miss these activities, groups and people.  I’ve got to say that I also don’t like the house we’re moving into.  C chose it and the day she chose it we were both mad at each other.  She admitted that she chose it to piss me off. I didn’t like it for a few valid reasons.  Earlier this year the road flooded quite badly and residents were forced to take shelter at a local community centre.  Second reason, there’s no parking. Basically it’s residents only and one permit per household plus one visitors parking permit. I’ll be using visitors permit and C will have the residents permit.  That means any of my friends who come can park in the supermarket car park for 2 hours.  Also means my family won’t be able to come stay unless I am prepared to pick them up and drop them off.  We could have found a place with a drive and on road parking but C was on a mission to piss me off that day. Admittedly I’d been a bit of a bitch.  However,  that doesn’t mean immature and irrational decision should be made. 
I’m back to the -I’m going to give it 6 months – and then decide what I’ll do.  Not a healthy frame of mind but one that makes me feel settled. C and I also had a conversation about this and she can see why I’m in this frame of mind. It’s like she’s calling all the shots and I’m meang to be a puppy wagging my tail and happy to follow blindly.  I’ve asked her to help me by considering this as a adventure. She’s trying.

For now I’ll work on my tan and pack in between. 

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I’ve got a love/hate relationship with my ex L. She drives me nuts.  I drive her insane.  We spend a few weeks talking,  making sense of things and it seems we’ve managed to get beyond the “I’m not talking to you right now WOMAN! ” it seems smooth sailing and we’re both great with that.  Then boom! I say something,  she starts interrogating,  I let her have her moment then I decide no!  Who is she? Why am i explaining myself to her? That fuse in my mind explodes and I’m not going to sit back and take it from her so boom! I’ve lost it. I get everything off my chest.  The she says that she needs time.  When I hear this from her I become crazy.  Time!  Away from me? And then of course I act like a child and say “take all the time WOMAN!” Then that fuse in her mind explodes and within seconds we go from love to hate. She tells me “I don’t need your permission to take time away from you and be sure I’ll do as I please” this drives me insane. What started off as a wonderful conversation ends up in disaster. 

She tells me that she wishes I wasn’t so crazy.  I’m not crazy with C and she can’t seem to understand why she drives me crazy in a way no woman has before. I’ve never been crazy with C. Then she gets all jealous over C and tells me she’s still single and hoping I’ll have a change of heart.  Of course I cant take hearing this from her because she screwed up and I reminder her of every detail because I don’t want her to have one up on me!  Then I get mad at myself and tell her “you’re just that damn  woman”. I tell her everything I need to say in Arabic because it’s harder than English and I verbally kick her where it hurts. To drive me crazier she tells me “calm down love.  You know I love you” and this sends me off on a rant that ends with “what would you know about love you player,  you twisted woman”. And the final kick in from her, she giggles “go figure it out I know you still care. Calm down and I’ll be in touch soon”. Before hanging up she’ll remind me of something usually a really beautiful moment that we shared and my heart melts.  Then she’s gone!

Today I’m obviously frustrated.  I’m frustrated at myself..I like to think for the most part I’m intelligent.  When she’s back I’m an idiot.  She’s the only woman that gets me like this and we’re in touch because if we’re not I go nuts.  Go figure!

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Why I have to leave Israel | Sayed Kashua | World | The Guardian

Despite wanting to write about Israel and the horrors that their military have been subjecting Palestinians to in Gaza I haven’t.  I’ve been biting my tongue on here. However,  I’ve had enough of self censorship. 

I have a friend.  No not a friend my best friend.  No she’s more than that to me she’s my big sister.  We met at the university of London where  we were doing our Masters many years ago. She’s from Gaza. She’s a lesbian.  She’s brilliant and I love her to bits. She’s works in gaza and heads a charity which works with children.  She works on communication with Israelis and on attempting to bridge the gap so both palestinian children and israeli children can spend time together. Her project has suffered tremendously since the blockade imposed on Gaza.  Guess what?  She’s not a terrorist and she’s not a fighter or anti israel. Maybe after this onslaught in Gaza her view may change.  She lost her mother just before Christmas last year. Her status last week read “I’m so glad my beloved mother isn’t here to witness what we are living in Gaza”. My friend is  hosting 12 families in her home in Gaza because they have lost theirs.  Guess what?  They’re not terrorists either. 

Everyday I wait for M to send me “I miss you and I love you.  I really do” and usually I get this message at around 6am. My response is “chin up,  head high,  stay strong, love”. If I don’t get her message I wait. I wait all day. I get on with my day but I’m waiting.  I check Facebook to see if she’s posted any updates or photographs. If I don’t see any my heart sinks.  I check my phone for her message. It hasn’t arrived.  I don’t dare say it out loud but I shall say it here. I ask myself “she can’t be dead can she?”. Then I feel sad. I feel sad that we’re in the twenty first century and those in the so called Holy Land haven’t learned anything from history.  I feel sad that my friend may be dead. I feel sad knowing she’s one person and over 500 have already been killed and more innocents will be killed and for what? Really for what?  I feel sad that I’m an arab and that our lives have become so cheap and meaningless. I feel frustrated.

I find myself reading arab news and knowing that it is impartial.  Where are the Israeli voices?  The progressive anti violence? Even the progressive arab voices are absent. It frustrates me.  The media launch their own war with the view that they’re “reporting facts”. They’re all part of the same media war only this time it’s East vs West. I follow western news too and both East and West are censoring and spinning. 

I think about my time in lebanon and coming back from the war.  No one wanted to hear the humanitarian side.  They wanted me to say “yes it was Hizballah and I hate them and lebanon got what it deserved”. Many friends stopped talking to me because I didnt say this.  I said as I always say “since when did life become so meaningless? Or has it always been so? For example the Holocaust.  Let’s not forget that! Let’s not deny that human beings can be so destructive and so hateful. That should not have happened. When will history teach us all something? ” More importantly my friends didn’t accept my point of view because I simply didnt and refuse to differentiate between races, ethnicities and religions and importantly human beings, all those innocent lives lost and the suffering that is replaced.  Who taught me this? I did and my parents did. In my heart I like to think I know the difference between right and wrong. I know I’m not the only one.  I know many people know this deep down inside. Many people also know this but have chosen to ignore it giving politics and religion more importance. 

The worst was watching on the news The Israelis cheering from the hill top as Gaza gets bombed away. No that wasn’t the worst. The worst was hearing some of my former friends in lebanon cheering when south beirut was being bombed in 2006. The worst was when they went to the mountain to watch the south being bombed and smiling and joking.  I called a friend (here in england)  the following day and told her “last night my heart broke”. I didn’t think I’d see this again.

I linked to the guardian article because I’ve enjoyed reading this authors work. I find it sad that he’s uprooting and that the time he has dedicated to put forward his message has not been heard.  Perhaps one day when people start to forget he will be heard. 

Amos Gilad once said “where there is so much destructive memory, a little forgetfulness may be in order”.

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If I could change…

If I could change one thing about C it would be simple. It would be that she could feel free from the guilt trips that her mother in particular subjects her to.  Every single time she speaks to her mother she ends up feeling guilty,  not good enough and also justifies why I have to remain her secret. Don’t get me wrong I’m not asking her to come out for me although I was put in a position by her to come out to my “community”.

You all know I’m middle eastern and it isn’t an easy thing to come out to your family.  My father is a super religious Church goer who believes (almost blindly) what’s written in The Bible. Therefore he struggles with any concepts that deviate from the text.  I must say he’s been gracious and very accepting,  it took him time but I didn’t push it on him.  I allowed him to take his time and I didn’t rub it in his face.  Besides deep down he has always known but would have preferred it remained unspoken.

C on the other hand often comes off the phone with her mother and starts to question our relationship.  Yesterday I was home packing and C had gone to do some grocery shopping.  Her parents called on the landline and I spoke briefly with her father (who is lovely). I told him I’d pass on the message and ask her to call you both when she returned.  I did pass on the message as soon as she returned.  Two hours passed and her mother called on her mobile phone.  Of course her mother started attacking me and blaming me for her daughters neglect etc.  Her mother also told her that she has no intention of visiting her when she moves since I’m going to be with her and that C needs to find a way to get me out of her life.

I can see that C really struggled to be the perfect daughter.  We’re adults and we have every right to live as we wish. We are not harming anyone and more importantly each other.  Her mother fails to realise just how far her daughter has progressed since meeting me and instead does all she can to make her daughter feel that she has to choose between me or her mother. 

This is what bothers me the most in our relationship.  It makes me feel quite insecure. The way that C changes once she finishes from a telephone conversation is astonishing.  I over hear C sometimes telling her parents not to give me any importance.  It feels like double standards from where I’m sitting. I have to let the world know and yet she doesn’t even defend me. C becomes distant, she spends a while ignoring me and then there’s no physical contact for a long while.

If I could change one thing about her I’d wish she would grow some balls and not for my sake but for her own. Maybe I’m just to damn patient and accepting for my own good!

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Yesterday was brilliant one of my closest friends G and I spent the day together at my patents with her 2 and a half years old daughter Maria. We took mini maria to the park, played on the swings and climbing frame with her. Afterwards went to my parents. My mum was preparing a bbq for us (2 days in a row bbq at my parents I’m feeling spoiled). Mini maria complained from the heat so G had an idea and it ended up in a water fight. It was brilliant G and I were absolutely drenched.  Her daughter was only slighty wet and she screamed at us and then declared

“I’m going to go inside and take off my shoes and socks and clothes and lay on the sofa and focus on my body while you two play in the garden”.

G and I laughed so hard for about 20 mins. Mini maria put us both in our place and made us feel as though she had been supervising us.

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A new start

A new start and a radical decision.  I’ve given work 1 months notice.  I’m leaving my job.  I’m going to take up the post of frau doktor (drs wife) for the time being. 

I’m excited.  I didn’t think I’d ever make such a decision.  I am scared but really who cares? I’ll get over it.  As long as hubby has dinner on the table and the house is in order I’ll be fine. Of course it won’t be a permanent lifestyle change that I’m adopting but merely temporary.  I’ve decided that once I’ve sorted out all of our boxes and got the house in order and that I’m satisfied it’s a sterile ocd environment that hubby learns to maintain with my help, I’ll enter the world and find another job.

The thought of commuting for most of the week back to Surrey/London bothers me. Spending 3 nights at my parents will be fun because I get spolied rotten. But I’m no longer a child although I often behave as a wondeful one.  I’ll enjoy weekends in Wimbledon with hubby at my parents and we’ll both be spoiled.

I’m very relaxed and excited. I’m going to be completely free for a few months in terms of only two commitments, myself and hubby C. I’ve also signed up to start kung fu again in mid august and the centre is a 10mins drive from our new location.  Training is 3 times a week, cant wait.

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It was July 2006 around this time actually. It was a few days into the war and Tony and I were drinking almaza beer and sitting outside his restaurant watching the news reports on who was bombing who. It was a really nice sunny day although it smelled of burned buildings and sulphur and the smell of bombs and burning.  The sky was hazy from all the smoke but still I was hoping to work on my tan.

Tony and I were the oddest couple. We’d met about 4 months earlier.  I had this bright idea to live in a suburb of beirut.  The Mountain life was too quite for me and I wanted to be closer to work, friends my gf layla and further from family.  Layla was a very interesting gf and her and I wanted discretion rather than being the centre of attention in my little village which is only about 1km squared.  We were becoming the talk of the town and my mother who was in London seemed to know everything about me and what was going on before I told her and I’d had enough.

I found this charming apartment towards the end of march and made a spontaneous decision to just go for it.  It was in a very nice area and a little stuck up.  I liked that it was stuck up because in my mind no one would want to talk to the strange European/Arab woman that wasn’t from this neck of the woods. Conspiracy theories that I was a spy started circulating in the neighbourhood.  I was always looked at suspiciously by the neighbours.  I rarely spoke to anyone and for the most part Layla was at my place and a handful of very close friends.  I used to leave home at 8am to head to the office. I’d arrive at work at 8.30am and not many people spoke to me there either. They were all suspicious and curious to know how this European came to work there. I didn’t mind their conspiracy theories either.  Believe it or not they too thought I was a spy. I used to find this amusing.  I didn’t deny or admit I just giggled. Every time someone would tell me that I would reply that I was flattered that they all thought about me and how it made me feel “special”. No one really understood my sense of humour.

My routine was the same I’d leave home at 8am and return at 5pm. After living in this area for about 3 weeks I started to find gardenia petals on my windscreen every morning.  I would look around to see if there was a plant anywhere near my car and there wasnt. Every morning for about 2 weeks I would pick up the gardenia petals and throw them on the ground.  One morning, it was a Monday and I remember this because I was extremely hung over and not in the mood to remove petals. Seriously they were scattered all over the windscreen and under the wipers and on the bonnet.  I was tired and I looked around I wanted to know who was putting them on my car.  I noticed a man sitting across the street watching me. He was sat with an elderly lady and they were both watching me.  I looked at them both and removed all the petals and threw them on the ground. I then looked back at this man and gave him a very dirty look.  I knew he was the culprit.  The elderly lady looked at me and started clapping and laughing “bravo” she yelled across the street as she continued to laugh and then she slapped the young man across his head.  I smiled at her,  turned my back and got into my car and drove off. Yes,  I was a diva.

That afternoon I returned home and the same elderly lady was sat outside the restaurant.  She called out to me to go over and meet her. I approached her and she asked me “don’t you like gardenia?” I said “I love it it’s my favourite scent” she then asked “so why do you throw the petals on the ground everyday” I replied “because I don’t like the person who put them on my car”. She giggled and said “that would be my son, Tony”. She called Tony and he came out of the restaurant.  She introduced us and then insisted that I had a coffee with them. She sent Tony off to make the coffee ensuring I wouldn’t escape.

As the days passed my morning routine became going to the restaurant every morning at 7.30am to have a coffee with Tony and his mother Bridgette. At 8am I’d leave and head to work. Soon Tony and I were hanging out almost every day.  We became really good friends.  He’d lived in Argentina and had only returned a year earlier and had opened his restaurant.  He’d studied catering and was a chef. He didn’t like being back in lebanon but had returned to take care of his elderly parents. He was surprised that I’d left London to settle in lebanon.  We had lots to talk about and we both understood what it means to be *stuck somewhere between two totally different cultures*.

Soon layla,  tony and I were hanging out together.  Layla had studied in London a few years back before we’d even met. The three of us had so much in common and our sense of humour was a big part of our friendship.  No one else seemed to understand what we were laughing about but we were always laughing and didn’t care what others thought.

Back to July 2006.  Tony and I drinking beers and watching the news.  

“Maria. How’s layla doing? “
“She’s fine but can’t leave home yet they’re still bombing the roads. Tony, I need to go get her”
“You think you’re the hero?  You want to drive through the Bombs for her? “
We both burst out laughing
“No Tony I want to put gardenia on her windscreen”
He suddenly looked at me and asked me very seriously “does she have a gardenia bush in her street”
“I dont know”
“Well we have to go put petals on her windscreen. Yala (come on in Arabic)”.
He then turned and walked up the street and called out to me to go inside the restaurant and grab a plastic bag and follow him. I did as he asked and before long we’d arrived at the gardenia bush and started picking petals
“You know before I knew you were a lesbian I used to pick these for you.  Now I’m picking them for you to give to your gf”
We filled up the bag and as we turned to walk towards my car we heard a loud roar in the sky. I looked up and I saw an F16 above me. I stood still and was fascinated. In a few seconds it had disappeared as had Tony.  I looked around and I saw him in the bushes on the ground. He was shaken up and I giggled.  I told him “wow, did you see that”
“Yes that’s why I hid”
“You think the bush will protect you from a missle? Yala I need to give my woman some gardenia.”

We walked hand in hand towards my car and drove to layla’s place. I saw her car and I sprinkled the flower petals all over it.  I sent her a text message

“Love go outside and look at your car”

Tony and I stood opposite in the car park behind the wall. I wanted to see her reaction.  Within 5 minutes she was at her car. She was looking and she picked a handful of petals a big smile appeared on her face as she leaned forwards and smelled them. She did this for a few seconds taking in deep breaths. Then she looked up and around but didn’t notice us behind the wall watching her. She sent me a text “wtf?  Gardenia?  We’re in a war” I ran from the car park straight towards her with a big smile on my face and I said “I know but don’t these petals smell beautiful?  Didnt you forget for a few moments what we’re living? “
She smiled at me and said “you’re fucking crazy”.

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