The Liebster Award

LiebsterAward Thank you to Kristine for nominating me! And because I don’t follow rules, I’m not going to nominate anyone or make my own questions! (Also because I literally have no idea who reads my blog regularly. I just know which ones I read, which doesn’t necessarily correlate, you know?) But I did so love answering her questions. Wee!!

  1. You have 5 minutes to escape your burning house, what is the first thing you decide to grab? I would grab my journals. They are precious to me because I am self-absorbed and thoroughly enjoy reading about myself. (In hindsight, there’s a stack of cash in my drawer that is quite a lot of money and probably should also be considered…. is it cheating if I hide it in the journals? I mean, five minutes is enough time to do that for sure, right?)
  2. If you had to choose one book that you would not mind reading over and over again, what would that be? I actually do read over and over again Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.
  3. What is your favorite thing to eat when you are feeling blue? Macaroni and cheese is like the best comfort food ever. I haven’t had it in so long though because I can’t find the Kraft brand here, only lame knock-off brands that are so not the same!
  4. What is your spirit animal? This question is difficult for me. Because the obvious answer is a cat. But I hate that answer because everyone pictures a fat housecat sleeping on a pillow. Whereas I would like to be something more akin to a panther sleeking through a forest. But I’m really not that cool. Ok, maybe I’m like a Savannah F1. (Google it. They’re awesome. I saw someone with one on a leash in a bar once.)
  5. If money was not an issue, what would you choose to do for the rest of your life for free? Raise children. (I feel like there’s a joke in this answer somewhere. Like thankless jobs or how I’m a teacher or something about my unemployed boyfriend. I can’t connect it right now, sorry.)
  6. If you were to direct and produce a film of any genre, who would you like to be part of the cast? It would obviously be a rom-com. And it would probably star Melissa McCarthy. Kristen Wig would also feature. Lauren Graham. Rebel Wilson. Alan Rickman somehow, but not as the love interest because that’s weird. Same for Robert Downey Jr. Oh! Zac Efron. It could be like a cougar thing. (This cast is way too star-studded. Budget would be enormous! My bad.)
  7. What is your favorite show at this very moment? My boyfriend and I are watching Game of Thrones from the beginning. (We’re on season 2.) I’ve actually already seen the first few seasons, then I stopped because everybody died. But it’s really fun to watch it with him for some reason. I think because he needs subtitles on and he asks me what words mean all the time. I find it superbly adorable.
  8. If you had one thing left to say before you jumped off of a plane, not knowing if you’d be able to survive it, what would it be? “Never forget the Alamo!”
  9. What is your favorite scent? Lilac. Which I have not smelled in like forever. Damn.
  10. What is one thing you always have to have with you when you travel? I have an outfit that I always wear in planes, so that. Yoga pants, a tank top, and my Fordham sweatshirt. (Damn, I just made it mad easy for someone to find me in an airport.) Also, I always carry my current journal. I sound obsessed with my journals, don’t I?
  11. If you could re-do something in your life, if given that chance, what would it be? No regrets. (If forced to answer, I guess I would re-do the decision to go a tenth of a million dollars into debt for one year of schooling. But then again, that’s how I ended up here and I love here. So… no regrets.)
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Freedom!

Summer break has begun! Tomorrow I have to go in to work to get a paper signed, but that doesn’t truly count. I now have the freedom to do as I please, when I please, hurrah!

To be honest, I know there’s going to be some boredom though. I have a week here in Abu Dhabi before I head back home. And while I have disposable income to entertain myself (which is novel and lovely), most of my friends are leaving within a few days, and I will feel very alone.

Thus, I’ve decided to take up painting as a hobby for the week. My other hobbies weren’t doing it for me anymore. Learning languages is too time-consuming, with too small of a reward. Cooking is too fleeting of a reward. Writing is no reward at all, unless I stumble upon my work a year later and reread it and smile fondly at myself. But painting seems like it will have a pretty instantaneous reward. You can get a lot of progress done in a relatively short amount of time. And then you step back and admire it and work on it a little more. And then when it’s done, you hang it on a wall and force people to notice it and give you compliments about it…

I also feel like I have exhausted the Internet. And watched all tv shows and movies worth watching. So if you have suggestions in those veins, please let me know. I shall be starved for entertainment while my genius painting masterpieces are drying, you know?

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Ramadan Kareem!

Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan. And for the first year, I will actually be here for a good portion of the holy month. Since it shifts earlier by about eleven days each year, for the past three years it’s fallen almost entirely during the time I was away for summer. Last year I think I only saw three days of it before I flew off to America.

The most obvious difference is that we can’t eat or drink in public during the daylight hours. That includes even water. Also smoking. You shouldn’t even be doing it in your car. During the daylight, non-fasters have to find private places to eat and drink and smoke. At places of work, for example, they designate a certain area for eating (or at my school, we just hide in an empty classroom since there are no students and plenty of empty rooms.) Restaurants are almost all closed during the day and only open after sunset and evening prayer. In hotels you can still find restaurants with daylight hours, grocery stores are still open, and many places will deliver, but the hours are reduced because there’s just so much less need for it.

Speaking of hours, we all have reduced hours, hurrah! The standard practice is to reduce shifts to 6 hours (or less.) Meaning I now work from around 8 to 2. Our students are already done and we’re just coming in to tie up loose ends/sit around doing nothing for those six hours. I imagine it would be different if students were in. It hasn’t really made a difference to us since we’d be on summer timings regardless of Ramadan… but it’s cool for everyone with normal jobs I gather.

My boyfriend is fasting. Like hardcore fasting. During Ramadan, it’s not just about the literal fast from food and drink. It’s also about doing what’s right in life. For example, we won’t be hanging out alone in private anymore (read between the lines…) because we’re not married. And when he was driving last night, he would swear (which he does when people cut him off or stop suddenly or whatever) but then immediately ask for Allah’s forgiveness. Because you’re supposed to take the month to be the best Muslim and person you can be.

Ramadan mubarak everyone!

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Seriously, how do I find smarter friends?

Tkanyewo of the chat groups I’m on in Whatsapp posted an image similar to the one on the right. It’s a quote from Kevin Hart turned meme. And it’s awful on so many levels.

First, being a woman is equatable to being an alcoholic or a crackhead? Are the two (female) friends who posted the image truly aware that they’re reposting shit that alludes to such an equability?

Second, all of those people were those things before they met the Kardashians. Scott met Kourtney while they were both big in the partying scene. Lamar has struggled with drugs forever and failed drug tests long before he met Khloe. And Bruce made it very clear that he’s felt like a woman for his entire life.

I don’t really want to rant about this in the chat groups, but Caitlyn Jenner has shown me which of my friends are transphobic assholes. And misogynistic idiots. Both in those who lol-ed at the meme and others who linked to that ridiculously stupid New York Times article about “what makes a woman” to their Facebooks. It all makes me absurdly depressed.

I just have to remember that I had a much more open conversation about the topic this past weekend with other friends. And even my non-Western, naive-to-social-nonconformity boyfriend just sort of shrugged and said, “I guess he can do what he wants.” (We were watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and I told him that Bruce was a woman now, so the gender pronoun was even appropriate.) Because who the hell are we to even have an opinion on her choice, much less make derogatory comments about it? Live your own lives and stop judging people you know nothing about! And definitely don’t post your naive opinions where your friends will see it, judge what they now know about you, and reconsider the entire friendship.

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Can you tell we’re studying Romeo and Juliet?

I binge ate a ton of sushi like an hour ago and my digestive organs are still sapping all the blood from everywhere in my body. I am super tired and all I want to do is sleep, but I have a stack of papers on my desk that need to be graded and I am extremely gross, so I also need to shower. (The temperature is still well over a hundred Fahrenheit right now and the sun’s down. Highest temperatures in the world recorded in the UAE today. Congratulations to us, no?)

But today I taught my last class of the school year! Tomorrow I have classes, but they’ll be sitting for their writing final, so it’s not teaching. Which means I don’t have to attempt to coerce students to act like proper human beings that know how to listen! And next week is finals, which is gloriously easy, despite the grading bullshit. Next week is also my birthday, which I dread, but alas, every year that bitch still comes around to plague me…

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