Monday, June 25, 2007

Language Cannot Say it All

Why don’t I feel that language, the spoken and the written word, is as crucial as it used to be? When did language –especially my first- stop feeling special and start looking like piled newspapers; plenty, dusty, and outdated?

For five years, I have been loosing faith – especially in literature! Every now and then, I would try to pick some books in hope of reconnecting, of reawakening the little girl who is welling to see life pass her by as long as she can read & write about it.

But that girl wants something more now. She has a yearning to reach out, to express, to explode, in an extreme that language –her language at least- is simply incapable of.

Desperately, and as if caught right at the end of time, she searches for a medium. Be it humanities, arts, sports, or sciences, enduring the fascination, as well as the horror, that the leap from one faith to another opens beneath her feet.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bikini vs Underwear?

As she hops on the bus, her sister and brother in law give out an exasperated sigh. “A bikini top!” her sister says with relief. “I thought you were wearing a bra! I was gonna kill you!”

Right then I wanted to stand up and exclaim. “Yes, America! This! This is what’s confusing me about your definition of proper.”

In a couple of fashion shows that I watched online, and attended, the same thing happens. The girls would be walking the runway in bikinis or lingerie, then grow upset if the windows in the change rooms are not sealed to the top. The managers would be very strict with the boys and cameras, preventing them from lingering in the change rooms, or peeping through any holes onto the girls who are in their underwear. (This
Victoria Secret Fashion Show is an excellent example; look for the very end of the show, 6:30/6:47)

Don’t tell me this is plainly a legal matter, because if managers are fearful of being sued, the girls are plainly upset about their own privacy. But what privacy? If bikini’s are sometimes skinnier and more revealing than underwear, and if walking the runway means being speculated in more detail-what is it that the girls want the public to stay out of?

The same scenario happens in back stages, theaters and sports; that awkward moment when the definition of body, privacy, and propriety is encrypted in a language that I cannot understand. My smile is torn, as I remember once again how foreign and alien I am to people I shared two years with. And just because I speak English pretty well, asking for a translation would not be taken without offense.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where is Home?

IF you were to loose your wallet right before the weekend, what plans can you possibly have in mind? And for the entire week before you replace everything you lost, what can you do?

Last Friday I lost my wallet at a party. And while my mind worked out a search plan, list of what is in it, and the cards I should start blocking, my very own being felt blocked from everything around it. Simply said, I no longer belonged to the life I was in. There were major restrictions as to how I moved within it.

I had no credit cards, debit cards, school ID, state ID, scholarship ID, buss pass, contact cards, and so remained in the safe little passenger seat as my husband drove home, buying dinner on the way.

Turning the key in our appartment's door, I was left to wonder:
Which is "home"? What we have, or the key that grant us access to it?

Thank you GOOGLE for revealing my e-mail address to the savior who found my wallet!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Do we Miss when we Doubt?

Can we ever say: I had a moment of doubt?
An hour of doubt?
A year?
Can doubt ever be measured with science, +1, -1, etc? Can it be associated with terms of positive or negative progression?
Or is doubt simply the loss of time. A state similar to that of “
Ashab el-Kahf” who were left to sleep in the cave as time passed them by, governments replaced another, and currencies changed.
Is being doubtful, in life, like being in a coma?

I stood hesitantly by the bus stop today. The 88. It runs on either side of the street. One side goes to where I am headed, the other goes the exact opposite way. I called up the bus tracker, and the automatic voice said: “88 is arriving, now!”

My heart beats quickened, and though my instincts told me I was on the right side, doubt insisted that I must check what the other sign/side says. I looked around me, and saw no sign of a bus, so I attempted three steps towards the pedestrian crossing. Just then, just when I had my foot ready to cross: voooom!

The wind blew in my face as the bus passed me by. Yes, I was on the right side of the street. How long did I have doubt for? It really mattered not. It seemed like a black out, but when I opened my eyes I knew I have missed out on so much…

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fearless - Fearfull: The A - Z of our Life?

Fear that we gain, do we ever loose?
Or does it become the permanent resident?

Are we born fearless? And the more fear we accommodate, the older we get? The older we get, the less there is “of us” living “in us.” We recede to the rear door, having “fear” which we call at times “the experience”, our first line of defense? Like a darker skinned person who is not effected as much by the sun.

When we are the primary residents of ourselves that is when fear still pains. That is when every entrance of it alarms us, and sends us back in horror. Then, as our exposure to fear increases, and as “fear” and “us” own 50/50 rights to the place. From then on, the journey to peace begins. The journey to our exit. To our end.

At my last year of high school I developed a fear of exams. Those finals would decide whether I enter to college or not. My mom would stay awake next to me as I open the books and cry. Words slip through my eyes like water. They have no meaning, they cannot get through to my mind, and I would fall asleep. From then on, I could not study for a final. Because my bachelor studies where in Literature, I survived. You need not study for literature; you only need be in love with it.

And in Grad school, I have no finals because it is in “Writing.” There are only projects, and writing to be handed in on time. But tonight, as the book of Spanish Language “Dos Mundos En Breve” gives me the look of dare or die, I have no choice but to let it go. Fear still pains, and to sleep I shall go hoping -just hoping- that I will survive this time!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Saudi Guys in Rose Festival?

After filling out a Saudi Students Survey, hosted by IRmep, and intended for assessing the students' "various experiences within various official, academic and social environments in the US."

I could not help but meditate further on the "social" aspect. The little social shocks that accumilate to what may later be called a person's familiarity with another culture.

At the Water Front Village event this weekend, which is part of the Portland Rose Festival, those were three major stops for me!




Saudi Guys with wildly long hair lined up for Henna Tattoo in an orderly manner, debating whether to have roses or cartoonic drawings!

* photo blocked for reasons of privacy, and mutawas

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Would you Help a Veteran of Iraq?

Quoted from Craig’s List, Portland.
Please note that posts on that website expire in 7 days.

"I am a 23 year old veteran of Operation Iraq and Enuring Freedom. I went into basic at the age of only 19. My girlfriend of three years and I married... but would divorce soon after I returned home from Iraq. During my time in the desert I was subjected to rather horrific and tormenting events... the army's only account for giving me a chapter 13. A psychatric discgharge that doesn't exist and that the army is supposed to prohibit during the process of enlisment. I want to hire somebody who can write this into either a book or a script. There are thousands of us who have ended up this way. Men and women comming home to their spouses with grim faces and troubling news. Soldiers being taken advantage of by their husbands and wives. Help me tell this story... let me expose what's really going on here. The people want to hear it. They want to hear the truth about what's happening out there and what's happening to the soldiers that come home... and the soldiers who aren't lucky enough to come home."
email address:

Just how many are out there, tormented with their untold stories?
Update July 13, A new ad on Craig's List:

"I am a soldier who's just returned a little over a year ago from the war in iraq. I am currently writing a novel based on my experiences in the army and the harsh aftermaths that continue to follow. I am looking for several things... a publisher who can get this book on the shelves of stores all across the country and possibly the world, a movie director/script writer who has the capability to get this story onto the big screen... in theaters everywhere. I'm doing this because this story needs to be told. My experiences and harships parallel thousands of other soldiers who have been forgotten due to the constant mindless babling of the media.
Location: portland
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: if the money comes in... you are surely entitled
PostingID: 372465458


Friday, June 1, 2007

How Dare You CNN!

Since morning, CNN's been showing the story of "TB patient Andrew Speaker", and how he presented a public hazard by traveling with a contagious disease. A video of his apology kept running, broken several times to interview reporters and their take on the story.
The story did not particularly interest me until a reporter came on saying, "How dare you Andrew Speaker, how dare you!"

Open mouthed I stared at her as she continued to lash him in the most scornful manner. It surprised me how that tone differed not from the one CNN used to speak of Paris Hilton, mothering and fathering her with absolute pleasure.

But for ethic’s sake, to use the same tone with a TB patient?! This man is SICK! And with a disease that is not easy to live with. Is there no difference anymore between professional reporting, and that of celebrity gossip magazines?

If Andrew Speaker broke the law, then maybe he should be dealt with through the right channels, delivering the stakes of the incident to the public and updated information received. Serious consideration needs to be taken as to why the system is so vulnerable that a TB patient was able to get through and travel.

But to judge, and hurt, and scorn the ill?
CNN, how dare you?!
June 10 summary:
So, yeah. It turns out that Andrew was not contagious after all. Or maybe, mildly contagious. The table is turned around, as some begin to question why such an organized attack started against him in the first place. And, if he should press any charges...