Achievements of this year:
1. Survived and maintained what sanity I have.
2. Spent more time at the farm than I have ever done so before. And have finally accepted it as part of my life.
3. Didn't lose my mobile phone as I have done for the past couple of years in the month of December.
4. Passed one more year of college.
Failures of this year:
1. Didn't achieve independence from Nahida.
2. Didn't get a new passport nor go on vacation.
3. Didn't nail down Arabic grammar.
That's all I can think of aside from not getting laid at all, losing any weight around the waist, turning vegetarian, and quitting smoking, but none of those were actual goals this year.
How about setting some goals for next year...
1. Finish college.
2. Settle down in the farm.
3. Get a big television and a new laptop.
4. Finish the paperwork I started this summer.
5. Read a novel in Arabic.
All in all it was quite an uneventful and forgettable year.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Achievements of this year:
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Eid is coming and dad's told me that I have to spend it at the plantation. Invite the farmers and everyone for a meal. And I was looking forward to chilling at home and doing nothing. Nahida's busy making pastries for tomorrow's trip. Miz is making salad for today's lunch. And my cousin is on his way from Erbil against his mother's wishes. I'm actually looking forward to have my cousin come with me to the plantation, that way some of the spotlight would be drawn away from me. And overall he's more enthusiastic about the whole plantation.
I got back my first test result from college this past week and things are looking good. I got a three out of five on a subject whose lectures I had missed. I'm managing to do my share of work in regards to my thesis project. Last weekend I produced seven pages of material that I had translated from English to Arabic. And I've begun to learn Japanese. I've got myself a notebook and everyday I jot down a few Hiragama letters down to learn. Learning Arabic is again put on hold. Miz the nutcase is more or less living at my house nowadays which is fine because he's quiet most of the time. The annoying thing about him is that he's so damn pessimistic.
Last week, I figured out who Fulu was, I was on a balcony and I saw a girl that I hadn't noticed before and that matched the simple description that she had given me and that was also sneezing or coughing into a tissue. Now she doesn't want us to talk on the phone because I know who she is now and it's weird. Yesterday, she somehow appeared sitting in front of me as I was walking through college. She was awfully nervous and so was I. We chatted for a couple of minutes and then I walked away. We still chat online though, and she does say she misses talking on the phone.
My cousin's arrived now and we've just had dinner. Surprisingly, he's not all too enthusiastic about going to the plantation.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
I had recently got in touch with a high school friend from my days in Lebanon. We spent most of grade 12 stuck with each other. He had run away from home and stayed with me. We lived the direst life of poverty living off of bread and cheese triangles. Once a week we'd go down to the Irish pub and get rat faced because the manager there wanted a favour from his dad and so he gave us lots of free drinks. Then when he came back home, I moved into his house with his family. But after graduating from school, I stayed in Lebanon and he went on to live in Canada.
So after about ten years, we get back in touch through Facebook and last Wednesday we chatted online. He brought up the idea of spending of me coming to visit him in Lebanon and to spend New Year's together at Faraya. The same place we went to together on New Year's eve ten years ago. That night, ten years ago, he had a fight with the driver after we reached the mountain top village where there's a big party every New Year's eve; and he sent the driver home without us. We were left stranded there with no where to go to. We ended up hitching ourselves back to our regular Irish pub that night.
So I promise that the next day I'd get my ass off the couch and go check out the passport office to get a new passport, something I've been wanting to get since June. And it turns out the office is closed to all but those applying for a passport to go to hajj and that considering holidays and all that are coming up, the passport office isn't going to open itself for applications till mid-January. And I was really looking forward to spending that time catching up and having a well-deserved vacation.
That same day, I went back to Bab Alshargi to see my Wii man who had last week come back from his tour of Asia. I had visited him a couple of days before and he had given me a Japanese copy of Super Mario Galaxy but which didn't work. This time, however, he gave me his copy and it did the update that un-semi-bricked my Japanese Wii. So I'm finally discovering all the internet-enabled features available on the Wii, but in Japanese. It's driving me nuts that my Wii is Japanese. Everything is in Japanese. I'm having to guess my way through menus. I've spent some time voice-chatting with my brother trying to have fun with the Miis. He even gave me his credit card details so I can buy some Wii points. But I'm worried that when the games I download on the virtual console won't be any fun because they'd be in Japanese too. I would love to play Zelda: Ocarina of Time for example. I'm thinking I'm just going to have to learn Japanese. I've printed some books already.
Well the guys just arrived, when I get the time I'll write about the story behind this pic of my car...
[the following was added two weeks later]
It was a rainy early morning two Sundays ago. Miz had already left, Mos and I were ready to head off to college early. Since it was early and raining I decided we would drive to college. So off we were in my car. It was around seven in the morning and the streets were quite empty and I was cruising slower than I usually do. Turned right at an intersection, a police car coming from the opposite end of the street followed behind me. A few seconds later there was a bang and the glass of my window to the side shattered. My first reaction was to burst out in hysterical laughter and I continued to drive along whilst Mos too was laughing in disbelief. The car ahead of us pulled over so I did too. Mos and I got out of the car. To my surprise, the driver of the car in front of me was a lecturer I had last year. As we greeted each other and said the custom "hamd-allah ala salama" phrase (Thank god you're safe) my biggest worry was whether the lecturer would spot the whiskey in my breath. In the meantime, Mos had his attention towards the police car that was the target of the roadside bomb that just hit us. My lecturer invited me to take a look at the damage on his car, and a moment later we all agreed that we should all get on our way as shoots were being fired by security forces as is the odd custom after such an incident.
Mos and I drove off and we began wondering what the strong smell in the car could be. We assumed it was the smell of the explosion. At the checkpoint up ahead, the one soldier there asked us if we saw anything and then told us "hamd-allah ala salama" as he gestured us to go pass through. Mos thought that we were going to go on to college, but I decided to drive back home because of the broken window. It was just after passing that checkpoint that I told Mos that I was too dizzy to drive and so we pulled over so he could take the wheel. At first I thought it could've been the smell or maybe I was losing blood and did not know it, and then later I thought it could be that I was hyperventilating through the laughter. My dizziness had Mos very worried too and when we got the car outside my house we got out and he took a look at my eyes to see if I was okay. Fortunately by then most of the dizziness had dissipated. Mos stood on the street talking to his mum as I opened the gate and then drove the car into the garage; it was then that he was shocked to see the gaping hole in the back of the car.
A piece of shrapnel or maybe a piece of the police car had flown threw into the back of the car and into the fuel tank that is behind the back seats. Fortunate for us the piece of shrapnel didn't get past the fuel tank and hit one of us. And a lot of people had said that had we been in any other car and not in a Mercedes then we would've probably had died. Later that day, Nahida's brother also found a tiny piece of shrapnel wedged into the frame of the shattered window.
So after an hour of fussing about what just happened, Mos and I went off to college by cab. It took us over an hour to get there, and the both of us were still amazed to have survived the whole way. When we did eventually get to college we split and then caught up with each other a few hours later to remark that nobody seemed to be impressed about what had happened to us.