Monthly Archives: April 2012

Love, just humor me for a second

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Love is quite amusing. It is a paradox in 3D. You can lay down definitions after definitions, find the synonyms, search for all the antonyms, turn it 180 degrees around, and it will still be love. Makes sense? Or is it just non-sense?

When it comes to love, everyone seems to have the answers, and yet we still question why. If love is built in trust, how come we are always in doubt?

Funny how love works. It works with reason, it works without reason. You will find all the logic to give up yet you will still irrevocably hold on. It gives colors and flavor to our tasteless life, but it can also send us to that dark place of no return.

Do we even realize how frightfully powerful Love can be? A genius in love can turn dumb in a snap. The strongest becomes the weakest. The sane becomes a little bit mental. Shower the saddest person in the world with just a tiny touch of love and see that person become the happiest, as though love is something greater than winning the lottery. Scary. Funny. Creepy. Silly.

Isn’t it ironic when you are always looking for love and it always feels like no one wants to come along? And then just when you are this close to giving up on love, there it comes–knocking at your front door. Sometimes, it even seems that if you really want to fall in love, all you have to do is shout to the world that you never want to fall in love again, and kaboom! You’ll find love lurking outside your window, flirting with you, and you will more than willingly flirt back.

When it comes to all of my friends’ love problems, I can come up with a two-hour monologue, three-page theory, and a formula to their situations. Sometimes, I even think I’d make so much more money than Dr. Phil should I start working as Dr. Love. But when it comes to my own love problems, the same advices that I have given and used to solve my friends’ dilemmas just never seem to work. Funny, because I’m pretty sure there is nothing wrong in my advices, and yet it seems that there is also absolutely nothing right. And I am left scratching my head. 

What’s even funnier are those people who perfectly know that they will be hurt in the end, yet they will still dive into love, with their head on first! And when their egos and self worth are practically reduced to nothing, of course it’s not their fault. The other person will always be the one to blame! “Why did he leave me?” “Why did she hurt me?” with matching head-butt on the wall! 

Even I have fallen victim to love’s unmerciful hand a number of times. It’s not even funny. It seems I can write about it endlessly and still, I wouldn’t exactly know what I want to say. I know exactly how I feel, yet I don’t know what to call it. 

Love can be hysterically funny, but it can also be rather sad. Because when love starts playing a joke on you, you can gamble everything you have, anything you own, but at the end of the game, you will still lose it all.

Hilarious. Tragic.

Love sucks, for now

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Seriously, I am this close to blaming this wicked month for playing April Fool’s on my friends’ hearts–and the month hasn’t even ended yet!

I don’t know why I always find myself caught in between. It affects me when I get the news that my friends’ long-term relationship came to a halting end just like that–for the reason that it didn’t work out. (They’ve been together for practically over a year, and it’s only now they realized it’s not going anywhere?) Or that one of my friends got himself turned down by a girl he genuinely cared about, or that another friend caught her supposedly ever-so-loving boyfriend sleeping–with someone else–on her bed! Her bed! Different people, different stories, yet it all boils down to the exact, same thing–a broken heart.

They’re all recent victims, and the culprit is this deadly, four-letter-word we call love.

Oh, love, what have you done this time? Aren’t you supposed to bring happiness and contentment and all these butterflies-in-the-stomach bullshit? You were meant to make everyone feel high. Everyone assumes that whenever you are around, there will be nothing but passion, and romance, and lots of sex too. Instead, you started stabbing my friends behind their backs, leaving them bleeding for dead.

I am 101 percent positive that they are thinking that this is the worst break up/rejection/cheating ever, that nothing is going to make things right, that things won’t go back to normal and they will just be stuck here, in this black, depressing hole–for life. They’re also probably thinking that I need to shut up now because I have no goddamn idea what I am talking about, and they are right, until they aren’t.

No matter how embarrassing it is for me to admit it, I think that if there is one person who would have memorized every single, excruciating second one has to go through in a break up, everyone’s fingers will be pointed at me. I used to be that person inside that empty box. I was the one wallowing in sorrow. I was the girl who turned blind to any reason. My judgment was impaired. I used to be the one drowning in my own pain and thinking this is the end of me.

At the moment, there is absolutely nothing I can say or do that will make my friends’ pain go away. I can tell them that he’s an asshole, or that she’s a bitch. I can tell them that it will get better, that eventually they will be able to move on, that sooner or later they will meet the right person who deserves them and who they deserve. I can tell them that they will be able to love again, but this is a fruitless task because at this very moment, it will just be me talking in mute. Right now, they’ve all gone deaf to anything that I might have to say because right now they’re in the dark. There is no vodka, or pep talk, or feel good movie that can take away the hurt. For now.

Because for now, they are thinking and feeling and seeing things in grey. They’re all imagining ‘whatifs’, and asking that horrible question ‘why.’ Right now, love has stomped their egos so hard that they have been reduced to someone who has lost the person who meant most to them. They are grieving, and that’s perfectly understandable, for now.

Being cheated on, being rejected, or broken up with, I’ve been through all those hells before and I’m so familiar at how much it sucks. I know how terrible and terrified they must be feeling right now, and I can only hope that soon, they will realize that good things actually come out from heartaches. Experience, for one. Later, they’ll be able to look back at their previous relationship and know what went wrong. They’ll start realizing that he or she wasn’t really that great (I wouldn’t be writing this right now if those people who meant the world to my friends were actually awesome.) Soon, they will realize that they have the power to actually get out of a bad, unhealthy relationship. They will realize there is no point in being with someone who takes them for granted, or that it is futile to be in a relationship clouded by lies and mistrust. I’m sure right now, they feel weak and vulnerable, but it only takes some time for strength to come out of them, because the best thing about heartache, is that once they get their sanity back, they have survived it!

We are all fighting the same fight and we will not be defeated (no matter how much they think their life is over at this very moment.)

I’m sure that eventually, my friends will be able to move on, just the way I did. No matter how cliche I may sound, I’m a living proof that life goes on, that we can recover no matter how deep we are into sinking. That we can be happy (if not happier) again. That no matter how disillusioned we were at love, at one point or another we will find the courage to love again, and this time it will be much better because of all the lessons and experience from our challenging past. Heartaches make us know better–what we really deserve, what we want out of a relationship, how we want it to start and grow. We know that next time, we won’t be with someone mediocre who will tell us that it’s just not working, or who will end up half-assing our self-worth, because now we know that the next time we’ll be in a relationship (whenever that may be,) it will be with someone worthwhile.

I have a crush? When did that happen? Part 3

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This would have been part 6 if I wasn’t feeling so selfish.

I feel so oddly strange. I mean, whenever something good happens to me, I’m always the one to pool my friends together so I can tell them stories of what’s happening to me, what’s new (especially when it comes to my love department which, as of now, still amounts to zero.)

I like to think that better things (or rather a better bond or friendship) is happening between me and this guy I call my crush. But for some reason, I am not so keen into telling anyone (I can hear you yelling that I’m contradicting myself considering how I am writing this in a public domain.)

Maybe this is me being selfish in a way that I like to keep our friendship to myself. Or maybe this is me choosing to be on the safe side, not wanting my girlfriends to think or expect that it can potentially turn into something more when I am sure it is unlikely to get there, not even close. Maybe I am just thinking that should I tell any of my friends about this crush, the world will play another brutal joke and send all its hexes down my way to jinx my supposedly happy-ever-after. Or, maybe, I take pleasure in knowing that I have a secret that no one knows about.

I have a secret and it’s all mine! Boy, I love that feeling. For the first time, I have something (whatever it is, I’ll leave you to bits until you raise your white flag on this guessing game) that not even my dearest friends know of.

Do you know why Mona Lisa is such a phenomenon even though, realistically speaking, there are far more amazing women painted on a canvas? I think it’s because of her smile. She has that smile so coy that seems to trick everyone to thinking she knows something that we don’t.

Well, needless to say, I feel that I am having that Mona Lisa moment right now. I am smiling, and I will leave you to your imagination as to why.

Surprisingly, I still want to get to know him more, and deeper. It seems there is still so much to know about this guy, and so much to learn from him as well. Everyday, I feel that I am surrounded with people who are so consumed by themselves, but I get the feeling that he is different, he’s a breath of fresh air.

Often, I meet people who likes to please (or impress) me, who tells me things I like to hear, who agrees to everything that I say (not realizing that I am only testing where their judgments lie.) Or often, I meet people who are so stuck up, and full of themselves–who would enjoy a conversation only if it is about them and nothing else, but he is not like that.

He doesn’t tell me things I like to hear. He is outright honest. His opinions are his, not copied from or influenced by anyone. He tells me when I’m wrong, and he will blatantly say that I am being mean. That, in itself, keeps me grounded.

He is very realistic and detached, two qualities that are the total opposite of my idealistic and emotional take on life. I look at him and see this person who is not feigned, even slightly, by the littlest or biggest problems of life.

I am envious of his pragmatic sensibility. It is something that I have always successfully fail to master. Sometimes, I wish I could care less. And when I meet someone who makes me reevaluate my take on life, I know he is someone worth knowing.

As much as I’d like to make my crush sound like a battery-operated robot, I hate to break this into you, but he is everything but that. There are no on and off switch buttons. Sometimes I think he likes to think that he’s the most serious, non-expressive guy in the world, but he doesn’t realize he can be one of the funniest too. I don’t think I’ll be able to put up with someone who has a non-existent sense of humor.

Our inside jokes? How riveting! Our dialogues will fall on the lines of ‘Five-second Tom, you are tramposo, but good night and happy new year.’ I’m not sure what other people will make sense out of that, but it does make perfect sense to me. It’s something distinctly him and I. He gets me, and I get him.

He surprises me even when he doesn’t know it. When I am so certain that he is just a dull guy with a huge science background, he comes surprising me with his sharp wit and creative side. That’s what he does, he takes the right turn when I am so convinced he will take the left. He proves me right, he proves me wrong.

There are still a lot of things I want to know. I want to know what ticks him, what sends him off. I want to know things that is not common knowledge to everyone. I want to know how his week went, not because I am a crazy-creepy-stalker. It just gives me a sense of relief knowing that someone I care about is doing well. I want to know how he got that scar (oh, wait, I forgot I already know how!)

I want him to let me know him, but for this to work, he has to let me cut him open and trust that I will not accidentally hit a nerve. And I hope that he will, because when I look at him, I see someone who makes clear sense. I see a blip–someone who understands my jokes, who corrects me when I’m wrong, someone who makes me smile the way Mona Lisa does.

Don’t say goodbye, say hello

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Sometimes, it makes me wonder why I meet certain people for only a very short period of time. It makes me question the purpose or the reason behind meeting that specific person or persons. Are they going to teach me a thing or two about life? Or are they just coming in passing to make me think about missed connections later in my life?

A few days ago, I met someone at the gym (sounds tacky, but trust me it’s not.) He asked me where I was from (which I guess is the easiest way to start a conversation with a stranger.) And that simple starter question led to another question that opened up a series of topics for a conversation so good that it didn’t matter even if it was happening between two strangers.

He told me he’s been living in Dubai for 17 years now, but he came back to Cairo for a short five days to be here for his dad who is having his bypass surgery the next day. Before he left the gym, I told him that I wish his dad well and that I hope he will be able to spend his last few days in Egypt with his family.

The next day, I got a message from him telling me that his dad didn’t make it.

This man is just a person I met randomly at a gym, yet I felt greatly affected. I don’t know him at all, but I found myself feeling sorry that his dad passed away.

I wanted to make him feel better, but I didn’t know what to say or what to do. He is going through something that I have never experienced before (and hopefully I won’t have to for decades and decades to come) which is why I find myself lost for words. I can imagine that nothing, not even a million sorry and condolences in the world, will be enough to make the pain of losing his dad go away.

Knowing what happened to this person made me reevaluate my relationship with my dad. It’s been a year and a half since I last saw my father. I used to be a daddy’s girl until whoknowswhathappened. I didn’t think that I was missing him until I met this person and heard what happened to his dad.

I am coming back home in September to see my dad. It will only be for three weeks, and I am sure it will not be enough to make up the year and a half that I didn’t see him. But I am hoping that this three weeks will be a good start to rekindle our father-daughter relationship that seemed to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.

Isn’t it interesting how we unnoticeably take for granted people and things, thinking that they will always be there, not realizing that one day, they will actually be gone? Maybe there is a part in our brains that does not want to recognize the fact that life ends.

How many times have we heard people say life goes on? Not one will have the courage to actually say that life ends. The truth can be ugly sometimes.

It’s sad when we exert an extra effort to make time worthwhile only after realizing that the days are numbered. Why do we have to wait until a deadline is set before we start realizing that this person is someone worth spending time with? Why do we take for granted the people or the things we have and then regret once it’s all gone?

I am still trying to find answers, and I hope that in finding the answers, there are no goodbyes but hellos.

The Accidental Mom

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Back in my senior year in high school, it was quite a feat when a student drops out, or just disappears for a long period of time. Rumors started circulating around school that those girls (who miraculously managed to disappear out of thin air) got pregnant. Half of the time, it was really the case.

When I was in my senior year, the idea of becoming a mom is so strange that it gives me chills to the bones. I mean, seriously, how can a 17 year old girl take care of a baby when she is not even close to being a woman? At 17, I was just playing nintendo games if I wasn’t reading Harry Potter.

At 25, the idea of becoming a mom is just as strange as it was when I was in senior high. Most of my friends (the same age as I) are either getting married, or getting a baby. I see all their photos (on facebook, obviously) and it makes me wonder how they do it, or more exactly, it makes me question how the hell they decided to get married or get a baby. Either they have all gone crazy, or I have become a blip in social trend.

I’d like to think I’m the sensible one in this case.

Whenever I see photos of anyone I personally know with their husband or wife or their new-born baby and those tubby fingers and toes, it makes me feel bad. It makes me doubt my abilities. It makes me wonder why I am not in the same frame of mind as they are. Or am I just not wired to be a wife or mom material?

Then it starts hitting me. No matter how hard I try to deny it, at 25, I am still selfish and self-centered in a way that I would choose to venture and see the world than settle down, that I would rather dance salsa and go out on fun dates than get a boyfriend, that I’d choose to marvel in my career than think about starting a family, that I’d rather be the comfortable, free-spirited, single woman that I am than become a miserable or regretful wife.

I’d like to think that I just know better. I know that I’m not ready, I’m not responsible enough to be a mother, nor am I willing to let go of my free pass card just yet.

Today is a day unlike any other. I am at that point where I am finally putting all the puzzle pieces together, but as usual, life never fails to play pranks on me and decides to jumble my world 180 degrees around.

When I went to bed last night, I was pretty sure that it will be an ordinary day–which means I will wake up just like any other day, get dressed for work as usual, and open the showroom like I do everyday.

So, imagine waking up from an international call from Italy (at seven in the morning!) telling me the news that I have just been selected to become a mother for a day.

They have got to be kidding me, right? I would give anything to think that it was just a drunken call, but it wasn’t.

To avoid any confusion, allow me to explain the ‘situation’. When I moved to Cairo for my career, the company (a family-owned, furniture design business) that I am working with provided me with a flat which is literally one tumbling from the showroom where I work. My flat happened to be one of four flats in our 4-storey building where the CEOs of the company (who is my boss’ parents,) the trade consultant (my boss’ brother,) and the designer (my immediate boss,) and I all live together.

Just last week, my boss’ parents and his brother flew to China for a major furniture expo. Two days ago, my boss and his wife travelled to Italy to attend a tango festival. That leaves me the only adult (apart from the bawab, the household helps who come on a daily basis, and the nanny who comes to babysit my boss’ kids.)

So, imagine (and I’m already telling you that this requires a big, creative mind!) when I was told that my boss’ nanny just decided to quit her job, while the kids’ mom and dad, aunt and uncle, and grandparents are away!

I can’t even imagine how someone can do such a thing–abandon a 6 year old boy, and a 3 year old girl while everyone in their family are several thousand miles away.

I can hear very clearly the nervousness and tension in my boss’ voice as they told me what was happening. Thankfully, the kids’ grandparents and uncle and aunt are flying back to Cairo as I write this blog.

Nevertheless, BOOM! I have become the accidental mom just like that.

That was a lot to take, no one warned me I’ll be a mom even if it was meant to be just for a day. I wasn’t nervous being an accidental mom because I’ve known my boss’ kids for over a year now and they always come with us when we do company trips to Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh. I was more nervous for them being my accidental kids. I had no idea how to look after kids the way real moms do.

So, I rushed up to their flat after I hang up the phone. I was expecting to see two crying and screaming toddlers who probably have no idea that their nanny just fled away, instead, I found two little kids still asleep in bed.

There was a chart posted on the fridge door that says ‘March 31 kids pizza’.

How in the world do you make a kids pizza?

I stormed the fridge to look for anything that would make a healthy kid’s pizza. There were tuna, mushrooms, capers and bell peppers. Healthy.

The pizza was fresh out of the oven when Jem and Belle woke up, but guess what. They just totally ignored the ‘kids pizza’ I so laboriously prepared. Or heck, maybe they knew that that pizza wasn’t really as edible as I wanted it to be. I was starting to crack under pressure at this time. They have to eat something and it should be something that they would like. They told me what they wanted was pizza with only olives and cheddar cheese on it. Easy.

In fact, it was actually much easier since they helped me make the pizza the way they want it. We made a huge mess on the kitchen bench but it sure was a fun mess!

Luckily, my boss made things a lot easier for me, they sent me a detailed email about ideas of activities I can do with their kids.

  • Bake chocolate cake
  • Painting and coloring materials on the top shelf
  • Story reading
  • Play dough in the bottom left drawer in the play area
  • Play date with friends on Saturday, call 0122514xxxx so on and so forth.
  • Go watch a movie at City Stars
  • Take kids to Chili’s

Since the kitchen was already in a total mess, why not bake a cake? And so we did, they cracked the eggs, sift the flour, pour the milk, melted the butter, and whipped the batter. Needless to say, we all managed to cover ourselves with flour and egg whites! The chocolate cake turned out really well by the fact that I almost finished half of it!

Story reading was easy to do, thank heavens the books they have are not in Arabic! I immediately crossed out going to City Stars or Chili’s. I don’t think shopping centers are the best places for kids their age. And I know this by the fact that I get so annoyed whenever I see parents walking in a mall with their little mignons. Honestly, I think those parents can do much better parenting than taking their kids to a silly mall. Not to mention the least I would want is for one of the kids, if not both of them, to get lost or, worse, kidnapped. I thought their household help will already kill me for the messy kitchen and the stains in their clothes, so I had to cross out play dough and painting as well, not wanting for all the play dough or paint to leave permanent marks on the carpeted floor.

Since it was a Saturday, I decided to call the number they gave me and arrange a play date with the kids’ friends. I spent about an hour or so, telling the mom of their friends everything that just happened. It felt funny and weird at the same time, going to a stranger’s house for the first time. I guess it was even weirder for their friend’s mom (who I have never met before) to fathom the idea that someone can become an accidental one-day mom.

I thought these things only happen in movies!

I took ‘my’ accidental kids home at five this afternoon. I did a lot of bribery (not the qualities of a real mom.) If they want to watch one show of Scooby doo on tv, they have to finish their homework. They want to get a candy special? They have to have a bath and get dressed by themselves. They want to play hide and seek? They have to eat all their dinner up.

And whenever they do something really good that impresses me, like eating with their mouths on the bowl or not getting milk spilled on the floor, I give them two coins. By the way, I think at the age of three and six, they should be allowed to be chaotic and out of control. I must have been a monster mom in their eyes–a monster mom who lets them watch cartoons before bed, snack on junk food, and play tag.

Right now, it’s 8:39 and they are already fast asleep. Before I put them to bed, I read them two children stories and a bible story. We prayed after the story reading. I do not believe in religion but they told me that this is what their mom always does, and since I have already become their one day mom, I might as well play and act the part. So I tucked them into bed, and hugged them, and kissed them, and told them that I love them. I wished for them to have sweet dreams, and I couldn’t believe I was hearing myself telling them that the angels will be beside them tonight (it was just so not me.)

I guess I just did what I think real moms do, or at least I did my idea of what real moms do.

Like Cinderella (one of the bedtime stories I read them tonight) my accidental mom story will expire as soon as the clock strikes. Their grandparents will be here in a few hours and I will be back to being my old, boring, career-driven self. Tomorrow, I will wake up and know that it will just be an ordinary day. No pizza making, cake baking, or play dates, no bedtime stories to read. It also means no warm hugs and cute little fly kisses from two of probably the most adorable kids I’ve ever had the chance of being with.

What a learning experience. It sure made me realize that I suck at being a pretend mum, but hey, I was put on the spot and didn’t have nine months to prepare for it, let alone read books on successful parenting, or google how-to-be-an-awesome-mom! So, I guess I deserve a pat on the back after all!

And before I forget, I think skipping an 8-hour work shift to have a ball with the kids is not as bad as I thought.