Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Eid Mubarak!"

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh...

... Eid Mubarak was my reply to the smart cashier at the Tar-jay who wished my a Merry Christmas as a well-thought-out 'afterthought' on 'Eid day. And I wish all of you an Eid Sa'eed as well.

It has been doom and gloom around here for a while, sigh. I'm hoping to pick up the tone. Today gave me hope- it was my mother's birthday (she hit a milestone today, alhamdulIllah!), but was one of the warmest Winter solstice days I've ever seen- we hit 61 degrees! It was beautiful. And the moon shone brightly through hazy dark clouds as we drove back from dinner. InshaAllah better days are coming, and we won't be living in sorrow as much. My brother is well, all praises to God for that.

Me? I'm baking cookies. I'm on break from the academy until the 2nd of January, and from day 1 I've been resting and alternately cleaning. And MYNA camp begins on December 26th! This will be my first time as a counselor, so I'm making dua'a for a good experience.

Now, I promised this to Dictator Princess a while back, please indulge me. I love memes! Gank away if you like this one- you have to answer five questions, and then others can ask for an Interview in comments. Let me know if you want in, and I promise to think up some good questions, inshaAllah.

1. A repeat of a previous question:What do you know now that you wish you had known before you converted? I am not talking about "big bad Islam", I mean like what do you know now that could have made the journey easier?

On a practical level- I wish I'd waited to start observing hijab. That's only because I think I'd've ended up wearing it regardless, but to do it when I did did NOT make my life any easier. Yeah. I really wish that I'd remembered that the most beautiful part of Islam is what occurs inside as a result of what I do outside. I lost track of that. This is a hard question- rarely do I take stock of what I've learned like that.

2. Children scare me to death. You teach several. What would you tell me to be more at ease in their presence?

Honey, be easy! They're sturdier than they look- you won't break them! ;o) Be the adult you always wanted to be around- loving and playful, thoughtful, considerate, listening, yet with limitations and boundaries. Have in your mind the image of each child as an interesting person that you want to know and to show love and affection, and watch how they open to you and you to them. Someone had to remind me not to hide the love I had for my preschoolers- for adolescents, the way to be around them is to still be at ease with yourself, but also be thoughtful and principled. They see adults as examples.

3. Speaking of small children, what do you like about teaching preschoolers versus teaching junior high kids (besides avoiding major 'tude)?
Oh, hmm, I guess I started to answer this in my last answer. I love that the world is so shiny and new with the little ones. I mean... words that rhyme are a big deal to a four-year-old. Snowflakes and rainbows are awesome to them. They wonder if Allah mixed in extra chocolate when He made black people. That kind of thing. I get to revive my sense of wonder in the Creation of Allah with preschoolers. That, and they are pure love, not afraid to hug or say hi, they rarely hide their emotions and they aren't deceptive at all. Jr. high kids are just getting into being adults, thinking, and taking action, so you have to think in steps ahead of them in ways that you don't need to do with pre-school.

I love them all for different reasons.

4. I know why it was important to me to find a French-speaking Hombre. In this post you mentioned you would like to have a Spanish-speaking Hombre. Why?

Well, I need to start off saying that's not an ABSOLUTE UNCHANGING REQUIREMENT or anything. But yes, I think a Spanish-speaking Hombre would be nice. I'm a Hispanophile, raised speaking the language and tasting and incorporating the culture into my manner and way of thinking (to a degree). It'd be nice to find someone who understands that part of me- that I'd want my children to learn Spanish as well as English and Arabic as home languages, that I can and do pronounce the rolled r and accents flawlessly, that I fix some mean arroz con habichuelas but still can't make coquito. Spanish language and the attending cultures are my first acquired love, and my huband would be number 2 in there, so it'd be nice if they could mix. *sigh*. Ojala... Too, Spain is a jumping block between the Islamic and the Western, or it was. I felt the connection was natural.

5. One month all expenses paid vacation anywhere in the world. Where would you go and why?

I'd commandeer a passenger jet and end up in Brasil, after first making stops in Culebra, Puerto Rico (or another similar PRIVATE beach), Malaysia, and Central Asia. Brasil is a passion of mine especially after I didn't go in undergrad for reasons I will not speak of here. Brasil received the biggest portion of the African diaspora and has a good number of Muslims. I speak the language and love the music etc. Culebra is this gorgeous teeny tiny island in the PR archipelago with crystal clear blue water and powdery-sanded beaches that are deserted in many places. I'd like to visit a private island and go swimming in the ocean freely again. Malaysia and Central Asia because they spark my imagination and the people I've met from those places have been some of the happiest and most centered I've ever known. And of course, they're all-expenses-paid- when would I get to do that again in my lifetime?

Thank you for the interview!

Eid Mubarak, y'all!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


assalamu alaikum,

Alhamdulillah, my brother may leave the hospital some time today.
This is wonderful news and I'll be making dua'a for it to actually happen.


Other shocking news: My baby cousin (barely 4 months) is dead and his older sister (also a toddler) was operated on last night. Apparently both were beaten by their caregiver while their mother, my cousin, was at work.

I am in shock. I cannot understand this. I do not. Audhu billah. I'm a zombie because I don't get it. Why? Why? Hurt a child that cannot speak? Hurt a bright innocent baby who brings joy to everyone she knows? Why? Why? Ya rabb...

The man is in custody and had better stay there, as the kids grandfather, my uncle, is understandably beyond furious. And more than half of that particular county (not in Conservopolis) is related to our family.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.

Please pray for us all.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lost his ever-loving mind

assalamu alaikum

I've been gone for a while. I know. I've thought about this place like every day. We've really been going through it, so I'm asking for dua'a. Long story short, my brother JW (I've mentioned him here in passing) is in the hospital about an hour north of Conservopolis. He's been there for more than two weeks; he was sent directly from his campus by his counselors and a favorite professor. He's very ill.

It is terrifying and horrifying to see. My brother is losing it. He's been diagnosed with a mental illness. Audhu billah.

It tears at my heart every time we've gone to see him (of the four of us close to him, one of us has been up to see him every day). It's clear that something is wrong. Please make dua'a and pray for his recovery.

JW is a national-class musician, with an amazingly quick mind. I've always said he was the brightest of all of us, even if his grades did not reflect all of that. Yesterday, alhamdulIllah, was the best day of all those he's been there- it was like seeing him again. Because at the first visit... his eyes were wild, and bloodshot. He was stopping to pause and detect the messages that were being transmitted through the hospital television monitor. He kept telling us that people were coming to kill him.
He meant it.

My family was okay before this and inshaAllah we'll be okay afterward. If different. As hard as it will be to pay for treatment, at least we live where there's an option. And thank God someone at that school noticed that something was wrong. I don't know how he'd have made it another three weeks at university without help. By the time they put him in he was clearly... sick.

I know I'm different. I hear myself when I say the word 'crazy' to mean 'weird or out of whack'. I remembered several times how I said the word 'shizo' to mean crazy in front of my friend, S. and how she reproached me. I know what she felt, now. I think the worry is the worst. But I'm ashamed of a lot of my internal reactions to all of this. I cringe at my reaction when I don't want to take the two hour round trip to the hospital after having worked all day. Last Monday I just took a day off and cleaned my mother's house (a bit. It needs like another two days. I just can't take them. Sigh.) instead of going to school like my life is normal and okay.

And since my parents worry whenever I miss a day of work ( like the 2 days my doctora demanded when I had the flu and strep at the same time= yay preschool) I neglected to inform them that I did so. I'm getting to the point where when I actually make a decision instead of dithering I'm extremely disinclined to defend or argue about it. I'd been letting some things slide and I realized that if JW isn't doing so well, I have to step up my game. I don't get the option of being depressed myself. I'd been slowly dissolving myself, letting certain things go, and I know that midwinter is never my best time. I know it was happening, and I was trying to get a hold of myself- and then JW was hospitalized. I got some issues to get out so I'll be blogging by hook or crook soon. I just hope I don't get called out, because the resulting meltdown would not be pretty. I'm glad my sister is here. She's my lifeline right now, as I am hers.


Oh, DP, I saw your comment and will be answering later, inshaAllah. Sisters, brothers, other friends inside the computer, if you read me, please comment. I like my friends inside the internet to be as vocal as I am in real life. And being alone is not what's up right now. Get at me...