My lovely visitors :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pig Bristled toothbrush???

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

   wow it seems like a loooooooong time since I last blogged!  wierd how a week and a half of absence can seem so long after blogging pretty regularly!  I am back inshallah  :)

  I went to Arabian Center with my husband's niece today and was browsing around in a store named Daiso.  This is a store that I love going to and its a chain store from Japan that sells a bunch of things.  In Japan the stores are cheaper than they are over here in UAE... but I think that goes for a lot of different stores/brands over here.  

Anyhow, while looking at the toothbrushes I saw one thing that really concerned me (I can read Japanese--not fluently but enough) --the concerning part has a red square around it:

I was thinking to myself... "That word means pig hair!"  and it says its a new hybrid toothbrush with a mix of nylon bristles and pig hair bristles!!

Then I was thinking maybe I'm confusing the Kanji characters of "pig" with "cow" and turned it over to see if there was anything written in English, and it sure was there!!

I let the woman at the check-out know and she said she would tell the manager but she didn't sound concerned at all so I showed and explained it to the manager myself.  He said he would get them taken down right away and I reminded him to contact all the other Daiso branches in UAE and he said he would. 

The biggest problem is my husband's niece and I couldn't find any other of those toothbrushes so if that wasn't the only one originally in stock at that store, then people have already bought them and are using them!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

sorry I have been MIA for a while...

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

  I'm sorry I haven't make any new posts this week... just getting over a bad cold I caught while in KSA the week before...

  Inshallah I will feel up to posting and visiting others' blogs real soon!  

Twizzle  :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

In the Peace of Madinah

As-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

  I just returned back from the most amazing trip of my life Mashallah Alhamdulillah. We visited Madinah and then went for Umrah in Makkah. I will start with Madinah inshallah.

There is so much to tell but I will do my best to keep it short.

After arriving to our hotel, we whipped to our rooms in time to freshen up and make wudu for Magreb prayer. Then we headed down to pray in Masjid Al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet) 

We stayed in Dar Al-Taqwa, which is right at the entrance to the masjid grounds, closest to the main women's entrance (near the men's entrance as well)

It was crowded and since my SIL and I had to take our MIL in a wheelchair, we ended up praying in the outdoor grounds, on the tiled floor. As prayer started I started feeling emotional and started tearing up. Then we went into sujood and the prayer rug was slipping and I had to use all my strength to keep the prayer rug from slipping away so I lost the emotions I was feeling LOL

All in all Madinah is peaceful and relaxing to be in Mashallah :)

One thing that would maybe surprise some is that I decided to not wear niqab over there – I started wearing niqab when I moved to UAE because of all of the staring I got. While in Madinah and Makkah, some men would stare but all in all the men behaved pretty well MashaAllah :)

The whole masjid, inside and out is beautiful Mashallah! I didn't know about this till I got there, but there is a place in the masjid named “Rawdah” which is from Prophet Muhammad's (salallahu aleyhi wa salaam) tomb to his pulpit and while the rugs in the masjid are red, the Rawdah area has green rugs--and it is a part of Jannah.

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: That which exists between my house and my pulpit is a garden from the gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is upon my cistern.
Sahih Muslim, Book #7, Hadith #3206

To visit this place, there are certain specified times of the day that is for women only. The family thought it was only once a day (at least it was when they went before) but now it is open several times a day for women (though it could be because it was busy), Alhamdulillah. My SIL went first on her own and came back talking about how aggressive the Arab women are. She was pushed and shoved and while trying to pray she was elbowed by a woman and was in tears from the pain!

I am going to make my story short because it will get too long to tell everything—but I went on my own the next morning when I coulnd't get a hold of my MIL and SIL at the time we said we would go. They were separating the women in groups of Pakistanis, Arabs, and Indonesians and I got sent to the Arab group since I “spoke Arabic” which was only me telling the sister working there “ana Amreekiya” (I'm American) LOL

It was just crazy how aggressive and impatient some of the Arab sisters were being.They were complaining about the Indonesian group being ahead of us and when they saw a couple Arab sisters slip into the Indonesian group, they tried to force their way past the sisters working hard to keep the groups separated. But they were held back.

Then as we moved forward all these Arab sisters around me started crying and making dua'a and saying things like “Ya Rabb” I still didn't know where I was so I didn't get emotional, plus I was concentrating on not getting pushed to the ground by all of the pushing and shoving going on around me--then one sister started hitting my back and told me to move forward –like she couldn't see I had no room to move!!-- so I got mad and turned to hear and said, “Sabri enti! Fee hareem jidam-nee! Sabri!” (patience! There are women in front of me! Patience!) 

Then as we were let in, the crown just starting fighting to get a prayer spot and I heard my SIL calling for me—she and my MIL had come shortly after me, but since my MIL was in a wheelchair, they came through a separate place and got through quicker than I did. She told me to pray quickly where she was—it was the area reserved for those in wheelchairs.

Then my SIL pointed where the tombs of Prophet Muhammad (salallahu aleyhi wa salaam), Abu Bakr(radiallahu anhu) and Umar (radiallahu anhu), were, and I quickly said “salaam aleikum” in my heart toward the tombs.

But all in all, as the whole thing happened so quickly, I didn't feel like I got to take it all in. So the next morning I went again but as they were calling out the different groups I told them “Indonesia” and they let me go with the Indonesian group LOL

One sister working there in the Rawdah area stopped me and asked:
“enti Indonesia?” (Indonesian?)
I said “La, Amreekiya” (no, American)
She said “La, Indonesia”
I replied “La Amreekiya”
and again she said, “Indonesia”

so then I explained that I am American but my mother is Japanese and another sister working who was listening came up and said “Enti abooch Amreeki?” (your father is American?) and I said “yes”

then guess what the next question was?? guess!!!!

she asked “enti Muslim?” (are you Muslim?)

I was shocked she would ask that standing where I was but I just told her “Yes” and she said “MashaAllah :)

So this time I took my time and took it all in, prayed, made dua'a and got emotional and tearing up. But one sister working there saw me and I was embarrassed (I don't like to cry in front of people LOL) I got up and went to another area of the masjid outside Rawdah and prayed and made dua'a. Then I sat and read Qur'an and just looked around to see all the beauty inside the masjid MashaAllah :)

 On a last note, I need to find out who the Imam was while we were there because I just absolutely LOVED his recitation of Qur'an MashaAllah.  A new favorite of mine  :)

here are some photos—inshallah you enjoy them :)

Here is the view from my SIL, BIL, and MIL's suite--all the windows of the hotels around have this fince thingy on the windows (I suppose so people don't try to reach out of their windows to take photos) so I couldn't get the best shots...
 In the last few images you can see part of the green dome which is where the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (salallahu aleyhi wa salaam) is.

This photo above is one of the men's entrances

 Here is a photo of Rawdah (this is not my photo--it is a photo from Wikipedia, used under this Creative Commons License)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheap Labor and Attitudes-Redux

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 I previously wrote a post: Cheap Labor and Attitudes and I really wasn't seeing the big picture.  Most of us Westerners are actually no less guilty.  I was thinking I should delete the post altogether but I think I will leave it as a lot of people feel the same way I did and reading both posts may help them also see the bigger picture.

 I am from the US as y'all know...and there is a minimum wage, labor laws, unions, etc... all there to protect employees.  So basically, the US protects the citizens and legal residents with these laws.  And with a minimum wage in place, we cannot imagine someone having to have to work for SO little pay like the domestic laborers (maids, drivers, cooks etc...) and unskilled laborers (office boys, construction workers etc...) in UAE.

 But guess what?  Most of us Westerners SUPPORT the kinds of salaries, working conditions and living conditions that we think is horrible and that we think UAE is so guilty of. 

How you say?

Do you buy products that say "made in China", "made in the Philippines", "made in Mexico"  etc.. ?

Then you just might be supporting this very thing.

Do you buy counterfeit designer goods? This industry thrives on slave labor, child labor, extremely low salaries, and horrible working conditions. On top of all that, this industry supports criminals. 

Do you research each and every company to make sure they are not under investigation for unfair labor wages/conditions?  And even if you are assured their salaries are "fair", does what is a "fair" wage in these countries equal to, or equal more than the salaries of the domestic and unskilled laborers in UAE?  For some, it might be, but for many others, its still an even lower salary.

So you see, just because unfair wages, working conditions etc.. are regulated in the US, we are not less guilty if we purchase our goods from people and companies who practice the very thing we think is unfair. 

For instance, a shoe company that gives what is a "fair" wage in a poor Asian country, $3 a day (which is why people come to UAE because they can get a higher salary than that, even if it is sooooo little to us), to employees to produce their shoes that cost well over $100 in the US.   If the shoe company was in the US, people would throw a fit if they found out the company was paying only $3 a day to the employees.  Yet its ok so long as it happens outside of the US?   And in other countries a "fair"salary is much less than that!

That being said, it doesn't mean I suddenly think what happens in UAE is all ok. Just that I do know I felt it, and others feel it too--like we are all more "civilized" than Emaratis on this issue.  We do the same thing, just pretend to be innocent about it because it doesn't happen in our countries legally.

And also, the laborers are first exploited in their very own countries before setting foot in UAE.  It is a bigger problem than just getting UAE to change their attitudes about this issue.  If their salaries were increased in UAE, the "fees" they have to pay in their own countries just to get a job in UAE would go even higher, thus continuing the cycle of exploitation.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do You Want to Go to Japan? Yes you do!! Osaka Version!!

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah,

ohhhh wow I have been lazy in the blogging world lately!!  I need to get caught up!!  I tried to spend a couple days replying to the blogs I am following and then got lazy again!!  So I am finally back with a new post!!

Lets talk about one of my favorite places to travel--Japan!!!  I loooooooooooooooooooooooooove Japan!! love it love it LOVE it!! MashaAllah.  

 I mainly go to Tokyo all the time because that is where my family is, but my husband and I have travelled to Osaka as well.  I want to post some photos so I need to split up my posts into Osaka, Tokyo, and then just a photo post of foods in Japan LOL

 Osaka is Japan's 2nd largest city and is known for its cuisine.  There is a saying in Japan:
  "Dress (in kimonos) till you drop in Kyoto, eat till you drop in Osaka" (京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ)  

The dialect of Japanese spoken there is different from the one spoken in Tokyo.  The dialect is named "Osaka-ben" -- I loooove Osaka-ben!!  Its hard to describe it to someone who doesn't speak Japanese though. Interestingly, a looot of famous Japanese comedians are from Osaka or the surrounding areas that speak with a similar dialect.  Its so interesting to hear  :)     

unfortunately, I didn't take all that many pictures of food while we were there...    and we sure did eat A LOT  LOL

its also hard to find enough photos without me or my husband in them LOL 

Enjoy a few photos inshallah  (God willing)

This is a photo in Namba, Osaka --Namba is considered the entertainment district of Osaka.

Here is a famous crab restaurant in the same area--I have eaten at one of their chain restaurants in Tokyo every time I visit.  The menu is full of different crab a la carte and combo menus.  I love it there MashaAllah-yummy!

Another picture in Namba

Namba Parks Mall

this photo is from a restaurant in the mall that was all-you-can-eat.  You get 1 hour to eat all you want.  The main fun of this place is you go and pick up all the raw meats/poultry/seafood and you get a bowl of a paste made from flour/water and a nother bowl of bread crumbs.  You crumb your own raw food and deep fry right in at the table!!  you can see the stainless steel deep fryer in the pic  :)    It was so good but you do leave smelling like you've been deep-frying food LOL

Some pictures in the Dotonburi area (right by Namba)

Shinsaibashi shopping districts...just a bunch of small blocks lined with places to shop and eat!! 

Here is one place that makes Japanese style souffle cheesecakes.  They had a looong line when my husband and I went so we decided to stand in line and buy one for us.  My husband like it but I thought it was just ok... I much prefer American cheesecakes  :)

the HEP Five Mall--that is a merry-go-round right on the top of the mall!!  We never rode it LOL

a Mexican fast-food chain in Japan. Not authentic Mexican.  LOL  Japan was where I ate the worst Mexican food I have ever eaten in my life LOL--but its a cute place don't  ya think??  :D 

And just a beautiful classic Nissan Skyline (or was it a Daihatsu Datsun (thank you ultra[blue]!!) car back then???) we spotted one day  :)

And can't forget Osaka Castle--this is a replica of an ancient castle in Osaka that was burned down in 1868

Allll I was worried I wouldn't find enough photos to post but I actually had to edit down... :)

next post I will post about Tokyo inshallah!! 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just a Casual Day :)

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 ***Texan in UAE... I am working n it!! sorry to take so long but its hard when being put on the spot LOL  its coming slowly inshallah!!

 I've got something yummy to show y'all!!

 So, last night my husband said we should go out to eat lunch so I got up a bit early but he didn't. So I worked out and figured he would be up by the time I finish.  He wasn't.  I realized he was going to really sleep in because he didn't get good sleep this past week.  So I decided to make us a yummy lunch instead.  Pizza Margherita con mozzarella di Bufala!  Pizza Margherita with buffalo mozzarella.

Here is some Pizza dough I made and let rise 2 times, and then there is my homemade pizza sauce (I usually make a lot and freeze in batches), and Fresh Mozzarella made from Buffalo milk (the best fresh mozzarella there is MashaAllah)

got the mat and roller ready

then the dough

then all rolled out and set in the pan--I meant to make it thin crust but the dough overlapped the pan so I rolled it all into a thicker crust. then added my pizza sauce--not too much.  then the buffalo mozzarella (yum yum) and a few sprinkles of regular shredded mozzarella

I sprayed the whole top all over with extra virgin olive oil (I bought one that came in a spray bottle) then bake it up and then here are the results!

I Every part that had the toppings were absolutely delicious MashaAllah, but the thick crust parts were too whole-wheaty if you know what I mean, and we didn't eat most of the crust. I made it with whole wheat flour because we are trying to eat healthier and to lose weight (I need to lose a lot LOL)inshallah.   So I will definitely make this a thin crust pizza from now on inshallah.

If any of y'all want the recipe, you can get it here:

I posted a pizza sauce recipe link as well, though I make a different one now, but I do it all by eye so I will have to pay attention next time to be able to post a recipe inshallah. 

Also, if you don't want it whole wheat, by all means use all white flour, or you can mix it up too! And with the white/mix you can make the crust thicker and it will be yummy  :)

Then later we decided to go see a movie... we chose "Moon" showing at the PictureHouse at Reel Cinemas in Dubai Mall.  It was a good movie by the way  :)

Afterwards we decided to eat at a restaurant named Waterlemon in Dubai Mall.  We loved our food Alhamdulillah.  My husband had the Stuffed Chicken Breasts and I had the Asian Baked Salmon. yummy!!  oh... we splurged a little by ordering chicken wings for our appetizer.  They actually gave us plastic gloves to eat the wings with so our hands wouldn't get messy.  You can't eat wings with plastic gloves!!  Getting your hands dirty is part of the experience  :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When the Cats Come Out to Play

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 so.... my cat Tora-chan gets to go outside a few times a day and in the end I make her come in at the latest 1am.  Well.. last night (or early this morning I should say) she didn't come home and I was outside at 2am calling and calling for her.  I finally gave up and went out again at 4:15am and I could hear her pathetic meows from outside the home.   She was trying to climb a tree from outside but maybe she couldn't climb all the way or something to get on our roof so she got scared that she shouldn't get back in.  So I opened the front gate and down that tree and in she came running.

She compeletely smelled like metal... like if you rubbed your hand on stainless steel and then smelled it. So today came what needed to be done but also doubled as her punishment.

Here she was about an hour before just chillin' like a villain--Habibi she is!!:

And here she was after!! 

Here she is trying to clean off the water off herself LOL

Allllll my husband said "I'm not going to help you because I'm scared" LOL  (she fights for her life)  so there I was doin' it by myself.  Then my husband came in to check things out since he heard me yelling at her (she got away and ran out of the tub once) and he even said "it totally smells like metal in here!!" --even water alone couldn't get that smell off.. but I have shampoo for cats so she got lathered up twice. 

After a bit he couldn't take her desperate pleas for help anymore and so he left again LOL   though he finally had to help me at the very end because she started thrashing around too much. 

ahhhhh but now my BRAT sweet sweet Tora-chan is all clean again MashaAllah  :)  

now I have to go take a shower.. that was quite a workout!!  LOL

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photos from the BBQ

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 if you haven't yet, you can read Texan in UAE's entry about our lil' BBQ get-together at Om Abdullah's home the day before yesterday :)

  I was going to make a post about it as well but she pretty much summed it all up in her post MashaAllah.

 But I do have some photos to share-- you may not want to look at them if you are hungry  :P

so, here Kasey, Texan in UAE, and I  just skewered the marinated chicken (you must try this recipe--which you can get at Texan in UAE's post)

and here Om Abdullah spiced the steaks

here Texan in UAE and I were in charge of grilling... and well...  we burned this first batch LOL   and we decided to do the rest in the oven instead  :D

So next were the steaks and after a few minutes flames started shooting up from their oils that drippped down and instead of moving the steaks I thought, "photo opportunity!!" and snapped up some photos before moving them LOL

Here is the yummy salad Texan Teen made for us

oooohh baked potatoes!!! the real thing too!! baked in the oven (not microwaved like some people do--thats not the real thing!)  :D

and here ya go, the kabobs and steaks  :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Your Saying it Wrong!

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I know I already made another post earlier today but I just had to tell this little thing...  its really random and only an Arabic speaker might understand the mumble jumble I write here LOL

 so... Om Abdullah (Om A)was BB-ing with Texan in UAE (Texan) who was talking to me from her landline.  Om A asked us to ask our husbands for a few words starting with the Arabic letter noon (for her daughter's homework)  So Texan's husband tell her "nakhla" (palm tree)-- and then I could hear Texan asking her husband how to spell it... then after a few seconds Texan asks me,
"Ask your husband how to spell 'nehala'." 
and I could hear her husband  telling her something in the background (but not clear enough to understand)...and I asked my husband
"So, (husband's name), would you spell Nahala-- 'n', 'e', 'h'..." 
and he interrupted me and said,
"its 'naHla' not 'nahala'" -- allllll annoyed at my pronunciation LOL
so I tell Texan (while rolling my eyes),
"oh, so he is saying its 'naHla', not 'nahala'"
and Texan said, 
"My husband is telling me the same thing!! that its 'nakkHHHHHHHla' and not 'nahala'" 

allll she tells her husband my husband is complaining about the same thing he is and he starts laughing!

allllllll both our husbands at the same time are all annoyed at our pronunciation because we are having some difficulty with the Arabic letter "Ha" that you pronounce in the back of your throat  LOL

-we need some practice to pronounce some of the letter correctly.  It takes time especially coming from speaking a lazy language like American English LOL

oh...wait.. I speak Japanese, and some Spanish, French (well, I used to speak it really well but its pathetic now) etc... and then Texan speaks Spanish as well--   but in our defense...none of these languages have any letters pronounced in the back of the throat  (oops well french does have one)!!

***oops correction I called Texan back after posting this and it turns out we were both pronouncing different words.. she was meaning Nakhla meaing "palm tree", while I heard it from her as nehala (she can't pronounce the harsh KH that is also pronounced in the back of the throat ), so I pronounced it like her and my husband was thinking she was meaning neHla, meaning "bee".  LOL 

Texan just told me--the funny thing is her sisters in law always laughs at her and once told her "Texan, when you say palm tree do you know what your saying?"    
 and she answered 
"yes, palm tree"
and her SIL said, 
"no, your saying 'bee'"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Relying too much on maids and nannies...

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.

~William Goldsmith Brown

These are a few stories of when a mother is pre-occupied with things other than her children, letting maids and nannies be the main caretakers instead.

 One 14 year old boy over at our home one day was snooping through my laptop and found a folder with some nasheeds in them.  He wanted to hear some so the first one I played was  "Your Mother" by Yusuf Islam.  

This is the very first part of the song:

Who should you give your love to?
Your respect and your honour to?
Who should you pay good mind to - after Allah,
And Rasullullah?
Comes your Mother,
Who next? Your Mother
Who next? Your Mother
And then you Father

Then while listening to this next part:

Cause who used to hold you
And clean you and clothe you?
Who used to feed you
And always be with you?

at this point, he said matter of factly,  "The maids did!!"

 that just broke my heart. 

I was at this boy's family's home one day and his little sister took me to her room and opened a drawer and asked if I would play something with her.  She took out a box full of stuff to make homemade bracelets and you could tell she has used it before so I asked her, 
"Oh, do you and your mom make bracelets together?"  
to which she replied, 
"No, my mom never plays with me."

and my heart broke again. 

Another story, a local guy my husband knows.  His parents had never really been close so they both have always done their own thing, not even sleeping together in the same room.  Well, his mother was always wanting to leave the house so the local guy and his siblings were pretty much raised by the maids (well, they were both maids and nannies).  His mother always replaced the maids every year when they were little because he and his siblings would start calling the maids "mom"

how heartbreaking!

final whisperlita--a funny memory popped into my mind after writing this--  Texan in UAE, remember when you asked me to change lil A's poopy diaper?  alllllllllll I thought I would still have the mastery of changing diapers I attained back when I was a nanny (over 10 years ago LOL)-- but nope... I lost all of it--alllll Texan in UAE walked in and saw the pile of baby wipes I had used and started laughing at me LOL 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Time flies when your away.... it really does...

As-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Reading my dear best friend Texan in UAE's post got me thinking...

First I will quickly talk about one side of my family:
I had not been in contact with my biological father's family for years. Its not because I don't love them or anything like that... its just... life happened, and a distance came between us after my parents divorced. A big part was because my sisters and I lost contact with our father (its a whole other story). We have recently gotten in contact with our family again Alhamdulillah and its amazing to see my cousins all grown up, going to college, having careers, marriage, children etc... I always remember my cousins from the last time I saw them, the pre-teen years. The same with my aunts I have gotten into contact with. MashaAllah, they are still beautiful and just amazing to think that they are grandparents and all... its bean a REALLY long time we were not in contact.

Living far away from family is not easy. You get used to it.. Alhamdulillah for technology that it is easy to keep in touch. But every time you get to visit them you get that feeling of how hard it is to be away from them all over again when it is time to part.

Its not just the time spent apart that is the hardest part. Its all the changes. The younger ones grow up so fast. Months can make a difference. I get to see pictures and get to video chat--but its still different to finally see the changes in person. My nieces and nephew were all under 10 years old when I moved away.

They have grown so much these last 5 years MashaAllah! It makes me sad that I am not there to watch them grow, to see the interests they take up, to help them with homework, to be their auntie. I mean, I will always be their auntie, but its not a hands-on role since we are so far apart. I can't wait to see them inshallah this summer. Alhamdulillah that I get to visit them though. Some people cannot visit their family who are overseas often so I am very grateful for that Alhamdulillah.

Now the other hard part--the hardest part--is seeing the older family members getting older-- seeing my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents getting older.

The last time I saw my mother was in Japan the year before. I was shocked to realize her age... for some reason I had just never thought of her age. of course she is still just as beautiful MashaAllah, just older. And not seeing her for one year makes a big difference, not to mention if I don't see her for longer than that. When we said our goodbyes at the airport in Japan I felt really sad and thought about how I am always going to keep seeing her getting older.

The people I am going to talk about now are my step-family. I'm not going to use the term "step" here for them... they are my family.

The same with the last time I saw my father I was thinking how he looked older. He is a sushi chef and when one day talking to him about possibly coming to Dubai to open a sushi bar, he told me that he is probably only going to work another 10 years or so and then it will be time to retire... and it just hit me too about how he is getting older. The same with seeing my aunts and uncles.

The biggest one was my grandfather. He had fallen off of a ladder and hurt his back really bad. He had to have surgery but he was in immense pain for over a year. When I saw him a year and a half after he had fallen, it was shocking to see how much he had aged in just a year and a half. He was such an active man, and was such a handyman that he was always building and repairing things in the home. To be so hurt and so immobile had caused him to age so much :( Alhamdulillah they finally found a medicine that helps his pain so he is doing better, but he will never regain the strength he had back then.

I am now sitting in tears writing this... I am so sad that I am not there as my parents and grandparents are getting older and older.

I do not regret one bit that I married my husband and moved to UAE. This is my home, and my husband is who I want to be with for the rest of my life. Its just hard to be oceans apart from my family.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who is Entertaining Your Children?

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

So, who is, or what is, entertaining your children?  

I have noticed from the younger locals coming to our home, that their parents don't realize (or who knows, maybe they don't care?) the things their children are watching and listening to.

For instance, around a couple of years ago, one young girl (10 or 11 years old) was trying to watch tv at our home. She turned it to MBC4 to watch what she told me was one of her favorite shows. The show had not started yet so I pressed the info button to find out what show it was---it was "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter"

For those of you who do not know this show,  it is about a family who has two high-school aged daughters and a younger son.  The older daughter is the popular, pretty girl who dresses in skimpy clothing and the younger daughter early on the show was more conservative and nerdy, but later on she starts dressing skimpy as well. The show deals with dating, sex, partying, etc...  the typical normal part of American teenage lives.

This show does not reflect UAE values at all.

As soon as I found out what show it was, I told her there was no way I was going to let her watch it. To that she said, "But I always watch it at home"  and I replied with "well, I guess I need to be having a talk with your father about what kind of shows you watch" and she made a face understanding exactly what I was talking about.  Then her older brother, who was sitting in the room grinned and said, "yeah, your right" as I told him "You shouldn't be watching this kind of stuff too!"

Of course I was not the one who spoke to their father--I told my husband about it and had him speak to the father.  Their father had assumed that since this is a Muslim country, there would be no inappropriate shows that geared to the younger generation.  And guess what? I know for a fact she and her brother are still watching inappropriate shows.... so this father just doesn't care to want to see for himself what they are watching.

I have heard these younger girls and guys talk about other shows they watch and movies they download and such. I know these shows and movies have sexual themes in them that are inappropriate for them.  When I ask if their parents let them watch this stuff  they always say yes.  When I ask if their parents watch this stuff with them, the answer is always no.  

Another situation...  A very conservative father who comes to visit our family with his children all the time--I had assumed since he was strict with his children, that they weren't as exposed to the more inappropriate things.  Then one day, one of the young girls asked if she could use my laptop to show me some things.  She proceeded to find a site that had all of her favorite music.  A lot of it was current hip-hop and all of the inappropriate lyrics that come with it.  And she was singing/rapping along.  

This same thing happened with another young girl (11 years old) at our home too.  She started singing the chorus in Flo Rida's song "Right Round" --which I thought was just a remake of the old song, when I heard the lyrics were just a bit different...  and realized the new lyrics are about oral sex. 

The youth is online or watching satellite television watching all of these music videos that go along with these songs... and I am sure a lot of you already know what kinds of things are going on in music videos.  

Then, lets not forget to mention the Arabic music video channels.  I stopped sitting with one person (an adult woman) whenever she is around because when I sit with her all she wants to do is watch these channels.  And she will watch the channel even if younger kids are around as well. What are the videos all about?  I can't understand the lyrics most of the time but I can see the skimpy clothing, the writhing bodies, and not only that, all of those stupid sms messages that people send in to those channels running across the screen. 

ok, so I know some people are going to say, most of the young kids just like the songs for the beats/melodies and they don't understand the meanings of the lyrics.  But if you are a parent, do you want your children singing crude lyrics even if they don't understand them?

And when these younger ones are watching music videos with sexualized themes, what would the parents really think if they actually saw it with their own eyes?  Or do they know and just not care?  Are they too busy with themselves that they are OK leaving the television and internet to babysit their children, no matter what they are watching and listening to?

Also, I know what else will be said--that music is haram in Islam.  But it doesn't mean everyone is not listening to music.  If the children are listening to music, the parents usually are too, just different kinds.  I don't know how much these parents realize just how bad the lyrics and music videos get sometimes...

And for television shows and movies... Muslim parents need to learn for themselves what kind of shows and movies are available for their children to watch.  American or European norms in these societies with their youth are not the norms of the UAE (and many other countries). 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who is Twizzle?

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

so... who is Twizzle eh (he he for my Canadian sisters-spelling error corrected as per OmAbdullah he he he)? I was tagged by Texan in UAE (alll she tags everyone LOL)

I was born in Boulder, Colorado (CO) (AKA hippie town) and was raised in Denver, CO most of my life except for the two and a half years I lived in Japan :)

I have two younger sisters who are twins... and although we look alike, they have hazel/green eyes and back in the day they were embarrassed to be half-Japanese so they used to tell their friends I was adopted!! My sisters are both some of the funniest people you will ever meet, MashaAllah. 

I was the nerd in high school who never partied, drank, or did drugs, but I wasn't all goodie goodie. A couple of other friends and I ditched school quite a bit. We got away with it by pretending to be our parents and calling ourselves in. So I pretended to be my mother and would call in using a super duper exaggerated Japanese accent:

"Haro, jisu izu Twizzle's maza, she widu nottu be inu skuru today. She bery no feeru good"

tanslation: "Hello, this is Twizzle's mother, she will not be in school today. she very no feel good (she doesn't feel good LOL)"

and since we were nerds,we would go eat, go shopping, go downtown and just hang out etc... I was also such a nerd that my best friend and I would pull all-nighters at Denny's or Village Inn (24-hr restaurants) studying--though we'd do quite a lot of goofing-off and talking (hence the not so perfect grades) :P

I was a dancer and my sister, best friend and I did a dance in a talent show in high school to Alphaville's "A Victory of Love"-- we got laughed at as we walked onto the stage because we were wearing sort-of ballerina type outfits, yet when the dance was over we got a standing ovation. yeah!!  I have also performed in a couple dances with a group my best friend formed on a local television station in Colorado  :P

I am the girl who so can't sing... I can't stay in tune..... except with Opera. For some strange reason I can sing Opera.  

I am the girl who used to go downtown with my best friend and we would sing opera the whole time we were walking around... anything we wanted to say we had to sing it in opera.

Other times I would be out with other friends and either I would randomly start singing opera alone, or with another friend :D the best times were when someone, usually some random guy, would sing back!! In Denver, people would look, come talk to us, sing back etc... we tried this in Seattle, WA once and every single person ignored us LOOOL

My friends and I were so goofy we would do stupid stuff out in public to make us or other people laugh and there were times when people would tell us we need to sober up when we didn't even drink!

this is where most of it happened (The 16th Street Mall in Downtown, Denver):

I love to draw, write poetry, write songs, and hang out with my husband, family, and friends--oh, and my pets too :P    I also love off-roading, barbecuing, and cooking. 

Islam has been the best thing in my life MashaAllah Alhamdulillah! I said Shahada on August 31st, 2002, so this August, it will be 8 years!! wow, how time flies!  

I looooooooooove rain and cloudy skies...  so...yeah.. UAE isn't my kind of climate, but I have a good life Alhamdulillah and UAE is my home :)

so there you have it... a little bit about me  :)