free stats Carmen's Web: June 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
"Will orgies make you happy?"
My mother is very upset at the fact that I'm going to be moving out next month. I've been living at home for the past three years in order to save money so I can buy a place instead of renting. But after a year of active searching for the perfect home I've decided that enough is enough and I gotta get out. I have to move out by the first of August because if I don't do it then, I will never do it. I've got the first week of August off before I start taking intensive courses again and so it's the perfect time to move. Once I start my new job in September I know I'll be too busy and too stressed to look for a place.

So I told my mother this this afternoon and she was quite unhappy. She told me that I'd be throwing my money away by renting and I think was slightly offended that I'm in such a rush to move out. She may have a point. Logically speaking, it's much better that I remain at home and continue saving my money, but my sanity! My sanity has got to take precedence this time.

Toots told me to tell my mom that I'm NOT throwing money away on rent and suggested giving one of these justifications:

a) "I'm not paying rent. My pimp is putting me up for free"
b) "I'm not spending money on rent. I'm spending money on my sanity"
c) "Until you change your policy on orgies, I have to move out"
d) "It won't cost me anything. You guys, on the other hand..."
e) All of the above

I thought and thought and thought and finally decided on choice C. I'm not sure I want to be a prostitute (a), if I actually TELL her that I value my sanity (b) she'll get offended, and if I suggest that they pay my rent (d) I'll be given a dirty look. Plus, I knew that there was no way in hell she'd know what orgies were and, in order to try to get me to stay, might actually change her policy ;)

So I come home and bring up the discussion again with my mom, trying to convince her that I'm not running away from her and that it's just time for me to have my own place. You know, new job, new beginnings, etc. She's still being belligerent and so I tell her calmly, "You know what, I'll be honest. I know you hate orgies, but I really like them! And as long as I live here I know you won't let me have them, so that's why I need my own place".

She tried to read my face, probably hoping that the word "orgy" would be defined in my eyes or something, but to no avail. I had my serious face on.

"Khalas. You want to have orgies, you can have orgies. Will orgies make you happy?"

I started laughing, kissed her, told her that I am now VERY happy and will start on them tonight! Last I saw she was on the phone trying to call my brother to learn what orgies are :)
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 7:54 PM
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Que viva Brasil!

Next to the Netherlands-Portugal game (where the players were basically butchering each other on the field...it was nasty! It was AWESOME!), the Brazil-Ghana game is my favorite so far. I won't sit and analyze the plays because, well, I can't. I've just recently learned what the yellow and red cards mean and I still haven't been able to get my head around the whole offside rule. I loved this game because Brazil and Ghana played like comrades. It was a spirit of HEALTHY competition and I loved watching the players interact with one another. I know many predicted a major upset for Brazil, but I had faith that my boys would come through.

I would have loved for Ghana to have gotten at least one goal though. Regardless, they played well. I have to pass by their shops in Midtown in order to get to work so I'll let you know how the ones in NY are taking it!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 12:49 PM
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I want to make Kaka babies
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:50 AM
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I did it again...
I took the morning off work so I could watch the game (Ghana vs Brazil). This is the SECOND time I do this. And why did I do it?? Am I really a soccer fan? No! I'm not. After July 9th I will probably not watch another full match until 2010. But I woke up with such a pit in my stomach. And as I was getting dressed, listening to NPR, the pit just grew. The reporter was live in Dortmund, talking to Brazilian and Ghanaian fans. The atmosphere was so electric and I wished that I had had mutant powers to just shift myself over there. I had planned last night to watch the first half of the game at a bar across the street from my job and then run upstairs to start work, but that would mean that ALL the action would take place in the second half. Such is the luck of S. So instead, I am sitting at home right now anxiously waiting for the match to begin, watching the Spanish broadcasters place bets on who's going to win (they're all betting on Brazil though they admit it's going to be a tough match). I have to say this...if the World Cup has done anything it's helped me improve my Spanish ten-fold!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:33 AM
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Monday, June 26, 2006
Why? Why is this funny?
I was having a conversation with an old friend on MSN the other day. She's a die-hard Argentina fan so we were discussing the game this past weekend (Arg vs Mex).

She says:
its so funny my friend's daughter, 4 yrs., was watching the game with us
and my freind was rooting for mexico
and so she pointed out one of them and asked her daughter, you like him? he has nice hair
so she said No Mama he's Black
and then she said and all of them are brown, i dont like them
it was soooooooooooooooo funny! HAHAHAHA!


Blocked. I didn't want to continue the conversation.

Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, infuriates me more than racism. I get angry at religious bigotry and my nostrils will start flaring at sexism, but racist remarks make my blood boil. As excited as I am about the World Cup, I am aware of the racism that accompanies it and often feel guilty enjoying a sport where black players are habitually taunted. (Nick Hornby in "Fever Pitch" touches on this in a much better manner than I ever could).

I never attended my college graduation. I didn't go because of a racist comment made during our rehearsal. It was early in the morning and I'm already terribly cranky in the morning, so I knew that anything would set me off. We were sitting in our seats as the provost was telling us something or the other. No one was paying attention. I personally wanted to be back in bed. Why in the world was I at a rehearsal? Why do I need to practice walking up on a stage, grabbing a diploma, and walking back to my seat? Where's the logic in that?

So the deal was that we sit and wait for our section to be called so we can go up on the stage and walk back down. They were going to start with the masters students first and then go through the undergrads in alphabetical order, which meant I had a long wait. So here I am, sitting, daydreaming. (I was, at that time, contemplating between staying in Egypt or returning to NY to start grad school...I had a lot to think about). The M.A. candidates that year included one woman from Ghana who had finished a degree in Political Science. She was very dark and as she walked up on stage you could actually feel her happiness, her pride in her hard work. There was a glow to her face. As she walked across the stage I heard from behind me,

"Hey, you know how we're going to know it's her during the ceremony?"

"How?"

"We'll see her teeth when she smiles!"

Cackles all around me. I was pissed. Pissed at the comment and more pissed at the fact that people actually laughed. I didn't expect anyone to tell him off or anything, but I also didn't expect that THAT many people would get such a kick out of his comment. I turned around and told him that he wasn't funny and that I'm actually ashamed to be graduating with such assholes. And then I got up and walked out. A couple of days later I saw him at the registrar when I went to pick up my diploma. He apologized to me and admitted that the "joke" was in bad taste.

Now, I AM able to enjoy politically incorrect jokes. I'm even able to enjoy politically incorrect jokes directed towards women, Arabs, or Muslims (I've had many a hearty laughs at their expense). I'm not a tight ass. But there are lines that just should never be crossed.

Everyone knows this about me. In a testimonial to my Friendster profile (yes...I belonged to Friendster at one point, but I draw the line at MySpace) composed by Toots (who knows me too, too well) he says:

Fierce...like a snarling wolverine, especially if you slight her a) gender b) friends c) the weak and the ugly. The plus side is you know she has your back. What's intriguing is that she's as sweet as a hostess twinkie and just as soft...if you can ever get past the snarling wolverine bit. Generous to a fault, curious mind and all about her creature comforts: mess with her food, her sleep or her head and she will engage 'cranky' mode and you'll be sucked in like a fishing boat in a whirlpool.


SO. End of my rant. Point is, if you're going to engage in any kind of injustice I suggest you stay at least fifteen feet away from me. Your safety can't be guaranteed otherwise.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:40 PM
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Sunday, June 25, 2006
"Welcome to the Jungle!!"
The Spanish broadcasters are having a field day with the Portugal-Netherlands game! I swear, it's like watching a bar brawl unfold before my eyes! At the beginning of the match the commentators were talking about how well dressed and put together both teams were and now it's all about how dirty they're playing. Fun game!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 4:59 PM
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Saturday, June 24, 2006
VIOLATION!
Was doing some work on my computer just now and received an IM from one of my father's colleagues. I feel all dirty inside...

x: Ahlan

Me: Hi

x: ezayik? (how are you?)

Me: Good. Hating the weather...it's making me sluggish.

x: ah wallahy

x: s i have strong urge

x: to have afair

Me: i don't think you should do it

Me: they're always disastrous

Me: especially if you have a family

x: i know

x: but it is so intense

x: i feel it will be one time

x: but not sure

Me: whatever you choose, just be careful

Me: with yourself and your family

x: how is r

x: thanx

Me: he's good

Me: same

x: s ana ba7bek (S, I love you)

x: ba7bek begad (love you for real)

Me: Um....

x: mish 3arfek kewayes bas what i know (i don't know you well but what I know)

x: mekhaleny a7bek (makes me love you)

x: enty feky 7agah (you have something)

x: attractive

x: mesh 3aref eih (I don't know what)

I think I need to go take a shower. This man is my father's age! He's married and has three children. I feel violated...
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:50 PM
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Girls Write Now
For anyone in the NYC area:

Girls Write Now is an organization which matches New York City high school girls with professional women writers. Through one-on-one mentoring, it aims to help the girls express themselves and find their voice through creative writing.

Tomorrow the girls will be reading original works at the Barnes & Noble in Astor Place from 4-6. The theme of the program, "Behind My Eyes", actually comes from a piece written by a student from the school I'll be teaching in. This girl has been in this country for less than four years and is already a superstar!

Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:35 AM
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Thursday, June 22, 2006
"My God is better" or why there's no chance of me ever rooting for the U.S. soccer team
I took the morning off work today so I could watch the World Cup. It's a disease, I know, but there was no way I would've been able to concentrate on my students while my mind was wondering whether Italy cleaned up its act or if the US got its ass kicked by Ghana.

On Monday one of the other teachers came into the teacher's lounge in the happiest of moods. He's a very sullen teacher and so to see him THAT perky actually upset the balance of my day.

Matt: "WE MIGHT MAKE IT TO THE FINALS!"
Me: "Who's we?"

Matt's an avid soccer, sorry...football...fan. He follows European leagues with such a passion you kinda feel bad that he's stuck here instead of spreading his cheer over there. I'm a fair-weathered soccer fan. I'll probably never watch a game unless it's the World Cup or another big deal. At that point I'll become a fanatic (i.e. take days off work to watch the games, avoid making plans with ANYONE if a match is on).

So when Matt says we might make it to the finals I can't be sure who he's talking about. Could it be England? Italy? Korea?

Matt: "US! THE UNITED STATES!!! WE MIGHT MAKE IT!!!!! If they play well against Ghana next week and if Italy wins the next game we might actually have a chance!"

Oh. The US. I couldn't find it in myself to share his enthusiasm. The team I've been rooting for the least since the World Cup began is the United States, and I'm not exactly sure why. I know one of the main reasons is because the Americans are SO COCKY and God help the world if they EVER win the World Cup or even come close to it.

When Mexico won their first game against Iran I was riding the subway and overheard two guys talking about the game. Neither was Mexican, neither was Latin. Two ordinary Americans who probably don't even know what a soccer ball looks like. I didn't catch much of what they were saying, but did catch this: "Ha! Mexico kicked their asses! This'll finally show them that our God is better than their God! Where was their God during that game!!" Laughter. I put them in their place (I have a tendency to lecture people when they're being, well, bigots) and watched them squirm in their seats as their faces turned red. This is NOTHING compared to what will happen if the US wins. And so I suppose I want to save myself from chastising everyone and their mother on the subway.

Would love to elaborate on why else I'm not rooting for the US but it's half-time and I've got just enough time to run and take a quick shower, get dressed, and plant myself in front of the TV again to watch both games at the same time before running (literally RUNNING) to get myself to work on time. They better finish in exactly 45 minutes or I'll be awfully late to work. I'm driving myself CRAZY switching from one channel to the other in order to watch both games!!!!!!! My heart can't take this!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:11 AM
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The breastf*ck
Teaching ESL (to adults) has got to be the most interesting job in the world. You get exposed to the quirkiest characters and hear things that you believed only existed in the realm of sitcoms. Toots recently gave me "Mind Your Language", a British comedy sitcom from the late 70s about the misadventures of a group of foreign students trying to learn English at night school. I've never laughed so hard in my life! Totally worth watching if you can get your hands on it. And don't try to get it from Toots cuz he's not getting it back from me. (Toots is usually good with movie/book suggestions...the only time he ever erred was when he insisted I read "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel". I worship books...I would never deface one. However, I wanted to TORTURE that one).

Anyway, I've already exposed you to uranium; here's one my all time favorite stories from my classroom, also known as the breastfuck story:

Was trying to get the class to understand when to use the past tense vs the present perfect. I ask one student to tell me what he did that particular morning.

Student: "I wake up at 7."

Me: "You wake up at 7? This morning?"

Student: "Sorry, S, I WOKE up! WOKE up at 7!"

Me: "Very good! What did you do after you woke up?"

Student: "I brush my...BRUSHED! I brushed my teeth."

He waited at this point for a little bit for me to acknowledge that he corrected himself, kinda like a seal waiting for his fish as a reward, and so I smiled at him and gave him thumbs up, so he continued.

Student: "I had the big breastfuck and then..."

Me: "What? Wait, what did you have?"

Student: "Um...I have the big breastfuck? Am having? Will have had?"

He started rolling off all the tenses that he knew. Beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. The class looked confused...they were afraid that I was going to pick on one of them to help correct him. I just wanted to make sure I had heard what I heard so I asked him again to repeat himself.

Student: "Sorry! I don't know!!! I had the big breastfuck????? I make the eggs and the bread and the cakes."

I honestly don't know how I contained my laughter at this point. I wasn't sure I had heard him properly the first two times, but after he did it a third time I was struggling to hold it in!

Me: "Breakfast. You mean you HAD a big breakfast?"

Student: "Yes. Is what I said. I had the big breastfuck".
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:24 AM
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Hot summer nights are coming...
What a horribly awful night!! It was so hot last night, so humid...I got up almost every hour on the hour. I hate NY summers. I love all the wonderful events that are held, but the weather is just awful. Give me dry heat anytime. My hair and I (and my mother's menopause) can't deal with the humidity.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:57 AM
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Monday, June 19, 2006
I told you it's hazardous...
At our Christmas party last year I had had a little too many rum and cokes. I don't usually drink. I never started drinking till I was 27 or so. I can have a glass of wine...no, half a glass of wine and I'm done. So after three rum and cokes S gets a little too happy and starts dancing, um, somewhat inappropriately with her student.

Poor kid...he didn't even want to dance with me at first. The internship coordinator practically threw him at me; "Go dance with her!!" Student responds, "I can't! She's my teacher!!"

I stop teaching adults this summer and start teaching teenagers in September. Definitely won't be as fun.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:08 AM
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Sunday, June 18, 2006
BRASIL!!!

Thank God I have backup teams!

Brazil - 2
Australia - 0

(sorry Herlock!)
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 1:59 PM
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Saturday, June 17, 2006
I don't want to talk about it...ever

Jun 17 - Final score
United States 1
Italy 1
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:11 PM
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Something smells fishy
I went to the salon after work yesterday to get highlights. What better way to welcome summertime and its easy living?

The salon wasn't very crowded. There were probably three women there getting their hair done and one getting a pedicure. All of them very distinguishable white, Jewish girls (there's a point to me mentioning this). The stylists are walking around the salon, joking with each other. Three of them are Puerto Rican (two women, one gay man) and glide between English and Spanish like it ain't no thing. Whenever they want to insult each other (or the patrons) they switch to Spanish and start cackling. They are, at this point, convinced that no one else in the salon can understand Spanish. They know I'm Egyptian and that the closest the other women have ever gotten to Spanish was by listening to La Bamba. While I find Puerto Rican and Dominican Spanish the HARDEST to understand (dropped s's, slurred r's), I've been surrounded by enough Dominicans to easily follow a conversation.

A handful of cackles later they decide that they're hungry and start arguing about which restaurant to order their food from. One of the women wants Cuban, the gay guy wants Italian. The third woman suggests a small seafood restaurant around the corner.

Jose (flamboyantly): I AM NOT GOING TO EAT FOOD FROM THAT PLACE!

Fernanda: Cono Jose! Que es la problema ahora mismo? (Fuck, Jose. What's the problem now?)

Sandy: What the hell is wrong with the restaurant?! We eat there all the time!

Jose: I am NOT eating from that restaurant. The food there smells like chocha (pussy).

Fernanda and Sandy in unison: How the fuck would you know pajaro loco?!!!!!!!! (crazy fag)

I've never really understood why people think pussy smells like rancid fish. I mean, I've had the privilege of smelling my own, and I know for a fact that there's nothing fishy about it. Is this just an American thing or is this a universal notion??
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:57 AM
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Friday, June 16, 2006
Ooh la la...

How bad is it, really, that I made my French student read quite a long passage today in class just because his accent was incredibly entrancing?!? I could've spent the entire ninety minutes assigning readings to him just to listen.

Teaching English to foreign students is a hazardous job...

****

When Charles deGaulle decided to retire from public life, the American ambassador and his wife threw a gala dinner party in his honor. At the dinner table the Ambassador's wife was talking with Madame de Gaulle.

"Your husband has been such a prominent public figure, such a presence on the French and International scene for so many years! How quiet retirement will seem in comparison. What are you most looking forward to in these retirement years?"

"A penis," replied Madame de Gaulle.

A huge hush fell over the table. Everyone heard her answer . . . and no one knew what to say next.

Finally, Le Grand Charles leaned over to his wife and said, "Ma cherie, I believe zee Americans pronounce zat word 'appiness.'"
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:20 PM
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I am SO there!!

Hakim, The Lion of Egypt and his Egyptian Orchestra with special guest Karina Pasian
Saturday, July 08, 2006

From 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Central Park SummerStage
A celebrated idol of Middle Eastern pop is joined by one of the most promising new discoveries in R&B. FREE

------

A couple of years ago, while still living in Egypt, I went to a friend's wedding at the Hilton. It was 2am, I was bored out of my wits (once you've been to ONE Egyptian wedding, you've been to ALL), the music was too loud and so I decided to step out of the hall for a little bit. I stood next to the buffet munching on the leftovers. I had wanted to go home but the fiance wanted to stick around because Hakim was supposed to make an appearance.

I hated Hakim at the time, truly hated his popular music. I was raised with Abdel Halim Hafez, Shadia, and Farid El Atrache (the classics), so Hakim, et al never really did it for me.

So I'm munching, just standing around. Hakim was about an hour and a half late and I was ready to go home. Suddenly he decided to show up. He stood next to me, outside the hall, waiting to be introduced to the crowd. He looked at me, winked, and beckoned me over to him. I'm not sure what he was thinking when he did that; did he really think I would've rushed over to him, like a groupie??? I just pretended that I didn't see him and found something else to eat, a little farther away from him. He ran inside when introduced and so I went in to watch and join in the festivities. The ENTIRE time on stage he kept looking at me and winking. I mean, the flirtation wasn't even subtle! The fiance, who had wanted to stay for the show, was actually ready to leave!

After he finished his first set I went to the bathroom and on my way back ran into him again. Wink, smile, beckon. I kept walking towards the hall. I understand that men with good looks or money probably don't need any game. I mean, Brad Pitt can get it without opening his mouth, George Clooney can get just by being there. But still, one needs to have game.

I still have the videotape of him performing for me! The minute I find it I'm uploading it for your viewing pleasure!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 7:04 PM
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006
World Cup Fever in Astoria
Met Toots today at a sports bar to watch the Brazil and Croatia game. He took the day off work because too many good games were on today and he was literally going to get sick at the thought of missing them! I work the mornings this week and so have the afternoons off, giving me the chance to catch most of the games.


Astoria in Queens had World Cup fever. The Croatians had their own bars, the Brazilians mingled everywhere. It wasn't a particularly exciting game, but when Brazil won Astoria EXPLODED! Cars honking, people screaming, flags flying everywhere! After the match ended we walked back to his house and nearly passed a Croatian bar. The fans were standing outside, a bit morose, and I was TERRIFIED to walk in front of them because this is what I was wearing:

So I made him cross the street QUICKLY. As we were doing so we looked to our left and saw a Brazilian entourage walking towards the bar. It was like a scene out of West Side Story! The Brazilians on the left, making their way towards the Croatians on the right. We crossed the street and stood there, practically waiting for them to break into song and dance before duking it out. I think the anticipation of what was going to happen excited us more than the game itself!!

So the Brazilians are singing, they clearly see that they're approaching this bar, and next thing you know the cops across the street in their van honk to indicate their presence. Nothing really happened...the Brazilians walked past the bar, the Croatians bit their tongues. Toots and I were hoping for a little "Jets" and "Sharks" sequence, but no such luck.

We walked around for a little bit after that, the Brazilians cheering whenever they saw me and my shirt. At one point we pass an old woman, she must have been in her late 60s, who, when she saw my shirt, stopped us and said:

"I hate the Croatians. They're pieces of shit. I'm glad Brazil kicked their ass [yes, the 60 year old woman said that]. I hate the Serbians. I hate the Slovenians."

Quite a bitter woman, don't you think?

A little later a man told me that we just got lucky today and that our asses will be kicked next time (I enjoy pretending to be Brazilian!!!)

So World Cup Fever is alive and well in the U.S. for those of you who think no one is watching. You just gotta go into the immigrant neighborhoods to enjoy it!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:53 PM
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Monday, June 12, 2006
I root for the team with the cutest men
I swear I used to have much more depth when I was younger. I was an fervent feminist and humanist. I was politically active in SO many causes. I was militant. I organized protests, wrote action plans, published articles, conducted interviews with refugees for asylum cases, lectured in colleges...the whole shebang. To get my support for ANYTHING you needed to earn it, and it was quite hard to do that. I was very selective. If I were going to give you my all, you'd better deserve it (sadly this never translated into my love life, much to the dismay of my best friend who has never been able to make sense of my taste in men).

Somehow, though, as I've gotten older I've become less passionate about certain things and more passionate about others (it's true people...something happens when you turn 30. I've often scoffed at others who spouted such nonsense, but I'm living proof that a change does happen). I'm not as politically active as I used to be...I think I just got tired. I still give to the community, but have moved from the politics to social activism. And I now give my total and utmost support to any soccer team that has the yummiest men.

It's sad, really, and quite embarrassing to admit. But as I'm getting older and getting more and more comfortable in my skin, as I'm beginning to embrace my sexuality and sensuality, I've simply become much more earthly. And, sad to say, somewhat superficial. I'm hoping it's just a phase and that I'll go back to the activist I used to be. Maybe I'll be able to combine both sides, but until then I've decided to stop beating myself up and just enjoy enjoy the earthiness. I mean, 30 has got to be good for something.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 12:30 PM
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FINALLY!

Nearly a year ago I sent in one of my pieces for publication for an anthology on Muslim women's resistance post 9/11. It was chosen for publication and the editor just wrote to me to inform me that the book has finally been released!! I should be receiving my copy from the publishers soon though I'm itching to order it off Amazon right now.

Anyway, a lot of great women worked on this anthology and we'll be promoting it via various book readings throughout the country, so you should check it out. And no, I'm not shamelessly plugging this for extra cash. I get only a one-time payment for this and even if the book sells like hotcakes I won't be getting any royalties. Check it out cuz it gave us women a forum to air our grievances.

*********
Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Voices of Resistance is a diverse collection of personal narratives and prose by Muslim women whose experiences and observations are particularly poignant in today's politically and religiously charged environment. The contributors in this anthology hail from Yemen, Iran, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Canada, and the United States.

Sarah Husain conceptualized this collection as a means of redefining the stereotypical depictions of Muslim women that inundate current western discourse on the Islamic “other.” She seeks to dispel the image of the veil as the age-old symbol of Muslim women's repression and move beyond sterile representations and narrow debates about the contemporary realities of Muslim women. These women engage in discourses concerning their bodies and their communities. A woman mourns the death of a cousin killed in a suicide bombing; a transsexual remembers with fondness the donning of the veil he no longer wears as a Muslim man; a woman confronts sexism and hypocrisy on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia; and the experience of being judged on the basis of skin color and political and religious affiliation that is far more blatant and ubiquitous since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:37 AM
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Sunday, June 11, 2006
"Tizi let two in!"
HA HA HA HA HA!!! There's no way this will EVER get old! The Ivory Coast's goalkeeper's name is Tizi*, which made the game quite entertaining to watch yesterday!

More from the American commentators on yesterday's Argentina vs Ivory Coast game:

"Tizi is hurt!"

"The player aimed the ball at Tizi!"

*(For the non-Arabic speaking people..."tizi" translates to "my ass")
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:08 AM
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Saturday, June 10, 2006
The Latinos just do it better
I started watching Engand vs Paraguay right now on channel 7 and was bored out of my wits. Americans should not allowed to be soccer commentators. Immediately changed the channel to the Spanish one and am now totally engaged!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:31 AM
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Friday, June 09, 2006
World Cup Fever
I met three female tourists from the Netherlands today on the subway. They were looking at the subway map, totally confused, so I offered to help them. We talked for a bit and I asked them what brought them to New York and, in unison, they grumbled "the World Cup". But isn't it in Germany? Why would they come to New York for the World Cup?

Apparently the ladies HATE the World Cup. No...hate is too mild a word. They ABHOR it. Abhor it so much as a matter of fact that they flew thousands of miles to get away from it. They tolerate soccer, um, football in general, but mention the World Cup and their faces scrunch up. (They were really cute too so I mentioned it a couple of times!)

"Americans haven't any knowledge about football. They will not be obsessed like over there. My boyfriend ignores me all month. The only times he knows I'm missing is when I don't bring him chips and beer while he's watching with his friends." At this juncture her friend starts laughing wildly and says, "he'll notice now!!"

I enjoy watching sports (baseball and soccer) for the most part. My ex was a die-hard Mets fan and it was hard not to catch the fever while watching the games with him. When the Mets play, I'll actually sit and watch the entire game with pure excitement. I'll do the same with soccer. But I'm a quiet spectator. I won't yell at the TV, if my team scores I'll smile, if they lose I'll hit something around me. My parents...oh my god...when Ahly plays the entire neighborhood knows. I was once walking home from work and heard my parents' screams a block away. I'm not exaggerating. They were THAT loud. My brother and I know better than to go near them if they're watching a game. We're rendered totally invisible.

I wished the ladies fun on their trip in New York, but cringed when they informed me that they're going to the Puerto Rican Day parade tomorrow. I can just imagine the men that'll take advantage of the three beautiful blonde foreign chicks who are trying to get away from their football obsessed men.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:37 AM
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Vacation withdrawal
I think I'm going through vacation withdrawal. I've never experienced this before. I've always loved going on vacations, but was always somewhat ready to return home and get my shit done. This time I want to throw everything away and just move somewhere and start a new life. And I swear if I hadn't gotten this job, I would've done just that.

Was speaking with Toots earlier and he told me I should forget about the job, pack up, and just go. And if I were a little more impulsive and a little younger I might just have done that. For the first time in my life I'm ready to make dramatic changes and for the VERY FIRST time I'm actually tied down. I've worked really hard to get to where I am right now, really, really hard, and I can't see myself just throwing all that away because of wanderlust.

I've decided, though, that if I don't get married within the next three years I'm going to pack up my bags and move to Athens for a while. I'm not being overly dramatic or laying down ultimatums, but if marriage doesn't seem to be in the cards and I have no one to be responsible for I'd rather move away. Three years will give me enough time to become professionally certified and have enough experience to be able to command some authority in my field. After that, anything goes.

Toots was telling me that one of the major differences between our lives now and our lives three or four years ago is that NOW we're actually doing something that'll build up our careers, whereas before we were just tramps frolicking in the streets. We KNOW now that the work we're doing now will lead to something, it's not merely a waste of time anymore. Three years ago whatever it was that I was doing (can't even remember what right now) meant nothing and didn't really lead to anything. Now I'm tied down to work that's actually going to improve my future, so I guess all I can do now is just be patient and enjoy the fact that for the first time in my life I've got my shit together.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 12:55 PM
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Athens vs Cairo



I had a student not too long ago who hailed from Athens. He was my toughest student. I had just changed careers and was just starting to develop my teaching craft. His Greek sarcasm and abrupt speech made it difficult to manage the classroom and there were times that I would begin to wonder whether teaching was even for me. It took a while to be able to control him and I believe that the only reason I was able to tolerate his smart ass was solely due to the Mediterranean blood we shared.

During and after class we would always argue. About everything. I insisted the Greeks stole everything from the Egyptians, he claimed the Egyptians were nothing but a bunch of camel riders. One of our most fervent disagreements always centered on Cairo and Athens -- which city was better? Neither one of us had ever visited each other's respective cities, but we managed to shit on them regardless. I always considered Athens to be nothing but a run-down Cairo and I let it be known.

So now that I've actually visited Athens, albeit for only three days, I've come to the conclusion that if I were to have to choose between the two cities, I would choose to live in Athens.

Before the Cairenes start petitioning to strip me of my citizenship, let me explain why I would find life in Athens much more appealing (for me).

1. I love to walk. I love to walk everywhere. I get lazy sometimes and tend to rely on my car more often than I'd care to, but I enjoy strolling in the street. I could never do that in Cairo, which was one of the main reasons I left it. Don't give me the "of course you can walk in the streets of Cairo" because I know and you know that for a female that's pure bullshit. I can't tell you the amount of times I came home at the end of my wits because of the shit I had to endure in the streets. In AUC, the worst part of my day was when I had to switch campuses for my classes. Cairo does not allow you to be a free woman and I hate that. You can have your freedom but you have to manipulate your situation in order to get it, and I'm a woman who doesn't like playing games.

2. I hate having to worry about what I can wear out in public. Is this shirt too tight, the sleeves too short? Should I wear a longer dress shirt to cover my ass? Will I be harassed for wearing this skirt? I hated that shit. And please don't tell me I can wear whatever I want as long as I have a car to get around. That just bring us back to reason number one.

When I was in AUC I worked at an exhibit for something or the other and on the very last evening they threw a HUGE banquet at the Citadel. It was GORGEOUS and was actually one of my favorite nights in Cairo. I wore a dress, 1/2 a centimeter above my knees. My aunt couldn't drive me there, so she arranged for a taxi with a driver she trusted.

When we got near the Citadel a couple of wannabe cops didn't want to let us through. No cars allowed, they said. My driver got out of the car and explained to them, "Heya 3ayana" (she's sick), pointing to his knees, indicating that I was wearing something short. I got so pissed off that I got out and walked to the banquet, enduring the nasty and crude comments till I was out of sight.

3. Sexual repression. I hate it. It creates a breed of judgmental human beings that should simply not be allowed to exist on this planet. I get the whole religious aspect of this, I do. I know the difficulties of wanting to remain true to your religious precepts while wishing to act on your desires. I know why free love and free sex will never gain ground in Egypt. I respect that people want to pay lip service to religion, but this lip service brings nothing but misery.

Yeah, yeah, I know Cairenes have sex. But only when it stops being shameful and only when women stop having to pretend that they're "innocent" and are actually able to have HAPPY sex without the stigma surrounding it will Cairo be a place worth living for me.

So between Cairo and Athens, I would choose to live in Athens, hands-down. There's no competition. I'm even thinking of going to teach there next summer. I value the freedom it would give me and appreciate the enigmatic and hidden warmth of the people. Athenians may appear to be snotty and somewhat arrogant, but once you break through that they're just so much fun!

I love Cairo. I do. It's got a special place in my heart. And I think that's why I'd want to live in Athens. It's nearly the same as Cairo, but without all the bullshit.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 6:25 AM
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Sunday, June 04, 2006
Parisian quickie
So, I happened to misread the time our plane was to leave Athens. The time read 15:00. Now, I'm really good with military time-don't need to think about converting numbers. So I don't know WHY IN THE WORLD I thought our flight was leaving at 1pm.

We went out last night on our last night in Athens and didn't get back to our hotel until 5am. Slept for a couple of hours, then got up and threw everything in our bags to race to the airport. When we arrive at 11am, I go to try to find out where we should check in only to discover my own stupidity. I was so bummed out. I REALLY wanted some extra time in our hotel; wake up at a decent hour, have breakfast on the rooftop...basically, chill on our last day in Athens. But sadly, my wires were crossed. Thank GOD my travel buddy was a trooper...she didn't care. We were both tired and dead from partying all night, but she didn't make me feel like shit at all.

We walk around the airport and sit near the cafeteria hoping that some coffee would wake our tired asses up. At this point I'm still bitterly disappointed, holding back my frustration and tears. I stare at Jenni and say, "You know, we should just change our tickets and leave for Paris right now. Maybe we can go have lunch there or something". (Side bar: We were traveling Air France. Our original ticket had us fly from Athens to Paris with a two hour transit, so basically we wouldn't be leaving the airport). Jenni looks at me and says, "you think we can do it?" It wouldn't hurt to try.

So we rush back to the check-in to ask them if we could change our flight and she pushes some buttons on the computer. The anticipation at that point is killing me. What in the world do they do that takes so long to actually pull up the info?? Anyway, the woman tells us we would have to pay a fee if we want to change our ticket and before she even finishes the sentence we both have our credit cards out, ready to go to Paris for lunch.

We're such jet setters! This was truly the most spontaneous thing I've ever done in my life.

We got on our flight and here's the view from where we had lunch:



Granted, it was a Paris quickie, but for me it doesn't matter. I adore Paris regardless of how much time I spend there.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:48 PM
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Saturday, June 03, 2006
Sneak peek




Thoughts shared by Carmen at 12:32 PM
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Friday, June 02, 2006
Reaping the rewards
Just arrived in Athens after nearly a week of jumping in and out of planes around the country. Will be spending two days here before getting on a plane again to head back to NY (and the real world).

This trip has been amazing so far, and it's definitely well-deserved. Things are finally falling into place and my life is slowly on its way to reconciling itself. This time last year I was heading to Barcelona after having been unemployed for months, unsure of every single thing in my life-career, relationship, everything was up in the air. I went to Barcelona because it was the farthest place from my comfort zone. I was terrified and my first few weeks were awful, but I persevered and the experience totally changed my life. Who would've ever guessed that Barcelona would lead to so many life altering moments (details withheld).

Before I left for Greece last week I received an e-mail from the principal of the school informing me that I was hired for the teaching position I was seeking. It's my dream job. I'll be teaching Global Studies to students who have been in the country for less than four years and have been designated as intermediate speakers of English. I'll be delivering history lessons with an ESL angle. I went on two interviews for this job; I've never wanted a job so badly before. And I've never deserved a job more. It didn't fall in my lap. I worked HARD to get to where I am now and that alone makes this so much more fulfilling.

Thing are just falling into place. And it feels great. More on my Greek trip (with pictures) later.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 12:26 PM
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Who: Carmen

Mini-Bio:
xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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