Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bob's Ressurrection, etc.

People tell me I have an adventurous life. My initial reaction when one says that is, "Nah! Not really. I'm not wrestling great whites, walking across tightropes, or climbing Mt. Everest." But the fact of the matter is, when I really think about it, there tends to be a lot of excitement in my life.

Case in point. Just in the past few months, I've had some "interesting" adventures that I'd like to share:

* I inherited a gecko. Yes, that's right. My cousin and his family bought a new dog and were concerned that their gecko was being neglected, so they asked if I would be his new mommy. So I became the proud new parent of a gecko named Bob (named by my 9 yr old friend, Jacob).

* Bob died. I was in DC for a week and had my friend Marlene take care of him. The day after I got home, I looked in his cage and noticed that he was completely lifeless! I poked him with a gum wrapper and nothing happened. He just lay there pale and cool. I called my cousin and sadly told him that Bob had passed away and had entered gecko heaven.

* Bob was resurrected. After I told some friends that Bob had died, they told me that I should put him in the freezer and then have a ceremony for him during the weekend. When I got home that night, I immediately walked towards the cage to put my dead scaly friend into the freezer, but I noticed he wasn't where I had left him. He was standing on a branch staring at me. If he could talk, I swear he would have said, "Haha, SUCKA! That's what you get for leaving me for a week!" Imagine my cousin's surprise when I called him and told him that Bob was actually alive and kickin'.
Some non-Bob adventures:
*I was in D.C. at a restaurant last month and used the men's bathroom...on purpose. I really had to go, ok??? Kharma struck when the next day, I was waiting forever to use the women's bathroom at Starbucks only to find out that the person who was occupying the single stall for an eternity was none other than a man.

*I was speaking to an elderly gentleman before giving a presentation on Arab culture, and he was telling me all about his Arab friends that own a coney island. All of a sudden, I noticed he was stumbling with his words and got kind of jittery. He looked at me and says, "I'm sorry, but I'm really nervous. You're really pretty." I didn't know whether to thank him or apologize to the 65 year old man.

And now time for the portion of my blog you've all been waiting for:


For those of you who know my mom, you know that she's a clean freak. And if you know me, you know that I am not one. What happens when a passionate OCD Arab woman gives birth to a girl who would rather watch "You Can't Do That On Television" and eat cherry Pop Tarts than remove every single plate/dish/cup out of the cupboards once a week to wipe down each square inch with rag doused in Pledge? Well, here's what happens...

One day, my mother and I had just got in a huge screaming match over... you guessed it: cleaning. Apparantly, I hadn't done a good enough job of dusting the couch or something like that. After we got sick of yelling at each other, I wiped the countercops as hard as I could to kill two birds with one stone. Bird #1: Attempt to make Nuha happy by making her countertops immaculate. Bird #2: Let out my anger and frustration by scrubbing as hard as I could. As I was doing this, my mom- sporting a cotton nightgown- was on her hands and knees "mopping" the tile floor Nuha-style. All I could think about was how livid I was and how much I wanted to move out of the house, UNTIL...

I noticed my mom had taken a break from scrubbing the floor, yet she remained on her hands and knees. When I looked down to see why she had paused, she looked up and smiled. Before I even had time to wonder why this angry Arab would be smiling at me, I noticed a yellow stream flowing from underneath her gown onto the freshly mopped floor. Yep, she peed herself. I guess the excitement from our argument did something to her bladder. Once again, Nuha had turned a seemingly horrible encounter into a moment that cracked me up so hard that I was very close to releasing my own stream.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Only Me?

For years, I thought I was the only one who attracted craziness in all of its forms. Crazy men, crazy animals, crazy situations, crazy misunderstandings, etc. I have termed these as my "Only Me Moments". I have decided to share just a few:

Only Me Moment #1
I was 18 and attending classes at Schoolcraft Community College. During my Biology class, we learned about peristalsis, which basically helps to push ingested food pushes downward in order to be digested properly. The professor asked for a volunteer to help demonstrate how, because of peristalsis, food eaten upside down will still be pushed to the right areas and digested. So of course, I raised my hand and jumped at the opportunity to help out. I got up in front of my classmates and per my professor's request, put a pretzel in my mouth, put my hands on the ground, and began to kick my legs up against the wall to stand on my hands. Before I knew it, my sweater decided it no longer wanted to cover the top half of my body and I found myself exposed in front of 40 college students. The room was dead silent, except for an "Oh boy!!" that shot out of my professor's mouth. I quickly got back on my feet, covered my half-naked self, tucked my sweater into my pants and tried again with success! Now why didn't I think to tuck it in in the first place? That's a question I've been pondering a lot over the years. Still no answer.

Only Me Moment #2
As the Curator of Education at the Arab American National Museum, I am asked to give presentations about Arab culture and Islam on a regular basis. Because I have been doing this sort of work for years, I rarely get nervous... except for when I speak in front of military officials. Let's face it. Many of these guys are trained to dislike Arabs, so speaking to them about how great Arabs are is pretty freaking intimidating.

So, I was giving my very first military presentation to a group of mostly men who were going to be deployed to Iraq in the upcoming months. After my introduction, I realized that they weren't as scary as I thought. One thing that helped is that they were very attentive and seemed to pay close attention to everything I was saying, which gave me confidence. Once I concluded my shpeal, several of the officers approached me and thanked me for enlightening them. As I was putting away the computer and projector, I noticed there was one man still in the room. He approached me slowly, looked at me and said, "Thanks for you presentation." I smiled. He then pointed to my shirt and continued, "But next time, you might want to make sure all of your buttons are buttoned." I looked down and sure enough, two of the buttons on my blouse had popped open! My face turned red, I turned around and buttoned them as fast as I could. By the time I was done, he had already left the room. Only me. And now for the...

It was one week before I was leaving to serve a mission for my church in New Zealand, and my brother and I got into an argument. See, my brother doesn't have the highest opinion of my church, and on this particular day, let's just say that he was very vocal about his disapproval. He yelled and yelled, and to his surprise, I yelled back.... LOUD. (For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm usually not a yeller.) I had gone through a lot of persecution in the recent months about going on a mission, so at that point, I snapped. The whole time we were fighting, I silently prayed that the yelling would stop and that we would walk away from each other in peace. My prayers were answered, but not in the way you'd expect.

I approached the front door in the attempt to leave, but that didn't work and in fact, the screaming got louder. Then, to our surprise, we heard a voice from the top of the stairs (the stairs to the top floor are right by the front door.)

"STOB IT!!!! WHAT'S GOIN' ON????" We looked up and at the top of the stairs, and there stood a naked, dripping wet Nuha squinting to prevent the shampoo in her hair from going into her eyes. "YOU ARRE CRRAZY! STOB IT!!!" My brother and I stopped dead in our tracks, looked at her, looked at each other, and had not choice but to listen to the command of the chubby, naked angel sent to stop our brawl. Nuha is proof that God works in mysterious ways.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What I'm Not

When I tell people I'm Arab, I get various reactions. Here are just a few:

"Oh...Uh...Interesting," as they slowly back away.
"You're Arab? But where's the dot on your forehead?"
"You're an Arab! Teach me how to make hommus!"

When I tell people I'm Arab and Mormon, they're mouths just drop open and they stop breathing for at least 34 seconds. How could that be? All Arabs are Muslim and all Mormons are white and live in Utah.

Honestly, although it gets tiring having to explain my identity to almost everybody I meet, I do like the fact that I can dispel the following stereotypes be merely existing:

-Non-white Mormons exist
-Non-Muslim Arabs exist
-(Most) Mormons don't wear bonnets
-Not all Arabs wear head scarves
-Not all Arabs are terrorists (although I do get pretty violent when I lose at Scrabble)
-Arab and Mormon women don't all get married at 18 and pop out 17 babies (but most do...jk...kind of)
-Arab women are educated and don't walk 3 steps behind men
-Not all Mormons graduate from BYU. Oh wait, I did graduate from BYU
-Mormons are allowed to dance
-Not all Arabs have names that sound like your clearing your throat when you say them
-Not all Mormons are related to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young
-Not all Mormons live in Utah, and not all Arab-Americans live in Dearborn
-Not all Arabs/Mormons are involved in polygmous relationships
-Mormons don't worship Joseph Smith
-Arabs don't worship the moon god of Saudi Arabia
-Some Arabs actually don't drink 52 cups of coffee. And some (ok, just me) don't drink any coffee

My first semester at BYU was a little rough. It had been years since I had been a full-time student, I was still adjusting to post-mission life, and I felt sad about moving away from my family again. Nuha knew I was struggling, and as a result, she called me regularly to check on me. By regularly, I mean 3-5 times a day. It wouldn't have been so bad if she had remembered that I was no longer living in the Eastern Time Zone.

Case in point: One morning, after an almost sleepless night filled with studying, my phone rang at 6:00 am. I picked up.
"Hello? Ma??? Do you know what time...?" Before I had a chance to finish my rebuke, I heard her sweet voice singing the following words to the tune of "Happy Birthday" :
"Good Morning to you! Good Morning to you! Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning, F$#K YOU!"
Any anger or frustration I had at the beginning of the call completely left my body, and I cracked up harder than I ever had. Who needs coffee to wake you up when you have Nuha as a mother?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Get A Clue

Happy Valentine's Day Eve, world! I'm not going to dedicate this post to love stories, romantic proposals, or any of that jazz. Instead I want to expose those who have no clue about dating.

Unfortunately, over the years, I've had a lot of rough dates. Dates where I sat thinking, "Eating an entire head of raw garlic would be more entertaining than this." I decided to share a few with you.

Once, a guy came to pick me up for our first date on a rainy Fall day. I sat on the couch awaiting the doorbell to ring, when instead, my roomie approached me to relay a message.

"Hey, Philip just called. He's outside in his car. He doesn't want to come to the door because it's raining and he doesn't want to mess up his hair."

It gets better. He took me to a fancy restaurant, threw down three glasses of wine within the first 30 minutes of our date, answered a phone call (from a girl) at the table, and then wrapped up the evening early by telling me that he probably won't ask me out again because he knows that I'm a "good girl". Did I mention that he was the one that asked me out? Or that he did ask me out again after that date? Yeah.

Here's another. When I was 21, I met a guy named Mike at a party. He asked me out for the following week, which I was pretty excited about. You have to understand that although I was 21, because of a strict upbringing, I hadn't been on a lot of dates. I had just moved out of my parents' home, and was just starting to delve into the dating world.

Mike picked me up for the date, which entailed getting dinner and going to a comedy club in Detroit. On the way to dinner, he said he had to stop at an ATM to get some cash. Well, the ATM machine "didn't work", so we tried another bank. He went to the second ATM while I waited patiently in the car. He came back after a few minutes, looked at me in embarrasment and said, "Sorry, I don't know what's wrong with these banks..."

Ready for this?

"...Why don't we just go back to your place and make out?"

Let's just say we never went out again.

Now I want to hear about your worst date! Post a comment and let me hear it...


One thing that makes my mom so entertaining is her funny way of pronouncing things. Case in point: My sister was 8 months pregnant with her first son, and my mom noticed some changes in her physique. "Sandy habeebti (sweetheart) you look like Bonny Tarrrrterrr." We all were confused. "You know, Bonny Tarrrterrr!" Still, no clue. "She's the one with the big bizzaz." (I'm pretty sure you non-Arabic speakers can figure that one out.) We finally realized that my ma was saying Dolly Parton. "Oh yeah, Dolly Barrrton.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I've never blogged before. Yep, that's right. I don't even really know what I'm doing, so please bear with me. So why did I decide to start a blog? A few reasons. For one, it's a way to share some of my crazy adventures with those who I don't get to talk to regularly. In saying that, this blog isn't just going to be me talking about me. I want it to be a springboard for discussions- whether it be about Arab politics or how to confront somebody who has horse-breath. I want this blog to be as interactive as possible, so if you have any suggestions for what topics I should cover, please let me know.

Of course, I can not have a blog without having a section dedicated to telling hilarious stories about the infamous 5'2" ball of intensity, passion, and bi-lingual/non-sensical cuss words- Nuha (my mama). Some of the adventures I share will be recent, while others won't be. Here's the first of my:


Since I was a teenager, I dreamed of the day I could move out of my parents' home. There was only one problem: I was Arab. Good Arab girls don't move out until they meet good Arab boys and marry them. When I was 20, I entertained the possibility of marrying my suitors who were decades older than me and looked like Gargamel just to get out of the house, but I couldn't do it. So one night, when arguing with my mom about coming home past my 11:00 curfew, I was fed up. I yelled at her, packed a bag and started walking down the stairs and out the front door. She did everything in her power to block the stairs but I shoved past her, ran outside to my car and started it as fast as I could, thinking I was safe. As I turned the key in the ignition, I noticed a figure bolting out of the house and before I knew it, she was on the hood of my car pounding on the windshield. So what did I do? What any good daughter would do: I put the car in reverse and starting driving off. When she realized I was serious about leaving, she finally jumped off. Don't worry- she didn't get hurt. Needless to say, she didn't talk to me for a month. But this story has a happy ending. I've lived away from home for years and she has come to realize that a girl could live on her own and not be a hussie. (I don't think I've ever used the word "hussie" before.)