Sunday, September 13, 2009

sleepover + extra stories

Okay.... this was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo embarrassing for me... but I had to post it....

So, my sister and I slept over my maternal grandparents house last night. My grandparents.... well are... you know... wicked old.... yet, mashaAllah, so youthful and independent. So... this morning... we're supposed to wake up at like 4 am to have breakfast, before fasting the whole day. And I forgot to tell my grandmother that, you know, we have cell phones that can wake us up. (we slept in a 1 room apartment over their home). So, all of a sudden, there's this knocking at our door.... and sure as butterflies, i see my 90something year old grandfather standing at the door with his walking stick, waking us up. I was SHOCKED!!!!!!!!!!! My grandparents have like 12 grandchildren living in the same building... yet, he himself came up 2 flights of stairs.... to wake me and my sister up (who are both... in our 20's). It made me feel soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo embarrassed. But not only that. I felt awe. I'm sooo proud of my grandparents. They're so independent and healthy for people who are like 90... and when i say 90... i mean literally... 90...
My grandfather, goes to work daily... and he doesn't even complain... it makes me feel sooo proud. But anyway, that was it... I couldn't get over it this morning.... that my grandfather, who I should be at his beck and call, you know doing all that I can to in a way serve him, you know make him comfortable, went out of his way to help my sister and I.




footsie....some random guy sitting behind us on the bus... started playing footsie with rouba.... she got sooo pissed, that she like was ready to stomp on his foot. So, I did what I do best, started talking really loud about how people should try and keep their distance. You know, I was subtle.....
Anyway, rouba was like.... 'pssstt... reem... he's still doing it!' so I was like 'oh my God!' all valley girl like.... anyway... fast forward 10 minutes later... creeper, is waiting to get off the bus and is grinning like an idiot at us... so I'm like 'rouba... is that the guy who was sitting behind you?' and she's like 'yeah... why is he staring/grinning at us' and the bus stops... and really loud, while walking by our window, all high pitched he goes 'OH MY GOD!'



We were in a cab.... and they guy kept on trying to get rouba to talk... he knew there was something wrong with her.... so, in order to fish out if we were foreigners or not... He started quizzing us on you know 'area's' so... thank God, we were near my grandparents house, part of old Aleppo, and I knew a lot of the main area's because my dad told me about them recently (like 3 months ago)... and so I'm like... oh that's baab al-jnaan (a veggie/fruit vending market), and that's sab3 bahrat (like this fountain, that has 7 springs)... and I keep going... in the end he asked me if my friend next to me was mute.... and rouba heard 'if my retarded friend is mute'... she was sooo offended it was hilarious.... but he said... next to me... not retarded (in Arabic, they have similar beginning and ending letters)... in the end i was like 'sir, we don't talk to strange men' and he was like 'you guys are my trust, i need to ensure your safety, that's why you got in my cab'... he also told me he wasn't a sleaze... and that he had a wife and kids so that we don't have to worry about him.... it was... an overall interesting experience....

that's about it....


Tuesday, September 1, 2009



So... I had a major culture shock recently.
My whole life I prayed tarawih (which is an optional prayer Muslims pray during the month of Ramadan in the evening), at Sharon mosque in Sharon, MA. Where each rakah (i don't know how to translate that work, but each repetition i guess) took about 15 minutes, and they prayed 8, reciting about 2.5-3 pages of quran per rakah. You prayed so slowly, and calmly, it was soothing to the soul. It was tiring, but soothing. Then I moved to michigan, where our mosque prays 20 rakah's, reciting about 1 page per rakah. It too was soothing, calming, and what not. They recite at a steady, slow pace. You feel relaxed, not tired or overwhelmed. If you get tired, you can stop half way through (around 8 rakah's), and you fulfilled the optional suggested amount.

Recently, I prayed my first tarawih prayer in Syria. And I think I had a heart attack. I swear I didn't expect it. We were praying Isha, and it was all calm and serene. About half a page recited in the rakah. And I was like, hmmm... I can handle this. Then... all of a sudden we're praying tarawih... and it's like PRAYER ON SPEED!
I turned to my sister, who is also having this culture shock, after our first prayer (we pray in reps of 2, break, then start another rep), and we started cracking up. We were sooooo confused! The dude recited the quran SUPER fast... and we were like WHAT JUST HAPPENED???? Then, he recited ONLY 1 verse.... per rakah. Which means, each prayer took about 2 minutes at average. Yes... what just happened we don't even know. People were getting ready to go into the motions, before the Imam (the leader). I could not believe it. It was such a major culture shock.


I mean, prayer is supposed to be calming, like meditation. You're supposed to reflect upon the verses read. You're supposed to open up your mind, and converse with God. You're supposed to breath. I think... our prayer was none of that. It was frustrating. Fast paced. And heart attack inducing. :s

Anyhow. I got so annoyed, that I had to leave after 8 rakah's. I decided, I'm gonna check out other mosques, but I was told most mosques here pray like that, except a handful :(.

So, I had a major culture shock. I felt prayer, in a country where the majority is muslim, was extremely mechanical. It was a quantity, not quality mind frame. Now, I understand why my brother prays at home. At least, he can benefit by praying tarawih on his own.

Well, anyway... I had to write a blog about it... because I was in legit shock.

I hope people will not pray like they're on speed.

Have a good day... :s