Friday, October 06, 2006

Temporary Shutdown

Sometimes you just gotta know when to quit.

I've been trying so hard to get my blog up and running these past few months, but it just wasn't working out. Long gaps in between posts and random fillers have weakened the punch i originally intended this blog to have.

And that's when i realized my problem: I don't know what i'm doing.

Which is completely natural. I'm a beginner at this. I don't really get all of the stuff that makes the blogsphere go round. Now, i know that there isn't a set of rules that ensures blogging success. But knowing some of the tricks of the trade certainly helps.

University life has affects on my blogging too. I'm trying to find my way through it with my poor, lost and confused freshman class. But i'm learning. On so many different levels. I come out of every week light years ahead of where i was the week before.

But what's having the most impact on my blogging is this: my lack of vision. Who am i writing to? What am i writing about? Why am i writing? I have answers for all of these questions, but very vague and general ones. Enough to have gotten me writing, but after getting over the excitement that i'm writing, i'm stuck. If i'd built this blog on a better foundation, i wouldn't have had to go through this. But again, this is what being a beginner is all about.

So, due to all i wrote above, i've made a decision. This blog will be temporarily shut down. I'm hoping to start it back up anywhere from a semester to a year from now.

In the meantime, i'll be devoting my time to university and the other personal projects i've had going on other than my blog. My Arabic needs some quality learning that i'll never get unless i give it some quality time. And the same goes for my poetry. I believe i can be good - real good. But with the twenty million things i try to stuff into my schedule, i tend to just skim my talent's surface.

So, as you can tell, i'm trying to cut down on my daily load here. This blog is just one of the many goals i've put on hold. I want to concentrate my efforts on a few major things in my life and get them right. As soon as that's done, i'll be ready, willing and able to move to the next level. Some definite soul-searching will be taking place these next few months as i try to find my place as a Western/Arab/Muslim girl in this world. Pray for me, and wish me luck.

Thanks to all my readers out there. I'll be preparing myself for a whole new round of blogging, and when i come back you'll be impressed. This is gonna be worth the wait. So till then, enjoy the blogsphere!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A New Proposition

To those of you who were wondering:

Yes, i do know that my last post was ridiculous. It's just that it's the only way of reinforcing my presence on this blog for now.

I'm working out a way to blog more effectively. I need to get more substance in this thing. I'm gonna try a new experiment: I'll commit to one post per week, and that post'll be something really special. How about that? I think that's reasonable with my current schedule. I'll try it.

Expect something interesting soon!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Half a Decade Later

It is 5 years to the day since the infamous 9/11 attacks. What's happened since then? A hell of a lot; more than any one person can write up in one post.

In a disgustingly short summary:
  • Muslims feel discriminated against.
  • Westerners feel threatened.
  • Governments are abusing these feelings.
But never fear Muslims, things can only go up when they've hit rock bottom.
And Westerners, lets keep trying to bridge the divide.
Governments, stop obsessing over power and do things right. (lol.. that's jokes.)

Ack, university is taking up wayyy too much of my time. I've gotta figure out a way to organize blogging around it. Bear with me here. Love ya.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Easing Into University

Two weeks at university have already gone by. I can't believe it.

University was the light at the end of high school's dark tunnel these last few years. That i'm finally here and living it is, in all seriousness, a dream come true. I was never a big fan of high school. I had good friends and all, but i hated the system. Especially at the school i was in. No room for real advancement or creativity. Thank god that's over with.

So, university. I'm doing pretty good. I managed to make new friends very quickly, so between them and my old high school friends, my social life is covered. The two major changes now though are that i'm in a co-ed environment, and i don't have to wear a uniform. I grew up in a mixed school in LA, but these last 4 years of high school were basically girl-only years. It's nice to be back in a more natural social atmosphere.

I hated uniform when i was in high school, and i still do. People complain about having to pick out outfits every morning, but that's perfectly okay with me. So it takes about 10 to 20 minutes of extra work. It's worth it. I like expressing myself, and clothing is one way to do that.

Student clubs and stuff all start up next week. I'll be joining the Syrian Culture Club for sure. I can't decide on whether i want to join the university's newspaper or Realms, the creative writing club's publication. I can't do both cuz of the whole time issue. I'm susposed to be studying for 5 courses too, ya kno.

Which brings me to my academic life. My courses are basically all introductory courses since i'm a freshman. They're not too hard, but interesting nonetheless. My favorite course is already my composition course, WRI 101. The professor’s pretty strict on work, but she knows what she's doing. I'm looking to come out of this semester a much better writer than i am now.

Another course that's pretty interesting is my Astronomy course. I had to pick a class for my science requirement, and this one caught my eye. I'm glad it did, because i love it. It's completely different than anything i've done before. It gives science a philosophical twist. Awesome.

Ah! All this and i haven't even said what i'm majoring in. I'm a Mass Communication major, with a Journalism concentration. People thought i should have gone into English literature or something, but i wanna do more than just write in my career. I wanna work with other forms of media too, like TV, film, and radio. So this major should have that all covered. I'm thinking of doing a minor in International Relations, but i can't declare a minor till next semester. So i've got a while to think about it.

And the phone's ringing. My dad's coming to pick me up. (I'm at the university library.) I have to go home and read Chapter 1 of my biology book for tomorrow. (Yes, i'm taking two sciences this semester. Long story.) I'll have practice my "critical reading skills" as i do it. Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Another Side of Saudi

Saudi Arabia isn't known as a great vacation destination. Regardless, it has been mine, every summer, for years. (Family reunions can't happen without the family. And the family's in Saudi.)

When most people first hear "Saudi Arabia", they immediately think "oppression, violence, extremism" and just about every negative adjective that can cross their mind. My American friends, especially, would ask me if i had to stay in tents when i was there and would worry about how i was going to dodge all the car bombs laid out by bloodthirsty terrorists. It was very hard for them to understand how i could possibly have fun there, like i always claimed to.

Saudi Arabia (or Saudi, as its called by many English-speaking Arabs) is not the battle field people imagine it to be. Malls, fast food restaurants, theme parks, and resorts are an essential part of today's Saudi culture. Yes, all the woman go out in black abayas and can't drive, but that's slowly but surely changing. And the thing is, many woman are okay with the way things are right now. The abaya is a sort of cultural costume, like a kimono for the Japanese. And it's really comfortable, actually. Makes life easier. No need to worry about your outfit every time you go out. Not to say that the abaya prevents people from making fashion statements. There are all kinds of beads and designs sown into the black cloth, leaving plenty of room for expressing your personality and individuality.

But before people attack me with comments on how i could dare defend "oppression", let me just say that i'm not. I think its wrong for someone to force people to wear something (or not wear something for that matter). Force itself is wrong, and even with the best of intentions, it never yields very pleasant results. I'm just explaining the point of view of many people in Saudi.

But not allowing women to drive is absolutely ridiculous. It makes no sense religiously, socially, or economically. That's just backward cultural leftovers from an era now long gone. And now there’s a general consensus that women should drive, even in the government. Its just a question of how to introduce it into the culture and make it socially acceptable.

Durrat Al Arus, a tourist village located north of Jeddah, is a live example of change in Saudi. This summer was the first time i went to it. How i managed to be ignorant of this 8 million square meter resort all this time, i have no clue. According to, the village has "conference halls, luxury villas, recreation centers, an equestrian club with a school for teaching equestrian skills, a golf club, a boat and yacht club and gardens". And lets not forget the "1,500 housing units in the area", or the shops and restaurants that line the boardwalkish street on the beach.

All this is impressive, but what really got me was this: the moment i stepped inside, i got to shed not only my abaya, but all of the restrictions associated with Saudi Arabia.

Waves of people swept up and down the street, shockingly multicolored. After the all-black of two weeks, seeing so many women in jeans and skirts was almost foreign. But not all the women chose to uncover. The amount of clothes people had on ranged from all-encasing black to bikinis on the beach. I, like many others, went half way. A jeans skirt and a cute long sleeve shirt, topped by a matching hijab. That's the look i go for anywhere other than Saudi, so it wasn't weird to wear it. What was weird though, was that i was wearing my "outside-Saudi" look in Saudi.

Oh, and who could forget the guys? Okay, they have wayyy more freedom here in regards to dress, so they were in their usual baggy jeans and shirts. They were out in packs, unused to mingling so freely with girls. Although the actual rules about interacting with girls were gone, the social norms they grew up with were hard to break. The guys (and girls) were just able to pole through those norms every once in a while with a quick hi or a pickup line. The concept of innocently talking to someone of the opposite gender doesn't exist. The culture there (which the youth contribute to) doesn't recognize that. Its either sexual or nothing.

Of course, there was music and a live show, which would have been great had the singer been any good. I was praying he would shut up every time i passed him with my friends. God chose to ignore that plea. I guess you can't get them all.

Overall, the trip to Durrat al Arus was fun. I loved being able to go around with my friends in an open atmosphere, chatting and laughing and having fun. But it left me wondering. Why is it that freedom has to equal sexual promiscuity? Youth see one side of the Western model of freedom, and think that's the only way freedom is expressed. Its a shame, because the freedom that's pushing its way through the Middle East could be used for so much more than makeup and endless music channels. Everything is good in moderation. We have countries and a civilization to build here. If we demand the rights and pleasures of freedom, we must be willing to take on freedom's responsibilities as well.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Viva Venezuela!

Hugo Chavez is one of the only world leaders with enough backbone to stand up against injustice. The world needs more of you, Chavez.

Monday, July 31, 2006


Watching all the stuff going on in Lebanon really leaves me feeling helpless. I'm at a loss at what to do, but i want to do something! Anything but sit and watch little children die while trembling in shelters. At the moment, the most i can do is pass on the stories...

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