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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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Riyadh's American Embassy

The other day my family had to stop by the American embassy in Riyadh for some passport stuff. Being there gave me the weirdest sensation because i felt that here was the meeting of the two ends of the spectrum: America and Saudi Arabia. The two countries that love to hate and can't live with or without each other. I was, physically and metaphorically, smack dab in the middle of that spectrum, with each pole trying to pull me over to its end.

I ended up writing in my journal while waiting for my mom in the car. I thought it might make an interesting read, so here goes nothing:

We’re entering the American Embassy in Riyadh.
For a moment, as we neared the armored cars and checkpoints and soldiers with machine guns, I felt my pulse quicken. It was like a scene in those movies where the happy family is casually talking about the day’s plans and suddenly getting blown to
smithereens. It was a weird feeling, because I consider myself a rational person, and I don’t get randomly scared. But I held my breath as the guard let us through, and the moment passed.
We had to park far from the embassy and Mama had to walk there. On top of that, the road to the embassy wasn’t marked. We had to ask around once we got inside the complex it was located in.
Baba said the American embassy in Jeddah closed down after the attack two years ago.
And so we sit here in the car and wait.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Austria Quicky From Saudi

I'm on my grandpa's dial-up connection at the moment, so i've gotta make this quick. I was sending an email to a friend just now, but it could also kinda qualify for a post about some of my impressions of Austria, so here it is!

at the moment, i'm in saudi arabia. i got here yesterday after a week-long vacation in vienna. it was a very nice experience. i haven't seen an open countryside in ages. (i can't remember the last time i saw even a stretch of farmland. there wasn't anything like that in LA.) so when i boarded a train that took us across austria, i was spellbound. velvet green hills that went on for miles, cotton candy clouds, and a blue sky you could swear was painted on a canvas. the occasional red roofed houses were a delight. they looked like they came straight out of a fairytale with their rainbow colors and big, bright windows. i was in some sort of writer's heaven on that train, gushing out sticky-sweet, emotional descriptions of everything i saw and chugging out snippets of poetry. i "literally" got drunk on the scenery. haha! (let's pretend that was funny...) as you can tell, i'm still a bit hung over from it.

vienna's cobblestoned streets and gothic buildings worked a different kind of magic on me. here, i saw the affect of limitless human potential. vienna is a beautiful city. although it's really touristy, it's managed to keep its original charm and not turn into a mutant plastic metropolis. and i might be seeing more of it than i originally expected. why? it hosts the third largest UN center, after New York and Geneva. and i'm planning to somehow incorporate the UN in my career later on in the future. hey, working for all this humanitarian, good stuff has its perks after all!

Good for me! I managed to write up a post on vacation! But don't get your expectations up too high.. This might just be a fluke. And i'd better get off before people who may be trying to call the house think we're all dead or something. I've forgotten how annoying dial-up is!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Checking In (And Out)

I’m baaaaaaaack!

From Vienna, that is. I’ve been vacationing for over a week, relaxing… you know, all that good stuff. I’m only back in the UAE for one day. Tomorrow, it’s straight to Saudi Arabia for a, you guessed it, family reunion!

The only annoying thing is that i have to pack all my stuff in one day. And help clean the house. And buy last minute presents. And recharge cameras and iPods and all other forms of electrical equipment people take on vacations with them. And finish reading my book to start the next one. And reorganize my closet. And send out the poems i’ve been working on for the last month to the Atlantic Monthly. (Yes, you did read that last sentence correctly.)

So that’s that. I dunno how often i’ll be able to update my blog from now till I get back from Saudi. That is, if i’m able to update it at all. So let’s just say i’m on leave until the 18th of August. I’ll try to post some things up though. But if i don’t, don’t kill me!

Oh, before i forget! Some people were giving me shit for traveling at a time like this. You know, with the whole “war” going on between Lebanon and Israel. Well, if you build your whole life around a cause, and spend all year working for it, regardless of the amount of media attention it gets, you deserve a break once in a while. That way, you can recharge your energy and come back to work even harder.

Even during this “break”, you keep expanding your horizons by learning about other people and cultures so you can form better relations with them and get a blueprint for improving your own society. And on top of all that, you take this as an opportunity to be a sort of “ambassador” for your society, showing the rest of the world that no, not all Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent are women abusers and suicide bombers.

You see, it’s all about how you approach the idea of a “vacation”. Just because someone thinks long term doesn’t mean they’re ignoring what’s going on this second. We’re working on getting this thing at its root, not randomly hacking off evergrowing branches at the whim of media attention.

So till next time, whenever and wherever that happens to be.