It’s always interesting, experiencing Ramadan in the States. For the past years, I’ve always bitched and moaned on how miserable it is to spend Ramadan away from the family, and away from the homemade Ramadan food you always get to have in your household. But to be honest, spending Ramadan either alone or occasionally with your friends have developed a special taste in my palate. You can witness the cooperation with your friends as they struggle to whip the best dishes they could, and also your effort in trying to contribute a little. For me, I suck at cooking. That’s the only skill I haven’t fully achieved while studying abroad. So, my contribution usually would be buying dessert from Safeway, brining lunch platter of subs from a nearby Sub store, or sometimes if my cooking curiosity has been activated, I would make a large bowl of pasta salad.
Of course, the situation isn’t always glamorous, especially when you have your Iftar (or Fotoor) alone. I mean last night; I had Hotpockets served with kettle-cooked potato chips and a Weight Watchers muffin. Then for Suhoor, I had some waffles served with maple syrup, and finally I ended the day with a cup of green tea and at least a liter and a half of water to sustain my hydration for the next day. But in the end, it’s all good, because I know I have something to eat unlike many people who are suffering from hunger and deprivation. I’m blessed after all. And I wish everyone to be blessed in this holy month of Ramadan; regardless you are a Muslim or non-Muslim. After all, my life motto is always and always has been:
To Live And Let Live
I shall be leaving Kuwait and heading to the lovely land (but radically hot and hopefully dust-free) of Dubai this upcoming Saturday with my aunt and her delightful daughters. Apparently, they designated me as their “big man” for the trip but I’m pretty sure that will change as soon as we land in Dubai. You see, my female cousins are complete control freaks and I doubt any of them will lend me an ear once we get there, despite their attempt in convincing they’d hear all what I’ve got to say. And my aunt isn’t an angel as well. She was like “Yes Angelo, we would love to have you with us as someone who speaks fluent English and competent such as yourself”, but I know behind those glistering eyes and this forged smile, there is a woman praising her well-schemed accomplishment in recruiting a slave to carry all the luggage and the countless shopping bags (don’t worry, I love my aunt to pieces and I wasn’t making a fun of her. Well, maybe a little). But hey, considering I’m a shopaholic myself, and the fact I’m getting a free ticket, free food and a free room, I’m really getting a nice bargain by the end of the day.
Now, I shall resort my aunt’s tactics on you and abuse your wisdom as well. The fact is, I haven’t been to Dubai since 2003 (i.e. the year that I went to the US for college), and I’m pretty sure my outdated knowledge won’t help me at all in 2008 Dubai. So, I turn to you to recommend me nice tourist places (from malls to restaurants) that are new, hip, and somewhat family-friendly. Sure, I can google for all the nice places and restaurants, but I found that information from a first hand traveler is more reliable and safe.
The comment section is all yours…
Yesterday, we had a big family gathering at my uncle’s house to commemorate my big brother’s graduation upon completing his Masters, and to celebrate his 27th birthday, which happens to be today. We had an outstanding food buffet that served almost anything. My eyes certainly were bigger than my stomach since I stuffed my plate with too much food that I wouldn’t normally have at all.
The best part in whole thing is when we have created a small graduation ceremony of our own. All the younger folks in our family and relative circle who are still in school (including myself) have received an honorary stand with an appreciation degree. My uncle who is happened to be a doctor in KU took the role of the “Dean” and was the one who “honored” us with the degrees.
And finally we had tons of dessert including a mouth watering Kanafah. It was hot and sweet, just the way I like it. By the time I came back home, I was completely drained out. It was really a long but fun day.
It turned out last night wasn’t just a simple and casual hangout with my cousins. They surprised me with a gift: 16GB iPod Touch. Obviously my response was:
“You idiots! You should have got me the 32GB model.”
I’m kidding, I’m kidding. No, I thanked them very deeply for the sweetest thing ever because I’ve been craving the iPod Touch for quite some time now. Thankfully, we had some time after we had some Brownies and Blondies at Ruby Tuesday and we head to the Virgin Store at the Marina Mall. I got me a protective screen and a red plastic cover. It’s temporarily for now but at least it is doing its job.
I’ve done software upgrade for my iPod Touch now (1.1.4), but I still haven’t received the rest of the official applications such as Maps, Weather, and Stocks. Do I really have to purchase those applications? I thought my iPod was the recent model since my cousins purchased it recently from Amazon.
These days, I feel like a stranger in my own country, but in a good way, and my discoveries concerning the hip and new seems never-ending. Apparently, Turkish drama shows are the latest and the hottest trend that is sweeping the Arab channels recently, and viewers have been watching them religiously and cannot seem to get enough of them.
The other day, I was in my uncle’s house upon receiving a dinner invitation, which I gladly accepted. After dinner, I’ve been asked about my major and my career, and as I passionately rumbled on regarding my interest in the field of Social Psychology, the antique clock in the hallway stroke ten times. Suddenly, my cousin shushed everybody in the room, and she silenced me from talking by shoving a sock in my throat.
Okay, that was a lie but I swear I saw her doing that to me in her eyes.
It didn’t take me too long to figure out that the dubbed show was originally Turkish, but I was confused on the choice the producers made on making them speak Syrian instead of Arabic, which was the default option in Arabic dubbed shows. However, I was morbidly inquisitive on the decision of exchanging the Turkish names of the characters with Arabic ones. I mean, if the Arab viewers are comfortable with Spanish names in dubbed Mexican soap operas, then why abandoning the consistency with the Turkish names? I kinda find it a little bit insulting, but I guess anything that keeps the viewers away from watching “a maid turned into a rich woman after having an amnesia” is finely approved by me.
I have mentioned before that I haven’t been to Kuwait or seen my family for more than a year and a half, so you can pretty much expect the reaction from my mother when she first saw me. Since our last meeting, I’ve lost a respectable amount of weight, which made her a little bit overprotective on what I eat because she doesn’t want me to become fat again. She has imposed a strict rice-free diet on the house, and all the food has to be grilled, steamed, or “ovened”. For the last week, I haven’t had a rice-cooked meal in my household, but I did have some when I visited my aunt and grandparent house.
However, the interesting part of all this is when I visit my grandparent house. My grandmother took a complete different reaction than my mom regarding my weight loss. She was all-generous, and committed in feeding me rice and lambs on every visit. She even sobbed a little when I told her what I usually eat in the states (subway for launch, cold cereal for dinner). Add the fact of my mother’s strict régime; she was all agitated and angry toward my mother for imposing such a lifestyle on me.
Although, I have to say, it’s very nice having women fighting all over you like that, even if they were your mother and your grandmother. Usually, I just silently sit in the middle of them and sip my sweet Turkish coffee as they exchange loud arguments on what should or shouldn’t I eat. I’ve gotta admit that women’s quarrels is so much fun to witness as they usually to tend to be constructively bi-polar; one is destined to shape me into becoming a model figure and the other wants to feed me until I bloat. Oh well, I guess beggars cannot be choosers.
Remember the depressing birthday post that I published a month ago? Well, it seems my parents saved me a little gift for me when I come home. The gift was none other than a cell phone, and it was Sony Ericsson K810i. I have no idea if it became outdated already but I can definitely assert that it is indeed a reliable phone. It’s so much better than my old Nokia, which was laggy as hell. It’s very sleek, and its size is comfortably small enough. However, I personally think that its camera is among the best I had, in terms of phone cameras that is. The resolution is standard for high-end phones at 320 x 240 pixels and it has an excellent display. Unfortunately, I suck at reviewing gadgets and cellphones, so I’m just going to summarize its features for you:
- 3G video calling
- 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, xenon flash, and 16x digital zoom
- Video recorder (164 x 144 pixels, 30 frames per second)
- Second camera for video calling
- Display: TFT, 262,144 colours, 240 x 320 pixels
- Music player (MP3, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+ and WMA formats)
- FM radio
- MP3 & AAC ringtones (72-voice polyphonic)
- MusicDJ (polyphonic ringtones composer)
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email
- Sound recorder
- 3D Java games
- Web browser with RSS feeds & picture blogging
- Flight mode
- Personal organizer, File Manager, Phonebook
- Memory: 64 Mbytes plus Memory Stick MicroTM (M2TM) support
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB mass storage, Fastport, Infrared
- GPRS, 3G data transfer (up to 384 kbps download)
- Vibration alert
- Triband plus 3G
- Size: 106 x 48 x 17 mm
- Weight: 104g
- Talktime: 2.5 hours (3G) – 7.5 hours (2G)
- Battery standby: 350 hours
- The phone comes in three colors: blue, red, and ivory.