Archive for Family

Nice Day

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 13/08/2011 by arabrhizome

I had a very nice day today hanging out with my mom. We thought there was an afro-caribbean festival but it turned out to be only tomorrow. We ended up going to tamatanga’s and had some curry there. It was great. I had this lovely vegan eggplant one. I will definitely make it myself. We then had coffee in town and the barista who made my coffee is a vegan and told me about a bunch of places in Nottingham where I can get vegan stuff. It was a lovely day. I didn’t get any work done but that’s okay. Tomorrow we’re going to that carnival, hopefully it’s fun. In the mean time all of you stay safe and love you bye.

Having A Supportive Mother

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 10/08/2011 by arabrhizome

So today my mother came back from Paris. I went to pick her up at the station here. I was a little apprehensive about telling her of me going vegan. I was expecting her not to really understand and be quite demeaning and unsupportive. I was pleasantly surprised. She was incredibly supportive and went with me to Waterstones in order to see if there are any good vegan cookbooks there. We looked at a few but then decided that none of them were really that good. we then had a beer together and she went through all the food she knows and asking me which ones were vegan and which were not. We then came back home and she cooked me a nice vegan Lebanese dish. I have to say that it made me feel very happy. After all the bad things I said about her on here it’s nice to be able to say something that positive about her. Anyway, I need to go and work now before I go to sleep. Stay safe everyone. Love you bye.

Ready for Home and Crazy Work

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , on 05/10/2010 by arabrhizome

So I’m ready to go home, both logistically and mentally. I’ve had a nice time, for the most part, with my dad, but I just want to go back home. It’s very hot here, the constant breeze makes it okay, but I like my cold climate. Also, I have a lot to do and I need to be home to do most of it. On the logistic side, my bag is packed, the taxi taking me tomorrow is arranged, and I am checked in. All that’s left is for me to shower, go to sleep, and wake up early enough not to catch the cab in time.

Today was another example of my dad getting old. We had a few things to do. They could have been done in an hour at most. However, it took us five hours. We had to do everything the long way around and had to work very slowly. The worst bit about this and the most heart breaking is that he can see this. I feel really sad just thinking about it. He keeps making silly mistakes and then looking at me sadly and saying that he is old. I love my father and I hate to see him feel sad.

Anyway for something more positive now. Last night, if you remember, I said I was going to to work for a little bit after I wrote the blog. Well, I in fact worked incredibly well. I started around 00:00 and finished at 5:00. During these five hours, with a lot of longish breaks, I wrote 3000 words. I can’t believe how well I worked. This fact meant that I woke up feeling very good about myself, and that I did a bunch of other stuff all day. Now, these 3000 words are part of the new chapter I’m writing. Interestingly, I wrote these words without using any references, because I didn’t bring them with me. So when I go home, I’ll hopefully be able to double them quite easilly.

Anyway, Now what I need to work on is my WIP, which is going to be what keeps me occupied during the next three weeks. I am however very encouraged by me being able to work so well. I need to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully be able to finish it very quickly. Anyway that’s all from me. Tomorrow I write from my couch in my flat. I really miss my flat.

Getting Old, Work, and Change

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 04/10/2010 by arabrhizome

So my dad is getting old. I knew he was quite old. He certainly looks younger then he actually is, but is still old. But today I saw what age does to someone’s mind and it’s not pretty. He is still incredibly sharp and intelligent about certain things, but he is losing his edge on other things. He isn’t bad at all, especially compared to other people, but he isn’t like he used to be. It’s very difficult for me because my relationship with him is very much about intellectual conversation and stimulation. We always talk and connect about things that are very much on the academic side. That’s where it is sometimes becoming difficult. My conversations with him are sometimes becoming sluggish and repetitive. I might be making too much of it, but today it really made me sad. I hope it doesn’t get too bad.

In other news, I have not worked as well as I’d like last night or today. However, I am a little bit excited about it now. So maybe I’ll be able to do something tonight. It would be nice to have my WIP ready by the time I get back home, but this is a little bit too ambitious I think. Making a 12000 words chapter into a 5000 words presentable paper. When I say presentable I mean both that I am proud of and that I can present during the session. However, I have a few ideas of what to cut and what to keep. We’ll see.

There was finally another thing I wanted to talk about. I have noticed a lot of young people hangging out in the streets, which in and of itself is not note worthy, except that they are not the usual Algerian teens. Indeed, first the groups are mixed, boys and girls hangging out on the streets not caring who sees them and who doesn’t. That is new. Back when I was a kid it was very difficult to hang out like this. We usually had to go to people’s houses. Second, those kids are tattoed, pierced, and auite clearly rock and roll. That makes me very happy. Piercings were very much seen as a sign of effeminity, which in a highly homophobic society is very much a preventive reason. Tattoos, when I was a kid, were seen as anti-islamic, in that one is trying to fix and embelish what god has created. But these kids didn’t care, and I loved them for it. Finally, they were hugging and kissing and joking loudly. Now this would have never happened when I was young. Public displays of affection were a gigantic nono. But again these little punks, and I mean that in the most positive way, didn’t give a shit.

Now I thought about this a little bit. I think that most of these kids are the first generation that is either too young to remember the brunt of the violence of the 1990s, or were born afterwards. I think that they are the first lign of the comming revolution of sexual and social attitudes in Algeria. I think that these kids, if they choose to do it, could change a lot in Algeria. Anyway, it is time for me to go to work and to get ready to sleep.

Reaching New Hights

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 03/10/2010 by arabrhizome

So My blog has been seen over 40 times already today. That’s very strange. I don’t mind at all, but it’s just strange. I wonder if the fact that I am writing from another country/continent is as exciting for others as it is for me. Maybe I should become a travel zriter and go all over the world writing about things. If only people would pay me to do that. It would be an awful job. I would hate going around the world to the most beautiful places for free and being payed for writing something about it. What an awful job.

So as I expected it took me a very long time to sleep last night. In fact, I don’t think I slept before 4. I woke up a few times, including at 8:30, 10, and 12:30. I finally woke up around 14:00. So I had a nice lunch with my dad and then went around with him to take care of a few chores. It’s nice hangging out with him.

I’m a little bit worried about him. He seems a little bit depressed. I’m trying to get him excited about comming over in January and spending his birthday with me in the UK. Everytime we talk about it he seems to get a little bit better. So that’s my mission right now.

In other news, I was able to work a little bit today. Not as much as I wanted to but enough. I hope I can get a little bit more done this week. If I don’t sleep too early tonight, then I might get a little bit more done. All we can do is wait and see.

Some of you might have noticed that I’m having a little bit of difficulty writing. The main reason is that I’m writing on my father’s ‘evil azerty keyboard’ as Z said. But I am getting better I think. Also, you should all checkout my last post, I fixed it. Hopefully this one won’t need any fixing.

Well that’s about it for me today. I know it’s not a lot, but I think I’ll have more to say tomorrow. We have a bit of a long day, my dad and I. So See you all tomorrow. Hopefully all the people who read my blog today will read it again tomorrow. Good night.

First Foreign Post

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , on 02/10/2010 by arabrhizome

Gooood Morning Algiers! Well good evening rather. So, I am in Algiers can you believe it? I am actually in another country and another continent and still writing this crap. So this is my first actual foreign post. It is a very exciting time for me, and as we have established time and time again, I get very excited about very unexciting things.

So I woke up very early this morning, at 6:00 to be more precise, in order to take the tube to the airport and not pay a lot of money for the heathrow express. I had a dificult sleep in my room at the hostel. When I got there one of the beds was occupied and the guy in it was sleeping. He was snoring slightly, it wasn’t too annoying at first. But then he produced one of the loudest farts I have heard in my life. Now this was followed by a mixture of loud snoring and a flurry of very loud farts. Thankfully, the farts weren’t smelly but they were still loud enough to make me have trouble falling asleep.

Around 1 in the morning another roommate came in. He was, and still is I suppose, very tall and kept banging his head and feet on the top and bottom of the bed. I felt bad for him slightly. Only slightly though as I believe that tall people are an abomination. Anyway, he then fell asleep and started to snore in chorus with the other man. It was all very loud and annoying. I think that I finally gotto sleep at 2:30 or 3. Which meant that I had very little sleep by 6:00 when I woke up. Now I want to make it clear that I don’t blame the men for making unconscious noise, I do the same. However, this points out the limitations of sharing a room with strangers.

Well after I woke up I made my way to the tube station and bought myself a coffee from the only non-Starbucks coffee place that was open. The tube trip was about 1 hour long and pretty uneventful. We did however stop a couple of times and wait for a signal or platform to become free. I guess that I will get on the tube from now on to go to the airport, since it ends up taking a little longer then the express, if you take into account the trip to Paddington, yet it costs a lot less then the express.

I flew out from terminal 5 in Heathrow. It’s a very nice terminal and I really like flying from there. I had checked in earlier online, so I didn’t need to get to the airport too early. I had no problems at security, which was very pleasent. I had a bit of breakfast from Eat, and then got to the gate and waited to board the plane.

When we got on the plane the captain made a very rambely message where he explained that five minutes before we got on the plane, the French air traffic conrollers decided to go on strike. Since we have to fly over France, that meant that we were going to be delayed. We waited about half an hour before we moved. Also, I keep forgetting how much the plane has to taxi before it reaches the runway. The flight was very nice and uneventful. I did a lot of work on the plane and enjoyed a very nice cup of tea.

Once in Algiers the pasport control people were highly ammused by the fact that I am an algerian born in Iraq with a passport issued in Lebanon. However, it was more about how funny it is rather than about me being a security risk. Anyway, I saw my dad outside and took a taxi home. We had Mergez for lunch, they’re lovely Algerian spicy sausages in case you don’t know. I did have a very nice and long nap this aftertnoon. This probably means that I won’t sleep early tonight. Well I’ll try to make it up by waking up early tomorrow.

We just got back from a nice restaurant diner. I am a little bit tired but not too sleepy so I thought I might as well try to work tonight. I did a lot today on the plane and yesterday on the train. If I can work hard tonight, then I’ll be able to finish a lot by tomorrow. Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have to say today. I hope to have stuff to write about tomorrow, as my trips usually involve me talking to my dad qnd nothing more.

Parental Rant

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 05/08/2010 by arabrhizome

Sorry I don’t think this will be a very long post as I am quite on edge. My mom is really making my life difficult. It’s nothing major, but she’s just getting on my nerves. She isn’t being straight with me about what she wants to do and what she doesn’t want to do. She clearly has something in mind to do but then pretends to be accommodating. However, she clearly gets pissed off when we don;t do what she wants. Also, everything is a struggle. She questions everything I say even when the evidence shows that I am right. For example, she wanted to have a beer with lunch but didn’t want to sit in a restaurant. I explained to her that cafes and small food places like pret-a-manger and others, where she wanted to sit and eat, don’t sell beer. She then started to explain to me that I was wrong. So I took her to a cafe and showed her that I was right. However, this only meant that this particular cafe didn’t have beer. So I decided to play along and dragged her around showing her a bunch of them. She finally accepted that I was right, even though clearly she still didn’t believe me.

As I said before, I love her she is my mother, but as a person I don’t think I like her. Also, I think I don’t have patience for stupidity anymore. I remember my mother as a smart independent woman. I don’t know if it’s age, but she has become a whiny, lazy, silly woman. She repeats the same thing over and over and over again. She refuses to accept that what is acceptable back in Lebanon is unacceptable here. Also, for a few years now she has developed a bigoted side to her that I really don’t have the patience for. I can’t accept it because I can’t accept bigotry in general, but more importantly because she is the one, along with my father, that taught me to fight these evil impulses.

I remember growing up in a house that used to be visited by artists, communists, Muslims, Christians, Jewish people, Atheists, feminists, and leftists of all forms and persuasions. So it is very hard for me to understand how she has lost that acceptance of difference that she has taught me to have. First, it was the classic arab trope of blaming the ‘Jews’. While it is unacceptable, I used to find the explanation for it, not the justification, in the horrible way in which israel behaves in Lebanon and Palestine. I used to sit and explain to her that it is wrong to say that it is the ‘Jews’ who are the problem, and that she needs to distinguish between Jewish people, and even israelis, and zionists. I used to spend hours using reasonable arguments to express the fact that zionism as a racist, colonial, and imperialist ideology is the thing we need to fight. However, clearly it all served absolutely no purpose.

Her stay in Lebanon amongst very racist and bigoted people has clearly had an effect on her. She now says horrible things without thinking about them. The main problem I have ascertained is that she seems to have lost the ability to think about what she is going to say before she says it. So she says things that are clearly bigoted and horrible, but without malice, it is sheerly out of silliness and lack of thought. The problem is I don’t have the energy to sit and give rational arguments anymore, especially since they have had no effect what so ever. But on the other hand, I will not agree with a racist or bigoted statement out of politeness. I will call her out on it every time she says anything that is wrong.

As an example, in the cab today the conversation got to whether a certain actress was gay or not. And she said ‘you know who turned out to be gay? That funny actress Ellen…’. To which I replied ‘yeah Ellen DeGeneres. She is gay’. She then said ‘well since I learned this I stopped liking her’. I first tried to be intelligent about it and started ironically stating racist stereotypes as truths. I said ‘yeah and black people are all lazy. Arabs just want to blow everyone up. Jewish people are cheap. Women are stupid and are only good for staying at home’. But that strategy didn’t seem to work as she replied ‘it’s not the same thing’. Again I was stunned as she is one of the first people to teach me that all oppression is the same. So I started getting angry and said ‘of course it’s the same. Hating someone for their colour or gender or sexual orientation are equally wrong. Otherwise it is nothing more than bigotry’, and I left it at that so as not to lecture her.

I just feel sometimes that she has regressed and is now a teenager. The problem is she’s a petulant, spoilt, annoying know-it-all, even though she’s got most of it wrong, teenager. I have to tell her things that would be obvious to anyone who is not completely new to social life. I keep having to tell her not to point at people, or speak loudly on the phone in public spaces, or a million other things, and I am tired. I have realised that 2 weeks is too long. Next time she should come for a week or 10 days at most. I can put up with most of her bad behaviour for that long, because my missing her allows me to do that. However, more than that and I can’t anymore. The thing that bothers me most is that I know she is better than this. She has been through hell and has given me all the opportunities that have led me here. So seeing her loose all those characteristics that for most of my life I have admired about her is really hard to stomach. I only hope that now that she is retired, she might stop acting so badly and pull herself together, although I’m not holding my breath either.

Oh look, it ended up being quite a long rant. This blog is really useful, if only as a venting space. I should rant a bit more often. I like ranting. It’s good for the soul I think, even though there is no such thing as the soul of course. It helps because it avoids bottling up things and turning them into resentment and hatred. I shall try to rant more often, although I will try to introduce a bit more comedy into them, if I can. Having said that, I just re-read what I wrote and I think I can put in some jokes in that and turn it into a decent routine. I can’t wait to try out some open mic nights next year. I think it will be good for me to know if I am cut out for it or not. I believe I am, but it would be good to know for sure.