Thursday, September 30, 2010


When I was 10 someone made fun of my leotard in ballet class. I don't remember the specific person, but I remember how what she said had made me feel. This wasn't some random memory coming up like, oh I remember when .. no. I was sitting in meditation for I think my 30th or so hour out of my 100 hour course and the feelings of hurt and pain surfaced up from an insult that had happened a decade ago. This type of situation happened over and over again. We get so used to stuffing down things that bother us that we don't realize that we still harbor all of that negativity and pain from the past. I went on a 10 day Vipassana course here in Dubai. It was situated up out in the desert surrounded by desolate mountains. It was the most intense experience of my life. Total and complete self-assessment. During these 10 days we lived in noble silence, i.e. no speaking, no gesturing, no looking each other in the eye. It was solely an individual experience. My roommate was from chicago and before the noble silence took place we were reminiscing on the greatest pizza orgasm we ever had(pizza in dubai sucks). The course was like bootcamp for the soul, 10 hrs every day we sat in meditation and my butt protested every hour of every day. My back would complain at being forced ramrod straight and my feet would go numb in silent protest, but every day I worked. I worked because I wanted to rid myself of the pain I have pushed far down within myself. I was tired of reacting to life, reacting out of fear, anger, frustration. Vipassana taught me equanimity, it taught me how to live life with real happiness, happiness from within. Not happiness from people, or things. Am I perfect now? No. The day I got back, $@#% exploded in my face and I really had to test the mettle of my meditation, but I see progress as reacting possibly 10 times out of 10 situations with anger, but one time- not reacting. One time, being able to become the observer.

Monday, September 27, 2010

No one said it was going to be easy...

And if someone did, they dont know what the heck they are talking about. For real.

I'm in a weird funk. I mean, it's not a bad funk. Nor is it a good funk. Just a funk. I dont know how to explain it exactly. It's weird. Right now, life has taken an odd turn. Alhamdulilah--All praise be to God--- for the turn it has taken. It's just not how I expected life to be though. I mean, not that I had these particular expectations for life. Or maybe I did. Like within the past five or six years. But it wasn't like I expected it to go exactly the way I wanted it to. Who knows.

All I know is that life is weird. Life is good. Life is bad. Life is fun. Life is dull. Life is so many things.

I feel like everyone in the world's life is so stressed and everyone is stressed to the max, and I dont know what to do for anyone.

There's this teacher at work who works her butt off. Gets to work early. Has lesson plans up the wazoo. Plans weeks in advanced. Is organized to a tee. And she still gets into so much trouble with admin. Like she gets yelled at by the administration team a lot. Over the oddest and randomest stuff. And by some force of nature, she somehow manages to have the students with the most behavior problems in her class. I've never seen any work as hard as I've seen her work either. And she's an awesome teacher too. MashaAllah. She has so many creative and fun ways of teaching.

I feel like since she has been working at this school, her spirit has been broken. Actually I know this. We've had many conversations where she has confided in me that she loved teaching, when she was doing student teaching. She loved it. So much. But working at this school, for the past two years, has made her hate it. She wakes up every day dreading work. Dreading the students. Dreading the drive. Dreading the parents. Just dreading everything about the place. She cries so much about it. She sometimes even says that she would be so much happier as a housewife, rather than as a teacher.

I am/was just like her. I hated this job. So much. I cant even begin to explain to you what I was going through this past summer.

But during the month of Ramadan, I made so many prayers to God, beggginggggggggggggggggggggggggg God to help me love this job. I didn't want to just like this job. I wanted to LOVE this job. I want to wake up every morning, excited to go to work. I know this is like asking for a miracle, but you should always ask for the best, right?

I'm not there yet. Dont know when or if I will ever be at that stage. But I'm working on it. And I changed my mindset. My goal right now is to try and remain positive. See things from a different perspective. I thought sitting around, complaining about it, stressing out over it, and wallowing in self pity wasn't doing anything for me, except making me miserable. So I opted to take a proactive approach. Because the Final Messenger of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said that one day he noticed a Bedouin (desert people) leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, "Why don't you tie down your camel?" The Bedouin answered, "I placed my trust in Allah." At that, the Prophet said, "Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah" . You can't expect God to take care of everything, while you sit and do nothing.

So no one said it was going to be easy, but it's definitely not impossible.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Million Dollar Question: What does the toothfairy REALLY do with our teeth?

Because you know, the tooth fairy really does exist and everything.

According to my 2010 incoming class of first graders, the tooth fairy does numerous things for us:
  • The tooth fairy gives the teeth she collects to Santa. Santa, in turn, takes those teeth and makes them into toys. And come December, Santa and the tooth fairy hop on some reindeer and deliver them to kids.
  • The tooth fairy takes the teeth and makes a castle for herself. ( Well that's kinda selfish of her, dont you think?)
  • The tooth fairy is really a tooth witch and she eats the teeth like one would eat an apple (They got this idea because we are currently reading a book about a first grader who believes that)
  • She gives old teeth to people who have lost their teeth.
  • She turns it into jewelry for Mom.
  • Uhhhh, where do you think toothpaste comes from???DUH!
  • She is really not a she. But in fact a he. (That doesnt really answer the question. Just thought I would throw it in there though because it shows that they don't automatically think of the stereotypical gender role of a tooth fairy)

Soooo now, I ask of you, what is the million dollar answer?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When I grow up I wanna be a witch...

As with many mornings, my students start off with answering/completing a journal prompt. When kids write, as noted in this post, their writing is for the most part pretty funny and give much insight into the life of a 6/7 year old. Some show wisdom beyond their years, while others act their age. And then you have that rare individual that just shows peculiarity.

Journal Prompt: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Response: When I grow up, I wanna be a witch.

This is the response that I got from K.L. Yup. That's right. She wants to be a witch. And for some reason, I dont think she's joking. And for another reason that I cant begin to fathom, I believe that she will attempt to pursue this goal. And she will try her best to make sure she is a darn good witch too.

K.L. is one of my peculiar and most interesting students of the year. I knew that she would be right from the beginning. And well, as unfortunate as it is, her grandmother was the one that told me that she was a little "cuckoo". And when grandma told me that, I wanted to punch her in the face.

Swear to God.

She said it right in front of K.L. It's one thing to joke around and say that someone is crazy and/or silly. And frankly the connotation of the words are very different in respect to the context in which you use them. But it's another thing for a person to be called cuckoo. And to hear your own grandmother say it about you. When grandma said that, I know I look perplexed. So she went on to explain to me that K.L. was diagnosed with ADHD and sometimes she acted out in very bizarre ways.

Ok, so let me back track just a little, the reason I wanted to punch grandma in the face was because who says that upon an initial meeting of their granddaughters teacher. I think she thought she was doing me a favor, but in all actuality, she wasn't. She put a judgment in my head that she had no right to put there. I would rather have learned this upon interacting with K.L. on my own. Regretablly this wasnt the case.

Regardless of this fact, just as soon as grandma told me about K.L.'s odd behavior, I witnessed it for myself. Throughout the day she would talk out and have sudden singing outbursts and she would hum really loudly to herself. For some odd reason, she likes to chew on the end of the back of her dress, thus resulting in her mooning the entire class on multiple occasions. When asked why she was doing that, she would respond with " I dont know." While sitting with her peers she said "You suck" and "Damn" to them multiple times, landing her on "red" (Red=Not so good) on the very first day of school (which in itself is a rarity). She also took her shoes off in the middle of class and stuck them inside of her desk and when asked again why she did that, she, again, responded with "I dunno".
By the second day of school she was sitting by herself, away from her peers.

She had also already ripped up most of my books. And the response again? Surprise, surprise: I dunno why I did that.

Having had two weeks of classes in, I have learned some things about her that make me smile. While also learning about things that make me want to cry, pull my hair out, and run out the door screaming and just quitting my job. (I also learned from her previous teacher that on the first day of kindergarten, she pulled the fire alarm because no one was giving her attention.)

Albeit all of these things, there is something about K.L. that makes me have a soft spot in my heart for her though. Something that tells me that she obviously really truly means no harm by the things she does. She's the student that will make this year the most challenging for me.

For some this may sound strange, but sometimes I look forward to going to school, just so I can see her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

So I'm a minority.

I have delayed reactions.

You know that gift you gave me...I won't know how to show appreciation, excitement, shock or even happiness until much, much later.

Actually, my emotions will be in a turmoil and for some reason the only thing I will be feeling at the moment is 'Why?'

Why am I feeling a why?

I dunno.

It's like asking, "Why is the world round?"

Cuz it just is, stupid.

Anyways so I think I've been having a delayed reaction to this place known as medical school. Before the first exam, we were being told, you're gonna feel overwhelmed, you're gonna be lost and everyone and everything was giving us tips on how to study productively and how to manage your time and where to get help.

And whenever anyone would ask me..."So how's medical school?"

I genuinely thought that I didn't really feel the overwhelm drowning in an abyss like feeling. Yeah it kinda sucked, and I didn't get why they were throwing so much info at us...but no biggie. Undergrad was like that.

First exam comes, and the night before I realize whyyy people were Freaking out and being such paranoid neurotics (same thing?) about always knowing everything (besides that it's built into most medical students) throughout our first unit material.

And now, with more than a week left until my next exam, I feel this incredible, dooming feeling shadowing my every movement (It might have do with my grades from the first exams). And I've discovered that my spelling has degenerated (yes, degenerated, because Biology uses the word degenerated) drastically ( I would have said in an acute period of time...but that would have been a bit much, and just me pretending to be more washed out, than I am, by medical school)

And I get frustrated real fast. Like when I was thinking about another friend from a different medical school, not understanding WHY, I was so overwhelmed and feeling so helpless when I have ONLY two weekends left.

How does she NOT understand? Two weeks, Two and a half weeks, FREAKING three weeks is not enough to catch up and memorize.

And NOW is a good time for SOMEONE to tell me.. How the hell do I study? HOW do I manage my time? WHERE do I get help? I wish I didn't skip those seminars at the start of classes, answering these questions. Problem was, I didn't understand the point of them back then. They really should know better than to assume everyone is having the same reaction and feeling. LEARN to accommodate the minority! (Us-the delayed reaction..ators)

I don't know what to do. I just don't want to do this anymore. There's a chance I might be suffering from a minor form of depression....but I still say that if you can't make yourself happy, then no one can.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

As we celebrate...and Remember

It was Eid on Friday here in America.

On 9/10/2010

There was a joke circulated that we tried our hardest to see the moon the night before because everyone wanted to avoid having Eid ul Fitr on 9/11/2010..the ninth anniversary of September 11.

Imagine...Muslims celebrating...on the same day the nation remembers the 'terrorist attack on September 11'

911. What's your emergency?

The towel heads next to my house are partying.

Is there a problem? Was someone hurt?

No...It's just that All the MOZlems in my city are celebrating.... Like they're really partying it up with all kinds of food and games.

You don't sayy!

I mean you can only give them Soo many excuses...Is there anyway we can get them arrested?

Stay on the line while I contact the authorities. ***

The day Eid ul-Fitr falls on changes every year, just like how Ramadan does, and all the other Islamic months do. And I've mentioned the reason for this being that the Islamic calendar follows the Lunar calendar.

This Ramadan has been kinda eventful for Muslims. The 'Ground zero Mosque' controversy is still raging, 1/5 th of Pakistan is flooded , some dude was trying to host a "Burn a Quran day", some people are running for political offices and one of their platforms is that Islam isn't a real religion and so shouldn't be protected by the Bill of Rights, and the knowledge Eid could potentially fall on september 11.

Some Muslim communities were advised to keep their celebrations low-key.

While Eid ul Fitr didn't fall on September 11 most activities and celebrations will however follow the entire weekend. It's weird to celebrate Eid ul Fitr, when you remember everything that happened on that day in 2001, especially for Muslim Families that also lost loved ones on that day... but I don't think that's a reason to stop anyone from celebrating their religious holiday.
Even with the 'Ground zero mosque' controversy still present and if anything, getting worse.

Eid also isn't a reason for any Muslim to stop remembering all those that are suffering here and across the world.

Like a lot of other people out there, I have my own message, and I think everyone should send it out through facebook, twitter, and their local lawn elf and maybe even to the pastor in Florida:

Happy Eid to the Muslims; A prayer to the victims of 9/11, and a prayer for all those undergoing suffering and hardships. **

CC, out.

***The above conversation was entirely fictional (hopefully) and no authorities were contacted or harmed during its making. And is to be taken in a humorous, non-offensive manner and does not necessarily reflect the views of its author...which could be kinda self-contradictory. Rated OIWH for Open-minded Individuals With Humor

**Caution: Message promoted by the author may not be well-received by the local lawn elf.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid Mubarak!!

Eid Mubarak [Happy Eid] to everyone!!!!

Ramadan has come to a bittersweet end. It was a month of mercy, a month of forgiveness, a month of development, and a month of God-consciousness.

And now...the time has come to celebrate and eat tons of foood!! :)

So hope you all have yourselves a wonderful day and don't forget to be grateful to God for each and every blessing He's given us.

*Picture credit:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Midweek Pick Me Up & Reflections of Ramadan

 In Ramadan God locks up the Satan and his posse so they can't tempt us and persuade us to stray from Him. Ramadan is coming to an end and I'm getting just as nervous as I was when it began. This year I was blessed with time off the whole month and an opportunity to work on myself as a better Muslim and a better human being, which go hand in hand in my book. This month has changed my heart a lot. I'm nervous that it is ending for two reasons. 

One. Satan is going to go crazy as soon as he is released. Will my heart be strong enough to ignore him? Or will it give in to temptation and I'll go back to as I was before?

Two. I had time off this whole month. A whole month to focus on me and only me. A whole month to figure out who I am and figure out how important God really is. When my everyday life kicks back in, will things be the same? Will I be focused on this life and forget about God and the Hereafter?

It takes about forty days to make or break a habit. So it's been about thirty days. Will I be able to cope up with the last ten and continue the same things throughout the year? I hope so. I think the key is balance. I need to recognize both priorities of this life and priorities for the Hereafter. I've went from one extreme before Ramadan and then to the other during Ramadan. 

I am glad I had a whole month of me time, though. It was so relaxing and refreshing. I think I'll take time out  everyday for myself. Life is so busy and so rushed we think we can't spare even ten seconds for quiet time for ourselves. It makes a world of a difference. Just sit there, talk to no one, turn the TV and music off. Maybe visit nature. The best things in life are free. And they really are. I mean, what would you prefer, a big house or your sight? Just reflect. S   l   o   w    d   o   w   n. Think about all the blessings in your life. 

That's basically what I've been doing this past month. The most important thing I've learned is to understand that life has its setbacks, but it's not the end of the world. I am so much better off than many people out there. My superficial problems are frivolous compared to the millions of people suffering around the world. Alhamdulillah. I'm just hoping I can still have time for my spiritual self once Ramadan is over and work starts up.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Time is Ticking

One of my kittens was diagnosed of FIP which is unfortunately incurable. He basically had been losing a lot of weight, stopped eating, became super lethargic, and finally starting throwing up every few hours. It was so hard watching him go through so much pain.

He had no options left but to bear the pain until his end so my husband and I made the very difficult decision of putting him to sleep; it would be a lot easier for him than living in misery for his few days/weeks left of life.

I only had the little kitten for a month and it was so hard dealing with the loss. Driving away from the vet I had tears streaming down my face when I finally realized that this is just how life is. We're all only on this earth for a short amount of time and then one day the time for each and every one of us will come. And who knows, maybe it'll be tomorrow...or even today. Lucky for animals, they're not accountable for their lives. We, on the other hand, don't have it that easy.

God says in the Qur'aan:

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion. [3:185]

Life is short and it's purpose is not to waste it doing aimless things and being deluded by the glitter of this world. Its so easy for us to be so distracted by the tangible worldly things in life from our true purpose: to please God, do good, and hope to enter Paradise.

My kitten's death was the first time I ever had to experience death first hand and face it in front of me. As emotionally difficult as it was, there was a great lesson in it for me.

We need to make sure we're not wasting our time and really refocus our purpose and our goals in life because God knows, life is short.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Last Ten Days of Ramadan

We've been fasting for over twenty days now and it's going great. People get worn out, what with school and work. I guess what keeps some of us going in the final stretch is the abundance of rewards found in the last third of the holy month.

These last ten days are the days of forgiveness. We ask for God's forgiveness for anything we've done. The cool thing is, God loves to forgive, and if we ask sincerely, we will be forgiven. It's encouraged to say this supplication in the final ten days, "O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me."

On one of the last ten days there's a night called Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power. Any worship on this night is equal to the worship of a thousand months. Most people don't even live more than a thousand months. So it's equal to continuous worshiping God day and night for more than your entire lifetime. It comes every year so multiply that by how many years you live... I stink at math, so I can't calculate. But I know it's a lot of reward.

One specific thing some people do during these last ten days are they take a break from work or school, if possible and live in the masjid {Muslim house of worship} for the last ten days, called I'tikaf. Men go the the masjid and women can stay at home. It doesn't have to be the full ten days, but it really cleanses your mind and soul if you can do the whole ten days. I haven't done this before, but I'm thinking about doing a day or even half a day tis year. You can even do it for a few hours.

Those ten days go into worship like doing extra prayers, reciting the Qur'an, memorizing the Qur'an, asking God for His blessings and Mercy upon us, etc. You don't even physically have to do anything. I'm going to add that talking to others is usually minimal unless needed. Talk to God. Just reflecting on yourself and trying to figure yourself out counts as worship. Reassessing your position with God and as a human being and reflecting about how to become better works.

Other things people try to do or increase in last ten days are:

1. Ask for forgiveness. Muhammad {Peace be upon him } said, "Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven." {Bukhari and Muslim}.

2. Ask of God. Ask, ask, and ask some more. He gives, gives, and gives. Ask for Paradise. Ask for a car. Ask for a good job. Ask for a spouse. Ask for chocolate cake. Just ask. 

3. Pray extra prayers. The best time to pray is the last third of the night. God bestows His blessings the most during this part of the night. It's difficult wake up before dawn, but there's a huge amount of reward in it. And the fast that you're getting up from your sleep for God draws Him nearer to you.

4.   Since the Qur'an is in Arabic, we also try to read the translation so that we can understand what's going on when we read. I mean this, of course, can be done any time. But it's also good to do this during the final ten days of Ramadan.

5. Memorize the Qur'an and supplications.

6. Just remember that God is always there. People usually praise God or do some sort of remembrance. This can be done any time, seriously. Like while your driving, or brushing your teeth. Or working. Any time. 

7. Worship doesn't mean sitting in a corner praying. It can be in the from of helping people out, picking up trash or even a smile. Anything can be turned into worship with the intention of doing something good for God's sake. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mid-week pick me up

I love two sided colored pencils. :) This is totally random, I know. But I got so excited when I saw these at the stationary store, I had to buy. I'm not even artistic or use colored pencils, but I felt like buying them.