Sunday, April 29, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
- the sidewalks are like giant staircases if you were a squirrel
- of the cat that ate a mushroom
- the man in the parking lot nearby who told me to “smile! It’s a beautiful morning” (because it was a beautiful morning)
- the metro buses and trains stop if you run fast enough and yell hey hey HEY!! loud enough
- there is a beat up truck in our alley that belongs to a painting but stays parked behind our house and moves once a Fall so that a man can rake the leaves away
- the ambulance sirens, the fire trucks, the man with a “homeless” sign, the worn out streets that run right by the pretty ones, and the houses with broken windows and flaky paint that you can see a block away from the ones with sprinklers in their well-trimmed lawns. Everything that makes the city imperfect, and reminds us of the reality that we live in, and the work that we must do, and the people we must be
- the free concerts and movie screenings in the parks on hot summer nights or unusually cold summer evenings
- the four Thai restaurants on the same street run by the same man
- the hookah places where teenagers dance to “I’m sexy and I know it” and feel young and alive but look utterly ridiculous
- the pickup truck around the block that is home to a hundred little figurines, baseball players and dinosaurs, and Pikachu too
Monday, April 9, 2012
I don’t have the most refined palette, I can’t really taste the difference between lemon and lime, or sniff out e Whole Foods cinnamon from the regular grocery store cinnamon but my god, the bagel I just ate was awful. It tasted like eating softly-baked cardboard but since I spent two bucks on it and I’m not sure the ten peanuts Southwest gave me were a sufficient meal I had to stuff it all down my throat. I just hope it doesn’t take a hundred years to break down. Thanks a lot Starbucks. Never again will I look at a bagel in your shop.
Even though I felt after my extended spring break that I was going to be buried beneath an avalanche of assignments, I realized I wasn’t. And with my eye on the calendar, I also found a weekend to run away to North Carolina. What a good trip that has been. Pushing back all the stress and worries, melting away like Magic Pop (or cotton candy) in your mouth, or ink in water, coloring it a beautiful, calm, happy aqua. Just stepping into Aa-zhur’s car and settling into the comfy leather seats – it was the indication of a pretty sweet weekend.
Light, mellow music, Aa-zhur singing along persistently and definitely not too badly, winding roads, very sharp curvy turns (if I sat in the backseat without my seatbelt which is the way I like to roll in the backseats, I would slip all the way from one side to the other when Aa-zhur made these highway exit turns!), rolling hills and fields and thousands of acres of forest land, happy, healthy, green trees. If these trees were using shampoos, they were using the extra-voluminous kind.
“The only thing worse than dog breath is genocide.” The best part about Aa-zhur’s ridiculous jokes was his own amusement and hybrid laughter (manly giggling that was almost guffawing but not quite) that erupted following his own comments.
Reem, I miss you so, so much. I’m sitting in the plane and nursing a very weepy, achy heart right now and I’m using these words like Hello Kitty band aids to my metaphorical wounds. I am so grateful that you came. Hanging out with you was an antidote to all that is bad and stressful. You were almost like pot (not that I’ve had any) the way you made me so happy and relaxed and so damn giggly it was kind of worrying. We really did laugh a lot, right? Starting from that frightening out-of-control fit we got into after laying out the mattress in “our room”.
I miss Aa-zhur’s mansion, and the constant presence and talk of mustaches.
A weekend that involved long drives, great music, tea, apple pie (even if it was too lemony), lots of sunshine, green grass, sitting-lying-wearing flower rings in the green grass, Southern food, and Titanic in 3D. What could be better?
My two years at grad school here are not just about working on 20-page assignments and working with troubled middle-schoolers. It is about appreciating life, and old friendships, making new ones, learning about myself, managing my almost OCD, learning how to live with people, budgeting, traveling and striking balances all over the place – work, play, life, religion, what is the bigger picture?
Must plan more trips. Must thank God for the awesome friends that I have. Oh LUMS, you have had such a huge impact on my life. Packed me off at the end of four years with changes in my way of thinking, ideas about my future career, hand in hand with my future husband, and friends all around to make life sweet and remind me of what I want to be.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Spring seems to be in a hurry to leave; it has only been a few weeks since it arrived in St. Louis and threw down its bags, scattering bright red, yellow and purple tulips along the streets, and flinging pale pink and white blossoms up on trees. The warm, humid days that give way to sudden showers, coats and boots replaced with shorts and shorter shorts. Restaurants and cafes expand out onto the curb and you have to thread your way through people sipping iced tea and spooning salsa on their tortilla chips but since it is so beautiful outside you don’t mind and everything is great…
… till suddenly it is too hot. Every hour it climbs up a degree and suddenly you’re sweating in your apartment even though the fan is on and you’re in a tank top and shorts. Ninety degrees in the first week of April? It’s global warming, fret your teachers who have spent many summers and springs in St. Louis.
You just got here, Mr. Spring, you really don’t need to wrap up so quickly. But already, most of the tulips are gone and the blossoms have been replaced with leafy greenness. Not that summer is so bad, at least in its initial stages when you enjoy the warm wind on your skin, and feel all light and airy because you’re not weighed down by a jacket half your body mass; ice makes its way into tea, cream, soda, and the evenings are perfect for walks down Delmar to get Froyo.
And the outside movie screenings and free concerts will start; and then the thunderstorms that light up the sky and shake the windowpanes…
It reminds me of home, really, the humidity, then the coolness in the air because of the rain, and since we’re students here and don’t have much money we don’t switch the central air-conditioning on and it is even more like home where electricity is a privilege that even the privileged have to do without every now and then. So we open the windows or just sprawl in minimum clothing in the lounge, ignoring the pile of assignments and to-do lists for as long as possible.
[The one thing that is missing is the smell of rain. I don’t know why but the intoxicating, wet, earthy fragrance that emanates from the ground before a storm just doesn’t seem to exist here… and how I miss it. The memory of it is so tangible I can almost fool myself into believing I can smell it…the cool, dusty smell that is a promise of good things to come, and no matter how deeply you inhale you cannot get enough of it, and if I could, I would breathe it in and it would replace the blood in my body and become a permanent part of me…]
And of course, the bugs wake up, spiders crawl out of their little holes and bees and flies find their way inside through cracks; wasps wait till you’re comfortably sitting with at least four different things around you in the balcony and then zoom towards your face, enjoying the panicked scrambling that ensues. Sadistic creatures.
Butterflies, ladybugs, caterpillars, and strange wispy orange flies. It is time to plan a picnic and quick, before we have to give in to air conditioning.