September 2007

I start this coming month of October with great anticipation. I am on vacation as of 3:00 pm this afternoon. I have received my tickets, my visa is in order the only thing left is to do my last minute shopping and get on that plane. But you know what… I am already there. I can taste the humidity; I can feel the heat… I am there. Where is there? Sri Lanka

I usually plan to be away for one big trip a year. I have planned this for quite some time and it is with both disbelief and great excitement that the day approaches. Its funny, I always feel like this before a big trip. I am in denial until I am on the plane. I mentally check out about a week before I go and then two days before I am so focused on wrapping things up that I forget I am going. And then BAM, it’s the day of travel and I’m singing “I am leaving on a jet plane…” I love that song, I always sing it before traveling J 

I am excited, have I said that enough? I am looking forward to two weeks of hot tropical bliss, seeing new things, experiencing wild and exotic nature, setting my taste buds on fire with exquisite curries and unpronounceable foods and so much more. One of the things I love about vacations as well is the fact that I plan to be unreachable for two weeks. Think about it, all cell phones OFF, internet miles away and at my discretion. There is something so restful, refreshing and just plain good about shutting out the world, especially the electronic one with all its beeps, buzzes, urgency and immediate demands of responding. Oh boy can I just imagine it now. 

Do you remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon, with Bugs singing and jumping after school is out? “No more pencils, No more books, no more teachers dirty looks…” that’s how I feel. It’s been a long long year thus far and I think its time for a well deserved break. So if in about a week you don’t hear from me and think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, it’s because I am singing: No more cell phones, no more computers, no more clients’ dirty looks! I’m on VACATION.

There will be the occasional blog and picture posts so stay tuned just not synchronously J

I am a strong powerful independent woman. These are affirmations I constantly tell myself. I believe them. I am proud of who I am, my accomplishments, my history, my present and I hope my future. Every part of who I am today belongs to a part of my past. It has been a very vibrant one with many trials and tribulations. But I consider myself lucky. I have persevered, prevailed and endured. And that makes me the person I am today. 

Where does this strength and power come from? It comes from within. Each of us has this strength, each of us has this power. Sometimes it shines through not from action but with our silence. Sometimes it comes through with our patience. Sometimes it is the ability to accept our failures and grow and learn from them. 

Within each of us is a reservoir. It is full of life and experience, you draw on it and use it to nurture your actions and reactions. You decide how to make your life full and you use this reserve to give you the insight you need. But sometimes we don’t have the necessary experiences, we don’t have the past that will help us with our future, what then?

This is where our collective history, our pooled cache of experience comes into play.  How many times have you talked something over with your friends, coworkers, or family? Pulling from their strength, their power, their knowledge? 

We are all strong, we are all powerful in our own ways, but together we are invincible.

You rise a fire disc
Your rays touch the earth and stone
Bring them to life
Your rays touch me
I come alive
With your arc I count the hours
With your decent I am taken away
Your colors pulsate
Bright and strong
Even when you die everyday
You do it with a majesty that commands attention
I am the loyal daughter of the sun

Your sister the moon is moody
Dancing among the stars
Bringing light to gloom
iving life to an afterlife
She hides and slowly shows a little more of herself
I am married to the moon
Its moods are mine
Its light ebbs and returns
When she is full I am
When she is gone I am
She is forever mine as I am hers
Yet we are each our own
Alone we look for another light
I am the unfaithful bride of the moon

I’ve been a taxi passenger for at least 14 years now.  Everywhere I go I need one of these beautiful yellow chariots. And in these 14 years I have had my share of everything; the really amazing and the really disgraceful of rides. I could tell stories till kingdom come about being in a taxi. But in general, I am able to cope with rides fairly well as they are benign. 

Some of the really amazing things were talking about their life experiences, getting a free ride, being in a very clean cab. I must say 80% if not more of my cab rides are quite pleasant. It does help that I bury my face in a book or am on the phone for most of the rides. 

This morning though, I had one of my few pet taxi peeves come true. And mind you I’ve experienced quiet a bit from smelly cabs, to really loud stuff blaring from the radio, to over friendly drivers, or the religious zealots, wrong way and the long way rides, as well as the occasionally very rude driver. I have even been in two taxi accidents, which were by the way the other driver’s fault. But that all is OK, I have a coping strategy for each one of them, even the cranky drivers. But the one thing that really really ticks me off is when they think they can not give change back. 

It’s not about the value of the money it’s about how it’s done. Some will apologize and explain I don’t have change, those I willingly give the tip to with a smile. It’s the other breed of cab drivers that I hate, and you know who I am talking about. These are the worst offenders. They just sit there and wait for you to leave. You then seem petty and ask them for the change and they either tell you they don’t have any OR like this morning’s driver he says I owe him more and he is letting me off the hook!! How dare he! I take that ride EVERY morning. His meter was correct and he still had the audacity to say he wanted more than the meter and did not want to give me my change. The change was miniscule, the behavior wasn’t. 

I wonder sometimes is it because I am dressed in a suit, or that I look foreign, or because I work in an affluent neighborhood, that taxi drivers think they can skim off of me the change? I take at least two taxis a day. If I give each of them the “tip” they think they deserve then I am out at least two to four cab rides in a week. Just like them I work hard for my money and I don’t find it on trees. I will give them a tip when I can and if they deserve it. But for them to just take it as theirs without even saying a word is just wrong. 

Having said that, I am a champion of taxi drivers. I think they offer a great service to us all. I have had more pleasant than unpleasant experiences in cabs. And when asked what is my favorite car I usually say a taxi. I just wish they would not try to take me for the fool that I am not.  

As I walk through the streets of Amman at night
I knew it was the end of summer
The jasmine was falling off the trees
It dawned on me that the long lazy days of summer were over
There was a coldness to the air that creeps into the heart
The people no longer carefree with sun-kissed cheeks
Winter is coming
The wind asks “are you ready?”
The jasmine is falling

How Do I Feel Today?

I am hungry
I am hungry for sustenance of the mind, the body and the heart

I am exhilarated
I am exhilarated by the people that swirl around me

I am perplexed
I am perplexed by the events that have come my way

I am exhausted
I am exhausted by the emotions within

I am a rollercoaster of life and love
I am a clown with a smile painted on
I am ball of wool waiting to be unraveled

How do I feel today? I am numb. 

Yesterday I had a very interesting cab ride. I got in and gave my destination to the cab driver. I gave it in the usual fashion, which is using landmarks and a general area description. The driver quickly gave back the district name. I must say I was very impressed, but what really caught my attention was the sentence he followed his quick geographic knowledge by. He said ah I used to know this area when there wasn’t one piece of stone here. 

My curiosity was piqued. I asked him to tell me more, and tell me he did. He told me of 30 years ago. He told me of a neighborhood that was fields of wheat, of Circassions who would bring their carts, drawn by two oxen to take it to the mills in Bayader. He told me of a childhood playground that was field, horses, carts, and oxen. He spoke of a simpler time when the city was smaller; the world was less demanding and the sky bluer. He spoke of education and learning, hard work and meaning. He spoke oh too briefly. 

I saw the times he described quite clearly, but alas my journey that day was a short one. And so we parted ways, a bit too quickly if you ask me. I thought of asking him for his number, of recording this oral history of a city that is loosing its urban memory. But I think I would like to leave it to chance, to see if fate will take me once again down memory lane through the eyes of a complete stranger.  

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