Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

Another post about Ramadan — from a Christian in an interfaith family

August 13, 2012

I wrote a lengthy Post about ramadan, but I think DH accidentally deleted it. So now I have to do it all again. That’s frustrating. But, here we go and know that it will probably be twice as long as the original post.
Honestly, my thoughts and plans, rather fantasy, about celebrating Ramadan was very different than reality. I imagined that my husband and I would listen to Quranic messages together. He would get more generous and more understanding and closer to God as Ramadan progressed And I would take the messages that were most like the Biblical messages and remember to apply them. After all, we could all use some reminding of our fundamentals…. and I must admit, my prayer life could be better. Muslims pray five times a day and I probably could increase my prayer life which is always a good idea. There’s nothing saying a Christian can’t pray five times a day. I would pray my prayers when my husband prayed his prayers. At the end of Ramadan I would cook something special. We would have a meaningful holiday and pass this tradition down to our LO(Smile). We would Celebrate Ramadan in our own special way. We would have wonderful Eid traditions that we handed down to our little baby. Everything would be full of meaning and reflection and family connections. That however is not how it is happening.
I seem to be on the peripheral of Ramadan. We don’t share messages together we rarely talk about any message that is given. And I admit that I am readily willing to listen to any scholarly message in English about the Quran or Ramadan. But I want to do it together. I want to listen and discuss. My husband does not like discussing. I suppose my approach might be a bit American in nature it’s kind of like the Bible study approach. But I thought it would have some value.
There’re many reasons I am on the fringes of Ramadan but I’m going to name one here right now. I don’t go to the mosque much. So, I take my responsibility for that one. I should insist on going to the Mosque with DH, if I want a full meaningful experience. This Ramadan my husband has gone to two specific mosques. one mosque is very diverse. This is the mosque that has the aggressive headscarf policewomen. yes I felt as if they were policing my headscarf which by the way never wanted to obey my commands. However we have went one other time to this mosque and I didn’t find the women nearly as aggressive. The only time my headscarf was pulled into submission by some African women who were sitting next to me, was when a man came into the women’s quarters. — twice… but I am ok with that because I saw it as a way to protect my respectability — or something similar. . the other mosque that my husband goes to periodically especially when I don’t go, is an exclusive Desi mosque, AKA “the men’s Mosque.” Of course, women are not exactly forbidden to come but they are certainly not welcomed and there is no place for them to pray. “After all,” DH reminds me, ” it is not mandatory for women to come at all.” What disturbs me most is that my wonderful husband is okay with this logic. he does not see a problem if women want to go to the mosque, He says, ” they can go to at least seven other ones around the city…” … I think there’s more mosques springing up all of the time, now … the Exclusive Desi one was not even listed on the Google Search. . In any case, DH has no problem with the fact that it is all men. And, they have (according to DH) some awesome food. Which probably means that, women are at home, cooking for the men to go to a mosque that they are not even welcome to attend. And… … DH has no problem with this. He won’t even offer an objection, and this is America(the land of opposition and objections), not Pakistan.
obviously and unfortunately, he doesn’t see us celebrating Ramadan together. My participation is not mandatory. and it seems to make no difference to him whether I go to the Mosque or not. now of course it will make a difference with the baby so for that reason he might want me to go but not for my specific support.
So, I ask him to put the question to his mother: Would she attend “Mosque,” if one gave her a space to pray? his mother and father live in Pindi. This is not a village, but mosques still don’t openly welcome women. His mother said that she would certainly go, if there was a place for her to pray. Her daughter, R, (DH’s youngest sister) goes to the mosque in Lahore with her new husband. His mother asked if I would go with her and I gave her a definite “yes.” I understand that attending a mosque is manditory and this is seen as a gift to the women since they have household duties and/or children to care for. But, there are many women who have neither of these responsibilities. Besides, by “not” giving women a space to pray at a mosque (we haven’t even gotten to the equal space argument) aren’t we saying that women’s spirituality is less important than men’s? furthermore, I wonder if this “men’s mosque,” is so conservative about women’s participation, what else are they conservative on? and: why was it even built? Apparently, it was only built two years ago, yet there were many other mosques quite close in proximity already in full swing.
It strikes me that one of the reasons my husband says it’s not a big deal for women to attend the mosque, is because he says women tend to socialize more than they should. He says they are loud and they tend to want to socialize instead of listening to the message. But I have to point out, it wasn’t two days ago that he was saying to me how wonderful it was that he was making some contacts at the mosque. Hello, socialization. It’s just done in a different way. I also pointed out that if they have a imam right in front of them or have the speaker right in front of them, they probably would be more likely to be more quiet.
And there’s a considerable amount of women who are frustrated with those loud social women and who does want to hear the message. I know because when I was at the mosque there were quite a few African women and American women who voiced their stern opposition to those loud talkers.
I talk about “sex discrimination,” which I am sorry to say doesn’t even seem to touch DH. The men are quite friendly, the prayers and messages are dynamic and the food is awesome!
Anyway, we did go to the diverse mosque, once. And actually it was a nice gathering. Now of course I couldn’t follow those prayers. No I don’t speak Arabic but it wasn’t just that. Every time I thought the prayer was over because there was a little interlude where people began to discuss and talk then , it would start back again. I didn’t know whether the prayer had ended or just … … took a little break — for some unknown reason. And yes my obstinant headscarf never tends to stay in place. I wonder if there is an elastic version of this headscarf that just encompasses the entire head like a showercap. Ok, that doesn’t sound very attractive, but it would get the job done. Maybe that would be better for me. It doesn’t help that my little guy loves to yank the headscarves off of myself and any other woman in close proximity. Yes, that is exactly what we got when we went to the mosque. He decided that he would be a bit more social than usual and yank women’s headscarves off their heads. This did not amuse the African woman sitting next to me. I think it was the fact that she was dressed in a very colorful outfit and headscarf and he was fascinated by it. Yet they weren’t amused. They were however enamored by my baby because he was so good we ended up staying until 1230 at night. Know that it certainly did mess up my sleeping schedule for the next two days. But my baby was not cranky at all. He wanted to get down and blow bubbles and crawl around on the floor which by the way I restricted his movement because I didn’t want him wondering off without me. Also we know that he has a fascination with people’s iPhones and there were a few women who plugged in their iPhones to be charged while they were praying. I was somehow surprised that women brought their iPhone chargers and plugged in their iPhones while they were playing. OK, I admit that I was a little bit India’s that I hadn’t thought of it myself. I thought somehow it would have been a bit disrespectful to do so. I don’t know why. I just did.
My little guy was very social. Much more social than I thought he would be. He seemed to be quite comfortable there. I think one of the reasons is because everybody was sitting on the floor. He likes people sitting on the floor. and, most women didn’t try to get him to come to them. they just waited until he was comfortable. he likes people sitting on the floor because They are his height and somehow they seem more personable down there. If they’re standing or sitting in a chair they just don’t seem to be as inviting for him.
I think the women like me more if I have a baby. Strangely enough it was unlike our Pakistani picnic experience. I didn’t really know what to expect when I went to the mosque. One woman actually remembered me and sat down and talk to me all night.
Now here is one of my dilemmas. I was called sister. I have no problem with this. I am, after all, a person of the book, Which means that I believe in the Bible so I am actually a believer in one of the three Abrahamic faiths. So maybe sister is not out of the realm of possibilities for me. However I don’t want them to think that I am Muslim and feel betrayed when they find out I am not. I don’t want to act as if I’m something I’m not. But I don’t want to brandish the big C on my chest and every time someone says something I retort ” did you know I’m a Christian?” I don’t want to make a big deal about it. But there isn’t anything that distinguishes me as a Christian from them as Muslims. I wear my headscarf. I don’t fast because I’m nursing. I sit in a chair instead of getting down on the floor to pray but that could be for a number of reasons. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. I just don’t want the women to think that I have somehow fooled them. That would be counterproductive to what I’m trying to do which is to Forge good relationships between them and myself.
Another thing I did like about Our Mosque experience was the five minute English message that talked about being gentle and kind with your children especially since school is starting and while we certainly want our children to succeed, we also don’t want to make it so difficult that they feel the stress. I thought it was a very good message. And I found out that they’re having a celebration for the children. No my baby will not be able to enjoy the celebration yet. But I think my husband is getting excited just thinking about the time when he will be able to. And I’m glad they’re doing a celebration for eat. And of course we realize that many children won’t get to celebrate Christmas and Easter and that our baby is special in that he will celebrate all the holidays. The be plenty of time to spoil him with gifts and other things. Not that I necessarily want to spoil him but you know what happens. I also remind myself that there are probably a number of children who do celebrate at least Christmas because many families are interfaith now. many times there is a brother or a sister or a cousin or a mother and father who are still Christian after the Muslim converts. Therefore it is likely that they could celebrate Christmas. Maybe. And any case I wanted to give money for the eve celebration. And my husband reflected on how he could be more patient with our baby.
We were invited over to a doctor’s house after E was over to enjoy their hospitality. They also have a son who is about fifteen days older than our baby. Of course I’m certain that there is going to be comparisons made… Etc. But it will be nice to meet another couple. With a baby at the same age. And his wife is from the US, as well. I don’t know if she’s Muslim or not. But I do know she’s from the US.
any case, one thing I have learned this Ramadan, is that if I wanted to be special I have to make it so. My husband is not inclined to make Ramadan a family affair. It just was never done. His mother was just fine with not going to the mosque and hearing the messages. It just was not an option for his mother, so her role was to cook. If I want Ramadan to mean more than just cooking, I need to seek out those meanings for myself. I’m also fully aware that there will come a time, when my baby will not be experiencing Ramadan in the way that I am experiencing Ramadan. He will be with the men and I will be again on my own to experience Ramadan by myself. But hopefully by then I will have lots of women friends.
To top it off, I invited my daughter to the eve celebration. Now I invited her because there’re many Christians to go to eat celebrations. We have an interchurch and interfaith organizations to go to eat celebrations. Not only do they learn about Islam or Ramadan, but, many christians celebrate with Muslim friends. So I didn’t think it was out of the question to invite my daughter, after all her little brother will be experiencing his first eat. However she forcefully declined. She was almost apald that I would invite her to a mosque. Now I understand the fundamentalist Christians who feel very adamant about not stepping foot in the mosque. But this woman in her Christianity will go to a gay karaoke bar, tattoo parlor and redneck tailgating concerts; but, she has a problem with a Muslim place of worship??? So, she is totally comfortable with obssessive drinking, dressing in drag, all types of drama on the stage; but she is not comfortable with a different form of prayer?
Anyway, I am very much disappointed by her close mindedness.
This year it is me and my baby. We will make Ramadan and eid the best we can. And, I’ll have to start early to try to make the next Eid even better for LO.

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The raw truth: to stay or not to stay

October 10, 2011

acronyms, offenses, Identity, culture and language

September 15, 2011

Am i being a bit too sensitive: or is this really offensive?
Learning the slang and acronyms of someone’s culture is just a part of understanding their world. It was probably about two years ago that I learned the term: “A B C D.” sure, it is cute and catchy… … but, is anyone else struck with the “not-so-subtle” message?
I think that it goes back to the assumption that people who are either of two worlds or are of mixed heritage, must, invariably, be mixed up/ confused / and fit in “no where” in society. This is also a common misconception when talking about those in families of multiple faiths. To make society feel more comfortable, culture asks them to choose one “culture” or “identity” because “biracial” or “intercultural” is just not understood as a valid option. How long did it actually take us to get “multiracial” on the census form????
the Days and stereotypes of Dorothy Dandridge are/should be gone. I agree that identity development is an intricate and ongoing process. And, culture certainly does play a part in that development. However, traversing the many “worlds” of society (if you will) is not just a skill that people of two or more cultures or races must learn. It is present whenever someone steps out of their prescribed “box” of familial background. And, “who” was the person who deemed this “understanding” and “traversion” a negative thing? Who automatically assumes that the bicultured or biracial person won’t be accepted in either culture: just because they are not 100% of that culture? Isn’t this a self fulfilling prophesy and a vitious circle? Furthermore, who deemed the “c” in “A B C D” to stand for “confused?” Is this a case of someone not having a very extensive vocabulary and not knowing how to use the dictionary to find a more affirming word? Or, has this come from the notion that I have discussed above? Additionally, why are so many people accepting this term and using it for themselves? I don’t agree with the concept of taking a word with negative connotations and using it for one’s self in a positive manner. JMHO, the infamous “N Word” is offensive no matter who uses it. i have never referred to myself as a “B**ch.” We could delve deep into the connections between language and identity. We could talk about the paralells of Americans born or assemilating to other cultures and why there are less stereotypes about their emotional well being. . We could discuss how our identity changes with each stage of our lives and how that might effect us. However, all i wanted to point out is that …. maybe passively accepting and/or using such a label (no matter how trendy and catchy it is) might have negative consequences and should be critically examined before doing so. And, it is disheartening that many people are readily willing to accept such non-affirming language to describe themselves.

pregnancy, disability and culture

September 15, 2011

Before you read this next post, know that all is fine with baby. My Ultrasounds have went well and things seem to be going smoothly.
However, this does bring up a subject that I have written many draft posts about and have to consolidate them into one thought provoking post. As if I just can’t get off of these three topics: it is about pregnancy, babies and disability.
During this pregnancy, we have been confronted several times with the possibility of having a disabled child. First, let me say that my blindness is not hereditary (although who would know unless they asked) and DH’s blindness comes from a recessive gene that both parents must carry. [Which means that his two sighted parents both carried the gene that caused their blindness: but I am not blaming, just making a point]. But, everyone wondered what we would do if the child was blind. Or, worse: what if the child had Downs Syndrome?
[Sidenote: t the BBC presented a documentary called “the education of….” (sorry can’t remember his name) which is about a man who has Downs Syndrom and who is going to college. i have conflicting views on this, but it is an interesting documentary, if you are so inclined].
Anyway, After all, I am an older parent and the likelyhood of a child with a disability increases with the parent’s age (specifically the mother’s).
DH and I talked about it several times. Neither of us even considered abortion. What I did not ask him was: “Would you have considered abortion if I was younger and the possibility of me having non-disabled children was likely?” I didn’t think of it then, but it is kind a “what if,” question and he really couldn’t answer it because it would never happen. Already he does not like playing the “What if,” game, especially when there is no way that it will happen. He said that if the child was disabled, he would definitely want to raise it here in the USA.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would certainly go through the stages that every parent must go through when they are faced with a child that has more challenges than most. I would probably deny, grieve, accept and finally advocate. I don’t know how long i would be in each stage and know that it is certainly an individual experience.
But, When I talked about having the child and then meeting the family for SIL’s wedding, DH felt quite uncomfortable. Although he would want to show off a non-disabled child, he would have a problem feeling the same type of pride toward his disabled child. (my thoughts) He says that it is not a pride issue. He just would not want to deal with everyone’s comments and pity. He also says that other children are not very nice to disabled children. So, I guess you have lots of people who are either afraid of disabilities and/or say stupid things. And, you have unrelenting children whose parents don’t teach them how to behave. Yet, this does not match with the stories about his and his sister’s childhood.
Hearing stories from DH, I find out that he was quite the mischief maker. When they were little, DH and his sister, who is also blind, loved telephones and radios. OK, it was probably more of DH than his sister’s love; but his sister was dragged in by association. DH would not hesitate to scope out a neighbor’s or relative’s house looking for a telephone to call his friends. “permission” and “telephone charges” were not words in his vocabulary. He talks about exploring everyone’s rooftops and jumping/swinging from one house to the next. Before (and even after) he knew about blind cricket, he and his cousins would modify the game so that he could also play. He was fascinated with the light and bright colors surrounding fireworks and on several occasions despite his mother’s protests, burned holes in his clothes because he was not careful while playing with them. Often, he would go out with his cousins or neighborhood friends to the market and with his father to the Mosque. DH felt that many times, his father was more strict on him than on his younger brother. As a result, Dh feels that he is much more disciplined and mature than his brother. His sister, the one who is blind, is the first born. There are family legends about how proud his father was to have a baby girl: so much so that he carried her “everywhere he went.” Their father was not satisfied with the Government run blind schools and continued to search for better educational opportunities for his blind children. And, of course, the two children that received the opportunity to study in America happened to be the two blind children. Yes, there are discrepancies in how his father treats his sighted children, verses how he treats his blind children. Yes, they, his parents, were worried that we would surely pass “blindness” to our child and wondered how we might tackle the challenges of parenthood. And, yes, I agree that society is not very welcoming. But, all in all, his family seemed to rise to the challenge of having blind children. His family did not hide them away in a room or an institution. Yes, there was the many “faqirs,” “healers,” that people would suggest to Abu so that they could heal DH and his sister. yes, blind beggars are not uncommon in Pakistan. I think that there were some family members who blamed the mother for their blindness. (don’t quote me on that one, I am not sure). And, certainly, there is an overwhelming focus on the medicalization of the disability instead of more of an acceptance/independence approach. But, honestly, I see it here, in America, also.
Interesting fact: when I was a child, I was stopped many times on the street and without warning, people (Pastors or preachers or all types of religious folk) would place their hands on my head and/or face and begin to pray for me. They were sure that God would heal me, right then! When a healing was not forthcoming, they either took one of two approaches. 1. Encouraged me to continue to pray for my sight because it would happen in God’s time. Or 2. Chastised myself or a member of my family for having little faith. (what a way to bring souls to God)! Interestingly enough, DH reports that there are times when people have stopped him on the street and asked “HIM” to pray for “THEM” because prayers from a blind person are suppose to be more effective. And Lest we think that America is superior in the disability department, a friend of mine reports that a pastor of a church that she (still miraculously) attends has told her on more than one occasion that she will not regain her sight until she stops sinning and becomes serious about her faith.
Alright, honestly, I admit that many (especially those in smaller villages) Pakistani parents are probably ashamed of their disabled children. Many don’t know about Braille and/or how to teach their blind children. There are not as many services for blind (or other disabled) individuals. There are not that many employment opportunities for blind or disabled people. Remember, Dh still wants to start that Braille library: so obviously, Braille material is not as easy to obtain. Yet, hope still abounds. And, it seems that the challenges center around the lack of information more than anything else. And, honestly, maybe DH wold just have to go through those stages listed above and “right after birth” is just too soon for him to be in the “acceptance” stage. But, we will not really know unless it actually happens.
But, i still ask:
1. Would you/ Did you get any genetic tests to identify an unborn child’s disability? If so, would you have terminated the pregnancy? Do you and your DH have different views on the subject?
2. What are your family’s views about people with disabilities? Is there a hierarchy between physical and mental? Do they differ from your DH’s family’s views?
3. Would you be hesitant to bring your disabled child to your DH’s country?
4. Has your or your DH’s views on disability changed over time? How?

Eid mubarak! — and other thoughts about the mosque — all rolled up into one.

August 30, 2011

There are many complex variables to worship. Of course, worship should be a time when you do, say or sing to get closer to God/Allah. But, there is a communal part to worship and somehow, (and I think that most people have this expectation or hope) you also want to develop relationships with those who share your spiritual beliefs and are worshipping along side of you. I’ll admit, I was never one for “collective prayer,” it seemed so conscribed. Yet, I do understand the sense of communal oneness in such an act.
I wonder, did I fool myself or is it a myth somewhere: the thought that Muslims are, somehow, quite close knit in their communities and relationships – almost as close as those Amish. (smile) We have attended two different mosques on a regular basis. I wish that I could tell you that I was openly greeted and embraced. I can’t. Now, I need to admit here that I always feel a bit timid and shy and vulnerable when going to the mosque. Sure, you wonderfully assertive people will tell me to get over it and stop being so emotional. Quit whining, you will say. Bla bla bla: it has went through my mind several times. But, it is really a combination of a few things which makes me feel vulnerable.
1. It is still taking me some time to get use to this male/female segregation worship. It is not that I don’t enjoy the company of women. I am “sisterhood,” all the way! It is that I feel that my guide is leaving me at a crucial moment. In churches, I can take his hand, lean over and whisper something in his ear, ask “Tum Theek ho” to gage his comfort level. All this is missing at the mosque. When we have Muslim taxi drivers, they drop me off at the “women’s entrance,” and DH at the Men’s entrance. So, I have to enter alone.
2. All mosques are a bit different and it is hard as a blind person to understand what is expected of me. Where do my shoes actually go? (If I have not taken them off yet, it is not because I am unaware of the rule, it is just that I am not sure where the shoes are being put); I think that the headscarf knows that I am not Muslim, thus, resists my efforts to keep it on; how conservative is the dress of other women in this mosque; during Ramadan, some people are strict about only eating dates and drinking water between the call to prayer and the actual prayer and some include fruit and snacks; someone has to help me with the food because I don’t know “what” is there or “where” it is (consequently, someone always has to serve me which makes me feel a bit uncomfortable);
3. I am not Muslim. I don’t want the sisters to think that I am “playing Muslim” when I am not. Yet, I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and/or disrespect anyone in the process. There are some discussions – some acts – that I am precluded from because of my religious affiliation. Yet, I am never quite sure where the line is. And, I wonder, does my Non-muslim-ness make it more difficult for sisters to bond with me? This is not an ethnographic study and I am not an observationist – or at least, I don’t want to be or to be seen that way. There is a certain objectivity that an observationist gives to the experience and I would rather be more participatory than that. Yet, obviously, there is a line to my participation.
4. I have a guide dog. I don’t take him to the mosque, but if the same friends take us places or want to expand our relationship, they have to be comfortable with the dog — — which many are not. Actually, we rarely get that far. But, I know that many are not comfortable with my dog and this causes all of us some discomfort. There is a limit to how much I can leave him at home and honestly, if I leave him at home too much, it kind of defeats the purpose of having one. However, when we have to depend on rides, I have to put their comfort first.
My hope was that we could knit together a community of brothers and sisters (both from the church and the mosque), as well as some work colleagues — maybe — to be like close family. What church, you ask. And, I must agree, because I have not made much headway there, either. While I admit that the mosque is a bit more accepting than most churches that I have attended, there still feels like a disconnect. Sure, men at the mosque are more willing (than men at a church) to drive us to and from the mosque. They do seem to be “more helpful.” But, I was not just looking for “help” I was looking for a community to belong to – a community of interaction and the sharing of ideas and ultimately ourselves.
[side note: I think that is also what my daughter is looking for and one of the reasons (certainly not the only one, because he seems to be a much better guy than the others), that she wants to marry her ex-morman boyfriend who has tons of sibs and cousins]. The “Ex” is on the “mormon” part, not on the “boyfriend” part.
Anyway, at first, We began attending a very small mosque. The Imam would drive us to and from the mosque. Sometimes, I would talk to his wife. I thought that we wre developing a relationship with the couple. The man went off to study Arabic for three months in DC. I called the wife a couple of times to see if she needed anything. I got no response. The imam did not even call us when he returned. We had expressed excitement about his trip and were generally interested in his progress & experiences. Since we were one of the main families who would worship (and I use that term loosely in my case) at the mosque where he gave lectures, I kind of expected a closer relationship with the members. The second mosque is quite a bit larger. The one thing that I do like about this mosque is that there are lots of different nationalities present. We know men from Somalia, Gambia, Senegal, Lebanon, Pakistan, India and some American born&raised Muslims. The men of the mosque are willing to pick up DH and I and return us to our homes. Our Gambian friend has a Christian wife, but she never comes to the Mosque. There is one bright spot. One Auntie, Shaaesta, does sit and talk with me. I realize that she could very well sit and pray/talk with the other Aunties. But, this pashton woman will sit and talk with me every time I see her at the Mosque. Sure, sometimes, she can be opinionated and she usually worries that I will fall down and/or trip over something on the floor. I wonder how much more intense this preoccupation with my falling will become when I have the baby and need to carry him around. ? Yet, she is kind and when we sit and talk, she really listens to what I have to say. I have not seen her outside the Mosque, however. It is a promising start. And, I must understand that *one* person can make a difference.
Now, DH is celebrating Eid with our Gambian friend and his Christian wife. That is where he was invited. And, I am stuck here at work. Dh has many more personal days than I do. When he works over, he gets comp time and he has been working at the company longer. Besides, whenever we have doctor appointments, I have to take off 30mins before my work day ends. He does not because his work starts 30mins before mine does and ends 30mins before mine does. So, He had the time to take off and still get paid. I don’t. and, frankly, I am a bit emotional about not getting to celebrate Eid with him. So, I’ll stop here with the future hope that next year, we all will celebrate Eid together.

updating: OUR secret expansion! “mayray oomeed bachchi laRki hai !

May 26, 2011

I know that it has been about two to three months since I have written *anything. There is a reason for this and it is not because I have been too busy to write. Although, I have been quite tired lately!
Both, myself and my family is expanding and – yes, exactly in the way one might predict considering a marriage has not taken place too long ago. Now, I know that, we probably should have waited. But, the truth is that the longer I wait, the more likely either myself or the baby would have some type of complication. So, Yes, within the first year of marriage: He moved to a new city, We both found jobs and I have become pregnant.
WOOH. That is a lot and we still aren’t factoring in the first-year-married types of adjustments.
And, I still have to admit that it is amazing how a community of bloggers can unknowingly blog about something that is quite pertinent to another blogger. I am talking about the Gori Wife’s post concerning pregnancy and Pakistanis.
Check it out:

I just could not understand DH’s reluctance to talk about such issues. I talk about it all the time. Yes, I have been pregnant before, but there have been many changes in the world of babies and pregnancy in … … over 18 years. And, DH knows “NOTHING” about babies and pregnancy so I thought that he might be curious to know every little detail. I was wrong. OK, so I get the point that “pregnancy” confirms that indeed the couple have been engaging in … … “coupling.” But, Pakistanis have no problem celebrating marriages and … … if pregnancy confirms that you “have” been having relations, then a marriage is saying: WOOHOO, “I will be soon!!!” Both of our cultures certainly do spend lots of time thinking about sex, just in different ways. For example: when someone tells me that they are pregnant, the last thing I think of is their bedroom habits. That is just a given – in most circumstances – now, let’s move on to the real exciting stuff – the pregnancy! So, while I admit that we, Americans, seem to use sex to sell anything and seem to be quite sexually liberal; Pakistanis seem to be so afraid of eluding to it that they make the subject a sweet taboo. Some societies seem to be so bent on eradicating such topics from public discourse that they are actually thinking about it at least as much as the sexually liberal societies and seem to find it in places where we don’t even think to look. I think that Azadeh Moaveni’s first book and even “Sensoring an Iranian LoveStory,” a novel by Sharier Mandanipur does an adequate job at highlighting some of these issues. … sorry for the soapbox.
I think since I was so offended that Dh did not want to know a single thing about his own child, he has relented a bit and does find the conversation mildly interesting – as long as I get to the point and don’t drag it out. I am not saying that he ignores my pregnancy entirely. He doesn’t want me lifting and worries about my nausea and stress and he is concerned about my food intake. He will ask: “So how big is the baby now?” “Can you feel it inside you?” “How much of the brain is developed?” “when will it start kicking?” “I wish that I could feel/hear it moving around.” “I think you are getting bigger already!” (I can still fit quite nicely into my clothes: it must be his imagination – thank you very much). But, he almost left the house (never to return) when I mentioned videoing the birth. OK, granted, it seems that we argue at least once a day – (where is that concern about my stress?). But, I just went too far with that video suggestion! I tried to explain that my private parts would not be shown. He says, “who wants to see a bloody baby? Why would you want to video tape you being in so much pain?” …. … Still, it is definitely beyond his comprehension and comfort level. We will have to stick to photos and maybe an audio recording of the baby’s first cry. – Aren’t I compromising???? (SMILE)
In any case, he has agreed to be in the birthing room with me, as well as a friend/doula and my daughter … … oh, and a midwife, of course.
DH did tell one of his friends in Pakistan and the friend said absolutely “NOTHING.” I was amazed that he didn’t even say a profunctory “Congratulations,” after all, this was suppose to be a very close friend and even American acquaintances say: “Congratulations,” or something similar. Then, there was that one time when DH told a coworker that we both knew. They were both running/walking the mini marathon and she had a horribly painful cramp. His excuse: “that is all I could think of to get her mind off the pain!” He even said it worked for about five minutes. (smile) But, this damages his firm stance and logic behind such a stance.
His stance — ? First, DH says that he doesn’t think that I should broadcast it because others would be jealous. I don’t think that he was as upset at his sister when she told her work colleagues. But, I’ll let that one go, even if I shouldn’t. “GRRRR!”
I have one friend who just lost a baby. We were quite close growing up and although my marriage caused some rifts between us, we have since mended our relationship and are working on remaining close while respecting our differences. Her and her husband have four and she wanted another. DH thought that I should not tell her. But, I tried to explain that true friends aren’t “jealous of each other.” We never were like that. I am just not the jealous kind when it comes to what others have that I don’t and she has been the same way. In fact, twice she has brought over things that I might need to curb the nausea and calls all of the time to get a baby update. She has wanted a baby for so long: her youngest is nine-yo, that she is a baby encyclopedia! But, Dh was worried that she would be jealous and send bad thoughts our way. I say that Bad thoughts can’t hurt us or the baby. He worries lots about what people will think and making them feel bad and what consequences their bad feelings might have for us. I say, We are not responsible for other people’s feelings. And, if they were true friends, they would be happy for us. But, this logic sometimes falls on deaf ears.I don’t know what he is thinking. I will admit that several times during the last 2-3 months, I have seriously wished that I had the authority to prescribe psychotropic meds for his paranoia. (smile) But, I need to admit, he probably has had the same desire since I seem to be quite grumpy!
There are so many things that I could blog about: new baby carriers and how to see which is right for me, my food preferences and intake, Pakistani baby traditions, new and necessary baby stuff (like a nursing blanket that goes around your neck for optimum discretion), tips on baby learning language when I only have an elementary grasp, how it seems that DH’s hormones fluxuate as much as mine do, family issues (both mine and his), finding lories/lullabies from Pakistan and other places to play/sing for the baby, new developments like water births and progesterone shots, postponed trip to Pakistan and when would be the best time to go with a baby, baby names and cord banks. There are also other blog posts that I have written, but have not submitted because, somehow, in each one of them I find a way to work in some part of the pregnancy and DH did not want me to tell many people until … … at least after twelve weeks.
… … Not that he looks at this blog, but just in case.
We have a Dr. APT tomorrow. He, his sister (who will be visiting) my daughter and I will go. Hopefully, we will hear the heartbeat!!! And, it is actually “officially” at the 12week mark. So, there you go. This is an update!

Hear the Call of III (International Interfaith Initiative)

January 25, 2011

For the last year, I had tried to find interfaith resources and people in interfaith marriages. I found a wonderful group of Muslim/Christian couples. The problem is that their meetings are in Southall, London. Obviously, that is not going to work. I have written on interfaith issues in previous posts and if I was more technically savvy like most of you, I would point you to their links. SORRY! I just don’t know how! And, dh is not interested. (smile)
I even thought about starting a “meetup group” or something similar for
‘intercultural’ couples. This came from a desire for both of us to feel strong in our faith. I wanted a place where we could unabashedly explore and express our faith with others who held similar desires, yet were open to their partner’s faith. But, I had to “find” the couples, first.
There were a few problems with finding interfaith couples that live in Indianapolis or the surrounding areas.
I could not find any interfaith couples at all. Now, I found the Dovetail magazine which talked about interfaith families. But, there was no ‘interfaith family’ in Indiana that I could talk with. And, even if there were: it is most likely one might be catholic or agnostic or atheist. In this case, they don’t have the same challenges as a Muslim and a Christian might have. I have also discovered that
1. just because one is a part of a minority faith, does not necessarily mean that they will accept others from less prominent faiths. Now, I say this, but I know that there are more than six million Muslims (maybe 8 million, my reporting might be off; but at least, six), in the USA. [So, i guess “minority faith status” might be kind of relative], Yet, as I have reported, imran and I have not made lasting connections with either the people at a mosque or at a church. Is some of this disconnectedness due to our status as an “interfaith family?” I don’t have enough experiences with mosque going individuals to make a definitive guess, but I do know that in the case of church going people, the word “interfaith,” is rarely spoken and definitely somehow not applied to Christian/Muslim couples.
2. this is the Midwest, people don’t really like to talk about their faith, unless they are certain that they will be supported. Interfaith is kind of a taboo subject.
3. did I mention that we have trouble with transportation? so searching the state is just not an option for us.
4. ‘faith’ is so subjective. What might be important to me in my faith, might not be as important to you in yours.
5. We are talking about “Muslim” here. At best, his religion is ignored and at worst, it is criticized.
So, here we sit!
And, when Rev Michael and Barb Slater from editors of the “Together magazine and who are CoChairs of the National Association of InterChurch and Interfaith Families
http://www.NAIIFOnline.org
Posted a desire for a Muslim/Christian couple to join the board, I was thrilled.
Now, of course, DH and I are newly married, so I did not suggest us, specifically. But, the thought of another couple bringing their wisdom to bear on such a sensitive subject and the fact that they actually were open to such a Christian/Muslim couple frankly, thrills me to no end. Before now, they had focused more on varying cultures and traditions within more similar faiths. Some will argue that Christianity and Islam are similar, but let’s not get into that debate.
And, to my Hindu, Buddhist and other faith friends (I can’t spell sorry), I realize that, as of yet, Hinduism and other such faiths are not included. I am not sure of the reason, but as of now, the farthest I have seen “interfaith initiatives” go is to Judiism.
So, here’s my Q:
Is there any interfaith couple “Specifically Muslim/Christian,” who would be willing to serve on their board? I have just received information about membership and specifically board membership. We (due to our zealousness concerning interfaith issues and probably because they don’t know any other Muslim/christian couple [passionate or not]), have been extended an invitation to be a board couple. It sounds quite intriguing (to me) and not too burdensome (to DH). yet, I still wonder if “we” are “qualified” to do so.
Whether it be “US” or “SOMEONE ELSE,” , this is an opportunity for the Christian/Muslim couple to be heard. Hey, why not throw a bit of culture (Pakistani) and disability (Blindness) into the mix. I am all for diversity. And it would be a great learning experience and opportunity for us! But, honestly, I admit that another couple might be more qualified for the position and might do a better job at being an effective mouthpiece to show the positive side of an interfaith(Christian/Muslim) marriage, present an objective viewpoint concerning the struggles that an interfaith family faces and give suggestions and tips for those contemplating such an endeavor. They also might be able to dispell the myth of the spiritually stunted confused child; similar to the stereotypes you hear about when people talk about bicultural or multicultural or biracial children. The myth lives on despite the many who can prove its obsurdity!
… …. …
And, just as I was about to post this, DH sends me an email detailing plans from the International Interfaith Initiative to host some seminars at our Indiana Interchurch Center.
What????
We have an Indiana Interchurch Center?
There are five upcoming events in Februrary, alone. Hmmm, maybe February is “interfaith month,” which also happens to be the month in which DH has a birthday. (smile) He received this information from a Muslim email list that he belongs to. It seems that the members of the Muslim Email listserv are a bit more open to interfaith initiatives than their Christian counterparts. Now, I am under no illusions. “interfaith,” does not always mean “interfaith families.” And, I remember how much “interfaith dialog,” and “interfaith celebrating,” went on at the last “interfaith event” that was held close to the Thanksgiving holiday. But, it is a start!

The ultimate sacrifice

January 10, 2011

In most relationships, sacrifice is inevitable.
To be successful at your job, , (beyond the normal employment duties) one might have to sacrifice their values, their beliefs, their integrity, or their location. To be a good mother, one must sacrifice their time, their energy and finances.
Sometimes we don’t want to sacrifice. Or, We want to dole out our sacrificed commodity. And, “what” is really considered a sacrifice? often, The thought of sacrificing is much more appealing than the reality of such an action. After all, we do tend to romanticize the situations that surround “sacrifice.” Usually when we imagine such sacrifices; the results are often favorable. Therefore, there is a silver lining to the sacrifice which makes the sacrifice worth the effort. And, there is a notion that there is a direct link between the size of the sacrifice and the desired accomplishment. “The only question to ask yourself is, how much are you willing to sacrifice to achieve this success?” —
Larry Flynt. “Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough, You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it,” — James M. Barrie And, romantically speaking, even when the sacrifice does not yield the desired results, the one who has sacrificed is deemed a martyr for —- Love … or freedom … or truth … or something. In this way, the efforts that have made up the whole of the sacrifice have been, in some way, redeeming.

In opposition to these romantic notions, counseling books everywhere (typically those that either have a very feminist bent or those exemplifying “reality therapy”) have dispelled the notion that a sacrifice is neither admirable or noble. Usually, these books talk about the sacrifices that women make and not the ones that men make. In fact, most literature says that “women sacrifice too much” and “men sacrifice too little,” – at least as far as relationships are concerned. “Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice! That’s the condition of the female. Women have been conditioned to sacrifice for centuries,”
Betty Dodson. Much of this literature debunks any honorable attitudes surrounding the act of sacrifice. After all, they claim, women have been sacrificing for men way too many times and, let’s face it, the men are neiter reciprocating the action nor are they greatful for such sacrifices (the customary words seem to fall short of conveying real feeling). There is also a notion that has cropped up in the last twenty or so years that we should get something for our sacrifice. And, women are told not to sacrifice too much for their children for these same reasons. There is an added reason for the children, however, it is simply because we want to set a good example. We want to show our daughters that they don’t have to sacrifice and should not do so for a man (especially) or their children. I Too, have fallen into the trap of warning my family members about “the act of sacrifice.” I am always telling my daughter that she should not sacrifice her interests – those things that she enjoys doing (Music, volleyball, basketball, exercising, and baking), for her relationship. This would make her less of “Dominika” and more of “Someone’s Girlfriend.” and, I do believe that I am right to caution her. It does seem that people go to extremes: either giving an unhealthy sacrifice or not sacrificing at all. Of course, there has to be a balance, but many times, I wonder if we are teaching selfishness and fostering an unhealthy attitude of entitlement in relationships.

Yet, when it comes to a job, people are encouraged to “be adventurous” “embrace the unknown.” Sacrificing for a job is (in most cases) seen as a good move. To Americans, sacrificing for money is appropriate, but sacrificing for family is not. I wonder if it is because money is valued much more than a husband or family. After all, marriage is not valued as it once was. People seem to give up too easily. Or, at the least, the partnership seems to be unbalanced. And, since your children will always be your children; regardless of how much or how little you sacrifice, most people see no point in doing so.
[climbing down from soap box to return to original topic]. {hmm, if I could only insert an image of a person falling from a very high ledge—smile}.

I have noticed that sometimes Desi men and women have to sacrifice their family bonds for their relationship. Sometimes, women give up their high paying promising careers (ones that they might have taken years to build) to stay home with the children. Do we ever look at the naked reality of Sacrifice? When we unearth sacrifice, do we ever actually consider the possibility that we might encounter a raw wound that might grow into a festering sore, if we are not diligent about its care?

I think of my friend, Susie.
http://www.susieofarabia@blogspot.com
[I read many interesting blogs and she is up for an award] she has moved to Saudi Arabia with her husband. Even when her son went back to the states to go to High School, (although she visits him I think about once a year) she has made her home in KSA. her husband does encourage her to go and visit her son and even stay as much as possible until he exits high school. But, when deciding to embark on such a trip, She probably received the same sort of advice that I give to my own daughter.
I know that there are lots of American women who have married men of foreign origin and have had to move to a land where they did not speak the language and found culture and customs unlike their own. I am not trivializing your experiences. I chose Susie because there were many factors that could have inhibited her sacrifice. Susie was not young when she moved. Sure, she was adventurous. But, she was not young. I imagine that she had laid down relationship and comfortable roots somewhere. I know that she had an older daughter that she left behind. This comes at a time in her life when she (or most women even close to her age – myself included) would value security and familiarity; over adventure, new beginnings and discovering new lands with new possibilities.
It is not just the friend and familial connections; although, this is no small sacrifice because she has gone to a place where it is very difficult to forge new connections due to linguistic and cultural barriers beyond her control. She has sacrificed some of her freedom. She has sacrificed her routines, her comfort food, [should we start a comfort food campaign for you Susie??], her interests, her comfort zone and her profession. I don’t know if she feels that her self confidence has been compromised. I don’t know how it would feel to only rely on your husband for those comforts that are typically given by a multitude of family and friends. And, I don’t know if her husband is willing or able to attempt to be her emotional and social lifeline. In short, there are many questions that could be asked of Susie. Did she weigh all of the positives and negatives before deciding to make the sacrifice? Or did she instinctively make the sacrifice out of duty or affection? How much of herself has she sacrificed for her marriage? what is the outcome from that sacrifice? And, Is the beneficiary of such a sacrifice appreciative or even fully aware of the scope of such a sacrifice? I have not asked her if she regrets her sacrifice or if she resents her husband? I have only wondered how many times she must “wander,” down the lane of “what if.” (with some shame, I must admit that) I probably would make that familiar trek all too often. [mental note: I am embarrassed to admit that I am so rigidly connected to *what* I want and not able to be flexible enough to trust in the fact that, if I allow it too, my sacrifice can yield great and unexpected joys].
Rather than delving into Susie’s particular situation, we can use Susie’s circumstances as a springboard to analyze our own questions about sacrifice and how it relates to our lives and relationships. When thinking about our own sacrifices, Here are some questions that we might want to ask ourselves. [Hey, feel free to add to the list].

1. Is there a difference between a gift and a sacrifice? and What have/ are you willing to sacrifice for your marriage or relationship? (money, time, health, energy, friends, freedom, family, interests, career, intellect, pride, ego, faith, …)? And, how much of these things are you willing to sacrifice?

2. What are you *not* willing to sacrifice and why? What fears are behind your unwillingness? Are they founded or unfounded? Do you only feel comfortable sacrificing when you can control the outcome? Has your spouse or family needed/wanted you to sacrifice something that you are unwilling to give up? Was it an appropriate or inappropriate request? Why?

3. What are the obvious and unintended consequences of sacrificing such things? Or, should we even analyze the negative aspect of our sacrificing? By making such an analysis, does it somehow ruin the heart behind the sacrifice?

4. Do you expect to get something for your sacrifice, if so, what? Even in relationships, we sometimes hope that our sacrifice might yield peace, happiness, gratitude, a more loving spouse, etc. Should we have this expectation?

5. When is a sacrifice unhealthy or “not ok?” And, can you make that decision for others?

6. Should you only make a sacrifice if you can do it willingly and/or if you believe that you will arbor no resentment regardless of the outcome? And, should you make the sacrifice only if you can do it cheerfully? “The sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice. Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy: The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life because they had become painful to him,” — Mahatma Gandhi. “Love is not a feeling of happiness. Love is a willingness to sacrifice,” —
Michael Novak

7. Can a sacrifice be conditional? Should a sacrifice be doled out and contracted like a business agreement? And, if so, What types of conditions would you impose … … and what happens if the condition has been breached. Sometimes the breach can leave the sacrifice feeling hollow. What happens then? Do you make a new agreement concerning the sacrifice? Does it make it a sacrifice if there are conditions attached?

8. Should you always talk about the sacrifice with the one you are sacrificing for so they understand the breadth and depth of your choice? In effect, should the one you are sacrificing for always be aware of and know the gravity of the sacrifice?

9. Is a sacrifice really a sacrifice if you continue to evaluate the results of such a sacrifice to determine whether it was worth it or not?

10. Can you retract a sacrifice? If so, what are the conditions surrounding sacrificial retractions? ?

No, Imran and I are not moving to Pakistan and no, he has not overtly or covertly asked me to sacrifice anything important. Hmmm, it occurs to me that I just assumed that you would suspect from this post that I was being asked to sacrifice instead of the possibility that I am asking Imran to sacrifice. In any case, we have and are not going through such a trauma. Yet, in evaluating myself, I realize that I can be quite rigid and like the idea that “I certainly would sacrifice my routine and/or comfort level and/or dreams/thoughts about the way things should go,” much more than the reality of such a sacrifice. I also realize that Imran, in most situations, is much more open and flexible to such possibilities. I am a bit hesitant to say that I “HOPE TO WORK ON THIS,” because, the only way to truly develop a skill or habit or characteristic is to practice it often. I am much more inclined to analyze and discuss than to “practice.” (smile)

Opening Pandora’s box!

January 10, 2011

Opening Pandora’s box:
Oh, the treasures within!
Imran got me Pandora for the computer!!!
“Music is the universal language of mankind,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Now, I can find the songs that I want and listen to whatever station. It is kind of like xm radio: but more stations are created and I did find that they play Adnan Sami, many instrumental bansuri, harp, sitar and tabla compositions. Music need not always have words to move me – (or Imran either, (which was one of many wonderful discoveries). Victor Hugo says: “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
. And, at least the part of Pandora that I interface with is accessible!!!

I was pleasantly surprised when Imran began remembering and actually “LIKING” the songs. He was singing and enjoying the music. “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything,” — Plato.
Imran remarks:
“This was performed in the 1970’s.”
“I remember when the call to prayer was accompanied by drums in the street.”
“Be patient, many times the tabla does not start until the song is at least 20-25% finished and with these songs, it could be 5 or 10 minutes into the song.”
“Oh wow! That was beautiful the way they put that together – combining an eloquent blend of Urdu and Punjabi — sometimes, there is no English equivalent for Urdu or Punjabi… …. I just can’t explain the poetry here.”
In addition to what I discovered about my melodious DH (yes, he can actually carry a tune), , I learned many wonderful things like:
A “Rag”, ( is not an upbeat song of the 1920’s played by a piano and famous for such artists as Scott Jopplin. Rags, Ghazals, Bollywood and Bankra; they are all distinguishable types of music. The Dhol (called Tol in Punjabi) and the Dholki will soon be obsolete. [this makes me want to purchase one – or two, quite quickly so I can have a piece of music history and hope that it does not die out completely]. Punjabis seem to have music that is rich with beats and tend to kind of follow the structure of American music where there are verses and a chorus or refrain. (unlike ghazals or Rags). and these songs have a whole “choir” (sometimes of men only and sometimes of both men and women) sing the refrain – sometimes in unison and sometimes in harmony. The music of the Punjab is less serious and more fun loving. And, they dance! Of course, not gender mixing, but they still dance. I wonder if my stiff old blind body could learn a dance or two. (smile)
“Mohjan hee mohjan,” – “Let’s have some fun,” – [roughly translated].
Imran knows lots more about music than he let on. He even admitted that he took “beginning Tabla lessons.” “Sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, sa,” is “Do ray me fa so la ti do.” “Jaysay box ko Pandora, aapnay dil ki kitab kholay.”
“just like Pandora’s box, our hearts opened like a book.” Or something like that. We heard it in a song and I want to remember it, so am trying to write it here so that I can remember.
I like the bansuris and the tabla players and the Punjabi song “Dil lagia dil,” (she has my heart) stuck in my head for a while. Hmmm, could I change it to “dil laga dil?” maybe.
I ask about female Tabla players and female Bansuri players. …. “Only in the US,” is the general response. He says: “It is just not a feminine thing to do.” And “this is not something that inspires familial pride for their daughters.” So, when I feel like reaffirming my independence, I always make reference to learning the play the tabla. But, today, that dream has been shattered. Tabla players sit on their heels with their legs tucked under them while playing. …. Showing my age: I can’t even get in that position, much less hold it for hours on end. DH is quite comfortable sitting on the floor (at least, as comfortable as) sitting in a chair. It feels “normal” to him somehow. And, even when he does sit in a chair, he still likes to sit cross-legged; which he can do for hours at a time. Obviously, he needs no yoga lessons. Amazing, we call this position “Indian Style,” and I always thought that it was for the Native American Indians. But, now I know differently. (smile)
Anyway, back on topic, We spent hours listening to music, DH translating, me laughing when I recognized an English word:
“Did he just say love you love you love you?”
“Wait, That sounded like “boom boom,” Where does that fit into the song?” [belly laugh because I noticed]. “ Why can’t I remember those most eloquent Urdu phrases that announces one’s undying affection and the strength of one’s love????
“Music fills the infinite between two souls,”
— Rabindranath Tagore
NOTE: Another discovery — Sometimes Indian&Pakistani artists put English words and phrases into the song that (if you know English) sound silly. I guess they think that Pakistanis won’t know the difference.
Sonu Nigam, an artist that I like, and one that sings bollywood selections; had a song where he said: “me love you, too” all the way through it… … several times. I know that he has performed here in the states. If I was more technically savvy, I would post a link to his performance and the publicity that it generated. He was performing around the time that Michael Jackson passed away. Jermaine Jackson was at the concert and Sonu Nigam gave a tribute to Michael Jackson, as well as practically hauled Jermain up on stage for a duet; which, by the way, was never accomplished. Finally, Jermaine faded back into the crowd. It was quite uncomfortable for Jermaine and I don’t think that Sonu understood the situation. But, my point is that Sonu nigam does know English well enough to know that you can’t say “me love you, too.” He just thought that no one would notice!

Any gift that touches the heart and soul of even the most unintentional listener gets a “thumbs up,” in my book.
“If music be the food of love, play on,” — William Shakespeare

one month evaluation

January 3, 2011

It has been one month since I have started working.
It will be ninety days before I get insurance.
That is ok, I’m not ill, have a disease or pregnant.
But, I wanted to give you a short update.

Usually we get up at 4:30 in the morning.
By 6:00 our bus is here.
By 7:30, usually, we are at work.
Remember Imran is in a different building, so we don’t have lunch together or anything.
But, we still work in the same company.
I can’t claim overtime. I tried. It first has to be approved by my supervisor. So, I have to do other things until 8:00.
Facebook, blog writing, book reading, bill paying, talking to friends all can be done between 7:00 and 8:00.

I am the liason between departments: accounting, customer service, contact center (they make calls for other companies who want to do surveys or other telemarketing opportunities) and sales. I’ll get a company credit card and have to schedule trips for sales. I have not faxed lots or copied lots. I scan mail to be sorted. But, most of the mail is not for our office.
Honestly, I feel odd “NOT” doing very much. Sometimes, I even have to fight against sleep.
My body is on a weird sleep schedule. Instead of it being on a 24hour clock, it is on a 12hour clock. So, the hours between 9:00—1:00, I am sleepy. If I get sleep during these hours, I can be up the other sixteen hours. It is strange, but I don’t know how to change it. Even when I forego the morning 9:00 sleep time, I can only sleep (at the most) 5-6 hours before I am up and ready to go for the day.
That means that I go to sleep at 9:00 in the evening and am up by 2:00 to get ready for work. But, I can’t, then, fall asleep at 9:00 A.M.
Anyway, I come from a long line of factory workers and unskilled or minimally skilled laborers. Mmy parents and grandparents etc did not go to college. Finishing High School was quite an accomplishment. So, I am sensitive to the laborer’s stance. In many factories, the laborers do not have a complimentary relationship with management and/or the office workers. Typically, the office workers would get paid “MORE” for doing “LESS.” I am not at all convinced that the company that I work for is dissimilar in this regard. So, I feel strange watching the clock tick away, knowing that in another building, a worker is working much harder for his/her meager minimum wage. The production part of the company has people packaging different items.
These workers make minimum wage: (thank goodness they changed from the patronizing and often substantial piecework model). But, I try to be as kind to the production workers as I am to everyone else. I don’t want to be pittying and patronizing. But, I do want them to know that I respect them for their work. And, I continue to ask if they are included in all opportunities given to the other employees. There were no totally blind Bosma employees who ran the minimarathon last year. At least Imran will be making that trend null in void.
Now, I realize that:
1. I am expected to do lots more and be quite a bit more versitile.
2. I do have more responsibility.
3. I did go to college for a good position.

But, needless to say, I want to learn everything and be as busy as possible and I don’t feel right checking facebook or paying bills or writing an email on company time.
Yet, ve found that the others in the office are much less adamant about this particular ethic.
Most are all pretty nice. I want to get to know all of my office workers. There are about twenty in the building. There are the bubbly ones and the cranky ones, etc. All types that you would expect in the office. I have to be bubbly because I am at the front desk.
The good part about this job is that they understand my limitations and are willing to try to maximize my potential and work to find ways around those difficult tasks. And, it is taking lots of time to teach me the specific computer programs because each one is a bit different. Sometimes, my screen reader can’t find the specific item and we have to figure out ways to accommodate for it.
All in all, I find my job challenging: (at least technically) (or it will be when I start having to apply what I have learned) and I find the work environment pleasant and my supervisor helpful and encouraging.
It could be less quiet in the office. But, I’ll work on that. I end up having ten minute echoey discussions with the woman who does housekeeping. One good thing is that I feel comfortable sending an email to anyone in the organization and make a suggestion.
So, I am developing relationships with many different people in many different departments.
Soon, the vendors will add trailmix and granola bars to their selection of snacks.
The braille teacher might incorporate some of my suggested activities to learn braille.
and, since there has been a request for volunteers to knit scarves for the guys who help out with the Colts games, I will be trying my hand at knitting. Did you notice that I said “trying?”
I am dedicated to learning and doing as much as I can in this position.
Yes, there are days when I ask: “How am I helping the larger society?”
and
“What difference am I making?”
But, this position is giving me skills, confidence, a bit more time with Imran and money.
I am satisfied. I’ll just have to find other ways to contribute.
have not been able to do anymore teaching English, but maybe at a later date.
I have suggested a Saturday class.
Hey, I have corrected some writing English exercises from livemocha members. But, that is not nearly as fun as direct interaction.