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Not quite feeling myself this week…

I haven’t written in awhile – it’s not really that there’s not much been much happening but rather that the stuff that has been happening I think you would all find boring; its all wedding party stuff really:

Trying to source a wedding cake: My hot tip is to not do too many bookings on the one day – eating cake samples every 2nd hour does not clense the palate and DOES interfere with the weight that one is desperately trying to lose!

Dress fittings: I had my calico one today and am amazed at how cold it was standing in a room in all but a calico dress. I think I handled the whole pinning situation rather well and must give props to the designers assistant who did not prick me once!

Bridesmaid issues – actually there certainly IS a story there… forget being a bridezilla – I have a covert bridesmaid-zilla… and I personally do NOT think she is very covert about her ‘diva-ness’!

But all the above is sort of the least of my worries as I battle to understnad why I have been feeling rather ‘funny’ and ‘weird’ lately – I have no idea how to actually define or describe how I’m feeling but its a little “off” to how I am normally feeling – Mr A has noticed and keeps asking me “what’s wrong?” and “have I done something to upset you?” and more often “what can I do to make my princess smile?” Bless him greatly for trying – i appreciate it beyond comprehension! I’ll be ok for a little while and then I am back to this ‘funk’!

Then there’s me thinking about having to get mum’s tickets organised; oh yes did I forget to mention? Mum apparently wants to head off to Indonesia and possibly UAE for Eid this year and is hoping to head off on the 3rd of September. She very diplomatically (not) asked about how once she’d found the best price and got the dates sorted how “we” were going to pay for it – which was clearly mum’s way of saying “how and are YOU going to pay for this?”. I told her how her last years trip cost me a bit as she had wanted an open ticket that would be valid for a year and did not want to travel something like Virgin/Air Asia/Tiger (read: budget airline) that this meant the tickets were a little bit of a pretty penny (which really makes me wonder why when she paid for her own tickets JetStar was more than sufficient but since I had to pay somehow JetStar was now far too inferior!). Anyway, i said that based on last years costs i was happy to pay half that amount… Well, she’s done her research and organised her ticket to be a one year open ticket (like last time) where she still has to put in some rnadom return date (she has selected 03/03/2011) and she leaves on the afternoon of September third – oh and apparently the travel agent has emailed me the details and I am paying for her ticket – ALL of it.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t really a blog post about me lamenting that I am having to pay for the ticket. I worked out a long time ago that I am definately great at driving her places, paying bills, fixing ‘stuff’ and organising appointments. What upsets me is that i am having to “suck up” that this beyond a one way street – that i am not a complete moron to have not noticed that she is conviently away just prior my wedding party and a whole shitload of time after. I am come to realise that i have no idea about anything when it comes to my mother –  that even as i am typing this i am ranting! In some ways I more than expect it (this ‘situation’) and am happy to claim it as my duty as a Muslim daughter – i mean some people would claim that as a Muslim child my job is to “shut up and put up” and to remember that as she is the mother her word is gold – her requests should be met with nothing more than ‘yes mother’ – but i ask these people: where and when is the line drawn? I am NOT talking about retribution or being vengeful or rude, but rather at what point do i continue to take the ALL of THIS???????  Would a simple ‘thank you’ would go astray. Plus, whilst I am pre-programmed that this is how it has to be I don’t understand how my mum must think that it is more than ok to say what she wants, expect the earth and still its never enough  

Before you quip that that perhaps i should remind her that this means (her departure + return dates) she will not be here for my wedding party – believe me I know and i did remind her! I spoke to her about it the other morning; the conversation entailed her asking me if I had already paid for her ticket (*sigh*) – I told her that I was paying for it on Thursday (today). And her asking if I would come to Indonesia with her? I told that I was very sorry but that I wouldn’t be able to come with her – she then went on about how the family would LOVE to see me as they did not see me on the last trip she went on. I went on to telling her that I was not able to come as surely she must remember that i mentioned my wedding party was on the 30th of October – her answer was so eloquently put mashallah:

“I don’t care about your wedding – I want you to come with me…”

I must say that although I knew that she probably would not be at the party and that I more than realise her stance and her denial on the subject matter that is Mr A and I, that hearing this statement has hurt more than all the denial and other stuff she’s said in passing. I can’t quite put my finger on why though – perhaps its because that while she was putting her head in the sand i could rationalise to myself that she doesn’t really comrehend what i am doing – that she is just lost by this whole situation. But the fact that she is able to very clearly articulate that she DOESN’T care is such a slap in the face that as a daughter my role is to care and provide but that i should not expect the same in return. Perhaps this really hurts because its just one more hurtful thing that she’s said that i have to sit there and take. 

After that little comment she proceeded to make other little jibes comments that again, i sit there and listen to whick led me to sit there and pray for more patience – it is beyond words to just sit there and hear that sort of statement and never be able to say anything back – because as a daughter my role is to be patient; to listen; to not utter a bad word that would upset her (God only knows I upset her enough), to remember that she raised me and that in her way she is trying to do what’s best for me, that I am to respectfully sit there… and take the verbal slings and arrows with silent prayers and deep breaths I silently sat there listening to her say:

“No one loves you like me – I am your mother and I am the only person in this world who really loves you. everyone else is just lying – its ALL camouflage; one day you see – there is only me; everyone else is just pretending… ”

I tried to stop listening at that point – I am sure you catch my drift. We said our goodbyes and I got off the phone not long after that. I sat there next to Mr A (he was driving us to work) thanking Allah that I somehow ended up a rather well adjusted human being and that it truly is by the grace of God that, when I think about all the f#$ked up crap I had to endure with my dad and then with they way my mum behaves and says in the last ten-ish years that I did not end up a mentally screwed individual!

A few minutes after I get off the phone Mr A then turns to me and asks; “everything ok?”

My answer?  “Fine sweetie – i love you…”

He knows me so well and touches my knee, smiling he tells me he loves me too – SOOOOO much (he says).

 I mean really – what is there to say?

Mr A meets a cousin!

Last night I spoke to Zaen – he’s one of my first cousins. We generally chat rather often but I say that in the last few months or so we haven’t chatted at all. Maybe its because we’re both busy with work or maybe its because he’s got 5 kids all under the age of 12 (where 3 are under the age of 6 – yikes), or maybe it’s all the mayhem with mum, etc – whatever; essentially we’d sorta lost touch.

Anyway the other day I thought about him and I was thinking that he’d such a snob for not calling me and really was a little overdue – so I gave him a call, left a message and called him an arrogant so and so for not calling his little cous(in).

It was a really good chat – I know mum had told me that he’d been in regular contact with her whilst she was over there (he lives in Doha; Qatar) but Zaen told me that it’s been roughly ever couple 4ish days. So imagine his surprise when he asks what I’ve been up to and I’m like “oh, well; I am in the midst of planning a wedding reception – you should come over to Australia in about October as that’s when we’re hoping to have it!”
The poor guy was shocked – he was like “how come I haven’t heard ANY of this – what is going on? Did you do all this while your mum was away?”

And so it began; I sat down and told him that naturally mum knows, that I moved out to Susi’s and then… well obviously everything. How Mr A’s parents are lovely. About him fasting with me this year – about why I suggested mum go on holiday if she didn’t want to mosque ALL together for eid. He silently listened and then said that he couldn’t believe my mum has said nothing to him about ANY of this. I told him that I seriously wasn’t surprised as I actually wasn’t allowed to mention it to anyone and not even suppose to talk to her about it as apparently I am then ‘killing her’.
He didn’t know what to say – Mr A then walked up to me and was like; “oohhh – who are you on the phone to?” when I said that it was Zaen he asked if Zaen wanted to talk to him – and so they spoke!!!

Granted it wasn’t a long conversation – just the basic salam and good to finally meet you. I am sorry that she (my mum) isn’t happy about us; but inshallah soon she will understand. Standard; please come to visit us in autralia; Mr A saying that we are building so inshallah he will be here either for our (civil) wedding and reception but if not then to come visit when we have our house; the good salam and then I got the phone returned to me!

Haha – the call ended with Zaen telling me that he is going to call me again soon – as clearly he misses TOO many events when he leaves it too long!

*sigh* One small step for man…

First step class ever = pain

I had the day off work yesterday – it was to take mum to her specialist (doctors) appointment; it’s been 3 months since her last eye operation and the doctor just wants to make sure all is well and that her right eye is fine.

Remember how I said that on Monday evening I was going to a step class with Mr A’s mum? Well – the fruits of my labor have been double edged:

Firstly, yesterday my body/muscles seemed fine and I was beginning to think that I must be fitter than I first thought (considering the fact that I felt like a complete un-co about to have an angina right after the class!) but then I awoke this morning! Oh the pain in my calves! My arms feel a little fragile but my calves!

The upside though is that yesterday afternoon I hopped onto the Wii Fit and I am happy – nay jubilant to announce that my Wii Fit age is my actual age!!!!!! Woo-hoo! You cannot fathom how frustrating it was to be initially ‘told’ that my Fit age was 31 then when I did the same test 3 days later I shot up to 42 then down to 38!!!! All these digits made me feel terrible… I mean, there is only so much I can do to kid myself and say “well; I’m not fat – I am European size 1/Australia size 8 and generally range between XS and S in the clothing stakes so clearly I am fit” Well; I’m not really that fit… the step instructor was 6ft tall and clearly a few sizes bigger than me but wow – this gal was fit! She managed to remain scarily upbeat and happy for the full hour; jump around, step across and do hand movements, talk and at one point sing along to the music! It was indeed a humbling experience! She had this remix version of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ track which was faster than the album version… Oh the agony of it!  

Meanwhile Mr A is keen for me to go again…..

I’m telling myself that when I finally go dress shopping and the wedding date is upon us that I will be ever grateful at all the exercise I will have done by that point!

I (think) we’ve found a dress!!!!

Hey peeps – how was your weekend?

Susi and I went to the bridal expo on Sunday… OH MY GOD!!!

I had gone to the last Bridal Fair I have to say that although I enjoyed myself it was nothing compared to how I felt yesterday! I collected heaps of information last time but was pretty casual about it all.

Yesterday was completely different; I was mesmerised – internally I am slightly freaking out as I am astounded at how much some things cost! There was a runway showing and that’s when everything changed… oh my lord… the gowns! The suits that the groom wear!! Oh… I got goose bumps from the sheer disbelief that this would sometime soon(ish) be me! ME!!!

A BRIDE!!!!

ME… A BRIDE!!!!!

I think I may have actually found one of my dresses!!! That’s right – one of! Ok; so the Arabic tradition has us brides wear more than one dress for our weddings; generally it’s about three; which works well because then you have one for the Nikah (Muslim wedding ceremony), one ‘western’ style gown and one other traditional gown. So I thought I would have the white/off white (whatever – you catch my drift) gown for the legal ceremony and then a traditional gown for the reception (we’ve already bought something for the nikah so I’m all sorted in that department)!

I sat there watching all these gorgeous dresses go past and I have to admit that I for the first time since I’ve gotten engaged I actually was confounded by the thought…

My mum isn’t going to be a part of this…

I saw these 2 women sitting in front of us and they looked like 2 mothers… I saw another girl with an older woman who i assume is her mum and i realised that i would never have that; that sense of simmering excitement about my wedding day with my mother. That even if she was begrudgingly, stoicly on board that she would spend so much of the time saying “oh; that’s too expensive” and “you don’t need thank you cards/place settings” or “I don’t like that color – you shuld not get that color becasue I don’t like it” or “don’t pick that dress – you will regret it as it does not have sleeves – what will the other Muslims think?”

My mum doesn’t want to be part of this. My mum would criticise every detail and option I presented to her even if she was there. I have to say that the feeling didn’t last that long – but it was such a cold empty feeling that actually almost made me cry. Especially when I think about the fact that I don’t have a relationship with my dad…

I had spent the day previous (Saturday day) with mum and told her that I was going to be going to the bridal expo to have a look at things and all I got was;

Mum: Why you go? You’re not going to be a bride…

Me: Yes mum…  I am – I’m getting married remember? Are you sure you don’t want to come & have a look?

Mum: Do you want something to eat? I just cooked kebab…

Me: *Sigh* No thanks – I’m not hungry

Then while I was at the bridal expo waiting for the fashion showing to start mum actually called me;

Me: Salaam mum – is everything ok?

Mum: yes- you still take me to the mosque this afternoon ok? What time you come?

Me: yeah – that’s fine; I’ll be there between 4.45 to 5pm.

Mum: Where are you now? Sound very loud…

Me: Oh – remember I told you? I’m just at the bridal expo – 

Mum: Ok; I see you at 4.45; assalammu alaikum *hangs up*

All in all though I must say it was a rather productive day (even with that little ‘moment’)! I am actually excited now….

Oh my lord!!!

I actually rather excited now…..

Oh – and I also think I may have found a dress for the bridesmaids!!!

Tired just thinking about it

Well peeps – it’s Friday; the weekend is imminent and I for one will be glad once its over! Just thinking about what we’ve got planned this weekend has been exhausted. Tonight after work I am off with Mr A to help him find some new pants that he needs to match these new shoes he bought that in turn match the dress that I am wearing. This weekend we have: a wedding + reception to go to, Greek Easter and then on the Sunday we have his cousin’s baby’s christening to go to.

 

Before someone/anyone gets on my case about being a Muslim going to a christening and the whole ‘haram’ it may be let me say this: our beloved prophet preached respecting our fellow people of the book – if any of you want to throw down the gauntlet and request for examples or lament in opposition I am more than happy to read and respond to your comments… but I warn you – don’t get me started! Mr A’s parents and family isn’t Muslim but their still family and they more than accommodate and respect for the Muslim ideologies that have been introduced and implemented into their households. I could go on about this as I am more than a little passionate about this issue of religious harmony and cohabitation but will leave here for the sake of getting to the crust of the intention of this post.

 

SO, about the christening – I haven’t been to many (read: 1) so I think it’s safe to assume that I don’t have hordes of knowledge on the matter. But from what I’ve heard + the one that I went to its pretty much a church thing then back to the parents place for finger food.

 

Mr A’s cousin (the mother of the baby to be christened) is going seriously all out for this 3 month old. First (in the morning) is the christening at the Roman Catholic (well, they are Italians!) church (which I don’t have to go to…yay!) where said lil boy will be wearing the lil christening dress and dunked in water – I have no doubt that crying will be loud and constant post ‘dunking’!

 

Then we have an early lunch that is meant to go for ages. When I spoke to said cousin on Sunday she told me that each table will have a platter of salt & pepper squid for appetisers (oh my lord – how many people on each table and how many tables are there really going to be???) which is when the waiters will take our choices for the main meal (what the??? Is this normal??) Which is a choice of either freshly made Gnocchi or rib-eye steak or a swordfish dish. After that we have the option of either tiramisu or some other dessert which as of Sunday seemed like would be gelato. Does anyone else besides Mr A and I see that this is madness – its for a baby who is 3 months for goodness sake! We’re getting this feast while he gets milk…. And its formula at that!

 

More and more I (as well as Mr A) am seeing that this little boy is going to grow up a whiny brat who will cry and throw tantrums to get what he wants (as it’s working already and he’s only 3 months old)!

 

At lunch on Sunday every time so much as a peep was heard on the baby monitor his mum would get up and check on him. at one point for a good 40 minutes the only female at the table was me as all other females (baby’s mother, her sister, the baby’s grandmother, Mr A’s mum and another aunty) were in the nursery trying to calm him down… when I asked what the frig was wrong with him (besides being molly-coddled to death)  the baby’s dad (who wasn’t worried at all) said that he (the baby) was all grumpy because he hadn’t done a poo all day!

 

OH MY GOD! I felt like getting up into that nursery and telling them to leave him alone – none of their actions are going to make him take a dump! When Maria (baby’s mother) did finally come down I asked how she got the baby to sleep “oh, I had to rock him in my arms until he fell asleep”!!!!

 

The funniest answer came from Mr A’s mother when I lamented to her that all this ‘fussing’ was actually not good for the baby and his long term development (gee – developmental psych much?): “well, my grandchild won’t be like that!”

 

Sheesh…. I can honestly say that Mr A and I are more than excited when the weekend comes to a close!

 

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d say this but bring on Monday!

If at first you don’t succeed

Well, let’s just go back a few days shall we… (please?). I spent December 25th with Mr A’s family. I mean they’re not Muslim and Christmas day is important to them – not because they’re religious (be they are so not religious) but more in the fact that its an excuse for the entire family to get together – to fly across Aussie-land and all meet up chat, eat lots of yummy food, sit by the pool (its summer here), laugh and just put all the issues aside for a little bit…

 

I had invited my mum – as Mr A’s mum really wanted to meet her and thought it would be a great introduction in seeing that they’re just really laid back people who like to mingle. I knew mum wouldn’t go (I am hopeful my nature but not bloody delusional!) so when she was rather adamant about not going I was like; “eh, whatever”

 

Anyway, mum had some friends come over. Yes people… this is where the plot starts to thicken… this family we have know for ages – I went to school with all their kids and mum was quite good friends with their mum. Anyway, over the last few years we haven’t seen much of them except on Eid at the mosque – they live ages away from our place now and neither one of us gets he chance.. So imagine my surprise when my mum tells me that they came over that Thursday and that they would be coming again on the following day.

 

Apparently the mother – lets call her Aunty Hannan came around with her son Bilal… and brought us flowers… okaaaaayyyy – am I the only one who thinks this is fishy people??? I asks mum why on earth they would want to trek all this way again the very next day – apparently mum said that they missed seeing me! Now, I know I am a little bit of a social person – heck, I might even have bloody good social skills but I sincerely doubt that a person would be that keen to see me unless there were other intentions here.

 

So enter the next morning (Boxing day) where while having a quick breakfast I had mum caution me to not say anything that would upset her – I tried to ask her what she meant (you and I both know she meant ‘anything to do with Mr A’ but I realllllyyy wanted to hear her say it) but she would not take the bait!

 

While having a shower they arrived. I hear my mum saying “hello” and “salaam” and can the kissing of the cheeks. Then I hear mum make some comment like “oohh, bilal, masha-Allah you’re so handsome!”

 

Well there’s no avoiding this now is there? I hoped, prayed then took a deep breath and faced the situation; praying that my gut instinct was bloody wrong…

 

We all chatted for a little bit – what everyone was doing these days, my work, his job (when last I saw him he was up in the mines and now he was in the construction industry) and what his sisters were doing (his oldest sister was there also so I chatted to her a little bit about her kids, her hubby and their business).

 

Oh – did I forget to mention that they had brought a HUGE bouquet of flowers and chocolates for me???

FYI: neither my mum nor I are flowers people… we both cannot be bothered with the upkeep!

 

After a little bit of chatting his mum asks to speak to my mum in the other room – they leave and I start to hear whispering. I am still sitting there hoping against hope that my thoughts are totally going to be unfounded and that they are just here to ‘catch up on old times’! Mum comes back with Aunty Hannan and we all sit back down together to which Bilal’s sister asks me if the house I went to yesterday (when they missed me) was a friends house or a colleague – I am just about to answer with “actually it was my fiancé’s house” when my mum jumps in with “oh, it was just a friend!”

 

Here’s the thing – although I was silently FUMING inside at this blatant disrespect of my choice, my actions, my thoughts and our previous discussions I had to shut up and take it because correcting her would make her look like a tool. So I sat there – this tight smile across my face feeling as though my mum had just slapped me across the face!

 

Anyway – a little bit later Aunt Hannan and my mum went for a little walk; leaving me, bilal and his sister in the house together to chat… I took to the conversation to ‘back to school’ and how Bilal was always in trouble (seriously, this guy spent more time out of class than in it), he went on to say about how different I was from back at school (hmm – really? Well all that teasing about me being chubby made me desperately want to lose that weight – and lets not start on the pimply-faced nerd/geek who wore glasses and had to get braces…) but how I was always into books…

 

Anyway – then it came; in slow motion like those movies where one person is about to punch the other person – I was told the reason for this visit:

Bilal: listen, I need to ask you something – I’ve actually been interested in you for a little while. And I wanted to come here today to get to know you a little better. Masha-allah you’ve grown up to be a smart, pretty woman. Perhaps we could all go out one day or maybe dinner and then I could ask for your hand.

 

Well there it was. Dumbfounded I sat there – TOTALLY in disbelief at this shitty situation that my mum had put me in! The idiotic irony of it all is that year ago I had mentioned to my mum that I had thought that Bilal was a bit cute and seemed really nice and that I was sort of interested in him and that she could maybe talk to her mum. At that point mum said “ooh, they’re not the same as us – they’re Lebanese. Our family is different. You know it’s better to be with someone who’s the same.” And now she’s all over the wonderment of the family – how we’ve known them for years; how they’re a tight knit family, how we’re all still Arabs… blah, blah, blah, blah!

 

Meanwhile, due to the rarity of my silence and speechlessness and bilal being a little bit of a typical macho, egocentric Lebanese male he took my silence for shyness (Susi – you quit laughing over there!) and simply said to call his sister over the next couple of days to arrange an appropriate time for dinner.

 

By the time mum and Aunty Hannan came back I was ITCHING to get away… they said their goodbyes (cue the multitude of kisses exchanged), I said thanks for he chocolates and flowers and they left!

 

I got my handbag:

Mum: where you go? I thought you not go out today?

Me: I was going to stay home with you but after the situation you’ve just put me through I really don’t want to be here

Mum: why? What did I do?

Me: mum, you know exactly what you’ve done – you lied to them about whose house I was at and you put me in a situation where they asked for my hand. What’s worse is that Bilal is a really nice guy and now I have to be a terrible person here and ignore him.

Mum: I didn’t know he was going to propose –

Me: he came yesterday and was dead keen to see me and came with red roses mum – we both know what that means… you’ re intelligent and I’m not falling for this! You should’ve told them I was engaged!

Mum: what for? What for I tell them when I’m not happy and not accept your choice.

 

And there it is folks! The indifference she is hoping will lead to a result of the demise of my relationship with Mr A.

 

I got out then – not because I wanted to do some shopping but because staying any longer would see things said that need not be said.