Sunday, 13 January 2013

In Loving Memory

If this year was supposed to be a good year, like the other halfie keeps predicting, well then it’s just starting off a bit poorly. My uncle in Canada fell very ill last week and had to have emergency surgery…It was reminiscent of my mother’s death, and I felt like I was living a nightmare all over again. It’s always an ordeal when you’re away from home when a family member falls ill. I hate how helpless I feel, how out of the loop I am, how I’m unable to help my family. To make matters worse, my mother’s best friend’s mother passed away. My mother’s best friend lost her father not too long ago, a few years later my mother died (they were best friends for over 24 years), and she’s now lost her own mother. My mother’s best friend is the reason I love mayonnaise on my fries, why I believe in unconditional, crazy, non-judgemental, free-spirited love. She’s my surrogate mother: she was the first person to offer to help my parents take care of me while I was sick as a kid by volunteering to pack my dressing (my body had to heal in such a way that my scar had to be packed with gauze. Because I had to heal from the inside out, you could see my internal organs. My mother’s poor best friend! It was not a task for the faint-hearted! Her family is our family and so their loss is ours as well. Mrs. DeCaluwe will be missed dearly by a family whose love is a privilege to have.

Last week I sluggishly finished marking over 100 exams, yeah, don’t ask how 80-something became over 100, hahaha! I decided not to drive myself crazy with worry by sitting by my computer and waiting for word about my uncle from my family. I tried to busy myself by doing research for my SSHRC proposal…Yeah, you all read that right! I swore I would NEVER again put myself through the hel…I mean “stress” of applying for a SSHRC grant, but here I am again. Why am I applying for a S(ocial)S(ciences and)H(umanities)R(esearch)C(ouncil) grant, you ask? Well, I can’t tell you that just right yet, but you’ll find out soon enough-I promise! The struggle with writing a SSHRC proposal is basically that it has to be damn good! I mean fantastically, amazingly awe-inspiringly good! I was very intimidated the last time I applied (as a Master’s student). This time, however, I believe that what I have begun is something worth getting funding for, something that one of my very good friends and I had been trying to jumpstart for so many, many years. So my plan for the next month will be to work my tail off to produce a damn good SSHRC proposal that the council sees promise in.

The Irish chef offered to bring over some movies and teach me how to make Moroccan stew after work on Thursday. He also brought over ice cream…Mmmmm! I don’t think we stopped laughing, and after some good ol’ medicine I felt like things were going to be alright, because I refuse to believe they won’t be. On Friday the other halfie and I ventured out for a coffee and somehow managed to hit 360° Mall during an auto show. The mall was packed with guys and it was too much. We quickly drank our coffee and were on our way out when we saw The Balm make-up booth. Oh, yeah!!! Meet Matt(e) is worth the hype! It’s extremely expensive here, but it’s reasonable in North America!

Meanwhile, my students kept texting me and asking me to go out with them on Saturday. Grades submitted? Check! Nothing holding this girl back, I went to re-claim my youth with a bunch of 17 year-old girls, lol! It was…well, it was fun. I, obviously, wasn’t trying to re-claim my youth, but instead was trying to be a role model for them. They were teaching me Arabi/Arabic and I was trying to convince them to visit Canada. First we went to a restaurant called Cacao. Yes, it’s known for its chocolate. I think they forgot that I’m not a fan of chocolate, but they were so excited that I didn’t want to break their hearts. Besides, I knew there’d be SOMETHING on the menu that didn’t have too much chocolate, and boy was I right! I had a coffee and cookie sundae that made me want to literally die. It was so sweet! Homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream with chunks of cookie, toffee (like Macintosh toffee!) and espresso, topped with whipped cream made my, already plump posterior, jump for joy and made my stomach a little upset. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect amount for TWO people.

 My student's modest (homemade) ice cream trio
 My sundae (prior to the espresso being poured onto it!)
My other student's choice (the biggest chocolate lover out of us): the brownie platter

After Cacao we went bowling, woooohoooooo! I LOVE bowling. Yes, just another “nerdy” thing about me. Okay, so maybe I got slightly competitive, but in all honesty, I was VERY rusty and threw a few gutter balls. *sigh* I need to improve my game. I wasn’t a fan of the Velcro shoes, but it was all worth it because it was really quiet there (I guess bowling isn’t popular here), and so the workers turned the music up loudly while we danced around! 

 I'm sexy and I know it! Velcro bowling shoes (yikes!)

We went from playing bowling to watching the soccer/football match between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (Kuwait won), then went for food (no, it wasn’t me who suggested food. I was still stuffed!). We then decided to go and see a movie. I always love going to the movies in other countries because you can be inside a movie theatre in almost any country and feel like you’re at home. With the exception of the Arabic subtitles, the theatre was the same as the ones at home. I didn’t get p-corn (even though I’m obsessed with it…Or butter…Or both. Whatever.), and sat through my students incessantly texting. I also acknowledged a lot of oooo-ing and ahhh-ing: “Ohhh, Miss, look at him! Oooooo! He’s so handsome! He’s my husband!” Yep. Definitely hanging out with 17-year olds. Honestly though, they were very cute, and it was refreshing to see girls who believe that love has a happy ending. We saw Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise. To clarify, I was NOT ooooo-ing and ahhhhh-ing. I’m not a Tom Cruise fan.

I walked the girls out as we were parting ways and one of my students introduced me to her mother who was appalled that I would take a taxi. Anywhere. Ever. This woman was incredibly kind and had a beautiful smile. She kept holding my hand, and once I told her that I was going to jump in a cab she grabbed my arm and pulled me to her vehicle. Their driver took us back to my student’s home where she asked me to come in so I could see her rooms (we were dropping her mother off with the groceries). After the tour of her home (it’s huge!), the driver took me home with my students curiously wondering where I could possibly live in the “unlivable” Mahboula. We rocked out to Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Rihanna and, as was ordered by my student’s mother, the car waited until I was safe inside my apartment to leave. I felt like I’d met a Kuwaiti version of my mother; it was awesome.

I checked my email immediately after returning and felt some brief relief: it will be a loooong process, but my uncle will be okay. On the other hand, my father and sister attended Mrs. DeCaluwe’s funeral and our hearts are all heavier. However, now she's with her beloved. Perhaps believing that love has happy ending isn’t only for 17-year old girls.

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