neurotic Iraqi wife
July 16, 2008
The Entrancing Noor...
Come today, and after three years in this prison society, the only time I manage to read is when I go on vacation. I still buy books though, bestsellers, by the dozen but so far I haven’t been able to read one page. Reason being, I stare at two screens for over 12 hours daily. At the end of the work day, my eyes feel like popping out. Then I go back to my room, and again stare at the skype screen while chatting with HUBBY. So really, no eye power is left for reading. A great pity I know.
But for about 2 months now, I became hooked on something else. And apparently, I found out its not just me, but the majority of Iraqis too. There is this soap opera. A Turkish soap opera called Noor named after one of the characters. Well her name in Turkish is actually Gumus (Silver) but I guess they translated it to Noor (Light). It is the most captivating story I have ever seen. Forget Bold and the Beautiful or Days of our Lives. Nah, these are far too unrealistic with over orangey Californian tans.
Noor is a story that every Middle Eastern family can relate to. It tells a story about family values, marriage, love, respect, betrayal, motherhood and everything else. It was about 2 months ago when I was flipping channels to see whats on, that I found it. At first I wasn’t interested, as I don’t really like watching something that’s being translated using other peoples voices rather than the actual casts’. But somehow, the storyline and the characters just caught my attention.
It is so real and easy to relate to because it touches on every aspect of life. I didn’t think anyone here watched it. One day, as I came to work pretty late by my own standards, a coworker of mine asked if I was ok. I said well I over slept cuz I was watching Noor late last night. She laughed and said, oh nooooo, not you as well. Do you watch it? I asked. Yes, the whole family watches it, she said. When its time for Noor everyone just gathers around the TV and watches anxiously as the events unfold. Neurotica, its taken over all Iraqis. Everyone is just hooked.
Wow, who woulda thought. But I don’t blame them. Even H tells me that his uncle comes up with conspiracy theories and analysis during the show. Its just enlightening to know that with all that’s happening here, and the semi non existent electricity, people don’t mind using up their generator power just for Noor. Iraqis have found something that can take their minds away from their daily struggle. It just is amazing. Instead of who got kidnapped and where did the mortar fall, people are now calling each other asking about the events in Noor. I wonder if insurgents watch it too? That would be interesting. Lol
And its because of Noor and the captivating views of Istanbul, that I convinced HUBBY on going to Turkey this upcoming R&R. I myself have already been there twice, but HUBBY has never seen it, and Im sure he would love it. First stop is Istanbul, maybe I should ask a tour operator if they can take us and visit that beautiful, breathtaking family house on the Bosphorus. Next stop is Bodrum on the Aegean Sea. And hopefully my brother and his wife will be able to join us as well. I just can’t wait to leave.
Kudos to the writer of the Noor series. He truly was able to give many Iraqis a slight shining Light, Noor. The Entrancing Noor…
July 05, 2008
The Backward Sectarian Ignorant Iraqi Family...
As for me, I would get extremely agitated when H would relay the stories Rose’s parents would tell her. Things like, he is a Shia, we do not want to taint our family name. TAINT!!! What the hell are they talking about??? Or, He is a Shia, our stature in society doesn’t allow us to have mixed blood. Huh??? Mixed blood??? WTH!!! He is not from Timbuktu!!! He is Iraqi for gods sake!!! When he’d tell me these things I would just go into a fury. First off, you don’t judge a person by the sect they have. Its something we are born with. We didn’t get asked while laying there in the crib with our saliva going down, “Hey you little cute thing, what do you wanna be? A sunni or a Shia?” Come on…
At times, after having my blood boil, I would just say to him “You know what H, just forget about it. Cuz even if you do end up marrying her, you will have to deal with her family’s nonsense” A girl will always be close to her family even if she gets married. You will be getting the full package. Just like buying a pair of undies. You go in the shop and they don’t sell singles, just pairs in packs. You are only interested in the black and beige, but the packs have either black and white, or beige and white. So you’re forced to buy the 2 packs!! Bad analogy I know, but it happens to me all the time with the undies!!!
I know H is madly in love, but at the end of the day, Life is not like a Mills and Boons novel. Reality of it, Love does NOT conquer all. With experience we tend to learn that the hard way. Yes Love is there, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time, you need to also have respect. Respect, understanding and mutual beliefs. Without respect, then the marriage is a failure. And if her family doesn’t accept nor respect H just because he is a Shia, then that’s just a sure formula for failure. It’s simple shallowness blinded by backward thinking.
H’s point of view on the other hand is “I will try everything I can, and if it doesn’t work out, then I wont feel guilty”. Yeah we all say the same. H is 23, in my opinion that’s a very young age to get married. He still has a long way to go. Even though he is pretty mature for that age span, in comparison to many guys his age, I still think he needs to go out there and have more experiences, before settling down. But H is adamant. I want only Rose he keeps telling me.
The big day arrived, and the father had to make a trip from Amman to here. Yeah they are settled in Amman now. H picked all the courage he had, and gave him a call. They agreed on the time and date which by itself is a miracle since the Dr kept telling Rose that there is no way in hell he would meet with H. Going to that guy’s house, believe me, isn’t that easy. Don’t forget, Baghdad is still dangerous. It remains a death trap. There are still places that are dominated by militias, or sunni extremists. H had to test the waters before he actually made the visit. Call it a test run if you will. The Dr lives in a strictly Sunni neighbourhood. Not so carefree for H. But H didn’t care.
The test run succeeded without any difficulties. And the most anticipated day arrived. Funny, although I was in my room, Id keep looking at my watch wondering whats going on right now. I was very worried for H. He is a good kid, and I did not want him to be harmed in any way. I called him in the afternoon to ask about the meeting.
“Neurotica, the man started talking politics. Started talking to me about Kirkuk and the situation worsening there because its mixed. He kept saying “ibnee” (my son), we have traditions to keep. In our tribe, we only marry our daughters to people from us. Don’t forget, Im a father, and I need to protect Rose. I cant accept you working with the Americans”
H answered “But Dr, what does Kirkuk have anything to do with me asking you to bless our engagement? Dr you have to understand, I don’t agree with whats going on right now here, Im not an advocate of the government nor the conflict. Im just an Iraqi who wants his country to live in peace, be it governed by Shia’s, Sunni’s, Kurds or Turkmen. And yes, I am working with the Americans, and there is a chance that Id be getting the Visa, if god wills, and we wouldn’t have to live here.”
Once the Visa issue was brought up, the Dr apparently, shifted his views and said, well then, lets see how it goes. I will not make promises, but we will leave it to time. Time and the country’s situation. Aaaaah, so its ok if his daughter goes and lives in the States, but its not ok if H is working with the Americans. Unfortunately, this twisted mentality is not only the Dr’s but it runs with the majority of Iraqis. We are a nation of confused and contradictory people. Sad but very very true.
For now though, H has hope. I saw him today, and he is elated. Elated yet still afraid. Afraid because the Dr conditioned him; Iraq Situation good = H and Rose together. The Dr is asking the impossible. But lets all pray that it would work out, not for the Dr, I can care less for such ignorant people, but for H. Although I still am standing by my opinion. You marry Rose, and you marry her family. The Backward Sectarian Ignorant Iraqi Family…
Footnote: Ughhhh that idiotic evil Col, just passed by, he is talking to the CAPT, and guess what, he wants to friggin BAN smoking from ALL premises even the outside!!! That’s what I can make from their conversation. Next he will keep a tab on how many times we go to the bloody bathroom!!! He is doing this just to get me. I knew that he wont let the incident go. Some people may think it’s a good thing, if he has good intentions, then fine, but he DOES NOT. I think he still thinks he is in a military environment and wants his ORDERS to be followed. What an assole. He is here to supposedly help in “rebuilding” Iraq and not to give us damn orders! He is making it into a direct vendetta against me. Ughhh…Pity he represents the military, the bad face of the military
July 02, 2008
My Neurotic Iraqi Pride...
From the “nice” all smiley girl that I was three years ago, I learnt a few lessons by being here and working with some idiotic “samples” of people. I learnt that I should no longer shut my mouth. Nope I wont. The day started real bad with the slight sandstorm forming into thick dusty unbreathable air. Which to me, meant HUBBY wont be flying in today. Yeah, HUBBY was scheduled to visit me. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and I will write about it in another post.
Then this other thing happened. This guy sends me a tasker about 12 days ago. Didn’t really emphasize the word “important”. Just said, I need this to be done in the last week of June. Come last week of June, and I was overwhelmed with other things that Me, myself and I, prioritized as “important”.
Yesterday, 1st of July, I was sent a reminder that the report is due. I hit my forehead with my hand, wow, it completely slipped my mind. Yeah my bad. I don’t usually keep things last minute. So I scrammed and started working on it as fast as I can. My sector’s deputy then ushers me to his desk and tells me to look at the email he received.
I read the words, and I felt a vein popping on my forehead and my anger level shot up. I couldn’t believe the nerve of that Col in sending out such a nasty email about me. He doesn’t know me, so he cant judge me. His email was something along these lines “She has been dragging her feet too long with this, and if it takes her to stay all night long to work it then be it” That’s when MY PRIDE kicked in. How dare he write something like this. How DARE he impose on me working “all night”. Who does he think he is? Yes, granted, I forgot about it completely, but DON’T judge me when I falter just once.
The deputy watched as my frown deepened and said, its ok Neurotica, don’t worry I will reply to him. I just walked off, grabbed my pack of cigarettes, and went outside not even caring that the dust storm has turned into something out of the twilight zone. I was really upset. I sat there, yeah, same spot where the ants had their tsunami, and started thinking about my response to that Col. I never spoke to the man before, he arrived here about a month ago, and I don’t want to deal with such specimen of the military.
I went inside all fuelled up, and there he was, staring out the window at the yellow sandstorm. I said “Umm, excuse me Col, I don’t drag my feet when I work, but yes I do drag them when I walk” And I started making my shuffling sound with my shoes. He looked at me in a disgusted look and replied
“Im sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about?”
I couldn’t believe the fact he was denying his email. The nerve of him. I repeated the words above and then told him that if the so called tasker was so important, why didn’t they say so. I also asked him to talk to the people I deal with in his group and ask THEM if I ever was late in preparing anything for them. The words that started coming from his mouth were inaudible to me. I just saw his lips move, but couldn’t hear a thing. Cuz honestly, I didn’t give a damn shit.
I left, but felt that I didn’t vent enough, so I retreated back even though another part of my brain is telling me not to, but the pride, aaaaah the pride wouldn’t quit. I went back to him and said, Col, he had that sarcastic smile on his smug face, I continued “I don’t appreciate people not appreciating my hard work.” And I walked off.
Then I went to one of the bosses and told him, “You know what, I think Im gonna get fired real soon” I relayed the incident to him, and fortunately enough he told me some interesting stories about the Col in question. It was no surprise.
Yup, working here has become a struggle. Every morning I wake up, and walk to work, thinking only of the day ahead of me, and believe it or not, I do come into work smiling, but then I get slapped ten times by unwanted remarks be it personal or professional. Its not enough that JCL is spreading lies and making us all look bad. Its not enough that Captains are believing the lies. Its not enough that Colonels are making shit up thinking its cool to be rude. Ughhhh…
Then comes MY PRIDE. I realized the older I get, the more it fights back. Whatever little “diplomacy” I used have has now been beaten 100 to nil in the fighting ring by my Pride. My Neurotic Iraqi Pride…