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health update

Six months since my last check up, i was informed by our headquarters in Geneva that i need a medical examination prior to renewing my contract.

And so i did!

Results: All is well except kidney infection with high chance of stones. Nothing serious though, i’ll just have a small operation and get it out.

The normal rate is 2-4 units, mine is TWENTY SIX!!! That explains why i get kidney aches, typical me… i ignore it.

I’m guessing it’s because i eat and drink anything including tap water (yes, i have heard about the cats-in-the-tank myth).

I told W.A about it and this is how the conversation went. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Me: The ______graphy will show whats going on. I can’t remember the name coz the doc pronounced it way too Afghan.
W.A: fotooografee
Me: Lol, no i would have understood! I’d rather take the x ray pics myself with my digital camera. These docs have a 3 months MBBA bachelors.
W.A: Come on. Mate, the education system of Afg was soo hard that only 3% of the country could get an education.
Me: kadoo katee az ee gappet!
W.A: if your not smart enough, they kick you out of first grade.

Where to now? i have to get the _____graphy. do i trust the hospitals here?

I had a terrible day today! the medical results just worsened it. I was listening to the radio online and Natasha Bedingfield was singing Unwritten. Such an uplifting song, i used to put it up in my car everytime it came on. One of them songs u can sing along with.

It made me feel much better.

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar

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NB I am not a fan of Indian movies at all. But ‘Devdas’ was an absolute classic (none of that Bollywood/ western wannabe rubbish that you see). The lyrics to the songs are breathtaking.. read on..

Whose footstep is this?
Whose shadow is this?
There was a knock at my heart;
who entered here?

Who spread this vibrant color over me?
My happiness killed me

It killed me…
God, it killed me…

I hid every sorrow;
with laughter I bore each injustice.
I even embraced thorns,
and was wounded by flowers.

Yes, but when I raised my hands in prayer,
I begged God for you!
God, I begged for you!

There was a knock at my heart;
who entered here?

_________________________

Happiness comes this night; a resplendent wedding procession has arrived.
An ocean of sadness, having welled in the eyes, was slowly checked.
Despair spread even in their happiness, wrapping her in the shadow of pain.

Taking memories of past moments, going with heavy steps,
the heart wept and the eyes welled up; the spirit cried out.
Those childhood memories,
those bonds and those affections,
those promises of everlasting love
Laughing, making him laugh, fighting and then making up;
each and every moment of love, burning like a lamp in my heart —

I am taking it with me, I am taking it with me, I am taking it with me!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar….

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Belated entries

Sister ‘S’ is getting engaged!
Tuesday 3rd April 2006

I haven’t been able to enter any blog entries (poor internet services) so here I am typing it on Microsoft word hoping for a miracle to take place and ta-da internet is connected. YEAH RIGHT!

Once again, I managed to wield my way out of marriage. Tehehehe. But for how long? Never mind, I’ll tackle the proposals one at a time.
In the meantime however, my gorgeous sister S is getting engaged. Yay! She said ‘yes’ to the proposal so basically the pre-wedding procedure happens in three steps (thanks to Mama Haji- dads uncle, for explaining).
Firstly, you have the lafz stage -parental approval of the wedding. It basically involves the parents of both the potential bride and groom to sort out any discrepancies privately and at the same time agree to the engagement. Brides family hands sweets and chocolate to the grooms family. I wish I was told this three years ago! I thought lafz was publicised for EVERYONE. Where the hell was my lifeline when I needed it? Damn it.

Secondly, this is publicised by the shirnee daadan process where the entire world is given the news (okay fine- I exaggerated, not the entire world! Just the afghans which means that news will travel at the speed of light and eventually the entire planet is bound to find out). In all seriousness, this stage hasn’t arrived yet. So I really don’t have a clue what happens.

Thirdly, is the engagement party. Self explanatory, really.

So yeah, tomorrow is the lafz. End of topic, it’s boring me already.

Yesterday we had coffee at Kabul City Centre. I felt like I was in Australia. the shopping cenre, the social atmosphere (it was around 4pm so all the business executives and ‘normal’ people had gathered) it felt like home. I think I found my haven when/if Kabul gets too much for me.

I also bough a huge afghan flag from the famous tourist place- Chicken Street (aka koochayeh morgha).Why? I don’t know. Patriotism. Hehe.
There was another shop with long elegant coats made of mink or wolf skin, cat skin, rabbit- you name it! Animal rights issues aside, they were beautiful. They only cost $500AU for the best in stock. It also comes with fur hats. Elite, classy, stylish.

The best part of today was Chelsea Supermarket. Everything is imported so they’re good quality stuff. I’m talking Cadbury chocolate, Ferrero Rocher, genuine designer perfumes, shampoos etc. Woolies has come to Kabul, YAY! I was so relieved. It’s pricey but who cares, it’s the closest thing to Woolworths.

Oh yeah, we bought a house. Finally! I’ve been living from a suitcase for the past three months. Argh!As I was saying, it’s a huge house. Twenty three rooms, five bathrooms and it’s four-five storeys high. Mashaallah! It was around US$260 000 (roughly 24 million Afghanis). The first thought that came to my head when I heard of the price was ‘imagine how many people that would feed?’

I have a job interview tomorrow. Found out in a very strange way. we were in the car, heading to Kabul City Centre today when a white 4WD with United Nations plates stopped on the side of the road. One of the men signalled for us to pull over. I thought it was trouble. He came over to my window and started talking to me. I had no idea who he was until my brother mentioned his name. he had recognised me (I had been to his office a while ago). He told me to call him later in the day and he’ll notify me abuo the job interview. How very odd! Called him, am due for an interview tomorrow at 1pm.

Returned home to realised that S needs jewelry and shoes to go with the dress. So we went shopping again. Walking to the shops, I noticed a black 4WD slowing down next to us with tinted windows. The guy inside was full on looking. ‘omg is that bejaan?’ the afghan rapper! My sister had a blank look on her face. The guys standing a few metres away from us caused a quick commotion ‘ohooo bejan jaaneh kunduzi’. That confirmed it! It WAS him. Anyways, we went on doing our shopping- we promised dad we’d be home before dark.

Erm.. I’m really very tired. Will write some more later. Dodgy internet.

OMG earthquaaake…

I just felt the ground shake like crazy. I woke Bro S and T, we started freaking out saying we should run downstairs. But outside everyone was pretty normal as if they didn’t feel it. Like it happens in horror movies- you sense stuff no one else can. But yeah, it was the first time something like that happened. Its over now.

Okay right now it’s 8.15am 4 April, I’m in bed. Still no internet connection, I’m tired as but cant sleep, work must be done. I’ve been up since 6am- todays S’s lafz ceremony. Lafz was given. Our driver came at 12pm to pick us up, stopped by at Kabul City Centre (shopping centre) picked up S’s dress (indian stuff). The guy that served us is so nice, he got the dress tailored to fit my sister and he bought my brother anti-acne cream.

Anyways, then we went to my job interview. I was escorted by W to the conference room where I waited for a while. One of the other workers was passing by, he stopped over to say hello and wished me luck for the interview. Interview went extremely well, was interviewed by a german who immediately picked up my Australian accent. She said I was a ‘fantastic candidate’ because of my business expertise and academic studies. She’ll get back to me within a week.

Next stop: mama Haji’s house for the lafz ceremony. I was running late- it was 2pm and people were due at 3pm. And S was asleep when I went in. took her to the salon, did her grooming. Went back, she got dressed. Went in to say hello to the guests. Lafz took place. Presents were distributed- the only recipient was S. she got gold, American dollars and more gold. eventually, they all left.

That was that.

Ba omideh deedaar khuda negahdaar!

Kabul Coffee House

Hezar ranjo aatash o gham..naamash ishq
Hezar dardo gham wa balaah.. naamash yaar
-Rumi

My new hang out place. Went there today for another job interview, atmosphere is so cosy and comfortable. Mainly for foreigners, the only afghans there were the waiters. Dad and I had a pretty long wait, an hour. We had coffee- my first in Afghanistan. Interview went well, got offered a job as a ‘civic development’ lecturer at Kabul University. But my only concern is I HATE TEACHING. But I’ll give it a go-I want to make maximum use of myself, I’m considering working 8am-4pm at my other office (if I get the job) and 4pm-7pm at the university. Hmmm….

Until next time…
Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

PS My internet should be connected tomorrow. Oh yeah, got news today- grandparents are flying over from Australia within a matter of weeks. Spoke to my paternal grand dad, man was he happy to hear that S is engaged. Cant wait til he comes. My maternal grandma also arrived from Paki land today.

Not again?! Another suicide blast

Mr Suicide bomber detonated himself this morning at Darulaman, Kabul. He killed 4 instantly, one died on his way to the hospital and 5 were injured.

Left Kabul for the first time. We went to Maidan- mum’s hometown. Grandma wanted to take Nawroozi for her soon to be daughter in law (currently engaged to my uncle). A few days ago there was a crossfire between Taliban fighters and ISAF troops in Maidan. Basically, the city is full of Taliban sympathisers who are truly dedicated to their cause.

We had to cross a river through the water (bridge had collapsed due to floods a few days back). Thankfully it was a 4WD. it was an hours drive, not a nice scene at all (surprisingly!). Compared to Jalalabad and Laghman, it was very dry, plain and flat.

At my mums-brothers- in-laws place, everything was predictable. We had lunch, ladies sang around a dayra. Some ladies got up and danced while others clapped and sang along. Mum told me to dance, I told her I didn’t want to in a subtle way. She kept insisting- literally pulling me by the hand. Jesus Christ!! I don’t want to dance, just want to sit and watch- which part of that don’t they understand? Spent the whole time counting the minutes (our driver instructed us to leave at 4.30pm at the latest due to insecurity along the way). Mum and grandma ended up staying a bit longer- great, more boredom for me! Everything was in Pashto.

Finally, it was time to leave. I said my goodbyes quickly and left for the car taking the front seat. Yay! It meant hearing more jihadi stories from our driver. He told me stories about how he had fought in Maidan for one and a half years during the Soviet invasion and pointed out their tracks through the mountains which they travelled by foot.

Still no internet- DODGY AFGHAN TELECOM! Typing this on Microsoft Word. It was supposed to be connected yesterday!

There’s an engagement party tomorrow at 9am (what the?). Doubt I’ll go! I need to find a job… there’s nothing else to do here. They must have emailed me- but I got no net!

ARGH! I’m going to sign out because I’m getting F R U S T R A T E D.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

Untitled
Saturday 7th April

She takes burdened steps into her new life
Her heart cries, her eyes weep
My heart had always wanted you, only you
The wounds you left me with only adds to my beauty
Like the scarred moon…
– Devdas

Ajmal Naqshbandi is still detained with the scruffy Talibans! They have issued an ultimatum which declares for the afghan government to meet their requirements by Monday otherwise they will execute Naqshbandi. I’m dying to find out more, but everything is in Dari (or even worst, Pashto!) and I still have no net. So dodgy!

The song from Devdas came on TV. I’m not a fan of indian movies but I fell in love with ‘Devdas’ when I watched it. It’s truly a classic! Anyways, the song is from the scene where it’s Parvatis final moments with her beloved Devdas before being taken away to her new husband, whom she doesn’t love. It’s all very powerful and emotional.

S and older R went to the engagement party with my grandma and yes, it was at 9am. I stayed home with mum, cooked and helped with the chores (which I HATE). Had to get some groceries for mum so I went with lil R to the shops near our place. I dread passing groups of eyes, I can feel them staring as if they have never seen girls in their entire life. or maybe it’s because they can tell we’re from ‘khaarij’ (referring to the west). as I was walking past I heard two boys talking loudly enough for me to hear, the conversation went something like this:

Guy 1- these girls are from the same place as you are
Guy 2- oh really? From Canada? Where do they live?

I didn’t hear the rest but at this point I just watned to turn around and blast them off verbally. Instead I continued walking, if I had done that- they would have taken it as though I have lead them on. YEAH RIGHT! Wishful thinking!

Rest of the day was spent serving tea, lunch, dinner, tea, tea and more tea. One of dads relatives came over proposing for his son- NOT INTERESTED, MATE! My sisters in laws came over- they came over with sweets and bought her a chunky solid gold bracelet (typical Afghan gift). We too gave them gifts.

I’m getting extremely aggravated with the dodgy internet services here. By the way, water has stopped running but electricity has been good to us. You don’t realise it, but without electricity life is dull. When the power used to return after a day of no electricity my sisters and I would jump for joy yelling, ‘YAY ELECTRICITY IS BACK!’ as if it’s a truck load of chocolates. Believe me, it’s more than that. Imagine life without electricity!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow- I’ll be seeing Kaka Sidiq at the orphanage. Bliss!

Until then…

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar!

Dreamy mood
Sunday 8 April 2007

Az roozeh ke tu rafti pareedeh rangeh shaadi.
Amma khursheed metaabeh mesleh yek roozi aadih
Chetoor haanoz parandeh daareh havayeh parwaaz
Magar khabar nadaran tu rafti az kenaram
Chera baret nagoftan bi tu che haaleh daaram.
Ba chashme khastayeh mann, Asemoon az sang shudeh.
La’nat ba een tanhayee, dilam barat tang shudeh

-Tanhayee (Persian song)

Baran mebaarad emshaab, dilam gham daarad emshaab
Araameh jaaneh khasteh ra mesparam emshab
Qatreh qatreh ashkeh chashmam mechakeh ba nam nammeh baraan

Rangeh chashmat rangeh darya seenayeh mann dashteh ghamha
Yaadem ayad zeereh baraan baa tu boodam, zireh baraan baa tu tanha
Zeereh baraan gerya kardam, bal ke barran shoyad goonah az jaanem.

– Baraan (Omid)

Emshab mikhaam mast beshaam,
Een jaaneh naqabeleh hast, hezar fadayeh tu besheh
Beyofteh zeereh qadam haat, ke khaakeh paayetu besheh

Kohneh sharaab, kohneh sharaab emshab baal o param bedi
Emshab mekham harf bezanam khandeh konam geryeh konam
Lutfee konn saaqi emshab chand barabaram bedi

Emshab parr o baal daram, shoor daram haal daram
– Omid

mmmmm..ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar…

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Ahmad Zahir. Omid. University essay. Poetry. Books.

I’ve come to accept the sad fact that I have to defer university for another semester or maybe even a year *sniff sniff*. It’s really not fair. Oh well, no point nagging and whingeing. Whats done is done. I’m still doing two units at another uni though, I deferred three units.

What a waste of time, I wanted to finish this semester which is why I did seven units last semester and six the semester before. I feel like such a loser. Basically I spent the whole day chucking a sad about my studies and freaking out. Maybe I shouldn’t have come at all but that wasn’t an option.

Siblings all enrolled at school today. I stayed home.

Not much to do here, this place is tiny (I thought our city was small) but I still don’t know my way around. That’s not good because if I don’t have anything to do-
I get bored!
And when I get bored,
I start missing home and friends!

I was listening to Gokhan Ozen today and it reminded me of my car and driving on the highway. It’s tough out here. I feel like someone’s amputated my arms and legs and I can’t do anything, I don’t know why. It could be because I’m bludging around and not making use of myself- something I’m not used to. I need to find a life since I cant return to my old one.

Excuse the pessimism, I’m presently in a critical disposition so I’ll end it here.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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All day i’ve been at home instead of going out as it’s the second day of Nawrooz and second day of spring (so glad winter’s over). It’s days like this when i really miss Australia. To keep myself distracted, I tried starting on a university essay which is due on Monday but the net was too slow and information was rare. I spent the whole day searching but nothing would come up. I need a library.

I’m really concerned about my university studies, they won’t organise an individual assessment for me. I don’t think I’ll be getting my second degree any time soon. That’s a shame because this was my last semester for my second degree. I’m very disappointed. A relative told me to say ‘i’ve completed two degrees minus one semester’. That actually makes me feel a whole lot better.

Days are so long here and it’s very hard to sleep til late. Regardless of how late you sleep the night before, you just wake up early the next morning.. somehow! It’s not only me that has realised this, everyone else has too. Strange!

It’s 12am, don’t feel like sleeping. At the same time, there isn’t much to do! Can’t be bothered working on my assignment because net is so dodgy.

I feel so useless, sitting at home all day. In Australia, I was always studying or working. Left home at 7.00am and got home at 5pm -6pm. Either at work or uni. Now i’m always at home! This isn’t normal for me.

Anyways, I’m listening to Ahmad Zahir. His lyrics hit you right where it hurts.

Beshnaw Ay Ashena Az Dile Zaaram
Roz o Shab Naalam Ashk o Khoon Baaram
Sinaye Pur Khoon Man Ze Gham Daram

Zabanam Ra Namefahmee
Negah Ra Ham Namebenee
Ze Ashakem Be Khabar Maandi

Dil Ra Ba Daste Gham Deham Bas Shekwa Az Donya Konam
Amshab Ba Yaade Ba Yaade Isheq e To Ba Ashk e Khod Tanha Shawam
Farda Qasam Bar Jaan e Az Dard Raswayet konam

Dar aeen kunj e qafas door az gulestan sookhutam murdam
Khabar kun hai sabaa az hal e zaaram baghebaanam ra
Aia sayad rahme kon maranjanid u janam ra
Parr wa baalam bekan amma masozaan asheyaanam ra

wah wah!

Oh, I caught a glimpse of Buzkashi on TV. I wish I went. I really want to see it in real life.

Almost forgot, we had visitors again today. They come at the most unusual time (early in the morning) and without any notice. I need to get used to it, I guess it’s an afghan norm.
It’s been nearly a month! I can’t believe I haven’t made any friends in this place. I’m so glad I’m still in touch with my friends back home, they’re part of me. My girls are my life!

Anyways, I’m going to leave it here because H.A goes to me today, ‘It’s not a novel, it’s a blog’.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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Where the waters meet…

Yaaay! I found the lyrics to the song ‘Shinwary Lawangeena’. Current fav in Afghanistan and across the globe..

The separation has weakened my heart.
Thoughts of the homeland bring tears to my eyes.
Too much love will drive me insane.
These flood waters do not scare me.
My courage will carry me across. When sung in the voice of a woman, this verse brings forth the inner strength of the women of this region. ‘Floods’ symbolize the patriarchal systems, cultural violence and other accepted impediments in the way of women’s active participation in a citizenship and development process.

Why don’t you return to your homeland?
You think you are living like a king, but, away from home, one is merely a beggar.

Help me leave the darkness behind, that I may spread light all across my land.
Your sister and your old mother, they love you.
‘Why don’t you come home?’ they ask.

*sniff sniff*

Ba omideh deedaar… Khuda negahdaar

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