Happy New Year 2010!
Part I New Year Resolutions: Blogospheric and Real World
1) Reflect on moving to Wordpress--ratiocinate, cogitate, consult, debate--get mad at Blogger jinns and move. Maybe.
2) Mark the other 3 planetary confluences that unite us all ultimately--the Vernal Equinox, the Summer Solstice, and the Autumnal Equinox (Winter Solstice)
3) Hold to Ramadan Resolution regarding the obviously “special personality” commentators on other blogs
4) Tame all jinns: computer, posting, commenting, email, chat--by being nice, firm, creative, wrapping a garlic lei around the computer, whatever it takes.
1) Maintain good library buddy relationships. You never know when you will need some aspiring psychiatry resident to yell “What are you doing to Dr. Chiara’s computer?” “I’m Dr Samir, and that is Dr. Chiara’s computer. Leave it alone!” Thanks again, Samir.
Poor guy was trying to delete the “screen saver” picture of a gangrenous ulcerated burn that was making him sick, but that he couldn’t stop looking at anyway. However, you never know what he might have deleted in the attempt
2) Resist temptation to say to next student who steals “my spot” and LIES about it: “Liar, liar, pants on fire! I have lived in your country (including Canada) and know the ways of your people! Have you no shame?”
3) Get better at identifying the “students” who are really “perverts” (by choice of type of p*rn, rather than the fact of watching p*rn) taking advantage of my 3 minute absence from the computer to get on line and view their favourites; and, at helping them feel comfortable enough to click out fully from all their sites before leaving
4) Resist the temptation to leave a note when briefly absent from computer:
Dear Pervert--you are welcome to use my computer--unlike the liar liar pants on fire thieving students who close out my documents, because you never delete my files, and I thank you for that. However, please do click out from your own sites thoroughly as you see me returning, because, as you know, your sites have a magic way of popping up when one least expects it. Imagine my surprise when I think I am re-visiting Nino Ricci’s The Lives of the Saints and/or hagiography, or comparative translations of the Quran, and instead I land on your preferred “ex ex”
5) Resist the temptation to research why white library perverts prefer non-white p*rn, and African Canadian library perverts prefer white p*rn. Remember that a research grant and multiple peer-reviewed publications under the heading “Cross-racial p*rn viewing habits of library perverts” will do little to advance your career in a direction you will like
6) Remember what the nice library lady said about how you crashed the computer and lost 5 hours of work (thank you Ken and friend for trying to recover it for me and for keeping me from hysterics; let me know if you need a reference to a mental health professional program):
“Up to 5 screens including tabs open at once is okay but above that you risk a crash. 15!!!??? Routinely!!!??? Oh, 15 is too many. That is how it happened”
“Well, actually it was more towards 25 that night. 5? You want me to make do with 5? Okay I can manage with 10--maybe, or 12, or how about a baker’s dozen, 13? No, I don’t have ADD. And yes, I recognize I am my own worst computer jinn.”
What are your New Years resolutions?
How are you marking this day?
For those suffering from the morning after the night before, did you have fun? Tell all! Okay, tell almost all!
Any other comments, thoughts, experiences?
Part II A Year of Blogging Dangerously: From Blurking to Blog Owner
From December 1, 2008-December 31, 2009--something of a combination Gregorian and Islamic calendar year--I have gone from blurker to blog owner. Neither activity was particularly planned, nor were the commenting and posting stages in between. I was more like Chiara in Computerland falling through the Blogosphere Hole, or rather, being coaxed through by North African medical doctors too intelligent to have their enthusiasm for “bloqs” dismissed out of hand.
In the course of the year I have met Mad Hatters, March Hares, Dormouses, Queens of Hearts, and Kings of Hearts. Mostly I have met wonderful people from around the world and from diverse backgrounds who are intelligent, articulate, supportive, and funny!
Respectful debates have encouraged me to learn more, and posts outside my usual fields of interest have prompted me to discover new areas of knowledge, or perspectives. I learned Arabic words I hadn’t encountered previously, many of them ending in ‘Allah, which made me realize that “my Muslims” routinely switch these to their English or French equivalents. Also along the way, I learned short forms, emoticons, favicons, and linking!
I discovered a world of converts/reverts previously unknown to me, as all of “my Muslims” are born Muslim, and the only convert I had met previously was on the other end of a speculum. Her miscarriage was the main topic of our discussion, and her religion came up only in that context.
I shifted my geographical blogospheric reading base from the Maghreb to Saudi Arabia, including the GCC, and a then new term to me, Khaleeji culture. In fact, for those curious about how I came to the Saudi blogosphere, blame it on the Libyans (they are already blamed for so much), and an eastern migration via Nzingha’s comments, her blog Nzingha’s Soapbox, and her then blog roll.
Moving eastward has involved moving from former French, to former Italian, to former British territory, and with it encountering anglicized transliterations of perfectly good Arabic vocabulary now rendered completely unrecognizable. It took me weeks of anxiety, learning and relearning “Al-Waleed”, triple checking that I hadn’t typed in Al-Weed, wondering why any self-respecting English-speaking Saudi-Lebanese couple would name their son Weed, remembering they hadn't ( or had they?), going back to the authorized biography…Yes, indeed, weeks of that nonsense! Until, finally, I read some sane writer who mentioned Al-Walid--of course! Walid! I have already met many Walids, and not a weed among them! Why didn’t anyone spell it that way in the first place? I can transliterate Arabic to French so much better than to English--just ask Coolred who under my Gallic influence has started to misspell her youngest’s, Jibreel's, name as Jibril.
In this year of incremental blogospheric activity, I am grateful to all those who discussed, commented, read, followed, encouraged, advised, and helped my progression. I am also grateful to commentator Susanne, who found my new blog and left a comment before I even realized I was online publicly.
The volunteer translators for the upcoming multilingual posts on the marriage permission and Iqama processes in Saudi Arabia--particularly for non-Saudi/Saudi couples--deserve special thanks, and a promise that the rest of the English version will be available shortly.
I am particularly grateful to all those who entrusted me with their personal stories, and were such a delight to work with; and, to all those who politely declined, I understand why you weren’t ready--yet! Remember you can always contact me with your story at chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com (or the other one if you already have it); or, you can send me photos of your firstborns, little Chiara and Chiaro.
I look forward to more discussions, debates, and comments, from more readers, commentators, followers, and collaborators, and wish you all the very best for 2010!
What stands out from 2009 for you?
What is your summary of your year?
What marked you the most this year?
What are your hopes for 2010?
How is it so far?
Any other comments, thoughts, experiences?