Author: Um Abbas

Pretend

“If a child has concluded, all on her own, that it’s impossible for a man in a flying sleigh to make it all the way around the world in one night, delivering elf-made replicas of all the stuff you see in Target and Best Buy, then that’s a child I would be happy to steer toward a voting booth when she’s 18. That’s an American in search of facts. If, however, she goes on pretending to believe well into her teens (I encountered more than one such teenager in Frisco), because it makes her parents (and God) feel sweet and happy, then I become worried. That becomes an American willing to spend $100,000 on her ‘special day’ wedding, or who will believe without hard evidence that other countries harbor weapons of mass destruction when they don’t.” – Hank Stuever in his book, Tinsel: A Search for America’s Christmas Present

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Springlicious

Well, this is about to be the end of my visit of Czech, I managed – under a handful of stress – to get the stamping done with the last one happening like in an American movie, in the last minutes possible. But done, nevertheless. I have prayed, for the first time in my life, for the taxi driver I’ve picked up on Wenceslas Square to actually behave like a taxi driver – cut in front of others, run over slow walking people, go against the flow so to say, because I was in a dire hurry to get to the embassy before the counsellor casually walks out for the Friday night and leaves me with desperation and things undone standing in front of the closed building. I assume he understood my time limits from me nervously checking my Blackberry every 30 seconds for time, especially when we got stuck in a traffic jam (all right, he didn’t go over the walk path in that case), but he cut the road to the embassy building and went in wrong direction and over red lights just to get there. I swallowed my heart by then, but hey – the stamp is there, on the list. He also made me say “Sweet Jesus” after asking for the fare money ’cause he honestly and completely truly ripped the feathers of my chicken butt (almost 2 KWD a kilometre). He laughed, probably didn’t think a Muslim girl would say that.
Today I’ve finally got some time to get out on the well known clear and fresh air of the region I’m residing in, and snap some very quick pictures on the walk.
It’s right after winter so the nature is defrosting with occasional frost over the night still and some hoarfrost over here and there, but the smell indicates the spring coming, unstoppably.
Me and my mum strolled over the routes we used to take when I was younger, and reminisced a little, and wondered how much things changed in the past few years I haven’t been around the Czech Highlands much. Trees torn down for wood and not replaced, fields widened, roads disappeared, water gone dark and dirty from seasoning tourists swimming all pickled in creams and factors and perfumes, letting the water wash it off and keep it. From azure blue, transparent water in a past quarry I used to swim almost alone years ago, to dark blue, petroleum reminding liquid I wouldn’t touch with my bare foot now. God knows, it might dissolve me. Tax for civilization (read: city people and their trendy magazines) discovering the odds and ends only few kids and villagers used to know about in here.


The castle and museum in Kamenice nad Lipou, Czech Republic

In the fields beyond the little town

The long abandoned (and tourist found) flooded granite quarry

Tomorrow by afternoon I’ll be boarding a plane to Dubai again and hopefully arrive safely, as well on the second flight to Kuwait City. It’s spring there too, all right, with about 20 degrees difference between here and there, so lets see – it took me just a bit to get accustomed to the cold breeze in here again; but I’m afraid that as a winter lover I’ll have it harder getting back to the heat rails.
But hubby mentioned some trip to the sea so maybe I’ll just drop the heats behind my back and enjoy the endless blue amounts of salty water. We’ll see.


Also, I would like to thank to Míša a.k.a. Velchi for her superb hospitality and food and roof she’d share with me during my struggles in the stamp war, Prague fighting line. Delicious soup and scones and fun chat, thanks a lot! Hope to meet you again :)

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So, You Want a Stamp?

Just a short update from my necessary visit of my homeland – I need a simple stamp, on a simple document; as stated in previous entries, I need a stamp from Kuwait Embassy in Czech, on a birth certificate for my daughter, so they may (and also may not) decide to grant her the permit to stay in the country.
So, yes, basically I need one damn stamp. Simple task, right?
Not.


For that stamp, I have to have a stamp, for which I need a stamp, for which I got a stamp, after I announced the intention to get a stamp.
All of the above happens in different towns and cities, of course; with closest being my place of current residency, other 20km away, another 50km, and two others 120km from here, both last in same town but not same place and lets be honest – Prague certainly is a big city already, at least when it comes to having a short period of time and a lot of bureaucracy obstacles to overcome. I use public transportation and as such I’m rather tied up in terms of travel time.
I’m in step three of five, with uncertainty about the success of this one, as the offices don’t really work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and lets don’t bullshit ourselves, who works on Friday. I’m running out of time although I didn’t slack at all; and it doesn’t make me happy.
Something is seriously wrong in this country; just tell me, what?

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A Year After

Dramatic heading, isn’t it? :) Not so dramatic content of it, however; it’s just been over a year I’ve been in Czech. Nothing much seems to be changed; Islam still lifts newspapers’ popularity with deeply suggestive content (I’m now referring to a magazine made by a newspaper claiming to be the most serious news oracle in the whole country, which put in sale a very blatant article pretending to be neutral interview with Muslim women, but ending being simply awful and once again damaging the fame of the small and already torn apart Islamic community of Czech Republic).
People still do stare on hijab, at least in the small towns, and officialities are still pain in butt to get done. I’ve, however, managed to get half of my work done already, which is positive – my criminal record didn’t require any waiting time anymore as it used to be, and I got it instantly after asking for it. Yay me!
Now the harder part, but inshallah even that will get through.
My travel wasn’t unpleasant, neither jolly, as I hate the murmur of airports and looking for the gates (Dubai airport has got around 300 departure gates, it indeed is very big and somewhat confusing place; Heathrow still leads in confusion, nevertheless.)
As I departed from Kuwait during the night, before fajr prayer came into the play, I’ve had the possibility to enjoy a great show on my second flight from Dubai, when we were crossing over Iran; Shiraz is a very mountainous area and offers a great deal of amazing aerial views. Early morning, clear sky, precious land under us, with tiny dots of housings and villages scattered throughout the mountains.




I’ve slept more than half of the flight and usually started to nap when clouds came into the picture, as that is rather boring (and quite painful for my eyes as well) to watch; woke up over Romania and enjoyed another bunch of hilly, snowy views, than woke up after Wien, which is almost at home, so I stayed up, read up a book from duty free shop I bought in Dubai, and enjoyed juices and chocolate a flight attendant kept on bringing to me, obviously fond of me, but without any signs of any kind of interest from my side – a little more tucked in the hijab and abaya, perhaps, after I realized it.
I miss my husband and little daughetr already, but things have to be done and they’re not gonna be done without me being here; so – let’s roll.

PS.: Excuse the quality of the pictures in this entry; they’re taken on iPod, as my camera was having a lift in my luggage so I won’t be dragging too many bags with me, and iPod was the only device I could use to get a snap of at least a little of what I liked so much. Plus, small area of economy class seating doesn’t allow much space to position myself, either.

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En Route

Going to Czech, tomorrow night. Some fishy, I mean – official, business over there for me to take care of; travelling light, with one small luggage, no husband and no daughter. Laptop and pocket money included, as a child of the modern age I ought to have some calming piece of electronics with me, plus some money to feed it, right.
It’s a short trip for not so jolly reasons and I hope it will be over swiftly and more importantly successfully. Well, I can hope in that; with my (our) luck, it will all go everywhere but where we desired it to go. But hey, we’re getting used to it.
Spring came quickly to Kuwait; so quickly that it took just about a week to go from 20ish degrees with fresh breeze to over 30 over the course of the day, and 20ish during the nights. I bet my new shoes that when I come back it will be already summer in full bloom, with it’s typically thick heat which makes you think you will suffocate if you breathe too much. Not mentioning the free showers every few steps.



Dori, although still rather illegal here, finally got to go to school, not the real deal, just a nursery at the time, but better than a wire in the eye. She gets her necessary company of kids of her age, some correction in behaviour from hijab and niqab wrapped teachers and most importantly she gets to know the system and language of Kuwait. About time.
It’s up to my unclear business in Czech now to make it possible for her to go to the real madrasa, with homework, teachers with whips and sticks (oh wait, not anymore) and you know… the real school she’s been dreaming about for ages now, since Ramadan perhaps, when her cousin Fatoom started to attend the big school. Nothing drags you better than a good example.
Wish me luck; I’m very certain I’m gonna need loads of it.
podpis

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