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I am beginning to feel that perhaps the guy who had broken my heart four years ago was right. That perhaps I am not worthy of being anyone’s girlfriend, that I am not attractive and that no guy would want to go out with me.

You’re probably wondering what triggered this train of thought…. Well, what else would send me in to a spiral storm of total loss of self-confidence? … A man of course!

I just wish men would come forward and say exactly what it is that they are thinking, rather than make me write a mental list of all the possible things I might have said or did that may have pushed them away. As well as open up my closet of endless flaws  and go through each and every point that could have contributed towards the rejection.

Just when I was taking steps towards getting back in to the dating game and taking the risk of opening up, I have been knocked back in to my shell and buried back under a rock, while trying to be brave by holding back the hurt and holding back the burning tears.

Is any of this really worth it? I’m tired of feeling undesirable… Perhaps it’s best to stay in my shell, keeping my head down and continuing to be a work-a-holic. At least I know I’m good at that and won’t get rejected.

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I have heard time and time again how are people to know what you want if you don’t speak up and ask for it. I have to be totally honest, I can’t argue with that. As much as I would like people to be able to read my thoughts as well as understand the workings of my very odd and somewhat complicated mind, they can’t, so, I have no choice but to speak up and ask for what I want. In Paulo Coelho’s book ‘The Alchemist’ and Rhonda Byrne’s, best-selling book that tells of “The Secret’ they say that ‘The Universe Is Conspiring To Work In Your Favor’ you just need to ask for what you want in a positive way and the universe will work its magic and in time, it will have it sent to you when every thing is aligned and it’s meant to be yours. ( I even have a few vison/dream boards to help me visualise what I want)

I have to admit that it has worked in my favor many times from the smallest thing like a parking spot to the job I have been dreaming of! Each time I receive what ever it is I have asked for, I make sure that I express my sincere gratitude for receiving what has been granted. Having said that there are 2 things I am still waiting on… 1) my books to be published  and 2)  to meet or be introduced to my life partner. In the past I have had the worst luck when it comes to romance! I’ve seen and experienced so much I would have the right to swear off men completely but I still have hope and a little faith left that I will get it right the next time. Although the experiences I have gone through have been enough to turn ones blood cold and cause great heartache, I have learned a valuable lesson from each and every one of them. I have learned to recognize those who are genuine in their affections and those who are only around for a bit of fun and to pass the time until another damsel catches their eye. The genuine ones are becoming fewer these days and are rare to find.

So, if all I have to do is ask, then so be it; I have a lot to gain and nothing to lose by simply asking politely

Dear Universe grant me the following if you please;

I would be eternally gratefully if you could orchestrate for an honest, reputable and professional illustrator and publishing house to show interest in my children’s books and offer me a book deal. I would like to be able to share the Egyptian culture that is part of my heritage with the rest of the world and show it through the eyes and lives of the characters in my books. With that a small handsome fortune that will assist me in taking care and looking after my parents.

My parent’s are comforted with the fact that their youngest daughter has found the man she wishes to spend the rest of her life with. They would also like to see me settled too while they are still able to dance to a beat. The man I am looking for first and foremost must be single and eligible! He has to be one of good family values, he needs to have sterling manners socially and at the table, he needs to be a man of intellect, one who is comfortable in his own skin and whom can speak and read Arabic and English very well (if he can speak more than 2 languages that is a plus). He must possess a sense of humour and finds enjoyment in music, movies and dancing. He needs to be responsible, respectable and successful at his job. He needs to be a man who is honest, genuine, kind, faithful, understanding, flexible and generous emotionally as well as financially.A man who is willing to help out around the house and have a hand in raising our children. I need a man who can appreciate me for who I am and who can understand my multicultural background as well as my liberal way of thinking and living. A man who is ready to settle down and have a family and to be a partner in the marriage as well as a good father.  If this man could be of mixed ethnicity, tall, with broad shoulders, fit physic, good-looking, have nice teeth, nice hands, nails and feet, with warm smiling eyes and good health, I would be very thankful.

Please grant my sister and her husband a healthy, happy and prosperous life together. May they always be blessed.

Please grant my parents health, laughter, joy, love and sound minds in the years that are to come.

Please help the people of Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Syria find the strength to regain control of their country and take back their identities. Guide them to a brighter, happier, prouder and prosperous future.

As you know universe, I love food! The tantalizing flavours and their many combinations are delicious. I have been successful these past few months in controlling myself and I am very proud and pleased with my accomplishments thus far, but if you could continue to help fuel my will power to reach my target weight and the image that I am aiming to achieve that would be grand!

Please continue to guide me a long life’s path and shine your light down on it to help me see the way, continue to show me the signs that I need to take note of so that I may continue on the course that I’m meant to take.

Universe, I would like to thank you for the small and big opportunities that you have brought my way. My life and career has been blossoming and moving in the direction that I had and continue to visualise for myself. I have been able to pay for my teaching certificate and masters without any financial aid or assistance. I have earned a reputation as an active, caring, creative and animated teacher. You have brought people of great value and friendship in to my life and have blessed me with a loving and caring family. I have grown to be a strong opinionated independent woman. You have opened the door for me in the field of writing and I have had many articles published in magazines. The list is endless and I am humbled by your generosity, thank you.

N.B The Image for my blog post was found at; http://www.photography-match.com/wallpapers/6862_digital_universe_189/

Diary Entry 9

Friday, 4th February 2011

 

‘Departure Friday’

 

 

I wake up with my nerves on edge. I am completely and utterly nervous. So nervous that I am nauseous filled with fear and dread. If the past two days have been bloody then God only knows what lies in store for the brave protesters today.

 

Today we anticipate more protesters to take to the streets and head towards Tahrir, but after seeing the event unfold on TV the past two days I am fearful for the lives of those who want to go, Becs and a few friends of ours too.

 

‘Please God, If you can hear me, let there be no blood shed today. Blow away those who want to inflict harm, violence and chaos.’

 

Every time I look at the clock or my watch the hands don’t appear to have moved. I feel as though everything is going in slow motion.

I sit and continue to type my diary entries out on to my lap top. As I peck away at my keyboard, I feel as though my intuition is picking up on the anxiety of everyone around me. My heart is racing, breathing heavily and a tightness forms in my chest. I try and over come the strange sensation, by taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly. Bec now is looking at me with concern and ask if I’m alright and if he can get me anything.

 

“God, I just want this day to pass”

 

Becs’s sister asks me if I want to accompany her at Makani, a café very close to the house. I think getting out of the house might be a good idea.

 

My Blackberry these days seems to be an extension of my hand. I check twitter every few minutes for up dates from trusted sources in Tahrir and in other areas of the country.

 

Friday prayer has commenced and the TV is showing rows upon rows of people worshiping, bowing and praying together shoulder by shoulder and in unison,

while others form a human chain around the people praying to protect them. The sight of the live footage on TV is empowering and moving. I am moved so much that a lump forms in my throat and my eyes begin to burn from holding back the tears.

 

This is a scene I have longed to see, where hang ups and walls between Muslims and Christians do not exist. They stand together as people, as Egyptians. I can not help but feel proud. How I want to be there and stand among them and witness the barriers between religion, classes and people come crashing down along with a regime that built it. I am thinking of ways of escaping the safety of Heliopolis to go there. A phone call from my mother quickly ends that. She calls to make sure that I am safe and nowhere near Tahrir! Grrrrrrrr

‘Are these the same people who had been fighting in self-defense the past two days?’

 

The world as I have been told by many have been glued to their TV sets for hours every day and today they will be as shocked as I am to see a different scene, a scene of unity and solidarity. Muslims and Christians standing together, what a vision, what a sight and what an example they are being to the world.

 

For the pas few years I have been teach in a school where my students have tried tirelessly to find out what faith I belong to. I never tell them because it shouldn’t matter what religion I practice. What should mater is what kind of person I am. We shouldn’t teach children to identify others by their practices. It’s wrong and that is what causes BIG problems and a huge rift in our country and society. I hope my students and the administration are watching this and will be inspired and learn from it.

 

Heba comes and joins us at Makani. I introduce her to Meeza we talk about how things are going right now in Tahrir. Heba shares my desire for wanting to go to Tahrir. She too has given her word to her parents that she won’t go. Her father calls her every day, early in the morning to make her promise that she will not go. He doesn’t want to have to worry about her, while he is out of the country. She alone understands and shares my frustration.

 

The café is filling up with more customers; the limited menu doesn’t turn them away. The change of scenery and being out of the house seems to be a common change that everyone is in need of. Being here sitting in a café makes me feel guilty. I feel as though I am not contributing or supporting. I am a firm believer in the freedom of speech, liberty and justice and for years I have been trying to break free from the chains that the country and society have tried to shackle me with and here I am sitting at a café!!!! What a hypocrite! ARGH!!!

 

I take my phone and check the tweets!

Reporters are having a tough time down on the ground. Military officials are confiscating cameras and detaining them. The safest place for them ironically is in Tahrir, where the protesters grant them refuge.

The square is turning in to a huge big out-door concert or festival with live music and dancing!

 

I should be there!

 

 

 

 

I was in Alexandria visiting my family for the Eid Al Adha and we had guest visit us and during one of the many visits a topic was brought up and a huge discussion ensued along with many other mini ones with other people, to hear their opinions and to see if they had ever been put in to this particular situation or have heard of another one like it. It is now apparently the custom to tip the hired help (servers, chefs, and chauffeurs) of your host’s house if you have been invited to their house for a luncheon or dinner party. They were actually told by the hosts that tipping the help was ‘expected’. (This has become a thorn in my side!) Upon hearing that, I went buzzerco! What is the world coming to?

After doing quite a bit of research I was able to find the social rules of etiquette according to England. I know that Egypt isn’t England by any standard, but let’s be honest the British are the leaders in etiquette always have been and probably always will be. So, let’s use their rules as a guide line shall we.

 Let’s say the host sends you their chauffer to pick you up from where you are staying and takes you to and from the host’s house. To tip the chauffeur is acceptable in that situation, but if the chauffeur didn’t then, tipping him for standing by the hosts car and polishing it, is no concern of yours. 

If you have been invited for a luncheon or a dinner at someone’s house then you should not tip the help. You were invited, (presumably) to enjoy the ambiance and company of the host along with other guests. Why should you have to tip their help for that? If you were told to, then that is bad form as well as very nouveaux riche. If tipping was expected then could someone please tell me, what’s the difference between going to a restaurant or the friend’s house for a meal? I personally see none!

If a host has the audacity to encourage their guests to tip their employees then that puts them in a very bad light. It indicates that they are not paying their staff enough, if they are to rely on guest’s tips! In European countries the staff would be very embarrassed to be put in that situation, while here the hired help would lap it up and would come to expect it.

Now here is when tipping the house hold staff ‘might’ be condoned acceptable. If you are asked to stay at someone’s house for a long period of time and you are assigned a member of the staff to look after you, then a tip would be acceptable. Tipping the person who cleans your room and prepares your meals after a weekend stay or a longer one is also acceptable. However, you have to check with your hosts that tipping their staff is alright, some house-holds don’t prohibit it. Some house holds give a bonus to those who have to put in extra hours to look after their guests. Hosts don’t condone tipping because it embarrasses them and their staff. So, before you reach deep in to your pockets to slip the help a few notes, you need to check with the host first.

If you are very well acquainted with the family you are visiting and know the staff well then giving a discrete tip is acceptable behavior especially if it’s a holiday season. Just make sure you give the same amount to everyone.

For the past few days I have been asking people who live abroad and here in Egypt if they have ever been put in a situation like that or have heard of others been put in such an awkward and embarrassing predicament and everyone said ‘No’. They were quite shocked and appalled by the situation our friend’s had been put in. One of the people I asked said ‘I don’t know how I would be able to take them seriously or even look at them again. That is just wrong’

I couldn’t agree more!

Now that brings me to my next question, what do you do in a situation like that? I would love to hear you opinions.

Below are some links that tell you in what situations and placed it’s considered alright to  tip.

http://www.howtodothings.com/food-and-drink/a3339-how-to-use-tipping-etiquette.html

http://www.askabeauty.com/manners-tipping.htm

http://www.angelpig.net/victorian/etiquette.html

Etiquette in Society- http://books.google.com.eg/books?id=nJ4qXk0a0mcC&pg=PA426&lpg=PA426&dq=do+you+tip+the+servants&source=bl&ots=CXz1Ux9Pty&sig=ykMS7lIJDFJKx9dE6Ms5nMY-pqA&hl=en&ei=OVDmTKbGFoXBhAf-wLmYCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCUQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=do%20you%20tip%20the%20servants&f=false

Published in the September 2009 issue of (in)sight Magazine.

Why Can’t It be Ramadan Everyday?

A few nights before Ramadan,
And all across the nation,
People were bustling with anticipation.

They’d hustle, they’d bump, they’d swear as they drive,
Men fight with each other as well as their wives.

Boyfriends continue to ruin girlfriend’s lives,
With their cheating and lies, Oh, what a surprise!

Girl’s eye their competition with looks of despise
Stay at home Moms cook up rumors and lies

You liar! You thief! You crook! You stinker!
Are the words we hear and are left to linger.

On the eve of THE night and with a blink of an eye,
Halos are out and consciences rise
All must be good, for Ramadan has arrived.

The Month of Ramadan is upon us again. T’s a time for giving to the needy as well as a time for forgiveness and reflection. I love this time of year because families gather and spend some quality time with one another, break their fast together at Iftar and the gathering can some times go on until Suhour. People give willingly and in abundance to the less fortunate and what I love even more is that people’s tongues are curved!
From sunrise to sunset people pay close attention to what they say out loud to others instead of damning someone’s house to fall down on them and flaring in to a temper and cursing every member of another person’s family! (You know which words I mean! We’ve all used them!). People are more conscious of their actions and use of words. Our day to day lives are stressful, there are times when you vent and say things that can be really hurtful. You’re always on the go and rushing here and there for appointments and social gatherings. Spending an hour or two with the kids when they get home from school to ask how their day was and what things they learned, is something you would love to be able to do, but you have to work late or you can’t because you have to get your hair done and have a manicure done for a dinner party you’re going to. Guy’s don’t think you’ve been let of the hook so easily! The men have business appointments at all crazy hours. Then there’s the male bonding time with buddies and there’s also maintaining that Baywatch chiseled physic by paying a daily pilgrimage to the gym. Be honest, most of you would much rather watch paint dry than be stuck at home listening to your mothers moaning, kids running round asking endless series of questions and your wives nagging.
There are two things that truly amaze me during this incredible month. The first is how ‘good’ everyone becomes. The tangled webs of deceit cease to be spun, hell even the thieves stop stealing. It’s as though a wish or a spell has been cast where everyone becomes honest and angelic, like Jim Carey’s character in the movie ‘Liar, Liar’. The second thing that completely throws me is how by some miracle and with a wave of a magic wand, during Ramadan people make the extra effort and can find the time to help the needy, spend time with their family, and be courteous and kind to others. Now, if memory serves me correctly there are 24 hours in a day every month of every year, no matter which calendar we go by. So, could someone please explain to me ‘Why is it ONLY possible in Ramadan and not throughout the year?’ Surely, if we all spoke nicely to one another all year round, there would be less rudeness and negativity and there would be more cheer and it would set a better example for the younger generation. If we gave more to others throughout the year, we would feel better about ourselves all year long instead of just for a month. If we did practice the lessons of Ramadan throughout the year we would appreciate everything we have and count our blessing, instead of constantly complaining and wishing that we had more.
I know what you’re probably thinking, “She’s one to talk. I bet she doesn’t practice what she preaches!” I will admit that I am not a saint! I was just as guilty as everyone else. However, this time last year that changed. I decided that if I can be genuinely good for a month, then what is preventing me from doing it all year? For the past year I have made the effort to be more respectful and giving to others. Honestly speaking, I do feel better about myself and there isn’t a day that goes by where I forget to be grateful for the people that I have in my life and the blessings I receive. So, if I can do it. Why can’t you? You can’t use the excuse that it costs too much because it doesn’t cost anything to be courteous and time doesn’t cost you a piaster either. The resources you need for the job, you already have; it’s ‘YOU’.

Happy Ramadan Everyone!

 

After a wonderful vacation with family in the UK and sight-seeing in London, I have returned to the reality of my every day life. It was a much needed break from my routine and I feel as though my energy levels have been revitalized and I am ready to face another year of teaching, studying, self-improvement and writing but I come back wishing I was still in England and questioning what possessed me to return. 

The BMI flight to Cairo from Heathrow was fantastic. It didn’t feel like a four hour flight and getting through immigration and customs at Cairo Airport was a piece of cake and stress free. It was quick and pain-free. Usually it’s a bloody night mare! 

My mother and I made it back to Alexandria in one piece and settled in like two peas in a pod.  By this time I’m thinking…’maybe this isn’t so bad’, that was until I was sent out to do the grocery shopping because the cupboards were bare and the fridges were hollow. So, I hopped in to my car and make my way to Carrefour, park the car, enter in to the building, and walk over to the hyper market and that’s when it hits me. ‘I AM BACK!’ 

The scene before me was one of shopping chaos. It can best be described as a shopping competition to see who can get the most groceries in their trolley. Why? Well, the Islamic month of fasting, known as Ramadan will be starting in about 2 weeks time. For some unknown reason it sends everyone in Egypt in to a frenzy! If you could see the way they shop you would swear that they were going to go in to hibernation for the Fall and Winter or they were going to go underground and want to take as many provisions as they possibly can. The pasta and rice section of the supermarket was as bare as the cupboards at home. What really boggles my mind is that they know Ramadan is coming, it’s not a surprise and the supermarkets aren’t going any where why do they have to by 20 Kilos of rice and pasta in one shot? They aren’t even on offer! 

As I stand at the entrance trying to regain my senses I get a cart and enter the Ramadan shopping madness. I felt like I was in a Play Station Game going around scoring points for every item I was able to find on the shopping list. I don’t think I would have been as calm as I was if I hadn’t had my iPod to listen too. The noise level in the Hyper Marché was as bad as the sound of Cairo traffic. I took me 2 HOURS to get the shopping done!! Why? Well, at first I was still in Euro mode, waiting patiently in line and following the universal rules of shopping etiquette, but when it’s Ramadan Madness shopping you throw those rules out and go in to defense shopping. You edge your way sneakily towards the items that you are targeting and as quick as a pick pocket you put it in to your trolley before anyone else snatches it. When you wait in line to have your veg and fruit weighed or when you are paying for the groceries you block any potential line cutters with your cart or your back. 

By the time I got home I wasn’t in the best of moods because the porter/bowab/care taker of the building was nowhere to be found, (surprise, surprise) and I had to make 3 trips from where I had parked the car up to the apartment to get everything home. Without a word of a lie, I remained silent for the rest of the night and didn’t utter a word. 

I just couldn’t believe the contrast in shopping at Tesco’s to shopping at Carrefour! I don’t know why I get culture shock every time I come back. I know how things are done here, but I suppose that I get used to a simpler and polite way of dealing with people on my trips abroad that I come back hoping that things have changed here.

To avoid the Family Fued of shopping, the best time to go shopping is at 10am when the shops first open.  Actually make it a GOLDEN RULE to shop at that time all the time!

Every country and culture has its rules of etiquette when going to visit people at home. I’m going to give you a crash course on how things are done here in Egypt to avoid some of the confusion. Even I have made some fatal errors when visiting. I would go by the British rules of etiquette that my mother had drumed in to me as a child. You will find that some of the rules are similar to the ones you already know, while others are very different to those in Europe.

Egyptians are very hospitable people and they always say ”Itfadal or Itfadaly” which means help yourself. They don’t mean it literally. So, if some one says you’re welcome to pass by any time, they are being polite. Call them ahead of time to take an appointment to see them.     They will also use the phrase ”Itfadal or Itfadaly” if you compliment them on something they have. They don’t really mean that you are welcome to take it.

When you go you should be dressed nicely. If the occasion is a luncheon then semi formal is probably the best way to dress.  Women, should wear either a nice dress, skirt or top (not too short or  revealing) or  a pant suite (bright colours) and don’t forget the bling (jewelry), don’t go over the top,  (you don’t want to look like a Christmas tree) keep it simple! Go with the saying,  less is more. (Don’t be shocked if you see other women wearing the crown jewels and knuckle dusters for rings)

Gents should wear shirt, trousers and  shoes should be polished!

When you arrive at the door of the house that you have been invited to, don’t stand directly in front of the door when you ring the bell, Stand to the opposite side of where the door opens, so that you can not see directly in to the house, but don’t be too far away so that they can’t see you in the spy-glass. (this is a caution just incase someone is unveiled and needs to cover up and to make sure that everything is set before you enter the house)

Before entering the house look to see if there are shoes or a place for shoes to be taken off by the door. Some households prefer that shoes not be worn in the house. If you’re not sure ask.

You should never be on time. It isn’t rude if you do arrive on time, but you will be the first and the only person there for a while. So it is best to come half an hour later  from the time that they tell you.  For example if the invitation is for 8 pm, arrive at 8:30 pm.

**** If you are a groom going to propose, (to ask the family for their daughter’s hand in marriage) then you should be on time or 15 minutes late at most. It’s considered an insult otherwise. It means you are not ‘THAT’ interested in their daughter.

If you receive a wedding invitation, (card in hand, (now a days facebook invite or phone call)) don’t go to the wedding at the time that is stated on the invitation, you will be the only guest there for a LONG time! It is best to go at least an hour or an hour and half late.          (Bride is never ready on time anyway)

When you have been invited in to the house and are sitting down you will be asked what beverage you would like to drink (tea, coffee or soft drink…very rarely will a house hold offer beverages with ‘spirit’) , you have to drink  anything that is offered. It’s insulting otherwise, it’s as if your saying what they have to offer isn’t good enough for you.

The above rule applies if you are offered chocolate or a sweet, you HAVE to take at least one.

If it’s someone you don’t know well and you are thirsty,  you can’t ask for a refreshment like tea, coffee or a soft drink , that would be too forward of you. It’s ok to ask for a glass of water.

If the hosts are traditional (old school), then it is best not to cross your legs in front of them, they might consider it rude. 

Invited for Tea or going to congratulate  (new house, marriage)

 If you are invited for tea then flowers, gift for the house or the lady of the house.

If your visit is to congratulate then the gift to take with you is usually silver or crystal.

There is an ongoing debate about Sharbat (celebration drinks).  Some people think it is rude to drink all of the drink and that you should  leave some of the liquid in the glass. While others say it’s fine to finish it. I suggest you do as the Romans do in this case, if you see people leaving some of the liquid in the glass then do the same.

Lunch or Dinner

If you are invited to someone’s house for dinner then it is customary to take a kind of  desert. It is always best to buy a whole cake. Don’t take anything savory because the message you may be sending is that you have brought the food that ‘you’ like and prefer to it with you.

If you don’t know the hosts that well and it’s a buffet lunch or dinner you wait for them to tell you twice that the buffet is open before you make your way to it. Don’t start right away, wait for the host to have at least served one person before you help yourself.

You don’t have to wait for the host to start eating especially if it’s a buffet dinner.

You don’t need to be shy, Egyptians are very generous at their dinner parties, if you would like more of something have more. At a buffet dinner you just go back and help yourself. At a sit down dinner, you ask for another helping and they will be thrilled that you like the food and will generously add more to your plate.

At a sit down dinner it is best to wait for the host to begin.  Some people don’t mind their guests starting, while others do. It’s best to play it safe. (again, apply the ‘When In Rome’ rule)

If you leave food on your plate its an insult that you didn’t like the food.  Try as best as you can to finish what has been served on to your plate. When you are done place your knife and fork next to each other.

Expect to be served more than you can eat, they don’t want their guest to go hungry. Take your time eating, that way you won’t have the host add more helpings on to your plate. They will try, but just politely decline and say that when you are done with what you have, you will have some more or say you’re not shy, if you want more you will ask for more. There will be occasions when the host just insists and plops it on to your plate anyway. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t finish it, just try to make your plate look as empty as possible.                   (most people don’t have pets, so you won’t be able to feed the dog or cat under the table)

 If your plate is empty before most of the people they will add more food to it, so eat slowly. The host will be embarrassed if they see your plate empty. They will feel that they haven’t given you enough food.

Compliment the host on the food during the meal (T’islam Edayki = bless your hands).

After dinner is served there is usually a half an hour of digestion before desert, tea and coffee are served. You may turn these down if you are too full, but don’t be surprised if a plate of desert is thrust  in to your hand anyway.

When you are being offered food (main course or desert) by the host and you ask for a small helping, You will NEVER get it. They will always be generous with what they offer. The excuse of being on a diet will not work. The only thing that you can get away with without having desert is if you are a diabetic.

It is VERY disrespectful if you leave right after a meal, “Deef el magnoon eli yakul wey oum”   (translation = A crazy guest, who eats and leaves). The only culture that I know of that does that are the Saudis.

If you have been invited for a dish party and you leave you dish there, don’t be surprised if your dish is returned with something in it. It is a golden rule that you can not return a person’s plate back empty.

If you’re a smoker do not light a cigarette unless and older person offers you one. You shouldn’t smoke in front of elders because it’s considered disrespectful.

When you leave you have to say good-bye to your hosts and then a general good-bye to everyone.

Don’t be surprised if you receive a call or a text message from the hosts the next day thanking you for coming and for the present or cake your brought.

I hope this helps you. If you can think of others that I may have missed please add it on by adding a comment.

Have you ever wanted to just lock yourself up in your house and shut the world out?

That’s how I felt yesterday, I woke up still peeved from Thursday Night. I had invited a group of my female friends over to my house a month ago, for a girls movie night. ( I like to plan ahead) 11 out of the 20 odd people I had invited had RSVPed that they were going to attend. So, I had paced myself with the preparations for Thursday night.

I’m a little old-fashioned, I like to take people for their word and I like to make and prepare everything from scratch. I enjoy cooking and occasionally spoiling my friends so they know and feel how much I appreciate them.

I made special dishes for the vegetarians and those that are watching their calory in take, had the house in tip-top form and only 4 people showed up! The people who came bless their hearts were GREAT and made the best of the evening and tried to eat as much as their stomaches could hold. Those that canceled at the last-minute REALLY ticked me off and some of them seriously didn’t have a good enough reason in my opinion. Leaving me a message on Fbook on the day, when they know I’m busy getting everything ready is a cowards way out in my opinion. They could have at least had the decency to call me and tell me in person.

I have a fridge full of food and tub-aware full of home-made backed goods sat on the buffet of my dinning room. I don’t feel like sharing it with anyone, because in the current frame of mind I’m in I don’t think anyone but myself deserves it! (immature I know)

I woke up Friday morning and I was so out of it that I put my phone on silent and didn’t answer anyones calls or text messages. I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. The only person I did speak to was my Mom, If I didn’t the police would have been sent to knock on my door to find out if I was o.k.

So, I stayed in doors, washed all the serving spoons, dishes and pans that I had used the day before, took a nap, had a warm bath, watched a couple of movies and went to bed.

Today, I still feel like I want to stay incommunicado and out of the line of people. It’s a bit tough when you have to work and interact with those around you.

I’m sure this will pass, but I won’t be hosting another event at my place for a while.

                Have you noticed how rude some people can be and some times for absolutely no reason at all? It has been brought to my attention several times and in many instances. Have the days of sterling manners completely gone or is there still hope

             The people of this region were well-known for their social graces and hospitality that would charm the pants off of anyone. The gentlemen and ladies that emerged from institutes like Victoria College and The English Girls School for example were renowned for their social etiquette. Unfortunately, the generation of those who attended those schools back in the day are becoming fewer and far between. They may have passed on their teachings to their children but as it filters down the branches of family trees the teaching becomes watered down especially when family time has been replaced with play stations, cartoons and other forms of distractions.

I’m quite a people person and I enjoy going out and walking among the people of the cities that I happen to be visiting, living or working in. I enjoy watching their interactions with others and how they go about doing what ever it is that they do. It’s fascinating to watch. As a teacher I work with the young adolescence that will eventually be our future leaders, business gurus, doctors and politicians of this country. So, I guess it would be safe to say that I have observed enough behaviors to make an educated synopsis.

The problem of behavior doesn’t lie just within the borders of our region but it is a world pandemic! It’s as though some invisible virus is attacking and eliminating manners every where!

In my nine years of teaching I have noticed that quite a few of the students that are enrolled into schools these days are lacking in the basic common manners such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘may I’. These words have been replaced with ‘I want’, “buy me”, “hey you” and “give me”. It’s quite alarming and upsetting to hear and see such young ones being so selfish, rude and demanding at such a young age. What drives me in to a tail spin is that their parents don’t try to correct the errors of their ways and give in to their every tantrum and whim. That unfortunately is the perfect example of breeding greedy, selfish and uncaring youth.

I take the bus to and from school and on our bus are 3 other teachers, a bus matron and a handful of students. Some of the students on the bus are so rude not only to their friends but the bus matron and the other teachers who are sat on the bus. When they are asked to speak in a lower voice or to turn around and sit down properly, they will argue, talk back and be down right bratty! Honestly, it’s sickening to have to witness.

When the children are of upper class and talk that way some of them believe they have the right to because of their social status so they don’t talk to you or at you, they talk down to you. It’s so aggravating and it takes every fiber of my being and several deep breaths to keep from losing my temper and exploding!

I taught in a school where a student actually slapped the teacher across the face because she asked him to sit down! If parent’s don’t start stepping up and taking responsibility for their children’s upbringing instead of supplementing their time and parenthood with money and materialistic compensation we are doomed to have leaders who think only of themselves and corruption along with other behaviors will reign supreme.  ,

I remember when I was a student and I’m not talking that long ago, just a mere twenty years ago. A student would never have dreamed of speaking to a teacher or any one old enough to be our parents with disrespect. The punishment would have been severe and the dread of going home to face our parents later with the letter of what had occurred would have been far worse than any teacher could have cooked up.

I have had the experience of having some really spoiled children in my class and the first month of school was like having a bucking bronco that resisted everything that I asked. I felt like the horse whisperer, whose job was to tame and teach these children respect and manners. By the end of the year most of the class had learned to ask questions politely, to show respect and be courteous to others. Which I think is something that should be instilled mainly by their parents and not just their teachers.

Please don’t misunderstand there are LOTS of parents out there who take their children’s behavior seriously and have done an outstanding job, but families with well-behaved children sadly are becoming less and less.

Just this past weekend my mother and sister came down to Cairo to visit me to celebrate my birthday. We had spent the early part of the afternoon in one of the malls shopping. Shopping and spending money works up an appetite so we decided to have lunch. After we had satisfied our hunger, paid our bill and were leaving the restaurant a family of ex patriots were sitting in the outer area of the restaurant and one of their children was sat on the railing. As we walked by the young boy, who was sitting on the railing looked directly at my mother and said ‘You’re Fat”. My mother and my sister and I were dumb struck, we couldn’t believe how ill-mannered he was and to say such a hurtful thing to a complete stranger. If my sister or I had ever had the audacity to say such a thing we would have been clipped on the ear and dragged over to the person and been made to apologize. My mother who was the fastest to regain her wits about her simply replied ‘And you’re very rude’. Instead of the parent’s of this young 10-year-old boy apologizing for his behavior, they were red-faced and defensive. Actions like this boggle my mind!?!? What gives them the right to think that behavior like that is acceptable? I’m sure if the tables had been turned and they had been on the receiving end they wouldn’t have been very pleased.

Teaching children manners does take a lot of time and effort. Believe me the more they hear polite and courteous terms being used and exchanged between people, they too will pick it up and put into practice. Being polite and teaching manners doesn’t cost us anything! You can be poor and still have manners!

So, when you are in a store speaking to the cashier, in a restaurant placing an order with a waiter or at home speaking to the hired help or even your spouse. Make a conscious effort and observe the way you speak to those people because IF you are one of those people who orders and doesn’t ask, that could be something you learned as a child or something you are unknowingly teaching your children now Please make an effort to be part of the solution and not the cause of the problem..

I have made a conscious decision to do my part in the classroom. I want to try to bring back what may soon be lost before it is too late and all hope is really gone but I can’t do it on my own. I need your help.

So, when you are in your car and you’ve just picked up the kids after a stressful and hard day at work and you are stuck in traffic with the horns blasting on your way to   soccer practice and some inconsiderate individual on the mobile phone has just cut you off without checking in their mirror first and taken your parking space, your husband forgot to pick up something from the grocery store and your mother in law is driving you to the end of your rope, before you open your mouth to vent your frustration REMEMBER that your children are watching and they learn from you!

          “Treat others with the respect that you expect to be given in return”