Tag Archives: children

A Father’s Day Reflection

Last night, I called Baba in Egypt to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. He was excited I called (because he forgot to tell me he was going to Egypt for the summer) because he had forgotten it was Father’s Day. Of course, we ended up having our usual political and religious conversation. I then spoke with my older cousin Mohamed, a father of five, whom I consider a father figure.

After all the phone calls last night between Egypt and California (my poor phone bill), I feel asleep in awe of how something as simple as a phone call can uplift someone’s spirits. I feel asleep reflecting on all the amazing fathers I know.

I had written on a similar reflection back in 2009, Praises for Fathers, the first Father’s Day after the passing of our Amuh Ibrahim.

This year, my little brother became a father for the first time to beautiful baby Salem. He has made us uncles and aunties for the first time too. And boy do we have giant footsteps to follow…

Sleeping Next to Daddy
Sleeping Next to Daddy

Baba’s relentless struggles to do all that he could for his children.

Mama’s simple amazement of being both a mother and father to her children.

The uncle’s dedication to pave a life long path for my cousins, siblings and I.

The cousin’s unity, many of whom are both fathers and uncles to amazing children of their own.

I know my siblings and I have a lot to learn from you. And for that, I thank you. I pray you all had a great day of celebration on this highlighted day of celebrating the gratitude we hold for the blessing that is you, every day.

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W.I.S.S. – Blue Passport, Part One

My time in Egypt was simply amazing! A learning experience like no other! I saw history in the making, meet amazing people and truly lived like an Egyptian! The one question everyone seems to ask me since I’ve been back, “did you meet anyone special?”

The answer with a loud laugh is, “of course not!”

Staying with family the majority of my four months stay made it pretty well obvious amongst family, friends and neighbors that there was an American girl amongst them. That theory resulted in a lot of marriage proposals. Some funny and some completely absurd. Two of them were probably one of the worsts I’ve ever encountered. Here’s the first story…

Almost everyone in the small farming town of ElManzala where my dad’s from knows everyone else, with a high chance of being related in some way, shape or form. I meet many of these relatives who were related by marriage, by blood or because his wife’s brother-in-law’s brother married her sister’s cousin’s niece.

One of such relatives, Mariam, thought it would be appropriate to try and help her married brother Ahmed to propose to me. Several attempts and talks with my father, my Aunt Sayeda who I was staying with and her older son Mohamed didn’t work. I soon bumped into Mariam as I was on my way back to my aunt’s home from a short Cairo trip. A short conversation with her got me to believe I had put that to rest.

I was wrong.

Mariam thought it would be appropriate to send her husband along with Ahmed to Aunt Sayeda’s home the very next day! My father & cousins were out and only my Aunt Sayeda and I were home with a couple of her guests. As they walked into the house, the tension that rose up in the air was noticed by the guests. The men entered the reception area, walked right past me where I got one look at Ahmed and threw-up a little in my mouth. He was just surrounded with a really ora, it was odd and disturbing.

Ahmed had the nerve to sit on the far end of the couch where I was sitting. I tried to be as polite as possible for the sake of my aunt and her guests. I turned the other way and continued to listen to the guest’s little story thinking to myself, “what the hell is going on? Didn’t I make it clear to that stupid bitch I was in no way interested in whatever that thing is that just walked in?” The men decided to start smoking and that was my que.

I looked at Mariam’s husband and politely asked, “Can you please not smoke in here?”

“You don’t like the smell of cigarettes?” he asked with a dumb coy smile.

“No, I can’t stand it! It’s disgusting! Please either don’t smoke or take it outside.” Which is Egyptian for, “GET OUT!”

They immediately left realizing Ahmed won’t be able to get two words through to me asides from his awkward “salam” and many side stares. Aunt Sayeda held her laugh until the rest of her guests had left about ten minutes later. She couldn’t believe Ahmed’s audacity after he and the family were told their proposal was simply not welcome. Aunt Sayeda then told me about how he married a divorcee with four kids about a couple years ago. He had fathered her fifth child before taking a job in the UAE. He was in Egypt on his annual vacation oddly staying with his sister in the country rather then with his wife and children in the city. From what she had heard, he had been attempting to go to America for a while now. 

His proposal of marriage was for the sake of America, nothing more.

Mariam still attempted to invite me over to her house the next day by sending her daughter as a messenger of the invitation. Mohamed and his wife of course had a fit with the family. They again refused on my behalf her attempts, letting her know that I had threatened to confront her if she made any further attempts to contact me. Confrontation in a small town like this is seen as a scandal to the confrontee. Mariam and Ahmed finally stopped pursuing me.

ElManzala being the small town that it is, everyone knew everything as it happened, many feeling the need to share their disgust and disbelief with me. It was from them that I learned that Ahmed’s wife in the city had soon found out too. She called Ahmed’s employers in the UAE stating how Ahmed had abandoned her and their children, asking for spousal and child support. The company not putting up with such embarrassment immediately fired him and retracted their visa sponsorship. His wife soon filed for divorce.

I was not happy to hear such news but honestly I didn’t feel sorry for him either. I found him repulsing and disgusting. A man ready to leave his wife and children on the hopes of going to America. His selfishness and greed took him to a dead end. In a matter of months, he lost everything. My blue passport was of no use to him.

…and that’s Why I’m Still Single.