Friday, August 03, 2007

8 things update

I was tagged by Frida to reveal 8 previously unrevealed things about myself. Since I like to share and talk too much, this will be difficult. So, I will use this as an opportunity to provide an update as well as illuminate the public about my mysterious existence...

1) Harry Potter. I took the exam and immediately purchased the final and 7th Harry Potter book. I jumped right in and emerged hours later, teary-eyed but satisfied. (Don’t worry, no spoilers here, I’m an obedient muggle.) My tears started when I read the dedication. I cry, it's what I do.

I used to work at a bookstore in college. When I asked a 10-year-old customer whether Harry Potter would be a good book to buy for my baby brother, the little kid launched into a detailed explanation about this kid, right? Who’s a wizard but doesn’t know it and he lives in a cupboard and then he finds out and it’s the best book ever.

Harry gave me a chance to bond with my brother, despite our big age difference and also allowed me to jump into a new world. Thanks Ms. Rowling.

2) Travel. I’m gearing up to go back to Kabul. I’m excited, hesitant and anxious. I have lots of other feelings but don’t feel like dealing with them right now. I’ve pulled out all the Kabul-specific clothes I’ve purchased over the past year on my bed. I’m trying to decide what else I need to buy. Or not. I’m feeling a bit weighed down by the amount of ‘stuff’ that I have. I also can’t remember what I have over there. Or what will be left, people like to help themselves to my stuff when I’m not there.

3) Ramazan. Speaking of Kabul, Ramazan is coming up. I’ve been told not to fast. Which is difficult, since you know I’ll be judged. Afghans love to judge. And I’m particularly susceptible to what other people think (it’s why Afghans like me!). And I want to fast (ahem, since last Ramazan was a spectacular failure). I feel like I need that particular brand of mental and physical rejuvenation that Ramazan gives me. We’ll see. I don’t want to get sick again.

4) Hissy fits and patience. I’ll be working really hard to be assertive but not aggressive. What is it about Afghanistan that allows me to have these tantrums? I’ll be honest, it’s a satisfying feeling: jumping into the self-righteous anger – but it is not nice and not productive. Does this happen to others who work in post-conflict countries? Or is it just Afghanistan that brings out the crazy?

5) Copying, I mean, being inspired by others. I’m a copycat. Frida says collage, I collage. Dr. Knit says knit, I order knitting for dummies (well, not yet but I am seriously considering it).

6) Family and friends, loneliness & time for myself. Jeez, I’m going to miss them. The transient nature of Kabul ensures that I won’t have all of my much-depended on friends when I get back (Bakhair), and I think that I will be lonely. I don’t want to be lonely. But. I also can’t keep up the hectic pace of socializing that I did last time. I hope to find space and time that will keep my calm, comfortable and allow me to think. I think my frantic pace was just another way of running away from my worries. I don’t know where I got this but I think that this is a particularly beautiful Bible verse:
"Stand in awe and sin not. Commune with your own heart, and in your chamber and be still. Selah." Psalm 4:4
7) Korean missionaries. I feel sorry for them and I don’t want to blame them. The Taliban should not have kidnapped them. Should not have killed the pastor, and my prayers go out to their families.

According to this article, they were here for a non-evangelical aid trip. Seriously? Is Kandahar an 'extreme' vacation for missionaries now?

I have a deep respect for social justice movements that are rooted in Christianity, as well as the humanitarian work of many Christian organizations. These missionaries make me angry though. The last time Christian South Koreans came to Kabul, they came for a rally. A rally. They put local Afghans at risk, local Afghans who do not have the ability to leave as easily as they did. It reminds me of those American missionaries who came during the Taliban years. The Taliban didn’t hurt them but the local Afghans who worked for them were taken away and never heard from again. The American missionaries, they wrote a book. Oooh, that’s helpful, thanks.

Afghanistan does not have the resources to protect actual humanitarian workers who are trying to help people – and look at all the work and resources that are going into saving these folks.

I hope the Korean missionaries come out okay. But then I hope they leave Afghanistan and don’t come back unless they are offering something other than their version of eternal salvation.

8) The passing of the Father of our nation. I have never been a royalist and have often been critical of hereditary leadership but I was sad to hear of his passing. I cannot judge him too harshly. Afghanistan, myself included, had so many expectations of him, so many hopes that he would fix the country somehow. It's alot to expect from just one person. I think he tried and I hope he rests in peace.


chaoyang said...

“I hope to find space and time that will keep my calm, comfortable and allow me to think. “

striking a balance between the need to socialize and communitynize and maintaining the space for self is challenging anywhere. It seems life overflows in either one direction or the other, without control... so many factors unrelated to you and your ability to effect them. I wish you the best with this.

omg said...

Chaoyang picked the same topic I planned to. You know I am big on time to myself, so I hope it works out for you. It's not for everyone, but perhaps a sufficient, well-balanced dose will be good for you.

I think that you should follow the suggestion not to fast during Ramazan. The people who do not understand, and who get judgy about it, are not thinking of your best interests. The people who are important to you will understand. The One who matters most will definitely understand. Maybe you can give yourself another challenge in place of fasting, so that you still feel some form of rejuventation. Like, I don't know what... give up a certain item that will not affect your health? Or go for the positive challenge and add something instead of taking something away? Write everyday? Practice knitting everyday?

I have ignored Item 1. I'm ready the Deathly Hallows now, so I skipped over your entry for fear of having something reveailed that I'm not yet ready to see. I'm sitting here with my fingers in my ears and my eyes squenched shut. "La-la-la-la-la-la-la- I can't hear you."

omg said...

Reading, not ready. Oops.

chaoyang said...

hmm, omg makes an excellent point about the Ramazan thing.

I had a catch up talk with a friend in NYC yesterday. She has also been told not to fast because she will be 8 months pregnant at that time.

She is distraught about not being able to fast.

We (she and I - via our phone conv.) decided the act of not fasting when one wants to fast is equally challenging.

so there you have it. don't fast. that IS your form of dedication. Putting up with all the annoying judging ppl IS your form of spiritual excercise.

You can do it.

ke'ai said...

So interesting to read your eight things. Best of luck with your move back. The difficulty to

‘…find space and time that will keep my calm, comfortable and allow me to think’,

part rang bells with me too. It is hard to find a balance and of course thinking time can be a double-edged sword.

Re the fasting, it sounds like your friends advise you well. And I agree with Chaoyang,

‘Putting up with all the annoying judging ppl IS your form of spiritual exercise’

Hope you don't mind me barging in here. I found it interesting, that’s all.

homeinkabul said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments and welcome to ke'ai. You aren't barging in and thanks for your input.

I guess it's all a work in progress, right? I know that y'all are right but it's still a bit hard. I'll give y'all an update, Inshallah.

Kristin Ohlson said...

Ah, good to see you posting again-- seems as if you were silent a long time (as I have been).

I loved my Harry Potter vacation, too!