Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Follow Up

Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be a good one this year--very good one. It is a nice American tradition, although I now know that saying that much might rub some people the wrong way. I recently read and discussed Halloween with one Libyan blogger who was "nauseated" by discovering that some Libyans celebrate Halloween. It is a "pagan event," according to him, and as disgusting as a "Japanese with blond hair." How's that for telling your bigotry like it is? I believe he was referring to people like us and our friend Soad who had posted about Halloween and the Libyan tradition of scary storytelling. She recalled some interesting characters like Ms. al-Fattasha (The Searcher) and--now my favorite--Mr. Karkar Mesarinah (Dragger of His Entrails), and I sent her a note of appreciation with some more information, which you can read on Soad's Enchanted Sereeb blog.

It's strange that anyone would reject a tradition like Thanksgiving on "moral" grounds. Blogger Khadija Teri is an American living in Libya for the past 17 years--did you get that, American, OK? She was told by someone who called her "sister," OK?, that her celebration of Thanksgiving was a form of imitating the unbelievers, entirely forbidden for her as a Muslim now. Aayew-Keh! I gave my two cents on that one, too, and it actually took me back to my very first Thanksgiving--ahem--29 years ago. I had been in the US only six or seven months, and I was the guest of the Rietz family who had kindly offered to host university students for the occasion. After recalling the nice experience on Khadija's blog, I dug up an old picture that Mrs. Rietz had sent me afterward. Take a look and have a laugh--quietly, please.



Just a day's worth of difference! In case you're having trouble... I'm the one with the olive-tree thing on his head, not to mention the cobweb on the jaw and the hang-glider collar. Guys left-to-right: Bill, Gary, Mike, and Suliman. Girls: Gail and Connie (Mike's friend, I believe.) A nice memory.

Our guest, Taher,
is new in Columbus

We eat like this everyday!

I think this year's dinner was probably the best we've ever had. Hanu made everything at a good pace (two days). I helped on the sidelines, but Hanu really deserves the thanks for an excellent meal. You see that salad in the foreground, with the dried apple chips? I visited that three times! Actually, I think I tripled on everything lol lol. Taher had a nice time, too. Hanu actually helped him locate some relatives in Ohio, using Google! He only knew that they lived in a place on Interstate-80, and their names of course. He dropped off his number online and probably heard from them by now.

I'm thankful for the women in my life...

and this satisfaction-silenced critic!

We listened to music by Youssou N'Dour, who gives a whole "nother" flavor to the Mawwal (improv.) in his Egypt album. I usually can't understand a word he says, but I love the music. It is influenced by all sorts of factors, from local Senegalese, to Sufi and even Cuban influences! We saw him live last time he came to town, at the OSU campus actually. He was great, the crowd sucked! Here is a little bit of a track that fit the occasion.

We also listened to a favorite CD by VOX, which is a European group that produced this album called From Spain to Spain, featuring various pieces of Andalusi Sufi-style poetry by Muslims and Jews (not so odd then) as well as some Christian music. The group has a Lebanese female singer, Fadia el-Hage, who sounds a lot like the legendary Fairuz and probably comes from the same lineage of Lebanese Church music. It's interesting that the first Christian churches to play music were in Lebanon, way back, and of course they were met with pioneer's resistance. Here is a sample from the VOX album...

The weather was excellent: sunny, no wind and high temperatures near 70 degrees! (about 20 °C). We took walks on Friday and Saturday.


Moody had lost his glasses last week and insisted that it happened in the van. I finally found them by taking out his seat and shaking the hell out of it! Sure enough, the seat had swallowed the glasses--known to happen. There he is with newfound glasses, checking the trail map and reading away. He is doing very well with his reading at school and everywhere. He surprises us all the time now. Today, he gave Hana a weather report for the next three days. When she asked him how he knew, he said he'd gone to the office computer and "clicked on MyGoogle and read the weather." lol lol We walked the outer trail, which means I dragged the wagon for about 4 mi (6 km). No deer this time, but we saw a sleepy owl that was awakened too early I think. This park has a lot of deer, maybe too many, but we see them more often at twilight (am and pm) and sometimes in large groups.

The sledding hill awaits the snow
the sledding

After all the rolling, Ahmed's glasses
were lost and found again

Yeah, thanks to my unaided eagle eyes, we finally found those glasses! Why, it was like looking for... brownish-wire-rimmed glasses in the drying grass, that's all! I tell you, Hanu, nothing's wrong with my eyes, only my arms are getting too short. And never mind my olive tree, it barely qualifies as ground cover now! lol lol lol.



  1. Thank you for sharing your thanksgiving with us, very nice and I am glad you enjoyed it, MashAllah your kids are looking really lovely.
    as for the picture I didnt laugh (much) :o)

  2. Thanks Anglolibyan.

    When I saw Sol's picture with the غفة, I told him I'm glad I didn't see him back then, but than retracted and said "Actually, I might have thought you were hot back then!" Gosh, I was 11 at that time!

  3. Hi, AL. We did have a nice time, and the kids can be a blast, but as I'm sure you know, they can also be a ... I've got pics from that era that will have you on the floor! I'm sure some will find their way on the right occasion.

    Hanu: Of course you would have. The Ghuffa was the look back then... But I still can't believe it, and as I recall, mine was not the most ridiculous looking. My friend Abdallah definitely won that title!

  4. Hello Hanu & sul,

    Ah, that looks so much fun. The غفة pic had me in floods of tears, of course from laughing. Sul, do you have any picture with خدني معاك trousers? You know the wide trousers guys used to wear at that time. hehehehe

  5. Oh, yes of course, bell bottoms, leather coats and platforms! It's all coming back, slightly different nowadays but still, at least the flare is there!

  6. Hi Suliman,
    I love platforms! I got one already, hehe

    Back to that little bigot, it is obvious he is just trying one of his ‘new discovered vocab’. A blonde Japanese, eh! That reminds me of a real funny story.

    My maternal grandparents lived in a small town in the Green Mountain and they had a neighbour who had a son studying philosophy at the university. Each time we visited our grandparents the lady would come in and say hello then say: حيه أسمعتو؟ أوليدي أحميدة توا يقرا فلفلة في الجامعة

    Hehehe, he is also trying some Falfala.

  7. the ghuffa brings back memories of me looking at pictures of my uncles and cousins...shabab of the early 80s. I used to also think "What the heck were they thinking???" but internally I always thought the ghuffa was really cool.

  8. Hey, Aisha! What do you mean back to shabab 80's, I'm shabab 70's! lol lol I bet that sounds "prehistoric" to you. It's OK, I'm young at heart as they say-- only grew one last month! lol lol

  9. good ole days .... 80s ....70s....I'm just happy everyone has nice normal hair. As much as I thought the ghuffa was funky!!! So I shouldn't say Suliman...I should say 3amee Sleeman :)

  10. Aisha, that nice normal hair we have now, might be a laughing topic in few years to come! Who knows!