What are YOUR Standards?

2009 marks the end of the first decade in this century. A decade that was full of life changing experiences. Thankfully, 2009 was a successful year for me on many aspects especially on the personal level. I've talked about some of those here.

So what's next? the keywords for the next decade would be career progression and stability.
But let's start with 2010. I'll keep my resolution simple and focus on just revising my own standards. I need to draw a line and focus more what would interest me and make me comfortable rather than adapt and accept my surroundings.

Workwise – fast paced vs slow paced, systematic vs adhoc. I've been working in the same workplace for the last 2 years. Despite few mishaps here & there, I am relatively happy. I am empowered to a certain extent and I have access to a lot of resources to learn. I've learnt a lot over this period. My concern remains on my marketability in the job market and how I should always thrive to build myself without getting too comfortable and laid back in my current position. It would be pathetic if I reach a stage where I spend 8 hours daily with the only motive is receiving my paycheck at the end of the month. On the other hand, there is nothing that guarantees that any other workplace will not be worse. I could end up working in a place where you are competing with your colleagues who might attempt at succeeding in their career by riding on your shoulder and stab you in the back. That's just an example of things I haven't experienced yet and plan not to.

Friendship- shallow vs deep. You have the friends who are there just for fun, for a game of cards, or for a pool game. Their probable reaction for your expression of "this is worrying me" or "I have a problem" would be either sarcastic or "good luck". Well, the positive thing about such friendships is learning how to become independent as you keep your problems to yourself without having to rely on the influence of others. At the same time, it is sometimes a blessing when you treat others the same way without feeling obliged to be nosy on their day to day activities or problems. On the other hand, your deep & close friends are there when you least expect them. They feel your pain and would jump at any opportunity to assist you when possible. The feeling is mutual. I can't deny my joy when I feel that I've managed to assist someone in overcoming a hardship they face. Part of that depends on the community you live in. The kind of friends I had in a social community similar to the one I had in my Bachelor Degree was entirely different than the ones I had in my postgraduate degree society.

Lifestyle - Experiences are relative. A Jeddah resident's lifestyle is different than a Dubai resident's lifestyle. Someone may claim that the standard of living in London is higher and expensive than Jordan. Then maybe it is time to question your benchmark. Did it ever occur to you that if you are paying 0.60 SAR (0.16 CDN) for a litre of gas in KSA ( making it cheaper than water), compared to the 0.95 CDN per litre for gas in Canada, that you are living in a relatively cheaper place than the world's average. In a world where majority of countries impose income taxes, you should be thankful for living in a place with 0 taxes.

Few luxuries here & there make a difference. Living in a landlocked place with no access to sea vs a city on shore, living in large cities where commuting between work & home can be hours vs a small city with access to necessary areas is in minutes. During my brief time in Canada, I recall how commuting from my college to home and then rushing to finish errands before the shopes close at 7 or 8 p.m. Night life is usually concentrated in few areas and mainly on weekends. The only form of night life there would be in form of clubs or bars. On the other hand, here in the gulf, people start dining after 10 p.m. Shops don't close before midnight. Night life is always there with the addition of a little spice & extra events on weekends.

I am concerned that I might get too comfortable here that would make it hard for me to maintain the same desired lifestyle in case my situation change where I may have to relocate to somewhere new. Somewhere that I'll probably find relatively costly compared to the current situation.

While I think over those, let me ask you, what are YOUR standards?

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Woke up with this feeling.

the feeling of being Yellow.

My fruits for the day are:
1- Bananas
2- Pears
3- Yellow Apples (I don't eat those that often)

I am looking around me and seeing how this color is materializing in my life.

All my post-it notes are "Yellow".

I guess I am not the only person who ever felt that way. Ask Coldplay.

here is my personal experience with it:

and let me end with the universal color of all IM messenger smileys

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Memoirs of Sharm El Sheikh

I don't want my blog is slowly turning to a travel guide blog. This could be due to the lack of any action here in Jeddah. This time I will highlight some of the funny/awkward moments where I expressed my known discrimination and sarcasm against Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians, Russians and mostly myself. So that's another warning disclaimer to stop reading if you think I am offensive.

First Day in Hotel, morning buffet

Apparently, we are not the only ones. The hotel was being assaulted by a shami group. One of the annoying kids (who regularly features on the other events of my stay) approaches me: "3ammo 3ammo..7otelli min hadi….7otelli min hadi….katerli min hadi…7otelli hay…hadi labneh willa jebneeeh? 7otelli 3ammo" – sara3 rasi and I filled his plate with all what he wanted

Noon session after playing on the tubes:

I am waiting for my brother to go and get the money to pay while I sit waiting. Next to me, I managed to overhear An egyptian guy sitting by the beach bar attempting the following:

  • "eeeeeh…eeeh.. I am Akkountant….eeeeh…eeeh…my name iz ahmad….heh…heh…"
  • 'daa daa" –Russian girl responds with a nod
  • "eeeeh….eeeeh…wanna sleeeb on za biich?"

WHAT THE..this was just his 2nd line

  • "daa daa"

I hope she is understanding him. The rest was awkward as he/she escorted him to one of those beach beds where she introduced him to her parents and they all shook their heads.

I had to leave by then, I wish I stayed there to watch the rest of the scene

Second Day, morning buffet:

The Syrian Kids are in action again. Apparently one of them is being introduced to mushrooms for the first time. So, here we are waiting at the omelet queue, and these 2 kids are screaming at each other:

  • "Beddak feteeeeeeeeeeeeer?"
  • "shuuuuuuuuuuuuu?"
  • "Feteeeeeeeeeeeeeer feteeeeeeer"
  • "Shuuu? Shu ya3ni feteeeer?"
  • "lek feteeeeeeer feteeeeeeer, hayya honeeek"

Snatches a peace with his bare hands and shoves it down his mouth:

  • "hmmm..taybeeeeeeeh kteeeeer…yamoooooooo shooofi shu jebet ma3eeeee" and he ran away to his mom

Second Day, noon session:

This guy is talented. I will leave this video to say it all

Second Day, Night:

Sunday night, the night of the big game of Real Madrid vs Barcelona. I was sitting with my brother by the bar who was supporting his favorite team in the company of other fans who have been watching quietly……

Till we hear familiar voices:

  • "lek ta3a shooooof, lek hadi mobarat barcheloooona wi reiaaaal madriiiiiiid….shoof messi, messsiiii, MESSSSIII…..Allah Y7AYEE ASLAK YA MESSSSSIIII.."

Third Day, Diving Trip day

I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. We were supposed to go to Tiran Island but we ended up going to Ras Mohammed. It seems that trip was scheduled yesterday but has been postponed to today because one of the divers was drunk yesterday. Damn the Russians and their vodka.

As we were passing by hotels to pick the divers, I realized that most of them were Russians. The universal conversation with all of them was something like that:

  • " dobroe utro"
  • "Dobroe utro, Daĭving ili podvodnoe plavanie…."
  • "da da…"

The Russians were heavy smokers and looked fishy. The most threatening was "Katrina" with a standing posture similar to this girl from sin city (without the gun of course)

Me and another guy from holland were the only non-russians. Communication was difficult as none of them spoke English. My heart was slowly sinking to my feet as I saw the Russian white army flag being raised on our sailing boat

4 hours later…

At lunch, I was approached by the Egyptian cook. "where yooou from?" – rush of thoughts to my head..If I disclose I am an arab, then the Egyptians workers will be all over me, if I don't, then I can't say I am European, I have curly hair…I kept talking my brain the way Homer simpson does "don't say something stupid, don't say something stupid, don't say something stupid"

  • "I am Venezuelian" - D'OH. Why did I say that??AAAAAAH

An hour later

  • "AAAAAAAAAAH WILLLLLAAAAAAAAAA…Muntaha mzabteh 7alha….tab3an maheye bint Abu Raaaamiiiii"

What the? Where am I? Last thing I recall, I was still on the boat reading "sophie's world" and watching the Russians play dominos. It looks like I slept for a bit. I look around. Oh I see, our boat is anchored next to another Palestinian-populated boat

and what's with the name MUNTAHA? I thought that name extinct with Muntaha Al RAmahi the famous news anchor

  • "inta min fein ya khalti? Kadeish 3omrak?" –speaking to someone on the other boat. I didn't dare to look and show any signs that I understand the language. I have to impersonate the "Venezuelian" identity I put myself in
  • "aaaaaah..inta beker ahlaaak?" :S, who asks this kind of questions. :S, the fact that I couldn't hear what the guy said meant that the woman was unreasonably loud
  • "martak bteqrabak?" :S :S :S. I didn't know that you would marry a relative by default. :S
  • "i7na min QALKEEEEEELYAAAAA" – no wonder…I changed my place and sat somewhere else

3rd Day at Night:

How nice..they are having a movie night outdoors with the projector and a big screen in the roman theater. They are showing "no reservations". Me & my brother were the only ones who slept by the mattresses of the big screen to watch the movie till…

  • "ta3a shoof shu bi2der sawi bi 2edayeeee " they show up and they do hand gestures over the projector so that the shadow of their deformed horse/dog shaped fingers were all over zeta jones face.

4th day morning:

I just finished my parasailing (the first I do in my life) and I pass by the beach bar, and I find the waiter talking to a familiar guy:

  • "mzabbat 2omoorak ya 3am"
  • "la2a…di il bent rekhma awi…ba2ollak eih? 3ayez tnein cocktail"
  • "min 3enaya"

On the other side near the beach, the Russian girl from the first day is still sunbathing and I wondered how the rest of the day will unfold.

4th day noon in the Zen Spa

Aroma Therapy Massage session for 50 minutes. She did every body part with the exception of arm pits and ……. Unfortunately, she wasn't very fluent in English. I wished if I could talk to her to let her explain difference between Thai and Swedish massage. We only spoke 3 times:

  • "so sir, jasmine oil, lavender oil or rose oil?"
  • 20 minutes later, "your hand and feet are softer than babies skin"
  • 10 minute later… "your bladder is full" – (of course it was, I had been served green tea by the receptionist coz you were 10 minutes late)

My response on the 3 statements was:

  • "da da"

4th day at night:

Dad was another funny troublesmaker. Throughout the days, he would unleash comments like…

  • "I like your service but you made us sad in the Algeria Egypt game"
  • " How much is this? What????But I am not Algerian"
  • "so, what's the fare to go to…..? oh ok, nevermind, I still support Egypt despite their disappointing performance in n the Egypt Algeira game"

One of the cab drivers got excited and my camera had no mercy on him. He3 he3 he3 he3

Last day, morning buffet:

  • "lek yamoooooo, 3andon fatayeeer, Allah ykhaleeki, Allah ykhaleeeki, Allah ykhaleeeki…7otteeeli donaaaaa (donuts)"

Checking out:

I was on my way to the lobby and I happen to pass by the Egyptian guy. This time he was alone. He was looking around, scanning his surroundings with the hunter eyes for his next prey while scratching his….. Kudos to the Russian girl who either is very smart or that this guy did something dumber than his lame 2nd line on the first day. Oh well, I guess we are back to square one

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