Thursday, April 27, 2006

yesterday's post

another thought about yesterday's post- i read today the following phrase:

"... a creativity that sprung from an advanced mind experiencing the world as a novelty."

although taken out of context, i can apply this to why i wrote yesterday- the last time i looked at america, at chicago, at western modern life as a novelty, i was an infant. i cannot evade habitual ways of perceiving my life. yet when i travel abroad, the world is novel; i am seeing things for the first time and making connections that i would not if the experiences were not completely new to me.

i like the thought that even as an adult, it is possible to reach that child-like state of "experiencing the world as a novelty."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


we leave for india on friday; me, taher and my parents. i am very excited for this trip - it's been a year since i left the country, and it's been three years since i last visited india.

i will of course blog a few times from india, so please stay tuned.

i am interested to see if my "abroad-eyes" come back when we're in india; i always find that when i am in another country, i am inspired to write. i notice so much more about my surroundings and i take a much closer look at everyday things. in chicago, at home, i tend to take things for granted a lot more. while i think this is normal and probably the case for most people, it frustrates me.

when i first began this blog (see archives for first two entries), i talked about why i named it "l'atitude". i wanted to explore whether my geographical location, or latitude, affected the way i saw life- my attitude. i know now that it does, and i look forward to having a different perspective towards my outer - and inner- world in the next two weeks.


i changed the color scheme using html, but for some reason i can't figure out to how change the archive list color.

nor the responses at the bottom of each post. i remember making it purple, but cannot remember where to find it in the code.

Monday, April 24, 2006


i learned today that there are more people alive today than have died in all of human history.

it's difficult to actually wrap my mind around that, given that humans originated between 100 and 200 thousand years ago. are there really enough of us alive today to trump all the people, the hunters-gatherers and the pioneers of the first civilization and the individuals of different colors, races, cultures, beliefs, etc that lived from the first human until now?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

favorite day

many tuesdays, i go to my parents' house and spend the day there; i work alongside my dad, chat with my mom (who is off on tuesdays), have lunch with the two of them and then tea with the two of them and then dinner with the two of them, and basically just revel in the comforts of the day.

sometimes taher meets me in the suburbs after work and we have dinner out there; when he does that, the day is even better. but even if he doesn't, i still love these tuesdays.

it's just nice being at home with my parents; it's a totally different pace than the rest of the week; weekdays are spent cozy at home with taher, weekends are busy and hyper-social. but tuesdays are simply good for my soul. i feel lucky to have the parents i have, and i look forward to seeing them for an entire day.

tuesdays remind me that there is a lot i take for granted.

art (again)

just have these thoughts running through my head...

this isn't going to come out right, but here goes.

proliferation of a gene is the main object of the gene, correct? but what about manifestation of that gene? i mean, is creativity important in that it exist or also show itself? does art arise despite the single aim of the gene or with it, because of it?

do the genes want to survive or also to be expressed?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


taher and i were watching "the gospel of judas" on the national geographic channel, and apparently hundreds of hours went into piecing together these ancient documents- they needed to call in papyrus experts and carbon-dating technicians and biblical anthropologists and a host of other specialists, just to glean 15 pages of information from the confusion of the past.

it made me think about the internet- it's easy for anyone to learn about almost any culture nowadays- there are infinity-minus-one pages of information on the net, and many of these pages are dated. 500 years from now, anthropologists won't have to do any detective work at all to discover the world in 2006.

unless all the servers have disintegrated, i guess.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


i was driving the other day and realized that my high school 10-year reunion is this year! i'm 27, which is TEN ENTIRE YEARS older than 17!

i wonder if i'll go. i'm still in contact with my friends from high school - the ones i liked the most, anyway. so there isn't any reason to go, really. but certainly, it has me thinking lately.

i know that between high school graduation and now, i've crammed in college and egypt and a master's degree and a wedding and thailand and the creation of zahra ink... and a thousand trips abroad... and a completely new self-awareness... and contentment. and a much higher level of self-respect. and some of the best friends a person could hope for. and 300 books. and a lot of other things. ten years is a long time.

when i read other women's blogs, i find that many of them think that your 20's are essentially different than your 3o's, which are different than your 40's. 20's are about freedom, 30's are about strength, 40's are about peace. different people use different words, but that is the basic idea.

i have thought a lot about whether i agree with this- on the one hand, i do. my 20's have been incredibly free. they have been the period in my life when i went far away to live and found that i could learn a language and adopt a foreign city without difficulty. they are the time when my appearance underwent the most dramatic changes, and i found how easy it is to reinvent myself. they are the time when i fell in love and was the recipient of love and i basically realized that i am capable of anything and that anything is possible.

my 20's were also the period when i questioned myself, when i was more aware of myself- in a way that i never was ten years ago, in high school. i no longer coasted through life, as i did at 17. i thought my way through it instead. at times, i over-thought my way through it.

however i am not sure that three years from now, i will leave the Freedom decade and enter the Strength one. and ten years after that, i will find Peace. i think strength and peace are already in my life; perhaps all three are present now, and will swell larger and fill my life more as i travel through it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


lately i haven't read anything good. the book i am reading now is the first book in a while that i have truly enjoyed- that has revealed little gems, phrases or sentences or images that have made me sigh, made me happy in their beauty.

the lake is very blue today- it's a truly warm day, the kind that makes me believe that the weather won't suddenly change for the cold again. and i feel the promise of spring.

i am excited for this weather- my walks to the library can once again resume. and i can stock up on language and words and inspiration.


about six weeks ago, i went to the dentist and sustained a minor injury while i was there. i had a shot of novocaine and it went directly into my nerve, causing some numbness under and on one side of my tongue. while alhamdolillah everything is fine now, six weeks ago it was scary; because it was a nerve injury, nobody really knew whether it would heal or not. the dentists told me it would be a slow recovery, and i had no choice but to wait. and worry.

the thing is, this injury wasn't the kind that would lower my quality of life or anything. but it was a hindrance, an inconvenience, even a source of minor pain. it was on my mind constantly because it felt funny and was uncomfortable.

interestingly, the result of all this was that i felt incredibly lucky. something was wrong with me, and it just made me realize all the things that are not wrong with me. all the health i really do have. i found myself saying alhamdolillah every time my parents or taher asked me how my tongue felt, if there was any change, etc. i felt unbelievably blessed.

several times a day, i would accidentally bite my tongue- hard- because it was numb on one side and i couldn't avoid it. it hurt. a lot. once the gum under my tongue actually bled while i was eating; it was horrible. and yet i kept feeling lucky, despite it all. i wasn't trying to feel lucky, or trying to remind myself that i have an able, healthy body; the realization would simply wash over me whenever my tongue issue irritated me.

things are fine now, and i do not have that daily reminder of how lucky i really am; and weirdly enough, my sense of shukr is not so pronounced. or maybe that's not so weird- maybe it's just human....?

Monday, April 03, 2006


on saturday i was talking to taher and adnan about certain "sports", and skydiving came up- i couldn't remember some details about my skydiving experience, so i looked up my journalling later at home. here is what i found:

written on my 20th birthday

today, i jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet. and i free-fell for 11,000 feet-- 67 seconds-- and i pulled the ripcord at about 4,500 feet. and it was absolutely amazing. there was so much wind in my face during the free fall, i could hardly breathe-- after a while, i lost sense of my body and felt somehow integrated with the air around me. i felt like the wind was going right through me, like i was air.

they teach you to lift your face up, so that breathing is easier, but i didn't want to do that, since then i'd miss the breathtaking view. the ground rushes up at you so incredibly fast, and it's a sight i'll never forget. in fact, i was so busy enjoying the scenery i forgot for a while about the altimeter-- the device that tells me how far up i am-- but i did succeed in pulling it right on time.
my instructor, andy, claims my arch formation was very good, but he's lying, because i know i forgot all about arches when i saw the ground coming up to meet me at 120 miles per hour...and when i pulled the ripcord and the parachute opened, i got to maneuver it right and left and do a couple of shmancy turns-- what a rush. i can't wipe this smile off my face. =)