Monday, September 19, 2005

Signs and stuff...

I talked to someone the other day who told me the story of a woman who is engaged to a man who she is not sure she likes, but she's staying with him, sticking it out, apparently, because there are signs that seem to point to the fact that this man is who she should be with. So the person I was talking to asked me if I believed in that kind of thing.

"What kind of thing?" I asked.
"In signs. You know like, do you believe that things happen for a reason, or that certain people are put into your life for very specific reasons?"
"Of course." I replied.

So today I am thinking, well, not just today, but often I think about this. Especially this year, forgive me if this is sounding trite.

Anyway, I look for signs in life. Sometimes, I think I try too hard to find them. I don't really do this because my life has no meaning, or because I'm necessarily looking for something, but I really believe that life is full of signs, in fact Sharon wrote something along these lines not so very long ago.

Today I met a man who is going to help me make Algerian pastries. A chef. He described himself to me as tall and dark-skinned with glasses. When I met him today, he was with another man, who was actually tall and darker-skinned than he was, he also happened to be wearing glasses. I assumed it was my guy, but no. Not a sign, but kind of a funny thing today. When this man described himself to me, I was tempted to ask, "Do you mean tall by Algerian standards or American ones?" Because those are two very different standards. After meeting him, it's clear to me that he meant Algerian ones. He talked lots to me about food and how Algerian men misrepresent themselves to women when the leave Algerie and immigrate. He kept saying Algerie, instead of Algeria and Alger instead of Algiers. "I have a little experience..." was my reply.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Very interesting...

Sorry, this will be for those French-speakers out there. Those of you with a few years of French under your belt should be straight too...

click here

The gist, a magazine in Morocco published an article about immigrants coming in to the country from Sub-Saharan Africa. The article was titled "Les criquets noirs envahissent le nord du Maroc" or "Black crickets invade northern Morocco".


The King of Morocco issued a statement saying essentially that he condemns the paper's publishing and stance saying that 'the Kingdom of Morocco does not advocate any sort of discrimination against anyone based gender (perhaps this includes sexual orientation too, but I'm not sure if it would), religion, race, or color (probably skin tone, for those of you of lighter hue, not in the know about these things), because, to do so, would go against sacred principles of Islam and international law.' This is a loose (but fairly accurate) translation...I know we (black people) do this to each other all over the world, but it's interesting to see it playing out on the continent... I also have to point out that this sort of paints a slightly different picture of Islam and Muslim attitudes. I don't know tons, but I know that on paper (and even historically), it really seems to be the fairest, most inclusive of all world religions. Oooh I better watch it before I make it on to some Homeland Security watchlist, but I guess it's too late for that....

I couldn't find the site or a link to the article itself, but here are some reactions from message boards and the French web portal & search engine Wanadoo...Sorry non-French speakers....

Lord, let my people go!!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The First Step

Today I finally sent out a query letter to a magazine. This was a letter I wrote about three weeks ago and have had saved on my computer since. I would look at it periodically, read it, sometimes change the wording and then, close it without sending. But today, I did it. I don't know why I didn't send it before. Maybe I was (am) scared. But, of what? Rejection? I'm not sure that's possible, I've had enough experience with that to be able to handle it. Besides, that's not normally the kind of thing I fear. Actually, I don't know what I fear. Being scared, if I haven't mentioned it, is sort of new for me, it's something I first experienced --or maybe let myself experience-- in France last year. I just let myself go and be paralyzed with fear. So much so, that I couldn't make decisions without second guessing myself, or really even make any sort of move. Hence, the phrase paralyzed with fear, I guess...

I think that experience was good for me, because much like the complete and utter failure that I also experienced last year, I learned that there is nothing to fear in fear, if that makes any sense. Sure, there is uncertainty, pain, and sometimes even despair, but it's not the end of the world and going through it, makes you realize in the end that you can do anything, or what your limitations are, whatever the case may be. This is a very good thing. I've said before, failure is liberating. I should perhaps restate that and say failure and fear are liberating.

Another thing I'm afraid of: there is a boy who is interested in me. A tattoo artist. He seems very nice and clearly he likes me. I ran into him today and made him giggle. Picture a big, muscular man with long hair and biceps covered with tattoos, giggling. That may be hard and sounds kind of weird, but I often have that effect on men, I make them giggle, what does that say about me? What does that say about them? He practically ran out of the shop to catch up with me as I walked by today. I shouldn't be scared, I realize, but this is new. He seems different, nice. He treats me like he has a crush. He could be a freak, yes, I realize this, but maybe not. I sense that he is, gulp, perhaps kind of normal.
I'm scared. How will I act, if he is nice, if he is normal? What will I do? I've never known that before...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Morocco or bust...

The past couple of weeks have been hard for me. I am missing France, I am missing the way of life and outlook that I know so well back east. I am generally not feeling Seattle right now, but I guess this is what happens when you move somewhere new. It did happen in Paris at first, but, I don't know, things made so much more sense there than here.

I saw a flight to Morocco advertised in the paper. Not too expensive and you know, I was so tempted to call and reserve. In fact, I did and held it for a day, but then I called and canceled because I realized that if I did actually buy it:

a. I'd have no money for food here until I left, or there once I arrived


b. I'd just be running away from the pain of the past few months. It would be like a really expensive drinking binge, but of course, way more fun.

Anyway, I tend to do that when I am sad, I want to travel and explore, because it takes my mind off of things. I think it's a pretty harmless escape mechanism, but just like anything else, alcohol, crack, heroin, chocolate cake, when it's all over your pain is still there. But this is a different kind of pain that maybe a jaunt to Morocco would clear right up. I don't know. I'm still debating. Do I really need to eat or ride the bus when the alternative is Casablanca, or Fez, or the Sahara? Eating is overrated, isn't it? Besides, I'm cute, I could swing a meal or two once I got there. Makrout, chorba, bastilla. I can work it for all that.

Okay back to reality. Reality can be so unfortunate sometimes...

Friday, September 02, 2005

2 Septembre

Now here I am, back where I started when I arrived in April. Same internet cafe, same computer. So much more has happened but strangely, I feel as though I am the same as before. I know that's not true. Today I thought, for the first time in life, that I wish I could go back and change some things. If I could, I'd go back to May and I'd make it so I'd never have to experience the yuckiest parts of the summer, but, even those were good for me, or at least I can see that they will be in the long run. Except Gregory, I'm not sure I can ever accept the loss of Gregory. I'll never see the sense in that.


I am thinking of the people on the Gulf Coast and how the dark skin of so many of them has sealed their collective fate. I am thinking of how I was struck suddenly after seeing the front page photo of today's New York Times, by the realization of how undervalued Black people are in this country, it's something I've always known. It's something every Black person in this country grows up knowing; it's just a part of life here for us. I have cried today. And I am feeling again today, that I just have to pick myself up, write more, read more, go out into it, and take the next step.