So, I could say without much exaggeration that I lost my voice.

Not my physical voice. That’s still there.

No, I lost the voice that I thought I always had. The one that always made me want to write something—anything.

I’m going to find it again, a little at a time. Even if I say nothing substantial, I’m going to dig into the void until something sticks.

Hala: So.

Lime: Soooooooooooooooo

Hala: Avocados. Thoughts?

Lime: My favorite fruit. Also- my sister and I refer to them as Acvodads

Hala: That should be a crime.

Lime: what spurred requesting my thoughts on Avocado

Hala: I’m working but my mind is sleeping so I thought striking up a conversation might wake me up. Except I don’t have a topic of conversation.

Lime: Lol that does help sometimes. Hey, I could go on about Avocados

Hala: Please do! Write me a poem in praise of it. If I like it, I’ll request it be written in beautiful typography and I’ll put it on my shelf here.

Lime:
Um  you’re supposed to be the one waking up, don’t put me to work

LOL that’d be legit actually now that you mention typography…haha you know the way to a designer’s heart

Hala: I do.

Lime: also, mine, avocado

Hala: I’m very perceptive, y’know.

Lime: TYPOCADO

Hala: Avocados are the bomb-diggity.

Lime: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

Hala: HOLY CRAP YES

Lime:

YESYEYESYEYSEYSEYSEYSE

We did a thing

Hala: PLEASE MAKE ME A TYPOCADO THING I WILL PAY YOU FOR IT

Lime: XD OH IT WILL BE ALL THE THINGS

Hala: Like $5, just so you don’t think I’m a goldmine of a client.

Lime: hhahaha keepin’ it real, I like it

Hala: You get nothin’ but real with me. I’m the realest. Iggy Azalea got nothin’ on me. Except that she looks like a Wayans brother pretending to be a white girl. But she can keep that talent.

Lime: HAHAHHA I listened to her album I actually liked it a lot

Hala: Thou lacketh good musical taste. But we can still be friends. Grudgingly so.

Lime:

PSH

MYYYYY HUNGERRRRRR

Hala: Um. I have some Nutri-Grain bars in my drawer…will that help?

Lime: nah I need to try to go eat something more substancial

Hala: *Substantial

Lime:

YEA THATAS WHATG I  MEAND T GEEZ

and that’s what you get

Hala: *Yeah that’s what I meant, geez

Lime: See how boring that looks

Hala: Because your choice in fonts sucks.

Lime: noooooooo yourrrrrrrs

Hala : Mine is beautiful. Hush your lying face.

Lime: pshshhspshpsphsphpssphsphpshsphpshpsh

Hala: Honey, do you need speech therapy? I don’t know anyone personally but I can Google around for you.

Lime: PSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSHPSH

Hala: *Throws a napkin your way and indicates the drool dripping down your chin* You might wanna…you know.

Lime: pppppppppppssssssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Hala: I’ll give you some time to collect yourself, sweetheart. Don’t work yourself up too much, you have such a delicate nature.

Lime: :P

Hala: =P

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately (which is different in precisely no way from the norm) and thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite tunes.

Recently I’ve been really delving into Stromae’s latest album, Racine Carrée, and it’s a wonderful piece of work. There isn’t a single song on there that I don’t listen to, it’s that bloody good.

This is one of my many favorites. (You’ll have to forgive the sudden appearance of The Cranberries at the end):

(For a really decent translation plus context, check this out. Just click on each highlighted line as you go through).

I love Stromae’s use of clever puns and homonyms—he’s quite a talented master of language. His ability to expertly maneuver through some of those lyrics without tripping over his tongue is kind of amazing. It makes me wish I was fluent in French so I could more readily absorb those significant little nuances.

I really love a good social commentary, and only more so when it’s from a different culture and language. Stromae fulfills that with flair.

I got an email at work that turned out to be a voicemail audio, coupled with an automatic speech-to-text transcript. (My work email and phone is all interconnected and such). It was from the project manager I’m currently working with.

When the email first loaded, the audio player was nowhere to be found so I thought it was just your average block of text. So I read it.

To say I was baffled is a bit of an understatement:

wpid-capture-1

“Hi Hala this is not again care of that we’re going out and did not feel to do this morning and it will be but I looked at at heart chapter call trees are trying over again would you mind sending me an email with her phone number again III promise I am yesterday and I forwarded so I’d never used it.

And then summertime reach out to her today and also like crescent under print opening and how much time if you can reach out to her also one box I leave for dollars today.

But you can also call me on my cell phone I’m at [number] and thanks for your help I will talk to you later bye.”

Guess I should be extra grateful that I’m not deaf.

Here’s a pet peeve that’s been on my mind ever since I came to the US.

Person: *Does something that warrants a declaration of gratefulness*

Me: Oh, thank you.

Person: Uh-huh!

Me: …

I don’t know if I’m overthinking this or not, but literally almost everyone here responds the SAME WAY.

“Thanks!”

“Uh-huh!”

I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. I’m not asking a question that requires a yes/no answer. Neither am I looking for acknowledgment that you have heard my thanks. There are so many other responses you could use:

  • No problem! (That’s my go-to one)
  • You’re welcome (A classic, getting less popular, but is still usable)
  • You bet! (I have only one coworker who doesn’t say “uh-huh” and uses this instead)
  • Sure thing!
  • My pleasure (Another classic)
  • Anytime!
  • It’s nothing

The list goes on. It baffles me that one could have all these choices and yet consistently use what can only be described as “a bubbly two-syllable grunt”.

Why?

It shouldn’t bother me this much, and I suppose it kind of doesn’t—at least not nearly as much as it used to. (Hearing it so much wears one down, as it were). Does anyone have answers to this particular bit of linguistic evolution? I’m genuinely very curious. I even Googled it. It seems to be a pet peeve among many, but I still have no idea where it bloody came from.

(And to think I thought it was a strictly California thing because the girls at the retail stores would “uh-huh” us every time we thanked them before we left).

I haven’t been on here nearly as much as I had previously planned.

But you know what? I feel very differently about it than I how I used to. I think it’s because this is the first time in years that I feel like I finally know what I’m doing.

(Not that anyone really knows what the hell they’re doing).

All jokes aside though, honestly, I feel like my life is coming together after years of being at one stage and not quite knowing where I was going to set foot next. I’m comfortable in my own skin again and I’m happy with how everything is going. Crazy, eh?

Maybe being confused, agitated, antsy, or simply jumping from one temporary stage to the next is what made me write so much. It was my therapy—my psychological comfort when I felt I needed to vent or to indulge in a distraction.

There is something that worries me though: Is being busy and content the lethal mix that will make me stop writing? I don’t want to say it, because I don’t want to give it truth, but…I haven’t felt the need in a long time. Even before, when I had writer’s block, I had that unmistakable urge to do it. I just didn’t know how to express it.

But now…I just get so busy. But happy busy. I don’t even have things I want to write about. This is a major change from mere weeks ago, when my lack of an urge to write felt wrong on so many levels. Now, I’m (weirdly) all right.

I don’t want to accept this. Was writing really important to me only when I was in transitional stages? (College, university, being unemployed…). Come to think of it, when I worked for a while selling real estate in Qatar, I also didn’t write as much. Still, I did write more than now, and at least I still had the drive to do it.

So, what happened? Well, for one, it would be stupid to not acknowledge that my work and life in Qatar was a far cry from how it is here. It was much quieter, with a far more predictable routine. I had my own office, which was great, but I often spent hours on end by myself. (There were days where no one even popped by to say hello). I did whatever work I had, packed up, and left for the day. Of course, I would often walk to the other side of the building to check up with other employees, and sometimes socialize a bit, but that was about it. Then I’d drive back home, and my mom and I would chill for a while. We would go to the gym, maybe do some shopping and, if we were in the mood, ate out in the evenings.

What I’m in now is a 180-degree lifestyle difference. At work, I’m surrounded by people 10 hours a day. Even on a slow day, you still feel like there are still some things to do and new stuff to learn. I have costs and bills to keep up with, insurance to sign up for, a budget to set, and appointments to make. I live with my sister and my cousin, and we’re moving to a new place soon. It all adds up, and I feel like there’s so much going on, writing doesn’t even cross my mind.

Maybe if I keep all this up until it becomes run-of-the-mill, maybe I’ll find that need again. I don’t know.

I think this means I have to make time. Rediscover myself and my voice in who I am now.

I can’t lose this part of myself. I don’t think any good will come of it.

My dad…I don’t think there is much of anyone on this planet who can come close to who he is, what he is and what he stands for.

My father can have a strong, tough exterior, but on the inside beats a heart made of the finest, hand-blown glass. He has a belly laugh that comes from the deepest recesses of his being. You can’t help but laugh just as hard. (I’m pretty sure I inherited my own freakishly long laughing fits from him).

His love for children is unsurpassed. Kids are attracted to him like magnets, and he speaks their language like he’s never forgotten it since his own childhood.

He is incredibly fierce, honest, loyal, and strong. He stands true to his scruples and never wavers. Although many may find his stance and demeanor intimidating, he is always, always respected. They know when they ask for my dad by name, they are asking for invaluable knowledge, honesty, straightforwardness, and experience that cannot be duplicated. The amount of trust put in him by everyone he knows is unbelievable, and that is because he can hold it all and more.

My father’s back has never bent, not to a single soul.dadandme

He takes care of everyone, and asks for nothing in return—even refuses to acknowledge a thank you. To him, it’s responsibility, and duty, and there is no need for anyone to applaud him.

My dad has the driest, quickest sense of humor. His powers of observation are uncanny, and he can kill you with laughter in no time. At the same time, he isn’t above being self-deprecating, almost too much so at times.

He is always, always there for you. I’ve never seen anyone work so damn hard at so many things (work that can drain your heart and soul into nothingness) and yet be able to drop it all for a single phone call from one of us.

He is, by far, the hardest worker I know.

A single hug from him, and you feel a tsunami of love echoing through him, though he rarely ever says it out loud.

His advice is solid and strong, and never preachy. When he lays out what he believes is a good course of action, it is never a command. It is only what his experience taught him, and he passes it on to us.

I miss him every day, since now I’m settling down in the States while he’s still working in the Gulf. But I feel his strength, wisdom and love every minute.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. You broke the mold when you came into this life, and this doesn’t cover a fraction of what you mean to me. I’m eternally grateful for you and all that you are. I love you so much.

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The other day, I read something that made me wonder how much awfulness can one person take.

See, about a year ago, I stumbled on Rarasaur and her blog, and I knew I found something really special.

Rarasaur stood out to me from the get-go, and it was the first time in a long time that I liked someone’s writing enough to go through their entire archives. (I even managed to get about halfway through them).

She is so kind, funny and philosophical. She’s a soul who seems to be floating, toes barely grazing the ground, but fiercely intelligent, protective, imaginative and loving. Her posts are a mix of philosophy, personal stories, drawings and musings. She stands out. She is Lovely and she is Different, in every good meaning of the term. She is a deep well of spirituality and her uniqueness and heart shines through her words. You knew she had been through many hardships, but she’s never trite or preachy

I was happy to have found her, and looked forward to her updates. I thought it was even cooler that—although her follower count was high—she still somehow managed to follow me back.

Everything seemed to be going great (or at least well enough)…until this post. Which I suggest you read now. [The link is now broken since Ra’s been out, but it was the link that announced she would be going to jail, falsely accused of embezzlement]

It was crazy, and it seemed to hit everyone out of the blue. How could this happen to someone like Rara? I never thought I’d see something like that played out before me…or as before me as it could be with thousands of miles and a computer screen between us.

But she has proven herself strong and resilient. She turned her experience into a fascinating peek into jail and prison life, without an ounce of self-pity. Her husband, Dave, (aka Grayson Queen–an artist and author) took up managing her blog, updating readers, publishing her letters from prison and sharing her mailing address for people to send care packages.

Dave has been through a lot without Rara around, the stress and anguish of having his wife in prison not being the least of it. It seemed like he was making do the best he knew how. Rara herself was immensely worried about him because he’s diabetic and on a special diet, and she was his support…and he hers.

It’s been hard, and she’s still in jail, hopefully her release will be in November. The end is in sight. Dave hadn’t updated her blog since last December, where she wrote about celebrating having only one more year to go, and listing all the things she wanted to do in that time.

Although I noticed that the blog had gone quiet, I wasn’t too worried because I knew Dave had to be very busy, and Rara can’t always communicate on a regular basis from jail.

Then, two days ago, I find this post

And I think…what the hell?