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Too long….

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since April. So much has happened since my last post as you would expect….  6 months. It seems as if I’ve lived a whole other life.

The last major theme in my last posts was “Sherif”. Well what can I say about that? He loves me, I love him, I love his family, they love me but it seems marriage is not on the cards for a number of reasons. We’re currently having more downs than ups. We’ve reached a stage where we constantly argue and there seems to be no way to get past it. I’ve been crying a lot coz it feels as if we’re over but my heart refuses to believe it and he refuses to let me go. I’m currently in exile while I try to figure out what to do. I tried to break up with him again before I left but he wasn’t having any of it. In any case, a lot of details missing from this and I really don’t want to fill this long overdue post with details of my bittersweet romance.

Actually this isn’t going to be a happy post anyway coz I’m also fed up with work. It’s been nearly one year now since I joined my company and I’m now looking at what next once my contract is up. I’m thinking new country and my own business… I should never have stopped what I started in Egypt because I probably would have made a lot of progress in my private work by now, clients, reputation, experience etc, but everything happens for a reason and I don’t really regret going to Libya. I experienced a new culture, language and made some good friends so it had its benefits.

I’m keeping this post short, but will return soon to write a clearer post about what I’ve been up to and what I plan to do next.

By the way, Duffy is an amazing singer! I’m really loving her music right now….

 

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Same old same old

Yes, I’m still in love! I know, getting boring now right? Hehe

Lots been happening here and me and Sherif have our ups and downs. My life right now seems to revolve around him. I close my eyes at night and he’s on my mind and the first thing I think of in the morning is him. I still have no idea if he reciprocates my feelings, but in any case I’m enjoying the little we have together. The last time I posted, I mentioned I was going to be in Benghazi for a few days… I missed him so much. The day before I was to return, he called me and asked “When are you coming back?” “Tomorrow, you know that” “Hmmm, no, come back now.” “Haha is it that easy Sherif?” “Yes, I’ll come and get you; I’ll start driving now and come to get you.” The day I left, my flight was delayed. He called me and asked “Haven’t you left yet?” “No” I replied “The plane is delayed.” “Ok” He said “Go to the pilot and tell him Sherif said HURRY UP!” lol. When I returned, my friend said to me… “Sherif is happy today.” “He’s always happy” I replied. “No… the past few days he’s been looking very sad, but today since you came back he’s different”.

On Friday we spent the day together; with one of his friends (in fact we also spent the previous Friday together too… he initiated both times). Anyway, Friday, yesterday, we went to collect his friend and as soon as his friend got in the car he exclaimed “I’m happy to finally meet you! Sherif is always talking about you! Zakhak this and zakhak that…!”

What do you think that means?

“You know, Sherif is a great guy. He has a white heart. Everyone loves him. My father is always talking about how good he is” his friend ranted. “Uh huh… and how much did Sherif pay you for this?” I asked.

We had an amazing day. The place Sherif took us to was in the mountains and there was a natural lake – I can’t remember the name. There were lots of families there and young Libyan guys dancing, singing and having fun. At one point during the day, we went to stand at the edge of a mountain to see the view… it was a little steep and Sherif asked me to hold onto him. I gripped a piece of his trouser and he said “No, give me your hand… because you’ll be scared” (yeah right!). If I could have captured that moment…

He kept asking me all day… “Are you enjoying yourself?” and “I really hope you liked the place I took you” I asked him why he kept asking, didn’t I look as if I was happy. “I don’t know” he replied. “Maybe it’s not the type of thing you like. I just hope you enjoyed it”

We have a lot of eye to eye contact, sometimes not saying anything, just gazing and he’s started calling me “Honey”. Our eyes will catch and hold then he’ll smile and say “Ya Asal”.

It hasn’t all been sweet. Last week I was so angry with him I was ready to burst. I gave him a real Zakhak special… “The cold shoulder” and I admit he suffered. (Call me a bitch!) I forced myself not to look in his eyes because I would have melted and he was definitely in the wrong – there was no way I could give in (it was work related). The next day he looked awful but in a beautiful way. His eyes were sad, he hadn’t shaved and he just looked out and out rough. It broke my heart, but he deserved it. When I broke the silence he saw his chance and tried to make me laugh. I told him I wasn’t angry anymore but from now on, he was going to see my straight face… it lasted about 5 minutes! He later told me he hadn’t slept and he’d smoked a half a box of cigarettes… he doesn’t smoke.

I guess it all sounds obvious… he likes me too, but it’s not. I honestly, truly don’t know what is in his mind. He tries to make me jealous with other girls and I return the favour. That makes him mad (and makes me laugh!) Every time I say to him “Oh… I just saw haaja helwa (something sweet)” he asks “Where?! Which one?” I ask him why he’s so interested and he insists he needs to know what type of guys I like.

He’s also started saying “We’re like brother and sister” and I’ve made it clear I have no sisterly feelings towards him, but he still says it, looks at me and laughs. He told one of our colleagues last week that he can’t believe how giving I am. He kept looking at me in amazement and at one point I think he said “You’ll make me crazy with your heart”… in fact he has an obsession with my heart – he’s always talking about it lol. Anyway, I think that’s what he said because he frequently says things in Libyan Arabic quickly and laughs when I ask him to explain “It’s better if you don’t understand.”

There are many more examples but I’ll be here all day if I try to write them all down. In any case, I’m happy, in love and being patient 😀 Whatever happens in the future, I’m going to savour these days… I just hope he doesn’t break my heart coz I know (from last week when I was angry with him) how much it would hurt.

Ba2a tabe3y / بقى طبيعى

It’s normal for me to see you coming to me
بقى طبيعى عليا اشوفك جاى عليا

what’s in my mind is to forget you
اللى فى بالى يا
حبيبى انساك
if it’s true your coming alone and forgotten her words
لو حقيقى
لوحدك تيجى وتنسى كلامه
you think her comfort is with you
قصاد اللى راحتها
معاك
every time I see you I say it’s impossible how could my heart be thinking about
كل ماشوفك اقول لاء مش معقول انا قلبى ازاى بقى بيك مشغول
you so fast like that

وبسرعة كده

the one who fall in love right away it’s not just words
يعنى اللى حبوا اوام مش اى كلام

baby I never see in my life a love like that (x2)
عمرى يا حبيبى ماشوفت غرام انا شكله كده

long ago they told me so many told me
كانوا زمان يقولولى وياما حكولى

that’s why I’m scared of love
عشان كده من كل الغرام انا اخاف
but the taste of life with you is something else
بس اهو طعم الدنيا معاك حاجة تانية انا

and who didn’t hear now they see
واللى مسمعش حبيبى اهو شاف

every time I see you I say it’s impossible how could my heart be thinking about
كل ماشوفك اقول لاء مش معقول انا قلبى ازاى بقى بيك مشغول
you so fast like that

وبسرعة كده

the one who fall in love right away it’s not just words
يعنى اللى حبوا اوام مش اى كلام

baby I never see in my life a love like that (x2)
عمرى يا حبيبى ماشوفت غرام انا شكله كده

 

 

 

Lovesick Puppy

I’m going to Benghazi for 3 days and I already miss Sherif. At some points during the day I stop and laugh at myself. I feel like a lovesick puppy. I never enjoy going to Benghazi, however this time although I don’t want to go I feel like these few days will be good. I’m finding it hard to concentrate. I’ve been slacking in my work and I need, you could say, to recalibrate myself. Hopefully I’ll get myself back into my normal routine and when I return to Tripoli I can keep it going. Every time he walks into my office I forget everything and when he’s not there, I wonder how long it will take for him to come back.

I catch him watching me sometimes and he catches me doing the same. Sometimes I think only a fool would not be able to see what I’m feeling and I worry that people in the office will start to talk. I don’t know if I can be objective about him and I’m trying my hardest not to treat him as a favourite. I think I’m failing. He’s lifted a load off my shoulders at work already and still does that little trick with initiative which makes me want to hug him!

We were driving somewhere today and he exclaimed “I have a gift for you!” He produced a tape and put it in the player. “What is it?” I asked. “Music, because you love music right?” I laughed “Yes, but who is it?” “Who do you like?” He asked. “Asala” I replied “Ah, I’ll bring you Asala. I like her too” I already had this information and I remembered that this was one of the things which first made me notice him… he’d been playing Asala in his car – all my favourite songs. Anyway, this time it was Celine Dion. I laughed and laughed… it’s the thought that counts!

There are so many stories I want to write, things he’s said, things he’s done, but I think I might then need to provide a bucket for anyone reading. I know I must sound lovesick but it feels good. I haven’t felt this way in such a long time.

One of my favourite colleagues was here at the weekend and he told me he’d noticed a change in me. I’d told him I was tired, but he said he didn’t believe me. “You look happy” he said “Like you want to fly”. I am. My head is filled with thoughts of Sherif and I feel like I’m going to burst from holding in this “secret”, but I’m happy. Alhamdulillah 😀

Down but not out

“Nothing is impossible” he said. Sherif wasn’t talking to me and the person who he directed it to wasn’t talking to him. A colleague of mine was speaking to me (in English) and mentioned that he’d been invited to travel somewhere but it was impossible. Sherif picked up on the word “impossible” and stated “La shayt mustaheel”. I turned to him and asked “Nothing is impossible?”  “No” he replied “If you put something in your mind, it will be possible”. I went silent and ran his statement through my mind. He was right. 

My efforts to try and put him out of my mind, due to his supposed unsuitability had lasted until he called and said he’d returned to the office. About 1 hour! I tried not to look at him but it wasn’t possible and as soon as I looked in his eyes I knew it was worthless. I pretty much spent the whole evening with him (and two colleagues, but they don’t count!) I did a lot of observation of his actions and he did nothing to indicate he was somehow beneath me. In fact, one of the comments my friend had made as evidence of his unsuitability, as opposed to another supposedly educated colleague, was disproved that very evening. A supposedly suitable “Engineer” showed himself to be irresponsible and immature against focused, hardworking and stable Sherif. Which would you choose? The one with the certificate or the one who really was clever? It also assumes that Sherif isn’t educated… because he drives a car for a living? What does that prove?

I thought about my family and the way they worked hard for a living and how they did all they could to raise themselves up. My family weren’t handed good fortune on a silver plate. I became angry when I thought about how my friend might judge my family if he knew where they came from. Would he then think I wasn’t a suitable friend?

By the end of this evening I’ve been able to conclude the following: Sherif hasn’t done anything to make me think he’s a bad person. He might be a bit moody at times, but he’s impressed me by his love for work and ability to use his initiative. He’s a good man as far as I can see and I hope he’ll have a good future – with or without me. He told me something about his father this evening and it gave me the impression that he comes from a decent and respectable family, at least by my standards and anyone who begs to differ can go to hell. I feel comfortable and safe with him and feel I could trust him to not let me down. He’s a rock… someone you can depend on. That makes me like him even more. Whether as a friend or something more.

I feel ashamed of myself for getting caught up in my friends “good advice” and I ask Allah for forgiveness… for the fact that even for one second I looked down on another and considered myself to be above him. I’m not above him, whether in class, personality, education, religion or generosity. Before Allah, we are both equal and if we are meant to be together, we will help each other to be better people Insha’Allah.

I’ve been thinking all day, before and after my chat with my friend, how lucky I am to have Sherif working for me. It may seem like something simple, but I’m amazed at his zest for work; the way he just takes charge and gets things done. He doesn’t stop until he reaches his target. Initiative! That elusive quality! I can see him being able to make my life a lot easier and Insha’Allah he’ll go far in my company. I haven’t mentioned it here, but after the initial plan to hire him as a driver I saw that wasn’t enough for him. I’ve discovered other possibilities for him and he readily agreed.

Regardless of my feelings for Sherif, there’s no guarantee that he’s the one for me. I’ve been mooning over him, but I remembered that Allah doesn’t always bring people into your life for the immediately obvious reasons. Yes it could be that he’s my destiny, but it could also be that he came into my life so I can give him the chance he deserves in his career and/or so that he can help me reach my target. The number of lazy arse bums we have in my company who get by because of a piece of paper they got from the local university doesn’t bear mentioning. I have a vision that in the near future, my friend will be eating his words. I also just remembered, while writing this, that the friend who gave me the advice is usually the one receiving advice from me! Why I let the tables be turned this time, I don’t know, but I won’t let it happen again.

From here on out, I officially quit mooning and will leave things with me and Sherif to take their natural course.

Heartbroken

“He’s not suitable for you.” I’d finally told my friend at work about Sherif. “No way… you have to forget about him. The difference between you is too big.”

Somehow I knew he would say that. Wasn’t that what I’d been thinking myself? It still hurt. My friend rambled on and on about all the reasons why it couldn’t work and I stayed silent. He was only voicing what I’d thought before.  Now as I’m writing this I feel I need to cry. Once my friend finished providing me with his reasons, he told me he wouldn’t speak with me about it again. He also suggested I forget about it, don’t think, don’t speak… just forget.

I’ll try…

In Allah’s hands

With my visitor gone, I thought that would be the end of me and Sherif spending time together. At least until I got permission for him to join the company. However (Alhamdulillah) that wasn’t the case.

I needed to tell someone what I was feeling, but who could I tell. I felt shy about voicing my feelings to anyone. I admire his smile, his voice and his laugh, I love the way his height makes me feel small. His walk makes me smile… sometimes I feel I could watch him walk all day. I love his can do attitude, his way of taking action without making a fuss. Ask and it will be done. I love the way he stops to check I understand what he’s saying. It makes me laugh that he seems to know everyone, always waving at someone and saying hello. Talking to traffic police; he’s so cheeky sometimes but it comes across so naturally. It’s part of him, his personality.

“I like someone” I was talking to a colleague, a friend of mine from the office. “Who?” he asked. I laughed. “Don’t ask me who coz I’m not ready to tell and I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is real or not.” “Is he interested in you?” my friend asked. “Well I’m not sure. Maybe not. He hasn’t said anything to me nor I to him.” “Is he from inside the company?” my colleague was pressing me for information. “Erm… don’t ask me any questions.” He started naming names (some quite ridiculous!) “Look, I really don’t want to say yet… maybe you’ll tell me something bad about him and right now I don’t really want to know. Not until I’m sure about this feeling.”

*********

My manager agreed to hire Sherif and that same night I got my car. I was excited and I called Sherif to tell him. He didn’t respond how I expected… his tone of voice upset me. I ended the call without saying goodbye. Fine, maybe he didn’t want the job? Whatever, I’d continue the process to join him in the company, but I wasn’t going to give any ideas about me and him a second thought. Arsehole.

*********

We spent most of the next day together and my plans to forget about him went out of the window. I had to admit I was hooked. Throughout the day, he performed small thoughtful gestures which left me speechless. We spoke a lot that day, or at least he did. I listened, sometimes feeling too shy to do more than murmur, nod and continue building my relationship with the car window.

A couple of my colleagues suggested I spend the day with them on Friday. They could see how tired I was and I told them I need to chill out. It had been a long 10 days and I was shattered and drained. I agreed I’d see if Sherif was free and we could go out after prayer. Despite my tiredness, it sounded like a good idea and spending the day with Sherif away from work might just be what I needed. Sherif confirmed he was free and he would join us. Settled right? No.

He pissed me off when he dropped me off at the company. It was for a silly reason, but it made me feel like he was rejecting me. I’m not even going to say what it was because it really was stupid. As he turned to walk out of the building I called to him… “Sherif…. about tomorrow…” “Yes” he continued walking away, his back to me and interrupted before I finished “I’ll be ready” “No… I don’t need you tomorrow” I decided I wanted to chill out in my room. He stopped and turned to face me. His face had fallen. “I’m going to stay here tomorrow. Just bring the reciept for the car rental to me on Saturday” I told him. “Saturday.” he echoed. “Yes, ok?” I asked. He nodded and walked away.

*********

I made istikhara. I needed Allah’s help. I would much rather that if this “thing” wasn’t meant to be, that I find out sooner rather than later so I can get Sherif out of my mind. I trusted in Allah and his generousity and felt sure he wouldn’t leave me with this for too long. I felt relieved and told myself… just watch and wait.

*********

I met his sister today. I’d called him to come and collect something from me whenever he was free. Within 15 minutes he was here. He called me and said he was outside so I went to meet him. When I looked out the door, I could see a woman in the car with him. My heart sank. Not again. I walked towards him and we briefly talked about what I needed. He looked happy. He had his cheeky smile on today.

“Say hello to my sister. This is my sister” he grinned. The relief was palpable. I looked in the car window and saw her face… she was obviously older than him and I guessed the children in the back must be hers. She smiled and we shook hands. He continued his cheeky grin and I sensed he was showing off. We made some small talk and then he drove away. I felt happy that I’d had the chance to see him today.  Now, I’m just going to watch and wait….

To be continued…..

Tension in the air

We started bickering with each other. I’m not sure when it started. I think it was on my visitors last day. We took him to the mall to buy some gifts. Me, Sherif and the new employee…

Almost as soon as we entered, Sherif and the new employee went in a different direction. Me and the visitor went to buy perfume. He surprised me by buying me a bottle of perfume I’d been admiring a couple days before. My evil side wished Sherif was there to see it… I wanted to make him feel the stab of jealousy that I felt when he looked at other girls. 

When we were finished and ready to leave, I called Sherif to see where he was. “I’m upstairs in the coffee shop” he said. “Ok, well meet us downstairs, we’re ready to go” I responded. “I guess he was upstairs talking to girls” my visitor smirked. I forced a smile and thought… do you always need to voice what’s in my head?! Sherif and the new employee appeared and the visitor joked… “Do they look like they got any numbers?” I turned to Sherif… “So, did you get any numbers?” He and the new employee laughed and shook their heads. I turned and walked away. I decided there and then, that from now on, Sherif was on ignore. 

Imaginary or otherwise, it seemed that Sherif felt something was wrong. According to my imaginary fantasies, he realised he’d gone too far. But, not before he made one last dig. “Don’t you have anything more you need to see in the mall? Are you sure you want to leave now?” I looked at him “If you want Sherif, we can wait for you outside. Take your time” and I turned and continued walking. He kept trying to get my attention after that. I continued to bond with the car window and participated in the conversation minimally. Arsehole.

Things got worse during dinner. He’d already told me he had to be somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30 and it was 7:45 by time we were seated in the restaurant. He sat for a couple of minutes and then excused himself. I missed him straight away and thought he might not come back until we finished. I was quiet and struggled to join in with the conversation. It was the quietest dinner so far. At about 8:40 he was back. I’m almost sure the change in my mood was obvious… I felt lighter, I felt happier. But I was determined that he would stay on ignore. 

We bickered constantly during dinner. Anything I said in Egyptian Arabic, he corrected with Libyan Arabic. He wouldn’t look at me and responded to me curtly…. When he tried to speak to me, I returned the favour. But I still had butterflies in my stomach.

Then another surprise. The conversation turned to beer and me and the guest joked about him thinking the waiter was offering him real beer. Sherif and the new employee misunderstood “They serve beer here?!” Sherif exclaimed. We corrected their understanding and then I asked Sherif “Do you drink alcohol?” He gave me a dirty look and replied “I’ve never drunk it in my life. I’m a Hajj.” For the first time since we’d sat down to dinner, he looked me in the eye “I did Hajj in 2006, I don’t drink Alcohol.” So there went another of my prejudices… I hadn’t thought he was particularly religious even though he’d done nothing to make me think this.

We continued to bicker.

When he dropped me off at the guest house, I got out of the car and walked away. I didn’t look back. He could go to hell. I felt bad when I went to sleep. I couldn’t understand what had happened.

*********

Sherif was to collect the guest at 4:00am in the morning. I told the guest I’d call him at about 4:30 to make sure he’d been collected and all was ok. I woke up at 4:15 and debated with myself whether to call the guest or call Sherif. I decided to send the guest a message. All was ok, he’d been picked up and they were on their way.

I stayed awake planning to call again at 5:00am to make sure the guest had checked in and got through passport control without hassle. Drifting in and out of sleep, I decided to call Sherif. “Saba7 il kheir” I croaked in my sleepy voice. “Saba7 il noor” Sherif replied. His voice was also soft and a stranger would have been forgiven for thinking we were lovers. “Did the guest leave ok?” I asked “Yes, everything was ok. I’m outside the guest house”

“What? You’re downstairs?”

“Yes, I’m waiting for one of the engineers. To take him to the airport.”

“Ah, ok. Did you call him?”

“No, he’s supposed to come down at 6:00 so I’m just going to sleep for a while and wait for him”

“Ok. If he doesn’t come down, call me and I’ll go wake him up.”

We continued to talk for a while, our voices low and soft, and then we said goodbye. I couldn’t sleep. I was imagining him sitting outside and I could feel the chilly air. I considered calling him back and asking if we wanted to wait down in the kitchen. Make tea, sit in the warmth. I argued with myself for 30 minutes. Yes, No. Yes, No. What would people say if they saw me going down to open the door? What would he think? Would he get the wrong idea? Maybe I could open the door and run back inside so he wouldn’t see my sleepy, morning face. Ok, so it was part vanity…

In the end, I stayed awake and thought about him outside until I heard the engineer open and close the main door, the car engine start and Sherif drive away. I felt bad… maybe he was waiting for me to invite him inside. Honestly though, from what I know of him, he wouldn’t have been. He knows the rules better than I do.

To be continued….