Sunday, September 17, 2006

Getting an Education

Today was the first day of school here in Libya. Actually, Ibrahim has been going to school for the last two weeks, but the other kids started today.

Last night I had to yell at them to get their stuff all in order and ready, and of course they were all sitting there staring at the TV, ignorring me. Finally I unplugged the satelite reciever. Summer is over - no more TV. I get to go back to being mean old mom again. When Mustafa came home the kids ran to him and complained and I told him if he wants to watch Aljazeera he can take the satelite up to the farm and install it there. He looked at me as though I'd gone crazy or something. Maybe I have, but I've found the only way to get the kids moving is to remove TV from their lives. I've tried to just turn it off, but as soon as I leave for work, or even leave the room, they turn it back on and stare at it. I've decided to get them into the routine of school and study from day one and that means 'NO TV!'.

Last night they were all so excited they couldn't sleep. This morning found everyone feeling groggy and tired with puffy eyes. It will take them a while to get into the routine of going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.

Jenna went off to school this morning only to be sent back home. They said to come back in the afternoon and they will decide which kids will get to study in the morning. If they decide to put her in the afternoon we'll have to move her to another school. I have had my fill of split sessions. Kids in the morning, kids in the afternoon - no proper time for lunch and dinner when we can all sit down together as a family, and the house in constant turmoil with people in and out all day. Split sessions and me don't get along well at all. I am going to put my foot down this year.

Adam is still in the US. He's planning on coming home either after Ramadan or towards the end of it. In the mean time, his father will have to go to his school and collect his books, etc. I don't expect they will do much studying until after Ramadan anyway, and they usually have a big hulabaloo over getting all the books. It seems to take them weeks to sort it all out. I never could figure out why they can't have it all ready on the first day... sigh... back to school madness!

Adam's learning more in the US, experienceing new things, seeing and doing things he's never done before. He's off to Seattle this week to visit my sister and her husband. My brother in law wants Adam to have a good time while he's visiting. He sent me this email:

We are looking forward to Adam's visit. I have some questions for you to make sure he has a good time and we do what he likes and can handle. If we go hiking in the mountains, how strenuous of a hike should I shoot for? Do you think 6 miles and 2000 feet elevation gain would be pushing the limits? I want to show him some cool sights, but don't want to make it boot camp. We will get into snow and hopefully see some mountain goats, marmots and deer.

Does Adam get sea sick? I want to take him out on Puget Sound and fish for salmon and then go for a boat ride checking out the sights. Boating is no fun when you are throwing up. If he gets seasick, we will hit a fresh water lake instead. All fishermen smoke cigars, what are your feelings on this?

I know there will be no pork. What else should we be aware of with diet? What are some of his favorite foods? Has he had sushi?

That's all I can think of for now. Hope all is well out there and we can't wait for next Monday when Adam get's in. Tell everyone hello and we will talk soon.

I think it's nice that Mike wants Adam to have a good time. I sent him this reply:

Adam should be ok on a hike and he doesn't get seasick (at least he never has yet). He doesn't like scary rides at amusement parks - but he went today to Busch Gardens - maybe he is over the scary ride thing by now. He can smoke cigars if he wants to (I can't understand why anyone would want to smoke cigars - yuck, but it's his lungs and breath).

Food - no pork, of course. Ramadan will begin around the 23rd. So after that just feed him when the sun sets. He doesn't have to fast while he is travelling so when he goes back to Florida he can eat on the way. I'm not sure if he's eaten sushi or not. Don't worry, don't ask him, just feed him.

I dont think he'll want to get a tatoo or anything peirced - but maybe Andi will convince him.

If you decide you like him, you can keep him.
I wasn't really sure about the 6 mile hike up a 2000 ft elevation... I suppose he'll make it up there.... eventually... hehehe... boot camp!

My family have been very nice about getting Adam to the Friday prayer every week. He's been trying out a new mosque each Friday. Last week he went to an Albanian Mosque and the week before he visited a Lebanese Shiite Mosque. All this has been pretty eye opening for him as in Libya it's all the same thing here. This will be his first Ramadan alone and I think it will be a good experience for him. All kinds of learning going on for Adam - probably more than he would learn at school anyway so I don't feel bad about him missing the first few weeks here.


  1. Adam will learn things on his vacation that he will never learn from school. Travel is so important for us as human beings. We learn how other people think, peoples life styles well the list goes on forever. You have given Adam a wonderful gift that he will draw on all his life.

  2. I think it's wonderful that Adam is learning about Islam in America, and I mean learning by hands-on experience not just by counter-examples. I don't think that's unusual, in fact I never really knew much about the various sects of Islam until I came to the states. Perhaps one reason for that was my youth (17) but I had finished highschool and you'd think by then one ought to have been exposed to the notion of difference. The thing that had the strongest impact on me was not the tall buildings or the highways, it was actually the prevalence of reason and how much it figured into people's everyday life. That's really why I love America, and that's also why I think the crusading George Bush has done a great disservice to America.

    In Libya, like Teri said, it is all one and the same thing. I would go further to say that in Libya it is very difficult to be different in any respect, not just religiously. The culture, in my opinion, is one of "singularism" if there is such a word (opposite of pluralism, anyway.) Libyan society is well primed for exclusion, dictatorship and all the wonderful things that follow from a singularist culture. If anything distinguishes Libya from other Islamic societies it is in fact the notable forces of conformity and uniformity of outward appearances.

    I am also glad that Adam is not couped up in one place, geogrpahically and intellectually. Let him compare and contrast the cultures of Chicago, Seattle and down there in Bubbaville. lol lol lol (Just kidding, all you Bible Belters!) But kidding aside, the real unifying forces of America are purely secular. That's why Adam could experience Islam in a way that he could never do in Libya or any other similar state.

    Please, please, please: Make sure Adam visits a university, even if it has to be one in Florida (lol). I am sure that any respectable university would welcome his visit. I'd be happy to make contacts on his behalf, if there is a need. Let him attend some classes and just as important, let him attend some extra-curricular activities, maybe even some interfaith activity. Let him see pluralism at work, equality in the eye of the law, and the immense benefits of a secular state.

    And yes, what Adam is experiencing is orders of magnitude greater than anything he could be learning in a month of Libyan schooling.

    I hope Adam gets to hook a great king salmon in Seattle, a marlin in Bubbaville or even a tarpon so he can take home a "silver dollar." Come on all you Floridians: You gotta bubba up and show the young man some culture! Forget about sushi, serve him real culture in the form of some gator burgers or something like that.

  3. Wow, you are a large mom letting your son smoke if he wants to!
    My husband smokes and every two days I have a big fight with my biggest daughter, 16, about the ash hidden in various places in her room!
    I even bought nicotine-test strips in order for Fatima to test whether she has been smoking again.
    The point is she knows it is unhealthy (and my own belief is smoking is in reality haram), but then she says: "Dad is smoking too!" and then smoke steams out of my ears!
    As soon as I confiscate another lighter from her pocket/handbag/cupboard, two days later another lighter is found.

    She smokes on certain days in order to provoke me and to play smart in front og her friends, I know that, but until now I can´t help to intensify the battle to control her silly smoking habit.

  4. Hi Teri, tried to contact you, but you are never at home!!! Busy lady, I need your help, if you can. Do you know a schoil where they teach arabic for foreigners, I mean a proper school, not a private teacher. I've been told of the Islamic society but I don't know nothing else, can you please help???
    Why, why, why don't you have a mob number? You don't necessary need to give the number to Mustafa!!!

  5. You seem very much delighted with this idea of boot camp. I just want to make sure he sees snow and it is the end of summer. The snow level has moved up the mountain quite a bit since spring. I am hoping we can get up to a glacier.
    We plan on going to the rain forest as well. This area gets 160 inches or rain/ year. Trees there are up to 30' in diameter and over 300' high. I can't think of a place more different than Lybia.
    By the way, all good fisherman smoke cigars and they have very benificial purposes. They keep the bugs away, ward off the bears and give you a good reason to spit. We should have a good chance at catching salmon and I know we will catch more than a couple of sharks.
    The fall weather is starting. It is in the 40's at night and may get to 65 during the day. Grouse hunting has started so we could hike the lowlands and give the dogs a workout as well.
    The art museum, Pike Street market, U of W, Archie McFees, the Pacific Ocean.........

    So many things to show Adam and so little time. Can we keep him for a month?

  6. Safia - I don't want Adam or any of my kids to smoke...but you've said it for me - you really can't stop them if they are determined to go ahead and smoke anyway. I think it's haram, a waste of money and health.

    Mike - Enjoy Adam for as long as you want, but remember - he's planning on coming back as soon as the school year ends so what you don't do this time you can do next. :)

  7. Teri are you sending any of your girls to the US to see your family ? It is doubly important not to forget the girls in the Arab socity .They are always supressed and made to kow tow to the male dominance .You are always talking about how ignorante Arab women are , especially Libyan women , maybe it is because they are never exsposed to anything differnt . If you do not show your daughters another way of life , this all they will exspect out of it .It is 2006 now, a new century .

  8. this post made me smile nostalgicaly cuz wen i was growing up my mom got rid of out TV just so we'd do our homework and things like that.

    i think this was a good move on her part, cuz we all developed into avid readers and are relatively active in comparison to other people my age i know.

    great blog you have here!


Guidelines for submitting comments

You can rant, you can rave, you can question. I ask only that you are thoughtful about what you write.

Comments are reviewed by me before publication. I don’t edit comments, but I do reserve the right to delete comments that violate my guidelines.

These are the kinds of comments that I think are not appropriate for publication:

- Defamatory or libelous remarks
- Abusive, harassing, or threatening language
- Obscene, vulgar, or profane language
- Racially, ethnically or religiously offensive words
- Illegal or encourages criminal acts
- Known to be inaccurate or contains a false attribution
- Infringes copyrights, trademarks, publicity or any other rights of others
- Impersonates anyone (actual or fictitious)
- Off-topic or spam
- Solicits funds, goods or services, or advertises

Please submit comments in English.

Thank you

My Link List