Monday, 29 November 2010

Some grown-up time.

I have decided I need more Americans in my life. I miss my American friends I had in Baku so badly. Nowadays, I only keep in touch with them via Facebook. I love their accents, their non-English ways, their expressions and mannerisms. But most importantly, I need some more Americans in the UK who would invite me for a Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, first time in my British life, we got invited to someone’s house for Thanksgiving, and it was just perfect. Well, almost perfect. 

When we got told it was a dinner party, I got excited. I don’t get to go to many dinner parties these days.

I knew that the friends who invited us had a little girl who would probably stay up; however she has an amazing ability to happily entertain herself so that did not bother me. I also knew it was OK to bring my child, should I decide to do so. But why would I? It was an evening event, and too late for her anyway. But, most importantly, I needed my break, too. So I was looking forward to a nice dinner party in an adult company. We booked a babysitter and set off into London.

However, when we arrived, I noticed that another family brought their two little children. 

Hmm, I thought. 

You see, just because I have a child does not mean I love hanging out with other people’s kids. Especially in the evenings. Especially when I counted on a proper adult company. 

Of course, it is not a big deal when it is not your kid. But when you are a parent yourself, you can’t help but automatically keep an eye on what the little troublemakers are up to. So, as I stood there with a glass of champagne involved in a very grown-up conversation, I still flinched when a 2-year old boy tried to grab an expensive looking glass with water from the breakfast bar. I told myself not to worry as it was not my responsibility. However, I just could not help it. 

All in all, the kids were behaving pretty well, to be honest. They were also incredibly cute. And yet, I was not pleased when due to some shuffling and moving around, I was the one who ended up right next to them at the dinner table. Great, I thought to myself. Came out for a peaceful grown-up time, and ended up sitting with kids. Again. As if I am not surrounded by children during the day.

However, the turkey smelled and looked good, and the potato mash was calling my name in a steamy voice. That is fine, I told myself. Just ignore them and enjoy yourself.

The food just got served when the 2-year old boy suddenly made a loud noise and puked his butternut squash mash right out. All over  the table in front of me and on what looked like an expensive suede chair. 

The mother screamed in shock and everyone turned to stare. I had my fork up in the air about to take the first bite. Of course, you must remember that I am in a certain condition, which makes me overly sensitive to disgusting smells.  I simply froze. All I could do was turn my face away and hold my breath so I did not suddenly throw up myself. The parents, of course, were terribly embarrassed. And I did feel sorry for them. But I was so distracted trying to not be sick that I was not controlling the words that came out of my mouth. So, when the father asked me to look after his daughter while he took the stinky chair out in the garden, I might have said ‘I paid 30 quid for a babysitter so that I did not have to look after any children tonight.

I hope he did not take it badly. They did leave pretty soon after the incident. Not only the little boy puked all over the place, but the older girl was looking tired and unwell. ‘She is coming down with something’ the mother explained to me. ‘She is quite hot’

Great, I thought grumpily. You did not just bring two little kids to an evening dinner party, you brought two sick kids. 

Now, can anyone remind me how on earth someone like me could be having another baby? I should not have ever been allowed to breed.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

"Impossible" on Rammenas

A new flash fiction story is now up on Rammenas. A short luuuuv story. With a twist. Check it out.

Monday, 22 November 2010

A "Borderline Atheist" Muslim.

I wanted to share an interesting comment from a discussion I got into on Facebook recently.

It all started with someone adding the link about the Pope deciding condoms had some use, after all. One thing led to another, some people defending the Catholic Church; me, as usual, making a silly joke....

But, however tempting it might be, I don’t want to get into the Pope and condoms subject tonight. I just wanted to share this comment from a young Azeri male that I found amusing and depressing at the same time. He pointed out how intolerant atheists were; to which I said ‘Of course, religious people are famously tolerant’. 

And to that, he replied:

" Majority of religious people are very tolerant in my experience. A lot more tolerant and loving than the secular fundamentalists - Johan Hari and Dawkins & co, who hide their real hatred of Islam and Muslims, behind their general attack on ...religions. Today they are banning face-veils and attacking halal food; tomorow they'll ban headscarfs, day after that they'll be burning mosques. You know how these things develop in Europe...

Furthermore, even though I'm borderline atheist myself, I cannot ignore or reject the positive, social unifying, disciplining and mobilising qualities of religious belief. Armenians are a good example. Now, take a look at the video of our hero, Mubariz Ibragimoglu's funeral few weeks ago - see what happens towards the end; listen to what the crowd chants and you'll understand why our victory in Karabakh is inevitable and the role Islam will play in mobilising the nation.

Also I think we have a real battle on our hands against real enemies of Azerbaijan - Alievs and Armenians. Lets concentrate on that instead of picking fights against our own culture and identity. Im Muslim not because I believe in supernatural but because Im Azeri and my culture is inconceivable without Islam and traditional values associated with it, and of which Im extremely proud. The only thing I regret is not always staying true to these values and sometimes buying into the free-for-all, liberal bullshit. Thankfully Ive grown up now and see things more clearly and objectively."
I thought of replying... But then, I realized that I, actually, for once, had absolutely nothing to say. I mean, where would I even start? All I could say was  WOW’.  That was it. That one word summarized all my emotions and ended the pointless debate. 

But yet, I have so much I could ask this young man. If only I thought there was any point to it.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Borsch and some white sponges

I went to visit my Azeri friends a few weeks ago. It was such a treat for a preg chick. I have a bit of a problem, as I don’t really cook; but, since I got pregnant, I crave homemade, Azeri/Russian food more than ever. Oh, what wouldn’t I give for some dolma, or a proper shashlik right now! But, not only my mother is back in Baku for a while now, but also the only Azeri restaurant in London is now closed. Disaster!

So, imagine my happiness when I got invited for lunch at my friends’ place. I knew I would be fed some beautiful food, just like my mum would make for me. As soon as I walked in, I was overwhelmed by the cooking smells.  Salads, Borsch and pirojki...I cant even describe  how good it all tasted. 

It was such an Azeri visit. Not only I ate an awful lot, but was told to relax on the sofa afterwards and take a nap. I laughed, but after a few minutes of sitting still staring at some (very) bizarre Russian stand-up comedy show on telly, I ended up snoozing away. Only to be woken up to have some freshly brewed tea with lovely jams and cookies.

As I got ready to leave, the host shouted for me to wait. She quickly gathered some things for me to take home. My friends often do that. Not only do you eat for 10 when during your visit; you also get to take some of the food with you. When I unpacked the bag later that night, I discovered:

  • Two kotletas ( Russian pan-fried burgers)                
  • A large plate of plov
  • A plate full of special dumplings originally from Kazakstan ( Manti) and, finally...
  • A little blue box with two white sponges in it.
I was of course, very grateful, don’t take me wrong. However! I had to ask.

‘Please, tell’ I asked. ‘Why would you give me sponges? Is it some sort of a hint that my house needs a good clean? I know I have a dog and am not the best housekeeper in the world...'

My friend laughed. ‘No, no no!’ She said. ‘I just wanted you to experience these amazing sponges! Honestly, they clean without any soap or cleaning solution! You can clean absolutely everything you can think of with them! You must try!’

So I was not really that surprised when another Azeri girlfriend brought a box of chocolates, a lovely gift for my child and a pack of Russian chocolate butter when she came for lunch at my place. 

‘What is this for?’ I pointed at the butter, and she shrugged ‘Oh, I just thought you might fancy it?’

‘Fair enough’ I said. Who knows? I just might.

But, speaking of this Borsch addiction. Maybe it is the cold outside, maybe it is the hormones...But I got desperate enough (especially after having tried some borsh at my azeri friends’ house) to attempt to make my own. And so I spent the whole day yesterday chopping, grating and boiling a tremendous amount of vegetables and meat. ‘I am sorry’ I told husband, ‘but there is enough for at least three days now’

 ‘Great’ said husband, ‘Vegetables and meat. Boiled in water. Hmm... My favourite. ‘

Monday, 15 November 2010

On equality and diversity

Today we went to a private scan. Not just because you get the results straight away as opposed to two weeks on the free NHS; but also because the NHS would not tell you the sex of the baby. Sorry, correction. Certain hospitals have a policy of not telling the sex of the baby. 

I think it is a fantastic example of how crazy this country has become. You see, everyone knows the reason why they don’t tell you the sex in our nearest hospital. Because of the certain ethnic minority groups, who might not want a baby girl but would prefer a boy. I would dare to suggest that there might be quite a few Muslims in that group, but that is only my wild guess. My natural question to this explanation is ‘so what?’ Well, they are concerned that those certain people might want to get rid of their healthy but unwanted baby girls. My next question to this is.....So? 

Honestly. This is moronic on so many levels that I don’t even know where to start. 

First of all, I find the fact that they decided not to tell anyone the sex of the baby because they worry about a certain minority of people pretty discriminating against everyone else. They then sent us a letter where they asked us to please not question the sonographer, as sexing of a baby is a “specialized field”. So, despite of the fact that everyone knows the real reason, they openly and shamelessly lie to us. They basically either assume we are all complete morons; or it simply does not matter what we think.

My next question is: Why bother telling me an obvious lie? I would be much happier if they put it simply as their policy- We do not tell the sex. F *** off and go privately if you want to know.  But no. They can’t say that. Neither can they tell us the truth, because that would be un-PC! That would be discriminating against those poor ethnic minorities. And it is all about equality and diversity in the UK. 

My final question is why should they decide what is right for a particular family?

Imagine a situation- hypothetically, of course. My Islamic fundamentalist husband says to me that if I dare to produce a yet another useless female into his family, he would divorce me. Or beat the living hell out of me on regular basis. And never accept that poor child. So I am filled with fear and I want to know as soon as I can if it is a girl so I could have a termination. But nope. Ny-e-t.  The system decided for me. I am not allowed to get rid of that unwanted foetus. So what if my life is hell after that? So what if my husband might throw me out? The NHS’s conscience is clear.  The rest of the story is irrelevant. 

And, of course, it does not matter anyway, as if I were determined to find out, I would definitely pay for a private scan and then request an abortion. So really, what is the point of this stupid game? Oh yes. Equality and diversity. And political correctness. A complete and utter bollocks.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Some news to share.


Not sure when would be the right time to tell you, but decided now is probably just right. I might be hmm... a little bit pregnant

I wanted to tell you before, because I simply can’t keep secrets. Especially my own. But I noticed some confused and concerned expressions on my friends’ faces when I told them too early. They worried things might still go wrong. But I don’t quite get that logic. If things go wrong-which, by the way, they can at any point in our life- I would tell my friends. So why not tell them when things are OK? Especially since I started looking like I had too much plov almost straight away. 

Anyway, we have now passed the first trimester and I suppose, now is a socially acceptable and appropriate time to tell you. 

This news was a huge relief for a lot of my friends who were getting increasingly fed up with me not being able to make the decision. Should I? Shouldn’t I? You see, for a lot of people- for a lot of normal people- having more than one child is the norm. They don’t even question it. Without at least two, a family is incomplete. But for me, that was never the case. 

I was a single child; and trust me, I was just fine. Here you will probably think “yeah but I bet you are dysfunctional and selfish” Oh, please, don’t. I have heard it all before. It is shocking how comfortable people are with repeating cliché phrases without analyzing what it is they are actually saying. And the single child label is hugely popular, I suspect, all over the world. 

But you see, I know better. I know I was a happy child. I never felt lonely or cheated because I did not have a sibling. I am no more selfish in relationship with people than some of my friends with siblings. And so, I ignored the comments from people implying that I was selfish and cruel not giving my child a sister of a brother. She did not necessarily need one to be happy child, in my experience.

However, I simply could not decide. And it was driving me insane! 

Finally, enough was enough. I decided that despite all my concerns and reservations, there was still a part of me who was curious. What would it be like, to have another child? How could I possibly love another baby as much as I love my little girl? What would this other child be like? I guess, I needed time to ensure I was not doing this because of the social pressure. That I was not doing it because my child kept bugging me on daily basis. I needed to know I wanted one more. Oh, and of course, that husband did not mind either. I do ask his opinion i some matters, of course.

Anyhow. I wanted to promise to you that, even though it is inevitable that being pregnant and having another child will bring up some issues I will want to discuss here; I will NOT turn this blog into a mummy and baby blog. I also wanted to explain that I have been so tired and sick recently that it affected how much writing I could do. Which I find very annoying. I hope to get back to normal soon and become more productive, somehow. And maybe? I could even stay up later than 9pm one night soon.