Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Let's go to the Mall (part 1)

Although I like to spend money (who doesn't?) I hate going shopping! But I do love it when I buy new things. It's the process of shopping that I detest. Especially when it involves the mall.
This I learned very recently about myself. First I attributed my dislike of the mall to my children. I thought its usually really tiring because they get bored and it takes too long. So I stopped taking the kids and still I end my trips to the mall with great dissatisfaction. So I attributed it to the difficulty in finding something that fit nicely. Then I found the stores that have clothes that fit me nicely. So I attributed my unhappiness to the never ending crowd that makes the mall hot and hard to move around in. Then I decided to go in the mornings. It was fine but I realized it never ends up being one trip because I always have to return something or change the size.

And then this morning, in Ramadan, at 10:30 am I went to City Stars. It usually opens its gates at 10 am. I figured it's a mall, it's not going to change its opening times for Ramadan, what about the tourists and people staying at the hotel. So I walked in and all the stores except for Spinney's, the hyper market, were closed. Apparently, the store open in Ramadan at 11. That made me angry for reasons I will discuss in another blog. But I decided to go into Spinney's and buy a few things I needed then I would go to the store I came to go to. I was there to return something I had bought a week earlier.
So I was done with Spinney's and by the time I reached the store, The Tie Shop, the door was half open and a the lights were on and a woman was mopping the floor. So I was going in and she told me they haven't opened yet. It was 10:50 am. She told me to come back half an hour later. I told her I was only there to return something and she said they haven't opened and to please come back in half an hour so I tried to find something to do and couldn't and I went back to the store. The woman was done mopping and was sitting in the store doing absolutely nothing and it was 11 am already. But still they haven't opened yet.
My baby daughter who I had to drag with me started crying because she was hungry so I decided to go feed her in the bathroom and return to the store. I did that and was back by 11:30 am. There were now two store clerks, one of which was the woman mopping earlier, and they were both in uniform. I gave them the receipt and the item I wanted to return and they told me they couldn't return it because they didn't have any cash with them. I had to wait until someone bought something so they can pay me back. I told them they have to deal with it it's not my problem and they said it's not there problem either!
I left fuming and went to pay the parking fee. I gave the man at the desk a 100 LE bill and he didn't have change and he said I should go around the whole mall searching for change. He returned my ticket and I was stuck in the mall unless I found some change. That is when I blew up and demanded my right to leave and pay with the money I have. He gave me 50 le worth of 1 le coins with a dirty look on top.

And now I realize why I don't like shopping. This country has no concept whatsoever of customer service. Every trip to the mall is a step onto a battle ground. The customer is always wrong. It all feeds into the poor work ethic we have here. No proper training, and an awful attitude towards life in general is what nurtures our under development.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Baby

Elhamdolilla three weeks and a half ago my family and I welcomed our new little girl, Aisha, into the world.
So now they are three little rascals at home. Which I love and thank God for everyday. Especially when they are asleep.
Every night and day it's the same thing. The two older ones, Abdulrahman and Halima wake up at 6 am. They start their wants and nags and fights. It keeps going all day until 8 pm comes and they reach their peak crying and screaming and acting crazy because they are too tired. After battles they finally go to sleep. Their baby sister then starts her daily colic episodes where she screams nonstop. I give her her medicine and then all three are asleep.
That is when I feel I miss my kids! I feel tomorrow will be a new day. I will be more patient with them and have more fun with them and try to be a better mother.
Then the day starts all over again. The same way. They nag and cry and scream and I lose my temper and scream until the day ends.
It's really weird. As much as they are hard work and sometimes impossible to handle, I still can not imagine what I would do without them. Every day the hope remains that I become more patient and we become friends.
And to think at a point in time I thought I wanted a family like the one in the book cheaper by the dozen!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Child Friendly Place of Worship, I want!

It's been a really long time since I've actually been to a masjid. The few times I did go to pray were at times I knew it wouldn't be crowded as a treat for my children.
Recently I've been wondering why masjids here in Egypt are not child friendly, or even people friendly. I was watching a TV show, that I rarely watch because it is always showing how backward we as Arabs are and it does get too tiring to see negative images of yourself, and today's episode he was showing masjids in Singapore as opposed to our Arab masjids.
The masjid in Singapore had a PLAY AREA!!!!!!!!!! It had sign up sheets for lessons that teenagers and children can attend, like classroom style. It had a full staff with a head and HR manager and the works. It was clean and fresh, sort of like our typical nady here but from the masjid. It even had a family prayer room.
I never thought of praying to be a family activity.
The bathrooms had toilets that are for adults and smaller ones for the children. Beautiful! The children themselves looked happy to be at the masjid. It makes you feel like you want to head to your neighborhood masjid and do something about it.
The most common complaint I hear about the women's section during tarawee7 or the Friday prayers is the children make too much noise. "Women should stay at home and its too much for the kids," is what most people repeat every year. "It's better for women to pray at home."
Really, we go everywhere all the time. Women are always going out and now we are the ones who take our children everywhere. Why are we still denied a basic right to enter a masjid whenever we please for fear of our children disturbing everyone?
I remember my childhood always being around the masjid in the US. Even my school was there and I remember we had so much fun at night. Sometimes we'd pray the tarawee7 and sometimes we had our sleeping bags and there was a room where my friends and I would sleep while our parents were praying. We looked forward to our trips there.
My kids enjoy it now. But my husband and I are always worried they may bother other people around them. And how long will this enjoyment last if we are always telling them to be quiet and stay close to us.
The government is always worried that masjids are breeding grounds for terrorists. If masjids all had to have an infrastructure like the one in Singapore, then people would gather there instead of closed houses and alleys. It would be a nady but more wholesome! Then everyone can enjoy a nice spiritual trip to the nearest place of worship. Even those poor souls with infants and newborn babies :)