“Hey Look, There’s A Deer!” Yes. That Is How I Proposed.

Note: This is the 4th part in a series about how I met my wife (and daughter). Just joining us? Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 5.

“Beta, she’s just like you kids–opens the fridge and everything! She even saw that the papaya was almost done, and cut up a new one!” – My Mother

HijabMan: Two months after I left Singapore for the second time, EyeDot submitted a poster presentation for The Fancy-Named Conference in Baltimore. Surprise, Surprise, her poster was accepted, and she enjoyed a fully funded week-long trip to (you guessed it) Philadelphia! Even more exciting was that her trip coincided with Eid-ul-fitr!

Have you been counting? Two out of our three trips, over six months time were fully paid for. How’s that for divine intervention?!
Read on »

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Thinking About A Midwife

Eryn seconds old

I’ve been thinking about getting pregnant.

Pregnant bellies have started looking really good to me and I’ve actually felt some jealousy when shopping for baby items and bumping into random bumps. I loved being pregnant and alhamdulilah I had a great birth experience. And of course it’s something that I’d like to experience again.

Naturally, there were definitely some things about my birth experience that I’d like done differently a second time around.

The hospital we chose was AMAZING. Apparently the labour help is top-notch, allowing labouring mothers to walk around and not to be tied down to an IV; no invasive baby monitoring; a low use of invasive delivery techniques such as forceps or episiotomies; and a dedicated nurse to coach you through labour (I wouldn’t really know first hand though, since we essentially walked in and delivered on the spot).

They don’t routinely suction newborns and will hold off administering any injections or clean-up if you request it. And the first place baby goes after being born is directly onto mama’s chest. There baby is left to calm down, breathe, and get some help latching on from lactation consultants if necessary. The aftercare is also brilliant — with daily group breastfeeding help sessions with one-on-one help available. I ended up using their breastfeeding clinic’s helpline almost weekly until Eryn was about 2 months old. They’ve also gone through extensive renovations and now have birthing units so that you deliver and recover in the same room. Each birthing unit is also equipped with a specially designed tub for water birth — which would be really neat in my mind.

Now, there were some things that I could have gone without. Read on »

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Relying On The Kindness Of Strangers

“So, as I flew towards the Middle East, my mind was full of the usual 10pm buzz­words: radical extremists, fanatics, forced marriages, suicide bombers and jihad. Not much of a travel brochure.

My very first experience, though, could hardly have been more positive. I had arrived on the West Bank without a coat, as the Israeli airport authorities had kept my suitcase.

Walking around the centre of Ramallah, I was shivering, whereupon an old lady grabbed my hand.

Talking rapidly in Arabic, she took me into a house on a side street. Was I being kidnapped by a rather elderly terrorist? For several confusing minutes I watched her going through her daughter’s wardrobe until she pulled out a coat, a hat and a scarf.

I was then taken back to the street where I had been walking, given a kiss and sent warmly on my way. There had been not a single comprehensible word exchanged between us.” – Tony Blair’s Sister In Law

Yesterday I had an “uh-oh” moment. But a serious, “What am I doing?!” uh-oh moment.
Read on »

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Language Software Review: Rosetta Stone in Arabic

(Image: Wikipedia)

I finished Rosetta Stone Arabic. I didn’t speak Arabic when I started, and I don’t speak Arabic now.

Before you go “well, duh, no software program could –” let me interrupt you and say no, this is in fact the claim made by the company and by many, many reviewers. When you finish Rosetta Stone, you’re told, you’ll have – if not fluency – then at least two solid years of college-level foreign language learning under your belt. It’s not advertised as a _companion_ to a course or a book or an immersion language experience; it’s advertised as the new and best way to learn a foreign language, period. I didn’t go through it with that expectation, but I’m going to review it on those terms because that’s what people who pay for it think they’re getting.
Read on »

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