I subscribe to a website called GoodReads.com, where I keep track of the books I read and get great recommendations from seeing what my GoodReads friends are reading. They also send me a newsletter a couple times a month, one a general newsletter, and one customized based on authors it sees me reading regularly. This morning, I got the general newsletter (which I actually do skim) and when I reached the end, I read this chilling poem.
When we lived in Kuwait, the first two lines of the poem were a reality. A first wife whose husband was taking a second wife set fire to the celebration tent where the women were celebrating. While the bride escaped, several lives were lost in a horrifying fire, fed by an accelerant.
Joan Colby captures the power and rage of the woman, scorned, in every culture.
A Woman Scorned
by Joan Colby (Goodreads Author)
A woman scorned sets fire to the tent
Where the new wife is celebrating.
Carves her name and yours into a tree
Then chops that tree down with her nail file.
Cages a bird and teaches it to speak
In a language where every verb is an obscenity.
Combs her hair with broken glass until
It glitters like a million diamonds
That you stroke until your hands bleed rubies.
Watches how you sit quietly near the water
While she poisons the tea she is about to serve.
Drives a team of black horses down the avenue
Of your lovers whipping them white as judges.
Climbs through the window that you forgot to secure
Wearing a burglar suit sewn of her eyelashes.
Picks a bouquet of jimson weed, hydrangea,
Lily of the valley, poison ivy, rhododendron
To prove the base and beautiful can both be lethal.
Paints graffiti on the wall of your Facebook
And for good measure stamps a letter with your heartsblood.
Enters your dream unbidden
Wearing the scarlet dress you once admired.
Paces up and down, up and down
Before your place of business.
Removes all the signposts pointing to
The street you used to live on when you were happy.
I took a wonderful photo at Easter, wonderful because I have the same exact photo at the same exact age of my son, holding up his Easter Egg exactly (or, oh pardon me, I can’t resist, eggsactly) the same way. There are just some little things that make a Grandmama’s (and Mama’s) heart sing
Because AdventureMan has worked so hard with him, little Q has been moved up to a more advanced class, and we are all excited about that. I know there are some who prefer to be the BEST in their group, but we always learn and achieve more when surrounded by people a little more accomplished and skilled than we are. We are happy he will be pushing himself to be a really GOOD swimmer!
When we pick Q up at school, all his little school friends say “Q – your BaBa is here!” LOL @ all these little kids speaking Arabic!
When I was student teaching in EFL/ESL, my Arab Gulf students often complained that they couldn’t go directly to US universities, that they had to take English classes first.
“How did you do on the TOEFL?” I would ask, and their response would be a combination of anger and sheepishness.
“They all think we are rich. They just want our money. They make us take classes we don’t need, just to make money on us,” they would bitterly complain.
Most of these guys could speak passable English. Their writing skills were almost non-existent. They weren’t ready for real universities, with standards and accountability. The very first thing – and this is cultural, not something that is “right” is being ON TIME.
We don’t even realize what a priority it is in our own culture to be where we are supposed to be at the time we are supposed to be there. To be habitually late is to be morally inferior in some undefined way, lazy, a slacker. It’s custom, it’s cultural, it’s not a universal. But if you’re going to go to school in the United States, you need to respect the need to be on time – especially for things like exams, boarding a flight, when a paper is due, paying a bill by the due date.
We all learn when we confront our own assumptions by knocking up against another culture. I learned a lot about my own erroneous assumptions living in Saudi Arabia. I hope they are learning as much here. I wish these students well. I hope some of the students are Saudi girls; I hope they are driving around Pensacola having a good old time.
Saudi students flood U.S. colleges for English lessons
Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — That University of South Carolina cap on Meshari Albishi’s head? Just for looks, he says. Its colors match the red of his vest, where a metallic pin displays flags for the United States and Saudi Arabia, his homeland.
For now, his allegiance is to the University of Mary Washington, which Albishi says “is like my second home.”
Technically, Albishi is not a student here, but he has made “a lot of friends,” and has access to the library, workout rooms and other campus facilities. The university has offered him admission, on one condition: Before he can enroll, he must complete a non-credit program, called English for Academic Purposes.
Albishi, 25, is one of thousands of international students arriving each year in the United States to study English as the first step toward a college degree. They come from all over the world, but Saudi Arabia, where the government has poured billions of dollars into a generous scholarship program, is driving the recent surge.
In just seven years, Saudi student enrollments have skyrocketed from 11,116 in 2006, to 71,026 last year, according to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States, the Virginia-based agency that administers the scholarship. Nearly all recipients (95%) start with language training, which can take anywhere from a month to a year or more, officials say.
The infusion of full-paying international students has been a boon for cash-strapped U.S. colleges.
For instance, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, which founded its Center for English Language and Culture for International Students 38 years ago, enrolled a record 267 international students last semester, nearly half from Saudi Arabia, says center director Diana Vreeland. The University of Dayton’s language center, established in 2006 with eight students, now enrolls 400.
The Saudi scholarship grew out of a meeting in 2005 between Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah, and President George W. Bush as a way to strengthen ties — and ease tensions — between the two countries in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Saudi scholarship students can receive up to a five-year visa. The scholarship covers full tuition, housing and health benefits for students and family members. All that, plus round-trip tickets home once a year. After language training, business and engineering are the top fields of study.
When students are finished, “they come back with a collective experience that can help move the country forward,” says Mody Alkhalaf, the Saudi Arabian mission’s assistant attaché for cultural and social affairs.
Even so, the arrangement doesn’t sit well with skeptics, who argue for stricter visa policies. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia; and several had entered the USA with student visas.
In 2011, after a Saudi engineering student was charged in a failed plot to bomb U.S. targets, Investor’s Business Daily repeated its concern that a new initiative for Saudi students opened the door for terrorist attacks. “How many will overstay their visas and become sleeper agents?”
Programs for international students have recently come under greater federal scrutiny. In 2010, Congress tightened rules for English-language programs after an investigation found that a for-profit language school in Florida served as a front for the sale of fraudulent student visa applications. Last year, a federal report urged U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to strengthen oversight of the Homeland Security program that oversees compliance with a student-visa system. Recently, immigration officials have raised concerns that some colleges might be mishandling documentation for students accepted into an academic program on the condition that they first complete language studies.
Some schools mention only the academic degree program on federal forms, a practice that is “essentially defrauding the immigration requirements” and potentially “defeating the purpose” of a student tracking system, says Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ELS Educational Services, a for-profit company that operates the center housed at the University of Mary Washington, lists language study on its paperwork, says communications director John Nicholson, based in Princeton, N.J.
No language students have continued their academic studies at the University of Mary Washington. But officials say they value the diversity such students bring to campus. Last semester, Arabic studies professor Maysoon Al-Sayed Ahmad organized a regular coffee hour for Saudi and U.S. students. “I wanted American students to change their idea about what they think about the Arab people, so they can become friends,” she says.
Saudi students have similarly had their eyes opened. Until he arrived on campus, “I thought all (Americans) had guns,” says Abdullah Khalid Maghrabi, 19. He stayed indoors for a week before he thought it was safe to go outside. Now, he says, weather is a more pressing concern.
“I don’t know what to wear every morning. In my country, all the seasons are the same — it’s hot.”
I learned a new word today, le brouillard, from a blogger who liked my Pensacola parade post. I always take a look to see, and this time, it was like taking a brief vacation to a place I love – the villages of France, and the morning market, or marche. His blog is My French Heaven, and he writes in French and English, good exercise for those of us who need to polish up our language skills. Warning: the photos on his blog are EXPLICIT. You will want to eat those oysters, vegetables and sweets right off the page.
He was waiting, this morning, for ‘le brouillard se dissipe’ and I smiled because on my way home from the early service this morning, I had to stop and take some photos of foggy Pensacola and the foggy bayou:
If, in the midst of this crazy time of the year, you can give yourself a small gift and a short virtual vacation, take a moment to have a cup of green tea and visit my friend Stephane at My French Heaven.
My good friend was visiting, and was late the first day of our visit, arriving breathless, and with her arms full of flowers.
“I am so sorry! I am late!” she apologized, “but I could not find a single florist!”
The truth is that she could arrive empty armed and I would love her as much. She doesn’t need to bring me anything, just her coming to see me is enough. It was a wonderful visit, full of laughter and shared moments, time with family and friends.
Florist shops have almost disappeared in Pensacola, and I suspect elsewhere, as hard times continue. Fresh cut flowers are such a luxury, and one of the first things to go when people start cutting back. Times are getting better, but slowly. Flowers are still a luxury. There are a couple shops I know still open, but not many.
Today’s reading is from Revelations, about the end of times, and set my mind adrift about the identity of Babylon (there are many ideas about this) and about God’s time. We may be in the end of times, I muse, but we don’t even know it because God’s time is so different from our earthly time. An instant can be a couple thousand years – we don’t know.
The author of Revelation uses symbolic language and can be a sort of Rohrshach test which tells more about the interpreter than the text interpreted.
18After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendour.2He called out with a mighty voice,
‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
It has become a dwelling-place of demons,
a haunt of every foul spirit,
a haunt of every foul bird,
a haunt of every foul and hateful beast.*
3 For all the nations have drunk*
of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,
and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power* of her luxury.’
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
‘Come out of her, my people,
so that you do not take part in her sins,
and so that you do not share in her plagues;
5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
6 Render to her as she herself has rendered,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed.
7 As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously,
so give her a like measure of torment and grief.
Since in her heart she says,
“I rule as a queen;
I am no widow,
and I will never see grief”,
8 therefore her plagues will come in a single day—
pestilence and mourning and famine—
and she will be burned with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.’
9 And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; 10they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,
‘Alas, alas, the great city,
Babylon, the mighty city!
For in one hour your judgement has come.’
11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo any more, 12cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble, 13cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, choice flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, slaves—and human lives.*
14 ‘The fruit for which your soul longed
has gone from you,
and all your dainties and your splendour
are lost to you,
never to be found again!’
AdventureMan zipped left across three lanes of traffic and into a parking lot.
“What are you doing?” I hollered, hanging on for dear life.
“Jordan Valley restaurant has a new sign up, a big map of the Middle East, and I want to see how they handle the Israel problem,” he answered.
That explains everything. No, really, it does. We’ve been married for a long time, I know what he means.
“Very clever,” we both agreed.
This is from today’s A Word A Day, and I love it because it describes both cat, plain weave cloth and silk – and it stems from Arabic.
with Anu Garg
1. A domestic cat with a striped or brindled coat.
2. A domestic cat, especially a female one.
3. A spinster.
4. A spiteful or gossipy woman.
5. A fabric of plain weave.
6. A watered silk fabric.
7. A building material made of lime, oyster shells, and gravel.
For 1-6: From French tabis, from Medieval Latin attabi, from Arabic attabi, from al-Attabiya, a suburb of Baghdad, Iraq, where silk was made, from the name of Prince Attab. Cats got the name tabby after similarity of their coats to the cloth; the derivations of words for females are probably from shortening of the name Tabitha.
For 7: From Gullah tabi, ultimately from Spanish tapia (wall).
“I was playing whist with the tabbies when it occurred, and saw nothing of the whole matter.”
Charles James Lever; Jack Hinton, the Guardsman; 1857.
“Kay Sekimachi uses tabby and twill weaving to contrast black and beige linens.”
Stunning 30-year Retrospective at San Jose Museum of Quilts Textiles; Independent Coast Observer (California); Jan 4, 2008.
“Mayor Carl Smith suggested that tabby fence posts be used around the cemetery’s perimeter because the oyster-based concrete would better fit the island’s character.”
Jessica Johnson; Group Restoring Cemetery; The Post and Courier (South Carolina); Jan 21, 2010.
You can subscribe to A Word A Day by going to their website (you can click on it in my list of Links to the right of these blog entries). It is free, and it is amazing.
As you know, many Christians do readings daily; there are readings recommended for each day from the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Gospels. Technology makes life easier and easier, you can just go online to The Lectionary and it is all right there for you. They have all the readings, every day, and even have write-ups about the Saints days.
This scripture makes me nervous. I attend a bible study where they tell us exactly what to think. They are very clear in their doctrine. Because I need the self-discipline in my studies, and because I believe that they are mostly women like me, trying to serve God to the best of their abilities, I don’t argue a lot, I don’t say “no! that’s not what it says!” or cause a disturbance. I trust God lives in each of us, as the Holy Spirit, and figure the Holy Spirit will guide me through our studies.
In this scripture, the disciples who know Jesus the very best, the ones who travel with him and who listen to him every day are talking about bread when Jesus is talking about hypocrisy. It worries me. What else to we fail to see? What else do we mis-interpret?
16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” 3 And in the morning, “It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’ Then he left them and went away.
5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ 7 They said to one another, ‘It is because we have brought no bread.’ 8 And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? 9 Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!’ 12 Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.