Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mon Père

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Father on left holding my uncle.

Sometimes, I envy some of my friends who have open relationships with their fathers. They would pick up the phone and chat to their dads about personal issues such as friendships gone awry, bodily insecurities, and the like.

My father is traditional - in a cultural sense. He would come home from work, settle down in his comfortable mustard-colored chair, and pick at his salad while we flitted about, either joining his calm appetizer session or go on creating the necessary pre-lunch raucous. During our meal, the conversation is usually light and humorous.

When I think about it now, the only time I do bond with my father is primarily during weekends.

Thursday mornings. Dawn more like it. The sun hadn’t come out yet but I manage to stumble out of my warm bed and accompany my father to “Ma63am El Sharaf.” He would order a “fool” sandwich and I would munch on my scrumptious falafels. We would sit on the rickety, wooden benches outside the ageing restaurant, watching the few cars go by and the sun rise up before us.

Afterwards, we would head to the chalet. After a long Thursday night spent devouring my father’s delicious “riyash” and kabab, he would wake me up early Friday morning for our traditional stroll in the desert. Peeling tangerines in natural solitude, we would observe the sheep being herded. I sulked when we ran out of the fruit, but lo and behold! My father always manages to surprise me with a tangerine he savored in his dishdasha’s pocket.

When we return home at dusk, I would go with him to Soug il Sla7/Mbarkeya. I would wear my baggy jeans and long blouse, wrap my long hair in a bun and wash my face free of makeup. One of the things I treasure is our car rides en route. My father would talk about his days in school and university, advise me about college and managing my finances (I am still working on the latter), and recall amusing stories about his childhood and past. I love listening to his soothing voice. Whenever he tells a tale, he would end his sentences with “Ha?” and I would reply “Ee yoba” or “Mmm.” And then he would continue his story. Before we hop out of the car, he would ask, “Erzulie, 9obeelay may ma3ach” and I would reach for the heavy, metal thermos and promptly hand him a cup. I watched him as he gulped the water down before smacking his lips and motioning for me to follow.

With him, I become little Erzulie. He still holds my hand when we cross the street. When I gush over a costume-like Indian dress, he would buy it for me, knowing that I will don it in our house and strut around in it every now and then. He would introduce me as, “Erzulie, bintee il zqeera, my little daughter.” We would snag a bag of “yigi6” and enjoy it as we walk through the bustling crowd. My mother disapproves of “yigi6,” claiming that “people roll it with their feet” and that they are generally unclean. But I still love their sour milky taste.

Unlike some of my friends, I do not think I will ever discuss my disdain for my split ends with my father.

At times he seems a bit distant yet I know his affection is implicit.

And I would not trade that for anything.

Edith Piaf - Sous Le Ciel De Paris
George Brassens - Les Passantes
Del Amitri - Roll to Me (I love this song!) - FOOF!

at 5:03 AM


  1. Blogger Delicately Realistic posted at 5:58 AM  
    If that isnt bonding i dont know what is :*

    (My dad, sister & i, enjoy yigi6 too, my mom says the same thing to us :P but i dont like the ball ones as much as i like the flat ones, 3araftehom?)
  2. Blogger 3baid posted at 6:19 AM  
    That's nice :)
  3. Blogger Caffeinated posted at 7:37 AM  
    I don't think most fathers WANT to hear about split ends. You are saving your father a lot of headache by not talking about those things.

    Dads operate on a different plane...but it seems as though you have found your place with him :), AND you actually know how to communicate with him.
  4. Blogger Jandeef posted at 9:28 AM  
    Same i could say about mom.
  5. Blogger ScarlO posted at 6:59 PM  
    dad and i never talk much, never spend much time together, yet when we do it's so lovely. actally i do talk to him much but he almost always gives monosyllabic answers, which is funny when i think of it later, lol.

    Lovely post, by the way :-)
  6. Blogger Erzulie posted at 11:50 PM  
    DR: I don't like the flat ones! I love the balls but sometimes you get a hard one and it takes a lot longer for it to melt in your mouth...I just end up cracking it with my teeth :D

    3baid: :)

    Caff: Hehe, well, talking about my split ends is, I guess, just an example of the insignficant topics I talk about with, for example, my mother or sisters. And yup, I love our little world when we go out on our old school adventures :)

    Jandeef: :))

    Scarlo: Lol! Yeah well personally, I have one of those occasional "deep" conversations, but they're usually serious i.e. school, career, etc. But of course, much appreciated :))
  7. Blogger Fouad posted at 12:22 AM  
    Great song indeed :) and very sweet post
  8. Blogger don_veto posted at 1:05 AM  
    Very touching post.
  9. Blogger Erzulie posted at 9:11 PM  
    Fouad: Yeah I love that song. And the video is kinda...quirky as well!

    Don: :)
  10. Blogger Sedna posted at 1:32 AM  
    Makes me want to write a post about my baba :D
  11. Blogger Erzulie posted at 2:27 AM  
    Sedna: Do it!
  12. Blogger NuNu™ posted at 10:07 PM  
    Ya 7elwa your dad ewannis.. Allah ykhaleeh likom
  13. Blogger Jewaira posted at 11:37 PM  
    Very nice post :)
  14. Blogger Kleio posted at 1:47 AM  
    First of all, I LOVE THAT SONG TOO! Always have. And I just randomly listened to it a couple of days ago. Are we long lost sisters?

    It sounds like you and your father have a beautiful bond. Your description of your weekends with him sounds enviable. I love hearing my dad's old stories as well. My father is my best friend. We literally talk about anything and everything. We can sit for hours talking about politics, religion, football, old stories, history, our friends, social issues, etc. My dad just got back into town last night after a month away and it feels so great not being totally alone in the house again. We sat for about 6 hours today talking non-stop. I know it's actually rare to have this open a relationship with a Kuwaiti father, and I thank god everyday for that. My sisters and I are so lucky that we have this kind of a relationship with him because after losing our mother five years ago, he's everything to us. I think it also has to do with being all girls. We have no brothers, so being the only man in a household full of women, it made our relationships more open from the start.

    Nice post. And I love the picture. As a historian, it tugs at my heartstrings. :)
  15. Blogger Erzulie posted at 4:42 AM  
    Nunu: Thank you :)

    Jewaira: Coming from you, well, that just made my day :)) Thanks :)

    Kleio: Yup, my best friend has a dad like that. Once, I heard her talking on the phone with him, "Daddy, ba6ni e3awerni...Auntie Flow..." and I was like *widened eyes* :P
    When I was growing up, I sort of grew apart from my father, esp. during high school. I mean, we did not talk about the stuff I tell my mom and sisters. I think I was coming from a Westernized perspective when he's more or less very Kuwaiti in his ways with a touch of French :P
    However, after I came back from my first semester in college, I walked in our house and he held me and hugged me so hard I couldn't breathe! He backed away with tears in his eyes, and went back to his mustardy chair :P
  16. Blogger Kleio posted at 1:14 PM  
    But you don't sound distant from him anymore at all. And when you move back to Kuwait it'll be even cooler! :)

    My dad's a doctor, so discussing "that stuff" all became normal. Hehehehe!
  17. Blogger Òrange Juice™ posted at 6:45 AM  
    All I can say is I envy you I would consider you very lucky.......
  18. Blogger Erzulie posted at 1:23 AM  
    OJ: Well, nothing is perfect. However, I do want to say that I am grateful for what I do have. I'll buy an extra bag of yigi6 the next time we're there :)
  19. Blogger Jelly Belly posted at 10:04 AM  
    I swear reading your post is almost like reading about my own relationship with my dad!

    we'll always be their little girls no matter how old we get!

    love the post o 3asa allah yekhaleelich alwaled inshallah :)
  20. Blogger Erzulie posted at 11:21 AM  
    JB: Ee wallah little girls! La bes in the end it's all I good...including the moments where I'm clomping around in clickety heels :P
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