Tag Archives: Houston

Neighbors

My condo in Charlottesville was on first floor. Directly below me lived Mia. Her parents had shifted from Malaysia. Mia had married a white American, and had two adorable twin boys, who were two years old. I could see the two boys racing their cars on the sidewalk from my sitting area. They would be watched either by their father, or mother.

Mia’s mother still dressed in a Malaysian dress when she would come to call. She would be talking loudly in her native tongue. In those days I wasn’t friends with Mia, so I was quite confused as to whether the people down below could speak English. That cleared up when I met Mia in the local mosque. Her husband had converted to Islam from Christianity. Mia came regularly to the mosque, and when I would climb the stairs to my condo, I could hear the Quranic verses being played in her home.

During the Ramadan period I had there, she sent me a couple of times a Malay dish for Iftari. The filling was mouth watering. It was chicken, and vegetables. I loved it, and wanted to know the recipe. There never came a time when I could learn it from her. When Son came for me after his divorce, and asked me to shift back to Houston to live with him, I said good bye to my neighborhood.

Yesterday it was quite by chance, I came upon the recipe, and learnt the name (I didn’t even know the name) of the dish I liked. It’s Chinese by origin. The different countries around China have adapted it to their own liking. My Afghan neighbors next door in home country had their own version which was uncooked. I never liked it, but never had the gumption to admit. It would have been terribly rude, and I can never be a rude person. Every time they sent me, I was forced to sing platitudes.

Insha’Allah I will be trying my new found recipe after a day, or two. Let’s see how my version comes out.

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Visit

This photo of IB is of three years before.

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Yesterday was super exciting, because IB (grandson) was arriving from Houston for a month long visit. His flight got late, and it got to Boston at nine at night. Son had booked a ticket for IB a month earlier. Both of us would have liked it much better if IB could spend more than a month with us.

As we don’t live in Houston anymore, we are starved of IB’s company. When we lived there come every second weekend, IB would spend three days, and two nights with us. Living so far away from Houston has its disadvantages.

I wish Son’s ex was more accommodating in allowing IB to spend more than a month. It would have been simply wonderful.

IB as a baby.

Tide

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Son, and I had been living here for months, but didn’t get time to go visit the Atlantic Ocean which is practically at our door steps. The seagulls swoop, and fly through the area where we live. Finding time was a necessity to go look at the ocean.

Then March was coming to an end, and both Son, and I had not filed our tax returns. The time was running out like time, and tide waits for no man. Mine was easier, while Son had to go through a lot more, so he decided to get it done from Houston. I got mine done at the local H&R Block, although I had mislaid some documents, but the chap doing mine had to contact the Houston office on my behalf.

Anyway coming back to seeing the ocean, it did happen.Son asked, “Want to see the ocean?” It was right beside the H&R Block. I breathed the sea air, and looked at the horizon finally.

Tide

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Disrupt

Son practically disrupted my day’s routine. I plan my day when he lets me know his agenda before leaving for work. If he is going to come back for lunch, I make preparation for it. If he tells me he will be returning later in the evening, then I do the cooking just before he is back, to have something fresh for him to eat, and I don’t have to reheat to spoil the taste of the food.

Yesterday he was back against my expectation. He wanted me to get ready in five minutes to get our Mass (Massachusetts) IDs’, and number plates for our cars. Our titles were left in a Houston locker. Last week he flew there to get them, hence the delay. For the past three weeks he has been using my ancient car, and pushing up the mileage to my dismay over it. The sticker on his car had expired, so he couldn’t drive his own.

Yesterday because of the disruption, I left the chicken on the counter to defrost– which is not a good thing. Defrosting should be only done in the fridge for meat products. I forgot to put it back in the fridge, while we left in a hurry.

Thankfully I have got my car back from the clutches of dear Son, and all the paperwork done. Hopefully we will soon get our DLs, meanwhile using the temporary ones. We got our Mass number plates. Mine goes well with the color of my car, and that is the color red. Son kept joking what will I do, if I’m told to have a test again. I hate parallel parking. Son had given me a hard time when he tutored me for three weeks when I got my driving license in Houston, and I couldn’t get the hang of it.

He would take me to the local mosque to practice in it’s driveways, while he would be inside praying. Fortunately beforehand I confessed to the lady who was going to take my test. She assigned me an instructor. He taught me in a course of five minutes what I had to do which Son had been unable to impart during three weeks, and in the process making me feel a dimwit. That was my ordeal, which I’m never going to forget.

He keeps eying my car because of its’ low mileage, and prefers using it, whereas I adamantly refuse to part with mine. I love what belongs to me. Shukr Alhumdulillah!

Disrupt

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Compromise

After Son got the apartment, he arranged the furniture in my room. He hadn’t told me that mine was a mini room. If he had asked me (I was still in Peshawar– miles away from here), I would have told him not to put the smaller sofa in my room. Now there is hardly any space to move around.

When I saw the arrangement after my arrival, I was really upset over it. We tried to find hired helpers to move it to the Living area. The quotation in removing it from the room was too high for us. Son joked, “Let’s put it on the Craiglist. Problem solved. The person who buys it, will do the removing.

Son clearly forgot. Before moving from Houston, we had put it on the Craiglist for half the price. It didn’t get sold. Yesterday I thought over it, and found a better idea. If the verticals are removed to the recess, there is ample space. The room wouldn’t be so cramped, and I won’t be selling my lovely love seat. That’s a compromise, if only the management agrees.

Compromise

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Rube

Though it’s rude to call someone a rube, but it brought to mind my driver Waqas. He was definitely one. I had to employ a driver, when Son left for Houston in December, leaving me on my own. His new job in Massachusetts required him to reach there by January sixth. I would have coped without a driver, but driving in Peshawar was truly hazardous. Another thing was keeping the car not getting stolen by leaving it without a person to guard it.

Waqas belched when he would have his food. Although I had not signed him for giving him food except his pay. I had to give him food when it was meal times, and he was still with me. For the first few times, I ignored his ill manners. Then I had to find my courage to tell him off. It didn’t work. He told me, “I always belch”. I told him he can do it when he is alone, but certainly not in front of me. It was so crass. I had to repeat several times before he decided to heed me.

Another thing which was very off putting was the smell coming from his clothes in the small confines of my car. Oh God! What am I going to do? It was my reaction every time the smell hit me. For some time I put up with it by rolling the window a few centimeters down. Then it was enough. I knew I couldn’t last a month with the foul smell. I was across my limit of endurance. I bought a nice smelling bag of detergent, and gave it to him to have his clothes washed in it. That took care of the problem.

Next time Insha’Allah I’m coming back the minute Son has to leave.

Rube

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