Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Off to India

Well, in about 6 hours we are off to India. Yesterday my brother and I went 2 hours(both ways) in a bus to get our visas, only to find out we came at the wrong time(thanks dad). So guess who(me) had to wake up early today to go get our visas. Anyways, it was mostly uneventful on what my friend Samantha calls "the chicken bus" but I did meet some Scottish dude who I had talked to like once five years ago.

We are basically bringing Christmas to some kids at an orphanage in Chennai(Madras), India. Some of our friends run an orphanage for streetchildren so we will be spending our Christmas there... I've been looking forward to this for months.

Although I don't think we will have a huge impact, this trip is very important. My parents plan on starting an NGO in about 5 years time which will hook up Christian organizations overseas(e.g. orphanages, hospitals, clinics etc...) with funds and people from the West who can help them out... It looks like they want to do everything from basic fund-raising to getting people in to help these guys develop a good business plan. This trip kind of represents the beginning of this NGO and will hopefully prove to be a good omen(and provide some good contacts... If I've learned one thing from living here it is that who you know is definitely important.)

I must pack... got to go!. Be back in a week with pictures and stories.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Stanford admission - I got my results today!

In mid-October close family friends, the Bhatias, convinced me to apply early admission to Stanford. We rushed to get teacher recommendations from my old school in Abu Dhabi(2 hours away), to fill out a CSS profile(tax stuff... I stayed away from it) and to write my applicatino essays. I didn't finish my last one until about five minutes before the submission deadline, after which I submitted my application. It was hell. I told my parents(who had done a ton of work), that if I got into Stanford I would run around our compound(over 150 houses) screaming "I got into Stanford!" at the top of my lungs. I didn't think I would need to come through on the promise

It wasn't over then... somehow my SAT scores weren't sent properly and after about 3 hours of phone time with both Stanford and the College Board we got me scores sent. Then came the waiting. For a month and a half I gnawed the inside of my cheek to a pulp as I worried about my application. Were my essays too stuffy? Did they sound like me? Were they interesting? What about my recommendations... maybe they will cancel out whatever mistakes I made in my essays. But what if there was something bad in them?

Needless to say, I lost way to much sleep. Finally, the day arrived. On December 15, 2005 the admission sould be availible. I checked my mail at 5 am. Then I realized there was a 12 hour time difference and made it all the way until 7 am before I checked again, just in case.

I continued to check hourly(ok, more like every ten minutes) throughout the day. That evening I went to a movie(King Kong.... amazing movie) hoping that the scores would be up when i got back.

I checked the scores at 11 pm
then again at 11:05
then I made it all the way to 11:30 before checking again( i fell asleep)
I browsed photoshop and photography sites and tried to make fake blood(don't ask me why), trying to keep myself awake as i continued to check for the scores.
Finally, at about 3 I figured I would check in the morning.

At 6:45 am the kitten woke me up wanting to be let out(how did he get in my room? I thought I had put him away). Full of fear and trepidation I went to my computer to check my email. It showed 2 new letters from Stanford admission office. I opened it, hoping against hope that I had been admitting yet telling myself that I wouldn't get in: hoping for it would just make it worse.

The email began "Congratulations! I take great pleasure in" I stopped there. What!?!? Were they sadists or something? Did they take pleasure in telling my I didn't get in? Before continuing I tried to think of how the sentence would end. Perhaps it went "I take great pleasure in letting you know that you are a complete and utter idiot," or maybe "in telling you that you didn't make it. Do you really think you had a chance?"

I decided to finish reading the sentence(if not the email) no matter how bad it got. It continued "
in letting you know that you have been offered admission to Stanford University's Class of 2010."

"They must be really sick," I thought "they just want to make it worse by letting my think I got in." I decided to check on the actual website... they wouldn't lie there, would they? "Aha," thought I, as I made it to their site, thinking I had outsmarted them. I opened the notifcation page smugly... they wouldn't fool me. "
On behalf of the Office of Undergraduate Admission, it gives me very special pleasure to offer you admission to Stanford's Class of 2010."

I honestly don't tink I have ever been more shocked in my life. I had made it. I actually made it. I ran out of my room to tell my parents and a laptop stood on my chair outside my bedroom. My parents and little brother were already up. They had made pumpkin pie and had put the cat in my room to wake me up. The laptop was so I could check my results.

"Well?" my mom began.
I looked at her, downcast."I got my results, mom."
"And?" urged my dad.
"It didn't turn out the way I thought it would."
"Which means?" my brother continued(you are probably getting a little freaked out by this point... I was. My family had never done the clone/alternate speaking thing this well before)
"I, uh" I looked down at the ground and squeezed a tear out. "I got in."

Pandemonium ensued and I let out a Xena war cry. My mom called everyone on the planet(she couldn't get ahold of Chinese President Hu but she left a message with the Premeir). A long day of congratulations followed. That night the Bhatias(the family friends... you remember them , right?) came over and opened a bottle of champagne in my honor(I kept the cork). I then fulfilled my promise of the sumo suit. The pictures are down below. Words are uneccesary.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

She's Back!

Finally, after a month of being gone, my mom is back home from the States. She is a bit ragged and I think it will take some time before she is done grieving for my grandmother but we are glad to have her back.

She brought some Christmas gifts from my family in the States and we opened them last night, because we will be in India over Christmas(more on that later...).

I got:
  • System of a Down: Hypnotize
  • A Napoleon Dynamite T-Shirt with a picture of a Liger on it.
  • another t-shirt
  • a cool jacket
  • crocs(the ugliest yet supposadley most comfortable shoes in the world)
  • other stuff that I am too tired to remember

<-------------Finger Update------------->
We went to the doctor about my finger and he asked me all kinds of questions like whether I had been sick recently(no), did I have a family history of arthritis(no) and whether I had injured my finger recently(again no). So they did blood and urine tests(it kind of got me wondering whether it is hard for girls to pee in a cup) and took some x-rays. It freaked me out a bit cuz I thought I might have something serioud. Fortuneately all the tests came back negative, but I still don't know what is wrong. The swelling went down for a day, then back up, and now it is down again. Strange.

Monday, December 12, 2005

No, I'm not flipping you off

It's just that my finger is swollen.

The past few days my middle finger has been a bit stiff and it cracked whenever I bent it. Yesterday it really started hurting and today I woke up to this little beauty. My first thought wasn't "call a doctor(though my dad did make an appointment)" it was "I need to get a picture for my blog!" Now you know where my loyalties lie. Needless to say typing is a bit of a chore. The hardest part is my password - I have had the same one for several years and didn't really know what it was... my fingers would just kind of type it out for me. I freaked out a minute this morning before I finally figured it out by typing it in the air(which hurt about as bad as typing it for real).

My other fingers have started cracking a bit too... I hope it doesn't happen to the rest of them but if it does I'll have to start using that voice recognition software my dad has packed away somewhere.

The top picture looks really disgusting because I didn't straighten it out all the way. My finger isn't that disgusting... yet.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cultural Sensitivity

Since we live in the Middle East, my dad has long been an advocate for cultural sensitivity. As you can see below, not even my family is safe from his tirades.

My aunt sent out an email with this picture of her pregant dog.

My dad, realized the result of these kind of pictures might lead to the following appearing when he tries to sign in to hotmail:(click on the picture to up-size it)

He replied with the following:

It is THIS kind of photo that makes it tough for those of us who live in a conservative theocratic state to even HAVE e-mail! In the future, PLEASE show some cultural sensitivity and discretion.

(see Ministry of Cultural Affairs approved image enhancement)
ever looking over my shoulder,

As you can see my father is dedicated to ensuring that we adhere to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs' rules and always try to be consistent with the "religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates."

Goodby grandma...

I just got a phone call from my brother... my grandma just died. I know it shouldn't come as a suprise to me but it still does. It's funny, even though I was never very close it her, it still hurts knowing that I will never see her again.

Goodbye grandma. We love you and miss you and can't wait to see you again.

Friday, December 09, 2005

not a very good poparazzi

Yesterday my little brother got a tip from two of his classmates who swore that they saw Brad(Pitt) and Angelina(Jolie) at a local hotel... apparently they had just return from relief work in Pakistan. Of course, like idiots, we went, tugging our cameras along. I don't know if we expected them to be sitting in the lobby or what.

We arrive at the hotel and one of my friends calls and wants to talk to my little brother. I hand the phone over to him. "Hello?" he answers, "mhmm. No, serious? At the pool? Oh. my. God. Awesome." He hangs up the phone and starts running full out towards the pool area. My phone rings again... I pick it up and it is the same guy: "umm, your brother hung up a little quick... I was joking." I run and grab him by the shirt as he is trying to convince the guy at the desk to let him into the club area. He goes bright red when I tell him it was a joke.

We meet up with our friends and hang around the hotel for awhile going up and down the elevators waiting for... them. Whenever we see a woman in sunglasses we chase after her, screaming. There must be some pretty freaked out ladies at that hotel right now. They don't show up. New intelligance arrives: one of my brother's friends had made up the whole thing about seeing them. We realize that we have only two choices: tell no one that we had ever been there or call all of our friends and convince them that we saw Brad and Angelina. We take the second option.

After ten minutes of phone calls half the town's population is on the way to the hotel. Apparently the people we contacted called even more people... Someone even called their family in Dubai(2 hours away from here). We had created a rumor monster. We left the hotel and went home, waiting to see if anything would happen. So far we have gotten only 3 angry calls. At least we don't look like idiots, just jerks.

From what my (trustworthy) brother says, apparently Brad and Angelina were really there and one of his friends got a picture. Likely story. If it turns out to be true I'll make sure to post a picture.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Veiled ode to George Bush deleted from Pakistani textbooks

Found this here

This was just too funny to pass up. It lookes like some guy in the Pakastani Education Ministry has a twisted sense of humor. Apparently, this poem was printed in a text-book for 16 year olds.

The leader

Patient and steady with all he must bear,

Ready to accept every challenge with care,

Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,

Strong in his faith, refreshingly real,

Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,

Doesn't conform to the usual mold,

Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight wont do

Never back down when he sees what is true

Tells it all straight, and means it all too

Bracing for war, but praying for peace

Using his power so evil will cease:

So much a leader and worthy of trust,

Here stands a man who will do what he must

I have to say, I find it pretty touching. I wish I could meet the author.

Greetings and Sorrow

Wow, a lot has happened since my last post... and most of it isn't very happy. I’ve written what has happened in bite-sized pieces below… So much has happened in the past month. The sad stuff is below… I will write the happier news(if not happy the non-sad news) later.