Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moveable Multi-Function Transition Implement

In most stores around here, pretty much everything is Made in China. I know it feels that way in the States more and more. I think it is even more noticeable here because there are not the strict regulations that the US has on goods coming in. So, almost daily, I get a good chuckle out of things we find and regrettably buy. Below is everything written on the packaging of something we bought recently. Can you guess what it is? Leave a comment with your guess, I will announce if there is a winner tomorrow and reveal the mystery!


Moveable Multi-Function Transition Implement

High Elasticity Plug

Production Introduction:
Our production be able to bear the high temperature and insulation, it’s adopt of import plastic materials for 100%. It have un-rust receptacle and deal with high-conductivity sheet copper. The modern switch have four metal touch with steel and cadmium. The life and load is very good.

Credit and promises:
Our company put into practice sales services. If you have found any quality mention, you can base on the invoice to gain the services just like can reject for a month, change it for six months, guarantee to keep it for one year.

Made in China

Some Observations and Questions I Have:

Are they trying to say the plastic is imported? If the whole world imports everything FROM China…where do they import their stuff from?

I agree, my life is pretty good. My load is good as long as I don't eat too many cookies.

"Our company"…what company are you? Is Bomino your company name? How do I contact you?

If I have a "quality mention", how do I base it on my invoice when no store in the country I live in gives me an invoice when I buy something?

After I have rejected the product for one month, changed it for six months, do I HAVE to keep it for one year?

Disclaimer: I am not in any way trying to dis China. Since I am an American and our country owes China about 18 ka-ba-zillion dollars, I feel the need to be respectful of China since they basically own me and my fellow countrymen. I am simply reporting the facts as I find them and asking some valid, further clarifying questions.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Butchered Arabic

Arabic is a tricky language. I was getting pretty good (i.e. only embarrassed myself about a dozen times a day), then we moved back to the States. Now that we are back in the Middle East, it was time to brush up again and just dive in. As foreigners, we are warned early on of the common mistakes foreigners make with the language. Of course, being the on-top-of-things, totally together kind of gal I am, I vowed from the start to NEVER make those 'dumb' mistakes.

Today, I made the most common mistake any foreigner could make.

I have no pride left.

This is how it all played out…

Me: Peace be on you!

Butcher: And on you! How can I help you?

Me: Can you cut two chickens into pieces for me and put them on two plates?

Personal thought: Wow! That was good! You’re remembering a lot!

Butcher: No problem.

Personal thought: I need beef. Is this beef? How much is 1 kilo in pounds? I hate metric!

Butcher: Here is your chicken. Anything else?

Me: Yes, is this (pointing) cow meat or lamb meat?

Butcher: This is cow.

Personal thought: Man, I am doing good!

WARNING: This is where it gets graphic!

Me: I would like underwear.

Butcher: [Big smile and big chuckle.] Do you mean two kilo?

Me: [Pretending I did not just ask the man for underwear. ] Oh, yes!

Personal thought: I am such a dork foreigner!

Me: Could you grind it and put it on two plates?

Personal thought: Did that make me sound better?

Personal thought: Doubt it…I just asked the butcher for underwear! How will I recover?

Butcher: [Still with large smile.] Here is your beef. Anything else?

Personal thought: Can I have my dignity back?

Me: No, thank you. God give you strength.

Butcher: And give you strength as well!

Personal thought: I would like God to erase this moment from history!

After that, I have started shopping at a different butcher.

Some day, I will have to tell of the time I called my husband a chicken in front of a large crowd of people. What is it with me and meat words?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's in a Name?

My sister and I often discussed all the names we had as top picks for our kids…this is when we were about eight. Luckily my hubby and I had nine months to discuss (argue) about what we would name our kids. And with our second we never knew what she was going to be until the moment she came flying (literally) out. As Americans we generally go for names that ‘sound nice’. We want to make sure the initials don’t spell some bad word. We think of all the things kids could possibly say to make fun of our kids’ name. Then, the name is decided.

In the Arab/Eastern world, name picking is much more focused on the meaning of the name. Think of all those Old Testament passages about the names and their meaning. I always felt bad for that guy whose name meant ‘he brought his mother pain in child birth’. If I named my kids according to their births, they both would have swear words for names!

I have a horrible name for the Middle East. I have never been able to find the official meaning of my name. Remember those inspirational cards that have your name and meaning? Most names had great descriptions like ‘strength’, ‘truth’, ‘loyalty’. Well, mine was always along the lines of ‘from Lindens Isle’, one even said ‘from the Island of Serpents’. Basically I was named after an island that was apparently filled with snakes. Not a good omen.

After we moved in, my neighbor and I were getting to know each other. She was having a very hard time with my name. I said it over and over. I spelled it in Arabic. Then she asked me the dreaded question…’what does it mean?’ I had two options: tell her my mom picked it from a soap opera (ie: bottomless pit of Western immorality) because she liked the sound of it OR tell her it means she lives next door to a lady from an island filled with snakes. Good grief. Maybe the snakes’ venom had medicinal purposes?

My husband’s name said just right in Arabic means ‘shut up!’

“Hi! What is your name?"

“SHUT UP! And this is my wife…snake lady. We are your new neighbors!”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bukra fe mish mish

Translation: Tomorrow there will be apricots.
This very common Arab proverb is quoted to people pining for what could be. Tomorrow your dreams will be realized. Tomorrow your ship will come in. Kind of along the lines of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. Well, as a foreigner living in a very different culture it would be very easy for me to live my days hoping for what will come tomorrow.

Tomorrow the grocery store will have peanut butter.
Tomorrow no one will stare at me when I do or say something ‘totally American’.
Tomorrow I won’t have to push to the front of a ‘line’ because there will be a line for me to stand in and wait my turn.
Tomorrow there will be apricots.

I commit to enjoying each 'today'. The only way to get our apricots today is to laugh. My dad always says if it’s going to be funny later, it might as well be funny now! I’ll take my apricots today!

So, that’s the motivation for this blog. Hope you’ll enjoy the funny day to day things that happened to us during our many years living in the Middle East.

There are some real zinger stories! Especially the time I accidentally became the bridesmaid in a wedding! Or the time 25 Arab men came to my rescue when I hit a parked car on a two lane street that had turned into a five lane street with parking on the side! I really had my apricots that day!
I hope you can laugh at life here and get a picture of the delightful, beautifully different Arab culture where we have the privilege of living. And by the way…we even had apricots for dinner today!