Tuesday, January 16, 2007

El Maghreeeeeb baby, El Maghreeeeb!

Just a quick post to let you all know I'm going on my first proper vacation away from work (proper vacation meaning to a destination that's further away than 50 minutes!) with my girlfriends to MOROCCO BABY YEAH!

We've planned this trip to one of our dear friend's wedding, so we'll be in Marrakech for a night of exploration, then we head over to Rabat for a couple of days of wedding frenzies and general moroccan madness... ooooohhh I cannot wait... ooohhhh I'm staring at my empty suitcase with a big panicky grin as it's already 9:43 and I don't even know how many shoes I'm taking!

Just for your fun (and incase you're not an informative blog surfer like I am), here's a (stolen) image from our friend Mahmood Al Yousif who's beaten me there already! Perhaps we'll meet and then collectively blog cool pictures of all the fun things we've seen... ooh I'm excited already at the prospect of taking pictures let alone the whole TRIP!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Top 10 List of 2006: Top 10 Flashbacks and Good Times

10. 14 July 2006: Walking up a hill in Finchley Road with my parents, to a house that was long forgotten by my Dad. I watched him so expertly turn around corners and stand infront of the residence that was his home for 4 years. Someone showed us around that house and I got to see where my Dad lived as the young man I can't imagine he once was. Stuck in my mind: My dad pointing out a bus stop that he used to stand at every wednesday night with his friends who are now married to eachother. He used to walk over with his friend (now husband) who would be walking the pretty girl (now wife) to wait for her bus to take her home. Very sweet indeed.

9. 21 September 2006: Panic! @ the Disco with Ahmedi. Stuck in my mind: Going hysterical when they covered Smashing Pumpkins and RadioHead so well and lecturing Ahmedi how these are songs that "Define my generation" and that he should listen to them. =) Remembering what "My Generation" is and how things have changed, making me feel a lot older than little me really is.

8. A collection of nights out with the LLO6 gang, including Chinawhites, the Gardening Club and good ol' times at the trusty College Arms. Special shout out to the house warming that never was and the horrid ending to Niksi's awesome birthday which made us all realize we're good kids and even better friends. Stuck in my Mind: Taking a rickshaw home from Soho and gaining the nickname "Princess Sara" for the rest of the year.

7. That night as I sat in the back of the cab and listened to some pretty foul language come out of someone's mouth. And prior to that, happier times when we all danced like monkeys, like that night in Dunes when everyone showed up. You know what I'm talking about, when we all snuck into the bathroom to escape the racial congregation in the kitchen and told jokes until the morning. Stuck in my mind: Warnings that if we were too loud "The Lord will come and get us!" and the giggles that would not stop.

6. March 2006: Watching Kathim croon in the Royal Albert Hall. 'Nuff Said.

5. My sister's birthday lunch with the whole extended family, and more importantly, my immediate family all together. I have a group picture of us crowded around a birthday cake and it makes me smile. The icing ofcourse was being my niece's "Pink Sister" for the day, she melts my heart.

4. Sitting in my kitchen in Sehla with my beautiful all time indispensable friends, drinking tea, having Jan, making cup cakes, talking, talking, talking, reminiscing and missing, looking forward to the new. I miss you girls x

3. Running and Jumping in the Park: Hands down, most beautiful day in London ever. Not only was the sun shining hot hot heat and the grass as green as it could be, but the company brought some good times which we all will never forget. Stuck in my mind: Watching Girl, Interrupted & Lunar Chick whispering on the grass together from a distance, looking so relaxed and pretty, and thinking of what great friends we've become. And then attacking them both =)

2. Driving to Waterford along the coast on that blindingly sunny day. A smile escapes my lips everytime I remember our route, our music and our near tone-deaf voices singing along to songs that should have stayed in 1995. I remember looking over to the driver's seat and telling myself "this is how it should be..." I am truly blessed to have you babe.

1. Will always stick in my mind: That cold day in September. Leaving my first and very demeaning interview, Sajni gave me a call and asked to meet up somewhere and gave me the wrong address: I arrived at Embankment only to find out after calling her, lost, that I have to cross the bridge towards Southwark to get to her. I cursed her until no end, how could she not know which station she nearest or where she was? I had just had a room full of stupid Essex HR girls tell me the chances of getting this job were slight to slim and I came out feeling drained, I did not need to run around the city to meet a friend for comfort. I was feeling so let down that things were so tough and I was just stuck in the middle and just needed some tlc and even that was hard to get because this little Miss didn't know where the hell we were supposed to meet! This is supposed to be her home and I knew it better than she did! I was angry at Sajni for not knowing where she was and angry at myself for not knowing where I was either: What was I going to do next? Here or There? Did I keep looking for a job in this strange city and fight my best years away, or did I pack up and go home? I was in a state of limbo as I found my bridge and walked across the River Thames, slowly fighting back the urge to hurl my binder of papers into the murky waters below me. I slowed down halfway down the bridge and looked around me: To the left was the Square Mile and Canary Wharf at a distance. To my right was Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St. Pauls... Before I knew it, I was naming all the buildings, all the sights, quickly recalling times when I did this or that over here and there, and fighting back the tears that came surging before I could realize that this was my city. Of course I knew it better than Sajni, because London is mine. It may not be mine forever, but it was at that moment and I knew that it wasn't just time for me to leave yet. I looked around me at a tiny ray of light that fittingly beamed across my path between the grey clouds and made my way to a trusty chain venue where a comforting friend was waiting for me with a big hug and lot's of encouragement. 3 months later I'm still here, trampling these grounds, thanks to all the support I got from everyone around me. I love you guys, I'll give it up when it's time to give it up.
Honorary Mention Goes to: All Those Times With The Mice, All Those Times in Our Moroccan Place and The Wardour Street Adventures.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Christmas Tale (and other stories from the Holiday Season)

It's 2007. Yeah! I remember how weird it was saying "2004" or "2005", or even "1997" and that was 10 years ago. Anyhoo, without any delay, I wish you all a bright and successful year ahead as I do for myself. At least I'm honest about it.

This was my first "holiday season" in England and I got to spend some quality time with friends - something I haven't done in too long. So when our very own resident Parisian catwalked through the Waterloo terminal on Christmas Eve morning I ran to her with open arms. Then I sniffed her.

"Err" I stuttered.

"IT'S THE CHEESE, SOOS" she barked back with a smile. I broke into a huge grin and jumped her again. She brought me the cheese! And not just any "the cheese", but all "the cheese" I could ask for! We then made our way back home (which unbeknownst to us, would be our smelly sanctuary for the next 2 days), giggling, reminicscing of old times and planning our break together. Of course, the second we got into the flat we tore open her near empty suitcase that was half filled with the goods. The camembert, the roquefort, the second favourite which was clearly my first favourite... the good stuff. Needless to say, I couldn't take any pictures as i consumed most of it without any delay, so I had to resort to a google image to show you a taste what I've been gorging on for the last week.

Oh yeah, I can see you drooling. Take that and times it by 6 different pasturised blocks of heaven. And of course, for the next 2 days, every other sentence that came out of our mouths had to comment on the smell of feet coming from the fridge. Oh, it was a good smell to me, but by the end of Day 1, my christmas companions did not agree.

So it was Christmas time and our main mission was to feast, which we did with pleasure. Christmas Eve was a feast of nibbles and when Christmas Day came we were ready: Time to cook our birds. Our mulla friend had kindly explained her special slaughtered diet in advance and we were ready for it - although we couldn't find the right turkey, we did find his Muslim cousin The Chicken and found it fit for the job. This meant that since we clearly weren't going to have a whole chicken and a whole turkey (and the fact that I heard some people DIE from eating Turkey that isn't cooked right and I freaked out on Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve! I was one of those people who freaked out on Christmas Eve!), we resorted to a nice slab of Turkey Joint for us electrofied meat eaters. Yummm.
The Chicken had to be stuffed and someone had to do the job:

Note, those are not my pretty white hands as I'm of the brown variety - but those hands did a lot of poking and it was well worth it. Our Chicken was cooked to a perfect crisp, our turkey didn't kill anyone (whew) and our sides were de-licious. Unfortunately, CARROTS were our enemy this christmas but I'll let it slide as we did manage to cook up a feast fit for a
dozen baby Jesuses.

Nice eh? I'm feeling a sense of pride at our meal. We ate until we sweat gravy and couldn't eat anymore. We were all in our PJs, watched some Christmas movies (including Elf, every christmas needs some Will Ferrell) and spent time together dancing to Christmas Carols. As I write this now from work, I miss rockin' around the Christmas tree and nasal singing "Santa Babyyy... tooo dooo dooo doo dooo too too too too!" Good times...

Of course, no Christmas in London is complete with the obligatory rib-crushing-boxing-day-excursion. Yup, the next day we bundled up in our most comfortable clothes and decided to see what the fuss was all about way too late to enjoy it. We were crushed, stepped on and shoved aside to grab clothes/handbags/shoes/cutlery/body parts/you name it... Everything was on sale and everything was up for grabs. We went, we saw, we got trampeled on. I would put up a picture of my exhausted fake smile while waiting for my Senchen Phad Thai that evening but I'm scared someone would recognize me as "That Cow that was in my way in Selfridges". Apparently, we were in everyone's way the whole 15 minutes we spent inside.
Overall, it's been a good week. I went back to work for 2 days where I managed to bill a helluva lot more clients than they would have liked (Merry Christmas!) and then took some time off for a nice and quiet New Year's celebration. Unfortunately, no pictures there but I assure you it was just lovely. That period was spent relaxing, reflecting and eating good cheese (you thought I'd leave it out, didntchya?): Now let's see if our predictions for 2007 will come true.

Lot's of love,

Soos x

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