Sunday, April 30, 2006


Home. It's nice to have your place again. Quiet. Privacy. Healthy lifestyle. The weather is awesome. I'm still kind of tired. I am pulling working power-hours, trying to finish the projects I should have been working on during the break. LOL good to know I wasn't the only one.

Miss you Jeddah!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

London - in 33 hours

I arrived at heathrow around 6.30am. I took the tube to London central. God, I love the efficiency of the TUBE...sigh...
I had a nap until the after, then I met my friend (sitto doadoa!) at Wagamama. MmmMmMmmm... my friends and this restuarant are what really made this hectic stop in London worth it... hehehe, google it to find out more about Wagamama. I wish it would open in Jeddah (wait :s I live in Canada now - correction: I wish it would open in Waterloo!!)

I watched Inside Man in Leicester Square - rating: B+. Maybe it deserves more than this, but my friends and I were busy gossiping and laughing about a certain situation happening behind us. LOL mn jed saudiiiiiisss.

Of course, as always, around 10pm in London, I get kind of scared. Leicester Square after 10pm is a crime scene waiting to happen - and guess what - I don't want to be a witness to anything. So, as always, my friends give in and each one goes home early like a good girl =)

In the morning, we were planning to go to some Chic place in Knightsbridge, but I suggested some cute, cozy waffle place just off Oxford St, which is closer (Pure Waffle - on Duke St. - if you are intrested!). Rating: A!

I was so happy to meet up again with my inspirational, genius friend (Tazzona). I miss her so much! We have so much in common, yet we are different enough to have the most stimulating academic debates! I also met up with another friend. It was the first time I see her in a long time. Mashalla, her son has grown so much! Last time I saw him he was still an infant in a carriage. Now, he is so active, mashalla, you can't keep him still!

Doadoa and lamloom, my fellow capstone friends. God, last time I have seen them was last summer, when each of us was still in the beginning of the journey... We have changed and grown so much, yet inside, we are still the same good old friends. I just love our same old joke and same old anecdotes. Those are my real friends. The distance has only made me appreciate them more. I love them so much. I kept repeating to them, how much I wish I was with them in London!

After breakfast, my sweet dependable friends both helped me check-out and board the tube at Green Park Station. I took the tube to Heathrow again (and again - I must comment on efficency! Man, I'm a system's girl! So I appreciate the effort that has been done behind such an AMAZING system!!LOL)

So, now I'm at Heathrow again. Wonderful Heathrow...It's becomeing like home. It's kinda cool that I don't need directions anymore. Did some necessary shopping then checked-in the BA Lounge. Yea, yea I know I'm spoiled but it's too late now. In the words of Seinfeld: "Once you go first class, you can never go back!" So true...

So, in 33 hours in London, I did my usual routine. Wagamama, Hagen-Daaz, Movie in Leicester Square, cozy breakfast and heathrow shopping (If I had more time, the list would include Chocolate Bar at Harrods - oh well, less calories).

I have a long journey ahead. I hope I arrive in Toronto in time to catch the bus to Waterloo. Friends in Waterloo, I'm miss you =) I'm coming home....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Take-off in 8 hours

I decided not to go to the family wedding before the flight. My mom decided to stay with me as well. It's kinda hard thinking I won't see my family like this again for at least another four months.

I met my friends over coffee during their lunch breaks to say the final good-byes. My relationship with them is still strong =) They all showed up except for a dear friend who couldn't get off advertising (Advice from this friend: DO not get a job where you have to work on Thursdays - equivalent to Saturdays on Monday weeks)

My dad and I were discussing my future plans. He strongly encourages that I go on. It's kinda hard to think about another five years of this seperation. I'm afraid of burning out.

After the family lunch, we went to Starbucks to celebrate my brother's birthday. It was a 'surprise'. Lots of his friends. Since when do 15 years old girls, run around showing off last season's LV and Gucci bags? It's so funny watching those budding airheads fluff around my brother LOL. My brother then took us (sisters) crusing in his red, sports car. It was really nice =) Siblings bonding while cruising in a speeding sports car playing LOUD music =)

I'm packed and ready - sort of. I'm taking my summer shoes this time with me. It's such a painful process, the process of elimination. Why can't I take all my shoes? MY BABIES. I love my shoes. Phase I of the elimination process I selected only half of my collection. The other half I put in a straight line. The procedure is as follows:

I start by placing the 'definately' on the left and the 'maybes' on the right, until they meet in the middle. After that I look for the middle and discard the right half of 'maybes' QUICKLY like taking a plaster of skin, without looking back. I just grit my teeth and BAM put back my sweet, sweet shoes on the shoe rack.

I know I will regret this. sigh... farewell. Stay warm Jeddah, stay warm...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I don't wanna miss a thing....

It feels like yesterday I have just arrived in Jeddah. I can't believe I am leaving again. I hate flying now. I really do. The long hours, the flight connections, leaving loved ones behind whichever place I leave. I didn't have enough of Jeddah, my family and my friends. I am not satisfied yet. Do you know that feeling? When you dread the inevitable?? I know my flight is late Thursday to London... but I am in denial. I am using all my mental powers to push that date.

I asked my mother to accompany me to Toronto and stay with my for a while. Maybe a month? Until my brother comes and joins me in June :D LOL of course, she couldn't leave because my parents are busy with the new house. I asked her at least to come with until London... hehehe, yes, I am that desperate. She just patted me on the head.

It's funny how I consider myself a strong and independent person, but when it comes to family, they are my weakness. I love to travel the world and jet from one continent to another, but I feel actual, physical pain whenever I have to leave them behind.

My mom was reading the newspaper, then she started laughing. I came over to check out what she was laughing over. It was a cartoon which depicted a man inside a big a bird cage, holding the bars and looking outside. Then, in the next strip, the cage door is open for the man to flee, but the man stood with his back to the door and chose to stay in it!

She said this is you. Finally, you are given your freedom. I carry my passport (and an unlimited permission slip - necessary for saudi women to cross the border) with valid visas to all the major continents and I have my own account with a balance that no one knows how much and no one controls besides me =). I can fly to Russia if I choose to. I can work in Europe if I want to. However, I choose to turn my back to the world to stay in my parent's house.

With all the noise, with all the crowdedness(is this right?), with all the rules and regulations that come with my parent's house, I choose to stay in it. I want to live each day with my parents and my four other siblings (and grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends) and I don't wanna close my eyes, don't wanna fall asleep and I don't wanna miss a thing.

Funny how I always wanted to be a citizen of the world when I was young. Now, all I want to be is a citizen of the mama-and-papa's-house-of-fun.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Know your personality =)

Draw a pig!

My Results:
- I'm a realist.
- I am direct, enjoy playing the devil's advocate and neither fear nor avoid discussions.
- I am emotional and niave. I care little for details and am a risk-taker.
- I am insecure or living through a period of major change.
- I am a GREAT listener.
- I have no sex life.

aha. yea, rub it in my face. oh well, at least I am a GREAT listener =)

Friday, April 21, 2006

M or T

Remember when we used to laugh so much? I never laughed with anyone as much or as whole-heartedly as I did with you. I think you feel the same?

Can you base a friendship on laughing? We laughed about everything; life, people, politics, religion and the future. As I look back, it is fascinating how we could always laugh, no matter how bad it was and no matter how terrible a situation either of us is going through. Something was always funny. Someone always made the other laugh.

I remember you with smile because when I think of you, I remember the good times. I remember the jokes. Am I exaggerating? Is my memory playing tricks on me? Wasn’t it like that? So funny? Wasn’t that why we clicked?

The obvious answer is no, you cannot base a friendship on laughter only and maybe that is why we drifted. Because things are still funny whenever we talk, which is occasionally?

You, my friend, were a true friend. You cross my mind more often than you think and I am always there for you.


i passed! i passed! i passed the interview =)
CISCO wants me again on the 12th of June in Riyadh for the final round. This is going to be tricky. I have a trip to Boston during that week. Plus, the flight from Toronto to Riyadh is so tiring. I will try to see if I can arrange an alternative.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

How low can they go?

God or the Girl? - A reality show...,2933,189741,00.html

They say the way they will execute the show will make it a documentary about the struggle catholic priests wanna-bes face. I don't like it. What do you think?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Am I wrong?

I went yesterday to a wedding. It was fun! More like a DJ party than a regular wedding. Of course, the older women were complaining as usual (nothing ever pleases them! They always find something to critisize)

I wore my red dress with black lace. It felt nice to be back and dress up for a change, instead of daily 'college clother', like jeans and t-shirt everyday! I missed my shoes!!!!!! LOL

Anyways, there has been one subject on my mind since I came back. I want to know if I AM WRONG.
Here is a little bit of a background on myself, before I get to the point.

All my life, I have never had a boyfriend. Specifically saudi. my top 5 reason are as follows:
5. It's socially unacceptable (no debate here - it still is)
4. Pre-marital relationships are more problems than they are worth, too much of a hassle in this country.
3. The risk of falling for a 'bastard' can be a fatal socially. Your rep, down the drain.
2. Religiously wrong

and the number one reason is...

1. my mom explicitly told me: banat al nas ma ye9a7bo - and you happen to be bint nas.

straight-forward and direct. sigh...fine.

I would like to point out here that I, like all normal girls, have had crushes and personal admirers some time or another. But, I never let it ever cross that line. The thought of a relationship never crossed my mind!

Then, around 16 years oId, when I moved back to Jeddah. Things changed. More and more, i see a friend whispering in a cell phone and laughing. or another coincidently bumping into a cute guy in al-sawari. or when girls go to al rimal beach in the weekend (my mom didnt let me go) and then chatter about it on Saturday (beginning of the week here) about who has crush on who.

At that point of my life, I didn't want a relationship, I just wanted to be part of that in-crowd that looked like so much fun! I had many heated debates with my mom.

Fortunately, I was basically pre-occupied with my future and getting into an ivey league school in the states. It's amazing how you can block out everything is your life when you completely focus on a goal. School, TOEFL, SAT, SAT II and university research and applications was all what was on my mind. I didn't think about it that much.

flash-forwad. 9/11 happens. no studying abroad for you young lady!

I stay in saudi. ok cool. np. when you fall, you stand up again. plus my best friend told me im too depressing and im complaining too much. fine. I get into a wonderful school in Jeddah and I spend four great years.

During these four years, the thought of getting a relationship still never crossed my mind. Actually, as I matured even further, I became CONVINCED that the old fashioned way is right. I was witnessing too many sad break-up stories. Occasionally, I even get into those modes where i kinda 'lecture' my friends about what is right and what is wrong. Pre-marital relationships are not right. You should wait until the right guy comes and marries you!

They call it: the SS Syndrome (my mom's initials are SS). They find it hilarous.

Now, I am studying abroad, but my strict rules still apply. A good girl is a good girl wherever she is. right? right!

>> I can hear you saying, ok sunshine, what's your point? Why are you driving us to boredom with your old-fashioned opinions?

well, the point is. Being part of Jeddah's lively social circle, I get to go to many - you could even say an excessive number of - weddings, engagements, bridals, milka's, '3omras, ...etc, and I have noticed a pattern.

The pattern is that all of those recent marriages are a result of a pre-marital relationship. Moreover, all of them were of respectable families 'banat o awlad nas'. Actually, now it is kind of expected that the guy and the girl know each other first -somehow- then he would go and tell his family that: hey, I want this girl. Then, they get married and they have a higher probability of sustaining the marriage and being happy becaue they had a change to verify that this is the right partner for them?

Thus, the question is, have the times truly changed? Do people want to stop relying on mothers to arrange marriages? Should society start accepting that men and women may meet and start a relationship before really starting it 'officially'?

Am I wrong in expecting an old-fashioned marriage and expect happiness from it - just because, I would rather avoid the guilt, the risk and the hassle of a secret pre-marital relationship? Should I stop refusing advances for maybe - maybe - one of these guys has a higher, more noble end in mind?

I am not a scholar of sociology, nor am I a writer about cultural issues. I am a techie and a business person. I work with numbers and I need benchmarks.

Has the benchmark of what is right and what is wrong changed?

Saturday, April 15, 2006


If I should die this very moment
I wouldn’t fear

For I’ve never known completeness
Like being here

Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

Still in my heart this moment
Or it might burst

Could we stay right here
'til the end of time
'til the earth stops turning

Wanna love you until the seas run dry
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for

All this time I’ve loved you
And never known your face

All this time I’ve missed you
And searched this human race

Here is true peace
Here my heart knows calm

Safe in your soul
Bathed in your sighs

Wanna stay right here
'til the end of time
'til the earth stops turning

Gonna love you until the seas run dry
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for

All I’ve known
All I’ve done
All I’ve felt was leading to this

Wanna stay right here
’til the end of time
’till the earth stops turning

I’m gonna love you till the seas run dry
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for

- adapted from the beautiful lyrics of: Gorecki - Lamb

Friday, April 14, 2006

Finally: Home Sweet Home!

So, I'm home in one piece!

One comment: What the hell are you thinking Jeddah? How many new malls have come up in a periood of four months? How many new cafes? It's beyond me.

Well, better start getting up to date. First stop: Coral Mall and Ti Amo Cafe =)
It's good to be back :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

10 hours to go

Guess what.
The wake-up call didn't work. Min jed, this is not my day. Thank god I set the alarm in my phone. Having de-caf coffee in the room. going to eat at heathrow instead of the expensive crap they have in the hotel. I love Pret-a-Manger!

ah, when is this going to end? I can't wait...

20 hours to go

How can you forget an abaya, you ask?
you FORGET IT. lol

I managed to but and UGLY black coat from the one and only...Bollywood Fashion! in Toronto before I went to the airport. I was also wearing a dark green shawl, which I am going to use as a tarha. hehehe... Please, do NOT come and see me at the arrivals!

I am right now in London, UK. It seems this is the trip from hell. for some strange reason I thought that my connecting flight is at 9am from Heathrow. It seemed very logical since I arrived from Toronto at 6am.

guess what. my flight is at 9 P M. P M. belleal ya3ni...

interesting dilemma. the 9PM boarding is for the trip to RIYADH. I had to take the heathrow subway express to terminal 3 to find that out at the Saudi Airlines ticket counter. I considered paying a bit extra and fly to riyadh, then catch a flight to Jeddah. BUT apparently, in Riyadh I would have to wait another 5 hours to connect to Jeddah.

The saudi first class lounge doesn't open until 9am and then it closes again from 12 to 4pm.


What can a poor, tired saudi girl trying to get home do in London for 12 hours? oh wait, a poor, tired, saudi girl with one heavy suitcase and a handbag full of books?? I gave some friends of mine who live in London a call. Guess what, my saudi cell wasn't working..


OK, ok, I had to think (btw I didn't sleep on the flight from toronto, 3ala bali i want to avoid jet lag and sleep in my bed, in my home, among my family)

think, think. Hilton Heathrow!! God bless smart businessmen who will take advantage of poor, tired people like me who don't mind throwing 800 riyals for a couple of hours of a clean bed, a clean bathroom and internet connection.

I take the express subway BACK to terminal 4 (all with my bags, don't forget). walk a 4 minute walk through a tunnel that connects the hotel to the airport.

I get a trainee to check me in. that's another 10 minutes. no breakfast with my room she says.

I get to the room, i take off my shoes. but wait. the nightmare isn't over. something is wierd.


the bed is unmade, the towel is wet and USED, the coffee mug had some leftover coffee in it.


I call the @(*$%^&*(&^% reception. they apologize and get me another room.

and here i am ladies and gentlemen. blogging from a CLEAN room in comfy PJS. I put in a wake-up call so i dont miss the damn flight. Is this some kind of hint? (i can hear didi:" ya think?!" LOL) should i have stayed in canada?

hehehee.... i miss #$%^&* Jeddah and I miss my family and friends. I will get home sooner or later
and damn it i will.

ok. me..falling..asleep..wish me luck. hope i wake up for my flight.

but wouldnt it be ironic if i dont and i miss it? ahahaha...

btw if any of my peeps, reads this, plz call my family. i have no access to them (damn STC). tell them my story. tell them im ok. tell dad to pay the visa bill so they dont arrest me. and tell them i will probably arrive around 5am. hehe or maybe 5pm. who knows?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

30 more hours

3o hours until I get home.
man what a hectic week. I thought things will slow down after the accounting test and the tax project, but heh, life doesn't let you get away that easily.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with my practicum sponser. I had to take the bus all the way down to Kitchener (next town) because non of my other team mates can make it (who btw, have cars). The meeting was awesome.

After that, I had to pack to go down to Toronto. The class were celebrating a friend's birthday as well as the end of the term. That was fun. I decided to stay in TO since I'm travelling the next day.


Do you know that feeling that you forgot to pack something very, very, important? It keeps nagging and nagging and nagging, but you just CAN'T for the love of GOD remember what it is?

hehehe... and then...and then, when it is too late, it suddenly hits you? lol not fun.

Guess what I forgot in Waterloo, in my apartment, on my couch?


I abaya....

Monday, April 10, 2006

Torture.Pure Torture.

oh Tax...

I pulled an all-nighter yesterday. One of those memorable ones -- you know? The one where the project doesn't seem like it's ever going to get done. The one where the hours seem long, boring and never-ending... The one where everyone's true face appears. The all-nighter of when the shit hits the fan...some men run and some stand.

All-nighter group project have this ability to surprise you. The team members you thought you can count on, let you down, and the poeple you thought were the 'weak link' come through and help you carry the weight. The people who thought were your friends, turn out to be REAL friends. The type that show up at 4am for coffee breaks.

I went to bed around 6am. Woke up again at 9am to submit the report and print out a hard copy. I went to bed again at woke up again at noon then back to sleep. Woke up AGAIN at 3pm to finalize the strategy assignment and submit it electronically at 4.30pm.

I was tempted to close my eyes again after that but I didn't want to further screw up my sleeping schedule. Plus, I had to prepare for tomorrow's practicum meeting.

aaahh, the stressful life that i lead. I can't wait to get back to Jeddah...
where the sun is always shining. the beach is always calling. and just lay back and relax =)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

When we were kids in a Saudi School

Remember when we were young in school, our text books had pictures of human beings and animals but with a big, think, black line crossing their necks? Remember how they told us that it is prohibited to have any depiction of any animate object on paper? Remember also how we were taught that it is very bad to hang photographs or own statues at home?

The reason was those actions were opening a window of opportunity for idolatry.

Guess what, it appears to be that it is not only in Saudi Arabia where religious scholars find that 'dolls' and statues should be prohibited.

A Grand rabbi in isreal has ordered parents to 'maim' their children's dolls. Quote: "It is important that those toys do not remain intact to remove the element of idolatry."

yup, a parent gouging out the eye of a teddy bear or the arms of a barbie doll should scare the children the hell away from deviant behavior

Friday, April 07, 2006


So I'm done with the Accounting test...It wasn't a piece of cake. Well, it depends on how you define your cake, right? I don't think I suffered as much as most of the class. But, I wasn't the first one out either, heh, like some other poeple in my class (Damn you, xxxxxx! lol)

I always believed my math skills are the key to success. Math will help solve any problem! Any challenge can be translated into an algebric equation and solved. I'm sure any mathie will agree that math will get you out of any sticky situation =)

But, you know, sometimes...sometimes, things can get carried away. AND as any mathie will tell you, if you get carried away with math i.e. find yourself in a mess or variables, you will inadvertantly find yourself in situation stickier than what you started with...

Conclusion: If you are in an accounting test, and half of the variables of a formula are not there...maybe...just maybe...there is another way? LOL
Do not, under any circumstances, make variable assumptions, equate non-related formulas and solve 3 or 4 algebric expressions in parallel. Especially, if that part of the question is worth 3 points out of 5, in an test out of 40, which is only worth 6% of the whole course !

another piece of advice. If you are stuck in an Accounting test (especially one that is prepared by a certain prof named HOWARD) I strongly suggest that you stop creating a thesis proposal during the exam, stop calculating the effective impact rate of that particular section on your COURSE GRADE and


Accounting Test

The test is in less than 30 minute.
Don't Panic.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I must confess...
Yes, I have sunk that low...
And yes, it felt so good... so good...
I have rolled-up-the-rim of a discarded cup! and WON!! I won a coffee =) hell yea, Timmy's baby! First time, too.

sing-song tune >>> Tim Hortons! ..

Oh Timmy' will I live without you when I leave? Oh wait, yea, they are opening a branch in AFGHANISTAN for Canadian soldiers.

You know, because they can't live without thier Timmy's. I can just drop-by occasionally for my dose of timbits.

Homer Simpson Shudder >>> aaah timbiiits..mmmm....

sour-dough timbits RULE!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Here is why I love Porter - Competitive Advantage

Micheal Porter (strategy professor at Harvard) states that CA can be achieved through either: Product differentiation or Cost leadership.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. It depends on where you want to position your product. My interpretation is:

- go for product differentiation if you smaller sales volume but high contribution margin
- go for cost leadership if you want higher sales volume but low contribution margin

Sales volume can be controlled by other levers, such as marketing, price and so forth. However, how you price your product and how much you spend on marketing all affect contribution margin. Thus, CM is key.

Contribution margin is $$$ net of cost of goods sold and all other operating and selling expenses.

Basic business strategy, right? right! But here is why I love Porter...

I believe his CA model can be applied on youself in any situation in life, such as career, relationships, ...etc. If you think strategically, you have better chances of success.

Personally, I go for product differentiation. That is how i position myself - high quality, high price, high contribution margin. Cheap product may sell more, but guess who end up with unless you got STUPID capacity, then go ahead, try to sell enough to make as much as me.

Monday, April 03, 2006

10 days to go!

I got a friend in class with me. She's with Panama. She is also travelling back home on the 12th. We both can't wait. We are counting the days.

It's funny how terribly homesick I am. I am day dreaming about being back home. Being around my family again. Touching them, holding them, hugging them, feeling them...

i know i know, the novelty always wears off like..after two days! hehehe but still,
I try to replicate the environment I grew up in.My home here is warm and clean. There are always fruit in the fridge. Lots of pillows on a comfortable bed...

Of course it's not the same, no matter how much I try. But if you are perceptive, you can pick up on similarities =)

Job Update
I've applied to more companies; Shell and Aramco - Oil & Gas baby! That's the way to go
I am also trying to apply to Deliotte (Consulting) but in Jeddah. However, they don't seem like they are hiring grads. I'm going to do what my friend Diana did - cold calling. That girl rocks! She cold-called Deliotte in Vancouver because that's where she wants to work. Don't if that will work in Saudi, but anyhow ....