Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kiss From an Egyptian Rose

You know when you turn on the radio and a tune from your past suddenly blasts?
Yesterday, just as I managed to negotiate a few minutes of grown-up music from my boys, Seal decided to reward me with his deep and raspy voice. Yes, I love Seal and he brings back happy memories of home.

Yesterday, driving on the I-687 back from a children's museum after a long and arduous day chasing after three young kids with very very different interests, I heard his voice.

And it wasn't just a song. It was THE SONG. MY SONG.
I had my moment. A moment where I could almost touch, smell, taste and see that desert spot overlooking the Pyramids...

It was sunrise on a summer morning in 1995, and a good friend has agreed to wake up early and head to the Pyramids to shoot a film for a Marketing graduation project. We were wearing Bedouin clothes, and we were dreaming of hot coffee and our still warm beds. But we stood there, in awe of our surroundings, breathing in the rare fresh breeze that engulfs my city only at dawn. He likes Seal too, and he likes my SONG.

We put it on. This was the age of the CDs. They were rare, cool and we had one in the car.
We listened for a few seconds, braced ourselves for the long shoot that lay ahead and got out to face the camera lens.

Yesterday, I heard the words: "And now that your rose is is in bloom. A light hits the gloom on the grey" and I felt that moment. My notion of home has changed dramatically over the years. But the light that still shines on my city of birth, still has, at rare moments like this, the power to reach me where ever I go.

Monday, October 26, 2009

UN Spouse Employment Programme

It's alarming that a gigantic multinational body like the UN keeps no published records of our lot, the spouses who oblige and follow their partners around the globe.
I spent days, searching the net for any stats that would tell me how many of us are out there and all I found was one document stating the rules for spouse employment within the UN system.
While in Jordan, I joined the UNLESA.. can't remember what the letters stand for but it was an organization for UN spouses based in Jordan. For two years, the focus of the group was to match spouses with jobs within the UN system. Well, that was when they were not fighting for space for with over two dozen UN agencies who couldn't find an empty room to give up for a couple of hours for us to convene.
Since I had a good job already, my interest in the organization dwindled after a while. I only stayed on because I genuinely liked its members.
While finding a suitable job tops the list for many of us Roamers, there are other issues that should be tackled with equal candor. Some of which, directly feed into the job search issue.
Take an example of a mother of three, two of which are toddlers with years to go before they go to school. Say the UN Spouse Employment Programme finds her a great job that totally matches with her qualifications and aspirations. Who will take care of her kids? what happens if her school age child falls sick? If she's late, is there a support system she can rely on to help? Shouldn't the process of founding a support infrastructure precede any job search?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Six weeks now, kids are slowly settling and life is falling into a predictable routine: Drop kids at school, go to Gym, work a little on pending articles and back to pick up kids from school... Between homework and back to back Grey's Anatomy series, I have little time to think...Let alone reflect.
It takes a few seconds only for the first thought to pop up though. What's next for me? 
And though I have little time to dwell on it, I carry my precious single thought along everywhere I go: in the morning on the way to school, to the Gym, all the way till I turn the last light off and brace myself for yet, another day in Suburban New York.