I guess I’m not done bragging about myself, am I? Bear with me a moment for only very few things in my life that I can brag about, and this is one of them. There will be more time for lynching myself for errors and mistakes, but for now, I need to feel good about myself. Especially that I’m now stuck in the airplane while they fix the captain seat after it got broke. God I hate Detroit. Anyway, lets go on shall we.
I was brought up amongst 7 other brothers and sisters of mine. We were four x four, and it seems that my dad has discovered the secret of manipulating the child’s sex. Ok ok..he didn’t. We were always trained to listen to dad and mom, and never question any “command”. Yes they were commands and I think my dad thought that his house is an extension to his office. We would only start eating dinner after he takes the first bite. No TV when he took his afternoon nap. Those of us who stayed late at night, we would hear it pretty harshly. Some of the punishment was TV time deprivation. Allowance was another tool in his arsenals of punishments. But needless to say, he did have a system and he was tough in implementing it (except the youngest one, he always got away with it).
Early in my childhood, I was known to be a trouble maker. Some of the incidents are embarrassing, but oh well, it can’t get worse can it now. I am told that at the age of 5 years old, my mom punishment me very harsh. She caught me naked with a girl and trying to get her naked. Now before you think this or that, keep in mind that the mind of a 5 years old is not capable of such wicked thoughts. I’m sure there was something else in my mind at that time, and I doubt it was related to “sex” again due to the impossibility of a 5 years old boy thinking about such stuff.
In some cases, I was punished for putting my youngest brother in the freezer and told him not to get out until we count to 100. I was lucky that my parents came early that night and saved him. Of course I got punishment in the story I told earlier when I was chasing my sister with dad’s gun. So yes, I got in trouble when I was growing up. Troubles that included “un-allowed” interaction with the Pilipino maid, or driving my dad’s car. Many instances, but for the most part, my parents depended on me heavily when they were hone out of the house. I took care of my brothers and sisters (with the exception of the freezer thingie).
I’m the oldest amongst my brothers and sisters, and according to the constitution of my family, I was second in command. My brothers and sisters knew that and they followed the rules. I got to plan for any fun in the house while my parents were away. I took care of the kitchen planning, trips, who collects woods and who starts skewing lamb on skewers. I planned for the Eid schedule for them, where to go, and who goes where. I can’t say I was a dictator, but I was learning from dad. So there were regulations in the house. When I was around 14, I started taking care of breakfast. Every morning, I would get up before them, and would start the breakfast. Cheese, eggs, and sometimes, cereal. I made the milk (you do remember Nido, the dried milk), and made the tea. I would then wake them up, and get the teat to my parents while we had breakfast.
I then started saving my allowance to get the little ones candy and toys. I was 15 and my youngest brother was 2 years old. There was a specific chocolates that had a picture of a lion on it, and he loved it so much. My 4 years old sister loved twix. I managed to save my allowance so every Thursday, they would wait for me on the balcony and as soon as they see me, they would rush to the door to get their candies for the weekend.
Ok, they just announced that they fixed the captain seat so I have to shut down now, and will continue once the airplane on the air. Ciao
Back again, finally. Just because we were growing up in the UAE, people quickly assumed that we are sissy kids. Kids who are hooked on kitkat or twix. Maybe we had chocolates, but we as kids went through life, just like other kids. We didn’t have all what we wished for, again just like all kids. To me, being the oldest son, made me feel responsible somehow. Weather it was about taking care of the little ones, or the big ones, I tried to me the family guy as much as possible.
I gotta admit it that from the first day I left home, to the states, I felt like someone who was simply pulled away from his family. Suddenly, I’m not that captain anymore. It may sound silly, but I started thinking a lot of times if my brothers were getting breakfast or not. Who now brings the candy for the two youngest ones? Who helps dad going to the market? Why does this and this and some of that? I felt with a big void after I left them. Now, tea doesn’t taste the same, nor milk. Breakfast…stopped in my life for it lost it’s meaning. It kind affected me so much that even when my brother grew and became 13 years old, I would ask him on the phone if he wanted me to bring him candy. Those of us, who left little brothers and sisters behind, know that the thought of them growing up was never in our minds.
So, as a natural reaction, I carried this behavior with me. I was in charge of cooking for the guys. No, they didn’t make me wear a French maid outfits, but they did enjoy my cooking. But before I could make good food, I had to practice, and they all agreed to be my genie pigs. I remember one time we wanted to make “maglooba” (or ma’looba as some may prefer to call it). I instructed one my roommates, who was from gaza, to buy the needed mterial. Cauliflower, potato’s, rice, and beef. We didn’t know about the lamb yet in America. So the dude came back with all the stuff. I started frying the vegetables (potato, cauliflower), and during that, the meat was cooking. The meat was done, and to be honest, it looked funny. I asked my roommate if he got the right meat, and he said yes. But the meat looks different. So I pulled the package from the trash, and there it was, pork. So we ended up substituting the meat with 3 cans of tuna. Honestly, it tasted …well..really ok, and we liked it.
We were creative in cooking, and we seemed to wanna learn so much. One time, I was sitting with two roommates of mine, well..semi-drunk, and we said “how about a stuffed lamb?”. As soon as my roommate said that, I looked at him and smiled. It was the challenge now, and must do it. So we called all those who were interested in the stuffed lamb. The turnaround was 9 guys. Not bad. So we bought all the needed material, and decided that we make it in our apartment. We didn’t have any recipe at all. But we did well. It was one of my roommates and I who took charge in the cooking. The remaining 7 were to split the cost on all seven of them, which was not even 120 dollars total. We spiced up the lamb, stuffed it with cooked rice mixed with ground beef, and we poked the lamb so many pokes and stuffed every poke with garlic. We marinated it with yogurt and spices, then wrapped it all around and put it in the oven. The guys gathered and it was a great gathering. We enjoyed it.
There were times where we didn’t succeed in such work. The time where we tried to make stuffed cabbage and the damn cabbage didn’t want to role easily. I discovered that I needed to boiled it with water first. Or when we tried to make mlookheyyeh and the whole thing fell apart. We were luckier on the falafel side after the second try. That paid real good in the end. I mean there were students who relied on junk food, and there were others who put on the kitchen gear (not the French maid outfit) and started learning.
On occasions, even after we got married and started out own families, we would get together and bring back the good old days of single life days. Well, except the drinking side, some of us remain drinking and some gave it up. I can say that this family guy business has affected how I look at things related to responsibility. Today, if my wife or junior wanted any piece of cloth, I would not hesitate to buy it as soon as possible. But if there was something I liked for myself, I would think so many times before buying it. Maybe this is not related here, and maybe yes, but what I’m trying to say is it is so easy to convince myself to buy things for them, and is so difficult to convince myself with my buying needs. Makes sense? I guess not. Oh well. Gotta leave now, we are few minutes away from Boston. See you around.
Crazy & random thoughts
7 years ago