Friday, August 26, 2005

I'm back, I'm alive, I'm good !!

I went to the Fulbright interview at last ! It was yesterday.

It was good, they were so friendly. But I had to wait for my turn since 9:30 in the morning till 1 afternoon! We were only fifteen applicants as we were divided into two or three groups. I was in the first group, and it turned out that the Fulbright office had called all of the applicants to make sure that they know about the date and place of the interview. And I thought that I was the only one to get that phone call !!! Usually when we want to apply for anything here in Iraq we get ignored after sometime and we get nothing! We are not used to get phone calls from an embassy to tell us Please come on the exact time!!! HUH!

Everyone was surprised to get that phone call, and no one said anything about it untill the employee mentioned it and then we all laughed. Maybe everyone of the applicants felt that he was treated in a special way thinking that he was the only one to get a call ! Actually I thought that too!

Even that girl with me from college, when I asked her if anybody called her she said no! And then the next day she said yes they called, she was scared to say yes at first !

So here it goes my story with the Fulbright:

I knew about it from an uncle last year after I had my sergury. He gave me the onld website address and said this is a scholarship program website, go check it. I was still at third stage of college at that time, so I only sent them an email asking about the scholarship. And they replied after few days giving me the new address. I stopped at that point.

Then after few months, it was winter as I remember, someone got me the email of the Fulbright office at the U.S. embassy and I emailed them directly asking about full details about the scholarship. I was a senior students by that time and I had few months to graduate. I got an auto reply at the same time saying that the program for 2005 is closed and that I should wait for the 2006 program to come out on March 2005, And they sent me a Word Document with some websites and references for study prgrams. I didn't get any benfit from it anyway.

Again, I didn't stop sending them emails. And I started to get quick replies about every question. Until January 2005 when I sent them to ask about the opening of the competition and where to find the application form. They replied me with full details this time and gave me the dates and places of the TOEFL Test Center. The only office was in Erbil at that time! So what! I went to Erbil and paid the 180$, and then went again on March to have the TOEFL Test. And I got the result after a month. I scored 557. Then I graduated on June with 81,34. I'm one of the first ten students in my department. But it took me a long time to get my certificate to the Fulbright, but I could make it before the deadline and submitted my file beofre the 20th of July. The deadline was on 31st of July.
But they sent me an email before I submit my file. They were rushing me to apply!! And so I did.

Then after that I kept waiting till they informed me if I moved to the next step. And I was chosen for the interview at last. So I went. Everything was like what I expected it to be. Friendly committee. Easy questions.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Call From The Embassy

At last I got this email from the Fulbright to tell me that I had been chosen for the interview!!! Yaaaa now I'm one step forward, thanks God for this. The interview will take place at the American embassy!! freaky ha?! I might go in and never go out again! There might be some crazy suicide bomber at the Green Zone's gate!!

So this might be my last post !

The interesting thing is that I got the interview notification email three times!! And some called me from the embassy this morning to check if I got their email !!!!!!!!! WHY????

To make sure, I called one of the friends who applied for the scholarship with me to see if she is chosen for the interview or not, and if anybody called her..... She said nobody called!!

Here's what happened:

Ring Ring....Ring Ring..

Me: Hello?
U.S. embassy: Hi, is this Haneen's mobile?
Me: Yes, and I'm Haneen. Who is this?!
U.S. embassy: I'm Nada from the U.S. embassy..
Me: (BANG)!!! ......... OH ! Hi there!
U.S. embassy: Hello Haneen, you didn't check your inbox yesterday, did you?
Me: No, I checked it and I got your email, and I sent you a confirmation to tell you that I received the email, and then I got a reply from you this morning.
U.S. embassy: To whom you sent your confirmation?
Me: I sent to Alan bla bla... and I also sent it to the fulbright address.
U.S.embassy: Then maybe Alan didn't pass the email to me. Good then, we'll be waiting for you... Good bye
Me: Good bye...
!!!!!!!!!! ??????

Why they called??! Why they didn't call the other girl.? Did they call other students as well?!

They once sent me an email rushing me to submit my application file before the deadline! And they didn't send anything to my friend!

Weird, isn't it???? If there is any scholarship competition, usually nobody calls the applicants to ask them when to apply and if they got an email from the scholarship office.. But this is so weird !!!

Tell me what do you think... I'll be waiting.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


1.There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

2.At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3.The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like YOU.

4.A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5.Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6.You mean the world to someone.

7.You are very special and unique.

8.Someone that you don't even know exists, loves you.

9.When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes of it.

10.When you think the world has turned it's back on you, take another look.

11.Think about the compliments you received, forget about the rude remarks.

So...If you are a loving friend, send this to everyone, including the one that sent it to you. If you get it back then they really do love you.

REMEMBER; When life hands you lemons...ask for Tequila and salt

The Metamorphosis

In these days I'm reading " The Metamorphosis " by The German Novelist Franz Kafka. He belongs to the literary Term " Absurd ". There are some other writes who belong to this term, and there is also the Theatre of the Absurd which was found after the WWII, it refers to existensialism. It show the man as living in an aimeless world with no hope or dreams for life whatsoever. The Metamorphosis is one example for The Absurd, other example is the modern play "Waiting For Godot" by Samuel Beckett. The play shows the life of two trumps who live alone in the world and have nothing to do but to wait for Godot who never shows up in the whole play. Godot gives them a promise to come every night but he sends a messenger to tell those two trupms that he is not coming this night but sure will come the next night, and so on till the play ends... I should dedicate a full post for this play cuz it worths to talk about..

Now I'm leaving you with The Metamorphosis full E-Text, hope that you will enjoy it as I'm enjoying it myself..

A Tribe Gathering!

A tribe members I haven't seen or heard about before came over to visit today. The purpose of the visit was to solve a problem. Here is Iraq, if you have a trouble and want a support, you either go to the police or ask for the help of your tribe. And since no one can trust the police, and the police can't also trust us, we go to the head of the tribe and ask for his help.

You may ask why the police doesn't trust us!? Let me tell you, since the situation is not good in Iraq, people are used to call the police to report a robery or a crime and such things. But cuz the policemen are an easy target, anyone can call to give them false information about a robery of a house somewhere, then the poor policemen or the I.N.G. go there and face their destiny... The house they go to is an ambush! A BOMBED HOUSE! That's what happened someday in Baghdad when the I.N.G. got a report about some terrorists hiding inside a house, and when they went nside the house to arrest them the house fell all over them! It was a false report to drag them into the house and them bomb it ! How crazy.... So that's why they don't trust those reports that much, especially if they were at night...

Back to the tribe... The whole thing happened last Friday when this neighbor next to us who lives alone, after kicking his mother out of the house, brought some friends with him to have their usual nights of drinks and laughing all night long to bother the other neighbors. We never complained of him cuz he was only hurting himself with what was he doing, and the other neighbors couldn't speak cuz they were kinda afraid of him cuz some of them were in Al Ba'ath party and didn't want any troubles especially with him when he is drunk cuz he might do or say anything! He's a bodyguard or just a guard at IRAQNA but some says that maybe he works with the Americans, a guard or somethig like that maybe.

So at that day when he brought his friends, dad was dawn the street with uncle and other men from the neighborhood. He came out of his friend's car and told dad rudely to move his car so that his friend can park his car instead ! The car was infront of our house, so it's our place..

As a result of that, a semi fight took place cuz it seemed that this guy was drunk and maybe he wanted to show off in front of his friend so he made up that fight and started to shout... The other neighbors interfered and it was ok untill the middle of the night when he came back again to knock at our door. We didn't hear him at first, but then he started to shake the main door of the house with all his power and shouting and sometimes swearing! He was all drunk and his friends were with him as well ! WE didn't let dad to go out to them cuz we thought that maybe they were having guns. ( a drunk person may do anything)..

We called the I.N.G at that moment and told them what was going on, and they said that they would come. In fact we didn't believe that they might come cuz they might suspect this this is a false report as I mentioned.

Dad called my uncle who wittnessed the fight that night, and while they were talking on the phone this neighbor was still barking at the door. Then they said the best thing to do is to call some men of the tribe and ask for their support cuz he might think of hurting us! ( this is the land of freedom where you can do anything you like even hurting ur neighbor!)

So the tribe men meeting started the next day and they went to this drunk guy and told him to prepare some men from his tribe and their head tribe.. Amazingly, he didn't know these things that the men who went to him were shocked! They asked him where do you belong? Do you know where is your family? Where do you go and what do you do if you are in trouble?! He was scared to death at that time cuz maybe he didn't thought that we would do such thing and make it a tribes issue.

Anyways, the main and the last meeting was today to settle down everything and to make him promise that he won't do what he did and that he won't bring his fellows again to drink and bother the neighbors, otherwise he has to move out somewhere else! He kept saying yes yes... and then he apologized and promised to be good from now on! We'll see!

The funny thing is that almost 20 men came wearing the traditional Arabic dress with their cars blocking the street! I haven't seen any of them before. They only come to solve such matters.

Sure women were there as well, they were my aunts and Grandma and some cousins. One of my aunts said now the neighbors will see all of those men and their cars and think them to be some relatives of a suiter who lives in the U.S.A. and he sent his tribe men to ask for my hands for marriage! What a joke! Why me? " cuz I'm the eldest in the family" Why the U.S.A. ? " cuz I have a scholarship there, ...........Dah !

I'll go to sleep now and shall continue later...

Good night

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A trip to Kurdistan

Hey blog, Long time no see!!

I've been so busy lately with all the post-graduation papers, the M.A. and the Fulbright application files! I submitted two application files so far and I still have this competition exam for the Master Degree next week. I didn't study anything yet!!!

The good thing is that I could go on a vacation to the north of Iraq, or to Kurdistan as they say!! Kurdish poeple refuse to say the north of Iraq, they say there is no such place! It's called Kurdistan. Dah!! Anyway, I stayed there for five days, I had so much fun that I got sick when I came back... we were six in the trip; Mom, Micho, Aunt, Shushu, Shabnem and I.. we went with this tuorisim company, the families there were nice but we couldn't make friendships with them at once untill the last day when we had this singing fight during the way to Sulaf ! It was fun. I think we took about 500 pictures there.. we went to this mall in Duhok called Mazi, they sell everything there in Dollars. And we also went to Dream City, it was coooooool and sooooo clean! I was surprised to see such a clean place in Iraq! hehe. The last day we went to Dream City again with those three girls (don't remember their names) and their brother and cousin, and the other girls whom I didn't like that much cuz they were showing off a bit ! and also this guy the company came with us as an usher, but he was having fun with us for sure. We often called him Ragab!

We came out of Dream City at 11:30 P.M. We refused to hire a taxi and we went to the hotel on feet, it took us almost one hour to get there. The weather was nice and there was electricity for sure! We played football with Pepsi cans all through the way to the hotel ! Just like monkeys escaping from the zoo!! We even stopped the cars down the streets to play in the middile of the street and to take a picture near a fountain! I swear if we did this in Baghdad people would come down off their cars to beat us and insult us!!

Sure I wouldn't put my picture here!!