Friday, January 17, 2014

Time to burn some incense and make some tea!

Trying to read The Production of Space from cover to cover was a really bad idea. I should not have done that. I do not regret starting the book. But it was taking me so much time to read because I was taking notes on Evernote. What I should have done is probably to read a chapter and then read some fiction, and then go back to it again. It really put me in a bad mood because I was not doing as much progress as I thought I would. So here is what I will be doing. I have 10 days left before the Spring semester starts, so I will be reading some Camus, some Beauvoir and some Etel Adnen. Time to burn some incense and make some tea. I will be starting with La chute

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I wish I wish I wish

Asos, Asos, Asos, Forever 21, Forever 21

Finding Solace in Beyonce and Girls

I am literally counting the days until I go back home. I'm planning to spend three months there. A lot of people have told me that three months is a lot. I DO NOT CARE (at least now I don't). I need this. I spent THREE YEARS away from home. I miss hugging my parents, my sister, and my cousins. I miss the food. I miss the beach. I definitely DO NOT miss my hometown, but that is a whole other issue. I can't wait to see my friends in Tunis, to hang out with them in the medina, while drinking real tea and real lemonade!! Until then, the only voices that accompany me in my solitude are Beyonce s in the morning, and HBO's Girls' between 12PM and 3AM. I thank them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year Resolutions

-Family: I have been skyping my family almost on a daily basis. A very good progress compared to my average in 2013, which was probably once in a fortnight.
-Creativity: I consider this blog, a creative outlet. I'm learning how to edit photos. I'm writing more. I'm writing longer. So yes. I'm on the right track.
-Facebook: 15 days off Facebook, despite my sister's insistence that I go back there. But NO, I have had ENOUGH!
-Stretching: Dancing is much more fun. Especially if it's crazy uncontrolled hip movements to Queen Bey's beats.
-A.B.D: still stuck on Lefebvre. I have read 160 pages so far out of 400 something.
-Home: I will not have to ask my dad to buy me a plane ticket back home. My savings (I did not spend a single check from my second job) will hopefully suffice. I can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Alternatively yours: the New Wave of Tunisian Music

-A list of Tunisian New Wave artists that are worth the listen.

1-Houssem el Doss: "Chat'ha-Une Danse" (trans. A Dance).

2-Mariem Labidi: "Le Ma tawadaanich-Ne me quitte pas." 

3-Bendir Man: "Habiba Ciao" (trans. Bye my love)

4-Si Lemhaf: "Falijti Bjanbi" (non literal translation: "I'm all packed" )

5-Nechez: "Io Sono Tunisino" (trans. "I am Tunisian")

Apricot Preserve Cookies: Sablé a la confiture d'abricot

I have been calling these cookies "Tunisian Sablés" since I came to America. They remind me of happy times at home and morning coffee with mum. But when I finally decided to bake them, and started looking for recipes, I discovered that the Moroccans, the Algerians, and the French, all claim them for themselves. Hmmm, why am I not surprised?
I relied on Alia's recipe to make these cookies. Here is the final result!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Colorful Tofu Rice

As a graduate student who is just now learning how to cook, I pretty much live on rice and pasta. They're so easy to make. Today, I "experimented" with the ingredients a little bit. Here is what I did:

1-I added tofu to the usual veggie mixture (onions, carrots, green beans, sweet peas, mushroom).

2-After cooking the rice in the rice maker, I cooked it again for three minutes in lime juice. I sprinkled some white wine vinegar and some turmeric (hence the yellowish color of the rice).

I have been adding turmeric to pretty much everything lately. Read about the benefits of turmeric here.

Venting: Expat Holiday Frustrations

There is a saying in Arabic that encapsulates all the frustration that I am feeling right now: "the winds blow contrary to what the ships are wishing for."

The new year infused me with so much enthusiasm, and I have been trying to maintain the energy that I magically acquired on the 1st of January.  Unfortunately, it has not been easy. I wrote my New Year Resolutions on my D.Y.I blackboard and hung them somewhere where I can see them everyday. But my insomnia has been a major obstacle towards the achievement of my "new" goals. It has been very hard for me to wake up early. I know I am still on a break until the 28th, and that I probably should give myself some slack, but I won't. I did not leave my country and my family to sleep until 11 AM and not do anything productive. I am here to make the most of my time, and to achieve as much as I can academically (and otherwise). I have to constantly remind myself that the reason I left home in the first place was because home was making me too lethargic. My insomnia is definitely not caused by forces outside my control. I can work on that. I will work on that.

What is outside my control, however, is this freezing cold and the awful transportation system in this town. The university buses are on a break too. Only the city buses are running. Yesterday, I missed the bus to campus and had to wait 40 minutes in the cold. I was patient, and I kept telling myself that this is part of "the experience." Then, after campus, I decided to buy some socks from TJ Maxx because the laundry elf stole almost all of my socks and left me with only a couple of matching ones. The trip back home took exactly two hours. If I had a car, it wouldn't have taken more than 15 mns. If this town was walkable, I could have just walked back home.

Yesterday I was supposed to read the second chapter of Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space. But I was too exhausted when I got back home, that all I did was make myself some hot and sour tofu soup and eat it in bed.

When I woke up at 11 today, a pile of dishes was awaiting me. So I cleaned everything, and came here to vent. Now I have a lot of reading to do.

Peace be upon you!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dissertation-Stage 1: Proposal

I have narrowed down my possible dissertation topics to three. I am supposed to work on a 50-page proposal and submit it for examination by March. These are the steps I have taken so far, as well as the steps, I will be taking soon. 

I-Identifying relevant readings:
1-Going through the bibliography of all relevant books. Highlighting interesting titles.
2-Grouping the readings into two categories: theoretical and creative.

II-Reading and Taking Notes:
1-Alternating between creative and theoretical readings
2-Using a dissertation-only Evernote account for note-taking.

III-Talking to Professors:
This is the step that I am dreading the most. I am scared my professors will not like my tentative topics.