YEVGENY ONEGIN

Thought of today

Relationships based on falsehood are like houses built with their foundations in mud

As I was preparing to move my stuff to the bigger bedroom in my place I stumbled upon a book I read five years back; Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin( one of the great Russian Poets). This book made a turning point in my outlook on life and human relations.A brief summary of the story:

This book is about a story written in poetry form. The leading character is a ruthless youth (Onegin) who cares about nothing in life but his own pleasures. He inherits an estate from a dying uncle and moves to the country to take care of his property. While there; he meets Tatyana, a 17 year old, naïve country girl whose experience in life does not exceed the sentimental books she reads. Tatyana falls for him immediately, though she is too shy to reveal her emotions. With her optimism for love she did not sense that Onegin changed women as he changed his shirts everyday, and that he did not think for once that women were worthy of anything but a one night stand. So she sends him a lengthy letter expressing her passion. And although Onegin admires her skills in writing, he rejects her arrogantly and burns the letter. He befriends her sister’s fiancé, and over a dinner gathering he insults her sister by trying to convince the fiancé that women are not worthy of marriage and that they would betray their beloved as soon as another worthy figure appears, and therefore he starts flirting with Tatyana’s sister to prove his point. The fiancé gets aggravated and they get in a fight which ends in the fiancé’s death through a duel. Onegin leaves the country and years back he meets Tatyana again in Moscow. Tatyana is now married to a prince who is much older than her, and she holds a high position in the Russian society. And now that Onegin is older and more mature he perceives Tatyana with another view; he full heartedly falls for her love, and writes letters to win her love again. Tatyana who lived on the hope that Onegin would love her one day and would come back for her, and who also marries an older man under family pressures, sees no way out of her dilemma, but to reject him. End of a very sad story.

The reader might think after reading the summary above that this is just another love story; but it’s actually not. With his unique skills in poetry writings, Alexander Pushkin revealed a mass of complex human relationships dealing with psychology, history, and most importantly the complex definition of love. It gives an answer to all the whys and whats and hows in a relationship. The part which affected me the most was Tatyana’s rejection to the man whom she lived for his love; do you know how much that hurts? It hurts even more than being rejected.

To the poetry lovers and to the ones that are suffering in a relationship, I strongly recommend this book, it sure is a must read.

Here are some verses of how Onegin expressed his definition of love for a woman:

“The less we love her, when we woo her,

The more we please a woman’s heart

And are the surer to undo her

And snare her with beguiling art.”

Here are some verses of Tatyana when onegin knelt at her feet begging for her love:

“I weep now. But, if an abiding

Thought of your Tanya* haunts you still

Know this: your stinging words, your chiding

And your discourse, so stern, so chill,

Were better, could the choice be offered,

Than this insulting passion proffered,

Than all these letters, all these tears.

Then, you showed reverence for my years;

At least you had some pity for me

For my young, girlish reverie:

But now! What brings you here? I see

You kneeling at my feet, before me

How can you, with your mind and heart,

Stoop to play this ignoble part?”

*Tanya: Tatyana

Based on a translation by Oliver Elton

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Hasta luego Madrid and Goodbye 2004

The thought of today:

If you realize that everyone is an individual with his own unique part to play, then the power of tolerance is easy to develop

Tues Dec.31

The Usual Depression:

I never know why but I always get depressed on my birthday. Seconds after 12pm Dec. 31 of last year, I had three SMS’s from three different sources. This year; I got nothing 😦 I was PMSing so that added up to my depression, my friend Elegance got robbed a day before in down town Madrid and not to mention The Asian Tsunami tragedy that toped it all up.

My friends went out clubbing and I stayed home feeling miserable. But to my surprise they came back at around one am with a cake, some candles, two angel statues that I was admiring through window shopping the day before, and a bottle of cold champagne

They were back to celebrate my birthday.

The cake they brought was a traditional NYE cake that contains some token, and the Spaniards get this cake usually at this time of the year and each one makes a cut in the cake and whoever gets the token, he keeps it for he is the lucky bastard of the coming year. And since this was my birthday; I got to initiate the cutting. And you guys won’t believe this; I got the token from the first cut; never happened before. It was a small teddy bear more or less like “useless” the teddy bear I’ve had with me in bed for almost 12 years. Everyone cheered for my upcoming year while I stared at the teddy bear thinking how my chances are getting slimmer each year; at least useless is bigger and fluffily cozy in bed.

A Change in Plans:

Two days back, Alberto (our Spanish friend) called and invited us to spend NYE in Astorga in the Leon province at his uncle’s house. And since we came all the way to Madrid to be in Puerta del Sol during the huge festivities, we apologized and decided to stay in Madrid. But the Spaniards advised us against that; they said it will be crowded and cold and we’ll never find a ride back, not only that, they said even if you book ahead in a club you will not be able to get in because of the crowd; so we decided reluctantly to accept Alberto’s invitation in the last minute and boarded the three and a half hour train to Leon.

While in the train, reading The Da Vinci Code, and peering outside once and a while, I kept recalling all the events in my life. Small patches of snow began to appear on the ground, these patches started to get bigger and bigger until they started to hug and line up and become one big mass of snow that took over the ground and the realm of the sky; now everything is purely snow white. Doesn’t that resemble everything in our life? Our relationships? With the right atmosphere everything takes its rightful time to develop. And the stations that we pass, do we ever look back? These stations more or less are the stations in our life, how come we always look back and have this quenching feeling inside, and why do we look back, the train never stops for anyone, and life just goes on.

Alberto greeted us at the destined station and introduced us to his cousin Jose Luis. His cousin is a known Businessman and a politician in town and he was extremely nice to us. After having a light lunch in a restaurant in Leon Center; they took us to few pubs where we had a drink in each. Btw, I learned that a Spanish custom is never to have two drinks at the same place; if you are for having let’s say four drinks, you have to go to four different places. Then they took us to Luis parent’s three story house where we were lodged in our own dedicated quarter. The warm supper was ready down stairs beside a fire place and a Xmass tree. On the table we met Rafael and Conchi; Luis’s siblings. On a nearby couch, Luis’s dad sat with a huge smile on his face. His mother never sat down for once, she was serving us continuously from 10pm until midnight. At the last 12 seconds of the year a bowl of 12 grapes was placed in front of each of us where we gulped one at each count down second watching the TV (Puerta del Sol clock). It was absolutely divine, and again when this ritual ended we headed out partying until the break of the day.

We stayed at our host’s house two days. Luis took us out with his brother and sister and of course dear Alberto for sight seeing, and at night clubbing. The town is like a walk in museum, and along with other famous sites we visited the Camino de Santiago, along the long Santiago pilgrimage walk that starts in France and ends in Leon. The mother made sure that we would never have a meal outside, and never for once she sat with us on the table, she was always serving us. And when we left she loaded us with presents. What a family, I wish I could repay them one day.

And no Jewaira, I did not get the special kiss on my birthday, but mind you I got the kiss of a life time the day I came back, from my beloved useless, he missed me as much as I missed him and we hugged until I felt that our bodies were melted in a divine mingle:)

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om-Luis and abo-Luis with warm kisses

Hasta luego Madrid (3)

The thought of today:

Every situation in life must be faced, and so why not face it with love

Fri, Dec 24

The three stooges:

Juan, Elegance and I boarded the train to Toledo (Tolaytila in Arabic) my friend Elegance (our guide) has booked us in a supposedly an old renovated castle in Toledo (El Parador de Toledo). I imagined myself an Andalusian princess who would be greeted at the gate by Aljawari in the harem singing: lama bada yatamana3, then walking on this red carpeted floor that leads to princess Wallada Bint Al-Mistakfi’s http://walladah.blogspot.com/ presidential wing while she is busy exchanging poetry with prince charming Aba Al-7akam Ibn Hisham http://this-error.blogspot.com/. And after about 20 min drive from the center of the city atop the hills and mountains, we ended up in a no man land and a huge cottage with the rudest people you could ever imagine; be it at the reception or in the restaurant. They must have thought that we were some kind of terrorists in disguise.

And to our astonishment; we learned that all places are closed for two days, which basically was the duration of our stay in Toledo. Not to mention that the reason behind our decision to spend Xmass in Toledo was an advice we had from our Spanish friends to go to the closest lively place during Xmass, since everywhere else was closed due to Xmass family gatherings. Well that made me feel like the three musketeers who left for adventure and ended up being the three stooges in a ghost city, but regardless; we are here and we might as well make the best of it.

We decided against all odds to go to down town. The weather was freezing cold; must have been around zero, and the wind factor was high. And Toledo’s center snakes around small alleys which were originally designed to cool the hot weather in summer, and there we ended up looking for a warm place to gather us. It was a blessing to find this Coffee/Pub still open, and by the time we finished our first drink, they were closing, and we were back into the harsh cold of the empty streets. And like three mad dogs we ran the alleys looking for a shelter and what a relief it was to find the good old MacDonald still open, and a little winery is preparing to close. I got into the winery and got us three bottles of red wine while my friends went into MacDonald and ordered our meals, and until that day I never knew how delicious a fish filet tasted.. It must have been the hunger and the cold. We called a cap and it arrived in an hour and others took it, so we called again and had to wait sometime to be back in the warmth of our hotel.

As soon as I entered the hotel a sign at a closed door grabbed me like a magnet , I don’t know how I missed it before. The sign read: INTERNET. My friends saw the excitement on my face and they both shouted in unison: NO WAY. I gave them the yes way look and fled to the door, opened it wide and what did I see? A mini computer squashed in a little kiosk more or less like the 70’s PDP11. And as I was examining the machine a noise came from behind, I turned and saw this incredible hulk, open jaw, uneven teeth searching me curiously. He scared the hell out of me and I heard myself uttering through my throat: do you have a business center? And a very rude NO was vomited on me while my friends giggled on the other side of the lobby. I apologized and climbed the stairs to my friend’s room where we stayed drinking wine till the wee hours of the morning and cracking up at our stupidity. Juan kept teasing me all night by calling me the Andalusian princess that was treated like an Indonesian maid.

P.S. I strongly recommend El Parador de Toledo to my foes 🙂

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A view from the hotel

Hasta luego Madrid (2)

The thought of today:

everyday has a hidden secret; you have seen it many times

Wed, Dec 22

I’m in an elegant pub, with Juan and his sister (my best friend Elegance who is our main guide in Spain), Pilar (our Spanish host), and Alberto (a Spanish friend who used to work in Q8 two years ago). The atmosphere is really relaxing after the soccer game which was a disappointment considering the arrogance of Real Madrid’s players (lost zero to one).the stadium was awesome though vast and colorful and the cheering audience was cool; Juan and I dropped our jaws the minute we entered, and I felt my heart was fluttering with excitement.

I found out how addicted I was to blogging when one time I shouted on the top of my voice: move it Zaydoun http://zaydoun.blogspot.com/. My friend Juan corrected me: hey, his name is Zaidan, my friend must think I’m nuts.

The order and control in the stadium amazed me, although you see thousands of people dashing in the stadium and latter out with security men way out of sight, not a single shoulder rub you feel. It got me thinking what if this happened in Q8? How many out of sight pinches especially us woman would get?

The guy sitting in front of me is getting a wrapped hashish out and he is rolling his joint as if sitting in the comfort of his own home. I looked around to see if there were other curious eyes like mine, but no one seemed to bother.

Real Madrids audience were all over the stadium while sivilla’s audience took one corner and they were the ones that made all the noise, they never stopped once cheering. As the situation got more tense at the end of the game Real Madrid’s audience started cussing at their beloved team, and cheering up for the other team. Well, this is Spain, everything is a ok.


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Hasta luego Madrid (1)

The thought of today:

If someone defames you or insults you, shower him with flowers, smiles and good wishes

Yesterday; Juan, Elegance and I got back from a trip to Spain, France and one day in Bahrain, the trip was a treat, and although I’ve been to Spain many times before, this country never seizes to amaze me; I love the easy atmosphere and simply adore the Spaniards, and more than any other time I wanted this trip to be special; it marks a turning point in my life, therefore I got a little notepad with me and wrote my diaries, after all, how long do you think I can stay away from blogging,. My blogging buddy Jowaira http://jewairasboudoir.blogspot.com/made the mission impossible for me; I think of her as a Lebanese neighbor who calls to say: wainik? Inzali ishrabi Ahwi le3ana.

Ok not all days are mentioned and not everything is written of course; only the things I wanted to remember years from now; good and bad.

Tues dec, 21

At last Real Madrid:

Today Juan and I purchased tickets to the soccer game between Real Madrid X Sivilla which is supposed to take place tomorrow, and although I attended two American college footballs before and one Kentucky Derby, this is my first experience with soccer. And btw; Joan is my Bahraini friend from Q8, and our Spanish friends gave him this name and gave me the name “Blanca”.

We chose our seats through internet and went to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium; slipped the visa card in a machine and voala; two tickets were out.

Technology …man

The perfect Spanish amore:

Later on that night; in an Irish pub, inside Madrid; this Spaniard, medium height, nicely built, feathery long, dark blond hair and deep green eyes faced me on a table while I was sitting with my two regular companions, and as if no one existed on the table he blabbered some Spanish sentence that except for muy guapa, I did not understand another word. Elegance replied back that my Spanish is practically zilch and that he’d better speak English if he cares to have a conversation with me, it was then that this conversation in a broken English started between Mr. G (for gorgeous)and me:

Mr. G: where are you from?

Me: Lebanon (of course this is a lie)

Mr. G: where is Lebanon?

Me: In France.

Mr. G: I’ve been to France, It must be a beautiful place since it can produce some gorgeous woman like you.

Me: thanx (produce? What did he think? I’m a crop?)

Mr. G: what’s your name?

Me: Ruby, and yours?

Mr. G: Juan, and I’m a journalist, and for your information I worked in Lebanon for one year and I know it is in Israel, how about you? What do you do?

Me: I’m practically jobless at the time being and I don’t want to talk about it (so much for being a journalist if he doesn’t know where Lebanon is).

Mr. G: from the moment I saw you I could not get my eyes off of you, you are a very interesting woman.

Me: interesting? (Now what on earth did he mean by that?)

Mr. G: yes, you have interesting hair and interesting shiny blue eyes.

Me: my eyes are green (again another lei, but what did he mean by saying my hair is interesting? This word could have a double meaning you know; it could mean nice and it also could mean the opposite, and since I’m loosing the hair perm I had last summer; my hair looks like a jungle, some curly, out of shape strands were pushing themselves between other straight strands which looked unusually interesting, hey guys never use the word interesting with a girl, it’s a big turn-off)

Mr.G: your hair is shiny and soft.

Me: thanx (he’d better not touch it or otherwise he’ll change his mind with all the hair gel I dabbed into my hair to make it look presentable)

Mr.G: and you have an interesting body.

Me: just gave him the look ( walain radaina 3ala el interesting?)

Mr. G: you have a petite body with all the womanly curves.

Me: I’m not petite (is this guy hitting on me? is Jewaira’s wish for my birthday to find the perfect Spanish amore coming true?)

Mr.G: my friends are having a party, would you like to join us? You can bring your friends as well.

Me: no thanx, I’m a bit tired tonight (ok, now he wants to get laid).

Mr. G: ok I’ll get you my card, please call me when you wake up tomorrow.

Me: ok

He left for a few minutes and reappeared with a huge guy whom he introduced as his friend who is having the party. This friend talked better English and tried to convince me to join his party. My friends on the other end were preparing to go somewhere else so I apologized and fled out with them. And as I was leaving he kept asking me to call him in the morning, forgetting that he did not give me his card… well so much for the perfect Spanish amore Jewaira ^o^.

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Juan and the perfect amore

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