Monday, February 13, 2017

My Muslim Friends And A Story (Warning: long)



I have a story to tell that is 32 years in the making.  That story will start and end after I post a few photos first.  32 years ago, I was living in Colombo, Sri Lanka (11 months), Singapore (1.5 months), and Malaysia (1.5 months).  I began the journey in June of 1983 and ended in November 1984.

First, let me raise my hand high that I have, indeed, talked to a Muslim face to face.  In fact, I've spoken to many, many Muslims and have close friendships with a few.  I have visited their beautiful mosques, seen them pray (at all hours of the day... seven times, in fact).  Imagine ME!  A little Mormon girl from Cardston, Alberta Canada, strolling through a mosque, teaching English to many Islamic people, feeling the reverence as they pray, admiring their dedication to their religion by wearing sacred pieces of clothing that show reverence for their god.  

You may think I was freaked out.  NOT for one second.  I was wide-eyed, yes, to see new culture and religion but... it was the most incredible experience of my young life.  How lucky I am to have had that wonderful experience.  But, my memory is long and keen and I remember how it looked, smelled, and felt to be in the presence of so many different cultural and religious lifestyles.  

Let's take a look, then on with my promised story...


 The most beautiful mosque (and the tallest) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


 Same mosque on the inside.  These halls were silent.  The most silent moments I had ever experienced in my life.  Soft sounds could be heard in the distance of Muslims in prayer to Allah.



The Muslim women pray on long white sheets about 3/4 of the distance from the wall where the men pray. 
 



When entering a mosque, shoes are left at the door and all women must cover their heads.  Here's proof I obeyed all the rules and felt honored.  It was peaceful and beautiful.



 Outside the mosque with six lovely ladies.  There was a language barrier but the eyes can speak volumes.  I was so blown away to be standing there with them. I wanted to
hear their stories... every one.


 These three school girls were headed to their studies, at the same school.  All were Muslim.  All dressed according to their particular orthodoxy.  They each spoke English and told us about their studies in Malaysia.

Sri Lanka


 This is one of my all-time favorite photos.  This beautiful woman is Zaira!  She was in my 6-month Spoken English class.  She is a Muslim.  Her wedding was incredible. 
 Look at the love.  



This is a page from my scrapbook.  The top left is an actual "Prayer cap" purchased on the street from the men in the photo next to it.
Those cute boys were at the only "hamburger" restaurant in the city! 


I was invited to the wedding of my friends Nuzath and Amal.  It was THE most incredible wedding I have or have to date EVER been to.  They served us an entire meal of chicken biryani (all 400+ of us).  We watched the Muslim wedding rituals (which were beautiful).  So very memorable!


SO... Who is Nuzath?  
Nuzath is a jeweler.
He is the son of Zubair.
They pray in their small closet at their jewelry store SEVEN times a day on their prayer rugs.
They were the jewelers I purchased many beautiful pieces for my mother, my sister-in-law, and her mother.
They were the jewelers I took any couple or tourist stopping through on their way to India. 

They invited us to their home to feed us.
They were kind.
They were extremely warm.
They were generous...


Here they are... son with his father. 
My friends.
My friends who are Muslim.


My friends who, on one of my last days in Sri Lanka, as I was making my rounds and saying my "good-byes", they were at the top of my list.
As I tearfully said goodbye and thanked them for always welcoming me to their shop and taking such good care of my friends I had brought in over the fifteen months I was there...
Zubair asked me to sit down.
He pulled out a large ledger (no computers at this point) and turned to a page
(apparently, my  page)
He ran his finger down the figures then asked me to wait a moment and he disappeared into the back of his shop.

When he returned he had two beautiful Ceylon sapphire gems that were over a carat a piece.  He said:
"THIS is your commission for bringing us so many customers!"

I was shocked!  I had no idea, nor did I expect anything.
Just as I said... generous.
He wouldn't take no for an answer and so I took home the two stones and have looked at them in their little original box for the past 32 years!!!




This past Christmas, I decided to do something with the sapphires.
I have two lovely daughters who are now mothers and I wanted something extra special for them this year.
I searched for a local jeweler and found this guy:


Mr. John Beesly.
I LOVED his small, messy office.
His "cash only" policy.
His advice about life:  "Keep a stash of cash between your mattresses!" 
And, I loved what he did with my precious jewels for 
MY precious jewels. (awwwwwe!)

I decided on pendant necklaces with beautiful gold chains.
I hoped my dear girls understood what a long, long, journey of love these beauties have been through.
The stones traveled over 8,265 miles...
from Sri Lanka to Canada to the US then back to Canada and then back to the US.

I loved them all my life.
But when I found something I loved more, 
Melissa and Erika,
my daughters,
I was finally able to pass them on.

All thanks to my amazing Muslim friends in a little shop, in Colombo, Sri Lanka,
in 1985!







Saturday, January 14, 2017

An Update on my Bucket List

Well, let's just say that I haven't gotten very far.  I finally saw Adam Levine in concert with my girls.  It was so much fun.  I sold some doodles and made it to Europe.  And, yes, I am now past Level 200 in Candy Crush!

Three years since I wrote this list and I can see that some of my items are things I'm no longer interested in doing.  I can take them off, right.

For instance.  I no longer want to learn to groom dogs, ride a mechanical bull, nor take a week off of all things technical (I love it too much.)

I would also like to add a couple of things.  For instance:  Watch all Oscar nominated videos before the Oscars is aired each year, learn how to sew a zipper into something, live authentically to who I am inside, get healthy for my grandkids and myself, and smoke weed... just once!  (Don't be mad)

So, you see, the thing about a bucket list is... it changes.  It probably will change each year or sometimes even day to day.  We evolve.  We change.  Change is good!


• Plant a full on vegetable garden...and keep it alive!
•Visit Washington D.C
• Learn at least five "go to" origami sculptures
See Adam Levine Live
• Learn to make sushi
• See the Mona Lisa in the Louvre
Go on a cruise
• Learn to groom dogs
• Learn the Thriller dance routine
• Run a marathon Run Run another 5K
• Round out my list of continents:  Africa, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica)
• Ride a mechanical bull
• Visit the Galapagos Islands
• Go back to Sri Lanka
• Embrace Veganism for at least one consecutive year
• Watch every movie to ever win the Oscar for best picture award
• Attend a "Forks Over Knives" convention
• Ride a camel on a Wednesday  (get it?  Hump Day!)
• Stay up all night and go straight to work the next morning
• Bake a bagel from scratch
• Visit all 50 states
• Walk through a drive-thru
• Be on a game show (preferably Hollywood Game Night, The Price is Right, or Jeopardy)
• Be on a reality TV show
• Get my National Board Certification
• Attend EVERY grandchild's baptism (just like my parents did!) [already blew that one!]
Sell some doodles
• Refinish my bedroom furniture
• Do Habitat for Humanity
• Learn to play the harmonica
• Tour the "Downton Abbey" house
• Learn five magic tricks to mystify my friends
• Teach abroad for one year
• Learn to shoot a pistol
• Eat at the number one ranked restaurant in the world:  El Celler de Can Roca (Spain)
• Take a one week hiatus from technology
• Drive on the Autobahn
• Attend Mardi Gras
• Chase a tornado Chase an ice cream truck
• Try my hand at geocaching
• Chop vegetables the way professional chefs do
•  Meet up with my online/real life friend, Pam, every year.
•  Teach school abroad for at least one year.
• Learn to ski (I live in Utah!  I should know this by now)

Get to level 200 on Candy Crush (so sad)
• Become a Yogi!  (Yoga expert)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Whoa! Didn't see that coming!

First of all, let me say that I turned my calendar page.  Yay!  Go me.

Next, I have been thinking about all the things that sneak up on me and rattle me when I least expect it.  I think about Terry every.single.day.  Every thing, every place, every decision, every worry, involves me picturing what his opinion would be if he were here.  But, he isn't, and I am the ultimate decision maker about my reactions and decisions.  At least I know I'm still giving him reference.  Though I know, it is futile.

I miss him.

I miss him in a way that no one will ever be able to understand. And, though he is in my thoughts on a daily basis, in the end...it's just me.  And I keep moving.  Keep on without him.

I've been thinking that as the second anniversary of my boyfriend approaches, that I'm doing pretty well.  I've got this.  Time passes.  I should be over this by now.  Nope.  I have discovered that small things happen that show up out of nowhere and shake my soul.

For example:  Last week, we (the girls, their husbands, and children) went to Cafe Rio.  Erika and Tyler are moving to Southern California soon and taking my little darling grand girls.  We keep having "Good bye dinners"!  It's great. We laugh and enjoy food together.  Bask in the cuteness of Eloise and Hazel.  It's the best.  And, while I'm going to cry and cry when they actually leave me here, I am just drinking in the happiness we all have when we're together.  Happy as little clams.  (How are clams happy?  I never got that one.  Oh well.)

Then, when I least expect it, and for pretty crazy reasons, something happens and I'm filled with longing for Terry.  After our dinner, as we prepared to leave, I saw one of Melissa's friends from High School.  He gave me a long, tight hug.  The kind of hug that isn't just a regular hug.  I don't know if you've ever experienced this kind of hug.  I call it the "You don't have to say anything" hug.  His soul told mine that he missed Terry and that he was so sorry for the void left in my life because he had a hole in his, too.

In that five full second hug, I relived those content feelings of many weekends where our house was full of teenagers who were comfortable in our home.  The friendships and fun.  The thousands of fruit snacks and cans of soda.  The games.  The noise!  (Oh, that noise.  I loved it!) The second hand couch those kids put on our porch to have a place to hang out.  And I KNEW they were there because they loved Terry.  Of course, my daughters were gorgeous and pretty awesome and so were the other teens I helped raise who were also there.  But...in the end...they loved Terry the most.  They were there because Terry made them feel at home and special.  Sam's hug reminded me of that.  I cried in the car the whole way home.

Then, just this past Wednesday, I was rushing into my classroom to start the school day.  I had been gone from those dolls Monday and Tuesday because of meetings so I was extra excited to be back.  As I hurried along to put all of my "stuff" down, I fell off of my favorite, adorable shoes and broke my ankle.  Not pretty.  But, I didn't cry.  It hurt but I was mostly laughing at myself because I kept picturing my fall. (Why do we laugh when people fall down?  Because it's hysterical, that's why!)   The administrators and other teachers came to help me out.  But, before I could get up, I was told I had to give a call to Worker's Comp to give my information.  No problem.

That was the second thing this week that I didn't see coming.

Operator:  Name?
Me:    Tami Anderson
Operator:  Birthdate?
Me:  June 7, 1963
Operator:  Marital Status?
Me: .....umm....that's a hard one.

I looked at all the people staring at me.  Then fixed them on my best sister/friend Kathe and started sobbing as I willed myself to say:  Widow

That's a hard word to say.  If you've ever had to say it when you're describing yourself, you know what I mean.  It was really the first time I'd said it out loud.  "Widow"  I hate that word.


So, now I'm bracing myself for the coming week.  I realize it will be of no use.  I can be as strong as I will myself to be.  But, guess what?  Somethings, you just don't see coming.






Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why I Will Always Hate February




February is the pits!  Valentine's Day without a my valentine.  President's Day when all the good presidents are dead.  Punxsutawney Phil will most likely see his shadow tomorrow...six more weeks of Winter.  Erika and Tyler are moving to So. California (but, I'm not going to talk about that).  The Olympics start on the 7th (yay!) but will have to close on the 23rd (boo!).  They're in Sochi, Russia (where??) and the public restrooms there have double toilet stalls (double boo!!).

Worst of all, it will be the second anniversary of my boyfriend's untimely death.

Last year on February 1st I wrote about "Turning Pages".   Calendar pages.  I wrote about how difficult it was to physically turn the January page to February.  It would somehow reinforce that my Terry would be gone for an entire year.  Impossible.  As if not turning a calendar page could bring him back.  As if.  But, I eventually turned it and the world didn't fall apart.  Most likely because it had already done so a year before.  You can read that post here:  http://candadiantami.blogspot.com/2013/02/turning-pages.html if you are so inclined.

So, here I am facing another turn of the calendar.  It has got to be easier this year right??  I mean, two years is a long time.  I should be a little more "together" when it comes to silly little calendars.  I've learned many things over the past two years.  One being, I can NEVER just assume that my life and feelings will play out the way I imagined them.  This crazy heart inside has a mind of it's own and is usually connected to my tears.

I faced my beautiful new calendar from Melissa Rae last night.  It was like facing off with a boxing opponent.  If I turned January to February, I just knew I'd get punched in the face.  So, I left it on January again.  Take THAT, February!

Last night I reread all of my blog posts from last February...the year anniversary of Terry's death.  I was sobbing my eyes out (as I knew I would) and feeling all of those feelings all over again.  I should have stopped.  But, it felt good to hurt.  What?  I know.  I can't describe it.  Sometimes when I hurt, I feel better.  Maybe I need a therapist.

So, after reading the post from February 1, 2013, I remembered that I had Eloise with me last year.  As luck would have it, I have her this year as well.  Just the two of us.  We went to lunch with some friends then headed out to the Provo Cemetery to visit Pop Pop.  We arrived to find a LARGE group of people waiting to bury their departed loved one.  We walked closer and I started to worry that the group had congregated on top of Terry's spot.  Getting closer and closer,  I could feel all of these wonderful people actually exuding a palpable love for their dear one.  It was peaceful.  Like an invisible shield around that sacred occasion.  We found my boyfriend's spot...within three feet of the mourning family.  We'd have to make it quick.  There wasn't enough snow to fashion snowball hearts like last year.  Just some hard snow/ice left over from the last snowfall.  So, we made heart imprints with our feet, said "We love you, Pop Pop!", and that was it.  A tradition has begun.

I guess I can be grateful that it isn't a leap year and that February is just 28 days long.  Hopefully, I'll have turned that calendar page by then.


                     



This photo has me so confused.  Those hearts are actually pressed into the snow by our shoes.
I have stared at it in every possible way and I can only see them
popping up.
I'm not going crazy...am I?
Please tell me you see it that way.





Thursday, November 28, 2013

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving



I LOVE the message of this video.  Every November, it causes me to reflect about what I'm grateful for...family, friends, food, a job.  Thankful to have loved a wonderful man who shaped me into the person he left behind to wallow in self-pity every now and again.  But, I love those who have blessed my live even in the tiniest of ways.  So...thank you!  I appreciate each one of you.

                       

Friday, November 8, 2013

Life

I'm usually a VERY optimistic person.  I can take trials and turn them upside down into learning experiences.  If someone tells me I can't...I will.  If someone says things could never get better, I find a way to make them even better.  I have huge wrinkles in my forehead from trying to smile all the time.  You get the picture.  It's in my nature.  I know it bugs a lot of people who just want to complain and look for the negative in the world.  "Wo is me."  Not in my vocabulary.

But not today.  It's been a hard day (and 10 days for that matter).  I've had horrible chest congestion, pain, and coughing fits like I've never had before.   I haven't felt like myself. It could be the medicine (Prednisone) I was prescribed.  The pharmacist told me "It will certainly put you on edge".  And it has.  Only, not in a mad or angry type of an edge but a "Wo is me" type of edge.  I cried and cried today after school for no real apparent reason other than a couple of sweet little first grade  journals I was reading.  Then when I got to my house, I had an overwhelming sense of loneliness.  I needed my boyfriend sitting in his chair working on his latest art piece, waiting for...me.  Why isn't he still here with me?  I need someone to vent to and to talk to about my day. I miss that daily tradition...more than usual.  And, I realized that it was only HIM that I wanted today.  Things only HE could listen to and understand.  Today there was no replacement for him.  So the tears have been my solace.

One of my fellow teachers asked me this today, "Did you go through those stages of grief after Terry died?"  My answer was that there is NO cycle.  The cycle doesn't exist...only pieces of that cycle that come along whenever they feel like it.  Randomly.  Ever so randomly.  Just when I think I've got the whole thing under control, it hits me and punches me in the throat.
I know that this giant lump in my throat will one day (most likely tomorrow) go away. The worst part is not knowing when it will lodge itself there again.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Old Lady's Bucket List

I know, I know!  Bucket lists are silly and cliche.  But, do I care?  Nope.  I gave lots of thought to my 50 life goals for my 50th birthday.  I've got some good ones and some iffy ones.  But, now I have some things to work on to keep me alive for 30-50 more years.  So, here you go...no mocking allowed.


• Plant a full on vegetable garden...and keep it alive!
•Visit Washington D.C
• Learn at least five "go to" origami sculptures
• See Adam Levine Live
• Learn to make sushi
• See the Mona Lisa in the Louvre
• Go on a cruise
• Learn to groom dogs
• Learn the Thriller dance routine
Run a marathon Run Run another 5K
• Round out my list of continents:  Africa, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica)
• Ride a mechanical bull
• Visit the Galapagos Islands
• Go back to Sri Lanka
• Embrace Veganism for at least one consecutive year
• Watch every movie to ever win the Oscar for best picture award
• Attend a "Forks Over Knives" convention
• Ride a camel on a Wednesday  (get it?  Hump Day!)
• Stay up all night and go straight to work the next morning
• Bake a bagel from scratch
• Visit all 50 states
• Walk through a drive-thru
• Be on a game show (preferably Hollywood Game Night, The Price is Right, or Jeopardy)
• Be on a reality TV show
• Get a Phd
• Attend EVERY grandchild's baptism (just like my parents did!)
• Sell some doodles
• Refinish my bedroom furniture
• Do Habitat for Humanity
• Learn to play the harmonica
• Tour the "Downton Abbey" house
• Learn five magic tricks to mystify my friends
• Teach abroad for one year
• Learn to shoot a pistol
• Eat at the number one ranked restaurant in the world:  El Celler de Can Roca (Spain)
• Take a one week hiatus from technology
• Drive on the Autobhan
• Attend Mardi Gras
Chase a tornado Chase an ice cream truck
• Try my hand at geocaching
• Chop vegetables the way professional chefs do
•  Meet up with my online/real life friend, Pam, every year.
• Read every Newbery Award winner
• Learn to ski (I live in Utah!  I should know this by now)
• Attend Time Out For Women
• Get to level 200 on Candy Crush (so sad)
• Become a Yogi!  (Yoga expert)



I made it to 48!  I will fill in the last two with your suggestions.  Most creative wins!




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