Thursday, March 31, 2011

The better team won the match but I love Afridi for saying "sorry" to the nation (I got all teary-eyed when he said that *sniff*).

So, Turkey ain't happening this year because the husband can't get leave and I really wanted to go before the summer tourist season :-(. I will try to squeeze in a trip to AD though (inshalah, dear God please, please, please let it happen).

Yesterday, I was really really really mean to Mr. F and I feel awful... The problem with being married is that you start having expectations from the other person, when you're just friends, it's all about being there for someone but not expecting anything in return. There are no defined roles and you have the freedom to do more or less as you please (without hurting someone else's feelings). So anyway, he's traveling this weekend and I'm missing him terribly and I'm wishing I could unsay and undo the stupid things I said and did last night.

He forgave me and was sweet and caring but I felt like I didn't deserve it... I'll have to spend the next week and a half being extra good and making it up to him.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Mr. F and I got green cricket t-shirts for Rs. 1,500 each from Zainab Market. Two of Mr. F's brothers are in Mohali and he's wishing he could be there...

We went to Elbow Room on I.I.Chundrigar last night... It's a quaint little restaurant with pouffes, wicker tables, dim lighting and lazy waiters. I got bitten by mosquitoes and I'm praying I don't get dengue or malaria :-p. A high-powered delegation from China is here for the week... except no one at work is willing to entertain them today... They'll probably be given the day off for sight-seeing :P We're trying to explain to them what the hype is all about, but they just don't get it!

Cricket Fever

has claimed Pakistan and I have to say... it's highly contagious. This morning, I went to the PSO gas station to fill up the car and Dil, Dil Pakistan was blaring :)

After a really really really long time, I'm seeing happy, excited faces and a whole lot of green. I love Shahid Afridi for his comment, "We're going to play a game, not fight a war..." and that's how it should be. My facebook newsfeed is all about the upcoming India Pakistan cricket semi-final in Mohali... with a lot of friendly/caustic banter about Munni and Sheila

Here's to a victory for Pakistan (inshalah) and a safe and peaceful match tomorrow :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Filipino Maids in Pakistan

I was chatting with one of my colleagues today when the conversation turned to Filipino maids... My colleague NK has twins, a boy and a girl and she works full-time, hence she needs child care at home and someone to pick and drop the kids from school.

So, I ask her, why not just hire a Pakistani maid? Because, NK replies, Filipino maids speak fluent English, are highly educated (her's worked in a bank in the Philippines) and brush their teeth three times a day... Plus, they won't run away or abandon you, they have fixed vacation and wages and they're clean. Also, they have no distractions since they're away from their own family and friends.

NK, being a warm-hearted lady allows her maid to go to Sunday Bazaar on Sundays. She makes it a point to hug her and treat her like one of the family and her kids look up to the maid as an older sister. She gets paid $300/month, to look after NK's kids while her own children are looked after by their grandmother in the Philippines... And she gets to visit once every 2 years.

Pakistani society is full of contradictions :|)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back to the Grind

A shrine in Multan

Gaia is officially back in her cubicle... This morning, I was an hour late to work! And it was all thanks to Mr. F (*insert annoyed smiley*). Mr. F's being transferred to another department and I'll be left behind...

It's probably better for both of us but I have mixed feelings... We'll be more independent professionally but I will miss walking past him whenever I get up for coffee :-| Plus, I can't keep on eye on him :p and he'll be working late.

I went to Ehsanpur by car from Multan... it was surreal. What really struck me though was how primitive village culture really is... During a conversation with one of the lady teachers at the primary school, it kept running through my mind that my handbag from Hub leather cost more than twice her monthly salary :(

Government school teachers are paid Rs. 4,000/month ~ US$ 47/month

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The City of Saints

I'm in Multan!! We flew in on an ATR (more like a Daewoo bus than a plane :-p) and landed in a one-room airport with a single baggage belt in the midst of green fields.

My colleague and I checked into our hotel and my friend from school picked us up. She got married and moved to Multan recently but she knows the area pretty well. Everything's 5 or 10 minutes away from everywhere :) We had cheese kebabs for dinner with garlic and ginger naan and planning to go to Zanzibar today (it's Multan's upscale restaurant similar to Zouk).

Looking forward to shopping later today :)

P.S. I am missing dear husband... but at the same time, it's nice being on my own after a looooong time!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Work Schedule

My organization couldn't find work for me, so I've been assigned to a CSR project. I'll be working near Muzaffargarh on the rehabilitation of flood victims. We're building a sustainable Model Village with grey water harvesting, solar-based off-grid electrification, drip irrigation and education, health and livelihood interventions. Except, we still haven't managed to finalize the layout :-p. Yesterday, there was a 40 minute discussion on what to do with the livestock because people in rural Punjab prefer to keep their animals in their homes and cow-dung on the streets will not look pretty... :-)

My thighs are expanding since I'm sitting in my cubicle all day and by the time I get home, it's dark and I'm too lazy to go and exercise. I've also started drinking tea with half a cup of sugar :-p

Koob Shai bi haleeb wa sukkar katheer

Monday, March 14, 2011

Life Update

The weekend was a blur. Ali, our household help has gone to his village for vacation and Gaia is the new cook, cleaner and housekeeper :-P

They say "it never rains, it pours" I'd like to add, it never leaks, it floods! On Saturday, we had a dinner party at our house and the kitchen flooded... gross green liquid oozed out of the drain and covered my (usually gleaming) kitchen floor. It didn't stop there... While I tried to staunch the flow with towels and newspaper, the water proceeded to travel to the dining room/lounge area. Finally, I put on my yellow rubber gloves and unclogged the mess from the gutter (gag!).

Mr. F was a darling and did most of the cooking :). We made pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes (I'd read online that we could put the tray of tomatoes in the car and they would dry out faster and it totally worked!), moneybags tied with blanched green onions, rosemary steaks, potatoes gratin, bruschetta and salad. I made tiramisu and it was quite lovely if I do say so myself :)

We played Taboo and it brought back Pton memories...

On Sunday, I went to the Wardha Saleem Lawn Exhibition. For the uninitiated, this is the latest fad where designers display lawn prints before making them available in the shops. I ended up buying two suits just because everyone else was doing it :-p Guess their marketing strategy works...

I'm back at work and I can barely keep my eyes open... and this is after a cup of coffee and a cup of tea.

I also got rejections from two grad schools :-"(

Hopefully, God has something better for me... but I am a teeny bit sad.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Unforgettable Experience (that I'd rather forget...)

This past weekend, our firm decided to sponsor a visit to the plant for all management employees and their families. So at 7:30 am on Friday morning, Mr. F and I arrived at the office which was the designated meeting point. There was a "Bachelor Bus" for all the single boys and a "Family Bus" for ladies, husbands and children.

I think Mr. F secretly wanted to be with the bachelors but he curbed the impulse and sat with me instead (awww....). There was a pregnant lady in our bus and 11 kids under age ten and of course, kids need to go to the loo, eat, drink, cry, sing nursery rhymes and entertain themselves while adults try to sleep/doze/read/listen to their ipod :-p

We drove past banana, sugarcane and date plantations. There were 5 stops for namaz and loo and we finally (finally!) reached Ghotki at 8:30 pm. Our hosts had planned a "hi-tea" for us (they were expecting us at 4:30 pm) but we made it in time for dinner.

We were staying in a quaint little colony with beautifully manicured lawns, tennis courts, a tiny grocery store, health clinic and a primary school. The colony ladies had baked cakes and made sandwiches and really made us feel welcome. Mr. F and I stayed in the bachelor accommodations while other families were hosted by colony families. It was rather chilly and rained constantly. I was ill-prepared in lawn shalwar kameez and flip-flops but Mr. F offered me his Hah-vad sweatshirt and I grudgingly accepted :-p

We toured the plant on Saturday morning and played sports in the afternoon: Plant-people vs. management. We lost pretty badly... I think the last time I "played" a sport was on Kinect :-P.

After brunch on Sunday, we hopped back on to the bus for the twelve-hour journey back to Karachi.

Overall, it was a wonderful bonding experience... you really do get to know a person when you suffer/safar together during a 24-hour round-trip bus ride with inadequate bathroom facilities and no control over noise levels. You also come up with innovative ways to entertain yourself and your friends when your laptop/ipod/crackberry runs out of charge.

We resorted to playing Dumb Charades :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Mom's birthday was last week :) I got her a black leather handbag and sister dear made strawberry cheesecake. Mashalah, my sister's a better chef than I am and she's thirteen!

Bro got our mom a Persian kitten. He went to a lady who'd advertised in Dawn's Advertiser under Kennels, Pets and Livestock and spent Rs. 5,000 on the cat. Mom wasn't too happy :-p so he decided to keep it himself. The kitty's been named Aiko which means "little loved one" in Japanese (*my family is strange/slightly kooky*).

Went to speak at NED yesterday... It was quite an experience and I was super nervous (literally trembling/shaking in my chair) but it went well Alhamdulilah. The students called me "Madam Gaia" and I was like "-" ???! Moi? Madam? Lol! But of course, I played the part and acted grownup and dignified.

Tomorrow inshalah, our company's taking us to visit a power plant. It's a pretty long bus ride and I'm probably going to take along a few dvds to entertain myself.