Wordless Wednesday: What No Parents Should Have to Teach Their Children


How to Rock Being a University Student

August means the first day of university for many students, at least in North America. You could be attending for the first time, starting your senior year, or coming back as a non-traditional student.

The rules for success are the same: show up. That’s right – Woody Allen is credited with the saying “80% of life is about showing up.”

That means be on time to class; turn in your assignments when they’re due; come to your professors’ office hours with questions.

That is what it takes to be successful as a student. Show up, again and again, do the work, engage in class. You think I’m down playing it but trust me.

This advice comes to you after teaching and working for 14 years on at 9 different university campuses.

The hardest lessons in life are deceptively simple.

What advice do you have for university students? Or what do you wish you had known on your first week?

Sunday Supper: Lime Tuna Cliantro Burgers

I’ve made Black Bean Quinoa Burgers before as meat alternatives. Tuna burgers take your patty to a whole new level. You may want to add breadcrumbs and an extra egg like I had to do to get a comparable thickness and consistency. They were so delicious, I ate them with salsa and no bun.

Wordless Wednesday: “How Rude! You’re Wearing Jeans.”

Modesty is the hot topic this summer (pun intended) in Doha. From the modesty campaign, where people, mostly women, give correctional cards in public to those who they feel are in violation, to the recent censure of a group of Qatari youth on a trip in the Amazon, everyone, expats and locals, are talking about women women should and should not wear.

This cartoon sums up the irony of critique perfectly.

Don’t Let Cyber Bullying Win in Qatar: #ISupportQatarFirsts

QatarLast week I wrote about the criticism a group of Qatari youth received for traveling to Brazil. To be more precise, traveling to Brazil, in a mixed group of men and women, where the females were photographed without veils or wearing traditional dress. On Wednesday I invited us to ruminate on who defined Islam: the masses or the individual?

This week, the company that was sponsoring the trip, Vodafone Qatar, has pulled their support of the trip and by association, the group. Yes, you read that right. A corporate entity, who sent young people to a remote village in the Amazon, where they are currently in basic conditions and far away from their families, disavowed the project midstream.

What’s more important is the psychic effect this has on the participants, particularly the female members of the group. In a traditional, tribal society like Qatar, a person’s reputation is a stand-in for him or her. While the participants were being abandoned abroad, the girls’ families at home were being chastised in a Friday sermon at the mosque; their parents’ actions were being questioned on social media.

The countries in the Arabian Gulf have long walked a fine line between their traditional values and a space at the global table. Westerns may not realize that consumption – iPods, Cadillac, and Coke – do not alleviate conservatism. In fact, for most consumers in the GCC, consumption is an economic activity that does not effect their personal choices (expect perhaps in the case of the BDS movement against Israel). People may stay up all night watching episodes of the sex filled scenes of popular HBO shows but in public they behave appropriately.

A long held practice has been that what happens outside of Qatar is the prerogative of the traveler and his/her family. You would find the bathrooms occupied on flights descending into Qatar as women went to robe themselves in preparation for the Doha International Airport. What the criticism and abandonment of the #qatarfirsts campaign has shown, however, is in a world with social media, this limited space of freedom may no longer be the case. Qatari women’s (and men) right to choose how they conduct themselves while abroad may now be at end.

This is a #qatarfirst but perhaps not in the way the original organizers intended. The first time cyber bullying has gone unchecked. The first time women were publicly shamed for a private choice. Given the plans for the country’s rapid development, and the oft repeated, now synonymous with modernity, the 2022 World Cup.

Let it not be the first time we in the community allow a group to dictate the actions of individuals.

Here’s what you can do:

Reach Vodafone Qatar and tell them their action has been ill advised.

Reach Vodafone’s global office in the UK and let them know their brand is behaving irresponsibly locally.

Use the hashtag #isupportqatarfirsts or #istandwithqatarfirsts on social media to let the team know they are have our support.


Sunday Supper: How to Cook Salmon in 1 Easy Step

The secret to succulent salmon? Whether on the grill, or in the oven, season it with salt, pepper, dill, butter, lemon slices, whatever, wrap in foil, then cook for 30 minutes. Viola! Tender fish that falls onto your fork.

Whose Islam is it Anyway?

Picture this: young Arab women from a small state traveling to the Amazon to help build a school. And in the first trip update, people commenting that they are behaving unislamically. That’s what happened this week when a short video of a group of 7 young Qataris was posted on Facebook with some of the ladies not in headscarves.

A sobering reminder that what women wear (or do) is still not entirely up to them.

How to Rock the Post Vacation Blues

You’re back at your desk, or maybe like me, back in your house, starting the yawning mouths of 7 suitcases in the zipper. The urge is strong: to flee out the door and escape back into vacation (or as the Europeans call it “holiday”) land where food is always hot and laundry clean.

But your leave is all used up and over 1000 unread emails clutter your Inbox (that’s if you could tear yourself away while on planes, trains, and automobiles).

How can you cope? Here are 4 easy steps.

4: Syria

That’s right, think of all the people who have been displaced since the civil war began three years ago. Not mention the dead which are estimated at 120,000 as of Sept. 2013. Remember them when you’re getting into bed, worried about the commute tomorrow.

3: Iraq

It’s not pretty, the way militants are targeting minority groups in the north, seemingly unchecked, bringing brutality, beheadings, and mass graves in their wake. Thousands have been displaced, fleeing in terror.

2: Gaza

The images of the three weeks of shelling in one of the world’s most densely populated areas have been graphic and included hundreds of children among other fatalities and injuries.

1: Ebola

If we humans aren’t hell bent on getting rid of each other, a deadly virus may help us along the way. Like in the movies, this recurrent, contagious virus is experiencing an outbreak in Western Africa.

I don’t mean for this to be a “eat your peas, children in China are starving” kind of solution. That sort of logic probably didn’t work for you as child and doesn’t help to think it could always be worse as an adult.

What I did was use this list in helping a friend return to the sandbox. And also myself. My problems, needing a new computer, wanting more sleep, hoping for the heat to decrease, are my problems. I am thankful for them. Because God probably knows I couldn’t handle those of others.

How do you recover from vacation? A healthy dose of perspective or mostly sleeping pills?


Sunday Supper: 3 Easy Dishes for an Ultimate Meal

I know what you’re going to say. Beets! Really? But trust me, if you’ve never had marinated beets (which I can’t say that I had before this) this Kale Beet Quinoa Salad will be a revelation. Start them first because the roasting does take a while (50 minutes) but you can get the rest together or even have a long overdue chat with a friend while they simmer in the balsamic vinegar sugar sauce; I substituted honey. The Soy Honey Salmon and scrumptious Zucchini Corn side will have you heading to bed well fed, having eaten your share of veggies.

Try it if you don’t believe me (and let me know how it goes).

Wordless Wednesday: Arabs Are Semites too

Semite refers to a group of related languages in Asia, now commonly referred to as the Holy Land in the Middle East. Arabic is one of those languages. Arabs are Semites.

Which should all give us pause when we see images like the one tweeted by the Israeli embassy in Ireland last week. They did take it down but the images speak for themselves but perhaps not in the way the embassy intended. Is Islamophobia now acceptable?

Israel Ireland

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