Writing is Wonderful

I’m doing work for my former writing professor. I met her fall 2005 in the very first writing class of my college career and worked as a writing tutor for her in subsequent semesters. Her daughter is the 8 yr old I often write about and currently I am working for her as a transcriptionist while She does research on how English-Arabic bilinguals and negotiate the writing process. Tonight I was listening to a girl talk about something she had written in a previous class, and I was like, Hey. I had that same assignment. Where’d it go? And instead of finishing the transcript and freaking going to bed already, I decided to answer that question. I found some pretty funny stuff and because I still don’t feel like finishing the transcript, I am going to blog about it.

When I was hired as a writing center tutor, I was asked to write a little blurb about myself for the Tutors section of the website. I did, and somehow it never got put up. Today, I am remedying the oversight by posting that bio here (but editing out the university’s name):

Anna is in her second and final year at [this university], majoring in International Relations. Next year she will return to the States to complete her education, though she has not yet figured out where. Her interests include her iPod, House MD, and finding creative ways of avoiding schoolwork. Her disinterests include math, economics and washing dishes. Once she’s finally done with school, she plans to travel the world. She will have many extraordinary adventures including scuba diving in Jeddah, sky-diving over Sydney, and ice-fishing in Antarctica. When she’s done roaming the world, perhaps she will return to the greatest place of all–Northern California–to contemplate life’s great mysteries while jumping on a ridiculously-huge trampoline

Hahaha. Oh, Sophomore Anna. You were a riot.

Then I found this Eid letter (Eid letter, since we didn’t get a letter out in time for Christmas. I wrote it in January 2006. It’s funny and informative. Check it out:

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you’ll forgive our lack of correspondence, we’ve been quite busy. Summer of 2004 we decided to pick up and move to the sandy dunes of the United Arab Emirates. We weren’t planning to move for another year (at least!) and definitely not outside the country, but such is life, eh? So [Mom], [Dad] and Anna have all been making the most of this sweatfest while [Sister] works hard back in California and [Brother] stoically refuses to buy a coat at Fort Drum, New York.

Mom and Dad are kept sufficiently overworked. Mom helps run the library which is twice as much work when there is a second library being built. It’s draining, trying to convince the planners that the stairs don’t need a gold-plated banister. (“Well this red velvet carpet is going to look really out of place”). Dad works to keep the academic side of the IT coin nice and shiny so the students won’t have an excuse for missing an assignment.

I graduated from high school in Dubai last year. Instead of going back to the the States for college, I decided to stay another year at the American University of Sharjah.
[<–Free education! WIN!]* Life has been treating us quite well over here. Vacations are strategically interspersed throughout the course of the year to keep the working class from melting down. This has given us the chances to do some long-awaited traveling. We’ve seen the beautiful sand dunes of the Empty Quarter, the gorgeous sea life of the Arabian Gulf, and have even made it to Europe. Last January we spent a long weekend in Istanbul. It was beautiful! At the end of March we spend spring break touring Italy. Walked the streets of Pompeii (and Herculaneum), got plenty of exercise seeing all the sites in Rome, and Dad and I got to spend a pleasant day in Florence (Mom had a conference to go to so she had to leave early.) This year we’ve only managed a quick trip to Egypt. Definitely not what I expected. More traumatic than I would have liked. But Alexandria has a beautiful view of the Mediterranean and if you’re interested in getting to know the locals, well, the only trouble you’ll have is getting away from them (and recovering from the trauma they inflict upon you. ACK.*). Mom and dad also went to Beirut in June. That’s right, they left me behind. I did, however, manage to squeeze in a weekend in Kuwait as part of a school activity. I won’t pretend that it was anywhere near as neat as I’m sure Beirut was, but the Hard Rock Cafe was pretty sweet.

*Not part of original letter.

So, DANG. We traveled a lot. I did finally make it to Beirut. In 2006! in fact. It was cool. And I passed a Hard Rock Cafe and my Dad was like, Hey, we should totally get a t-shirt.
Me: Eh, what do I need that for? Let’s just go back to the hotel. [WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME??]

Yeah, so days later we returned to the UAE and that little war with Israel broke out. And then I spent the summer in Utah and all I could think about was, Why oh WHY did I not get a Hard Rock Cafe BEIRUT shirt?

Because then it would be like, Oo cool. You were in a war zone!

Even though…I wasn’t. And that really isn’t cool. And now I don’t even care about bragging rights I just want the darn t-shirt!

Moral: When you are in Beirut and your dad offers you a t-shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe, SAY YES. (Also: buy me one, too.)


Also that year, the library was completed and many a dignitary made an appearance for the grand opening in May. BUT, Sharjah and Dubai have this little feud going on so while all sorts of important people came from all over to get a tour of the region’s premiere book domain, including Jordan’s own Prince Talal and Hamid Karzai(!) from Afghanistan(!!), no one from Dubai came. Aw crap! I totally just gave away the university. Ah well. Until one day, the head librarian received a call that the RULER OF DUBAI HIMSELF was going to be there in 20 minutes.

And twenty minutes later, this is my mom shaking (harhar) hands with Sheikh Mo!

I have a scanned copy of the next day’s paper where this picture–this very picture!–was on the front page. I’ll have to post it some other time, though, because it’s buried somewhere in the depths of my old email and I do not have time to go digging around THAT box.

So, yeah. Pretty much the only thing cooler than shaking hands with Sheikh Mo on the front page of Gulf News is getting checked out by Barack Obama.


In conclusion, I never did get around to finishing and sending that Eid letter–even after mom nagged me for MONTHS to write it and even after I went to all the trouble of writing it and sending it all the way to her inbox. But, I did get Barack Obama’s autograph so whatever.

As for my bio, I have all the same interests and disinterests (and then some), and have yet to embark on any of those extraordinary adventures.

And Northern California remains pretty much the Greatest Place of All.


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