On second thought…


Dear 2011


Before we meet I thought it best to give you a crystal clear idea of my expectations. Now, I am done blindly walking into others like you (2010, 2009, 2008…etc) hence from now on we are going to play by my rules. I may come off as excessively a little demanding, but trust me, that is only because I have a gut feeling about you.

I have let your predecessor disappoint me a little, and although we had a fantastic time overall, there were a few hiccups I would gladly do without. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for the fantastic new job, my healthy family or the chance to go back home this year. I am forever thankful for the blessings in disguise and eternally pissed off about the lows. You would agree that when it got bad it got worse wouldn’t you? Hence, I make it your primary responsibility to make sure that during your 12 months reign none of that shit happens again. Don’t look at me like that; you know perfectly well what I am talking about.
My humble demands are perfectly reasonable and I think it is only fair to approach you with a counter request since you know what you can expect from me while you are around. All my strength, weaknesses and ambitions are in the palm of your hand to do with as you see fit. I must admit New Year’s resolutions are as achievable as participating in a triathlon for me, but you have always known that. However for you I am going to make an exception because I trust you to make all the right decisions about the course of events. I am going to make you a deal. *Drumroll* for the first time ever I promise to stick to the resolutions I am about to make, I will bend over backwards to make it work. It will not be a piece of cake but I will do my utmost to uphold my end of the deal. I expect you to do the same shady 2011. Here goes nothing:
1. I resolve to be calmer and more adequate. I will count to ten and bite my tongue, then count to ten again- before replying to anything that makes my blood boil. (However if after counting to ten twice I still haven’t to tell them shove it, they full on deserve it, wouldn’t you agree?)

2. I will make amends with my non-friends and relatives that I fantasize about killing don’t particularly like, I will forgive their faults and accept them as they are with all their issues, flaws and limitations.

3. I resolve to make use of my gym membership, and not only because I like the fact that the treadmill has a funky little TV, I will do it because I care about my health.

4. I resolve to get over my fear of dentists and sort out the 4 wisdom teeth that have been KILLING ME in slow, deliberate, painful agony for the last 2 years (ahem…)
5. I will come around the finishing off the many projects that lie gathering dust in the bottom drawer, the wedding album, the scrap book, the ever growing family tree. I will shoo away procrastination for good (I am not saying that I will never speak to it again, but when it does approach me I will say “shoooo” then we will see how it goes…)

Listed above are issues that I have been avoiding like the plague the last few years, hence please appreciate what an enormous offering I am making here. In return, I don’t ask for the world. There won’t even be anything materialistic on my list (that’s my other list, I can’t publish that on the blog!) I simply want the following from you:
1. This is an important one. Stop taking people out of my life. You know perfectly well how irrationally sensitive I am to death. Wounds like that take decades to heal and your fellow 2010 has done enough damage to me to cause fatal complications. I know this is a little out of your league, but I know you have good connections- just pass the message on.
2. Send a few muses down to make the people in my life a little more appreciative and helpful. Inspire them to be more considerate and gentle. I have been feeling pretty damn unacknowledged this year, and I am seriously considering crossing a few sour individuals out of the party list. But now I can’t do that because of my Resolution # 2… so work something out, will ya?
3. Slow down the rollercoaster. You know I get queasy and shaky during the ride; adrenalin has never been a key ingredient in my dish. Give me a chance to stop and smell the roses. With 2010 it was roses, daffodils, tulips, buttercups, carnations; …really I am ok with just the roses. Give me some time to catch my breath.
4. Bring on hell or high water. Challenge me.  Shower me with opportunities. Threaten me with difficulties and sit back and watch me cope. Send masked opportunities my way and trust me to recognize and conquer. Don’t hold anything back, I am a big tough girl- I can take it.
I won’t be greedy. That will be all for now. See, I told you I will ask for absolutely rational terms. Now 2011, put on your big boy pants and make it happen… don’t make me tell 2012 on you.
Best Wishes,

Behold- my anti-blog


Dear Readers,

Hi there.

I would like to bring to your attention that My Cynthia has started a blog of her own (do I hear Hallelujah?). I am proud to introduce http://www.is-this-serious.blogspot.com/ also known as Olga’s anti-blog because of this phrase ” If you are looking for motivational quotes, or some cooking tips, you are not in the right place.”
It is perhaps the most sarcastic, passionate, angry blog there is about Oman. Now, if you are lucky enough to know Cynthia your current thoughts are “but she is such a sweetheart, how can she write something so angry”. Well HA! The joke is on you people. Between the two of us, I am the one who candy-coats, coaxes and generalizes, Cynthia on the other hand will tell it like it is, wrap it in sarcasm and pour chocolate syrup on top just to make it more appealing. So if you are wondering what’s there to hate about Oman- give it a read, it will have you laughing in fits with every sentence.

A tale of two cities…

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Al Mar’a women’s magazine in Oman, asked me to write a story for their feature “My City”. I was greatly honored to participate in this project, and spend a few evening in solitude organizing my thoughts for this piece. My biggest challenge was fitting everything I was eager to express into merely 600 words. Well, it will be published at the end of the month- for now enjoy the “raw” cut…

“So where are you from?” is the second question I get asked, right after the new acquaintance finds out my name. “I am from Uzbekistan” I sheepishly reply, making a mental note to carefully pronounce every syllable so that it is not confused with Kazakhstan or Pakistan.  A mixture of exclamations and “Oh, The Silk Route, Tashkent, Bukhara, Amir Timur” usually follows this revelation.
Uzbekistan is indeed a country with rich heritage, its ancient urban cultural centers of Bukhara, Chiwa and Samarkand. Although my roots extend deep into Russia and Ukraine, I proudly sport a sincere smile when I hear heartwarming comments about the people of Tashkent and the flourishing development of the country- which I consider home.

A country that is by some associated with the former USSR, the Aral Sea and continuous socio-economic setbacks- I remember with the fondest memories sewed together with gentle smiles, helping hands and delicious meals. Colorful flashbacks of a carefree childhood in the capital-Tashkent, float by in the shape of my grandmother’s house, Uzbek bread, cotton and icy snowflakes.
As a child, I acquired unconditional love for my hometown. I grew patriotic and appreciative of the busy city life in the capital of Uzbekistan; the crowded market places, the seasonal vegetables and fruits; the hotmess of it all. When I was 10 years old my family moved to Oman  where I completed my education and remain to this day, eagerly returning to my home town every chance I get and hungrily savoring every moment of my presence there.
Although many parallels can be drawn between Oman and Uzbekistan- climate and nature are not amongst these. Perfectly balanced seasons, from chilly spring showers to snowy winters, and all the goodness in between can be found in Tashkent. Nature’s best is at your fingertips just outside the capital- majestic Tyan Shan Mountain ranges are an attractive base for campers, hikers, skiers and snow boarders from all around the globe.  However one does not need to venture far for a glimpse of greenery as the capital is bursting with vibrant plantations, ancient oak trees and carefully land shafted lawns. Fountains and monuments are also found on every corner, designated areas are available for leisure, and parks are well maintained and equipped with rides and attractions for all ages. An evening in the capital never passes uneventfully; a simple walk through the city center will leave an everlasting impression of a modern city with history breathing through every brick and stone.
The sense of “life” in the capital is almost overwhelming and majestic in comparison to Muscat. Ever so modern, yet green and peaceful- Tashkent changes by the minute, eager to catch up with the world; supermarkets, business centers and malls are springing up like mushrooms after rain. During my most recent trip I had trouble recognizing streets and whole areas at a time due to drastic changes in infrastructure.
What has not changed is the atmosphere of utmost hospitability and sincerity.  The citizens of Tashkent are still busily buzzing round around crowded streets, jamming sardine-like into busses and metro trains and joyously attending parades and festivals. The aromas of the profound national dish- Palov (similar to the beloved Biryani) continue to surround street cafes and the delicious barbeques of every variety are used to lure pedestrians.
The gentle simplicity of life in Uzbekistan is the key reason for my nostalgia. It remains pure, frugal and unchallenged by the hype of modernizations. Whether it is the lady selling homemade pastries just outside her house or the a group of 5th graders building a tree house from scratch- life in Tashkent is perfect as it is; scaled down, random and simple in the most wonderful way.

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