In order to feel at home here and to understand what this Tea House is all about, please see my very first post at

Monday, January 25, 2010

package of joy


Tea for the post: green tea (yup, I'm still struggling to finish those AND the Lipton tea off!!). What tea would you like to have? (You better choose your favorite, 'cause it's been quite a while since I've last must celebrate the reopening of the **Tea House**!)

Wow, I seriously didn't expect to get this busy for so long...yet I'm surprised how I have apparently gained two more **Tea Mates** rather than lost any **Tea Mates**! I now officially welcome our two newest **Tea Mates** Barry Hamdani and alonzoevans41 to the **Tea House**, I hope that you have both received my personal welcome email...

I had left Dubai for Boston on Janurary 7. My Spring semester of my Sophomore year just started on January 11. As I had mentioned in my previous two posts, it was so great to be home and to have delicious Gulf Arabic food after a whole year! (For those of you who are new to this **Tea House**, I had posted a recipe of a dessert from this region, please see both Milky Rice Pudding Disaster and Solution to the Milky Rice Pudding Disaster for more info and a link to learn about other food from the region).

I had also attended the opening of Burj Khaleefa (previously known as Burj Dubai; the tallest building/man-made structure in the world) and got VIP seating through my uncle who works in Emaar; the Burj Khaleefa itself and the Burj Khaleefa Downtown were among the company's projects. Click here to see the opening of the tower via the Facebook fan page of the governor of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Although I am only taking three classes (one of them only being a one credit course), I am more busy with extracurricular activities. So far, I am volunteering at

  1. Big Sister Association. Mentoring 1 hour a week
  2. Institute of Urban Health Research where I am currently just doing data entry for one of its projects (they may have me do something else later...dunno lol) that evaluates services for women with substance abuse in Boston. Currently doing it 5 hours a week  
  3. Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, where I will be volunteering as a hotline counselor (I am currently undergoing training three times a week until Feb4 when my shift starts. Hotline shifts are only once a week. Each shift is 5 hours)
  4. International Carnevalle Committee member...although all I've been doing was just offering ideas for an annual 2-month long festival my campus organizes to celebrate cultural diversity, haven't been too seriously involved but still attend its meetings one hour a week.
I'm hoping that once I'm done with my hotline trainings that I'll have more free time to go to the gym and/or blog to sip more **tea** with you!! I like my schedule better than the Fall semester where I felt it was more about academics. Also for some reason, I was barely even seeing my friends as much! I was especially feeling so stressed for finals during the Fall semester...that was when I got the surprising PACKAGE OF JOY!!!! (See picture above)

I was one day checking my online student account and noticed that I had a package waiting for me. I was wondering: "hmm...I don't remember ordering anything online to receive a package at this time...also, mom didn't mention anything about sending me a package of any sort...".

When I went to the package pick-up center on my campus, I was even more confused...I had a hard time learning who it was even from!! I opened the box to see if there was a message or something inside...but instead I only found LOADS of snacks. I dug up the snacks to see if there was anything but with no avail...

After quite a while though, I finally noticed that the yellow label stuck to the box was actually an envelope! I open this envelope to find this card with a heart warming message...I'll let its picture below speak for itself:

Although this was a very simple message along with a box of snacks (mostly junk food), it made all the difference for me. It reminded me that indeed back home, I'm having a family cheering me on regardless of how much I may put myself down or how much naysayers may get to me. It made me feel happier that I was going home after these finals and will be enjoying the beautiful weather (in fact, I had left Boston right before the snow storms!), the amazing food, and the company of my family, cousins (who are technically my childhood friends), and friends (although I didn't get to see a lot of them once I got to Dubai since most of them had finals and I had lost all their numbers due to my sim card issue I talked about in my last post). Now that I'm thinking about how uplifting was this package for me, it actually reminds me of the following Arabic proverb:

"Sisters' eyes may dry, your wife may find solace in another's arms, but your mother will weep for you till she dies."

Of course, I think that this would also apply to fathers. In the end, friends will come and go. But it is the family (and your closest of friends) who will always be with you throughout life. Therefore, it is critical to have a good relationship with your family. Personally, I feel quite sad when I hear of people who don't even know about their first cousins and don't even care while I consider my first cousins and second cousins to be my childhood friends whom I still stay in touch with. What I find even sadder is when one has bad relationships with their parents.

During my visit to Dubai in winter break, I had gone to Bahrain for a weekend along with my parents. We went there because one of my cousins had married a Bahraini man (whose family we know through other cross-marriages) and his family wanted to see us. I had so much fun there as I saw how different their culture was compared to the Emirati culture. I felt like they were more open, independent, humble, social, and lively. I think this is because they have not received the same attention or had undergone the same developmental insanity as the Emirates or rather as Dubai in particular. I have also noticed that unlike in the Emirates, there weren't so many immigrant workers in the airports, bazaars, etc; they were more self-reliant.

I felt quite attached to the family in Bahrain and wished that I could've stayed longer; I felt as though I've known them for two years rather than just two days; in fact, I felt like they were my family. I also thought that I'd love to marry a Bahraini man myself so that I can be connected to such a culture and to such a family who treat strangers as their own.

Phew....I hope this long post makes up for all this time I haven't been posting!! For those of you who are having good relationships with your parents, family, and close friends, I hope that this post will prompt you to give them a call or something to tell them (whether directly or subtly): "Thank you for being you."

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

PS: I have finally updated the play list for the **Tea House** and have thus added two more songs besides the one that automatically plays (which is by Enya). The second song is Japanese sung by Kokia while the third is by one of the most famous oud masters in the Arab world called Naseer Shamma. Click on the "menu" in the Ipod gadget on the sidebar of this blog to access them. Please do offer suggestions as well for more songs that can suite this blog. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Jan 29: After adding even more songs, the order of the music has please do ignore the description of each particular song above....


  1. This is a cool site. I'm happy to follow it. I noticed you at Google's Coffee Shop. I will check you out, periodically.


  2. @Barry: I'm glad to know that my email has reached you. Thank you for commenting on this post.
    I always wanted to improve my writing and learn about publishing books (if I ever end up writing a book!!), therefore, I'll follow your blog as well to keep up to date with your tips.