Monday, October 6, 2014

Hello, anyone who tumbles by this page

I hope everyone is doing better than me!  I'm now a law school graduate, waiting on bar results to tell me whether I get to practice law.  I can tell you, I'm a wreck!

I'm writing today to get anyone who will, to take a look at this documentary.  It deserves a lot of attention and maybe someone will see who can help get this case moving instead of continuing to be stuck in its multi-year limbo.  Take a look, it will surprise you:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

School Progress

Well, I survived the first year of law school! There were a few moments where I thought I might not. The biggest problem for going back to school with a young daughter is the money aspect. Every day I read a new article or survey talking about how the legal market is saturated and that law school graduates are having difficulty finding jobs. . . so I began to worry that I was making a huge mistake. The stress was made worse by the fact that I did not have a summer job lined up. Most of my classmates had the same issue, but they were able to take volunteer positions where they would gain connections and experience.

 Some of them were able because they happen to be independently wealthy (not my situation) and others because they still live with parents, and others because my school awards summer stipends of around $2,000 to people who volunteer for the summer in legal positions. $2,000 for three months was nowhere near enough for me to be able to do it. At the last possible moment I got a call from the career services department at my school. I had, the week before, gone in and basically begged them to help me find a suitable summer job.

Fortuitously, a medium sized firm with a large immigration department called the career services office within days of my visit. The CSO remembered me and I was basically offered the job over the phone. I went in for an interview and have been working there for nearly two months. It is the best possible job for the summer for me AND the BEST part is that it continues into the school year as a part-time job! The job changed my entire outlook and M's too. M would never say anything to worry me, but I think he'd started to think I had made a mistake too. It was a huge change for his mood when I got the job and liked it.

 Such a great thing! Baby S is not such a baby anymore. She recently turned three years old and is amazing. The only sad thing is that she is abandoning speaking in Urdu. She speaks English like an old pro and understands Urdu whenever it is spoken to her, but she refuses to speak any to her Baba. This is with one exception, when I tell her something to tell her Baba in Urdu, she does it! If I tell her, "Tell Baba, 'ajao'" she'll do it. . . .and if I tell her to tell him to hurry, as long as I, say "jeldi" she'll say it too! She does love telling her Baba what to do!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I decided, a while ago to go to law school. I got addicted to the research of M's immigration situation and thought that it would be really cool to actually know what the heck I was talking about for a change. This was how I set out on the journey to law school.

I thought about it for years, but the month S was born, I became certain, just certain I had to try it and decided. . .on a whim. . .to take the law school admissions test (LSAT). The LSAT is not the type of test you take on a whim. It is the kind of test you practice for. It is the kind of test that decides not just IF you get to go to law school, but how much law school is going to cost you.

I signed up just after S was born and ordered a study guide and two practice tests (yes two). The test was about five-six weeks later, and since I was late in registering, I had to sign up for a test about 70 miles away from home. You can imagine how much studying I got done with a one-month-old.

The night before the test, S was up until 3 am. I got up, dutifully, at 6:00 am to go and take my test. Can you imagine what a silly idea that was?!

So my score was okay. Not scholarship worthy, just ok, and I decided to take the test again. This time I registered early and orderd more than 15 practice tests and three different coaching books. There are prep classes for the LSAT, but they were too expensive for me.

In the end, my score was pretty good and I got into a nice law school, with a nice discounted tuition.

You know college brochures? Those pictures of co-eds sitting on a nicely groomed lawn, working together. . .people playing frisbee. . .perfect trees and impossible architecture? I thought those were fake, but now, I go to THAT SCHOOL. Today, it was nearly 80 degrees in my city and the lawn was absolutely covered in co-eds chatting on the lawn and even reading textbooks. (Am I the only person who never experienced that in undergrad?)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baby S Enters the Christmas Battle

haha, I say that to add drama. There's never really been a Cbristmas battle, but there's always been this lingering fear that one might appear. To set the record straight, baby S is firmly in the "pro-Christmas" column. Oddly, M is pretty far in the pro-Christmas column too, but he is loathe to admit it.

There is a fair amount of debate about how much Christmas is okay between American Muslims, specifically the ones I talk to (lol), this time of year. I've heard the "It's not okay to celebrate any holidays that are not specifically Islamic" I've heard, "Is it okay to accept Christmas gifts from American friends?" My husband is totally okay with accepting gifts from his American family and baby S is right there with him. (He sometimes wonders if what he is doing is totally okay, but the receipt of his favorite colognes and clothing straight from me allays his fears. . . .)

S is very excited. This year she is two and a half years old and knows exactly what her job will be on Christmas morning. She walks around telling family members about how SHE bought them a Christmas present. She adores the lights and snowment and is enamored with the mall Santa Clauses. My parents took her to a work Christmas party and Santa arrived on a fire truck and distributed gifts. She now has a beloved "Pandy" named after a sub-character on "Kai-Lan". This only made her newfound love of Christmas stronger.

The battle I speak of, truly comes down to the Christmas tree. Baby S sees the one at my parents' house and wants to know, "Where's OUR Christmas tree Momma??" My husband, normally her fervent slave, continually manages to not bring it out of storage. Before baby S we alternated between having one and not having one, and this year it seems very important to him that we do not display one. I'm not sure if it is his attempt to make sure she realizes that our family is "different" or what exactly. I've actually asked, but he just shrugs it off and says he'll take it out soon.

This really is not a battle though, because I don't mind at all. I think it is great that the baby gets to celebrate her "American" "Christian" holidays and her Islamic ones as well. I'm happy that he does not mind letting her hang out with my family and celebrate the way that they love to celebrate. Frankly, I love seeing how excited she's getting for the holidays and how her eyes light up at the sight of the gifts and Christmas lights and everything that goes with the season. I'm especially proud each time she reminds me that we need to buy someone specific a gift or she clamors to help wrap one. Totally fun.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Language Barrier (or Jobs M will never do . . .)

It was a very surreal experience to wake up in someone else's house. . . .in PAKISTAN. I could hear S playing somewhere, but there was no one else in the house where I had been sleeping. I had pulled up these velvety cushions on the floor and M's Aunty had given me a blanket to sleep with. I found my way out of the house and out of the room and found M and S pretty easily and the baby was obviously happy surrounded by all of these cousins.

In the house where we stayed there were two young cousins, both boys. S was 11 months old when we went and the boys were 4 and 8. S was getting tons of attention and everyone was doting on her. I still had a headache, but M armed me with a 1.5 Liter bottle of water, and that helped quite a bit. I found myself trying my best to smile, widely, at everyone. I am, to this day, unable to string coherent sentences together in Urdu, but could understand most of what was said in Urdu. The problem was that the people in M's family tend to switch to Hindko when in the company of family. And then, M has friends who speak Punjabi and/or Pashto. . . so I was lost quite a bit.

M's best friend was married to a quite educated woman (I later discovered this was the cousin involved in arranging M's first marriage. . .the one who wanted to marry a woman whose family would not consent unless M married the particular woman he did. . . ) It became evident over the course of the trip that this friend felt like he "owed" M something. He became our voluntary chauffeur, refusing to allow us to take a taxi or rent a car for any trip we took. He took days off work and took us to meet family, invited us to dinner in his home, took us on shopping tours and even enlisted the help of his wife in negotiating bangle prices for me (haha.)

I felt guilty for a lot of the trip for not knowing the language. M's sister also tried to speak to me in the English that she knew, and we got quite good at using hand signals.

I learned, on this trip, that M is a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE. . .I would say nearly worthless, translator.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Okay, back to the trip. . .

Trying to gather all of our luggage together was absolutely nuts. There was a porter (or five to ten of them) jockeying to try and "help" us with our luggage. M was really wary of these guys, apparently having had a bad experience with them in the past. Everything went really fast once we managed to find our luggage.

I turned around and suddenly family members were everywhere and M's youngest brother had grabbed baby S. The next thing I know M's mother had her hands on my face and was hugging me and saying a lot of things in Hindko. She was a few inches taller than me and had a long, thin face. I was still looking frantically around to find the baby, but M's brother had gotten way ahead of us. All of this was exacerbated by the fact that I really had no idea who was who.

M's mother grabbed my hand and started walking quickly towards the exit. I was a little delirious at this point, probably from dehydration, so I just tried to smile as much as possible and follow along. It was hot when we left the building, but it was a dry heat, something I'm not really used. Having grown up in the southern portion of the United States, I've always lived in places known for humidity. . .so this was a bit different experience. M was smiling widely, and I must admit, from his hesitation before the trip, I was a bit surprised. There were two men besides M's brother and he didn't bother to introduce them. I was later told they were cousins.

M's family had gotten a tiny van to carry us from the airport, but it only fit our luggage and three people all squeezed together. Truth be told, no one bothered to tell me what was happening, but we were walking for a block or two to a parking lot to grab a taxi. M's mother was holding on to me most of the way and trying desperately to dote on baby S. Beyond my headache, this was encouraging.

The headache, my most major mistake for the trip, will be something I try to fix next trip. I've read since then that airplanes are some of the dryest climates we face (lol)and I did not pre-hydrate at all. Also, the stewardesses on the plane, while very polite, were too busy to deliver refreshments for the largest part of our 16 hour flight. Since there are restrictions on how much water you can bring through security (as in none) I'll be forced to make a large investment in bottled water from the stores in the airport after we pass through security.

As it was, I was so nauseous and dizzy by the time that we reached M's home, I ended up sleeping in one of M's uncle's houses, next door. He had an airconditioner in his sitting room and offered it up for me to nap. M and baby S socialized and I slept in the uncle's floor, for how long, I will never know, but when I woke up, M's brother had arrived with a delivery man to install our very own airconditioner in the room M, S and I would be staying!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Today, my father-in-law called. He does not call often, in fact, it only happens once every two, sometimes three years. It is never "good" news when he called. . .unless you can count today.

Today, he called to tell M that the youngest brother in the family is getting married. He is the last in the family to do so. M's youngest brother is "W." W met the lady on the train last month. He was on the way with my MIL to the nephew's wedding in Lahore. On the train he "fell in love." He and the family have decided he will get married next month.

We are not invited to the wedding. . . but we are. . . .
hmmmmmmmm, what is the right word? "Requested?" "Ordered?" Hmmmmm, not sure. . .

We don't need to come, but should send $2,000 to pay for the wedding.

Can anyone explain to me exactly how I'm supposed to react to that?