Archive for the Home Sweet Home Category

Apartment Hunting

Posted in Home Sweet Home, life experiences, Michigan with tags , , , on Friday, July 10, 2009 by dragonsvamp

In about a month, my sister will be moving in with me. This not only means that I will have to change my life around so that we can become roommates. I’ve had two years of living on my own, so you bet it’s going to be tough getting used to having another person in the house, having another person to take into consideration, having another person to compromise with, having another person to talk to, to laugh with, to go shopping and out to movies with.

It’s a great feeling and a very unwelcome one at the same time. One moment I’m thrilled to have my sister come live with me and the other moment I dread it. It’s odd being able to feel two extremes concerning the same thing. But in the end it’ll be a novel experience that will hopefully have more ups then downs.

Now for me and my sister to get comfortable, I need to decide whether we can bear living in a one bedroom apartment for a few months before moving or if I should move into a two bedroom apartment right around the time she moves in.

As everything, there are pros and cons to both points. Let’s look at the pros of staying in the one bedroom apartment for a few months before moving out:

1. Save money: I’d be able to afford the apartment without any strains on my fincances and without the need to make my sister help me out with rent just yet. This will help her get situated and get a job before having to stress about that. I had that help the first couple of months I was on my own and I’d love to provide that help to her as she gets accustomed to living on her own as well.

2. Less pressure: Since I know that I didn’t get as big a raise for this coming year as I did for last year, I’m going to have a little more pressure on myself if I move into a bigger apartment. Waiting a few months before moving, will definitely lessen the stress on me and being able to afford the things I’m used to without having to (going on to #3) cut back.

3. Not having to cut back: To be honest, I’ve gotten accustomed to a lifestyle that will probably need to see some cutbacks if I decide to move into a bigger apartment. Now this isn’t the case if my sister gets a job right away but I’m not betting on that nor am I taking it into consideration. Like I said above, I want to be able to help her out as I was helped out. It means a lot to me the amount of help and support I had when I moved out on my own and I want to do that for my sister.

Now the pros for moving into a bigger place:

1. Space: Having enough space for both of us to feel comfortable, is vital if we’re going to be able to get along. Living in a one bedroom apartment (even though my sister is willing to sleep on the couch for a little while) is just not enough for us. I’ve gotten used to having a whole apartment to myself, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to end up in a similar situation that she came from. Growing up we always had two kids a room- I know I can’t do that anymore and I’m sure she needs her own private space to call hers. A two bedroom would be perfect for us.

2. Comfort and Convenience: The area I live in right now is not a place I feel really comfortable in. It’s pretty safe but it just doesn’t feel homey or as homey as I’d like it to be. I have to make a couple of sacrifices living in my apartment. The first is not having my own washer and dryer. I don’t want to have to deal with that anymore than I have to and it’s just going to be so inconvenient having to carry twice the amount of laundry around to get it done. Moving into another apartment lets me put the criteria of having hookups for a washer and dryer and it’s easier to find in larger apartments. The second is being more comfortable in the apartment I’m living in. I only really moved into the apartment I live in right now because it was the cheapest thing out there. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a decent apartment, but it’s not anywhere near ‘home’. I moved in with the mindset that I wouldn’t be staying for long.

3. Pets: I’m the kind of person who loves animals. I need pets. I already found two cats that I want and that are on hold for me (in case I decide to move) and the place I live in right now doesn’t allow any pets. A bigger apartment will be great for having pets. I also want to get a pet snake- and that’s something I’d be able to get if I moved out.

Those are the three top pros of staying or moving and I really needed to just write it all out (and talk to a couple people) to realize that the pros of moving have a more impact on me than the pros of staying where I am for a little longer. In the end, I’ll be moving anyways so why not decide to now?

Also, I’ve already seen a two bedroom condo that is owned by my hair dresser and oh my God. It’s perfect for what I want. It’s 15 minutes away from work and from the University. It’s got two floors and a great amount of space that would be perfect for me and my sister and our pets. I love the condo, the location, and the person who owns it. And writing all this out has helped me realize that in the end it’s a really good deal. Last month while I was getting my hair cut, we talked about my sister moving in with me and having my hair dresser’s tenants leaving. She told me how much she’d be asking for her place and when I got to see the apartment she offered it for a little cheaper, I would hope because she feels really comfortable with me moving in.

I know for a fact it’s not because she won’t find tenants for her asking price (which is relatively low for a place like that) because there’s always people who want to rent and I doubt she’d have a hard time finding someone to pay the price she’s asking for it.

I need to let her know my decision tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be making the right choice after sleeping on it.

Wish me luck!

USA ::Ramadan, Moving Out, and Driving Test::

Posted in Home Sweet Home on Saturday, September 15, 2007 by dragonsvamp

Michigan has really odd weather I tell ya. Seriously, it keeps changing and can’t decide what to do. I can understand it because summer is almost over and fall is trying to barge in while summer is refusing to leave. But that leaves us with half the week sweltering hot and the other half freezing cold. Today is one of the cold days. It’s beautiful but it’s cold!

Anyways, I’ll be happy when it settles down and decides which it’s to follow: summer or fall and I already know the answer to that so I guess I’ll just have to wait and be patient until summer gives up and goes to sleep.

Ramadan started 2 days ago. In the past four years I hadn’t looked forward to Ramadan as much as I did this year. And so far it’s going really nicely. Apart from the fact that we are fasting around 14 hours a day, which I’m not used to because where I come from we break our fast between 5 and 6 pm. Here sunset isn’t until 8pm. But so far so good. I’m really loving it!

I am currently moving out into my own place. I have been living with my friend’s family for over a month now and we all agree that it’s time I got my own place, since I’m a bit too different in my ways than them. That’s ok. Mainly it’s just the space issue. I don’t have my space and they don’t have theirs. I am moving into a studio apartment down the street from my friend. Super close to them but where we both have our own personal space (yes I’m big on that). Besides I’ll have wireless and then no excuse about my blogging. I’m really excited about moving out. But before I can do that I need to pass my driving test.

Ahhhh what a wonderful thing: driving examinations. Everyone pretty  much scared the hell out of me about it. At work they’re all telling me how their kid’s failed it the first time or telling me about how hard it was for them when they had taken it 5, 10, or 50 years ago.

But thats okay. I wasn’t worried about the actually on road test I was worried about the parking pre-test. The one where if you failed it you can’t go on the road until you schedule and pay for a new examination. Yup it’s all a money making scam.

Now regular parking is perfectly fine with me but backing into a parking spot and parallel parking… I’ve never had reason to do them before. Thank God I had a single chance a few days ago to practice backing into a parking spot. My friend’s mom went to a gardening place where they sell plants and whatnot and I decided to stay in the car and practice on my own. After a few tries I got it down pat. I wasn’t too worried about that anymore. But honestly if I had gone and taken that test without practicing this I would have definitely failed the first part of the test.

But I never got a chance to practice parellel parking until a few minutes before I was to go for my test yesterday afternoon. It’s funny. I practiced it while my friend’s mom was getting ready. So maybe 10 minutes max.

So I go to my test at 4:45 with a third party examinor (the secretary of state stopped administering the tests themselves- another money making scam). And off I went.

The parking part of the test allowed you 6 error points before failing you. I got 6. But at least I passed even if it was ‘just’.

Then the driving test. Honestly I would not have passed myself. I drove so terribly for some reason and I wont be boasting if I said that I think I drive pretty darn well. I wasn’t really nervous but…well I guess I was. It’s weird. No butterflies in the stomach. No dry mouth. Just too much focusing. So I forgot my first signal for a turn. and I almost went up the curb when I was making another right turn. But I guess that wasn’t enough to fail me.

In other words I passed.

What a relief.

Now I’m just waiting for everyone to get ready so that we can go to the secretary of state and get my stuff done to get my driver liscence. Thank God they’re open on Saturdays.

After that all I’ve got to do is get insurance for my car and I can move out!

USA ::Update::

Posted in Home Sweet Home on Friday, August 24, 2007 by dragonsvamp

It’s already been three weeks since I arrived. Time has gone by so quickly that I haven’t even noticed. It’s a weird feeling being back here. It almost feels as though I had never left the states. That my four years in Jordan could have been a really long nightmarish dream. SubhanAllah.

Anyways, though I have done quite a bit since I got here it felt as though I was not doing enough and I found myself getting bored. I kept bugging my friend about needing to get a job to keep myself busy. And needless to say I think I started panicking over a few things that mainly concerned me spending so much money when I had no job to bring anything in to balance out the spending. 

Anyways, about a week or so ago I went to an Islamic Relief sponsered concert. It featured Native Deen, Sami Yusif, Hamza Robertson, and some Allah Made Me Funny comedian whose first name was Mo. The concert was held in Detroit in a really nice theater which was built in the early 1900’s. I’ll put up some pictures later on hopefully. I really enjoyed the whole event.

All my friends know that I can’t stand Sami Yusif. To me he is too boring and all his songs sound the same. I had expected him to impress me for some reason and I was expecting him to make me rethink my not liking him. But he turned out to affirm my dislike for his music. I must say though that his instrumental playing abilities are amazing but his singing was mainly mumbled and he didn’t interact with the audiance as well as he could have. He’s great for people who like his style of music but I must say I was very disappointed.

Moving on.  Hamza Robertson is a new voice and talent. He is European born I believe and embraced Islam about three years ago. His music was alright. I can see he has talent though I think working so closely with Sami Yusif has kind of made Robertson a bit more of a copy-cat than actually shining through as a original talent. I think once he grows and develops with his art he will want to stand out a bit more and work on making his stuff different. I bought his cd though and got it signed. He seemed like a nice person.

Mo wasn’t as funny as he could have been. Thats all I can say about him. He did however do a good job in introducing everyone and had a decent voice for master of whatever he was titled.

Now Native Deen, though not the stars of the show, made the night for me. They were amazing.  They did a good job interacting with the audiance and keeping everyone intertained.

The live band was amazing as well. All in all a very intertaining evening. Even though some idiot kid decided to pull the fire alarm and made us evacuate the building when we had about half an hour left for the concert.

Moving on.

I got a job at the local Muslim school here. It’s called Genesee Acadamy. Very professional and well organized. I started yesterday. I will be working as a teacher’s assistant in the kindergarten class. So far I’ve hit it off pretty well with the teacher for that class and we’ve been busy preparing classroom. School starts on Monday. I’m pretty excited.

Also, I should be getting my car either today or tomorrow. Can’t wait to start training on it. I won’t be able to drive it on my own until I pass the driving test.. I already took the written one and passed as I believe I said in the previous post. I need to wait until the 9th of September though to take the driven part of the test. Until then I have my permit and am allowed to drive with an adult.

I must say my life is finally beginning to get more busy. It’s about time. I’m planning on volunteering at the local deaf school and want to check out their gyms here. That I’ll be doing after I get my car and liscence inshaAllah.

USA ::Michigan At Last::

Posted in Home Sweet Home on Friday, August 10, 2007 by dragonsvamp

PHEW! It’s about time I got here. Been in California from the 28th of June til the 1st of August. It was a nice vacation where I spent quite a bit of money but I guess splurging everyonce in a while is okay.

I almost missed my flight leaving to Georgia and then onto Michigan. I had never thought it was true in movies when people would run through the airport and buy their ticket and get on their flight all within a few minutes of the airplane leaving. Apparently it is possible. Because of certain odd out of this world events that almost made me miss my flight, I arrived at the airport litterally 30 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart. A close shave if there ever was one I must add.

Well now I’m finally here. It’s hot, muggy, and humid but thats okay since we have air conditioning almost everywhere. My friend’s mom told me there’s a saying in Michigan ‘If you don’t like the weather here then stick around’. So though I am not a fan of this weather I’m being told constently that it’ll get much cooler soon. Either way I’m not going to fret over it because I’d way rather this than be back in Jordan going through the heat wave they are getting at the moment.

 I took my written driving test today. Passed with flying colors I might add. Though at the time I guess I had made myself expect the worst. The questions were pretty easy so it’s a good thing, I guess, that I had expected it to be harder. But of course I made myself worry way too much before I took it. Thank God that’s over and done with. Now I have my permit and can legally drive for the first time. I got to practice for 30 days before I can take the actual driving test though. Fun, fun.

I can’t wait to drive. I’ve been itching to drive ever since I left Jordan. I even presuaded a friend to let me drive the mustang just around the corner on July 4th but that five minutes was all I got in the past month and a half.

Can’t wait to get my own car.

USA ::Back in Cali::

Posted in Home Sweet Home on Thursday, July 12, 2007 by dragonsvamp

I was supposed to leave Washington state on the 11th in the late afternoon.  My grandmother and her husband Jack dropped me off at the airport at 3 in the afternoon. We check the schedule and everything seems to be going fine. I check in electronically and my family leaves. Within 25 minutes I’m waiting in front of the terminal that’s supposed to be where my flight’s to board.

4 O’clock rolls around and I’m just smitten at the fact that everything had gone on pretty smoothly. Then one guy shows up and he asks the room in general if we were told that our flight got canceled.

Of course we weren’t told.

We had to leave the boarding area and go back out to the ticket counter. I seriously can’t believe how bad the airports are here. It’s unbelievable. Seriously they should be way more organized.  I was fuming and ready to make them get me a nonstop flight to California. My original flight was supposed to take me from Seattle to Pheonix AZ and then from AZ to Santa Ana Cali.

45 minutes later and I finally get my turn.  I tell the lady my final destination and she goes off to the other computer and comes back with my ticket. A direct flight from Seattle to California. And the flight was going to board in 20 minutes.

I went through security for the second time with not hindrance and was at my new terminal with ten minutes to spare. After that everything went smoothly. The people are so nice here.

Funny thing though. I was supposed to arrive in Cali at 11pm I arrived at 8:30.  That was so nice except for the small detail that my friend who was to pick me up wouldn’t finish work until 10:30 at the earliest. So I had to keep myself busy until then which wasn’t much of a problem.

USA ::Seattle Is Not Dead::

Posted in Home Sweet Home on Monday, July 9, 2007 by dragonsvamp

I arrive in Seattle Washington in the wee hours of the morning on the 7th of this month. I had taken the Greyhound from Santa Ana (i.e. southern) California all the way up to Seattle Washington. Not a very good idea but knowing me, I like trying new things out (as long as those new things don’t consist of food that is). And knowing me, most those new things turn out to not be as fun as I had expected.

Actually taking the Greyhound was the worst decision I have done in a long long while. And I mean a LONG while. It was 28 hours of pure torture in my opinion. Yeah the scenery was nice and stuff but I didn’t get to see most of it because I was sleeping most of the time. Completely out cold for some reason.

We had to make at least fifteen stops that I’m positive about. We made so many where the passengers had to get off that it literally drove me nuts. I got sick and tired of getting on and off the bus and loosing a perfectly good seat and waiting in line and all that jazz. And these stops were made in the middle of nowhere. So all your options for food were vending machines or some weird little sub place. I didn’t even bother with either.  Half the time we didn’t even have enough time to order or get anything because we got off and got back on within 20 minutes.

In the end I figure the Greyhound is perfectly fine for shorter trips but not to go through three states and spend 28 hours on. It’s much more worth it just paying the extra 100 or so bucks and get a three hours plane ride. Way less hassle I tell you. It saves you time and the amount extra is worth it.

Anyways, Seattle is really nice. The weather is amazing. Not too hot and not super cold either. Just perfect. A nice change from the heat of California. It was getting pretty hot right before I left. I was able to see my aunts and uncles some I haven’t seen in over 5 years I believe, maybe even more.

I’ll be heading back to Cali on the 11th on the newly bought plane ticket. I just hope that we get the refund for the Greyhound return ticket which we should get but they had made a huge problem at the station when I had wanted to get my ticket. Something about the processing had gone awry and they hadn’t been able to print my original ticket for me but printed a Customer Service ticket which doesn’t have the price on it that you paid. Therefore, I’m gonna have to send the ticket by mail and hope that it doesn’t get lost and there won’t be any problems with everything following.

*fingers crossed*

It’s tough being on your own. And I’m not completely there yet. I’m still depending on my uncles and aunts for things. But even though all this is coming up I wouldn’t want to go back. No, not ever.

USA :: Been Gone a While::

Posted in Home Sweet Home on Saturday, July 7, 2007 by dragonsvamp

Let’s see, it’s been about ten days since I arrived in California and I just couldn’t wait to get out of there apparently since I’m already in Washington State visiting my mother’s family. 

California has been super awesome. I got to see a good amount of my friends and had a few very interesting encounters. But all in all a very enjoyable experiance. Can’t wait to get back there in a few days.

I’m constantly finding myself asking ‘What was I thinking?’ First, when I arrived at Laguna Beach and OC area I asked myself that same question.

‘What was I thinking when I decided to go to Michigan to study?’ I had never been there before and had jumped at going there. But…but come to find out California hasn’t changed one bit (other than getting more expensive). Everything was the same. Everyone was the same. It was as if I had never ever left.

Then my uncles get together and get me a greyhound bus ticket to Washington.

‘What was I thinking?’

Of course greyhound sucks since it didn’t let us know that I’d be making at least 15-20 stops on the way. It made it seem as though there were only two stops. Santa Ana to LA and then LA to Seattle. *shoots self and cackles loudly* We had at least 15, twenty minute-one hour, stops. It was worse than my plane trip from Jordan to California and that means a lot.

Anyways, I’m very happy to have finished with the bus ride and I refuse to ever step foot on a greyhound again. I will pay for the extra to get a plane ride back to California if I have to. I still haven’t told my uncles that yet but they’ll find out soon. It was a waste of time and effort and the round trip plane ticket was only like 70 dollars more expensive which I would have gladly paid if I had known before they had bought the ticket.

Live and learn I guess. (Then get Luvs.)