I'm living in UAE and decide to go back to Syria for a visit. I'm really excited about it, even though many people are cautioning me against it, and deep inside I'm troubled by the knowledge that the police came and took my personal details from my host family back in 2009.
At the border, I'm questioned by Bashar Al-Assad himself in a room which looks like the backstage of a movie set. He is polite and calm and intelligent, and I make sure to be polite as well, always calling him "Dr. Assad." At one point, he asks me: "What do you think about the regime change?" (meaning the rebel takeover). I smile and say "What regime change?" and then he smiles and we both laugh in a sort of wink and punch each other on the shoulder good-ol-boy way. I do everything I can to make sure he knows I'm on his side, not the rebels, so that I can get through the border inspection.
He's calm and honest about the power that the rebels have. He even discusses his frustrations about the shared power he has with the rebels, when the rebel leader was supposed to complete a task but just disappeared. He seemed wistful at his waning power, but not bitter or angry.
In the end I got through.
Flash forward to being in a ritzy, high-up hotel room in Damascus (which in reality has exactly one four-star, not-very-tall hotel in the downtown area). With me are Lady Gaga, my friend Effie from Abu Dhabi, and another friend I can't recall from Oregon, perhaps Sara or another former Girl Scout troop member. Lady Gaga was discussing how she was very nervous about coming to perform in Damascus, and how the government was questioning whether to approve it, but she's so happy she came and brought some joy to the Syrian people who are suffering so much.
At this point Lady Gaga is getting ready to go to some other place. I'm acting like a total fan girl and fawning and trying to find a way to go with her.
"You can come stay with me if you cook for me," she says nonchalantly.
"Well what kinds of foods do you like?" I ask, trying to hide my eagerness.
"Salad." She says it flatly, without looking up from doing her hair in the mirror.
Soon everyone but me leaves, but I'm slow to get ready. Twilight is falling when I'm about to leave to try and go to the backpacker's hostels near the Old City, or perhaps take a bus to go try and pay my old host family a visit. However, things have changed so much since 2009; I used to hop on a minibus after midnight with no fear for my personal safety, whereas now I hear bombs going off in the street while daylight is still present. I also don't want to risk the safety of my old host family.
Just then Effie comes back with Rebe, one of the Spanish girls on our basketball team. "I was leaving then I found Rebe. We're going to have a tea up on the roof, OK?"
"OK," I said. I had the feeling that I wasn't invited. "Since it's getting dark, would you mind staying here another night and splitting the cost?"
My last memories of the dream are of trying to venture out, then repeatedly deciding it's not safe enough, and retreating back to the hotel.
I'm visiting with J-Ru at her family's house back in Milwaukie. We had both recently came back from living far away. While we're hanging out, she suddenly gets very quiet and sullen. After some time I cheerfully say goodbye and see you soon.
"Actually, don't come back here. Ever."
I am very confused as to why she seems so angry, but upon questioning her she simply insists again, closed off. I pack up my things to leave.
As I'm about to close the door behind me on her front porch, I hesitate. I need closure. I open the door again and peek inside.
"Jenn, just so I know how not to offend people in the future, what is it that upset you?" I feel confused, a little hurt, but not angry.
We somehow are then sitting down at the dining table with her parents as she explains. There's this little way that I shake my head that has always pissed her off, and it's just become too much. She's sick of dealing with it. She doesn't want to see me again. Ever.
I'm incredulous. I really have no idea what head motion she's talking about. Betho laughs and says that she's been noticing me doing it all growing up. In my confusion I apparently make the head motion, and they both jump and point it out. I'm shocked that such an apparently small and trivial thing has ended a friendship forever.
Bewildered but question answered, I get up to leave again. Jenn has already retreated sullenly but Betho walks me out. I thought she would be sympathetic, but she also stated firmly that I wasn't welcome at their house ever again. She started talking about how my parents were snobs with their new house, and she didn't want to see them again either.
I stumbled out to their driveway. She followed me, taking pictures with a digital camera, smiling widely and shouting out that she was documenting the last time I visited their house.
I didn't have my cell phone with me nor the keys to my sister's apartment, but by chance my sister was driving by at that moment with Lacey and Tim. They were heading to go sledding on what was a hybrid of Thiessen and the hill behind View Acres. I hop in, and try to make conversation. My sister seems stressed, perhaps by school, perhaps by organizing the sledding trip and activities for her friends all the time, and doesn't say much.
When we get to the hill we register for a sledding permit online, then put on rollar skates/blades. We sit on the sleds and slide as I gradually transition back to a state of consciousness.
In my room, I feel the presence of an angel watching me.
I'm back in high school standing in the junior hallway of Rex Putnam opening my locker, which is not any old standard locker, it's a walk-in closet. I cross over the threshold to find two dozen love letters strewn about the room and begin to read about Ben Baleilevuka's obsession with me, his yearning desire to take me out on a date to watch Bugs Bunny cartoons and cheesy Disney films about various princesses. At this point in time in the dream I pause to embrace how wildly bizarre this all is as I peer through the locker room door. Lesley Fisher is across the hallway struggling to open her locker. "Pst, Lesley! Come here, I have a weird question I need to ask you!" Lesley steps into my walk-in-closet-of-a-locker and turns into Katie Ransom. "What?" she asks with trepidation. "Tell me about Ben Baleilevuka; he's been leaving love notes in my locker all week and he seems a few cards short of a full deck." Katie/Lesley tells me he's "real weird" and that I should avoid him. Suddenly the door slams and the love letters start flooding my locker closet. Katie/Lesley begins to panic, shreaking lounder and louder as each love note enters the room "What are we going to do?" she asks with a shrill in her voice. Like a badass I kick down the door only to find several young kids serving as Ben's messengers trying to deliver his ever-more persistent love letters. Somehow I escape to Cindy Quintinilla's office where I hide in one of her wall fixtures. The young kids (who remind me of the characters in Children of the Corn) surround her office, banging on the walls trying to get in.
I wake up.
J, S, K, and I are traveling back from some late-night thing. There are many drunks on the road and we decide we'd rather stay put for the night. But where to stay? We can't think of anybody who'd be awake at 3am AND let us stay over, except for our friends L & M (my suggestion).
We call, L's awake, and tells us it's no problem. She finds pillows and blankets for us and sets us up in her & her sister M's house, which is now two stories, has a deck out back, a giant open grand room, and apparently a bar underneath the second story stairs/interior balcony.
We all try to settle in for some sleep. An hour later somebody else shows up and is loud and causes noisy annoyance, but L knows this person too and doesn't seem to care. By the time dawn rolled around it was a full-fledged party, full of drinking, smoking, carousing, and ill-advised hook-ups. (I assume they're ill-advised, although I never knew any of the people hooking up. The house is filled with strangers now.)
J is busy talking to M for most of the rest of this dream. At some point before dawn K has some crisis and I take him outside to solve it because I can't hear what he's saying inside. I don't remember his crisis, but I do remember feeling so overwhelmingly sad and he being so sad that hugs were all I could think of it do. So we hugged for a while.
Back in the party, I am trying to figure out if there's anywhere I could possibly sleep. I people-watch at the bar, as partiers continue drinking on into early dawn and daylight and start to pass out around the house.
At some point, I notice my left canine feels funny. A bit numb, and a bit tender at the gum. I take a look at it in the bathroom mirror (the bathroom is on the second floor) and notice that the root and bones are visible well above where they should be, and that the root is *becoming hollow* and that it won't be long until that tooth is out. What did I do to lose a tooth? It's an adult tooth! This is not good.
So I sit at the bar myself, occaisonally venturing into the kitchen when I hear people being too loud in there with the dishes (I don't wany anybody to break my friends' things, you see). It's now 8 or 9am and most people have left or passed out. I am taking a look at some people trying to do dishes when my tooth falls out. I take a look at it and tuck it into my jeans pocket (left). It looks like a normal lost tooth.
I wonder if I'm going to panic. Is there blood when a tooth falls out? I try to remember back to my childhood, but the only teeth the fell naturally were my non-molars and all those left before I was 12, a good 16 years ago. I decide what I most need to do is find S, and also good paper towels to wet and place on the socket so it won't dry out. (I can't remember if that's necessary for teeth that fall out naturally, but better safe than sorry.)
I spend a long time looking for non-crappy paper towels as my socket gets drier and crustier. In fact, I discover S before ever finding good paper towels. He is bowling outside on the deck and lawn. Without speaking, I show him my tooth that now exists outside of my head, and he tells me he'll put up his ball and help me. I put the tooth back up, then sit inside on the stairs. He brings me a wad of wet paper towels that are all disintegrate-y, but that's all he can find, too.
He sits down next to me and I try to explain to him why I looked for him first and not J but I have no explanation to give him. I stutter and stammer over it and he gives me a strange look. I can't decide if that look says that he doesn't care why I found him first, or if he is more curious over why I went to him first and have no explanation (but feel I need to have one), or if it's over the fact that even trying to craft such a statement means I'm worried over something I shouldn't be.
I quiet down, silenced by that look and a sense of dissolving equilibrium. I slip under his arm, and he gives my shoulder a squeeze. We sit in silence like that for a while, watching the passed-out party-goers getting up and leaving around us.
At some point J and M come out to find us all. S quickly and smoothly takes back his arm and we stand up, nearly in tandem. The two look rather refreshed, and they explain that they were able to get some sleep during the party. I certainly was not, nor was S or K. K wanders in from the deck outside, and asks why I have a wad of wet paper towels held up to my mouth. Neither J nor M found this unusual enough to ask, apparently, and now that I think about it, S never asked why my tooth fell out or if it was even MY tooth I was holding.
In lieu of explanation I dig the tooth out of my pocket and hold it up. Did I get into a fight, K wonders? No, it just became hollow and loose and fell out tonight. Maybe the dentist can put it back in, suggests M. No, I think there's nothing left to attatch it to. The root dissolved-- I'll need a fake tooth implant. Well, keep it anyway, J says as he reaches for the tooth. I quickly close my hand and put the tooth back in my pocket. I know he just wants to look at it, but it's MY tooth and I do not feel like sharing it. I feel empty and violated over the fact that it fell out in the first place, and I think I'll feel worse if I let anybody else hold it.
We begin discussing house clean-up and lunch and then the dream ends.
I'm having a ceremony in 8 days. We still have things we haven't finished - notably, the playlist for the reception and what is actually happening during the ceremony. Kind of important things, especially the ceremony details I wish I'd figured out earlier... but it is what it is. Now that I'm done with finals I can focus entirely on this.
But... I'm awake right now at 4:30 am cuz I just had the following nightmare. Totally stereotypical!!
I'm at the rehearsal dinner with everyone else. Everything's great, except my frugal aunt decided to buy pizza and serve it before we could serve the regular dinner we had ordered. On top of that I'm allergic to pizza. For some reason my mom insists that it would be rude to pull out the regular dinner now, so she, dad and I eat salads by ourselves, with the main dishes in the car. Finally one of our guests (my mom's friend Cindy) finds out and gets upset (she is also a caterer), so we pull out the regular dinner even though most people have already eaten pizza.
I then go to sleep early because I'm exhausted. My sister in law chews me out the next morning because I didn't hang out with my guests.
The morning of the ceremony I still thought I had another week. I genuinely had been operating as if next Friday were.... well, today. So it came as a big surprise the morning of the ceremony when everyone was rushing!!
My hair looked awful. I was trying to jump in the shower but everyone kept telling me "You don't have time! There's only 20 minutes until the ceremony!"
At some point someone started trimming my hair. I could tell by the look on people's faces that it was not a good cut!
In that 20 minutes our officiant showed up. We told him we'd work with him on what he was going to say but still hadn't yet. He waited patiently but perturbed as I babbled excuses and flustered to find something.
Abdul also showed up looking just as helpless and bewildered as I felt.
At the same time we hadn't figured out music yet, so we're both trying to download playlists but not finding anything!!
I've been waiting for a letter from "Mama Bedu," my Saudi wife mentor. She was going to write something to say at the ceremony. I JUST opened the e-mail 5 minutes before ceremony start, and it was a POWERPOINT. We didn't have a projector!! Not only that, but it seemed pretty random, as if she didn't know what to say. She sent a second e-mail with random poems she'd found just in case the powerpoint wasn't desirable.
Oh, not to mention that morning I remembered that we'd forgotten to do the REHEARSAL at the rehearsal dinner, so NO ONE knew what to do. At all.
This is why I'm up at 4:30am... on the plus side I get to watch the sun rise, and Abdul and I will have 5-6 hours to work on the above this afternoon!
Please note: for those unfamiliar, I am a female in my late twenties. It's important to know for the following dream:
I'm inside the dream-Homeland (like a normal grocery store, except with incredible architecture and a propensity to quickly change layout), getting a few quick snack foods to take to the town meeting that starts soon. I do my shopping, then head out to my car. It's just past twilight, very dusky. As I get close to my car, keys in hand, a young man leaps out at me!
"Wait-- don't hurt me. I'm your son!"
I pause, keys between my fingers, fist pulled back and ready to strike.
This man has to be in his late teens/early twenties. He is not built like me at all-- I am short and thin, but he is tall-- close to six feet-- and of average (if a little muscular) build. But his hair color matches mine closely, his nose is the same, and he's got the same ambiguously grey eyes I do.
"You probably don't know about me. I've only got a few minutes while my stepmother shops. Dad still remembers you, or at least he did, but I haven't seen him in years. He told me about you. I saw you were speaking at the town meeting tonight and I begged my stepmother to let me go, too. I had to meet you."
"Wait, who IS your father, then?" I ask.
He mumbles a name, and instantly I am taken back to my college days. His father was a great friend of mine who left town suddenly, after a few months of us being lovers. Perhaps this young man was why.
His stepmother slowly walks up to where we're talking. She does not appear to know that I know this young man is my son. (Which would make sense, since I am in my late twenties, just like in real life, and appear to have caused a man to carry a child to term instead of me. A child that has somehow aged to be only 7 or 8 years younger than I.)
I know of the stepmother-- a smoker with burgundy dyed hair, who is not known for rationality or kindness. I knew she had a mixture of children, all from different fathers, who would leave her pregnant.
She eyes me. "You going to the meeting? You can take my stepson. He doesn't get out much and I'm tired of how fidgety he's acting now that he is. I'll give you these cookies for gas money."
I accept, and the young man and I walk to my car. As we drive to the meeting, he tells me about how paranoid the stepmother started acting after his father left, leaving him with her, and how she hardly ever would let him go anywhere but school. He seems very well adjusted, anyhow, and seems to be enjoying his time at community college. He has plans to go on to great universities, but understands he needs to transition himself from crazy paranoia households to normal life.
At the meeting, we sit down together. He towers over me, even when sitting. But I put my arm around his broad shoulders, and smile. I have a son! I couldn't be happier. I had always wanted children, and now I have one without having to have raised it.
The meeting begins, and my dream ends.
In my dream, humans were taking over the world, developing further but harming nature and fellow animals as well. Yeah, not so dreamlike, pretty realistic there... but it was worse than now.
But instead of the animals dying out, they started to evolve to protect themselves. That means they became more aggressive and "barbaric" I guess you could say. Dogs had extremely sharp claws, huge teeth, and fierce bodies. They were kinda like those dog-like beasts from Avatar. Animals started to look more like dinosaurs, or maybe the creatures from the movie Evolution.
The worst part was that they were relentless. They attacked humans in their backyards, at work, in houses, schools, etc. Parents watched their children die, girls watched their boyfriends die, and soon enough it became an international crisis. I remember seeing a father letting his daughter hang out with her friends constantly, taking her to Disneyland and give her whatever she wanted because he knew they were all going to die soon. I could feel the fear and hopelessness in his heart, the sad truth that he knew there was nothing he could do but love his family as much as possible before they were all slaughtered.
My dream didn't resolve itself. I woke up just as everyone I cared about--friends, sisters, parents, relatives--was getting attacked or even disappearing off the face of the Earth. It was depressing.
The man I've had a crush on intermittently since six grade returns home from across the country, and arrives at a function I'm attending. It feels like it's been forever since I've seen him, and looking him being his usual self is a nice thing to see. He spots me and runs over with open arms, wrapping me in a hug, and sitting close to me as we talk.
Between catching up on what our lives have been since we were last together, I can't stop saying, "I missed you so much," or, "I'm so glad you're home," and kind of hugging him sideways. One of these hugs is accompanied by a kiss on his earlobe (conveniently available), and he hugs me back.
The more we talk, the less I notice of the party, still swirling around us, and the bolder my affection towards him becomes. All my old feelings of attraction are welling up, and I'm crackling with electricity. He seems to notice and tips my chin up, moving closer to kiss me.
Sparks start flying off my skin, and I want to kiss him so badly; this is the closest we've ever been in years of an outwardly platonic relationship, and I might finally get to taste 'what might have been.'
Meanwhile, the dread and guilt that have also been building in the pit of my stomach burst forth, and I'm trembling with the struggle of feelings. How did I let myself get in this situation? Why did I dare so much? This behavior is totally unacceptable; a betrayal to my husband. I've already crossed enough lines by being so affectionate; that in itself feels like a serious betrayal. I can't let things get any worse!
Haltingly, I choke; "That might not be a good idea," while placing a finger on his lips. He smiles and gives a slight nod, then hugs me comfortingly and kisses my cheek. As the adrenaline leaves me, I go limp in his embrace, and we're back to what we've always been, slightly worse for wear.
Just woke up (early on a Saturday!) and took my camera to my computer to get the pictures off of it, when I realized all this was a dream. I should have known it was all a dream-- my hair looked so much better in my dreams than it usually does (it also looked way worse upon waking) and I had taken an odd assortment of clothes home to see my parents.
I had spent 4-5 days at my parents' place, seeing old friends and going to a debate tournament (to watch somebody's kid brother). Jay came with me, but usually chose to stay home reading comic books. I was a little disappointed at first, but then realized he would not have had fun doing all the old stuff we usually did back home. There was lots of walking the track, video games, and hanging out at Denny's.
Of course, the main reason we were there was the debate tournament. Jay came to that, but went home fairly early in the night. My parents, Logan, Raychel, Heath, Paul, and somebody who may have been Annoying Kid Wes (named because he was a freshman when we were all seniors) were there too. We judged rounds and had a lot of fun, then went out to party afterward, because somebody's kid brother had done pretty well in his LD rounds. (Note: the kid brother nor the person he is the brother of is never identified in the dream).
By "party" what we meant was go to a restaurant to hang out, but the all-night diner we chose in the area was very darkly lit, with a disco ball and loud music. No matter! Logan, Racyhel, Annoying Kid Wes, Heath, and I grabbed a booth, one that faced a window. We talked all night and much of the morning-- at some point Raychel went home to write a speech for an "Impersonate Drew Edmondson" contest (yes, Oklahoma's Attorney General). We were still hanging out when she got back at 9am in the morning. While she had indeed written the speech, she winged it when she got to the podium and won!
I don't remember much of what we talked about. A lot of it was catching up after we'd gradually drifted away from him (the older brother), and how Raychel knew him since she wasn't from the area. I'd met Raychel in college and didn't know she also knew this guy pretty well from one of her various pass-times. There was also a round of trivia put on by the diner at some point, and I remember my parents playing before leaving. At some point we had a footie war under the table, with people competing to see how many different feet they could keep "in the pot" at once.
Around 10am I stumbled home. Jay was still asleep, as was the rest of my family. Jay and I were supposed to head back around 3pm that day. I decided to get the dirty clothes packed before I took a nap, and that's when I started figuring out this wasn't quite right. I had brought my four white/striped button-down work shirts, my red polo shirt, a pair of khakis (that often broadcast to the world the cut of my underwear so I hardly wear them, normally), my pocket-less (but cute!) pink pinstriped pants, and one pair of jeans. Only one casual outfit! Also, I noticed that my room was now very well lit from four big windows, with hardwood floors and walls of crisp white. My closet was also empty, save what I put in it when we arrived. I knew that wasn't quite right.
I slept until noon. Everybody else was still asleep so I decided to take a shower. My hair was way worse that it normally is upon waking up, and the bathroom was done in greens instead of blues. Again, something didn't feel right, but I took a shower. After blow-drying my hair (a dream luxury, I'd never do that to my hair in real life) I took another little cat-nap next to Jay. I'd sleep a tiny bit longer, maybe, before we left.
When I woke up in reality (I hope) this morning I didn't question how I was back here. I knew, though, that I had some great pictures of everybody and that I wanted to put them up on Facebook. So! Here I sit, next to a camera with no pictures, having been duped by a dream.
I had a dream that Chris VanD (some of you know who he is) beat me up in the grocery store. It was so vivid, I could feel my sore, bruised, swollen face.
I think my anxiety about freshman college kids seeing my crap Spanish thesis and intellectually beating me up has manifested itself in my dreams as Chris VanD (who perhaps today is quite muscular, but when he was younger was not) beating me up.