Monday, January 22, 2007

Hello there my lovelies,

I kept busy over the weekend. One of the things I did was practice my routine for Rakkasah ( I can never spell it right). Anyways, I have a list of things to do to prepare. One of the things I needed to do first was add a strap to my sword cover so that I could sling it over my shoulder. In my routine I would like to dance with a veil first and then drop the veil and remove the sword from my back and dance with it. It's easier said than done, and then there were the logistics of it that needed to be worked out. But in the end the mission was accomplished. My friend did a wonderful job. I pulled her weeds and she helped me with my sword. It's a simple procedure, but it is so hard to find someone that would be able to help me like she did. I was very grateful.

Now I just need to edit the long songs that I have. My routine is has to be under 7 minutes, so now I need to find someone that can burn a CD with a shorter version of the song.

Today sucks because I was supposed to practice my routine and do yoga after. That didn't happen because I am sick in bed. I nearly fell asleep at work today. I barely made it through, and walking up the stairs was torture. This sucks. I really don't enjoy this, and I want to get better ASAP.

Anyway, I shall end this here.

Ciao.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My First Troupe

 

Hello there my lovelies,

I found this picture on my friend's MySpace profile. I am on the very far right. I think this was taken in early 2003. I was just starting out with dance classes. I didn't intend to join a troupe, but I ended up doing so because I desperately wanted to improve and get exposure. Everyone else there was performing too, so I didn't want to feel left out. I was a baby back then, and looking back I really improved my moves. I keep thinking that I have such a long way to go that sometimes I forget to look back and remember how much I have improved over time.

We were called Jewels of the Oasis. My best friend is on the very far left, but she and I didn't become best friends until a couple of years later. While this troupe lasted I formed a strong bond with these women. I lost touch with a couple and wish I knew where they were.

Troupes don't really last that long. And if they do, they are few and far in between. Last year I was part of my second troupe, Jewel of Opar, but now I am not fully involved anymore. Only when they need a sword dancer. At the time, there were 18 of us girls and it got to be too much. There was also some cattiness and bossiness involved. Now there are only 4 or 5 of us left and things are much nicer.

I look back on the memories of my first troupe fondly.

 

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wallstreet

Hello there my lovelies,

You know what my favorite movie is ? I really love Wallstreet. It was made in the mid 1980s, and of course the technology is way outdated. However, the lessons to be learned will never go out of date.

My professor in my Strategic Management course had us watch it. Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen did a great job together. I love the movie because it is very realistic, and everything said is pretty much true.

In playing the stock market, I feel like Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) was right. Most people that play by the rules really end up "throwing darts at the Wallstreet Journal." I believe in order to make a huge killing like he did, one would have to break the insider trading rules. If you ask me, I think that most people playing the stock market indulge in a little inside information to some extent. Don't get me wrong. I think that there are honest people that follow the rules, and some may make a killing. But not the majority.

I love how GG also quoted " The Art of War" throughout the movie. "Every battle is won before it is ever fought" rings so true.

But the greatest part of the movie is how Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) discovers himself in the end. After he found out Gordon Gecko lied to him and was arrested for breaking the Inside Information Sanctions Act, he realized that he's just Bud Fox. He realized that he sold out for money, and that money made him do things that he didn't really want to do.

The ending was realistic, and I really liked that. He lost all his money and was on his way to jail, but he got his dignity back.

 

 

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tips for becoming a bellydancer

Hello there my lovelies,

Have you ever tried bellydance ? Or have you ever wondered about it ? Here are a few of my suggestions and stuff to take into consideration if you are considering dancing.........

1.) Try to learn barefoot. Bellydance is a very feminine, natural dance and by dancing barefoot, you are "getting back to the basics". It is also easier to get the postures right.  Your feet may become rough, but they will be tough enough to handle turns. Many bellydancers are proud of their "rough feet".

2.) Bellydance is all about attitude. When you are dancing on the floor, make sure you think you are the hottest thing alive. Command peoples' attention with your eyes. I'm not saying you have to be a conceited person to be a good bellydancer. But you do need to think you're hot stuff while you dance. Save the modesty for when you get off the floor.

3.) Never compare yourself to another dancer. Most people have their own styles and interpretations of the dance.  The reason you don't dance like the other girl is because you are YOU and not the other girl. Know your style and what you're good at and embrace it. Which brings me to #4.

4.) You're teacher's method isn't the only right way to dance out there. There are many good teachers out there. But don't let them convince you that their dance is the only way to dance. There are many forms of bellydance, and it is open to each person's interpretation.

5.) In addition to breathing, your posture is the most important thing to maintain. If you are slouching or sticking your butt out, you will severely damage your back over time. Sticking your butt out is not sexy, it is dangerous and makes you look like you're trying too hard. A good teacher will always emphasize that you straighten your back and tuck in your pelvis at all times while you are dancing.

6.) Bellydance is a feminine dance where women are supposed to bond and support eachother. This isn't a competitive sport, and it is never okay to be catty. Women are never too overweight, old or clumsy to dance. Ever.

7.) If you really want to get into bellydance and are serious about it, take up yoga. The flexibilty, postures and breathing lessons you learn will be very valuable when you dance.

8.) If you want to buy a costume, make sure you do your homework and shop around. In my experience, I got the best deals when my dance teachers or classmates made my costumes for me. If you shop at festivals or dance shops, you are really going to shell out a lot of money. Another suggestion would be Ebay. I've seen a lot of good deals there.

9.) If you want to be good, you have to be patient AND practice often. If you get frustrated you won't get the moves right. When I started out with the sword, I couldn't even balance it on my head and get down to the floor. Now I can do a lot more.

10.) This is a journey, not a race. You're not in a hurry to get anywhere or become perfect. Your happiest moments will be "along the way". You'll experience joy when you finally get the moves right, put on a new costume for the first time, perform in public, form close relationships with other women, ect.....

11.) Chances are your biggest fans will be women, not men. And I prefer it that way. I would rather have a woman that watches in amazement and tells me that she wishes she could dance like me, rather than a man telling me I look beautiful in my costume.

12.) Bellydance now has become very Americanized and open to interpretation. People nowadays dance in glitzy, glamourous costumes and sometimes in a manner that is too seductive. Bellydance back in the day was done between women in closed quarters for eachother, and also to help with childbirth. Plus, women were dressed from head to toe. Women that danced at weddings were hired( not part of the family) and were there to help the bride and groom get in the mood for their wedding night.

13.) The funny thing is, that most of the teachers and performers I see aren't Middle Eastern. Yes there are some out there, not many. When I go to festivals I see a mixture of Latin, White and Asian women. When I go to a hookah lounge or a party that is packed with Middle Eastern women, they can do the moves naturally. It's in their blood, without any lessons.

Okay, that's all I have for now.

 

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ice Skating under the Palms

Hello there my lovelies,

Last night I went out with my friend and we went ice skating. I love ice skating !! Right now there is an ice rink in the middle of downtown San Jose under the palm trees. Plus there is music playing while you skate. It was a lot of fun.

I haven't been ice skating in about three years. Back in college I bought a very nice pair of ice skates to take lessons. They are competition-grade figure skates. Looking back, I don't know why I spent all that money on them. It's not like I'm gonna compete in the Olympics. Nevertheless, I love the white, leather boots with the big, shiny steel blades. It sure beats using those ugly, brown rentals they give you. Rentals can really mess with your feet.

I am broke now, so it's nice to take out my figure skates and skate once in a while. It is one of my possessions that I wouldn't sell. 

Saturday, January 13, 2007

See a bellydancer in Action

Well hello there again my lovelies,

Last month I danced at a birthday party as a favor for my friend. It was the least I could do for her, especially since she let me use her studio in her house to practice all year long. Not only would she do that, but sometimes she would make me dinner or let me try on costumes.

I was one of the dancers. There were about 4 other women that danced alone as well as a troupe. Everyone there was so talented. It was a very nice evening.

The audience mainly consisted of older Persians. You know the saying, "Once you go Persian, there is no other version."

Anywho, here is the link to my pictures, since I have no clue how to transport the slideshow here.

http://photos.sharpcast.com/photos/user/ashahkarami/thumbnails?album=7_30070925449.sc

Enjoy !!

 

 

Friday, January 12, 2007

Me at my finest

Well hello there my lovelies,

Okay, so I have to say that I had someone I know take some very flattering pictures of me. If you click on the link, you can see for yourself. He wanted to show the world my inner beauty, and I just had to oblige. Here is the link. Enjoy !!

http://picasaweb.google.com/marklfarkl/Senorita

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Flowers

Hello there my lovelies,

Y'all know that I work as a receptionist at the front desk. Anyways, we get new flowers every Monday. I usually come in after they're delivered and I'm too caught up in what I'm doing to notice them.

Well yesterday I arrived early. It was a nice, sunny day outside and I was just relaxing for a moment before things got busy. And then the flower lady pulled up. She brought out the bouquet and spritzed the flowers to make them look pretty before she brought them in. She did it with a smile on her face and with care and brought them to my desk.

I felt like she was doing this all for me. And the boquet was gorgeous. Beautiful, thick lavender roses and big, yellow daisies. And they were fresh with little water droplets. I told that lady that she always delivers beautiful flowers and she smiled and told me to tell everyone to call her if they want flowers.

Those flowers put a smile on my face, and made my day. I've been staring at them all day.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Rakassah 2007

Well hello there my lovelies,

Yesterday I was on the phone from 9am till around 4pm redialing nonstop to try and secure a dance slot for Rakassah. After 7 hours of a busy signal, I FINALLY got through. For those of you that don't know, Rakassah is one of the biggest bellydance festivals of the year in the world. Vendors, teachers and dancers fly out for this event. If you're into bellydance you can find a lot of "in demand " teachers, musicians, as well as performers. If you want a costume, you have so many options. But be prepared to shell out a lot of dough. The costumes they sell run for about $700-800 a pop.

I went last year and did my sword routine with my troupe, Jewel of Opar. It was great. It was my first time performing in public with the sword, and people loved it. Unfortunately, I was supposed to do other routines with my troupe, but the staff told us at the last minute that they wouldn't allow us all on stage, so I was cut out of the other two dances. But I was okay with that because at least I was able to dance with the sword.

So, on March 16th at 8:34pm I will be performing as a soloist. I've never danced at a festival like this alone before. I will be dancing under my stage name, Amira (it means Princess in Arabic). I don't really know what I will be doing, except that it will be under 7 minutes, and hopefully it will involve my sword.

I am so happy that I was able to secure a dance spot. Now I shall let the hard work and practice begin !

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Amsterdam

Hello there my lovelies.........

I already wrote an entry, but I feel like writing again.

It's cold, and I am not in the mood to be doing anything. I don't feel like talking on the phone, nor going out. So, I am here caged up in my room.

And I am fantasizing. I really wish I could take a short trip. I would really like to visit Amsterdam. Really, really bad. I want to see: The Anne Frank House, The Van Gough Museum, the canal, the windmills, the tulips, the Sex Museum and the red light district. My parents read my journal, so they are probably freaking out about me wanting to walk through the Red Light District, haha.

If I had to chose only one place to visit in Amsterdam, it would be the Anne Frank House, hands down. I studied her in school, and read her book twice. While I was at Mathausen, I bought her book and read it on the train. I felt that I could identify with her as a young woman in so many ways.

I would also really like to go to Poland to see Auschwitz. I know that I went to Mathausen during the summer of 2005, (You can read about it in my entry), but I felt like that was only a small percentage of the horror. Auchwitz was the ultimate death factory, and it is a very important part of Holocaust history. My late grandfather's girlfriend and another family friend spent a couple of years there, and I would like to get a better understanding of what they went through. But most of all, you see why tolerance is so important, and what hate can do.

My mother's side of the family is Austrian, but they were Catholics. During the war they had to live in fear, but luckily no one was deported to the camps. Unfortunately many people here in the US are ignorant and automatically assume we were part of Hitler's plan. What's worse, is when I explain that my family was against Hitler and that they were forced to fight, most responses are "yeah, right." People here think it's funny to bring out the Hitler jokes or make Nazi gestures. It doesn't necessarily make my blood boil because I know they aren't accusing me of supporting the Holocaust, but it does get under my skin that people don't have a clue that they're being rude. Very rude.

My great grandparents on my father's side were Russian-Jewish immigrants and immigrated in the early 1900s to the United States to work. I wonder if they immigrated to escape religious persecution. They came through Ellis Island, and I want to visit that place so very badly. I started reading about it in middle school and it fascinated me. And that fascination still hasn't gone away.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm gonna go and look up cheap air fares. Ciao.

 

 

 

 

Well hello there my lovelies..........

So........... Y'all know that I have a new journal. I added people, but apparently people still can't read my entries. So now I think that I have to add people one by one.

So far I have been coming up with material every day for my entries. I also like to go back and add more to previous entries. Having two journals is kinda cool, if you ask me.

As you know, my grandpa died last year in April, so now my aunt is opening up his house and giving away all his posessions to us before she has an estate sale. My grandpa died at 92, so he had 92 years and I think four marraiges to accumulate his stuff. He lived in Long Beach, so a lot of my family went down to get furniture, dishes, books, art.

My grandpa was an artist and made a lot of sculptures, statues, some paintings and photos. I have a small bronze statue of a woman's body, and I adore it. It' too bad I can't make it down there. I can't take time off work, and I have no room in my house for furniture. My landlord wouldn't allow it. Oh well. My brother went, though and he's gonna bring me back some stuff. Apparently there was still so much stuff that there was a rule: If you say, "this is nice" you have to take it.

Anyway, I am done babbling for now. I'll write more later.

Ciao

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

One step at a time...........

Hello there my lovelies,

In my life, I try to make improvements. If I am not happy, I like to fix it so that I may be happy. Last year was stressful because I tried different things to change my life and I felt like I failed. But if I take a look closer, I really didn't. It's just that I can't expect things to happen for me overnight. And sometimes things may fall through for a reason.

1.) Last year around this time I decided that I wanted to move out into my own place where I could live my life the way I want to. Those of you who know me personally know exactly what I am talking about and how significant it is for me. I moved out of a cramped apartment with no privacy into my own private room in a nice neighborhood. One day I just woke up and made the change. I only looked at one place I found on Craig's List and that was it. I haven't looked back since.

2.) I realized  some of my passion in life. I love to travel, learn languages, work with immigrants, and I realized that I want to be a federal officer in immigrations. Either that or join the Peace Corps. Or a corporate job that allows international travel. I kinda knew this was what I wanted, but I was too scared to actually take the steps. I didn't believe in myself or think I have what it takes. Besides, what if I fail? Well, I got tired of making excuses, so I started researching the various positions and getting involved in volunteer work. I also took the TSA exam and the Border Patrol exam.

Unfortunately, I kinda did fail a little. I failed the TSA exam due to my eye sight, I failed the Border Patrol exam because I was too nervous, and I had to give up volunteering because it conflicted with my work schedule

However, this year I am going to try again. I may be getting better hours at work so that I may volunteer, I got lasik so that I may retake the TSA exam, and I studied harder so that I may retake the Border Patrol exam in April. I also joined a gym so that I can work on staying in shape for the fitness exam. Plus, now there are opportunities in Customs and Border Protection, so I would like to take the exsm for that as well.

3.) I was so frustrated with my job at Enterprise. I could not imagine being an Assistant Manager there. I just could not imagine getting excited over it. I was tired of the sales tactics I was taught, I was tired of getting walked on by my customers, and management constantly ass raping us. It took a long time to find another job. I looked all over, went to many interviews, and finally gave up. Until one summer day, one of my customers came in and suggested that I apply for the position I currently have. I was happy that my hard work finally paid off.

4.) I had never danced at any major bellydance festivals, and last year I put myself out there and performed for the first time with my troupe.

So......... this year I will build off last year.

1.) I will retake the Border Patrol Exam around April or May.

      I will apply to take the Customs and Border Protection exam in a couple of months.

     I am working on getting promoted at my current job. I am in the process of getting transferred to another department. In fact today was my first day handling issues on my own, and I think I did well. And if I get better hours, I can start volunteering again.

I hope to start applying for the Peace Corps by the end of this year. It depends on a lot of things, but I am crossing my fingers on this one.

2.) This year I would like to perform my solo routine that I designed at the major bellydance festivals. I would also like to buy another sturdy, professional dance costume.

I learned that in order for things to get better, I need to really put in the effort and be patient, meaning that sometimes I'm gonna make mistakes or not make the cut. But eventually things may start improving very slowly. I don't think everything will happen all at once. I think they will slowly happen and one day I will realize how far I've come along.

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I have Senoritis and I'm not even in school.

Well hello there my lovelies,

I feel so lazy. After work I just wanna come home and stay online for hours. I should be going to the gym, but I didn't. Plus I have no food in my fridge. Well, at least yoga classes should begin tommorow. I can't wait for that. I also can't wait for payday so that I can stock up on food and supplies.

I learned that my aunts and cousins from Austria will be visiting me in February. I am so excited about that, and I wonder what they would like to see. I would imagine that they would definitely like to see San Francisco. I hope they also choose Napa Valley. I spent my New Years weekend in San Francisco. I was playing the role of a tourist there and it was nice.

Tommorow will be an exciting day at work. I've been training lately for a new department, so tommorow will be the real test to see if I can run the show by myself. My boss is very cut and dry. I either have the skills or I don't and if I don't then I'm just going stay a receptionist. And I definitely don't want that. Promotion is the most important thing on my career path right now, especially at my age.

Anyway, I am gonna go for now. Ciao Ciao.

Monday, January 1, 2007

I have a new addition !!

Hello there my lovelies,

Okay, so I broke down and did it. I started a new journal, but it's private. I am in the process of building it up right now, so it may take a few days before it looks presentable. But you can read my first entries.

Basically y'all know I am single and bilingual :) So, therefore, I put myself out there in the dating world. And it's a rollercoaster ride. I will be writing the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, it's biased. It is MY point of view and opinions after all. It is private because I don't want to continue writing about my dating life here, and would rather keep it contained somewhere else. Plus, I want to be brutally honest and use whetever language I want.

I made this new journal for me as an additional outlet to express myself. I want to look back on these entries in the future and have a laugh. And I want to see if other single people can identify with me.

 This journal, "Senorita", which I've had for three years now is my baby and my priority. I will be writing about everything else here. I don't know if I'll be consistent with my new journal, but we'll see. I am not doing it for additional readers. But if you would like to be added as a reader, please let me know and I would be more than happy to add you. I do want readers, but only those that are really interested and sincere. Oh, and here is the link.

http://journals.aol.com/wallstreetsmart/oh-no-not-again.-i-knew-it....../

Happy 2007 !!

Hello there everyone,

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year. I love New Years. It feels like a brand new start. I wonder what's gonna happen this year.

I wrote a lot of entries about 2006. I complained a lot, but I failed to stress that a lot of good happened to me last year as well. Last year was the year of change and I went through a lot of things for the first time. It was a bittersweet year, and I look back on it with more good memories than bad.

I won't make a long list of resolutions. I will definitely not make a resolution to lose weight or go to the gym more often. That is something that I resolve to do for the rest of my life. I won't make it a short-term goal, and I think that's why many people fail at it.

To help myself be more active, I would like to dedicate more time to dance. There are other dance forms I would love to learn in addition to bellydance. For instance, I would love to learn the Charleston. I know it's from the Roaring 20s, but it makes me so happy. I don't know if I'll actually get around to taking lessons, but I will definitely keep on bellydancing.

I would also like to continue my journey with yoga. It has already helped me with my flexibility and breathing, which is so important in bellydance.

But my main goal for this year is paying down my debt. If I can do that, then I can follow my dream of world travel. I definitely haven't seen all the places I want to see, and I really want to improve my foreign language skills. I am not talking about a week long vacation in a couple of cities learning conversational phrases. I am talking about immersing myself deeply in another culture and fully learning the language for a year or two.

I couldn't imagine carrying on responsibilities such as a boyfriend, a marraige, a dog, a career or a house without having traveled completely unattached one more time, like I did in Barcelona. Yes, being alone in another country is very hard, but the payoff is huge. This is the perfect time to do it because I have no attachments except for a car and some posessions, which I could sell. The only thing holding me back is debt, which is a huge shame.

This year, I will also keep applying for jobs in the federal government and taking those exams. I don't care how many times I fail. I don't care how many rejection letters I get. I've already gotten a lot. I just have to keep on moving until something happens.

Anyway, I really hope 2007 is a happy year.