Country Drives

Okay so there’s this fund raising dinner for an African orphanage I’m going to and I waited till the last minute to ask a girl I have a crush on. There are these 3 sisters who live way up in the country and we are all crazy about them. All the guys go nuts over these girls. Any way I waited to the last minute to ask and I asked the oldest one (Let’s call her B) to be my date and she said she would have gone with me if I asked sooner because now she’s going with her female friend Dianna.

So I asked her younger sister (Let’s call her R) and she said yes. Now I just want to take a moment to mention, these 3 sisters are absolutely crazy-beautiful but most importantly, they are wonderful Christian ladies which is hard to find these days.

Saturday I worked in the morning and then in the evening I got ready and I picked up Kendra (when I have a car, it’s usually full of people that I drive around everywhere). We headed over to the banquet hall. Remember last year? It wasn’t easy to get there, I took the bus for about 2 hours then I walked a very long way, my feet were really tired after. This year was easier.

I’m not really a social person in general, I don’t know why. I think I used to be at one point when I was younger. My mom tells me I also used to be an avid break dancer. LOL. How times change. My date, R, and her friend Natasha showed up shortly after me. I purchased an entire table so I could have B to myself for the night but when that fell through I told R to bring a female friend.

It was my lucky night because we had so many people in attendance that we had to squish tables closer to each other. Guess who I was sitting back to back with? R’s older sister B! If you’ve read my December 2006 entry then you know I had about $1,000,000 cash on my coffee table when I was 17 years old and it felt good to me. But sitting next to these super gorgeous ladies made me feel a whole lot better. I don’t know how the heck their parents made 3 gorgeous daughters, but may the Lord bless them. Every time I see them together I think “Hot damn!”.

We had some guest speakers and food and overpriced drinks. For some reason, even though I paid for my own table, other people were placed at it. I guess it doesn’t matter, it’s all for charity. So also at our table was Moses and his wife who are pastoring a new church. Another lady and her 13 year old daughter who did a contemporary styled dance for us, it was really good! R told me about her job and a bit about her life in the country. She currently works at an Inn, her friend Natasha is currently in college.

Around 9pm the dancing started in one room while the cleaning started in another. I’m not a dancer by any measure anymore, but I do enjoy watching people dance, maybe I’ll learn a thing or two. I gave a flower E, the youngest of the 3 sisters who was working at the banquet that night and I asked her to make sure that R, B and Natasha each get a flower.

It took about 6 of us to clean up the place, we finished around 12:30am or later.

The next day I did my chores as is my custom, and around 7pm I left for the country, heading to B+R+E’s house. B was holding a farewell party for Johnny which is a very sad thing for me.

The beautiful old farm house can be considered an hour up into the country. I love country drives so it was fun getting there.

I pulled up around 8:15pm and greeted the remaining crowd. I walked around looking at the beautiful photos on the wall and the wonderful trinkets decorating the old and beautiful house. B’s father gave me a tour of the inner workings of the house, showing me some of the things he’d renovated over the years. I played with their dog tucker. I thought about the cozy winters there and the balmy summer evenings they spent together. Long quiet prayer walks looking up into the sky, is what I’d do. They probably see millions of stars at night.

A father, a mother, happily married, 3 children, a house up in the country, each family member serving the Lord in one way or another – if I had the whole world I would trade it for this.

B sat beside me on a sofa while tucker and I had a staring contest. After I helped them tidy up a bit and B said I could follow her home since she recently moved into the city for school. I had Kendra in the car as usual, chatting away and I was trying to give her hints to just be quiet and enjoy the beautiful ride home so that I could enjoy it to. This will also be the last time I see Johnny and will also put me in a slight transition also.

$1 Million Cash On My Coffee Table But I Rather Have Jesus

Overall, I didn’t make a profit this year. One business made money but the other lost, one investment went up and the other went down. When everything is all said and done, I lost money. I won’t know how much until an accountant preps my books but I’m sure it’s at least 5 figures. I worked like a dog. I worked all day. I took only a few days off. I pushed and pushed but it just seems like things didn’t work out. I’m exhausted.

Some of my notable 2006 expenses:
– $4,054 food
– $3,259 travel
– $3,086 banking
– $5,078 phone

Add that all up, multiply by 10 and I gave slightly more than that to outreach, evangelism, missions and new churches this year. Unfortunately I didn’t save anything, and I have a bad feeling about that.

So lets end this on a super happy note.

As I started driving out to Guelph for Dana’s wedding, it dawned on me again how fast life flies by. I met Dana online in 2002. We’ve become the best of online friends since then and met in real life in 2006. We only spent a little bit of time together in person, but hundreds of hours chatting online.

Dana’s dad and mom are pastors and missionaries. They’ve been all over the world saving lives. Their family and friends are missionaries as well. This kind of thing means the world to me. Dana grew up on the mission field and it’s molded who she is today.

The long drive to her city was a bit tiring for me, and I’ve done the drive many times to visit my sister at school. When I got to the church my jaw dropped, partially because from the outside it looked like it was sinking into the ground, partially because it looked like it was 1,000 years old. It was covered in beautiful wood and stone.

I met J for the very first time but I heard about him from Dana a lot. J’s family are also missionaries and J has been all over, especially Indonesia where he tells me his hobbies included swinging from vines in the jungle like Tarzan. I setup my camcorder and camera equipment and recorded the short and beautiful wedding ceremony. After, I gave Dana and J their hugs and went about my life for a few hours while the professional photographer took photos.

The reception was in a beautiful updated community centre. When I got to the reception we did more videotaping, we ate the most delicious foods from all over the world (seems like almost everyone was a missionary so they knew about all the different kinds of foods from all the different cultures). It wasn’t catered, people from all over the world cooked food. I had some delicious basmati rice with red curry. Most of the people there were white but collectively they had done church ministry work everywhere worldwide. The food was beyond amazing. The fact that a white person made curry better than brown people made me think.

I walked around and talked to men and women, children and adults, young and old. Many people were simply on break from a 2 year mission trip. Some were heading back to the airport in a few days to start a new mission trip or continue one. One young man told me he won’t be going into missions. “I’m going into business, someone has to stay here and pay for these missionaries to go do what they do, someone has to provide the money, it doesn’t grow on trees you know.” hahahaha! A man after my own heart. He was currently in business school and everyone in his family were full time missionaries. I had a good conversation with him. I talked to teen girls who weren’t into the latest pop music or celebrities but instead talked endlessly about 3rd world villages being transformed by the salvation message of Jesus. Can we trade some of these teens with our spoiled brat teens?

After the reception was over, I helped pack away the reception hall as is my custom, and to my shock all of the young people helped as well – without being asked. They were picking up and packing the folding tables themselves and doing it more efficiently than me. I was amazed and remembered again that missionaries have a lot to teach us. These kids aren’t concerned with what they can get for Christmas, but what they can give. I work with teens everyday and I’ve been trying and trying to teach them these values.

I said my farewells to everyone after it started getting late and I drove home that night in amazement of God. Even right now as I type this, I’m just floored. All those missionaries, in one room at the same time. If we could get them to stay in one city of Canada for 2 years they would transform the city. It’s one reason I’m happy to go overboard funding missions work.

On a silly note, while at the reception I was also honored to be the only colored person there. Everyone was white except for me. That is until 4 of Dana’s friends from school showed up late who were brown and black. After everything was finished I sat down with them and we all laughed about how cool it is to be a minority sometimes, especially when everyone else is so nice.

You know what, I can’t stop talking or thinking about this. I met over 100 amazing missionaries, yes I counted over 100 and talked to almost every one of them. I walked around the room shaking peoples hands and introducing myself. Dana’s whole family are missionaries for life and so are J’s. People of all ages, all educations, all kinds of skill sets, who have collectively been to almost every country in the world representing Jesus. Countries I’ve never even heard of! It was one of the most amazing experience for me to be in their presence.

Let me explain this better:

I was 17 years old. Summer. It was approaching evening. I had a home office packed with regular customers. The doorbell rang. 2 large black men came inside. They didn’t say a word. Both were carrying a Price Chopper grocery bag in each hand. 4 bags in total. They emptied the bags in front of me, on my fake wood coffee table.

$100 and $50 bills, Canadian, American and Euro currency. I stacked that money into separate piles of $30,000 each. It was so much I had to call my friend Steve to help. Steve was in the other room (my home office) dealing with some of our clients. When he saw the pile of money he was literally speechless. I mean literally. I thought he was going to faint. He stuttered a few words and then started counting. Steve’s been my buddy since grade 3.

We made over 30 piles, and counted almost $1 Million in cash. We sat there, looking at the money like it was a super hot girl. After we finished doing that, we packed the money neatly in a suitcase and rolled it over to the bank. The lady at the bank snapped at me saying “this line is for business only.” When we opened the suitcase a bit to show her, her mouth opened up so big I thought I could fit my head inside. Because of the sum of money some paperwork had to be done to make sure everything was in order, then we deposited the money just like we were depositing a paycheck for $400. Most of the money was then wired to Germany. When I got back home I logged into my dial up internet access, using my Cyrix 686 with 32mb of RAM and sent an email to a German company: “Hi, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Asif Zamir, and I’ve just wired you $XXX,XXX.XX Please send the shipping container(s) to this shipping port and address…”

I should take a moment to mention the following:
– the whole thing was completely legitimate and fully legal
– nothing illegal was going on
– i never have that kind of cash in my home
– the cash wasn’t mine
– the shipping containers were filled with food-commodities going to a developing country to be sold at retail.
– cash was being used because the business owners involved were used to dealing with only cash. Later on they switched to more updated payment methods.
– it only sounds very shady when I talk about it

Needless to say, that was an interesting day for me, a 17 year old boy. But this day, this wedding of my great friend Dana and the reception where I met and talked to and prayed with 100 missionaries, and having some of them pray over me – and hearing about hundreds of thousands of souls being won for Jesus, about communities being changed and lives being completely healed, about the expansion of the faith and hundreds of new church plants doing well – this is truly more amazing to me than all the money in the world.

It could happen to you to, just kidding it could only happen to me

On Sunday November 5th Eggbert called to ask if I she could come with me to London, I was going to go there to have church and pickup Mason after. So I picked her up and we got lost in Oakville of all places. We talked the entire way there and I’m impressed that she’s so smart.

Anyway we got to church, and that’s when some comedy happened. Mason was sitting beside a girl he’s known for 2 years. Turns out, I met this same girl online, 2 months ago. I don’t know what ran through her mind when she saw me, maybe that I was stalking her? Either way, she wasn’t happy to see me. Mason introduced us (not knowing that we knew each other) but she pretended she didn’t know me. After service she told Eggbert that she knew me and was hoping I didn’t recognize her, Eggbert then told Mason, Mason then told me. We all laughed in the parking lot of the church and then got ourselves together, we decided to see how long we could go along with this bizarre girls plan.

It was also her birthday, so Mason, trying to hold back a smile, says “Asif will take us all to East Side Marios for your birthday! During dinner at East Sides this girl was talking to me as if she honestly didn’t know me nor did she know I knew she was pretending to not know me. Mason egged her on by asking her very obvious questions, “Tell Asif about this, tell asif about that” of which I already knew the answers to because she told me online. When she left to use the restroom the 3 of us almost died laughing. When we dropped her home, we laughed all the way home. Something like this would only happen to us. The whole night, she pretended she didn’t know me. And so I in turn pretend I didn’t know her.

Last Wednesday I met Mason, Amy, Margarita and Cassie at Denny’s after church. We chatted about heavy theological topics, and then we drove to Margarita’s house. Then we drove Cassie home. Then I drove Mason home while having a very deep and personal conversation with him about Christian life and persecution etc. He says he’s never been persecuted for his faith. And I told him that if that’s true, he’s going to become a weakling one day.

On Friday the 10th, a very bad day for me, I left at 430pm to get to the GED testing place downtown to re-write the writing portion of the exam which I failed. Mason took the train up to meet me there. He waited in the lobby while I took the test for about 1 hour. I wrote about yogurt because I couldn’t think of what to write about. Last time I wrote about giving my life to Jesus and I failed, I figured the health benefits of yogurt couldn’t be disagreed with by whoever would grade the paper. Mason and I ate sausages after, and then headed home. When in Oakville we had another heavy theological debate with Margarita on speakerphone and then watched the Borat movie which was hillarious.

Saturday and Sunday I basically vegged out on my sofa. I did some light chores and some light work. It’s very rare for me to have 2 days off in a row. It’s rare for me to have a day off at all. I wish that I had done better this year so I could be deeply immersed in the things of God instead of all these failing business projects. Is anything going to succeed this year? Nothing yet!

Toronto Auto Show 2006

This is from Dana regarding the Toronto Auto show of 2006 which I finally went to. I typically plan these things month’s in advanced and then cancel at the last minute, but this time I just upped and left.

The Toronto Auto Show, as you’ve probably already heard, was a blast. (Dana wrote most of this part but I’ve taken out some names because I didn’t ask if I could use them).

I was joined by my cousins, and our friend Jay from church. Our party of five left town around 4pm so we knew we’d be arriving in Toronto during rush hour, but our spirits weren’t dampened at all. The five of us took Becky’s beautiful new Civic for its first road trip, and what better way to celebrate than by taking it to a car show!

I was really looking forward to meeting my friend, Asif, for the first time. Asif and I have known each other for three and a half years but only in a virtual context, since we originally met online. We’ve been there for each other chatting through the good times and supporting each other through the roughest times as well. Until the car show, however, we had never met in person so naturally this was going to be huge!! :)

We had also planned to meet Niagara P at the show. The poor guy, he took the GoTrain into town and walked several blocks in the wrong direction due to some misinformation from a T.O. local. He arrived at the SkyDome irked and somewhat tired. So shortly after meeting up with P at the Suzuki section (I specifically requested Suzuki as a meeting place – gotta start off right!!) he accompanied Beck, J, Ja, and Jay to the nearby Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) north building to find some reasonably priced food, while I returned to Suzuki to meet Asif.

Meeting him was SO cool!! We hit it off quite naturally…I’ve met a number of internet friends in person over the years, and I must say that meeting Asif felt the most natural. We happily conversed as we made our way through a long tunnel from the SkyDome to the MTCC to meet the others. I found Asif’s perspective on the first half of the evening quite funny, actually. Here it is, posted with his permission – naturally!

In a nutshell: It’s our first meeting and the first chunk was walking through these long tunnels and then this empty concrete tunnel then standing beside a car engine for like 45 minutes. [At which point in the conversation I made a comment that 45 minutes sounded a bit long, to which Asif responded]: Okay maybe it was at least 30 minutes but you should still call it the 45 minute story.

You got it, Asif! ;) He continued: If I had a public blog I would write about how you are much more fantastic in person and super cute!!! My favorite time was when we were walking through those concrete tunnels in the skydome – you know those ramps. I could make a whole movie right there!! I can do a comedy about people who are having adventures while trying to find their friends at the auto show.

Asif was actually referring to what happened when we reached the MTCC and met with Becky, John, Ja and Jay. We were waiting for P in the Ford section, beside that engine Asif was talking about. (I’m embarassed to admit we chose that as a meeting place; sorry to you Ford fans out there…). Anyway, after we’d had enough waiting we decided to go find him. The last we’d heard P was “drooling” in the Mazda section, so when we finally went to get him he was gone. Thank goodness Asif was there, who proposed that we split up to look for him. Asif had never met P before, but thanks to my trusty digital camera I showed him a picture from earlier that evening, and thus began our search through the sizable MTCC building. Finally, just as someone was trying to sell Asif a credit card in the Lamborghini section, Asif found P and promptly called me with the joyous news!

Little did I know our adventure would spark an idea in Asif’s sharp, entrepreneurial mind: Start an adventure game based on the events of that night!! People [will] pay money to re-live our fun adventures at the Auto Show. There will be actors and staged adventures they will have to go through. We would charge them $1000 for a 3 hour evening. Per person. (Asif: Okay okay, the pricing needs work) [We’d include] scavenger hunts [such as] finding Niagara P because he has some kind of clue about something important. Plus at the same time they have to run from possible fake zombies. Michael Douglas did a movie about it and in the movie he pays $1,000,000 for like a one week fantasy vacation [referring to the movie, “The Game”].

Part three: Soon after finding P, Asif left for home and the rest of us continued taking in the show – we checked out all kinds of cars, we laughed, we hung out, we relaxed. Ja drove us home and entertained everyone along the way. He’s a driving instructor, so he had lots of stories to tell! Unfortunately I was so exhausted that I slept for most of the trip home, but I periodically woke up to the group laughing at some joke of his… I was too tired to catch his jokes, but I smiled anyway. It was such an awesome night! – End

Okay back to me (Asif Zamir) Ha ha! What a great time I had. I picked up Freddy around 5:30 and we left for downtown. Parking was difficult to find but we found some in a hotel down the street. Anyway we took the free shuttle to the dome, paid our $20 admission fee’s and headed inside with 0 (zero) wait time. What was hillarious to me was the people who paid $18 on the internet for convenience ended up in an overcrowded slow moving lineup to redeem their tickets. I heard one guy complain that he was waiting in line for over 35 minutes. All to save $2! What’s wrong with these people? I would glady pay triple to bypass a line anyday. Anyway I ended up spending most of the time looking for Dana and then standing by this 750 horsepower Ford engine. I really didn’t get to look at many cars. Doh! It was super fun and I hope to do it again.

God Bless America!

I woke up in the morning, ate breakfast and headed straight to work. There is always too much to do. In fact I had to switch my “to do” list from small note paper to large note paper.

I did my emails, my phone calls, paperwork, computer work, research and errands (banking, post office etc.) I find that sitting in heavy traffic wastes about 2 hrs a day of my time.

Around 3pm I was finished working. Way behind schedule, though satisfied that I did a good amount of work for the day. Lingering in the back of my head is the thought “I wish I had done even more this week.”

I packed my clothes into my new suitcase which at the time of purchase was super cute, however way to small. I unplugged my water fountain and was on my way.

By 4:30pm I was on the road. Headed down the 401 toward Mason. I made a detour in London to finally meet my 83 year old pen pal of 8 years, Daphne. We’ve been snail mailing regularly since the 90’s and she’s so fun to talk to. We exchanged photos and did a few phone conversations here and there. What does a mid 20’s brown man and a mid 80s white lady have in common? Thanks to Jesus we have tons in common. At her apartment we ate cookies and drank instant coffee while chatting about all sorts of great adventures from her past, and my future plans. Daphne is amazing, she showed me her binders of missions work, with over 7,000 (yes seven thousand) total pages of adventures for God. My binder only has a few hundred pages. Over the years she’s saved all the letters I’ve sent her, and I’ve saved all of hers in my treasure box. She’s lived her entire life for God. Her husband died a few years ago and she no longer drives but she dreams about maybe going to Australia for one last mission trip. I prefer being friends with people like Daphne over people my age who only drink and go clubbing. Older people have a better perspective on life.

Around 7:30pm I left and picked up Mason who lives way out into the country. We were driving off when he asked if I’d like to go say goodbye to his mom and Eggbert.

Around 8pm Mason and I were on the road. He kept asking where we were staying, and along the way we would see “Holiday Inn” everywhere so I told him we would stay at Holiday Inn. I actually did think we were staying there because I thought that’s what I booked online.

Anyway, we got to the USA Michigan border around 9:30pm and they asked us to pull over while they searched our car. I was nervous because we weren’t allowed to be present while they searched our car and I was wondering what would happen if they simply stole our $500 in cash or planted something on us. I obviously watch too many movies about this stuff. It happens to others I’m sure. 95% of the people waiting for their car to be checked were non-white. Just saying.

Anyway, we were on our way about 30 minutes later and the border officials were perfectly nice. We toured through Michigan, and then a long drive through Ohio HWY I-80. Wow! It was fantastic. It was really really good. Nothing better than a long drive in the middle of nowhere, it really clears your mind. Since Mason moved we’ve been mostly chatting online, you’d think that we’d be chatting the whole way but for this long stretch of road there was complete silence as both of our lives are at turning points.

What was hilarious was that we stopped at a toll booth for a toll road, which was unexpected. I was worried that it would cost us about $150 in tolls because in Canada we have Highway 407 which is extremely expensive. Mason and I drove on it (407) for about 45 minutes and it cost about $40.00. And today we were to drive on this US toll road for about 3 hours! Well needless to say I was worried. Anyway I asked the lady in the booth approximately how much we might have to pay and she calculated for about a full minute with a calculator. I thought “Oh boy it’s going to be a lot”. Well anyway, she finally told us “It might be up to $2.30”. Oh we laughed and laughed. I think I may have even said out loud “God bless America”.

We stopped at a truck stop to get some food because we wanted to make our road trip official – but it was really nasty in there. We couldn’t stand it so we left, but before I did, I purchased a lotto ticket from a vending machine, which is something we can’t do in Canada (that I know of). I won $2 on a $1 ticket however they wouldn’t let me cash it in because apparently the business hours were closed for cashing in lotto tickets in Ohio.

Anyway about 50km later we were at a familiar sight – McDonald’s. It was great. Vending machines of all sorts, a shoe buffer in the bathroom. We took some fancy Indiana catalogs from a display rack and then ordered our food. The worker took our order with pencil and paper, and then added it up that way. At first we thought we were in real Amish town but later found out the cash registers were down for the day. He looked Amish so I’m not sure what to believe. I also remember the lady in the tollbooth used a hand held calculator and didn’t have a modern register. She used a pen and paper also.

Anyway, as we sat down to eat, Mason showed me the Holiday Inn brochure he picked up and went on and on about how cool it was with the pool and hot tub and Internet and arcade etc.

Anyway we continued our drive and had to take a big detour through some Ohio city because of construction. It was fun but we were really behind schedule.

We pulled into long straight Indiana Amish roads about 2:30am. It was so peaceful and nice. About 3:30am we pulled into the Holiday Inn and the lady there explained that all of her reservations were checked in already. LOL. Anyway I was beginning to worry. We went right across the street to Ramada Inn and finally got some closure – we had a real reservation there! Ha!

At 4am I was in bed trying to sleep, but I couldn’t. Anyway around 6:30am my pal Margaret called, she was in the lobby with donuts (yuck, she didn’t realize that I can’t stand sugar in the morning). Well I told her we had barely slept a wink and we would meet up with her later. I felt extremely bad about this. See she was there because I promised her we would help her with her ministry that hands out coffee and donuts to people in the morning and saying nice things to them. It’s part of a church initiative. I can’t explain how badly I felt for not being able to do it. It wasn’t just the lack of sleep that night, but so far this year I haven’t been getting the sleep I need. I’m over working like crazy. I’ve gone overboard and it’s making me sloppy.

We slept for a few more hours and though still extremely exhausted from the long drive and not-so-good sleep, we woke up, showered and got ready for our day.

I walked through the hallway towards the lobby, and saw Margaret fidgeting with something in her jacket. (A hat she had knitted for me.) We exchanged hugs and talked for a few minutes before heading back to my room to meet Mason. Well, after that Margaret drove us to her house where we got the grand tour, and met with Emily: a friend who works in a factory by day and lives in a beautiful house she commissioned herself. Emily is full of spunk. I learned later on she even does such things as skydiving! Wow! I won’t even jump on a trampoline.

We met Anna, we met Sarah, a black girl who reminded me of Lauren. We then spent a few minutes deciding where to eat lunch while I took pictures of one of the super fat cats they owned.

They decided on a Chinese buffet. At the buffet we ate some really good food, had some good conversations about Indiana, Canada, road trips, street gangs, Jane and Finch and a whole page of other conversations. American people have heard of Jane and Finch which is really sad for Canada. After we ate one of the most sumptuous buffet meals ever in a really nice place, the bill came, and I figured once again that it would be just like Canada – about $45.00 each person. Wrong again, It was $6.00 per person including taxes and drink. I realized that some places in the world simply have a lower cost of living. Obviously if we were in New York City we’d be broke by now. But honestly, God bless America.

We paid and then left for our next destination: The Old Bag Factory. It was closed when we got there. Apparently everything closes early in Goshen during the weekends. So we went to a nearby store that was very interesting. This store had products from all over the world, but paid the creators fair prices for their work. The store was non profit and was run by volunteers.

Anyway after spending a good hour there I was really bored (not to mention exhausted). We went to a Christian coffee house to meet Trea and her baby, Gav. I had a strawberry smoothie while we all chatted, for about an hour or more. It was so nice to meet all of these people especially since I had heard so much about them over the months. Also, a christian coffee house – only in America. This kind of store wouldn’t survive 1 year in the Toronto area, no way. Rights activists would have it shut down for one reason or another.

After all of this we headed over to Blockbuster to pickup some videos. It seems like Blockbuster in Indiana had way more of a selection that Blockbuster here in Canada. I’m not quite sure. Anyway, it took about another hour to get our videos because they had to sign me up with a new membership card because my Canadian card wasn’t valid here. We then went to a large grocery store to get snacks, another errand that took about an hour. I wanted to get some fresh cut fruit however Mason wanted some junk food. Well they had had a huge selection because they had 1 isle dedicated to sugary drinks, another isle dedicated to chips and another isle dedicated to candies. Massive 3lb bags of candies even! Is there a health crisis in America yet? Oh yes and I shouldn’t forget, they have 3ltr bottles of soda here compared to our 2lr bottles! Wow! And you can even purchase real liquor in the grocery store, something you can’t do in Canada that I know of. It’s just right there in the regular isles. Not that we purchased any.

Anyway after our amazement we left and went to the hotel, nobody else was going to be joining us because they all had previous plans. I was too tired to argue about it.

We watched the first movie called 11:14 (2003). An excellent dark comedy with many twists and turns. After we started a zombie movie which really sucked. Half way through that Sarah called us and invited us to Steak and Shake for a snack. I was almost too tired to go but I went anyway. I had a tuna melt, Margaret had cheese fries, Mason had cheese fries also (I think). Anyway we then met Sarah’s ex boyfriend who now does work for Comedy Central. We chatted for about another hour, and then Margaret drove us home. The steak and shake was packed. Groups of friends just eating and chatting. I like to eat and watch tv. Margarets group likes to do this thing where you pay for your meal and you pay for a strangers also, and if possible give them a note that says God loves you. So we did that, it was neat and I promised to do it more often.

My goal was to take about 100 photos during the trip, however as luck had it I took about 20 photos and only 5 came out nice.

Well when Mason and I got to the hotel, we finally had a chance to look around. We toured around to see the gigantic swimming pool, the well stocked arcade, and other amenities including bunny rabbit and bird-in-a-cage. Mason logged onto the hotels internet on his Palm Pilot so we could look up a good map to use for tomorrow’s driving home. He’s so into technology and I’m not really anymore. Not so much these days. Give me a good old paper map, a pad of paper and pen.

Around 11pm I eased into bed while watching “Unique Whips”. Unique Whips is about an auto customization company in New York called Unique Autosports. They do all kinds of car customizations. I try to watch that show every time it’s on now.

Sunday morning: We woke up around 8am. Still with a sleep deficit but at least it’s not that big anymore. We ate some toast in the breakfast room then I showered (by the way, awesome hotel for the price, unbeatable). Mason and I packed our things, tidied up the hotel room, and checked out.

We warmed up my gorgeous 1998 Mercury and it sputtered for a while, made me a bit nervous (it was cold out) and then as it warmed up it started to sound beautiful (for a car that is). You know the car didn’t give an ounce of trouble the whole trip, I was so glad. With my luck we should have gotten 5 flat tires. Margaret pulled up about 9:35am and we followed her on a 30 minute drive into the city for church. We pulled up to a large building and as we were walking in, I gave Margaret a Canadian loonie and toonie. For 15 months she didn’t believe that those were the real names so I was finally able to prove it to her.

It’s funny how something can be very real to one person and complete nonsense to someone else.

While coming into the church we were greeted with handshakes, coffee, donuts, a bulletin (which I might still have). Apparently visitors even receive a welcome package with a music cd. I was very impressed. Talk about VIP welcome. The worship was really good. One of the songs I couldn’t get out of my head went like this:

The highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God
The song is called Indescribable by Christ Tomlin

Now came time for communion. They got out a big cup filled with juice and a giant stick of bread. I’ve done communion hundreds of times but this was different. I leaned over to Margaret and asked “are we all going to drink out of that cup?”. She laughed and explained that everyone breaks off a piece of bread and then dips it into the cup. I was relieved. Margaret later told me she saw the look of fear on my face when I was asking her about it.

The pastor gave a fantastic sermon from the heart. I was impressed that nobody in this church of about 500 adults wore a suit. Mason was the fanciest dressed haha! The pastor talked about real Christianity vs. people who just say they are a Christian / Catholic. After the service we took a tour of the church while wishing it was my own home church. Mason said that he wants to move to Indiana just to go to church there. I agreed. A good church will do that. It makes people sell their homes and move. I wonder how many people moved because Jesus lived in a certain place. I bet a lot. The bible says that people came from all over the world just to meet King Solomon. How much more would they want to hear from the Lord Himself.

After church we all drove to Blimpies which was like a Subway Restaurant, (Mason now doing all of the driving). We met Jimmy and ate some subs. I had the tuna again. I know, I need to try new things. We listened to Mariah Carrey on the Blimpie stereo system. Afterward we went to Emily’s to finally see her custom made house I’ve been hearing about for the past 15 months. I got the grand tour and I was extra impressed. She had about an acre of property backing right onto the forest, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, hardwood and plush carpeting. Beautifully furnished with old woods. A modern home with old world charm. The backyard view was amazing. What impressed me the most was that this young American girl was such a go getter. She wasn’t concerned with finding a man, she just worked hard, built up her own house, her own land, her own furnishings. She follows God and nobody bosses her around.

Every road trip has to come to an end. I was sad because it was 1pm and time to leave if we were to stay on schedule. I took some more photographs, gave Margaret a hug, and then we left. Mason had an easy time driving through I-80, then I-69, a different route than which we came with. The fact that it took me 15 months to do this trip concerns me. During the drive home, I was sad, to tell you the truth. I wished my friends lived closer to me. Even Mason lives about 2 hours away now days. Worst than this, years before my friends and I would just drop everything on a whim to hang out, that’s not the case today. So many responsibilities, so much to do, so many conflicting schedules. Everyone has to check their calendar. Emergencies come up, some friends have children, others have cancer.

We got to the Canadian border around 6pm, however there was a massive traffic jam there so we didn’t pass through till about 7pm. Frustrating to just wait in traffic!

We stopped for gas and got some donuts / coffee which I figured I would need. I was fairly quiet along the ride home except for going on and on to Mason about how excellent the trip was. Our long drive there was awesome, meeting excellent people who I had been hearing about and the simple fun we had.

I dropped off Mason to his house around 8:30pm and left right away. Eggbert had really wanted me to stay for dinner, she tried and tried to convince me but I was too tired and I had work the next day.

On the way home I was mostly silent except for my praises to God. It was a special weekend for me. A much needed mini vacation and some spiritual therapy. I kept singing the verses of the new song I learned;

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God

I picked up some fast food and pulled into my house around 10:30pm. Exhausted but so refreshed spiritually.

How the story ends

When I was in grade 2 there was a girl who was different from the others, I think she had a scar on her face or something along those lines. Forgive me if I’m wrong about that part.

She would be made fun of often. Kids can be really nasty and they tend to work in groups.

I came to her rescue this one time and after that she stuck by me always. She would always walk closely behind me, trying not to be seen by me. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know she was there, following behind me quietly smiling. When I would turn around and see her, she would freeze as if that made her invisible, first trying to figure out if she was in trouble, then smiling with relief after I smiled back at her.

Well one day I overheard a group of the bigger boys (this school went up to grade 5 or 6) saying they would pull down her underwear during recess to humiliate her in front of everyone. This horrified me, but being the complete moron that I am, instead of telling the teacher, I told them that I would beat them all up – all 6 of them. One of these kids, named Ronald, might as well have been Andre the Giant or Goliath. Compared to me, he was a big giant. And I was a scrawny little guy that got random nose bleeds and still wet the bed. Worst than that was that my teachers were used to calling 911 because I would randomly faint during class. I was a sickly kid, malnourished and already got beaten up at home. One time I threw up during the national anthem. One time I fainted during a test. Needless to say I wasn’t known as a tough guy in grade 2, at least not yet. Anyway they took me up on my offer, and during lunch break I proceeded to fight 6 kids to defend this girl. The deal was, I would fight them, and they would leave her alone. If I didn’t fight them, they would pull down her underwear.

It was amazing. Oh, no I can’t say that I won in the sense that I beat them all up, because they kicked the crap out of me, even made me swallow sand and dirt. I took punches to the face, my hair pulled, kicks to my balls, scratches. There was blood and tears. I got body slammed several times.

But I did my fair share of damage as well. I fought each kid one by one and sometimes 2 at a time. The worst is when one would try to hold me down while another beats me. Each one of those kids went home with cuts and bruises because of me. The nurse had to tend to our wounds. We all had bruises that would take a few days to heal. Each parent made an inquiry as to what happened to their child, except my parents.

The fight caused such a stir at the school that all the teachers were called, and my super nice teacher, Mrs. Wright cleaned me up. She thought I was amazing, and because of that, I thought she was amazing.

To this very day I still think about, and pray for that girl. I don’t remember her name anymore. I sometimes think it could be Jennifer, but I can’t remember. I hope she’s okay and the Lord knows that I did everything I could for her.

The Bible describes Satan’s fall from heaven, his rise to power, his rule over the earth and his final demise on judgment day, when God binds up Satan and throws him into the lake of fire, with all of his demons and all of his human followers. The bible goes on to describe how all of God’s people live happily ever after in heaven for all eternity. Most biblical manuscripts end the bible with the word Amen.

No matter what, that’s how our story ends. Amen.

the roof is on fire

A good teacher is priceless. And I do believe that it takes a community to raise a child, especially these days where there aren’t many good parents left in Canada. In middle school I would visit my primary school teachers. In high school my friend Corey and I would visit our middle school teachers. In college I would visit my high school teachers. I’m still friends with some of them, and a lot of them are in the retirement stage. I fear for them though, because even though most of them are in a stage of retirement, the ones who are left might be fired for what is being called politically incorrect or intolerance. Back in my days teachers were in charge of the kids and allowed to teach and say whatever they wanted to say if it would raise up good men and women. For example our gym teacher Mr. K taught us about being responsible, my English teacher Mrs. Bell taught us to wait till we are married to have sex. Today she might be forced to hand out condoms. Today the kids are in charge and the teachers can only say what is politically correct, even if it’s wrong. And because of this I fear that many of Canada’s children will grow up to be wimps. I think the bully problem will get worst and based on what I see on the net, things are getting worst in society.

Anyway about 10 years ago Corey and I visited Mr. Morris and incredibly, not only did he still remember me but he still had an unfinished project of mine tucked away near his desk. He pulled it out from his files and asked me to finish it. I told him no lol but I was amazed that he had my unfinished homework.

He taught me several life lessons I still use to this day:

– Sometimes rules need to be broken. Middle school had a serious rule that only 1 person per class was allowed to go to the bathroom at a time. One day one of our classmates was moving away to Kingston Ontario and was crying, Mr. Morris let her go to the bathroom with a girlfriend. He said no at first, then said yes when he saw her crying.

– Get a different perspective on problems when you are stumped. He would do this thing where he would write a complicated problem on the chalk board and pretend he was solving it with us. He would pretend he didn’t know the answer, get up from his desk and go stand in a bizarre corner of the classroom. He’s say something like “I need to see this problem from a different angle.” I still do this to this day.

Now here’s one of the real reasons I really liked him: At that time in life, grade 8, I didn’t know anything about computers, I used to make fun of people who had them, “oh hi I’m Asif, I’m a genius, I have a computer, I can help you with your taxes.” is what I used to say to people who had computers. Many of my classmates had them though. Mr. Morris would ask me to fix computers and it got me out of class. I don’t know if he thought I knew about computers, because I didn’t, I rarely ever touched them at the time. It could have been some kind of lesson he was trying to teach me. But I would learn all about it because the more computers I could fix for the school, the more class time I could avoid. I ended up fixing just about every computer at that school, while getting full class credit.

He is on my list of favorite teachers. Of course today he can’t pull those kinds of stunts. Kids like me would be heavily medicated and given false disabilities. He would simply be fired for giving too much homework or for pushing kids too hard. Teachers are no longer in charge, it’s nut job parents and kids who are in charge, and if their children don’t want to do their homework, the parents just complain till the teacher gets fired. Get their children falsely diagnosed with some fake disability and over-medicated. I see parents all the time who complain that their child has ADHD, when really they are just bad parents and their child is spoiled rotten. Okay, obviously some of the kids have real disabilities, but every reasonable adult knows that most people fake it. Go ahead, ask your doctor.

The last day of Lancaster middle school was filled with action, one of the local dope smokers lit the school on fire, apparently starting with the massive stage curtains in the gym. Turns out that now many years later the school will undergo a massive renovation.

A few years later in high school when I was walking up Airport Road back to Malton, this same kid caught up with me for a chat. He lived in one of the newer, nicer houses and had a lot of toys. People told me he was basically a spoiled brat who was always on playtime. He ruined that last day of school for us, my backpack had some of my prized possessions inside at a time in life when I didn’t have very much at all. It was lost due to the fire.

Fast forward to when I was in high school, he was coming home from his probation meeting or something like that and I was coming home from job hunting. I considered pushing him off the sidewalk into traffic but during the long walk with him I thought it through. Too many witnesses first of all, but more than that, I felt sorry for him. He was a real loser. Today I hope and pray that he’s doing better.

Today I woke up, had some tea, read the bible, worshiped, spent time in prayer, then I worked to around 530pm, then did some errands. For dinner I had a salad and a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds. As a treat I have cotton candy. Now I’m typing up this journal and hopefully I’ll watch some tv tonight, go out for a prayer walk and be ready for bed around 11. Almost every day I’ve been doing a lot of biking riding all over the trans Canada trail and Malton with Mason and Eggbert. Sometimes we invite others along and it’s really fun. One time we went to Woodbine Centre after to get Chinese food and another time we went to Popeye’s at Albion Road to get biscuits. I like getting discount clothing from Albion Mall. They have track suits there for $8.

I have this box of precious memories, I call it my treasure chest. My grandma would usually throw out every good thing I had, so it was a struggle to keep certain things hidden within the furniture of my bedroom. I’ve amassed a small box with hundreds of little important trinkets that I like to look at. I’ve been keeping them in a secure location the last few years, I have them with me again. This month I’ve been looking through it, organizing it as best I can. There’s my stamp collection, stock certificate collection, old currency collection, fathers day cards to me. Photos, old video tape, there’s notes written to me by children that say “I love you Asif” or “Asif I wish you were my dad”, drawings, old letters, report cards that say “Asif can do better.” If those teachers would have spent a few nights at my house they would have given me straight A’s.

My neighbor across the hall does Tae Kwon Do. She seems to get locked out of her apartment often. On May 13 I invented a really good lemon chicken recipe. I own 2 pairs of shoes and I’m happy with that.

On May 29, Mason and I did our longest bike riding adventure so far. 7 hours in total, we rode from Malton to Harbor front in Toronto. We used the Trans Canada trail, riding through forests and so on, so it wasn’t a direct route. We didn’t ride for speed, but for enjoyment. When we got to harbor front we took a break, ate a hot dog from a street vendor, and then started the ride back. I saw chipmunks up close for the first time, and there was a shot my camera couldn’t get – we were riding through a forest, on a dirt path, something like you’d see in a movie. The sunlight pierced through the trees and it looked like beams of light shining through. We got back after dark. Talk about work out. Talk about fun.

Night time prayer time is my favorite prayer time

My morning time prayers are important and a foundation for my life. But sometimes they can be rushed, especially depending on my schedule. My night time prayers are usually my favorite. I spend a good hour at least and I’m not rushed or stressed because it’s the end of the day. I find that the better I pray, the better I sleep and the better I wake up. The better I live.

I realized that in recent years that I’ve been talking about regaining my fitness, and now realize that I’ve been trying to regain my youth. Specifically my youthful energy and vitality. I’m aging, and I confused it with being out of shape. It’s true that I’m out of shape but that’s not the real issue. I have wrinkles, droopy elbow skin, and thinning gray hair. There’s no going back from this, I’ll just learn to enjoy it. At the gym this dude said “Asif give me some tips, how did you get that chest?”. Somehow I dumbbell pressed my way to a ripped and larger than average chest muscles which I’ll enjoy while I can because they say that it’ll start to get saggy after a while and turn into man boobs.

My neighbor, a man, got ultra massive pec implants. I don’t know how he found a doctor to put in such big implants. And I get it, hitting the gym every day is hard and doesn’t always take us to our goals. But he’s got a normal thin / athletic frame and a terminator chest. He walks around town shirtless. Everyone just gawks because it looks so incredibly unrealistic, like a special effect.

At the rate I’m going, I won’t finish my bachelors degree for years, lol, but at least I’m doing it debt free. My friends make fun of me but at least I’m doing it, and I’m paying as I go so I won’t have student loans. I was advised today that since I don’t have a high school diploma, (I dropped out around age 15 or 16) I’ll have go take a GED exam so I can then be granted my degree. Doh!

The last time I was in high school, the teachers were giving me money because my team was replacing their old computers for really really good new ones. I was wearing sneakers, bluejeans and a suit jacket with the label still on the cuff. A science teacher told me that had to be cut off. My English teacher, concerned about me dropping out asked me if I was earning at least $100,000 / year, which I was not. I did have a job offer on the table for $60,000 and it wouldn’t be long after and I would be offered a job of $80,000. It would be a good long while before I would see $100,000 / year. But I was happy.

Jesus Heals

I took a trip to Peterborough Ontario, I haven’t been here since like 1999 or 2000 and the last time I was here, I didn’t get to stop and enjoy as much as I wanted, but this time I did. Now when I got out of the van, of course the button on my jeans flew right off. It got sewn up right there in the parking lot while they were still on me which gave all the onlookers something to talk about before service.

We went to this church that had free delicious orange drink and donuts that you could eat before, during and after service. I have never seen this before in my life and I think it’s just the greatest thing. Also the sermon started with a Jim Carey video clip on a projector screen and I have never seen this kind of technology used in a church before, just old fashioned overhead projectors and not even free water. After there was a question and answer time. This is the most modern church I’ve ever seen.

Any way to my main story. Back in like grade 6 there was a beautiful girl name Maryanne. We called her psycho bitch because she used to beat us up, put caterpillars down our shirt and squish them. Every time we would see her, we would run away because of all her roughhousing. This was crazy because we (the boys) would roughhouse as well. I mean back then we would light things on fire and cause all kinds of mischief, but we couldn’t handle being beaten up by a beautiful girl.

I became a Christian at age 17, and I lost contact with Maryanne a few years prior, although I would hear about her once in a while because she dated some of my close friends.

When I was in college and doing an internship around age 19, I met her again at Tim Hortons. She was a cashier and just had a round of chemotherapy. She had cancer and had lost all her hair from the treatment. She was smiling at me while holding back tears. “I’ll never have children” she said. Without thinking (story of my life) I told her that Jesus would heal her, and tried to tell her as much as I could about my new found faith before I had to go (there were other customers in the line). I gave her my contact information.

I make promises to people all the time. Most of the time I come through, sometimes I don’t. When I tell people about Jesus though, I really boast. I boast big. And I had boasted big about Jesus to Maryanne in front of other people. When I got home I almost started to panic, because I realized I promised this girl that Jesus would come through for her and that one day she would have kids.

Fast forward to right now, several years later. I had just picked up a Medium pizza with Nathan and when we were walking outside of the mall in front of Price Chopper, I hear a scream “asif, asif!”. Maryanne ran up to me and before I had a chance to react, she jumped on me, arms and legs wrapped around me completely. I was surprised my spine didn’t collapse. All the weight lifting has been working out. Her hair is long and beautiful, in fact she’s more beautiful than I remember.

She went on to Nathan about how great of a man I am. (She and Nathan had never met prior). She really went on. And of course I’m not, but God is so great He came through for both me and Maryanne. I wish everyone who was in the Tim Hortons years prior could see. Both of us grew up in tough environments. Both of us came up from the wrong side of the tracks. Both of us have been healed by Jesus.

And yes, she now has a beautiful biological son. I write these journals so that I can one day read them again. But this story doesn’t require a journal entry. I’ll remember it for eternity.

I lied to peel children aid and so did everyone else

There’s a bad man we all know and put up with, and he beats his wife and children. Everyone knows it. They don’t know it because someone told them, they know it because they aren’t morons. His wife used to show up with black eyes and bruises, saying she ran into a door (do all women use this excuse?) and his children would sometimes let it slip that their dad beats them. To be clear, this was all in 2001, during very difficult times when much was going on all at once.

Back in 2001 before I moved to Ottawa I was asked in haste, after a long day of work to give a reference for this person, to save his life really, more so begged to give him a good reference. He promised he was a changed man, so I gave a quick “he’s not so bad, this whole thing has been blown out of proportion” type reference. This saved his sorry ass, and later I would find out that he was 10x worst than I thought.

Growing up, I myself fell through the cracks as did many of my friends. Daily punches, cuts on bruises all over. Bloody noses, bumps on my head were normal. Peel police would get to know me by name, and I would get to know some of them by name, since they were at my house so often.

Good teachers would often ask about cuts and bruises and I would make up excuses, and my friends who were in the same situation would trade war stories.

Girls always had it 100 times worst though, and their war stories were the worst. Being abused by their moms boyfriends while being videotaped or prostituted out by their crack head moms to strangers. It made me and my guy friends think that things weren’t really so bad for us after all. We got used to seeing social services and hearing and saying lies upon lies. You’d visit a friends house and social services would show up, or you’d visit my house and the police would show up. I wouldn’t even invite someone to my house until I knew what their home life was. If they had a good home life, they wouldn’t be invited to mine because they wouldn’t understand. Same with them, I couldn’t be invited to some peoples house until they knew what mine was like.

White people, black people, brown people, everyone had it rough in one way or another. In grade 7 I kept a photo of a picture perfect home in my pocket, looking at it to make me happy. One time in grade 7 I was planning on teaching this one bully a lesson as I was known to do, and my super duper awesome teacher Mrs. Prates told us all that we should be nice to him, a young thug, because his dad beats him, and we hazed her because we were all being beaten but he was the only wimp that let the teachers know. Mrs. Prates is one of my favorite teachers to this day, but this was all way over her head.

When I was 7 I slept with a heavy metal flashlight, by the time I was 11 I slept with a trusty switchblade. By the time I was 13 I had several weapons. One time my boss at Pickwicks Potatoes drove me home from Dr. Fleas Flea Market and there were 4 police cruisers at my house. It shocked the crap out of him, a middle aged Jew, but me, a 13 year old Muslim had a list of about 75 great excuses as to why they were there and I said my lie with a smile and went back to work the next weekend as if nothing happened. It was the only way to survive at the time.

About 2 years later I stopped smiling. My list of great excuses began to anger me, I was getting older and growing, but things were very much the same at home. One very early morning I woke up hearing the angry screamings of my mom and her boyfriend, and I figured I would save the police another trip to our house by taking care of the situation myself. I grabbed my trusty Louisville slugger, and kicked down her door swinging the bat at both of them, and I clearly threatened to kill them both. My exact words were something along the lines of “I’m going to kill you, and I’m going to kill you, if you don’t stop this crap and grow the f up.” Now for those of you who know me, you know I don’t use that kind of language under normal circumstance. There’s just something about family that brings out the crazy in everyone.

There’s a sort of freedom you gain when you threaten to kill someone and really mean it. And I’m not joking, I would have actually killed them both that warm summer morning, and lived happily ever after knowing I made the world a better place. To be fair, I now know that her life was much harder than mine.

Fast forward to today, we’ve all given our life to Jesus, my moms home is the place ALL my friends like to hang out. There’s peace, joy, food, laughter, fun stories (ask her about the time I ate my own poo) and just general goodwill. Shes known as the super cool mom and I’m known as the lucky son. She takes in everyone, all the teens in town and there’s always fun stories and joy to be had. Just a few nights ago she called me asking if I can help her out, she took out several teen girls and boys bowling or something like that, and there was some project they wanted to do that would really help them out but cost too much. The teens were super excited and I was really happy to be a part of it all. Only Jesus can spark these kinds of changes.

I heard in the news that churches are in decline in Canada because people no longer believe in God. This is a lie. This is a complete lie made up by liberal media and the liberal government. Churches are in decline in Canada because people do believe in God, and they are scared out of their mind that if they or their children go to church, people will find out what’s going on in their homes. An atheists worst nightmare is when they will one day face the God they’ve been pretending to not believe in. But we’re all going to have to face Him one day.

Broken wieners

When I was 15 I worked a construction job that was way outside of my skill set. I was a skinny weakling barely able to lift the tools we used on the job site. But I gave it my all and did a great job, however I was eventually fired for messing up an important project. If you ever go over to 255 Queen Street East in Brampton, you’ll see a building with various stores (as of the time of this writing). I used a machine called a Flaky Jake to pull up the old floors, I mixed the flooring solution for the new cement floors, and I helped to pour and level the new floors. On the outside, I held up the exterior wall material while another person attached it. At the factory in Etobicoke I built hundreds of the high quality wall materials. And I built (by hand) the crown molding that sits atop the exterior walls. Actually that’s why I got fired, I forgot to add sand into the mixture for the molding, and when the guy went to attach it, it crumbled. This happened on a Friday night and we all had to stay late and do it all over. It was for the best, I couldn’t pull my weight at this job consistently enough and this held everyone else back.

As far as I can remember this was about 12 hours per day, Monday through Friday and I was earning around $9 an hour which was a fortune to me at the time.

Any way during lunch at this job I would sit on the steps outside with my small cooler, eating my boiled eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, etc, and there was a hot dog vendor who worked nearby, who would talk to me when there was no lineup. Once in a while if I had enough money I would buy a hotdog but that was rare, because by this time in life most or all of my money would go into family expenses. He (the vendor) told me I should marry as soon as possible, because – as he said it, wieners don’t work forever, and if you wait till your old to get married then your wiener might not work by that time and you won’t have a happy marriage. He made it very clear to me that my own wiener will one day not work. He made this point every time I saw him. I’m not kidding! Now at the time I couldn’t imagine this ever happening since I was a teen and suffered the opposite problem.

Fast forward to today in 2002, close to Valentine Day I woke in a cold sweat thinking about this very early in the morning, and figured I need to get married soon just in case my wiener really does stop working one day. My friend Nathan and I listed the different girls at church I could marry and finally decided on one. It wasn’t easy because initially we had some differing opinions. I ordered the nicest bouquet of flowers I could afford and sent them off to her to break the ice. She teaches a children Sunday school class and we are both heavily involved in the lives of children and missions work so it should be a good match. And now to play the waiting game :)

And in other news, I’m watching a movie on video tape or dvd almost every day after work, this is a nice new thing for me, as usually I work until it’s time to sleep. What with all the children I don’t have a choice but to rest. Hopefully I can get some time to watch one of my favorites soon: Planet of the Apes.

I can do 300 to

Too much stress all at once. U have no clue what I mean. Hum. I was on my phone with my mom and she was telling me how the bank was closed. I said “yeah they arent open on Saturday” She said “Asif, its monday!” Yesterday I went to her house and she is fasting for like 21 days. Well, we were talking and I asked “what day is it, Thursday?” She said “can I beat you?” Oops. Today I forgot it was Wednesday. I walked over to Wendy’s to get some food. When I was in the line I got a huge hug. Melina. She asked if she can visit me so I told her next week. She is a very tall 9 year old, however shes wearing those shoes with the huge platforms to make her much taller than me. Her mom asked if she can visit me at my new place wherever it may be, and I said sure. Melina was about to cry when I told her that I may be moving away far to Ottawa. She asked why I cant just move close to where I am now, with a childlike, hopeful look on her adorable face.

Shes such a good kid. God bless me.

I’ve been using the internet for over a year now and I really enjoy it. I talk to missionaries all over the world even in remote areas. Before we would have to do snail mails or wait for them to get back.

I was thinking about the Old Testament warriors. One would be considered great if he could fight off 300 other warrior men. One by one. One after the other. Thats pretty freakin good! Is that maybe why God let them have more than one wife? After all, when I finished off 300 enemies, will one wife be enough for me when I go home? Don’t tell anyone I said all this.

Which girl do you think I love?

Lydia told my sis that I love her best friend. My sis told my mom. My mom told the church. Now everyone is snooping for pictures and information.

So I gave into the pressure somewhat – I handed over a couple dozen really good pics, that contain a lot of different girls in them. If you didn’t know anyone, you would never know who is who. In fact, I only sent the pics that were very evasive…no poses, no clues, you’d never guess. At the office everyone was looking at the pics and decided that the girl with the long blond slightly crimply hair…deep in the background was the one. To my amazement they were right. They were even planning out my wedding. A bit premature but amazing nonetheless.

Black and White

“Dragon Whips his Tail”

His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth… – Holy Bible, Revelation 12:4

Woke up. Lounged around. Found out that the wedding was at 1 instead of 2. I did a mad rush to shower and get to church on time. The ceremony was great. It was so nice to see my best friends S and R get married. After a very sweet and long courtship. They are just 2 lovebirds and it was nice seeing them take vows. Its so cool to see my Christian friends court. Because everything is so pure and sweet and without DRAMA. I remember the many times S said she ‘slept over’ at R’s and I’d say “WHAT??”. And she’d explain how she slept downstairs and R slept upstairs and PARENTS supervised.

After the ceremony I met a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while. I go my pics taken with the
bride and groom, my mom and sis. And a bunch of other people. My personal highlight of the day? I even got a kiss from a female friend I haven’t seen in a while, on the cheek of course, thanks L. What is it about a kiss from a beautiful girl, makes your whole day better :)

I took a taxi downtown Toronto. Anyway I go there right when the bus was about to leave at 9pm.
Halfway through the trip to Ottawa we stopped so people could get food and use restrooms.
I went into the restroom (the bus had a bathroom as well but I wouldn’t dare use it) and the stalls were filled, and so I figured I’d use a urinal for the second time in my life (other than when I was a kid
and used the kiddy urinals). The urinals were spaced to closely together, like 16 inches
apart, and this trucker guy to my right was looking over at me excessively. And he was not looking at my face!

Afterward I got a tuna sandwich and twix and fruit punch for the rest of the ride and arrived around 130am. Got up at 7am. It’s nice to wake up with gentle sunlight splashing on my face. Its harshness weekend by the drapes. I ordered breakfast for $25 and it was very very disappointing :( I did try some ‘yogurt’ though, something I haven’t really honestly done.

Showered, and left for church. Pastor G preached about really knowing God. He talked about evaluating yourself and then coming to God in sincerity to repent and follow Him. About how some people know God, but get stuck in a rut and then begin to wonder, especially if Satan gets into their lives. Some ‘evaluate’ their current relationship with God and go back, while others dig deeper and deeper into troubles. He is using the book of 1 Corinthians and says he has one more sermon left
in that book. He preached that sermon because he was ordaining 2 deacons that day and there were some unsaved people in the service. Good stuff pastor! Kinda funny cause its the same kind of sermons we get at any other church. Except our pastors do not do much chronological teachings, it could be one topic this week and another next week, from one end of the bible to another.

After service so many people came up to talk to me, and to make things even more awesome, this was my first time in this church, and everyone was white and I was the only brown person, which I personally love. The people I sat beside when I arrived moved right away when I sat beside them. No big deal, another family invited me to a BBQ. This is what I love about church. You walk in. You’re family. Okay okay there are rotten churches to, but you know what I mean.

Another couple was moving to Nova Scotia for good and it was their last week there. Sorry to see u go!
They were serving lunch downstairs but I had to leave, I had other things on my schedule.

Hopped on the #85 back to the Hotel. I decided to do something I rarely do – to stop and smell the roses. So I got to the hotel, but then decided to walk around Ottawa, enjoying the downtown, Rideau Canal and all the great sights. And I figured my manly direction skills would get me there. Instead I ended up going west back towards the church instead of east to the canal, and felt so silly after I asked for directions. I was walking which made it worst.

So I saw beautiful Parliment, Rideau canal, which is s dirty, I mean there is lots of green stuff growing in it. I was thinking it would be like fresh spring water. Whilst walking down Rideau lots of those white flower things were blowing all in my eyes and annoying me. I had my camera to snap pics and I ended up at a park. Ok walking down the park holding a camera, during a hot day. well there were a lot of people bathing in the sun. Girls wearing skimpy bathing suits, some wearing thongs for some reason. I learned that there were 2 large colleges nearby, and then I clearly understood. I was wearing my long pants, t-shirt and favorite shirt which happens to be a very furry sweater type shirt.

So anyway I felt awkward there with my camera, cause I was the only one not nude. Well, I decided to just get out of that park, cause I was just pretty much walking through anyway. On my way out, some girl strips down to some sort of invisible thong type bikini, and my right hand unconsciously slapped me in the face so hard that it stung. I just turned around another way and laughed and laughed cause I couldn’t believe my own hand would slap me.

I stopped at a bench to let my aching feet rest, I had been praying and walking for 5hrs straight.

Walked back to the hotel, got my bag, went to the via rail station, ate some burger king, got on the train.
Train pulled in the Toronto station at like 10:30 pm. Took the subway to the bus station, got there at 11pm.

Ran up to get the 11:03 bus home, missed it. I didn’t actually miss it, the bus didn’t stop
at its usual place but stopped at a new place across the parking lot because of construction or something. Doh! There was another girl waiting there named Angela. She was a young single mom. (I never met her before). We had to wait for the midnight bus so we started chatting. She told me about her weekend and I told her about my weekend. It started raining so I insisted that she take my favorite shirt and wear it till we get in the bus (I found out we live a few streets down from each other in Malton).

Anyway I had crouched down on the ground next to her and her son, age 11 comes and says “hey mom ask him for his phone number, hes the nicest guy, not like the others.

I’m not really good at exchanging / asking for phone numbers. Back in grade 3 I liked this girl named Kaitlin, and I hid in the corner of my school while my friend Ronald asked her for her number for me :) I got her number but now I’m used to having my friends hook me up. I still remember that number to this day.

Anyway the boy really wanted to be friends. He was sticking around me and asking me questions and stuff while we waited. I even left for 5 minutes to make a phone call and he came looking for me in the station.

But anyway I got on the bus, enjoyed the drive home with my new friends, walked home, went to bed.
I’ll remember this trip for the rest of my life.

I was riding my bike yesterday and a little girl with very nice crimply strawberry blonde hair
jumps out from behind a short bush I tree type thing and says ‘BANG.’ And I stop (I wasn’t going very fast) and she says ‘what are u doing here’. And I said ‘I’m riding my bike is that ok?”
She said ‘yup’ and continues to play.

I purchased a bunch of good plants because all of mine have died because of lack of sunlight (Although I have a gorgeous one on my desk which has flourished) I purchased them and left them in the car, the next day the sun was out and it got very hot in the car, because when I went outside the plant was dry and withered, almost cooked. I wont be coming to Ottawa this weekend, I have so much work to do here. But I thought of something, wouldn’t it be interesting to live there for a while?

Contemplate: to view or consider with continued attention: meditate on

– Asif Zamir