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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

She Did It!

The morning started off anxiously. The Bakaloria exam results in Syria were due later on in the afternoon. I was away when, as my wife puts it, I should be home sharing and going through the anticipation, the agony and suspense before the final grades are published over the Internet. Well in self-defense, I was in Aleppo for a 48-hour business trip. Yet, I had such a good time, Om Fares almost succeeded in making me feel guilty. The official announcement in the papers stated that the results will be posted at 4:00 PM, Monday 16/07/07. Over 140,000 Syrian families collectively held their breath. Overnight the Internet became the most popular source of information in the country. Since the early morning hours, kids, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, friends and neighbors simultaneously and continuously directed their browsers to www.bakaloria.com . With an already anecdotal service, the net was brought down to its knees. At 4:03 PM, as I was driving back to Tartous and a few kilometers to the north of Hama, I received that most important call on my mobile. Om Fares was crying, and it was very difficult indeed to understand the words, more importantly, the numbers. 242, she kept repeating, 242 in between “happy” sobs.
After one long year of hard work, after over 12 slow months of commitment and sacrifice, after endless sleepless nights of studying and of almost total isolation, Diana came out a real winner and scored amongst the top 5% in Syria – 242 out of 260 on her National Bakaloria Exam.
My two colleagues in the car were as eager as I was to hear the good news. Like the Syrian Brit, I had to work hard to suppress that lump in my throat in front of them. I proudly conveyed the information and fought the tears from slipping at the corners of my eyes. We stopped at Cesar near Hama for a late lunch. I was elated and out of the blue ordered a cheeseburger with fries and Coke. In Hama… a cheeseburger! I think I broke the record as far as the longest time it took a human to consume a cheeseburger. In between bites, with messy hands and ketchuped fingers, I had to answer the onslaught of phone calls. Family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances I have neither seen nor heard from in years called me and made me even a prouder father.
Diana wants to be a pharmacist, a vocation which never succeeded in impressing me. However, it’s her dream, her choice and her future and I’m so happy for her.
When I made it home a little bit over 2 hours later, the first spontaneous party was almost over. After hugs and kisses I was told that the whole neighborhood must’ve dropped by to congratulate Diana and the rest of us. Om Fares was bursting with joy and pride. Nadia (11) was moving around as if she were the mother of the bride. Even Fares (6) was ecstatic and, I learned, took a SP1,000 bill from his piggy bank and handed it to his eldest sister as his personal gift.
I want to congratulate all the kids out there who made it. For the less fortunate, better luck in the future.
The ordeal is over, for another 6 years that is.

29 comments:

The Syrian Brit said...

This is absolutely fantastic.. I could definitely feel that lump in MY throat when I was reading your post...
Many, many congratulations to Diana, and to the two of you, the forgotten soldiers in this epic battle!..
May her future be as bright and assured as she deserves..

Golaniya said...

nshalla alf mabruk ya Abu Fares! I knew she would :-)

Rime said...

Alf mabrouk to Diana and to her proud parents, and may the next years be even more fulfilling, paving the road to professional success and satisfaction.

Soraya said...

yeeeeeeey many Congrats ya abu fares no doubt she made u proud :)alf mabrooook o 3o2bal al takharooj o il far7a il kbereh

Anonymous said...

So happy for you and Om Fares, and even more for Diana. Congratulations. May you keep doing this well all your life.

Abu Abdo

saint said...

As you brought the tears to my eyes recalling my always young girl graduation this year from High School (where I saw her in her gown and her hat walking through the Isle and receiving her certificate) I thought of sending this video to your and my daughter (who is visiting her grandmas in Damascus) in their graduation day as an attribute to this occasion.
Congrats:
Here is a part of the song I love the most:

Will we think about tomorrow like we think about now?
Can we survive it out there? Can we make it somehow?
I guess I thought that this would never end
And suddenly it's like we're women and men
Will the past be a shadow that will follow us round?
Will these memories fade when I leave this town
I keep, I keep thinking that it's not goodbye
Keep on thinking it's a time to fly

Here is the video:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1079499088742367447

Bridget said...

A thousand congratulations! I've been in Damascus for the past few days and I don't know which was the biggest "news story" of the week: Bakaloria results or the swearing-in of the president. :)

Lujayn said...

Mabrouk Abu Fares to Diana and your family! She really aced it! She sure deserves a reward for all her hard work (apart from the reward of getting into pharmacy school) :))

Restless in Dubai said...

Congratulations Abu Fares. I am really happy for you and Diana and of course Um Fares. I can still remember the day when I got the news, (it was not exactly as impressive as Dian's) I was flying really high, I cried for an hour, the second I knew I had made it, the efforts and pain through the whole two year were worthy. I am sure she is very happy now and I am pretty certain that she will make once perfect pharmacist and will make the Abu Fares family very proud of her.

Conragts.
RnD

Sam... said...

Great News AbuFares....Congrats

abufares said...

@Syrian Brit
Thank you dear friend. My best wishes to all the "forgotten soldiers" out there.

@Sham
Tislami ya Sham. I'm still waiting for our first meeting, soon, hopefully.

@Rime
What can I say Rime! I'm ahead of you in this parenting business. Enjoy all the little joys and nuisances as you watch your little daughter and inshallah later her brothers and sisters. The rewards are great.

@Soraya
3a2bal Far7etna biki inshallah. Remember that I consider myself already invited :-)

@Abu Abdo
Ishta2tellak Abu Abdo. Thanks and Inshallah Bi Tefra7 bi Wladak.

@Saint
Thank you so much for sharing. Unfortunately, they've just blocked utube over here (that's the reason I deleted my previous post).
Lovely song as well.

@Bridget
Thank you Bridget. You know Tartous is only a couple of hours drive from Damascus and it's nice to visit this time of year. You're welcome any time.

@Lujayn
It would've been easy enough with a reward. How about a list of rewards ;-)
Thank you my dear.

@Restless in Dubai
Diana and all kids make parents cry as well. Nothing make us happier than crying for the right reasons. I look at it her future career this way. If I don't get my medications for free, I will at least get a discount:-)

@Sam
Thank you Sam, it's been a while since we've heard from you.

Yazan said...

Alf alf mabrouk abu fares,
the joyous memory of a well rewarded bakaloria will always help Diana when times get rough.

And, in the name of everyone who studies there, I welcome her to Tishreen University, [ofcourse assuming that like her father she cant stay away from the sea ;)]

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Alf Mabrook ya Abu Fares, I extend my congratulations to Diana and Om Fares as well, may God make this happiness complete by granting Diana the 'Pharmacist' title soon!

Kinan said...

Congratulations to Diana and you Abu Fares :) May all her years to come be filled with success.

As I read your post I could literally feel the pride and joy in you words. I am sure you will ever be proud of her, Nadia and Fares :)

PS: Fares' gesture made me tear up. Allah ykhaleekon la ba3ed

Lujayn said...

Wow, Syria's joining the moral blockade bandwagon now? Pity about youtube.

Lost Somewhere said...

Alf mabrouk! Now that 242 number will forever be part of her milestones in life!
I'm sure this is just the start result of a successful life for this bright young girl, who will nshallah be making you even prouder, but mainly will hopefully reach most of her goals in life...
Best wishes to Diana

Ihsan said...

Congrats abu fares...very good score! bravo Diana!

Best of luck, always!

Shannon said...

This is great news! Congratulations to your family.I wish Diana the best of luck in Pharmacy school, or wherever that wonderful score may lead her. If she's able to beat a test like that, she's strong, smart, and dedicated enough to handle most challenges she faces. Well done!!!

abufares said...

@Yazan
Thanks buddy. Lattakia is Diana's first choice really. We'll see how it goes and we'll keep you updated.

@Dubai Jazz
Tislam Ya Friend! Inshallah 3a2bal Fare7tak.

@Kinan
I'm overwhelmed with your words. Inshallah all of your dreams, whatever they are, come true,

@Lujayn
I was surprised to find out that I can't access utube. I don't know whether this is temporary or not. Whatever, it's stupid.

@Lost Somewhere
Thank you Lost, please let me find you ;-)
Diana can't believe that all her "dad's friends" are so nice and sending her their best wishes.

@Ihsan
Where have you been man. You haven't been posting that much. I hope you're having lots of fun. BTW, judging from your video, you seem to be enjoying an ambiance of ISTIHAJ.

@Shannon
So nice of you to share these joyful moments with my family. Hopefully, you'll get your own chance to be proud of your kids one day. It's a sweet feeling.
Thank you friend.

Omar said...

Alf mabrook Abufares..
when I read your bakaloria post, I had not doubt in my mind that she would get in. After all she comes from good stock.

mabrook again

Arima said...

Alf mabrook! 3obaal el shahadah el kibeera :)

Sharm said...

hey

you are chosen by sharm to represent your country in the first international blog
WUB (World United Bloggers)
the aim of this blog is to prove to the world that the difference in our languages and religions and colors doesn't make us hate each other and we can make this world better if we say our opinion with a respect to the opinion of the others
if you are agree to join us please send e-mail with your nick name , age , country and your blog address on sharm_lover@hotmail.com to send you activation mail which makes you read every thing about the WUB (World United Bloggers) and it's aims
thanks

Sharm

KJ said...

That's so awesome man... alf mabrook ya rub and inshalla she'd get a most prosperous life :)

abufares said...

@Omar
Allah Ybarek Fik ya Omar.
Thank you for the kind words.

@Arima
Tislami ya Arima. Again, 3a2bal Far7etek.

@Sharm
Thank you

@KJ
Gracia amigo!
Tislam ya Rab!

I love Munich said...

That is SOOOOOOO GREAT and I am MORE than happy and proud of her!!!! Believe me, she was on my mind and I crossed my fingers for her ... even through all these difficult days and weeks I just succeeded to put behind me - I was thinking of her, of you ALL!!

HOW FANTASTIC dear friend ... please give her a BIG BIG HUG in my name!!!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!

K. said...

Alf mabrouk!!!

I think I typed about 15 comments here and deleted them. It's just that the way you describe your joy is the same I hear in my dad's voice when he's talking about us kids. So emotional. Abu Fares, you made me cry, but all joyful tears, don't worry ;-)

Congrats to Diana and to you and her mom for all the support!

Now I'm waiting for the kefa2a results of the loveliest cous around the globe!

Katia

EMALMADA said...

Hello from Almada Portugal
have a nice day

abufares said...

@Karin
Thank you dear friend for your kind words.
from all of us, many many hugs in return.

@Katia
Allah Ybarek Fiki. Dads are like that you know, although they are hugely under-rated ;-)
Please let us know about your cous Brevet exam in due time.

@Emalmada
Same to you.

Sean & Emma said...

Massive congratulations to Diana from London! Mabrouk indeed!