Monday, January 25, 2010

Say Hello To The Real Thing

Just wanted to post the real thing. The real tremendous view. This is it during dusk, as beautiful as the Nile river could possibly be. The photo itself is taken by a colleague (and friend!) of mine- he went ahead, got himself one of those nice big cameras, and started taking pictures, that I have to honestly say are pretty good.

I suggest listening to this today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And Finally, Winter Comes Home

18th floor balcony, 10:09 pm.
Tip of the Island; perfect view of the Nile where its branches reunite.
I stood there and I let it all rush in: It was magnificent.

It was cold and it was windy and it swept my hair in all directions.
The shiver that fleeted by my body brought back many memories, the scents attached to that temperature made me dizzy from all the things I knew I craved, and the scene I had my back turned on caused a slight smile to form on my lips. I can't quite explain it, but it felt like winter had finally come home. And it came home exactly when it should've.

Even though it's almost end of January, we -the Cairo people- hadn't yet witnessed the cold season. This week, the visiting rain that cleaned out our air and the fast dropping temperatures we hosted in the evenings, constituted what could possibly the one honest-to-God winter week this year.
I actually wouldn't mind if there won't be any more "winter weeks", because I know that on that particular day in that particular week, the portrait that I had become part of made me happy. I knew where I am, and where I wasn't any longer. I knew what my options are, even if I do not know which to pick. I knew who I am, and who I would definitely like to be. And I sorta, kinda knew with whom I'd like to share it with.

It's been an exhausting couple of weeks, but the calm content they have bestowed upon me is unimaginable. It is spectacular how one can be introduced to a whole new world they didn't know existed. And to be guided to its door step by sturdy hands. New people, new perspectives.

And there is still more to come. As long as you're ready and willing it to come, it will.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's Lesson: Content and Satisfaction 101

Today I learnt that:
  1. Things will resolve themselves if I let them.

  2. I need to breathe. I should take a moment to do that, there's isn't anything wrong with it.

  3. It's okay to ask for help. Most probably it will  help, even if it explicity doesn't, it'll help me know what doesn't help.

  4. Motivation comes from the outside as much as it does from the inside. When I allow myself to be motivated, others will be willing to motivate me too.

  5. I shouldn't be so anxious to leave. The more I want to leave the more I'll be devastatingly stuck."Let it be", enjoy your time and the time will come to pack up and go.

  6. Happiness loves company too.

  7. There isn't anything better than wanting to share with a loved one. Even if I can't reach them. At least I know they exist.

  8. Brilliant ideas come when I least expect them. Like when I've been working for 10 hours straight and can't see infront of me.

  9. When the hot water goes out, I should realise that this is the cue to leave. But only after the cleansing, wakening, clarifying, freezing water touches my skin.

  10. Beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder. Even if that beholder isn't me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Letters to Existence

A 17 year old I used to know once wrote:

"I feel envoked to walk this path and go through with it. Like the endless night-time roads that make me feel at ease, only this one has a stop. A stop that may decide whether the road really is endless.
My heart swells and soars at the mere thought of the future. My future. And it bursts when I think about the seconds that have passed, not by me, but through me. Do I notice? I do. I do during those nights when -astoundingly- everything is so clear yet so confusing. When I lose touch with everything but feel so in tune with the world. Where does all that faith come from?

I seek more. Not out of selfishness; out of eagerness. Out of passion."

That 17 year old was me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Truth (II)

I am scared.

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Morning, Last Night

Did I ever mention I have a Death Cab T-shirt? I do.

I got it from a thrift store when I went broke in the US. It didn't bother me the slightest that this was owned and worn by someone else, on the contrary, I was surprised someone let it go, not matter what had happened to it. I like it. I wear it too. I washed it a couple of times before I did that, but I do wear it.

This is my this morning and it is my last night.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Tahrir Square Siege

Those up to date with Egyptian news would probably know that during this past week there have been intensified tides of protests and marches by Europeans, Americans and a few Egyptians/Arabs washing over the country. The point of their protests? The "Egyptian-Isreali" Gaza siege.
Personally, I only found out about this entire "current event" when I myself witnessed the "event" itself "currently" taking place across the street.

It was a regular work day. And by "regular" I mean frustrating, seeing that the typical tasks I've been assigned recently mostly entail trips to governmental institutions all over Cairo, in order to request data and official papers.  Anyone, anyone, who knows Cairo the least bit would know that this entails the following: ugly traffic, ugly bureaucracy and ugly sizzling weather in the middle of December.
That day (31.12.2009), it seemed like the world was making me pay for the kindness it had been offering recently- traffic was a living nightmare and it took me about 45 minutes to move 100 meters downtown. As imaginable, by the time I got to the next traffic light I was practically banging my head against the steering wheel. But then something caught my eye and I had to stop doing that. No, it wasn't the staring guy   in the next car; it was more of what was going on on the sidewalk next to his car.

They finally revealed themselves to me. The reason behind my misery. The people who unknowingly almost entirely ruined my day. The protesters and the security forces tightly surrounding them.

It took me a couple of seconds to realise what was going on. After it sunk in, I immediately thought three things:

  1. "I'd like to murder every single person behind my getting stuck an hour and half in one block"

  2. "This is emotional"

  3. "I should take a picture"

The first thought disappeared about a second later, as a consequence to the second thought that actually brought tears to my eyes.
Personally, and in all honesty, my interest in the Palestinian issue is limited and relatively irrelevant. The issue has so many sides to it, is so protracted, and depressing to think about to the extent I actually trained my mind to not care about it that much. I do have opinions though on the Egyptian position and policies concerning the Gaza situation though, and they can be summed up in that I am totally with the government on its decisions to build the wall across the border and to block the borders last January (issues of sovereignty, territorial integrity, weapons smuggling and Israeli ploys are only some of the points I would bring up. However this is neither the place nor the time).

But you see what got to me right then and there, when I saw what I saw, was not the topic they cared about, it was the fact that they cared about something to begin with. That they cared so much they organized themselves, booked those plane tickets, flew all the way to Cairo and stood in the face of security forces with genial faces and determination in their hearts.

Now that is humane. That hones my faith and belief in humanity. It tells me that even though so many act like robots a big part of the time, human feelings, emotions and collective care do exist. That brought tears to my eyes.

As for that third though, I acted on it immediately. I fetched out my phone from my bag when I realised I do not have my camera on me, operated the camera application on it and started zooming in for the picture.

As I snapped it, a man in civil clothes yelled from across the street. I didn't bother at that moment and I didn't even begin to consider he might be yelling at me. I was two lanes away! Turns out I was the target of the loud words he produced, and when he noticed I wasn't even going to look at him, he decided to make his way through the sea of traffic and reach my car. He forced his head into my window and started talking.

""يا انسة، ممنوع التصوير"          
"ليه يعني؟"                             
"هو كدة، ممنوع التصوير. ممكن يأخذوا التليفون منك"   
"أيوة بردو ليه؟"                      
"هو كدة، دي التعليمات"           
"تعليمات مين؟"                       
"تعليمات مدير الأمن"              
"هو فين ده؟"                          
"بقولك ايه، اخلصي أحسن..."      
"خلاص خلاص متزعلش نفسك" 

And I took off.

Yes, I was totally playing dumb. I did know the dude was an informant, but I just wanted to see where this could go. My mom, on the other hand, thought it was the stupidest thing I could've ever done and almost forbade me from going out ever again. They say things could get ugly. They say in situations like those, things could get out of hand. They say those people wouldn't care what I look like, who I am nor where I'm from.
I don't know about that, they seemed rather tame to me.

The picture that created a "security" issue

Friday, January 1, 2010


It's been so long since I last sat in bed counting the seconds. Yes, I'm counting the seconds and no, not till new year's; it's already the 1st of January here. It has been for the past handful of hours.

My newly found optimism scares the crap out of me. Especially tonight. But there is this small tiny feeling in my gut that keeps nagging and nagging: "be optimistic it's worth it, be optimistic it's worth it".
We'll see about that. Till then, I'm just going to keep counting the seconds.

Now listen to this.