Posted 2 years ago

The Vagina Monologues (Just to Keep With the Topic of My Last Post.. kind of)

I like this girl, she’s got spunk. Having spent 9 months abroad in the Middle East to date, I sympathize. It’s funny, I am told that I should be more culturally aware - make sure to wear my hair up, not down (but, really, shouldn’t you wear a head scarf if you’re in a Muslim country? - false.), wear more baggy clothing, don’t smile at people! (oh no! God, forbid).

I remember in my fusha (Modern Standard Arabic class) last term at AUC, my professor asked me to make a sentence using a set of five Arabic words which were written on the board. Given the limited number of topics one can talk about with so many words given, I said:
"Every time I ride in a taxi, the driver asks me if I have a romantic relationship in the US or if I am dating an Egyptian." (in Arabic)
Upon hearing this, she got extremely worked up, asked me if this was true. When I said it was, she responded with “DON’T EVER TALK TO, SMILE AT, OR SIT NEXT TO AN EGYPTIAN TAXI DRIVER - AND DON’T TAKE TAXIS BY YOURSELF!”

OH, okay THAT makes more sense, avoid all human interaction with the person you’re in the car with AND don’t ever travel by myself… okay MY bad… -___-

Really, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It’s impossible not to do at least one of those things, though I often hit more than one on the checklist.

And yet, I can say, that given my experiences, I have become much more antisocial and cold since I first flew to Jordan last June. I find myself glaring at any man, walking down the street, driving my taxi, ringing up the price of my groceries, daring him to look at me, say something creepy, ask me if I want to date him or go with him to his house while his wife is gone and fuck.

No, asshole, I don’t. None of the above, k thanks.

It’s unfortunate, how the actions of the minority can discourage you from discovering the nuances of befriending those of a new culture. And still, all of this said, I will never know the true difficulties the women of this culture face, each and every day… to them, all I can say… God be with you, and if you want to sneak a sucker punch every now and then, I didn’t see anything…

Posted 2 years ago
clever!

clever!

Posted 2 years ago
just something funny i saw today!

just something funny i saw today!

Posted 2 years ago
just a little pick-me-up.

just a little pick-me-up.

Posted 2 years ago

There is no window. There is no gold. There’s just now.

Everyone is waiting for their “golden” opportunity. Everyone is waiting for that little window to open up so they can jump through and seize everything they’ve ever hoped for. But there is no window. And nothing gold can stay. No, instead we have now, we have every second, every minute, hour, day, week, month, year. We have 525,600 seasons of love and we have every person we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Those are our opportunities. This is a fact I am slowly starting to learn, its truth becoming more and more clear with each passing day - it took me long enough. Why sit around and wait for that perfect moment? Every moment is the perfect one - to meet someone who will change your life, to witness something extraordinary, to shed yourself of regret and doubt and walk boldly on. Now, it’s all now, it’s all in front of you, no matter where you are. Travel across the world and find a country of people you admire and revere, or walk out your front door and find the love of your life. Pick up something ridiculous, learn it, and show it to someone else. Make a corny joke and find a friend. Talk to someone who’s sitting alone, and change their day.

Every minute is an opportunity, stop missing out.

Posted 2 years ago

More criticism/comments/suggestions welcomed!

1. Plate of food from Thanksgiving dinner in Cairo, Egypt

2. Lights and fountain in the Trump Towers in NYC, NY, USA

3. Two brothers fishing at sunset in Tel Aviv, Israel

4. Nile River near Saqqara, Egypt

5. Plant growing up the side of a tree in West Lawn, PA, USA

- all taken with a Nikon D90, 18-55mm VR lens

- also posted on http://foreverduenorth.blogspot.com/ - critiques on any of my posts, photos, videos welcomed and appreciated. The blog was originally meant for my friends, then just for myself, but any thoughts on it is welcomed!

Posted 2 years ago

Since I began travelling in the ME, I’ve been trying to develop my skills (which were, before travelling, non-existent) in Photography and Post-Processing. Any criticism/suggestions/comments would be incredibly appreciated. Ideally, I would love to take a class or two, but for now, I hope this will be valuable.

1. Egyptian flag from the “Friday of One Demand” protest in Cairo, Egypt

2. Bikeshare in Tel Aviv, Israel

3. Sunset behind a windsurfer in the distance in Tel Aviv, Israel

- all taken with a Nikon D90, 18-55mm VR lens

- also posted on http://foreverduenorth.blogspot.com/ - critiques on any of my posts, photos, videos, thoughts greatly appreciated. They were originally meant for friends, then just for myself, but any thoughts on them is welcomed!

Posted 2 years ago
dat-sick:

Be your own hero (Unknown source)

dat-sick:

Be your own hero (Unknown source)

Posted 2 years ago

God damn it! An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars.

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.

We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.

We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
Posted 2 years ago

"The Last Hakawati"

If any country has taken a harsh beating from the cruel realities of the evil nature of some men, it is Syria. To date, about 5,500 people, both innocent and not, have been killed, subject to torture, victims of a brutal fight for freedom and change.

In it all, there is one man that peaks my curiosity, and has earned perhaps the top spot on my bucket list. Abu Shadi, dubbed “The Last Hakawati" (hakawati, meaning a storyteller, writer, or poet). For 20 years, Mr. Shadi has participated in a historic, dying tradition of storytelling, of enrapturing the attention of his audience with lively reenactments and skilled intensity. He is the lone warrior of a form of storytelling, in which epic tales of heroism, bravery, love, and loss were orated to audiences, young and old, educated and not, in which the hopes and romantic childlike spirit of all were coaxed and allowed space to grow strong.

He is the last Hakawati, the soldier of epic tales used to teach age-old lessons in a time of death and corruption, of hopelessness and despair. He provides sanctuary for the doctors, students, and humble workers alike in Old Damascus, Syria, and small crowds continue to loyally be his audience, despite the ferociously dangerous nature of simply opening your front door.

Perhaps one day, I will be lucky enough to walk into the Nahfura Cafe, sit down, order tea, and be inspired by his tales, dreaming of the world in which they exist.

One day, Inshah Allah.

http://almashriq.hiof.no/syria/700/790/the_last_hakawati/

(Source: spa)

Posted 2 years ago
Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn’t got one.
The Rum Diary
Posted 2 years ago

"You have to make the right choice. As long as you don’t choose, everything remains possible."

- Nemo, Age 9 Mr. Nobody (2009)


Recently, I watched Mr. Nobody, two years later, but better late than never. As a warning, this movie is not for those that feed on fairytale endings, nor is it for anyone who leans against certainty. Instead, it is the sustenance of those who spend every day looking both forwards and backwards, wondering what could have and could have not been, predicting how today will affect tomorrow, how each and every movement we make now will allow ten years from now to unfold. 

The main character, Nemo, from the time he is a young child, voices the unconscious fears of us all: the future. In essence, he narrates the butterfly effect, how each and every choice clears a completely new and equally significant path for us, for better or worse.

I always used to say that my biggest fear is regret. Never before in my life have I been more painfully aware or this demon, never has it stood before me so clearly, so steadfast. For every choice, every action, there is an equal and opposite consequence (not quite the law we learn in physics, but the same principle).

Why do we do the things we do? What do they mean for tomorrow? And the day after?

I find myself lamenting over missed opportunities, over the could have beens, the missed trains, the closed windows, the locked doors. And yet, how do I know these would have given me what I blindly search for? I don’t. No one does. The future is both brightly lit, quickly drawn and mapped out with each step forward, and it is the epitome of the unknown, the fear, the blind walk into what we do not understand, what we fear.

Which choice is right? Which is wrong? Can we really know?

Robert Frost once said, “I took the road not taken.” But he never told us what happened after. Maybe the road always taken is the one I’m meant to take? Perhaps I would not merely be following, but consciously walking toward my fate. Who is supposed to take the road not taken? Why wasn’t it taken before? It is actually more difficult, leading to greater success? What if it isn’t?

What if it is?

We don’t know. We don’t. There’s no way to know, not until you take the step forward.

During the film (spoiler alert), Nemo, aged 8 or 9, stands at a train station. His mother is boarding a train, taking her far away. His father stands heart broken on the side. “Did you decide yet Nemo? Are you staying with your father or going with me?”

A series of possible lives unravels, neither choice leads to the right  lifestyle, neither leads to the wrong.

No, both are equal in magnitude, in significance, in fleeting happiness, in overwhelming tragedy. And we all are faced with the reality that, regret, is inevitable. To fear such a thing is ridiculous, to wish it away is futile.

Regret is innate, it is within human nature, it is necessary. However, the significance and magnitude of regret in one’s life is controllable, it depends on the now, on you, it is your conscious choice to let it in or leave it on the doorstep, suitcase in hand, standing in the pouring rain.