Monday, December 26, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
All politicians are liars. They all play dirty games. They're all disgusting on one level or another. They are not saints or angels and they never will be. None of them. Stop placing your hope in the wrong place. Your role as a citizen is to wisely chose the one who will do the least amount of damage. As soon as you believe this fact, you will live a better life by learning to work from the bottom up and you will stop trying to make politics better - that is a losing battle and always will be. Change the things around you that you can change and stop expecting a savior to come along and fix your problems. Stop that stream of thought and I promise you will be a happier person.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I was here January - May of this year during the Jan 25 Revolution. It's been twelve months and what has happened? I wonder if much has actually changed at all. I was with a friend today and the following conversation took place. Keep in mind that this friend is a well educated woman who has been born and bred in Egypt and is now a full time professional, is young, pro-revolution, quite liberal on the political spectrum, and also runs a household.
We had been discussing the productivity of certain countries in the world, and that conversation naturally led to the "state Egypt is in now", which led to a general venting about how all politicians on this planet are liars and full of shit and that each citizen's role was to wisely chose the one who will do the least amount of damage possible. And the interesting part was when she said:
We don't deserve a good government.
Because we are not good people. We are lazy, we don't want to work or do anything, but we want money and lots of it. All we do is sit at street cafes and talk talk talk, mostly about things we have no idea about, and then keep on mismanaging our own lives. Garbage mentalities can not be changed through a good government. The Egyptian people have been used to only following orders. We have had military men rule us for the last eight decades. The only thing we know how to do is to follow orders. Nothing will ever change until we start doing something about it and change ourselves first and go out and work and be productive people.
Interesting point of view, no? Ya I thought so too. There is definitely truth in there. However, my question is: what about the people given more opportunities than others? Where are those people and what are they doing to change themselves and to better the lives around them? Aren't they also a part of that culture that sits around Nawady (sporting clubs - the rich equivalent of street cafes) and talk talk talk, also about things they mostly don't know much about? Im not trying to point a blaming finger. All Im asking is, if youve pinpointed the solution, what are you personally doing about it?
Everyone, inside and outside Egypt, who cares anything for Egypt, justice, freedom, and peace, needs to do something. Anything. If this revolution is to change anything at all, it should change the way people view their roles in this world and define the extents to which they are willing to go to see the fruits of their actions.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
- Mary Oliver
Seen on: http://glutenfreegirl.com/
Friday, November 4, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying:
“Lord, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and pick the lice off.
“I want to bring you milk to kiss your little hands and feet when it’s time for you to go to bed.
“I want to sweep your room and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats are yours. ”
“Who are you talking to?” Moses could stand it no longer.
“Only something that grows needs milk. Only some one with feet needs shoes. Not G’d!”
The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed and wandered out into the desert.
A sudden revelation came then to Moses.
“You have separated me from one of my own.
“Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to sever?
“I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.
“What seems wrong to you is right for him.
“What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
“Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to me.
“I am apart from all that. Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better or worse than one another.
“It’s not me that’s glorified in acts of worship. It’s the worshipers!
“I don’t hear the words they say. I look inside at the humility.
“Forget phraseology. I want burning, burning. Be friends with your burning.
“Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!
“Lovers who burn are another.
“Don’t scold the Lover. The “wrong” way he talks is better than a hundred “right” ways of others.
“When you look in a mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
“The flute player puts breath into a flute, and who makes the music?
“Not the flute. The flute player!
from Rumi’s “Moses and the Sheperd”, translated by Coleman Barks
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
should adults give up being rational?
If reasonable people don't feel the presence of love
within the universe, that doesn't mean it's not there.
Yet afterwards I doubted whether driftwood has the right to say "I win" when the tide throws it on to the beach it seeks.
- Che (from The Motorcycle Diaries)
Leave your country in search of loftiness and travel. For in travel there are five benefits: relief of adversity, earning of livelihood, knowledge, etiquette, and noble companionship.
- Imam Al Shafi
Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.
- H.D. Thoreau
Do not speak unless you can improve the silence.
(Did I improve your silence?)
had ever heard
feel so alive
cuz you and i both loved
what you and i spoke of
and others just
and if you could see me now
you and i
not so little anymore
this song reminds me of too much. there was once some one i knew, someone who i've known for quite some time now, but used to know much better at one point than right now. we used to talk about our dreams and our futures, me of travel, him of success. thoughts that captured our minds, thoughts that gripped our days and filled our dreams. this was some time ago tho.
but see, he never believed i would do it. he said, youre never gonna leave here, youre always gonna stay here, with us, with me. i would laugh. he would laugh. id keep dreaming, he would keep trying to figure out ways to get rich and successful. to him, money made the world go around. it probably still does, who knows. to me, love made the world go around. it still does. travel, exploration, dreams, experiences, all make my world go around.
i wonder today if the time i spent traveling last year sort of proved to him. did it? who knows. we're in different worlds now, his full of great things, successes and financial districts. he's on his way to accomplishing his dreams. i've done a little bit, but not much, probably not as much as him. but i did it. im happy, content. i wonder if he is too. i didnt do it for him, or anyone else, i did it for me, for my dreams.
but this isnt about a boy. this is about dreams and love and realizing these dreams and loves and continuing to dream and love and realize those new dreams and loves and so on and so forth. once, recently, i reminded him of our talks long ago, and how ive finally started doing what i always said i would do. except we dont talk much now. and i realize that life is too short to be wondering what he still thinks of me, of my dreams.
it also occurs to me that this post probably doesnt make any sense. but im putting it out here, out into the void that is this world. just cuz it needs to be said.
(You and I Both - Jason Mraz)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Based out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, this group of students have come together to bring others around the table of discussion on one of the most pressing issues of our time: development in the Arab world. With the uprising and awakening of the Arab nations comes a great responsibility on the shoulders of the international community to aide the dreams of the just revolutionaries of the Middle East.
In summary, taken from their website:
"On October 7 and 8, 2011, the ADI is proudly hosting the first ever Envision Arabia Summit at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. This summit of students, thinkers, and leaders, aspires to harness the creativity, skill, and passion of youth to work towards a vision for the future of the Arab world."
Not only was I in Egypt for the entire revolution, but this cause hits close to home, quite literally. May it be a prosperous event and the beginning of a great opportunity for everyone around the world to make a difference.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Loved every moment of it, here are some shots :)
Petronas Towers at night, Kuala Lumpur.
The Shah Alam mosque, one of the largest in the region, just about an hour out of Kuala Lumpur.
Penang, the historical island of culture and food. Incense offerings at an ancestral temple.
Langkawi, my ideal definition of an island - good food, chilled out people, awesome beach.
I already miss Malaysia and I just left it this morning. It has definitely been the highlight of my trip so far. Just got to Thailand today, gonna do some island hopping on the south west coast and then head over to Bangkok!
note: i posted this entry on the 6th of june, but it says may 30th. dont ask.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Here are my 2 favorite moments in Bali.
1. So I learned to surf. The waves at Kuta beach totally kicked my butt, but it was one of my best times on this trip so far. Needless to say, I acquired many injuries, and was sore for a few days afterwards.
Tips for learning to surf:
- When the instructor says UP, you need to get right up on your feet in half a second, from lying down flat on your surfboard. While you're on a wave of course. Serious upper body strength.
- Do not eat right before surfing. Trust me, you'll feel sick to your stomach for the rest of the day.
- Make sure you understand how the waves work, because otherwise, you're gonna have your board smash right onto your head (speaking from experience).
- Just keep at it! And have fun :)
2. Watching the sunrise from the top of Mt Batur, the 2nd highest volcano in Bali. Started climbing at 3:30am, got to the peak at 5:30am (almost 2000 meters), just in time to see this beautiful scene. You can even still see a star or two :) It was magical to say the least.
I just got to Malaysia yesterday, and taking it all in!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Will try again in Malaysia :)
In the meantime, I've checked off these things from my ever-growing list of things to do around the world:
- Learn to surf
- Climb a volcano (Mt. Batur)
- Spend my birthday on the beach in Bali
Let's just say, Bali was amazing.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
ps: I will upload pics soontimes, just trying to absorb that I'm in Asia that's all :p
Where I could totally live! So similar to Toronto, Canada.
Where the Singapore Dollar is almost the same value as the US Dollar.
Where the beach is right around the corner. Sigh.
Where I got serious jet lag :(
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
But now Im spending the next 9 weeks in Asia! Starting off in Singapore right now. And Ill be updating more often I promise! :D
Will post pics soon. On the list today: Sentosa Island! http://www.planetware.com/i/photo/sentosa-island-sin232.jpg
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Still a little upset though, not gonna lie. I've had to cancel:
I would love to go to these places now, with all this turmoil. Experiencing the protests in Cairo was amazing. But to truly experience the cultures of these areas, I think it wouldn't be fair to visit during this time.
So what am I doing?? I'm hanging out in Egypt. Trying to understand this culture that has always confused and amazed me, and visiting some different areas of Egypt. I'll be heading out early May to somewhere far far away and hopefully not politically unstable, at which point this blog will become much more interesting once again :)
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Here are some pictures :)
Meet Yousuf, greatest tour guide ever. A law student/tour guide who is very passionate about his city. He also taught us how to tie a professional looking Bedouin head piece like his!
A friend chilling at one of the oases we visited. This one was sort of like a mud bath, people just scooped up the mud at the bottom and gave themselves all sorts of facial masks with it. Very cool.
Music session! There was also lots of dancing involved. And pot smoking. No joke.
Another oasis we visited. This one was literally in the middle of the desert and about 15km from the Libyan border. And very very salty - a massive water fight shrunk my jeans about 3 inches unfortunately.
Sandboarding? At sunset? In the middle of the western desert? Check.
A friend displaying the traditional female face covering.
Tea + another oasis + sunset = peacefulness.
There was also one night where we camped out in the desert and I stayed up all night and watched the stars come out (there was only about a million), the moon rise, then witnessed a very lazy sun climb over the western horizon. It was an absolutely breathtaking night and I didn't even try taking any pictures because nothing would ever do it justice. It will remain just a most beautiful image in my mind's eye.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I will be posting more details on the event as we approach it.
So why did I participate in protests and demonstrations in a country I've barely ever lived in? Because I would've done the same if these kind of protests had happened in any other country. The fight for justice and freedom knows no nationality, religion, or race. It's as simple as that. Humanity comes above everything - when did we forget that?
I think it's of the utmost importance to give something back to the places I'm exploring. Let this be a year of growth.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
This is an excerpt from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. Read carefully.
And the priestess spoke again and said: Speak to us of Reason and Passion.
And he answered, saying:
Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?
Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.
I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and faith of both.
Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason."
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky,- then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion."
And since you are a breath in God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Baladna [noun]: our country.
Last month, if you had asked any young adult in Egypt who's country this is, they would've said, "baladhom" - their country. Theirs. The people at the top. The people who have been running this country for the last 30 years or so. The corruption, the poverty, the unemployment, the inhumanity. Theirs. Baladhom.
Tuesday January 25th 2011. I remember thinking, "Why is everyone calling it a revolution? A few thousand people are hanging out downtown. Whats the big deal? They're gonna get rounded up by the riot police before we can all blink." By the end of the night, there were a couple of hundred thousand. The next day there was a quarter of a million. By Friday, there was a million. There was violence. People died. But there was a revolution, and nobody could deny it or say otherwise. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 3 weeks, then you've heard about all this already.
Friday February 11 2011. The end of Hosny Mubarak's dictatorial 30 year rule over Egypt. But I bet you knew that too.
Here's what you don't know: the Egyptian youth have memorized more nationalistic songs in the past 3 weeks than they're ever likely to memorize. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with people they were willing to die with. They know who our ministers are. They understand politics. They even have a political opinion. They have learned to hope. All of them.
I have never felt quite as Egyptian as I'm feeling right now. I've memorized the songs, stood with them, understood our politics, hoped with them. Felt the change. Wanted and fought for freedom, humanity, liberty, and dignity. Basic human rights that the youth of this country are only starting to feel today for the first time. Human rights I would've fought for anywhere in the world.
Today, if you ask any young adult in Egypt who's country this is, they will say, "baladna" - our country. OURS. Mine and yours. Mine to stamp out the corruption, mine to clean up (literally and figuratively), mine to voice my opinion about, mine to work in, mine to thrive and grow in.
For someone as homeless as me, the events of the last 3 weeks have reassured me that I will always have a home in Egypt.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Ok. So maybe it's because I've been cooped up in Cairo for the last month and I'm gonna be here for the next month before I start traveling again. First I was just taking a breather between travels, but then the whole political revolution (YAY) is now happening here and traveling in and out of my house has become difficult, let alone trying to travel in and out of the country. Anything can happen right now and if I do somehow manage to travel out, then there might be problems coming back in...
Ok. So maybe something else is going on. I just started reading this book, Getting Things Done, by David Allen, it's supposed to be really good. And right off the bat in the first chapter he says that whenever there are unfinished things in your life, they keep pulling at your attention, and your subconscious mind keeps thinking about them in the back of your head, making you unfocused in the rest of your life. Does that make any sense? It kind of hit a note with me. I'm just not sure what kind of unfinished business I have going on. Maybe it's an unfinished conversation, or maybe it's a relationship I'm trying to figure out, or maybe it's just all in my head. I need to get out of my head and do a complete life assessment. Sounds easy enough...Right?
Friday, February 4, 2011
Note: I have jumped on the awesome Twitter bandwagon! Find me: SouzanMansour
*gasp* you now know my real name haha it wasn't kept a secret on purpose but it really didn't matter... did it?
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me heaven sighs
And tho I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak...angels sing from above
Everyday words seem...to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
Such simple words, such beautiful meanings, such a good song. Soundtrack of another favorite movie, Jeux D'enfants (English title: Love me if you dare).
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Can you really go wrong?
Yes it has nothing to do with traveling, but it does have something to do with miscommunication... which happens a lot.
Plus I just really like this song :) And it reminds me of one of my favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally.
January 25, 2011.
The Day of Anger, as it was called.
If you've been paying attention to global news, you might have realized what's happening in the Middle East. The people have had enough. Enough corruption, enough unemployment, enough poverty, enough is enough. And this is how Egypt has responded. This is a picture of Tahrir (which means Liberation) Square in downtown Cairo on the night of Jan 25th. Over 30,000 protesters gathered here, with tens of thousands more in different cities across the country. A day that might change Egypt forever. We can only wait and see.
The Middle East, my beloved Middle East, has had enough, and things will never be the same again - I hope.
(Note: I didn't take this picture, but I sure am proud of it.)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The perfect skyline of downtown Doha, the capital city, that you can see from loads of places. I love the contrast of the old dhow boat against the all the modern buildings. Another meshing of old and new that I love so much.
Sunset at Souq Waqif, the old bazaar area, in Doha. Enjoyed this day with new friends and old friends. My favorite place in Qatar hands down. Interesting fact: what is today known as Souq Waqif is actually a recent reconstruction of the entire place. This same place used to have the main bazaar of the city, which was taken down to make room for the new city. However, in an effort to restore places of important heritage, Qatar has rebuilt the Souq once more. So it's old... but new.
(It's blurry, I know, but it was night time so the shutter was open for ages cuz I hate using flash and the only source of light were those little spotlights that you cant see but can only see the light emanating from them in the top of the picture. Point is: I still love it :)
Exploring new places with new friends that I feel like I've known forever! This was at the beach at the new Cultural Village, an area full of art centers, open air theaters, restaurants, coffee houses, music festivals, photography and art galleries, AND a beach. Yup.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Visiting the breathtaking Al-Fatih Mosque in Manama. Such serenity. A beautiful portal to an information center on Islam.
Iqra'. Read. The first word to be revealed to the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from God. Bahrain has an amazing way of capturing real culture, arts, history, and tradition. I wish other countries would take a hint on how to preserve greatness.
Me + sunset + the gulf = love.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Great food + great company = great night! Having chocolate fondue at Chocolate Bar while catching up with friends I've known since elementary school. Eating out in Kuwait is an intensely amazing culture, and I took full advantage of it!
Shopping at Souq Mubarkia, the old trade area in Kuwait. Probably my favorite place in Kuwait. Also the best place to have chai haleeb (milky steeped red tea with herbs) and qeymar (cream) - honey fatayer (large round layers and layers of soft puff dough, oven baked), which tastes as heavenly as it sounds.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Stay tuned! :)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
It is said that someone is a bee when that someone is optimistic and sees the good in everything. Even when a flower is covered in insects and all sorts of nasty things, a bee still manages to see the sweet honey at the heart of the flower. Like a bee, this person sees the good at the heart of all matters.
Be like a bee :)