Looking Through the mirror


Looking back is pretty much like looking through the mirror if you come to think of it , the mirror reflects what’s in its background , what it sees and this gives you the opportunity to see what’s not in its place and take a good look at it and this is what I am going to to do…

The clock strikes 12 … Celebrations are all over the world… People are cheering and hoping for a better tomorrow… That’s how some see it anyway.. New years generally are different for me.. I take a quick look at my path .. Where I’ve been , what I’ve done… What I’ve learned.. Where I’ve messed up , and what I still need to work on…

It’s a matter of soul searching , digging deep within , self analysis … What ever you may want to call it… Sure I do this pretty much all the time but at the same time … At new year’s it’s just like a storm of thoughts and reflections that walk in..

Of course given the situation in which Egypt is passing through and all the mixed feelings we all have it’s very hard to decide on so many thing none the less agree on anything… It’s quite a tiring phase, I chose not to read news or watch Tv simply because I see it all on the street , and if I don’t everyone’s talking about it.. So it comes straight to me without doing anything.. But then again I chose not to talk much about it , and there are handful of people whom I’d have such a conversation with , if you’re reading this post , you know yourselves… So am not going to go into politics and what’s going on and my intake on it in this post..

For 2013 it was a new year in terms of a lot of things… I was challenged by a new role in my job that I’ve never imagined myself doing in my career and in 2012 I was still not used to it.. In 2013 I managed to quite well … Even more than what I have expected.. I’ve learned so much during this working year.. Worked with terrific people and learned from them a lot.. Still there remains a lot of space for improvement.. There always is .. That’s not bad it’s actually a good thing.. Because I believe once a person begins to think he/she’s perfect  that’s when things begin to go south.. 

My job gave me the opportunity to visit places I would have only visited in dreams… I’ve been to Barcelona, was robbed there but that didn’t stop me from having a good time or having a magnificent friend Mohammed El Razzaz AKA ‘Camel’…. I’ve been to places like Ivory Coast which is quite a vibrant city and speaks for itself as a city with a future with a lot of development coming into place.. I’ve been to Senegal which despite didn’t have the same attire of Ivory Coast still distinguished itself.. the yellow colors of the sands coated it more.. I went to the Island of Goree where people were prepared and sold for slavery … Just seeing the slaves house where they were prepared and awaited to be sold was lively experience.. You could hear the captors laughing and drinking and eating and discussing their daily trades … You could also see and feel the captives awaiting to be sold.. Men , Women and children.. Then there it was .. The door of no return.. Small tight corridor which had a door at the end  you could hear the slave’s shackles and chains clanking against the stoned ground as the slaves walked to their fate , to be sold and traded as a commodity rather than being treated as human beings… Goree brought up a lot of thoughts on its own..

I also got to visit Cameroon , a different type of country , was mostly cloudy and rainy during my stay we only got to see the sun for about an hour or 2 , very greenish more like Ivory Coast , but more wet.. I got to learn more about them as I’ve learned that around 20% of the Cameroonian people speak English and not French as it is generally thought that all Cameroon are French speakers.

I’ve went to Morocco , never had the time to walk around or get to see much but the country is very vibrant , the people are amazing and what ever it is they cook its ultimately delicious ! Their cooking skills are amazing! 

Also I got to see Algeria… The mountainous haven… With lots of climbs and slopes.. Beautiful nature and a country that has so much to offer and much to be done..

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Overall I’ve had about  about 14 trips during 2013… Doing lots of transit time about a total of 38 hours of transit all in all .. Transiting and waiting for your next flight is an experience in itself.. Specially if you’re going to be hanging at the airport for about 6 or 7 hours.. And then get to see people who are transiting for 24 hrs ! You get to do several things, from shopping to working , to just sitting there watching people.. You hear all the types of conversations.. Parents and their kids, couples and spouses… Work … Everything.. it’s a whole world just in this place where everyone’s waiting for the destination… A lot of reflections surface during these few hours… Sometimes you see yourself walking by just in different clothing and a different language and also you get to see the very different shades of people… An amazing experience..

2013 also witnessed the self publishing of my 2nd book “Ribbons & Heels” which is published on Amazon.com , both in print and ebook formats.. I feel very proud and lucky to have went down the road of working into getting my work published.. Despite not succeeding yet in getting as much readers as I want and sometimes succumbing to my dark side when I feel down about not being able to attract readers as much as I want.. But that’s the way it goes… I’ve got some good reviews none the less on book so with about 7 good reviews  I can say things ain’t so bad! 

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I’ve underwent a tremendous experience when I attended an event organized by Linda Cleary who delivers writing courses in Egypt , and hosted by Mizan cafe in Maadi (where I live ! How convenient!) and I took it up in what was a talent show sort of display and I went and read a chapter from “Ribbons & Heels” and I can tell you I was very scared and terrified for one too many reasons.. First of all I knew NO ONE … ABSOLUTELY NO ONE… Even Linda it was my 1st time to see her and all my interactions with her before were kind of semi-formal  as I got to know her a few months before that event so you can see why ! And of course I was worried and asking myself all these question “I wonder what they think of me ? I wonder if I will do good? What if they don’t like me ? ”  during my wait I’ve  changed my opinion on the chapter I will read about 4 or 5 times… I’ve got to see so many talented and wonderful people perform different forms of arts which was just mind blowing and I felt hell am going to mess this up bad.. I think when I took my turn to the mic and began to read I think it showed very clearly that I was so nervous ! Don’t think it needed  anyone with an IQ of anyone more older than 5th grader to figure that out.. But I stepped up and did it , and put so much effort .. I had 4 minutes.. And those four minutes felt like four years… But I did it and I felt great about it.. 

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Along this year I’ve also done something I enjoy doing very much… I delivered a presentation about WWII in The Workshop a place that hosts events paid or for free (Also in Maadi , AGAIN Convenient!!!) , I enjoy these sort of events and specially when am delivering.. I love sharing and discussing my findings with others and hope I would be able to add bits and pieces to their knowledge and when it comes to history its simply something I adore…Those who know me well , know that I can go on and about history for hours non-stop , I have back home my own arsenal of books and DVDs …. Which I still need to find time for.. 

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Also 2013 brought new people into my life , very interesting and amazing people , each in their own character.. People like Radwa Rashad (Author & Journalist) who is quite the daring character and with so much to give and who’s madly in love with our neighborhood and who writes a lot of her thoughts as well as trying to find out more about the history of this neighborhood… People like Haidy Zakaria, which I just got to meet at the talent show in Mizan where she did back to back 2 pieces of poetry recital and the speed , the length and all of this was memorized not even a paper was in sight and both pieces were complimentary as if they were written for each other in 4 minutes.. Haidy had all of our jaws dangling in awe… It was something I never witnessed before and she just nailed it and to just imagine the amount of effort put in memorize and then recite 2 poems back to back flawlessly… Simply amazing…

Also at the end of the year I got the chance to be introduced to amazing author Amina El Karamany , author of “The Yellow Raincoat” a best selling author who’s very down to earth and is always exploring and learning and trying to help others with what she knows…

 

On the writing end my productivity was very scarce compared to what I used to do , in terms of articles , and writing in general, I finished one novel over the course of 4 months compared Ribbons & Heels and Ruptured which only took 1 month each , it still needs a lot of amending and working on… Again I need to find the time for that.. And overcome my writer’s block which has overtaken since 2011.. 

 

When looking back , you can’t miss family…My daughters grew up more… Their intelligence shines, their ability just to steal my heart away is only matched by their mother’s … My relationship with Dalia (My Wife) continues to be more of an adventure as ever, everyday I get to discover more about her and I think she does too even behind her regularly calm and silent expressions, we’ve celebrated 6 years together this year time did indeed fly … My parents have been great support always being there and listening and giving advice when needed my brother’s family grew and their son became a charming young boy and we finally began to sort of get along together… Yeah he used to give ‘The Look’ , he’d look at me like ‘Who are you? Who do you think you are?’ that kind of look… But things are better now so am happy!

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I’ve continued and worked on increasing a bit my reading space, I’ve started on books like “JOBS” , am about 100 pages through… I’ve reread some parts from “Reach For the Sky” the autobiography that I constantly reread, I’ve read a full play/script based on the life of Nat Turner by Kenya Cagle it’s available on amazon , I’ve also bought lots of new books basically books that are all history and militaria related and mostly WWII… Now I need the time to read them!

I got to meet some of my old school friends before the year ended and believe it or not we haven’t met since 1997 it was amazing just to see how everything turned out for us and just look at each other and just reflect.. Wow it’s been 16 years !! Was just an amazing day…

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It happens also to be that 2013 was a good cooking year for me ! Lots of inventions came up and I did quite well.. My Baking 101 turned out fine with my 1st attempt at Cinnamon rolls ! As well as other plates I’ve come up with from Fish Al La forno and Chinese styled chicken and beef and my other cooking adventures

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2013 was filled with so many things of course that just these brief short pieces I’ve mentioned but these are some of the key moments for me that I wanted to share with you… 

Here’s to a new year and may it bring us all better days , peace and serenity

 

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