Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Being Random in Egypt

Currently sitting in a dank internet cafe, buried in a quiet corner of Alexandria...a few unemployed men probably looking over my shoulder. I'm sorry, did I say quiet? Egypt is a zoo (I mean this in the best possible way, of course). But seriously, in the middle of the night you'll hear people yelling and fighting randomly, and the walls are paper thin, so they're basically fighting in your living room. Then there are the men selling things, walking around shouting the names of their products. And stray cats and dogs. And manure-smelling streets, etc.

But I kind of like Egypt though, it's fascinating. Not because there are all these amazing sights to be seen or the people here are super nice or anything. It's just so different, the culture is the opposite of everything you'd ever know in Canada. And the beach is a 15 minute walk from where we live, so it's pretty cool.

Anyways, so I think I know one of the reasons why I am so random. I'm going to attribute this to my being Egyptian. Let me explain.

Everything here is incredibly random. For example, you'll find that on the back window of some mini-buses or taxis, the drivers have stuck "Allah" stickers. Which is understandable. But I also saw a sticker of the face of one Che Guavara on the back of another minibus. Random much?

And everything is chaotic and yet so seamless. I've almost died several times while trying to cross the street or even walking on the sidewalk. There are no stop lights here, no driving lanes, no speed limits, nothing. It's the peak of insanity. But the people seem to accept this lack of sanity with ease, and participate in it without batting an eyelash. The logic of it all evades me.

And the athan being called everyday is pretty cool, especially when you hear several masagid at once. Yes, masaGid. And heaven forbid you ask a vendor for a "coke" instead of "coo-ca-coola." Just don't.

I would take pictures for you guys, but it's been somewhat difficult so far...because I'm afraid to take out my camera lest a) people find out we're foreigners, or b) someone feels like stealing it. But I will try to post some pictures for your entertainment sometime soon inshaAllah.

Until the next internet cafe!



Sunday, June 17, 2007

8 random facts about some girl

Common Placer tagged me, so now I comply. She asks me to write eight random facts about myself. A nice change from the regular blog post topics! (I'm being sarcastic here, for those of you who can't read between the lines.) Anywho:

1. I can't have a fully serious conversation with someone, ever. There must be a joke or a pun or a weird metaphor or something thrown in there. I'm like 6 years old.

2. I hate flossing. And yet I must in order to prevent my teeth from falling out. From cavities and such.

3. You know those big sunglasses that are in style these days? Yeah, those crazy ones that cover over half your face? I bought a pair, and I'm kind of ashamed.

4. I'm allergic to mangos and strawberries and chocolate and melons and nuts. And yet I eat them all and hope for the best.

5. I attempt to be more girly these days. It's a conscious effort I make not to always wear black, and to carry hand bags instead of my backpack, and not to wear mens shirts. I'm actually quite annoyed at this whole girly thing.

6. I get so frustrated with fully-grown people who can't express themselves or who are shy to an unhealthy degree. Like, someone will say to me "Asmaa, can you ask this question for me?" or "can you get that thing from the brothers' section for me?" It's like they know that I'm so "immodest" that I'm happy to make a spectacle of myself at any point in time. Like, get a backbone and go do it yourself.

7. Wow, I'm so mean.

8. I love writing drivel on my blog. It gives me a real warm and fuzzy feeling inside to know that you just read this post for no reason. I'm evil like that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Don't let the bed bugs bite...

Okay so there is currently this monster bug in my room. It flies and it flies quickly...and it makes creepy noises. I am afraid. I am getting a couch in the living room ready for my immediate use.

Not quite sure how I'm going to deal with various flying insects and rodents in Egypt. Will probably die of heart attack while there. Good night.

EDIT: it came back last night and I had to sleep on the couch again. You people just don't understand. It was making really freaky noises...the first noise it was making sounded like a grocery bag being scrunched up. And then it was making whirring sounds. Like, wrrrrrrrr. I hate it!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lists, Lists, Lists

Besides all the lists that I'm making of stuff to take with me to Egypt, my sister's got some requests of her own. Here are some things she'd like us to bring to Egypt for her...

1. Peanut Butter. 2.5 Kilos.. you know the HUGE container. I want smooth (big one)and crunchy (small one):)
2. All Bran... as much as you can carry
3. Shampoo and conditioner (Dove)
4. Whole wheat spagetti (3 packages) (Make sure it says whole wheat, not multigrain)
5. Spagetti Sauce (Hunts Hot & Spicy, 2-3 cans)
6. Ceareal (One of Rasin Bran, Shreddies, 2 Oat squares (mapleflavour)
7. Extreme BBQ chips (2 pks)
8. Two-bite brownies (a small package)
9. Omee's carrot cake
10. Omee's baklawa (like 2 peices.. one for me and one for Marwan.. if you have it already)
11. White casual bag
Just so you know, I already bought her this bummy bag. Egyptians don't know the meaning of "bummy." They're always dressed up like they're going to a wedding, and all their handbags have buckles and gold stuff dangling from them. It's actually quite sickening. So yes, she's made me buy her a handbag. But alas, the one I bought for her is not white. And it must be WHITE.

If you spotted the spelling errors, you'll know that this is Egypt's general effect on people. When they are there, they can't speak very much sense. It's against the rules or something. In addition, it's interesting to note the things that someone in Egypt is craving from Canada. Some of the above items seems so arbitrary.

That is all for now. Carry on.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Evolutionary Revolution

Nauman of Target Theory has sadly ended his blog, but generously donated his unpublished posts to Randomly Placed. Here is one of them...

Everyone tries to better themselves to become more than they are. Then again, there may be some who don't but those individuals have little to gain from life than if they don't strive to be better. Regardless, over time, people do gain skills and become better individuals because of them. People and other creatures evolve over time to incorporate new skills into their skill-set and strengthen their ability to survive and succeed.

I've always loved turning weaknesses into strengths because I didn't want to be riddled with weaknesses. From trying to make sure that I was as intelligent as I could be to being the best that I could, I strived. Of course, it's a never-ending struggle because once a person becomes complacent, they fall prey to vulnerabilities. You simply can't give up on the pursuit of being better than you are... unless you're a shark since they haven't evolved in nearly 65 million years thanks to simply being designed from the start as vicious and timeless predators.

For every time I was told I wasn't good enough at something, I like to adopt a "prove-them-wrong" and "kill 'em all" mentality. I like to fondly remember the fight between Muhammad Ali and Ernie Terrell where Ali tortured Terrell for 15 rounds and kept yelling at him "what's my name" throughout the fight. Terrell kept calling Ali by his original name of Cassius Clay before he converted to Islam and Ali punished him for it. I find that whole situation motivating since Ali made a fool out of Terrell for essentially underestimating him and putting Ali down verbally and Ali did it in a very effective manner. Suffice to say, I don't plan to yell that to anyone but I do love the mentality there... it's an evolutionary revolution.

"Free thinkers are dangerous..."
-System of a Down (Mind)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

We'll be Comin' 'Round the Nile


I'm leaving to Egypt in 12 days inshaAllah, June 18 until August 22nd. We're staying in Alexandria for the most part, and I'm super excited to see my sister again after a year. My plans for this blog aren't quite set yet, but I'm hoping to update pretty frequently with the crazy quirks of Egypt as my inspiration.

My aim is to take pictures in Egypt of all the images in this poem and post them here, for your entertainment :D

Besides that, I've never been out of Canada for this long before, so it'll be an interesting experience. I'm not really sure whether it'll be a positive or a negative one, but we shall soon find out. Until I leave, you will no doubt be:

a) mourning my departure.
b) hearing about my numerous annoyances with packing and planning and such.
c) no longer mourning my departure. ♥

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Reality of Love

I posted something a few days ago outlining my aversion to reality, to the news, to bad news in particular. But I really felt ashamed, so I took it down. But now I see that it really matters. I know most of you are confused and don't know what I'm talking about. So for those who didn't see it, I wrote:
"A few years ago I used to be completely obsessed with the news. I'd have to read at least the entire front section of the Toronto Star every day--without it, my day was incomplete. And I would really care about things, I would get worked up about the inequalities in this world. I would get angry at the bigotry of journalists.

And then I stopped wanting to know.

Because I absorb. If I opened up to the sad things in this world, they would engulf me, overtake me. They would render me a meaningless object of time that has been strewn into the extreme chaos of life."
I was thinking about this problem and I realized that it has everything to do with selfishness. I need to conserve love, like I don't have enough to go around. To quote the prince in Ever After: "I used to think that if I cared about one thing, I would have to care about everything, and I'd go stark-raving mad." But this is a twisted selfishness, because without loving other people, without sharing yourself and what you have, you can't love and respect yourself. So by being selfish, you're really taking away that potential for a greater love within yourself, towards yourself.

I went to a lecture last night where the speaker said we have to learn to love better. Some say that love is naturally instilled in us and somewhat chaotic. Isn't love something beyond reason and logic? So how can we love better when love is out of our control? To love yourself and others with something, some power that is not superficial. Some power that is not controlled by money.

Love. Don't we know that love is not a fancy or a fleeting attraction, it's a whole-life devotion to something beyond the physical sphere of living. It's not only something you do with your limbs, it's something you do with your heart. And you might disagree with me, but I find the only way to love better, is to first find that love in God, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. To truly know, to have the knowlege of His Love and what that love really means. One of God's Names is Al-Wadud, The Loving One: "And He is the Forgiving, the Loving" (Al-Burooj, 14).

He gave us the capacity to love. Allah is The One who loves better. Allah loves best. And the only way for me to also love better is to seek and know His love first.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Black Sheep

So apparently, this isn't actually a joke. I can see it now, the next hit horror movie: Attack of the Killer Meatballs II. What has this world become...