Badr and Esther – Part Three

“… we have began our descent to Frankfurt International Airport, where the temperature is 20°C. We will be in the gate in about twenty minutes. We’d like the flight attendants to prepare the cabin for arrival. Thank you for flying with us today…” Despite his efforts, the pilot failed to hide his thick German accent. His rough voice, coming out of the inter-com, woke Esther up from her light sleep.

The flight was exciting, at first. It was her first time on an airplane. But, after 4 continuous hours, Esther was bored of the same continuous blue sky. The captain had lit the seat-belt sign. And, as if it was their cue, the flight attendants began circling around making sure everyone complied. Esther quickly fastened her seat-belt. The faint metallic click didn’t comfort her fear of crashing down.

The plane was starting to lose its altitude. Now, the view from Esther’s window seat was breathtaking. Green fields were everywhere. The cities, mere grey patches from above, looked like beauty spots on the charming face of nature. She was glad she chose to study in Germany. Her creative mind naturally conceived memories that have yet to happen…

She could already smell the fresh grass, while a gentle breeze embraced her face. Her hands were already caressing the dark soil. Her bicycle would lay on the ground. And she would rest against an old tree, bathing in its shadow with a book on her lap… Esther was on the edge of her seat, eagerly waiting to get off the plane and explore the country she had been dreaming about for a year.

The pilot was now circling over the airport, waiting for clearance to land. After 10 minutes, he finally received the permission from the control tower. As the big Boeing 777 began loosing altitude, Esther clutched her seat, closed her eyes and prayed silently…

***************************************

As he stood next to the luggage carousel, Badr looked around observing the strangers’ faces. It was one of his favorite “hobbies” from when was in Cairo. He would go to the bus stop and pretend to wait for a bus he’ll never ride. Instead, he’d sit for hours and subtly watch, trying to read body language and decipher the reasons behind every shaky hand, watery eye, fast pace…

Observing is a great way to understand a culture. Simply sit silently and watch the busy bee hive that is a city. It takes a lot of patience and skill, since every detail matters and every minor movement has repercussions on a higher scale. But, when you do master this beautiful form of consciousness, you’ll get a glimpse of the truth.

Badr knew that Men will utter the most horrible of lies in order to hide the truth. So he decided to stop asking questions and watch as their tormented subconscious strips them bare of every incoherent fable. Only then will you start seeing patterns. The great high-ways that everyone followed except each had his own lane and traveled at his own pace. Many tried to make their own roads, but the rocky ways were tiresome for most.

So far, he had found that the great Egyptians followed two paths. There were those who would greet you as they walk past you even if you have never met. They are the same people that will pray for you, your parents and your future children when you lend them a hand, or give you the greatest up-lifting, motivational speech when they see you water a plant or pick up street garbage. They were mostly elderly or people whose poverty deprived them from any contact with the complexity of our modern lives. So, they clung tight to the values they inherited from their ancestors. They led a simplistic life, kept their doors open for they trusted everyone, invited every stranger to lunch or to a delicious cup of tea. And as long as you respect them, you will be treated as a son, a brother and a friend. They are the ones who’d wake up at sunrise every day to pray in the street mosque and sleep just after the night prayer. They would break their fast together, in Ramadan, and share whatever they could afford with their poor wages ,with those who were even less fortunate. They were all just one big family.

On the other lane, however, one might find the exact opposite: those who covet money above everything. They have ruptured every bond with their past, forgot every tradition and adopted “modernity” as a way of life. They live in fancy west-like neighborhoods where everyone is a stranger and drive luxury cars that would occasionally hit a homeless child and gets away with it without a prosecution. They look down on the poor, take advantage of them and steal their money. They pretend to be pious but their actions tell a different story. Guilt has yet to find a way to penetrate their hearts. Sadly, the corrupt state protects them. That’s why many started to indulge in these unhealthy habits. They become haunted by the desire to earn more and more. It would pain them to give a spare Dirham to an old famished beggar, even though their great fortune won’t suffer. Greed traps them eventually and makes them unable to enjoy life, for their minds are always calculating their losses.

Then, there were those who are trapped in the middle, mostly young men and women like himself. They are torn between these two different worlds, not knowing if they should follow the strict traditions of the past or break free from every moral restraint. Poverty was a big problem in Egypt. And the new generation was eager to get rid of it, that’s why the “modern” life style seems so appealing. It’s the fast guaranteed way to money. Still, making that choice wasn’t easy thanks to their up-bringing. It was really hard to sever the ties and erase every lesson their parents have taught them. In fact, Badr was sure that most preferred the “old” way that left them unsatisfied. After a couple of years, few remained in the middle. Life forced them to make a choice. And to Badr, many seemed to be making the wrong one.

Badr finally spotted his bags. He clutched them as they slid beside him and headed towards the exit. A young brunette was pushing her luggage close to him. He let her go first through the exit. She smiled at him and thanked him. Badr followed her and found his host family waiting for him. As he shook hands with the people he’d be spending a year with, he noticed that the young brunette was doing the same. Was she an exchange student as well? The young brunette was in fact Esther.

Source: Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Photo: H.D.Fehrenz

Nominated for the LIEBSTER award!

Yes, I felt the need to capitalize LIEBSTER. After all, it’s not every day that you get nominated to a Liebster Award. AH Liebster, what a beautiful word! First of all, I’d like to apologize to Shruti for keeping you waiting. Sorry! I think we have some sort of war going on between us. Don’t worry it’s nothing serious. It’s only a nomination war! I hit her with her a Lovely Blog  Award and she retaliated with the mighty Liebster Award. It’s a fiery war! Nah, I’m kidding with the war thing. We’ve got enough wars going on in this word, we don’t need another. Shruti is a great blogging friend and a talented writer. I bet she’s not a bad dentist either. My healing wisdom tooth is a proof of it. Go visit her blog.

Now, if you survived my humor without permanent psychological damage, I will present the rules:

 

The Official Rules of the Liebster Award:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

And now, I present to you my odd answers:

1 .  Which era would you like to be born in and why ?

Well, the future is unknown and the past is gone. (corniest quote ever but still true). I am stuck with the present era then. I admit it’s not the greatest era of all time, but it’s all we have. So leave the past behind and let the future unfold itself. Right now, let’s deal with our problems. And trust me, we have them in all flavors, so pick one.

2 . Jungle safari or snorkeling ?

Fill the safari with water and do Jungle Safari Snorkeling.

3 . One movie you never get tired of watching and why ?

500 days of summer. One of the all time greatest romance movies. It’s so unique and funny.

4 .  What is it that attracts others to you ?

My very bitter sarcasm. Oh wait, that’s what drives them away. 😛

5 . If you were to choose a fictional character to marry , he/she would be ?

Tough question since I’m no longer attracted to fictional characters! All I’m saying is, it used to be Hermione Granger.

6 . If Einstein made a surprise stop over at your place , you would ……… ?

Get some tea, fill him up on the current events  and have a discussion about religion, philosophy and science.

7 . Your definition of happiness would be …. ?

To live at peace with everything and everyone.

8 . If you are a skin changer or have the ability to transform into any living being what would you be ?

Thank you but I am very happy with my humble looks.

9 . Sweet or savory ?

Savory.

10 . One quality you wish you had ?

Humility: to be free from pride and arrogance.

11 . You were to wake up either in a deserted island home to cannibals and wild beasts or in a haunted mansion no one would dare to venture , where would it be and with whom ? ( you cannot go back to sleep 😀 )

I would prefer the haunted mansion since I do not believe in ghosts. And I’ll take a dog with me, in case there are ghosts. (According to the movies, dogs sense them and bark: my cue to get the hell out of there).

11 facts about me:

1- This is the first time I’ve used the Bold feature in a post.

2- That might be a lie.

3- I don’t want to bore you guys with real facts.

4- I stole this excuse from Shruti.

5- These facts suck.

6- I wrote the nominees just under this section.

7- I wrote my questions just under the nominees.

8- I am skipping to 11.

11- I am a very odd person.

Here are my nominees:

1-  Shruti

2- Takeshi

3- Lola June @ Opposite the Border

4- aakifahm

5- mykulmitch

6- blueemuse

7-  maria9saif

8- Hope Nwosu

9-  juicyjooj

10- thenadlog

My questions: 

1- When did your passion for writing ignite?

2- Do you find yourself at ease when you’re surrounded by people or when you’re alone?

3- Name a book/quote/movie that inspired you to live this way.

4- Were the people that changed your life enemies or friends?

5- What are the things you value in this world?

6- Tea or Coffee?

7- Did you follow your parent’s footsteps or did you create your own way?

8- What’s the most valuable lesson life has taught you?

9- Optimistic or pessimistic about the way our world is heading?

10- One quality you wish you had.

11- Dou you believe we can reach perfection?

Thought for Food

I rarely have lunch outside. When I say rarely, I mean I can spend years without stepping inside a restaurant. And, so after 2 years of eating at home, you’d expect me to jump joyfully when I was invited. But, no I was practically dragged to go.

I don’t really enjoy eating outside. Thanks to the internet, I have nightmares about the germs in public places. Even though, this was a fancy restaurant, it was also busy. The workers are mere humans, they will make mistakes. That’s why I was reluctant to use the cutlery and the cups. I didn’t even touch the door handle. There was no way I was going to touch it after 100000 greasy dirty hands used it. I sort of jumped inside when the guy in front of me opened it.

The food is a big issue as well. For the past year or so, I’ve been considering vegan-ism. I have come across many documentaries exposing the horrifying treatment of animals. And, honestly, despite all my efforts, it made feel bad about my eating habits. I struggled to admit that vegans are right because I falsely assumed it contradicted my faith. There was another issue as well: there are no vegan products around here. So, for now, I am still eating meat and dairy. However, I always make sure the animals were treated as humanely as possible. In a restaurant, however, the humane way costs a lot of money. I just hope that the owner wasn’t too greedy and that the food won’t make me sick.

Another thing I hate about restaurants is that the food is either too much or not enough. In my case, it was the first. Seriously, the salad alone would’ve been enough. Since I didn’t know the salad was designed to fill a horse, I naturally ordered a main dish. Instantly, an internal conflict arose: Either, I leave the food to be thrown in the garbage or I force it down my throat. I opted for the latter. To remind you, I hate this food since it’s cruelty-full. But, I ate it. 😦

There is one good thing about restaurants. I met the french actress Julie Delpy and the american pop-star Taylor Swift. It was amazing. They sat with me and we had fun. They were super nice. Julie re-enacted some scenes from her movies. You see, I have a habit of meeting celebrities, so I brought a guitar just in case. So, Taylor played us some songs. Nah, I’m just kidding. But, the two women at the next table really looked like them.

Thought for Food Logo.jpg

                                                                     Source: The Colbert Report

Nominated for One Lovely Blog Award

 I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Sueju Takeshi. I have stumbled upon his blog not so long  ago, still he was nice enough to nominate me. So thank you! He’s a really great writer from the Philippines  and has lead a very inspiring life. Please go visit his blog and follow him.

 Here are the rules for winning this award :

1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.

2. List the rules and display the award image.

3. Include 7 facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.  This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love.

5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Alright, here are seven random facts about me:

1° I have been a huge bookworm ever since I was a kid. Even during final’s week, I will read instead of studying for my exams.

2° I love doing sports: especially martial arts and volley ball. Bragging Alert: I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

3° My favourite TV series is House M.D. I feel like I can relate to the main character: Dr Gregory House. To be sarcastic and sometimes mean is my way of saying I like you and I feel safe around you. I know I am way less intelligent because this man is a GENIUS. Though, I really hope I can change one day like he did after realizing the error of my ways. The end is really inspiring. Spoiler Alert: the man faked his own death to escape prison and be with his best friend who has terminal cancer and is going to die soon.

4° My favorite book: Lord of the flies: The author shakes the roots of your beliefs. If you get stranded on an island, how long will it be before you return to a savage barbaric state. For the children of this book, it wasn’t long before they MURDERED their friends. These “martyrs” represented Religion and Science. Both blown away when savage instincts arose. The main character, Ralph, has an internal  fight between the social way of living and his instincts.

5° I love quantum physics. I mean my blog’s name has quantum in it! This is a common trait between me and House. Although, my passion for physics exceeded my love for medicine. I wanted to be a doctor for a long while. But I’ve always been attracted to space. I used to sit in the library drawing the moon and other satellites and reading about black holes. And when I found out about quantum physics, I fell in love.

6° I speak 4 languages.

7° The life I’m trying to lead can be summed up in this quote: “Hate no one, no matter how much they have wronged you. Live humbly, no matter how wealthy you become. Think positively, no matter how hard life becomes. Give much, even if you have been given little. Keep in touch with the ones that have forgotten you and forgive who has wronged you. And do not stop praying for the best for those you love.” Ali Ibn Abi Talib.

Here are my nominees. This is, by far the best part: nominating my favourite bloggers and writers.

1° shrutigopinath

2° Lola June @ Opposite the Border

3° aakifahm

4° mykulmitch

5° blueemuse

6° maria9saif

7° Hope Nwosu

8°  juicyjooj

9° thenadlog