June 13 2016

Young Muslims Stand Up For Islam

Every time a terrorist attack takes place, and media announces that the terrorist is Muslim, or affiliated with ISIS, you find all Muslims around the world investing A LOT, if not all their time,  trying to denounce such unfortunate and heartless acts, making it clear that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam whatsoever, or defending Islam and the Muslim communities -especially in the West-  or simply explaining what Islam is all about, time and again.

As many of AquaCool followers know, I’ve promised myself a very long time ago to stop wasting any time trying to defend Islam, because I’ve come to the conclusion, back then, that many don’t want to reason or listen or read anything that is in the defense of Islam or Muslims, and would rather just attack and condemn no matter what.
But years, many years later, I have come to realize that just like there are thousands of people who couldn’t care less what Muslims have to say, many other thousands actually do care, and they are working, hand in hand, with Muslims, to help clear the picture and combat Islamophobia.
For these people who are restoring Muslims’ faith in humanity, I will continue to share any note-worthy initiatives, or projects that still didn’t go viral, in hopes of spreading the word and helping more and more realize that Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace.

And what I’m sharing here is one of these projects, a very impressive effort of some young Canadian Muslim students, who put together this video; no fancy talk, no fancy editing or anything of the kind, just the truth, plain and simple, told in a sweet and an honest manner, with a touch of humor, by students driven by a lovely passion for defending their religion and an amazing enthusiasm to represent it in a clear and simple way that appeals to all people, especially the youth members of their community and all over the world.
Not to forget the appearance of my father, who helped shed some light over some misconceptions about Islam, Fundamentalism, Islamophobia and Terrorism.

April 9 2016

Off To The Movies With Your Baby

A few weeks ago, and while watching a TV show about parenting on a German channel, I was taken by a scene shot in a cinema full of parents with their teeny tiny little bundles of joy. After a bit of googling here and there, I was introduced to “Kinderwagenkino“, which literally translates into: ‘Baby Stroller Cinema’.
The concept is to have movie theaters offer baby-friendly showings of brand new movies, to parents with infants and children under 2 years of age. So participating cinemas would specify certain times for these showings and would of course take into consideration babies’ sensitive ears and eyes by lowering the volume and dimming the lighting. The cinemas will also accommodate parents’ needs by providing a changing table inside the theater, (some theaters may provide couches for parents & babies to stretch on and relax) in addition to a designated area to park the baby’s stroller indoors right next to the entrance.

To be honest I was a bit jealous and envious of German parents. And for some weird reason, I didn’t dig deeper, I just let it go and went on as if I never heard of it in the first place… so unlike me :/

Anyways, a few days later, my husband took our older son to the movies, and they came back with a surprise; a flyer titled: “Stars & Strollers“. Which was exactly “Kinderwagenkino”, but Canadian version.
I was over the clouds. I got online, and after viewing what was available for that week, I decided to go for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”. Continue reading

February 27 2016

نواب برلمان كندا العرب ومهزلة التصويت ضد حركة البي دي إس

 سبق وعبّرت عن استيائي وحزني الشديدين بخصوص نتيجة تصويت البرلمان الكندي الذي تم يوم الإثنين السابق. التصويت تداول حركة البي دي إس الفلسطينية، وهي حركة سلمية تهدف إلى التوعية بآثار الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وجرائم الحرب التي ترتكبها إسرائيل في حق الشعب الفلسطيني، مطالِبةً دول العالم بمقاطعة وسحب الاستثمارات من إسرائيل وفرض العقوبات عليها، إلى أن تطبِّق القانون الدولي وتحترم حقوق الفلسطينيين وتكف عن انتهاكاتها المتكررة والمستمرة ضد الشعب الفلسطيني، إضافة إلى إعطاء اللاجئين الفلسطينيين حقهم في العودة.
طبعا لن تحظى أي حركة بأي انتباه إلا إذا كانت جهودها ناجعة، وبالفعل آتت جهود الحركة أكلها وانضم إليها العديد، من مختلف الديانات، بمافي ذلك بعض اليهود، ومن مختلف الجنسيات، التي تضمنت حتى بعض الإسرائيليين. ومن هنا بدأت جهود إسرائيلية مضادة وحثيثة بالتصدي للحركة ومحاولة وقفها بشكل رسمي وقانوني، وليس هذا فقط، بل ومعاقبة كل من ينضم لها أو يدعمها أو يجَرِّم إسرائيل أو يحاول تعريتها، في وسائل الإعلام أو وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي أو أي شكل من الأشكال.

وكانت الحكومة البريطانية أول من طبّق هذا القرار بمنع الحركة ومعاقبة كل من كان معها، وبعد أسبوعين، الإثنين الماضي، باشرت حكومة كندا في التصويت إماّ مع منع الحركة ومعاقبة من يدعمها و/أو يسيء إلى إسرائيل، أو التصويت ضد منع الحركة وضد معاقبة من يدعمها و/أو يسيء إلى إسرائيل.

المتابع منكم للموضوع بات يعلم أنّ التصويت النهائي كان لصالح إسرائيل ، وأنّ الحزب الليبيرالي الحاكم وحزب المحافظين (الذي كان وراء طرح القرار بمنع الحركة)  صوّتا لصالح إسرائيل، وأنّ كلاّ من الحزب الديمقراطي الجديد وحزب الكتلة الكيبيكية صوّتا ضد المنع ولصالح حركة البي دي إس، على أساس احترام الديمقراطية وحرية التعبير في كندا.
بدافع الفضول ومن باب العلم بالشيء أردت معرفة ما صوتت به نائبة منطقتي وهي من أصول أجنبية، وعرفت أنها قامت بالامتناع عن التصويت، لم أفرح بهذا ولكن أقدّر أنّ لشخص كبر وترعرع على ما يتشرّبه من الإعلام المنحاز لإسرائيل بأن لا يصوّت لصالح إسرائيل ويمتنع هي خطوة إيجابية نوعا ما  وإن لم تكن الصحيحة، ولكن الصدمة التي كنت وبكل صراحة لا أتوقعها، وعلمت بها قبل يومين إثنين فقط من خلال قراءتي لمقال، هي أنّ نائبين مسلمين صوّتا لصالح إسرائيل، نعم، صوّتا ضد حركة البي دي إس، وأنّ  باقي النواب المسلمين، بما في ذلك نائبين عربيّين ، إمّا تهرّبوا من التصويت بالتغيّب وعدم الحضور، أو حضروا وامتنعوا عن التصويت. لكم أن تتخيّلوا فاجعة الجالية العربية والمسلمة والعار الذي نحس به من هذه الحقيقة المرّة. لم أفكّر للحظة بأن أتأكّد من تصويتات النواب العرب أو المسلمين، اعتقدت أن تصويتهم لصالح الحركة أمر مسلّم به، لأكتشف أنّ كل التصويتات المساندة للحركة، وإن كانت غالبيتها نابعة عن دعم حرية التعبير وليست بالضرورة معادية لإسرائيل، كلها أجنبية، لا عربية، ولا مسلمة. وأنّ من تجري في عروقه نفس دماء ذالك الشعب الذي يعاني الأمرّين من الاحتلال، لم يأبه إلاّ بمنصبه، وخاف من سخط مُوالين إسرائيل.

أنا أعي تماما أنّ السياسة لعبة خطرة ومعقّدة، وأنّ الكلام سهل والفعل صعب، ولكن “يا عمّي إزا مش قدّ الشغلة ليش تدخلوها من أساسه؟”. لتعلموا أنّ الجالية انتخبتكم لتمثّلوها وتكونوا همزة الوصل بينها وبين البرلمان والحكومة، أنتم صوتها، تصويت مثل هذا ليس شيئاً شخصيا يخصكم، هذا صوتنا نحن، وعلى حد علمي، ليس هناك عربي واحد، لا مسلم ولا مسيحي، أيا كان أصله،  فرح بالاحتلال، أو يكره أن يعبّر عن رأيه بحرية دون عقوبات. يعني حتى لو لم تكن لديكم الجرأة بالدفاع عن القضية الفلسطينية من حيث المبدأ، وخفتم من إسرائيل _ مع أنّ هذا عار_ ولكن أضعف الإيمان أن تصوّتوا لصالح الحركة مثل الأجانب، من باب حماية حرية التعبير… أمّا لا قضيّة ولا مبدأ ووجودكم وعدمه واحد “طب لشو انتخبناكم بالله؟” بجد أعجز عن وصف مشاعري، هذا وأنا قد انتظرت يومين كاملين لأهدأ بعد قراءتي للمقال، لأنني لو كتبت لحظتها لأسأت الأدب بكل تأكيد.
وأسألكم، بالله عليكم، أبنفس السلبية ستتصرّفوا لو جاءكم أحد أفراد عائلتكم يشتكي، من اعتداء أحدهم عليه، هل ستسكت وتقول لابنك/بنتك/ أو قريبك، “معلش اسكت هذا ابن فلان لو مسح بأهلك الأرض بطلعله؟ “… لأنّ هذا بالضبط ما فعلتموه بسلبيتكم وخوفكم، سمحتم بأن يمارس الاحتلال انتهاكاته لفلسطين دون أي إدانة، فشكرا لحضراتكم، أنا اليوم ككنديّة لا يمكني أن أنتقد أو أُدين أو أتلفّظ بكلمة واحدة ضد إسرائيل، لا في كندا، ولا في أي مكان في العالم. شكرا جزيلا لكم.

أتمنّى أن تتعلّموا الشجاعة من الأجانب، أو من طلاّب الجامعات صغار السن، لم يهمهم ضغوطات أو تهديدات أو إهانات ووقفوا مع الحق والصح. أو تعلّموا من إسرائيلكم، كيف تدعم الجالية أبناءها، وكيف يفزع أصحاب الدين لإخوانهم.
وعليه العوض ومنّه العوض…

وهذا مقال أكثر من رائع وعن نفس الموضوع، بقلم الزميل حسين يونس: هنيئا لإسرائيل بكم

February 23 2016

Canada’s Motion Against the BDS , a Fatal Attack on Democracy

All social media portals are discussing yesterday’s vote, mostly praising it, describing it as a “positively” historic day… a day I would only refer to as an epic democracy fail.
To those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, yesterday Canada’s parliament officially passed an anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) motion, formally condemning “any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad“, noting the “long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations” Canada and Israel have.

Needless to say that many Canadians are unfortunately happy with this motion, calling it “fair”, “just” and the “right thing to do”. Many are actually threatening those who voted against this motion, calling them names and bullying them on social media portals as well as in mainstream media.

Was that a shock to people who are pro the BDS movement? not at all, even Canadians who voted for Trudeau knew in advance where the Liberals stand with regards to this bill… which is exactly where the Conservatives stand. But during his pre-election debates, Trudeau showed a great tendency to stand out, make strong just statements regardless of  pressures around him, he continuously reflected a humane free democratic approach which gave a spark of hope to many people, that maybe, just maybe, he would do the really right thing and lead by example in protecting the rights of his citizens in speaking up their minds freely, and not standing in their way of expressing their views nonviolently, and even encouraging them to peacefully share what they think. But no, yesterday’s vote was a letdown to many Canadians, a huge disappointment, and no matter how they put it, it’s just wrong.

Even if you’re pro-Israel, that doesn’t mean you could just go on bullying people into shutting their mouths up and take away their right to speak up as long as it’s in a peaceful civilized and nonviolent way. This is a right Canada gives to its citizens, and no one should take away this right.  The right of dissent is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What a shame, what a waste it was for those who gave their lives to create this Charter.
As NDP Leader Tom Mulcair beautifully puts it: “one can disagree with the boycott movement and debate it. But to call upon the government to condemn someone for having that opinion, that’s unheard of”, explaining that “This goes against the freedom of expression we hold so dear in our society. … makes it a thought crime to express an opinion.” Adding: “Since when do we allow that in a free and democratic society?”. [Source: Huff Post Canada]
Mulcair, who proved again to be a man of unbiased justice, standing by what’s right, not fearing pressure or attacks, has won the respect, loyalty and appreciation of many many Canadians when he voted against the passing of this ridiculous bill.

It is worth mentioning that the Canadian government’s vote follows  UK  government’s passing of the very same bill earlier in Feb. 14th, 2016, and I’m expecting that many more governments will amuse us with their support for this bill.

A big thank you, and hats off, to all those who voted against, starting with Mulcair, to the inspiring McGill undergraduates who voted in favor of the BDS movement.

Hoping that the decision will be somehow miraculously reversed.

December 15 2015

Canada: Cold Country, Warm Hearts

Like many Arabs living in Canada, I was overwhelmed with an indescribable feeling of joy, and pain, as the Syrian refugees started landing in the country.
As happy as I was to see them arrive safely, knowing they’ll now needn’t worry about their survival, and that they’ll finally be able to re-experience a safe and terror-free life, just like the one they used to have a few years ago before all this craziness took place, I have to admit that deep inside me, watching my brothers and sisters in this condition, scattered around the globe, seeking refuge continents away from their home, was not easy, at all.
All what came to my mind was Syria; this beautiful country, with its inveterate history and its rich culture… all the good times that I – like thousand others- have spent there on vacation. Syria was synonym to safety, fun, happiness and everything great. Now with terrorism tearing it apart, I really couldn’t help but feel sincerely sorry for their hearts that are aching and burdened with a huge question mark you can see on the face of almost every refugee: ‘What happened to us? what’s next?’
The only thing that helped ease the pain a bit was witnessing the beautiful reactions of Canadians as they welcomed refugees with arms wide open. Starting with the government and the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to the children who were holding toys and blankets awaiting their “new friends”.
The amount of donations and volunteers dedicating their time to help refugees was pretty impressive, and to see Canada sheltering people despite their religious beliefs, not asking them to give up their religious identity, but on the contrary embracing their beliefs, was just terrific, Canada sent a clear and strong message to the whole world: ‘a human being, is a human being, regardless of what they believe, regardless of where they come from, or what language they speak’.
This message certainly made all Canadians proud of their country and government, I know I am.

Of all Canadian gestures to welcome refugees, I must say that these two touched me the most:

  1. Ottawa children choir singing an Arabic Muslim song to welcome refugees:

2. Quebec senior women meet up to make tuques for refugees.

Let’s remember that those who made it here, or elsewhere as a matter of fact, are only the lucky ones, and that many others are still suffering with no way out.
As heartbreaking as this may be, let’s hope that Syria will once again be a safe home for its lovely people, and that the world will, one day, be a happier place, free of all kinds of terrorism.

 

November 12 2015

On Becoming a Canadian Citizen

As many of you already know, we landed in Canada a few years ago. I remember the very first steps I took in Toronto Pearson International Airport. They were shaky, unsteady steps, driven by curiosity, worry,  excitement and a mixture of ambition and fear.

Before coming here, we heard lots of mixed reviews of the country and its lifestyle. So we decided to learn from the experiences of others, without letting these experiences shape our own expectations or decisions. In short, we decided to live our own adventure with all its details, all its twists and turns, being prepared for the best as well as the worst case scenarios.

In Canada, and no matter where you’re coming from, you’ll suffer from what I like to call: ‘The Canada Shock’. Everywhere you go, you’ll experience this “we’re all different and the same” sensation.
Canada is where you hear a 100 languages you don’t speak, feel like a complete stranger,  then out of nowhere, and like music to your tired ears, someone passes you by, and you hear your mother tongue … you smile, they smile back at you (most of the time) and all of a sudden, you feel you’re home.
Canada is where you feel overwhelmed by the vast majority that is nothing like you; everyone looks different than you do, everyone dresses different than you do, but then you take a closer look and realize they’re, in fact, all like you: they reflect the mixed feelings inside them just as well as you do, they shop for clothes exactly where you do, and they all come from a different place on the map, like you, they struggle to build a new life, like you, and worry about mostly the same things you worry about… you feel at ease, you feel you’re all the same, you feel at home.
Canada is where people eat things like Poutine, Nanaimo Bar, and Maple-glazed everything 😀 , and then you crave hummus & falafel, a hot shawarma, or a steamy biryani, sushi, souvlaki, burgers, steaks, pad thai, or any weird thing you desire, and you’ll mostly find it… and feel at home.

In Canada you can be one of two groups of people. Those who insist on spotting the differences, letting them get in their way, and those who insist on spotting the similarities, overcoming the differences and going their own way. As long as you belong to the second group, you’ll lead a happy peaceful and successful life in Canada. Canada is not a perfect country, but it’s a very unique one.
I’m glad we didn’t let anything influence our journey. It was for sure a bit rough in the beginning, like many immigrants I guess, but with time we learned that you just can’t compare life in Canada to anywhere else in the world. It is indeed, a very unique place, like nowhere else. It has its own system, its own beauty, its own difficulties, and you can’t just get along if you keep comparing it to other places you’ve been, whether those places were better or worse in your own opinion.

This is my first blog post as an officially Canadian citizen, and if there’s anything I love about this country it’s the fact that becoming a Canadian citizen does not require you to hide your origins or forget your roots. And although some people are embarrassed of their origins and do “forget” where they come from, many Canadians don’t. They celebrate where they’re from, revive their cultures, and embrace their roots while beautifully assimilating to their new society. And this makes Canada the wonderful, one of a kind place it is. And this is what I’m gonna pass to my two boys Adam and Arkan: be proud of every drop of blood running through your veins, celebrate who you are, belong to here and there, love here and there, be loyal to here and there.
You might confuse your longing and nostalgia with the feeling of not belonging, you might feel lost and torn at times, but with time you’ll learn how blessed you are, how unique you are, and will learn to appreciate your life, enjoy your life, and love your life.

As for me, today I’m a proud Palestinian (by blood), proud Jordanian (by nationality),  proud Tunisian (by experience) and a proud Canadian (by nationality too).  And although I’ve been to many other places I loved so much and felt at home, but I feel these four countries have shaped who I am today the most, and hope to always represent a good example of all of them. As for being Canadian, well, so far I’m very proud of the outcome of the last elections, and can’t wait for the next elections to practice my right to vote 🙂 … and now, off to the kitchen where a very delicious maple pecan pie awaits me. 😀

September 11 2015

Bullying Parents into Accepting Ontario’s Updated Sex-Ed Curriculum

Latest update with regards to Ontario’s “new & improved” sex-ed curriculum is that the government will allow schools to force sex-ed on kids, according to Ontario’s Minister of Education that is.
Parents opposing the updated sex-ed took this as a stab in the back, after being promised to have the option of withdrawing their children from the sex-ed lessons. We were hoping that we’ll all agree to disagree and there will be some middle ground that will leave every one happy. Now not only don’t we have the right to say no, but we have a great chance of being forced to have our children learn what we’re opposing. Wynne’s reflecting the very “liberal” views of her party, and showing the world that parents’ rights, if they happen to disagree with her, are not applicable… so much for the “inclusion” she’s trying to force on our children, and a very strong lesson in “anti-bullying” and “accepting differences”!

This announcement came at the same time the news of the Polish government backing down on the explicit sex-ed as a response to the massive parent protests went viral, having people  around the world admire and respect the Polish government for listening to its citizens and caring about what they think and how they feel more than anything else.

And since parents against the new curriculum are being called all kinds of things, I believe I need to make a few things straight here:

  • Parents opposing the new sex-ed curriculum are very well educated, open minded & responsible, and have in fact read the whole curriculum, not just the manipulative parental guides to it.
  • Religion is not the only reason for the objection, many atheists and non-religious parents are saying no to the new sex-ed. It’s a matter of principle and morals.
  • Many Parents are not aware that sex-ed is already part of the old curriculum, and that homosexuality, disease control, contraceptives and much more are already being taught. So we’re not against awareness as long as age-appropriate, we’re against irresponsible, unnecessary explicit and age-inappropriate sex-ed which is the case in the updated sex-ed.
  • Aside from the fact that the whole ‘consultation prior implementation’ process was a huge scam, (I for one was here since 2010, and neither I, nor any single person I know was consulted), Parents are speaking up and taking a firm stand to show their objection through protests, rallies, strikes, polls, speeches, social media involvement, since 2010 until today; but Wynne doesn’t seem to be interested and continues to ignore, claiming that those are just a “minority”.
  • Claims of the new curriculum being based on scientific & psychological studies shattered when experts exposed its dangers and flaws (an interesting video about sex-ed in general is available here. And you can find the videos specifically discussing Ontario’s updated sex-ed on this website, just scroll down you’ll find a video of 3 parts).

 

This is a great website that wraps up all what I’m trying to share here, and provides videos & PDFs relevant to the subject.

I did share my point of view on the matter earlier, explaining why I was against the updated sex-ed curriculum, and I’m still against it. I still believe, that apart from the responsible, age-appropriate sex-ed, which children were receiving, it’s a very personal matter whether you want to expose your children to more or less awareness and sexual knowledge. I still believe a unified program that doesn’t respect diversity nor accommodates religious, cultural, or social values is a huge mistake. If this means calling me an unfit parent, then I proudly am.

 

September 1 2015

Claiming Back Childhood

I’m in love with this ad by GoRVing.ca , it touches me as a parent, because I believe, today’s children lack the one basic thing that should label them as children: their own space.
Parents, myself included, are failing horribly at giving our children the amount of freedom we were given by our parents when we were their age. We’re overprotective, too scared, very worried and paranoid that we have them under constant surveillance. It’s like we keep them in one huge transparent bubble, we allow them to look through it, go crazy in it, as long as we’re sure they wont burst out of it, not “so soon” at least.

To be fair to parents, I completely understand where this paranoia comes from, we’re living in an insane horrible world; what I don’t understand though is: how did we reach this point? and why, despite all efforts, why are things getting only worse?

I am trying, really really hard, to give my boys their own space, their own time, some freedom here and there, but I do know, that I need to do much more to let them experience real wild childhood, the one their dad and mom enjoyed when they were kids.

March 1 2015

Why I’m Against Ontario’s Updated Sex-Ed Curriculum

Yes, I am…

I know many people are just like me, and that many more are not, well, every person is entitled to their own opinion, I completely understand that, but seems like thousands of people don’t, and they want you to either convince yourself they’re right and give in to their own opinions, OR you give in even if you still disagree.

While I have no problem with many sections of the updated curriculum, I do strongly oppose teaching my children at school certain sexual topics like homosexuality, as well as oral, anal and intimate details of sexual intercourse.
Yes, I do, and it’s not because I think their curiosity doesn’t start at younger ages, or because I want to keep them in a bubble thinking they wont learn about that one way or the other, but because I want to be the one to discuss these things with them in the way I believe is best for them, and in a way that fits their mentality and age-group, and is within our family’s social and religious values given that we live in an extremely diverse society where everyone has their own opinions when it comes to sex-ed; What’s wrong with that?

1. Objectivity
A lot of people tried to convince me that the updated curriculum is not that big a deal, asking me to look at it “objectively”, so I read it again and again, I tried to be as objective as possible, but no, you can’t look at it objectively, simply because sex is personal, it is a very sensitive and intimate issue, and it should not, in my opinion, be discussed by individuals who will be trained to teach thousands of children -belonging to different religious and cultural backgrounds- in a unified way, giving them all the same message and with little or no respect to what they might be taught at home by their parents.

Continue reading

October 30 2012

Sandy Testing Canadian Spirit

We’ve been hearing about Sandy, aka ‘Frankenstorm’ for a while; warnings, tips on how to keep safe and survive the worst…etc. But the awesomeness of Canada is the fact that people didn’t really process the magnitude of what could’ve been a horrible natural catastrophe until last evening, before the unwanted guest arrived that is, due to many reasons. One reason is that people here are used to rough weather conditions, even immigrants who landed a few years ago no longer freak out when they see/hear the term: “severe- weather- alert”. Another reason would be the fact that some people don’t know the first thing about hurricanes, tornadoes, or such deadly beasts of nature; their ignorance serves them well as it automatically switches off any fear or even alertness buttons in their brains and this means they either don’t give a damn what would happen, or they were so excited and looking forward to witnessing their 1st deadly storm ever .  I can assure you though, that most  people belonging to either group changed their minds once they saw what happened in the US, and panicked even more when they heard about the 1st death case caused by Sandy in Toronto as a woman was killed by flying debris. And that’s when most of GTA neighborhoods started to turn into ghost-towns.  But before that, I believe most people were just turning the whole thing into a shopping spree: 1st aid kits,  flashlights, candles, matches, water bottles, blankets, sleeping bags, duct tape… some even bought tents (I’m guessing they belong to the 2nd group I was talking about).

One of the funniest things I heard yesterday afternoon was one of my neighbors explaining ‘Sandy’ to her kids and saying: “so, what I’m trying to say is, this is when all your crappy glow-in-the-dark stuff comes in handy”.

From our side of the building you can see Toronto city -usually clearly- so when we heard about the power cuts and saw the lights go off we started to freak out a bit I must admit, especially when we learned from TV & Twitter that sirens were constantly sounding in downtown Toronto to urge people to seek shelter as Sandy actually arrived. That’s when I also learned that among all this madness some people were actually complaining about home delivery services stopping “until further notice”.

Back to our building, in it you could easily tell who’s a new-comer and who isn’t, simply by looking through your window. When you see family members sticking their hands & faces onto the cold window glass trying to capture it all live in action you know they’re new-comers, the longer they stay still in this position, the newer to the country they are, because those who are here for a while know better than being so close to what could be a direct cause of death.
Another sign to distinguish new-comers from the rest is that they tend to turn disaster-times into little gatherings/house-parties. Table full of yummy finger-foods, snacks, tea/coffee/pop and everyone is watching live-news and making long-distance calls  exaggerating things to make their relatives & loved ones worried sick and think they’re brave heroes facing THE STORM 🙂

Kids were hoping Sandy would be more fierce and would stay longer to have the day off of course.  They were all let down when they woke up to what turned out to be a beautiful morning… Passing by a few scattered street & restaurant signs on the way to the school bus stop they were all giving their parents the “puppy-face” look in a last attempt to try to skip school: “but the storm knocked the signs down to the ground, we no longer know the right direction, it’s not safe” they’d say, and before they get the parents’ reaction they’d point to a broken sign on the sidewalk and shout: “check this out, cooooooool”.

Anyway nice weather didn’t last for long; it turned a bit crazy at noon, colder than the morning, more wet, so darn foggy. Now things are getting back to normal I guess. So no need to worry about us, in case you did in the first place!

With all this madness going on, one can’t but respect the Canadian spirit and positivity. On the streets people are all happy Sandy didn’t mess much with Canada, they’re trying to clean up after the storm with smiles on their faces. On Twitter some are tweeting how happy they are the tree didn’t fall on their car/ house instead of focusing on the chaos it left behind.

I leave you with some photos of the super storm as it passed by Southern Ontario.