September 19

Mom, Are You A Vegetarian?

Adam: Mama, are you a Vegetarian?
Me: No habibi. You know I eat meat… sometimes.
Adam: I also know you’d pick Falafel over Shawarma any time. You also prefer veggie burgers not chicken/beef burgers… oh, and you always eat spicy VEGGIE Sushi.
Me: I like them more, that’s all.
Adam: You also eat veggie poutine Mama, and order that veggie Thai something (referring to Pad Thai), and always get excited about meatless pasta dishes.
Me: Hmm, that’s true actually.
Adam: The other day you ate a veggie crêpe instead of fish sandwiches like me and Baba.
Me: Yep.
Adam: You make us these weird vegetable & hummus sandwiches.
Me: But you like them right?
Adam: Not as much as meat sandwiches though. Oh, and you also pick the meat out of the stew from your dishes and eat the rice with just the vegetables.
Me: (And I thought no one actually noticed :D)
Adam: You watch lots of shows & documentaries about vegetarian food.
Me: I’m just curious and try to get inspired to make more yummy veggie meals.
Adam: So you ARE a Vegetarian?
Me: No I’m not.
Adam: Ok, ok. I think you are, but anyways… Can we order Pizza?
Me: Sure, what would you like?
Adam: Pepperoni.
Me: Ordering on the phone “We’d like to order one Pepperoni & one small cheese Pizza please”
Adam: Pfft…
September 7

Back to School Ecstasy


Today was the first day of school in my area, and boy don’t we just love these back-to-school days with all the hustle and bustle they bring us!
Traffic jams, crowded sidewalks, delightful school busses, colorful bikes (and their tiny bells), some uniforms here, some fashion statements there, kids laughing, others crying, smiley faces, teary eyes… a very interesting mixture of emotions this day, not only on children’s faces, but also on those of parents.

Like children, you’d see parents who are having a hard time letting go of their little ones _or not so little ones_ on the first day of school. Parents who are already exhausted from a long summer vacation and wish they could still get a couple more weeks to relax and do all the things they wanted to do with their kids but couldn’t for one reason or the other.
Parents who didn’t get enough of their kids, who miss them even before they went to school, who feel guilty for waking them up from their deep sleep and dragging them to a place away from home.

And the other parents, the joyous and excited parents. Parents who were waiting for this day since June, parents, who, as much as they love their kids, have just had it with vacation and all its stress and drama. Parents who need school more than anything, who thank God for the teaching profession… parents who can’t hide their happy smiles and cheerful energy, because, today is, all about them.
Today they get to forget about everything, for a few hours, and focus on themselves. Today they get to sip coffee in a café, the grown-up style: scream-free, whining-free, and mess-free.
They could go for a walk WHENEVER they want to, or maybe run their butts off like there’s no tomorrow. They could relax and watch a grownup movie without worrying about language, violence or anything else. Today they could sleep in, for as long as they want, and everything can just wait. They can go shopping in peace, they can grab a bite like an adult, they can listen to whatever they want, they can surf the internet for hours and hours, they can finally go to work not worrying where their kids will be and how they’ll spend their time.
It doesn’t matter whether the parent is working or not, the back- to- school day is very special to every parent, they feel like someone has taken a really huge burden off their shoulders, they feel, how do I put it? …light and free.

Every year, I make sure to drop off my son to school the first day, although he takes the bus to school, just like my parents used to do every single year with all five of us, and there are many parents who do the same with their kids every year.
Today though, I couldn’t but notice that unlike other years, the happy parents were an overwhelming number, and to be honest, I enjoyed watching every single one of them. They were everywhere. After finding their kids’ classes, these parents made sure to document the big day with a picture of their kids in the class lineup (which was most likely uploaded to multiple social media networks), kissed them goodbye, and jogged, yes, jogged out of school before the class was even dismissed. The look on most parents’ faces as they were leaving the school was just priceless.
There were these two dads in particular that made me, and many others, laugh like crazy, their reaction was hilarious. One was walking towards his car that was parked next to mine, apparently a working dad, judging from his suit and laptop case, which means, that he’s most probably heading to work, not to some fun place where he can enjoy being child-free, but still, once he stepped into his car, he checked his hair in the rear mirror, put on his seat-belt, turned on the radio -on a really high volume-, rolled his window down, and screamed: “yo hoo!” at the top of his lungs, while driving away.
The other dad, was walking in front of me on his way to the bike parking racks, and I don’t know if he was a stay-at -home – dad, or a work-from-home-dad, or about-to-go-to-work-dad, no idea, he was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and slippers, he apparently came with his kids on their bikes, he was humming some song, dancing to the beat in his head, got on his bike, got a really deep breath, looked at us all and said: “is it me? or is today… (now he shouts) friggin’ AWESOME!” and he disappeared into the woods, just like that.

These people and their pure joyful -and justifiable- selfish excitement made my day. My day, which, unlike many other parents, will not be that different, because with my eldest going to school, I still wont have the freedom to spend my time the way I wish, since I have the neediest creature there is to share the house with: my toddler 😀 yep, I’m proudly struggling to manage house chores, raise a toddler, work from home, develop my skills and maintain what’s left of my sanity; but I can’t complain really, I thank God that I’m lucky enough to be worrying about just that and nothing else of what other parents in many less-fortunate parts of the world have to deal with.

May every child have the blessing of health, a family, a safe environment and a right to education.

And parents, enjoy the school year as it lasts 😉

 

April 9

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

January 19

Eight Years Apart

8years A year ago, in December, as many of you already know, I was blessed with the addition of my sweet baby boy: Arkan. And as many of you also know, he’s my second child, my first being my awesome son Adam, who, as many of you don’t actually know, is 8 years older than Arkan…
Yes, yes, a huge age gap, I’m perfectly aware of that, and believe me, every single person I meet manages to stress out this fact one way or the other. I remember when I was pregnant with Arkan, some people tried to “prepare” me for the harsh reality that is awaiting me, some tried to “warn” me about the many downsides of having siblings with such a huge difference, and many tried to conceal their shock with hesitant smiles, or tried to show support by saying the wrong kind of things, like: “well, what can one do? just try to look at the bright side”, “at least they’ve got each other, you know”, “let’s pray it’s a girl and hope for the best!”, “I have the same situation at home and I can’t begin to tell you what a nightmare my life has been, but then again, every experience is different”.
It doesn’t really bother me that people think this way, and I don’t mind it, as long as I know that it’s all governed by good intentions. I love sincere people, people who honestly care, even if they don’t know you, even if they know they’ll never ever see you again.
And among the many who tried to scare the hell out of me, there were a few who made sure I don’t let any negative comments steal my excitement, or ruin my experience.

The once helpless little baby is now one year old. The age gap that many people tried to scare me of, was a beautiful bliss I’m so thankful for. I’m enjoying motherhood just as much as I did with my first one. I don’t have to worry about jealousy, nor fighting. My older son is a very responsible and caring helper, who is enjoying our new addition as much as we are.
I know they won’t share many things together, and that each will have his own world that is almost a decade away from the other, but they’ve got each other, there will always be a point where their two worlds will intersect, a rare  miraculous bond I’m so glad for .
The point I’m trying to make here is that you shouldn’t let anyone scare you no matter what the circumstances. Whether you have an only child, or twins, or siblings with a very small age gap, or a very big one, every experience is different, and each one has its own positive and negative sides. Focus on the bright side, work around the dark corners, and you’ll end up with a magical experience like no other.

When I was pregnant, I suggested Adam chooses a nice book to buy for the baby, and he chose a lovely book that had the feature of playing musical instruments. It was so sweet, and when he came to the world, Arkan loved it . I was so proud of Adam’s choice of books.
A year later, for Arkan’s first birthday, I suggested Adam picks another book as a gift to his baby brother, and well, let’s just say, this time, his choice wasn’t as mature nor sensitive 😀 Of all the lovely baby books out there he had to choose this: Toot.

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What can I say… boys will always be boys!
P.s. The whole family enjoys this lovely, very funny & extremely cute book. 

November 12

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 1

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.

May 12

Scary Coconuts

A few days ago I went grocery shopping, and when I reached the ‘fresh produce’ section I found lovely small coconuts on display, I approached the stand and the sight of them took me years back to a Sunday morning, in Germany, in a small summer fair I went to with a bunch of friends. That was the first time I ever tasted fresh coconut in my life. I remember the stand, the young man standing behind his beautifully displayed freshly cut coconuts, and the small fountain of coconut water beside them. And I definitely remember my first bite; the texture, the taste. I loved everything about fresh coconuts, I got a few pieces and snacked on them while walking.

Until that moment I only had dried shredded coconuts , which I’m not a huge fan of to be honest; I’d eat a bar of chocolate with dried coconut, some yummy Arabic desserts with it as an ingredient, but I’m not that much into it.
But I’m known for my obsession with coconut oil, not for cooking though, for beauty purposes. I find it to be a perfect skin moisturizer,  hair mask, body scrub, lip balm… I use it alone or get creative mixing it with other natural ingredients and it always works beautifully.

Anyway, back to the grocery shop… I held a coconut in my hands and thought to myself: “why the hell don’t I buy these regularly?”, and few minutes later I was holding it  inside my kitchen. I put it on the table, as if it was a beautiful centerpiece, couldn’t stop looking at it proudly, happily, lovingly… and then it hit me, I never bought a coconut in the shell before, how would I open it?
I know this might seem like a silly question to someone who’s used to buying whole coconuts, but believe me, I had no clue. So I did what I do best in such embarrassing situations, I turned to google.
After watching a selection of videos and reading a bunch of articles on how to “easily open a coconut”, I went back to the kitchen, had my gloves on, a pair of glasses (to protect my eyes from any flying bits as one video suggested), a hammer in my hand, I centered the coconut on the counter, and held my arms up high, which felt more like shooting  a crime scene from a twisted movie rather than an attempt at opening a coconut, but well, google knows best, right! so I gave it the first hit, a gentle one, and God! those coconuts are hard,  I mean rock-hard! My next step was supposed to be a harder hit, but instead, I chickened out, I got so scared, I mean,  what if I hit it and it bounced back hitting me in the head, what if I fell unconscious, I know this is how a child should think , but I couldn’t handle it, I gave up. and waited for my husband to deal with it.
My husband came home from work, he was excited to see a coconut in our kitchen, probably thought I was an expert and would prepare it in minutes for us to feast on, but I told him the ugly truth, he told me his ugly truth, that he never did it before either, but luckily he wasn’t a coward like me, he took the hammer and hit it, repeatedly… but he too gave up when he saw that absolutely NOTHING happened to the coconut. So, we sighed, left it there, disappointed and embarrassed (as our elder son was watching us fail).
I decided I’m never buying whole coconuts ever again, I’ll have to search for shops that sell it cut into slices and ready to eat.

The next morning we woke up to a lovely surprise: a  crack along the shell, my son was so excited, he woke up his dad to the news, all it took was one last hit, and the coconut was finally open, we de-meated it and enjoyed it together… well, I believe Adam didn’t like it that much, it was “too chewy” for his taste, but I certainly loved every bite of it.
Will I ever buy whole coconuts again? I might, only if my husband was ready for the work, because I’m definitely not gonna try opening them, ever, in my life.

November 13

On Honest Compliments & Precious Moments

Today was one of those days… lots of things to do, so little time to do them, back pain, appointments pushed at last minute to be on the exact time of other appointments, lots of waiting, back pain, lots of driving, grocery shopping, back pain, delay in school bus schedule, back pain, lots of phone calls (which I’m not a fan of) and more and more back pain. Needless to say the sudden drop in temperatures didn’t help my back pain at all, but since I like winter, it was like a breath of fresh air that helped sooth me in a way, and to refresh my exhausted spirit.

And what I love about days like this is that, in the middle of all this chaos, God keeps sending people your way, good people, just to help you: lift a bag for you, open the door for you, smile at you, offer simple help that goes a long way, something you very much need on such crazy days.

But there is nothing that fixes my spirits and makes my day more than a genuine compliment coming from a pure and sincere heart, and no I don’t mean a compliment on my looks or my hair or my clothes or my place or things like that, I mean complimenting my efforts and appreciating my hard work. My son usually takes care of that part 🙂 but today my son’s friend joined him. A very picky eater, from a culture so different from ours, with tons of allergies I never even heard of, dropped by unexpectedly for a visit, I prepared a quick and simple lunch for them, and heard him tell my son: “Is your mom a chef or something?”… Adam came to the kitchen and told me that his friend finished his plate in 2 minutes, and he never usually does that. Then they both actually left their video games and came to the kitchen, thanking me repeatedly, sat at the table around me while I was cleaning up the place, and had a small chat with me, and then the boy came to me and shined the biggest smile at me.
Now the great part about this is that I didn’t make something special, it was quite simple, but I made it with love, despite my crazy day, my pain and my exhaustion, I enjoyed making them lunch, I decorated their plates, and  I just wanted them to enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it. And I believe that the positive energy was felt and was contagious, and came back to me in the form of a compliment and a big fat smile from a boy who spends most of his days at after-school programs or with nannies, and making him feel the warmth of home and a loving atmosphere made my day as much as it made his.

It’s these simple moments, when you feel how you’ve touched someone’s heart, and when you feel they’ve touched yours, it’s these moments that count, that make a difference, and remind you that, no matter how off track your day was, there are many simple acts of love that will not go unnoticed and that will put  your day back on track, making up for all the chaos (and back pain) you’ve experienced.

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نحنا والقمر جيران

الغربة؛ أصعب ما فيها أوّلها، لا يهم إن كنت تغترب عن أهلك أو بلدك أو ثقافتك أو حتى قارّتك، فالغربة من أي نوع صعبة، خاصة في أوّلها. بالطبع لا يستوي المغترب المجبور مع ذلك الذي اختار الغربة بنفسه، ولا يمكن مقارنة من يختلف عليه كل شيء مرة واحدة بذلك الذي اختلف عليه شيء واحد، ولكن بالنهاية، الفراغ على اختلاف درجاته يؤلم كل واحد بطريقة ما.

أوّل غربة لي كانت في أحضان الوطن العربي، تونس، أحببتها وأهلها الطيبين، ولكن كوني بشر لا أُنكر كم كانت أوّل فترة قاسية وصعبة. لم أترك طريقا إلاّ وسلكته لأشعر بأنّه لم يتغيّر علي شيء. ولكن، ومع إشراقة كل صباح، كان كل ما يحيط بي يذكّرني أني في مكان مختلف. رائحة الياسمين العطرة التي عشقتها وأدمنتها لاحقا، اللهجة التي كانت غريبة علي والتي كانت تُسمعني نفسها كلّما فتحت النافذة أو كلما خرجت من المنزل، الأصوات، العادات، الأكل، كل شيء كان جميل وله مذاق ورائحة مميزين، ولكن مختلفين عمّا تربيت عليه وتعودت عليه سنين عمري كلّه. كنت أشتاق لرائحة بلادي، شاي بلادي، قهوة بلادي، لهجتي، وجوه ناسي، أهلي، عمارات مدينتي حتى البالية منها، أشتهي أكلاتنا، تلك التي مهما حاولت صنعها في البيت، لن تضاهي طعمها التي تعودته عند شرائها من الشارع والمحلات الصغيرة. كنت أشتاق لكل شيء. لهذا كنت أفرح إذا ما سمعت شخصا من بلادي أو من نواحيها يتكلم في السوق، وأحاول أن أروي ظمئي بالمشي خلفهم للحظات معدودة لأملأ مخزون شوقي واشتياقي. لم يكن لدي حينها قنوات فضائية، ولم يكن لدي أصدقاء لا من بلدي الأم ولا من أمّي الثانية تونس. وفي يوم مشمس جميل، كنت أحس بالاختناق، لم أكن قد عثرت بعد على عمل، أحسست بفراغ فظيع وشوق أفظع، فقررت الذهاب إلى دكاّن الحارة (العطّار) لشراء بعض الاحتياجات المنزلية، كانت صاحبة الدكان حنونة جدا، تعلمني كل مرة مصطلح تونسي أو كلمة فرنسية، تطلعني على العادات والتقاليد  وتحاول جاهدة مساعدتي وكأنها تقربني. كان مشواري لها بمثابة متَنفّس. في ذلك اليوم ، وفيما كنت تائهة في ذكرياتي وإذا بي أسمع نغمات إحدى أحب أغنيات فيروز إلى قلبي:”نحنا والقمر جيران”، كان يغنيها شاب ما ويعزف ألحانها على غيتاره، في أحد المباني القريبة… لمستني الألحان وأحسست أني سافرت إلى عالمي وفرحت كثيرا كثيرا. وصلت لصاحبة الدكان، وبعدما دفعت الحساب سألتني عن وصفة “اللبنة” فأعطيتها إياها وقلت لها أنني سأذيقها منها في زيارتي القادمة، فقالت لي أنها لا تسأل لنفسها بل أن هناك شاب فلسطيني  جديد يظل يسألها عنها فوعدته أن تعطيه وصفة مضمونة لصنعها لأنها ليست متوفرة في الأسواق.

بعد أيام قليلة ذهبت إليها، كان الهدوء يلف كل الحي لا نغمات مألوفة ولا أغنيات عزيزة على القلب. وصلت للدكان وبعد انتهائي من الشراء شكرتني باسم الشاب لأنه جرب الوصفة وأعجبته وسأل هذه المرة عن وصفة الخبز، فأعطيتها إياها وتذمرت من طولها، فأعطيتها اسم المطعم الذي يمكنه بيع هذا الخبز ونبهتها أنه غالي بعض الشيء فشكرتني وذهبت. في طريقي للعودة سمعت دندنات تونسية هذه المرة، بنفس الصوت، نفس الشاب، على الغيتار أيضا، لا أذكر الأغنية، ولكن وقبل وصولي إلى المنزل بلحظات سمعته يغني “نحنا والقمر جيران”  مرة أُخرى، مع الأسف لم أستطع سماعها كلها ولكن أثلج صدري المقطع القصير الذي سمعته.

بعد يومين أو أكثر ذهبت للدكان، فشكرتني مرة ثانية، وقالت لي أن الشاب يحس بغربة شديدة ولكن هذه الوصفات تساعده على التأقلم وتوفر له مذاق أكلات بلاده، ثم قالت لي أنه جاءها يحمل كيس خبز بيد وغيتاره باليد الأُخرى، “وأذاقني بعض ‘خبزكم’ وكان لذيذا”، ثم أضافت: “أمّا موش كيما  خبزنا عاد”، فضحكنا معا، ورحلت.  وفي طريقي للبيت سمعته يدندن “أحن إلى خبز أمي وقهوة أمي” فلم أستطع أن أمسك دموعي التي تهاطلت لسببين، أولهما أني كنت أعاني من نفس هذا الحنين، وثانيهما أنه لا يوجد لدي أو لدى أي شخص في العالم أي وصفة تعطيه نفس مذاق خبز أمه وقهوتها… ولكن وفي قرارة نفسي كنت سعيدة، فمع أنّي لم ألتق ذاك الشاب، ولم أر وجهه قط، ومع أنه لم يراني ولم يلتق بي قط فقد أسعدني دون أن يعلم بنغماته ودندناته ولو لدقائق معدودة وقرّب لي مكان كان بعيدا جدا؛ وبالمثل فقد ساعدته أنا ولو بقدر بسيط على إحضار جزء من عالمه الذي يسكن روحه إلى عالمه الذي يسكنه جسده.

صحيح أن الغربة بكل أنواعها صعبة، ولكن أؤمن بأنه على الإنسان أن يبحث عن أي شيء مهما كان بسيطا أو صغيرا ليدخل السرور إلى قلبه وقلب غيره  بطريقة بريئة نظيفة دون انتظار أي مقابل. فالغربة إمّا أن تخلق منك إنسانا مرهف الحس وتفجر فيك جوانب إنسانية لم تكن تدرك أنها بداخلك، أو أنها تحوّلك إلى وحش عديم الإحساس والشعور، حاول أن تكون من النوع الأول… وإلى كل مغترب يشعر بالحنين أهدي صوت فيروز وكلمات أغنيتها العذبة، اسمعوا المقدمة الجميلة فهي جدا معبّرة:

watch?v=nfHoMCbMdyo

Category: Arab Societies, Just Personal, Posts in Arabic, Tunisia | 2 Comments on
نحنا والقمر جيران
September 4

Adam, a First Grader

Today is Adam’s first day at school, or the “big kids’ school” as he refers to it.
As I write this, Adam’s probably learning new stuff, making new friends -or enemies- eating his lunch, or peaking at someone else’s lunch with envy -or disgust- but most importantly he’s experiencing being a 1st grader in a whole new school with a new teacher (whom I’m hoping he’d love) surrounded with new faces.
Dropping him off I couldn’t help comparing 1st grade students here in Canada, with those back in the Arab world. Back there 1st graders usually look so helpless, so lost, so innocent, so naive, so incredibly young and tiny; here, on the other hand, 1st graders have a very unique mixture of innocence and maturity. They’re like tiny little rebels who still seek your attention, they still want your pampering, they still want your hugs and kisses, but they want to act all independent at the same time. They don’t want you to hold their hands, they don’t want you to unzip their raincoats, they don’t want you to hold their umbrellas, they don’t want you to keep giving them tips and reminders of good behavior, they just want to go through this lovely growing-up-process independently. And with the exception of a couple little ones crying here and there, you’d be really impressed at how excited kids actually are to start their school year in Canada. Unlike half the way around the world where I still remember how hard the 1st day of school was, in fact some students got so anxious and tensed they threw up… I believe the reason is the approach of education and the learning process. While teachers in Canada try to make kids get attached to school, love learning, encouraging them to be creative and have fun with learning, Arab kids always face the discomfort resulting from the pressure of learning by heart, memorizing, the tons of homework, the heavy backpacks, and the limitation of creativity. In short, I believe, in my own personal opinion, that kids here pass from one grade to the other to gain more knowledge, their goal is to learn and know, whereas in the Arab world, I believe they gain knowledge just to pass, and that’s of course generally speaking, and does not mean that kids here are smarter, I’m just saying that the approach of education here is more appealing to kids that they enjoy learning, look forward to open a book and it’s up to them to be good or bad at it without the pressure of exams, unlike in the Arab world, where the whole process is more stressful for both kids and their parents.

In the end of the day, whether here or there, I have come to one conclusion: the older they (children) get, the more you worry; I’ve been told this over and over, but it was only today that it really hit me how true that is.
I wish all students, no matter where on this planet, no matter what grade they’re in, an awesome school year.