Category Archives: Life

Oh, the Games we Play

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What’s up with games?

I think everyone will agree with me when I say that we all live in a playing field.

When we were little, there is nothing more valuable than the games we play–hide and seek, tag, you name it. We can’t wait for the bell to ring just so we can go out in the playground for a whole session of swings and slippery dips. Then, throughout puberty, we spend hours of time playing video games–Mario Brothers, Pacman, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox, Wii. Every year, it seems there are always new games introduced that will never fail to hook us to addiction.

And it doesn’t end there. When we’ve had enough of these online games and whatnots, we turn on the TV waiting for the next season of Games of Thrones, if not, we go to the movies to watch the Hunger Games.

Everywhere we look, there is always something suggesting that we have to play the game.

Now, as you would have guessed, this is the part where I start talking about relationships and ranting about games adult people play.

A few nights ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone, and I was telling him how it seems so unfair that some people can demand so much out of someone and they can have it all. Meanwhile, here I am, just wanting the guy I like to like me back, without conditions, without demands, and I can’t have even a quarter of what I am asking for.

And this friend just started talking about how men are hunters and how they like a good challenge. He told me not to be an easy prey–to play the game, to play hard to get, to not initiate contact, to wait for the guy to ask me out.

He told me that when a guy likes you, he will take the step, he will act upon it.

Well, bullshit to that!

I think women who have the courage to tell the guy they like how they feel is everything but an easy prey. Why is the world so patriarchal that it denies women privileges that men so likely take for granted?

I find it unfair how they always say “when a guy likes you, he will take the step and he will act upon it.” Why can’t a girl take the step and act upon it when she likes someone?

Why do I have to play hard to get? Why can’t it be as simple as “you like me, and I like you, let’s stop pretending, spare me the drama, and get over it!”

The real tragedy lies when a woman is brave enough to actually tell the guy she likes about her feelings. The tragedy does not come with the rejection that is just waiting to happen. It comes from the reality that when a woman is actually man enough to grow some balls, she is seen as borderline desperate, rather crazy, straight easy, less desirable.

Please, cut us some slack! It is not desperation or insanity that drives us to refuse to play games. We’ve been playing games since childhood and we can only take as much.

Men are hunters, blah blah blah. Does it ever occur to you that women hunt too?

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The downs of being sick

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I don’t know what else can be more depressing than being sick. There is definitely no ups to it. It is on days like these that I become a horrible, red-eyed, drooling troll version of myself.

All of a sudden, I can’t think of anything to like, or want, or love, but I can come up with an endless list of things to hate. Yes, hate. Strong word. I’m usually not one to use that word, but I will use being sick as an excuse to use hate overtly this time. (Don’t worry, it’s just a one-off kind of thing.)

I hate being sick. I despise it to the core that if flu is actually a concrete thing you can toss and burn in a rubbish bin, I would have done so, four days ago, with gasoline and matches in hand. It’s a major pet peeve. It paralyzes my social life in HD. It’s like all of a sudden, I’m stuck at home with my pity bags of tissue, and all I can muster to do is blow my nose and cough like a buffalo on repeat.

Catching a terrible cold that evolved into a terrible flu sucks. Mainly because it sucks the life out of me. I find myself sleeping at 8:30 in the evening (who does that?) when usually I would have just been starting to get ready to salsa!

What is worse than being sick is having to admit to myself that I am not infinite (that, in itself, is a mortal sin.) I am no iron lady (no matter how much I’d like to think that I am,) and neither am I a cat with nine lives. Today, my power is powdered to ashes and I can see the wind chasing it all away.

Since I have already committed the mortal sin of admitting I’m not infinite, I might as well say that it is on days like these that the independent me feel helpless and could only wish there is someone to look after me (not to worry though, I am not in a coma to go down the I-need-to-get-a-boyfriend road!)

I hate being sick because I get so lazy that all I will ever want is a magical genie or a leprechaun who will make fresh orange juice at a flick of a finger, or change the tv channel when the show gets too Jerseseylicious for my liking, and remind me that I have to take antibiotics on the dot, because admit it, when we’re sick, we just want someone or anyone to make things easier for us.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve gotten real sick, but when I think about it, I usually have my dad or my brother looking after me. They were there to check up on me and make hot noodle soup without me having to ask them. They just do it, out of love, of course! After all, they signed the paper to take care of me when my dad decided to have me as a daughter, and when my brother was left with no choice but have me as his bossy, big sister.

But living far away from home has torn that invisible contract my dad and brother had lovingly signed. It’s like all of a sudden, I have to look after myself, even when my nose is too stuffy to do so.

I hate being sick for the reason that I become too whingy and selfish. I just expect that people will understand–understand that I have all the valid reason to be irrational, and demanding, and moody, not because I am PMS-ing, but because I’m still sick (which is a hundred times worse than expecting a monthly period;) understand that I don’t have the energy to engage in long hour chats not because I don’t enjoy talking, but because I’m (wait for it) sick; understand that I don’t have the enthusiasm to respond to a question if it is not answerable by yes or no, for the same reason that, surprise, I’m still sick. So, please don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me.

I hate being sick because not one feel-good movie is feel good. I’ve had a marathon of The Vow, The Lucky One, and Dear John, and what did that do to me? Nope, it didn’t make the flu go away. If anything, it just made me realize I have a flat screen tv that works, and a couch that I never use based on the amount of dust it has collected.

And, finally, I hate being sick because I become a very vengeful person (which, trust me, is really out of my character. I’m really sweet as a pea, believe me.) Vengeful in the sense that when all of these coughing and spitting (yes, I know it’s gross!) is gone, I will avenge and make myself the best homemade food that I am capable of cooking, I’ll be the last one dancing at any salsa event, I’ll make myself fresh orange juice, even apple, or kiwi, or nectarine because I can, I will not waste time on bad tv, and I will engage in long hour conversations with friends until they get bored out of my wit.

Until then, I just have to remind myself that, yes, I maybe confined to the walls of my flat, but it won’t be for long. Now, can someone pass me a tissue roll, please?

In a relationship with… myself

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To my closest friends who have become so worried about me being the only single girl in the group:

You guys are the best and you definitely know this. (I can’t remember how many times I have stressed this before!) I love you guys for always having my back and making sure that I am enjoying my time, and you know that I do! Which makes me wonder why, lately, it has been quite obvious that you’ve all started asking ‘what happened to me.’ As if I got an immune disease from a different universe.

Come on, it’s not like all of you guys are getting engaged or married, or was I sleeping when you announced the news? I’m pretty sure there were no wedding invitations in my mailbox the last time I checked. So, it’s not like I’m missing the boat or anything.

I know very well that you care for me just the way I care about you. You want me to be happy the way I always want you guys to be happy with your relationships. That’s what friendship is about, making sure that all of us are getting our ups when everything else is pulling us down. Believe me when I say that I get my daily dose of happy when I see your holiday pictures by the beach with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Even those cheesy banters you and your significant other exchanges on your Facebook walls seem cute to me when usually it would have made me irk.

I appreciate that you are observing and commenting about my love life (or the lack there of) as if I am a specimen under a microscope, but make no mistake–I am happy. Genuinely. And I mean every word.

On those Thursday nights that you are all bundled up in bed, cuddling with your babe/cupcake/honey/sweetheart/whatever-crazy-name-you-call-them while waiting for your pizza delivery, I’m not watching the worst ‘Lifetime’ movie, crying my eyeballs out, while I go hugging my cats. (You all know I’m not a cat person!)

On those nights, I’m out, smoking shisha, having a good amount of conversation with whoever you guys happen to be free, and if that’s no one, then I’m out, dancing the night away with my friends from salsa.


I know why I’m single. I know that there’s nothing “wrong” with me. (I’m perfect, the way you guys always remind me so.)

It’s just that the guys I happen to like are emotionally unavailable. And I wouldn’t just be with any guy who I am not attracted to and whose character does not appeal to me just because he is emotionally available (the bars are raised much higher now.) I am turning 26 this year, and here in Cairo, 88 percent of guys my age are already in relationships, getting engaged or are already engaged, getting married or are already married. The remaining 12 percent are guys who are most probably assholes, and if they are genuinely nice guys, I’m pretty sure we have different mindset and takes on life. Please don’t let me start talking about cultural differences, religious beliefs, political views and opposite mentalities. I have yet to meet a single guy my age living in Cairo whose definition of dating and/or relationship is equivalent to mine.

Being single at 26 isn’t something I should be worried about and neither should you. It doesn’t make me a lesser person. In fact, singledom is the major reason why my life feels so full at the moment. You guys of all people in the world would know how much of a workaholic and social butterfly I am. If I am in a relationship, do you think I’ll be able to travel when I want to? Go to the gym because I’m motivated to? Attend salsa parties because I love to? Write for three different magazines because I have the luxury of time to do so?

You can start worrying about me being single when I hit 35, (but you’ll probably be too busy worrying about your own family and kids then.) Until then, just chill and relax.



The bottom line is that I’m not actively looking for someone to share my Facebook relationship status with other than myself. (See how I have so much free time that I was actually able to create another Facebook profile because Facebook is too selfish to allow anyone to be in a relationship with themselves.) I am really enjoying my mid-20’s. I go to salsa parties every other night, I take myself out to expensive dinners because I deserve it. I have the time to read books and be inspired by the writers, to watch movies in an actual cinema, to spoil myself with presents and not feel guilty about it. I am taking this relationship hiatus as a beginning to a deeper relationship with myself. Everyday I am learning and discovering something new about myself. I challenge myself and feel proud when I live up to it.

Rest assured, when I meet someone who lives up to all my ideals and expectations, you’ll be the first to know. ‘Til then just be comfortable in the idea that I decided to give all the love I have to give to myself, and I don’t see any reason why not.

So, stop feeling sorry for me. There is no need to make it your personal goal to hook me up. No need to feel bad when you and your babe/cupcake/honey/sweetheart/whatever-crazy-name-you-call-them are out with me and I am not holding anyone’s hand, because I don’t need to be with someone just so I can hang out with you guys. No more double dates and enough of those blind dates. Instead, let’s plan our next group date, shall we?

Xoxo,
Jen.

I have a crush? When did that happen? Part 3

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This would have been part 6 if I wasn’t feeling so selfish.

I feel so oddly strange. I mean, whenever something good happens to me, I’m always the one to pool my friends together so I can tell them stories of what’s happening to me, what’s new (especially when it comes to my love department which, as of now, still amounts to zero.)

I like to think that better things (or rather a better bond or friendship) is happening between me and this guy I call my crush. But for some reason, I am not so keen into telling anyone (I can hear you yelling that I’m contradicting myself considering how I am writing this in a public domain.)

Maybe this is me being selfish in a way that I like to keep our friendship to myself. Or maybe this is me choosing to be on the safe side, not wanting my girlfriends to think or expect that it can potentially turn into something more when I am sure it is unlikely to get there, not even close. Maybe I am just thinking that should I tell any of my friends about this crush, the world will play another brutal joke and send all its hexes down my way to jinx my supposedly happy-ever-after. Or, maybe, I take pleasure in knowing that I have a secret that no one knows about.

I have a secret and it’s all mine! Boy, I love that feeling. For the first time, I have something (whatever it is, I’ll leave you to bits until you raise your white flag on this guessing game) that not even my dearest friends know of.

Do you know why Mona Lisa is such a phenomenon even though, realistically speaking, there are far more amazing women painted on a canvas? I think it’s because of her smile. She has that smile so coy that seems to trick everyone to thinking she knows something that we don’t.

Well, needless to say, I feel that I am having that Mona Lisa moment right now. I am smiling, and I will leave you to your imagination as to why.

Surprisingly, I still want to get to know him more, and deeper. It seems there is still so much to know about this guy, and so much to learn from him as well. Everyday, I feel that I am surrounded with people who are so consumed by themselves, but I get the feeling that he is different, he’s a breath of fresh air.

Often, I meet people who likes to please (or impress) me, who tells me things I like to hear, who agrees to everything that I say (not realizing that I am only testing where their judgments lie.) Or often, I meet people who are so stuck up, and full of themselves–who would enjoy a conversation only if it is about them and nothing else, but he is not like that.

He doesn’t tell me things I like to hear. He is outright honest. His opinions are his, not copied from or influenced by anyone. He tells me when I’m wrong, and he will blatantly say that I am being mean. That, in itself, keeps me grounded.

He is very realistic and detached, two qualities that are the total opposite of my idealistic and emotional take on life. I look at him and see this person who is not feigned, even slightly, by the littlest or biggest problems of life.

I am envious of his pragmatic sensibility. It is something that I have always successfully fail to master. Sometimes, I wish I could care less. And when I meet someone who makes me reevaluate my take on life, I know he is someone worth knowing.

As much as I’d like to make my crush sound like a battery-operated robot, I hate to break this into you, but he is everything but that. There are no on and off switch buttons. Sometimes I think he likes to think that he’s the most serious, non-expressive guy in the world, but he doesn’t realize he can be one of the funniest too. I don’t think I’ll be able to put up with someone who has a non-existent sense of humor.

Our inside jokes? How riveting! Our dialogues will fall on the lines of ‘Five-second Tom, you are tramposo, but good night and happy new year.’ I’m not sure what other people will make sense out of that, but it does make perfect sense to me. It’s something distinctly him and I. He gets me, and I get him.

He surprises me even when he doesn’t know it. When I am so certain that he is just a dull guy with a huge science background, he comes surprising me with his sharp wit and creative side. That’s what he does, he takes the right turn when I am so convinced he will take the left. He proves me right, he proves me wrong.

There are still a lot of things I want to know. I want to know what ticks him, what sends him off. I want to know things that is not common knowledge to everyone. I want to know how his week went, not because I am a crazy-creepy-stalker. It just gives me a sense of relief knowing that someone I care about is doing well. I want to know how he got that scar (oh, wait, I forgot I already know how!)

I want him to let me know him, but for this to work, he has to let me cut him open and trust that I will not accidentally hit a nerve. And I hope that he will, because when I look at him, I see someone who makes clear sense. I see a blip–someone who understands my jokes, who corrects me when I’m wrong, someone who makes me smile the way Mona Lisa does.

Don’t say goodbye, say hello

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Sometimes, it makes me wonder why I meet certain people for only a very short period of time. It makes me question the purpose or the reason behind meeting that specific person or persons. Are they going to teach me a thing or two about life? Or are they just coming in passing to make me think about missed connections later in my life?

A few days ago, I met someone at the gym (sounds tacky, but trust me it’s not.) He asked me where I was from (which I guess is the easiest way to start a conversation with a stranger.) And that simple starter question led to another question that opened up a series of topics for a conversation so good that it didn’t matter even if it was happening between two strangers.

He told me he’s been living in Dubai for 17 years now, but he came back to Cairo for a short five days to be here for his dad who is having his bypass surgery the next day. Before he left the gym, I told him that I wish his dad well and that I hope he will be able to spend his last few days in Egypt with his family.

The next day, I got a message from him telling me that his dad didn’t make it.

This man is just a person I met randomly at a gym, yet I felt greatly affected. I don’t know him at all, but I found myself feeling sorry that his dad passed away.

I wanted to make him feel better, but I didn’t know what to say or what to do. He is going through something that I have never experienced before (and hopefully I won’t have to for decades and decades to come) which is why I find myself lost for words. I can imagine that nothing, not even a million sorry and condolences in the world, will be enough to make the pain of losing his dad go away.

Knowing what happened to this person made me reevaluate my relationship with my dad. It’s been a year and a half since I last saw my father. I used to be a daddy’s girl until whoknowswhathappened. I didn’t think that I was missing him until I met this person and heard what happened to his dad.

I am coming back home in September to see my dad. It will only be for three weeks, and I am sure it will not be enough to make up the year and a half that I didn’t see him. But I am hoping that this three weeks will be a good start to rekindle our father-daughter relationship that seemed to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.

Isn’t it interesting how we unnoticeably take for granted people and things, thinking that they will always be there, not realizing that one day, they will actually be gone? Maybe there is a part in our brains that does not want to recognize the fact that life ends.

How many times have we heard people say life goes on? Not one will have the courage to actually say that life ends. The truth can be ugly sometimes.

It’s sad when we exert an extra effort to make time worthwhile only after realizing that the days are numbered. Why do we have to wait until a deadline is set before we start realizing that this person is someone worth spending time with? Why do we take for granted the people or the things we have and then regret once it’s all gone?

I am still trying to find answers, and I hope that in finding the answers, there are no goodbyes but hellos.

The Accidental Mom

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Back in my senior year in high school, it was quite a feat when a student drops out, or just disappears for a long period of time. Rumors started circulating around school that those girls (who miraculously managed to disappear out of thin air) got pregnant. Half of the time, it was really the case.

When I was in my senior year, the idea of becoming a mom is so strange that it gives me chills to the bones. I mean, seriously, how can a 17 year old girl take care of a baby when she is not even close to being a woman? At 17, I was just playing nintendo games if I wasn’t reading Harry Potter.

At 25, the idea of becoming a mom is just as strange as it was when I was in senior high. Most of my friends (the same age as I) are either getting married, or getting a baby. I see all their photos (on facebook, obviously) and it makes me wonder how they do it, or more exactly, it makes me question how the hell they decided to get married or get a baby. Either they have all gone crazy, or I have become a blip in social trend.

I’d like to think I’m the sensible one in this case.

Whenever I see photos of anyone I personally know with their husband or wife or their new-born baby and those tubby fingers and toes, it makes me feel bad. It makes me doubt my abilities. It makes me wonder why I am not in the same frame of mind as they are. Or am I just not wired to be a wife or mom material?

Then it starts hitting me. No matter how hard I try to deny it, at 25, I am still selfish and self-centered in a way that I would choose to venture and see the world than settle down, that I would rather dance salsa and go out on fun dates than get a boyfriend, that I’d choose to marvel in my career than think about starting a family, that I’d rather be the comfortable, free-spirited, single woman that I am than become a miserable or regretful wife.

I’d like to think that I just know better. I know that I’m not ready, I’m not responsible enough to be a mother, nor am I willing to let go of my free pass card just yet.

Today is a day unlike any other. I am at that point where I am finally putting all the puzzle pieces together, but as usual, life never fails to play pranks on me and decides to jumble my world 180 degrees around.

When I went to bed last night, I was pretty sure that it will be an ordinary day–which means I will wake up just like any other day, get dressed for work as usual, and open the showroom like I do everyday.

So, imagine waking up from an international call from Italy (at seven in the morning!) telling me the news that I have just been selected to become a mother for a day.

They have got to be kidding me, right? I would give anything to think that it was just a drunken call, but it wasn’t.

To avoid any confusion, allow me to explain the ‘situation’. When I moved to Cairo for my career, the company (a family-owned, furniture design business) that I am working with provided me with a flat which is literally one tumbling from the showroom where I work. My flat happened to be one of four flats in our 4-storey building where the CEOs of the company (who is my boss’ parents,) the trade consultant (my boss’ brother,) and the designer (my immediate boss,) and I all live together.

Just last week, my boss’ parents and his brother flew to China for a major furniture expo. Two days ago, my boss and his wife travelled to Italy to attend a tango festival. That leaves me the only adult (apart from the bawab, the household helps who come on a daily basis, and the nanny who comes to babysit my boss’ kids.)

So, imagine (and I’m already telling you that this requires a big, creative mind!) when I was told that my boss’ nanny just decided to quit her job, while the kids’ mom and dad, aunt and uncle, and grandparents are away!

I can’t even imagine how someone can do such a thing–abandon a 6 year old boy, and a 3 year old girl while everyone in their family are several thousand miles away.

I can hear very clearly the nervousness and tension in my boss’ voice as they told me what was happening. Thankfully, the kids’ grandparents and uncle and aunt are flying back to Cairo as I write this blog.

Nevertheless, BOOM! I have become the accidental mom just like that.

That was a lot to take, no one warned me I’ll be a mom even if it was meant to be just for a day. I wasn’t nervous being an accidental mom because I’ve known my boss’ kids for over a year now and they always come with us when we do company trips to Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh. I was more nervous for them being my accidental kids. I had no idea how to look after kids the way real moms do.

So, I rushed up to their flat after I hang up the phone. I was expecting to see two crying and screaming toddlers who probably have no idea that their nanny just fled away, instead, I found two little kids still asleep in bed.

There was a chart posted on the fridge door that says ‘March 31 kids pizza’.

How in the world do you make a kids pizza?

I stormed the fridge to look for anything that would make a healthy kid’s pizza. There were tuna, mushrooms, capers and bell peppers. Healthy.

The pizza was fresh out of the oven when Jem and Belle woke up, but guess what. They just totally ignored the ‘kids pizza’ I so laboriously prepared. Or heck, maybe they knew that that pizza wasn’t really as edible as I wanted it to be. I was starting to crack under pressure at this time. They have to eat something and it should be something that they would like. They told me what they wanted was pizza with only olives and cheddar cheese on it. Easy.

In fact, it was actually much easier since they helped me make the pizza the way they want it. We made a huge mess on the kitchen bench but it sure was a fun mess!

Luckily, my boss made things a lot easier for me, they sent me a detailed email about ideas of activities I can do with their kids.

  • Bake chocolate cake
  • Painting and coloring materials on the top shelf
  • Story reading
  • Play dough in the bottom left drawer in the play area
  • Play date with friends on Saturday, call 0122514xxxx so on and so forth.
  • Go watch a movie at City Stars
  • Take kids to Chili’s

Since the kitchen was already in a total mess, why not bake a cake? And so we did, they cracked the eggs, sift the flour, pour the milk, melted the butter, and whipped the batter. Needless to say, we all managed to cover ourselves with flour and egg whites! The chocolate cake turned out really well by the fact that I almost finished half of it!

Story reading was easy to do, thank heavens the books they have are not in Arabic! I immediately crossed out going to City Stars or Chili’s. I don’t think shopping centers are the best places for kids their age. And I know this by the fact that I get so annoyed whenever I see parents walking in a mall with their little mignons. Honestly, I think those parents can do much better parenting than taking their kids to a silly mall. Not to mention the least I would want is for one of the kids, if not both of them, to get lost or, worse, kidnapped. I thought their household help will already kill me for the messy kitchen and the stains in their clothes, so I had to cross out play dough and painting as well, not wanting for all the play dough or paint to leave permanent marks on the carpeted floor.

Since it was a Saturday, I decided to call the number they gave me and arrange a play date with the kids’ friends. I spent about an hour or so, telling the mom of their friends everything that just happened. It felt funny and weird at the same time, going to a stranger’s house for the first time. I guess it was even weirder for their friend’s mom (who I have never met before) to fathom the idea that someone can become an accidental one-day mom.

I thought these things only happen in movies!

I took ‘my’ accidental kids home at five this afternoon. I did a lot of bribery (not the qualities of a real mom.) If they want to watch one show of Scooby doo on tv, they have to finish their homework. They want to get a candy special? They have to have a bath and get dressed by themselves. They want to play hide and seek? They have to eat all their dinner up.

And whenever they do something really good that impresses me, like eating with their mouths on the bowl or not getting milk spilled on the floor, I give them two coins. By the way, I think at the age of three and six, they should be allowed to be chaotic and out of control. I must have been a monster mom in their eyes–a monster mom who lets them watch cartoons before bed, snack on junk food, and play tag.

Right now, it’s 8:39 and they are already fast asleep. Before I put them to bed, I read them two children stories and a bible story. We prayed after the story reading. I do not believe in religion but they told me that this is what their mom always does, and since I have already become their one day mom, I might as well play and act the part. So I tucked them into bed, and hugged them, and kissed them, and told them that I love them. I wished for them to have sweet dreams, and I couldn’t believe I was hearing myself telling them that the angels will be beside them tonight (it was just so not me.)

I guess I just did what I think real moms do, or at least I did my idea of what real moms do.

Like Cinderella (one of the bedtime stories I read them tonight) my accidental mom story will expire as soon as the clock strikes. Their grandparents will be here in a few hours and I will be back to being my old, boring, career-driven self. Tomorrow, I will wake up and know that it will just be an ordinary day. No pizza making, cake baking, or play dates, no bedtime stories to read. It also means no warm hugs and cute little fly kisses from two of probably the most adorable kids I’ve ever had the chance of being with.

What a learning experience. It sure made me realize that I suck at being a pretend mum, but hey, I was put on the spot and didn’t have nine months to prepare for it, let alone read books on successful parenting, or google how-to-be-an-awesome-mom! So, I guess I deserve a pat on the back after all!

And before I forget, I think skipping an 8-hour work shift to have a ball with the kids is not as bad as I thought.

Who needs a time machine when you know you lived well?

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Did you ever have that feeling back in primary school when you know you’ll be having a school trip to the zoo and time seems to be playing a brutal trick on you? You keep waiting for the next day to come. You close your eyes at eight in the evening wishing you’d be opening your eyes with the sun high up in the sky. You swear it felt like the longest time you’ve had your eyes closed, but guess what. You open your eyes and found only 10 minutes have passed, surprise!

That’s how it was for me when I was a kid. I couldn’t wait for the minutes or a few hours, or a couple of days to pass so I can go to my school trip, or at the circus, or at my cousins’ house already, and yet those minutes, or those few hours, and couple of days were the most agonizing because it felt like I was waiting for an entire eternity.

I couldn’t wait to grow up either. I remember when I was nine, I saw this 18 year old girl in school who looks so sophisticated, so responsible, and so put together. In my nine year old eyes, I told myself I want to be like her. I told myself that when I turn 18, I will be sophisticated, I will be responsible, I will be so put together. But it felt that the heavens must have frozen time because the days couldn’t go any slower. I would sleep the night before and wake up feeling disappointed that I was still my nine year old self.

Today is a different story though. I woke up convinced that time is playing April fool’s on me. No matter how I decided to stop aging after I celebrated my 23rd birthday a few years ago, there is no denying the fact that I will be turning 26. This year. In three months!

Someone tell me who pressed the super fast forward button!

Recently, I’m getting a lot of messages from old friends back in the university, from people I met randomly at the airport, even from strangers who read my blog. Most of them are people I met eight years ago, even more, and they are sending me messages telling me that I inspire them in a way or another. They all think that I am living it–that I have a zest for life and a great amount of passion to live.

Last night, I was having the same conversation with two of the first friends I met when I moved to Egypt, and we were recalling what we’ve gone through the last eight months that we haven’t gone out together.

The last time I saw Yehia, he was feeling so down and broken hearted and he was so convinced that he wouldn’t be able to move on from his broken relationship. No matter how Mo’taz and I tried to cheer him up and encourage him that things will get better, there was no changing his mind.

The last time I saw Mo’taz, he just shaved his head for a new look, or maybe out of depression from not being able to get back with his first love.

The last time they saw me, I was mending a barely breathing heart from my relationship with Hisham.

Yes, we were three broken hearted souls who got together one very sad night eight months ago. It’s funny how the reason that caused our misery a long time ago (or at least we thought it was misery at that time) is the same reason that made us laugh deliciously last night.

Eight months after, Yehia is now engaged and very happy! He’s become a totally different person. There is positivity radiating out of him. Mo’taz, on the other hand, has his hair grow back to a good length (thank heavens!) and his quick humor has just gotten sharper! As for me, I’m happy being single and actually loving it and meaning it this time around.

Funny how time really does make a difference in our lives. It changes us. It molds us to who we are today, yet it reminds us of who we were yesterday. Time is also a huge indicator of friendships we’ve made and trusts that we’ve earned. It heals whatever is left broken, yet it can also wither the finest building no matter how solid the foundation is.

I guess the reason behind my boldness and my hunger for living is also time. Once you realize you’re not getting any younger, you’ll start living as though the sand in the hourglass is running down the bottom. In my case, I really feel that the sand is going down fast, with my knees sinking deeper and deeper with every second.

Before the sand of time runs out, I want to be able to tell myself that I had a life that is ripe, and full–that I lived it well and did anything and everything that I want, that I lived on the safe side when required and crossed to the danger when I can, that I’ve gone on all out adventures without holding back, that I spent time, tons, with people I truly care about and who sincerely cares about me, that I’ve grown wiser and been able to share my knowledge, if not advice, to friends, that I inspired people without being aware of it, that I have touched and changed lives the way it will never be the same again, that I have kept friendships who made my time brighter, sweeter, even funnier!

I am still far from the sophisticated, responsible, so put together woman that I want to become, but I like to believe that I am getting there one grain of sand at a time.