Posts Tagged With: travel

Family Visits

As Mother’s Day comes around I’m reminded of just how lucky I am to have the family I do.

At the beginning of last school year one of my fellow teachers was venting about the frustrations she was experiencing with her family. She hadn’t heard from them in weeks, not since she’d moved to Egypt. They hadn’t called, emailed, skyped, sent messenger pigeons…nothing. I tried to sympathize, but I realized that I had no idea what it was like to not have a supportive family. Sure, we have our ups and downs, but when the chips are down, we’re all there for each other. We call or skype on birthdays, major holidays, and just because. I probably talk to my father more when I’m on the opposite side of the planet than when I live thirty minutes away from him.

By the end of this week, every single member of my immediate family (mom, dad, and two brothers) will have visited me while I’m living overseas. How lucky is that?

There are downsides, of course, to living so far away. I haven’t gotten or given a birthday hug in five years, I’ve spent a few Christmases by myself, and I can’t be there when my brothers or parents need me.

In honor of my amazing family here are some fun pictures of the adventures we’ve had since I’ve moved overseas. More will come after Dad concludes his visit.

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Categories: Life Abroad, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World via Buzzfeed

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

via Buzzfeed

1. You learn how much unnecessary stuff you own when you attempt to pack it into a reasonable, movable state.

You learn how much unnecessary stuff you own when you attempt to pack it into a reasonable, movable state.

Rega Jha

2. And when you’re forced to get rid of some of it, you realize what is truly important to you.

*This process is particularly traumatizing if you’re a book lover.

3. You learn that somehow, every country in the world gathers to play football for a month, but we can’t all agree on one type of electrical plug.

You learn that somehow, every country in the world gathers to play football for a month, but we can't all agree on one type of electrical plug.

4. So your entire home is littered with adapters, which are your new life support system.

5. You realize that while you thought you possessed a general understanding of money, you actually only understand value in your currency.

You realize that while you thought you possessed a general understanding of money, you actually only understand value in your currency.

6. So, depending on where you’ve moved from and to, your constant conversions teach you how rich or poor you actually are.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

7. As much as you may have cursed and loathed it in the past, you learn that Google Maps is a godsend in an unfamiliar city.

As much as you may have cursed and loathed it in the past, you learn that Google Maps is a godsend in an unfamiliar city.

8. In fact, the internet in its entirety is a lifeline.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

9. You learn that absence makes the heart grow self-aware.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

It teaches you which of your relationships were most meaningful, and which ones were simply based on convenience and proximity.

10. To keep up the former kind, you get really, really good at constantly doing time-zone calculations.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
Warner Bros. / Via gurl.com

11. And you learn, quickly, that conventional sleep schedules are a luxury afforded by people whose loved ones all live in one time zone.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
Disney / Via mommyish.com

12. All the mundane things you take for granted about a place become the things you miss the most.

All the mundane things you take for granted about a place become the things you miss the most.

13. Even if you’ve never, ever realized it before, you’re suddenly aware 24/7 that you have an accent.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
The FX / Via theprospect.net

14. And a couple of months after moving, you learn that it’s subject to change.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
Showtime / Via wifflegif.com

15. The things that stay constant from place to place – even if you didn’t love them before – are now havens of comfort.

The things that stay constant from place to place – even if you didn't love them before – are now havens of comfort.

16. You learn that a house is not a home until it has Wi-Fi that automatically connects.

You learn that a house is not a home until it has Wi-Fi that automatically connects.

17. And a bed you look forward to sleeping in.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

18. You learn about the universe of free international calling/messaging apps that exist for vagabonds like you.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

19. And, very soon after, you learn their limitations.

And, very soon after, you learn their limitations.

XKCD / Via xkcd.com

20. You learn that the most important words to learn in any language are “I don’t know how to speak this language.”

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
NBC / Via gifrific.com

21. And, tied for a close second, are: who, what, when, where, and fuck you.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
HBO

22. You learn that your passport is as important to you as most of your loved ones.

You learn that your passport is as important to you as most of your loved ones.

23. You learn that forms that ask for a “permanent address” are evil, and didn’t account for people like you.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
NBC / Via bookriot.com

24. You learn that the most acceptable and innocent acts in one culture are punishably offensive in others.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
NBC / Via studentbeans.com

25. You learn that “where are you from?” is an incredibly difficult question.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
Miramax Films/Paramount Vantage

26. You soon memorize a short answer and a longer, more honest one.

27. And it takes a long, long time, but you eventually get pretty good at figuring out who wants which.

28. Most importantly, you learn that to drop everything and move somewhere new is as rewarding as it is terrifying.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

29. And you wouldn’t be half as brave, thoughtful, or self-aware if you hadn’t done it.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

30. You learn that “home” isn’t a place – it’s the people you come to love there.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World

31. And you learn that the world is a huge, thrilling adventure just waiting to happen.

31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World
Categories: Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Letter From An Egyptian Woman via Egyptian Streets

 

 

 

 

 

This article was originally published on Egyptian Streets by Farida Ezzat on July 13, 2014. There are many things that surprised me in this article and some things that I have personally experienced. The line that struck me the most, however, was this one:

I live in pain. I live in oppression. I live as a second-class citizen.

f1

Dear Mr. President,

I hope this letter finds you well. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am an Egyptian woman.

Let me begin by telling you why I am writing this letter. I have absolute faith in my country. I not only believe in the power of my people, but I also believe in the pillars that hold together our society. As an Egyptian, I believe in Egypt.

This letter holds no political value. The purpose of this letter is not to stir controversy or threaten national security. I write to you today as a citizen to its President. I am keen on strengthening ties between us for the benefit of Egypt. In other words, I just want you to get to know me better.

Mr. President, as I mentioned above, I believe in the pillars that hold together our society such as honesty, respect, and patriotism, yet, I am baffled and beyond dismayed at the way society chooses to treat me.

I live in pain. I live in oppression. I live as a second-class citizen.

I live in pain every day as I wake up to prepare myself for school, university, work, or merely to tend to my daily duties. When I walk in my country’s streets, I feel degraded. I feel out of place. I feel unsafe. In our country, eight out of ten Egyptian women feel unsafe on their streets, and even more feel unsafe when on public transport.

My pain is derived from the way I am treated on our streets. I have to suffer through penetrating stares, vulgar comments and unfortunately at times, several kinds of violence.

I live in pain because the only place I feel safe is at home. That’s if I am lucky enough to find solace at home, because unfortunately in Egypt nine out of ten girls are disciplined violently. What is even more shocking is that female teenagers in our country are beginning to think that domestic violence is justified, so much so, that three out of four female teenagers think that a man is justified to beat his wife if she argues with him.

Metaphorically so, my people, or what has become of my people, have denied me the right to freedom, the right to safety, the right to live.

This is only a part of the hell that has become my life. Violence against women in Egypt continues to be a never-ending battle, 91 percent of females in our country have experienced female genital mutilation. The dangers of such outdated ideologies pose a threat to our advancement as a nation due to the fact that the majority of our society accepts such a murderous practice.

It seems as though as the days progressed Egypt has regressed in women’s empowerment. Recently, our beloved country Egypt was titled the seventh worst regarding political empowerment of women; out of 135 countries Egypt came number 128. Economic inequalities limit women’s abilities to empowerment themselves. A woman in Egypt is four times as likely to get unemployed than a man.

Education, in Egypt, is still a struggle for females; female adult literacy is 58 percent compared to 75 percent in adult males. Those numbers do not shock me as Egypt has recently acquired low-level statuses in studies including access to education, job opportunities and economic participation for women.

Furthermore, close to 50 percent of women in our country would tell you that they face problems at work that their male colleagues don’t.

The mere basics of a dignified life such as education and healthcare have become privileges in our nation. Proper healthcare and health education are almost non-existent. In Egypt, with every 100,000 births, 66 women die to causes related to maternal health and delivery, and 460 women’s lives continue to be at risk of maternal death after delivery.

Health education, especially sexual health education, is almost non-existent. In Egypt, 14 percent of overall births are unwanted; they were either untimely or unwanted from the start. This is an indication of the sexual inequalities and the profound unmet needs of women in Egypt. The lack of literacy and education concerning sexual health such as the use of contraceptives limits women’s ability to plan their pregnancies.

Meanwhile, several misconceptions about women’s health and health in general like ‘cancer is contagious’, causes men to divorce their wives if they fall sick with breast cancer.

Maybe those numbers can begin to explain to you why I live in oppression.

I live in oppression because when I was born, like so many others, society chose my destiny for me. I was destined to grow up, get married and have children. I was not destined to be lawyer, a teacher or even the President. I was silenced. I was told that what I had to say was not important because I am a woman. I am an emotional being that has no control over itself.

In a world that lives under inhumane circumstance, my ‘emotions’ have been interpreted as a sign of weakness. I am not weak. I was not born weak. And I will not be called weak. My ‘emotions’ are a sign of strength and integrity. My passion for society and for a brighter future fuels me to change. It fuels me to become the change I want to see in society. This is why I am writing this letter. I want to change my stolen future and I want you to help me.

Mr. President, if you may, try to understand the situation I am in. Despite my god given right to freedom, I was enslaved in a world that crippled every hope I had for my future. I was stigmatized. I was labeled. I was stereotyped into characters that do so little to express the beauty within my being. The names I was called, the labels I have acquired and the characters society drew for me do not, in their best form, capture the potential that is me.

So, I had no choice but obey society, for I continue to be a captive of society’s insidious torture on my gender.

I live as a second-class citizen. In our beautiful glorious nation, I am deemed unworthy of respect, unworthy of admiration and unworthy of freedom.

Despite everything mentioned above, I still rose to be the best I could be given the circumstances I grew up with. Despite being told otherwise, I knew my potential lied far beyond the dimensions of my house. I knew I was destined to change society, I knew I could save Egypt.

This is why when I chanted and shouted at the top of my lungs for freedom, when I marched in my country’s streets with pride, I wanted freedom for my country, because I knew that a free Egypt would entail freedom for me as well.

Mr. President, I have a request to ask of you. However, before I ask, let me be clear on something. I do not want your pity, for I may have been a victim, but I will not live as one. I do not regard myself as a victim. I am fully aware of what I am capable of as a woman. All I ask of you is to come to terms with my potential.

The issues I face lie beyond sexual harassment and violence. With that said, I appreciate the efforts our government has taken to ensure that such acts are not present in Egypt’s future. Yet, education, empowerment, health and social equality, just to name a few, are equally important.

Mr. President, I want to help build Egypt with you. I want to help build my country. I want my stolen future back and I will not rest until my future returns to me. All I ask of you is to grant me my right to live in my country as a free woman. I not only want to be a free woman, but I want your promise to support, uphold and respect my wishes until the last day you serve as my president. I want you to support my fight. My fight to equal pay, my fight to equal rights, my fight to equal opportunities and my war against terrorists that lurk my streets hungry for my body.

Last but not least, my last request of you, when you speak of me in your thoughtful and well written speeches do not call me “the mothers, wives and sisters,” because the truth is I am equally a family member to a male as I am to him a boss, a doctor, an engineer and even their source of protection like a policewoman.

I want you to support me. I want you to support me, an Egyptian woman.

Yours ever so truly,

An Egyptian woman.

Categories: Egypt | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glastonbury 2014

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

68 Thoughts Every Traveler Has On Their Trip Around The World Via Buzzfeed

1. I can’t wait to travel the world.
2. God, I’m nervous. Planning a trip is so confusing.
3. Am I making a huge mistake? Everyone is telling me I’m making a huge mistake.
4. No way! Screw them! This is going to be awesome.
5. I’m going to make a ton of friends and do cool stuff like the Dos Equis guy.
6. What the hell am I going to pack? Did I buy the right backpack? Do I have enough money?
7. Oh well, I’ll figure it out. 
8. Time to go. See you later, suckers!
9. Ok, landed. Now how do I get to the hostel? 
10. Does anyone speak English?
11. I’m already confused. This is tough. 
12.Okay, I made it to the hostel.
13. I’m a travel superhero. This stuff is going to be easy.
14. This dorm room looks nice. I hope no one snores.

Matthew Kepnes / BuzzFeed

15. Time to explore this place!
16. I’m totally lost. 
17. Oh, look I found my way. 
18. I can totally do this backpacking thing. 
19. Happy hour! Time to meet people. 
20. Uhhh what do I say? 
21. Guess I’ll see what’s happening on Facebook.
22. Crap! That creepy guy in the corner snores. I’m never going to sleep.
23. Okay, it’s a new day. Things are going to be great. 
24. Ohh, there is a BBQ at the hostel tonight. Maybe I’ll make friends there.
25. This table looks nice. Will these people let me sit down?
26. They invited me to sit down. I have friends!

Matthew Kepnes / BuzzFeed

27. Wow, I’m really hungover. What a night! 
28. Another happy hour! 
29. Shots for everyone! 
30. Ohh, a cute Aussie is talking to me. 
31. What happened last night? Yikes! That Aussie is not as cute as I remember. Time to sneak out of this dorm. 
32. All my new friends are leaving. That’s okay. I’ll see them again.
33. Probably not. At least there is Facebook.
34. Made new friends. 
35. I have no idea what these Scots are saying to me. I’m pretty sure we both speak English. I’m just going to nod my head and drink my beer. 
36. What is this food? I’m probably going to go hungry on this trip. Everything looks so weird. 
37. Guess I’ll get pasta. You can’t go wrong with pasta.

Matthew Kepnes / BuzzFeed

38. Well, I got sick. I guess you can go wrong with pasta! 
39. Woohoo! Another country. Look at all these passport stamps! I feel cool.
40. I’m spending way too much money on beer.
41. Time for another happy hour. 
42. I love travel! I’m totally a travel expert now. 
43. These conversations are getting a bit repetitive though. 
44. Oh look, new people in the dorm! I wonder where all these people are from and how long they’ve been on the road. Let’s ask them! 
45. Interesting food. I’m going to eat that. I can’t believe I was so worried when I started traveling. 
46. This guy in my hostel is kind of a jerk. No one cares how many countries you’ve been to. 
47. Still spending too much money. I hope I’m going to make it to the end. 
48. Okay, time to start saving.

Matthew Kepnes / BuzzFeed

49. That bus is five dollars? I’ll walk instead.
50. That was a long walk. At least I saved some money.
51. Happy hour! Five dollar beers? I’ll have three. 
52. Waterfall! Woohoo! 
53. Another waterfall? This is getting boring. 
54. More weird food. Who would have thought bugs would be so good? 
55. Two dollar soup? That’s a bit expensive. 
56. Two dollar beer? Perfect. 
57. Well, that was an eventful day. Time to move on.
58. Two more months to go. Time to make the most of this trip. 
59. I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed and see my dog! 
60. It’s going to be weird to go home.
61. More drinks? I’m so sick of drinking. Is that all this is about? 
62. Those people look cool. I’ll go drink with them. 
63. Last week. This trip changed my life. I wonder what home is like. I bet it’s really different. I’m so glad I did this. I changed a lot. 
64. My friends just threw me a huge going home party. I love them.
65. Gosh, I’m hungover. Time to go to the airport. 
66. I’m home! It’s so good to see my friends and family again.
67. Wow, nothing has really changed. 
68. I’m bored. Next trip?

Matthew Kepnes / BuzzFeed

Matthew Kepnes is author of the book “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day”and runs the website NomadicMatt.com. Matt teaches people the travel tips, tricks, and advice not found in major travel media so you can travel cheaper, better, and longer to any destination in the world!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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