Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Review: Moments Took My Breath Away

After a lot of hard times in 2012 and 2013, I wished that 2014 would be much better. The first four months weren't good at all, and even till late Aug. things kept getting harder and harder. Yet, a lot of awesome and magical things started to happy since May.

It wasn't an easy year, lost a lot of dear people in the most tragic ways, yet I'm grateful for all those moments of real happiness and inner peace I had.

ولأن سورة الضحى كانت الأكثر تمثلا خلال السنة، ولأن كل آخرة كانت خير لي من الأولى.. فليكن "وأما بنعمة ربك فحدث"

1- Cairo - 5th May:
My birthday, with ZERO expectations for anything of whatsoever. I was just recovering an illness that kept me in bed for almost 4 days. So, as a hopeless try to cheer up a bit, arranged with Aliaa to attend a film festival screening. When we met, Randa and she presented me with a pot of a jasmine plant. That made me fly to the moon! I always wished to have a jasmine plant in my balcony, and they never knew about that wish. Their present made me believe that some birthday wishes come true in a way or another.. 

A photo posted by Yasmen Refaat El-Shaa'rawy (@yasmenrs) on
2- Hamam Pheron - 23rd May:
There's something magical in this place! Once my feet touched the beach's sand and the amazing water of the Suez Gulf, I felt totally relived. Kinda of a rebirth, and I've been really re-birthed again there. (Maybe I'll tell you about the magic happened to me and the more birthday wishes that came true through this trip, and after it, some time later).

My first time at Hamam Pheron

3- Baharya Oasis - 7th Oct:
I have a pretty cool balcony that allows my to watch sunrise everyday. However, sunrise at Baharya Oasis desert was absolute magic.

4- Siwa Oasis - 2nd Nov:
Laying on my back in the desert, stargazing with Eman Refaat and Yasmin Mustafa, and cheering every time any one of us sees a shooting star. We were able to see shooting stars with our bear eyes! I've counted FIVE that night.

5- Siwa Oasis - 3 Nov:
One of the craziest day in my life! And since it was full of legendary surprises, I'll pick here just one moment, which was... The crepe! IT WAS AWESOME! I swear I had the exact facial expression Anton Ego had when he tasted that Rataouille

Try to imagine a taste that would literally take your breath away!
No! You can't! You have to try it yourself

6- Alexandria - 7th Nov:
It's a moment of gratitude and being thankful to what all I've been through, and for Allah after all.

7 - Cairo - 8th Nov:
Away from home for almost a week, and I've missed  my family like hell! How we hugged was an intimate moment.

8- Dahab & The Blue Hole- 5th Dec:
It's the BIG BLUE! Every time I put in the mask, and go down the surface, hearing nothing, seeing the small fishes & the amazing coral reef, surrounded with blue, that made me a strong believer that sea is my home, and I'd probably be a dolphin or Dory (if we assumed that reincarnation is a true theory)!

9- Cairo - 2nd Dec:
Yassmeen Mouhammad's special souvenir from Hollywood. This is one of the best gifts I got this year.

Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Review: For The First Time.. EVER!

As an ordinary girl hating her ordinary life, the idea of doing something of the first time was quite fascinating to me. But I couldn't do something really valuable till collage, with average rate one or maximum two things per year.

On the bus form Siwa to Alexandria, Ahmed and Mahada presented me with a small notebook. "When we saw it we thought it's totally like you", they said. Later on, couple friends saw it with me, and told me, "It looks like a photo you'd take. It's so much you".

And, since it is too small for diaries, and too valuable to be kept in my desk locker, I thought I should use it for keeping lists of things I did for the first time ever.

Here, I'll share some of what I did in 2014 with you:

First time to..
  1. Sinai, South Sinai, Oyoun Muossa, Hammam Pheron, Baharyia Oasis, Minya, Siwa Oasis, Dahab, Blue Hole, Mount Sinai.
  2. Share rooms with people I've just met.
  3. Be into desert.
  4. Sleep in desert.
  5. Be into an oasis.
  6. Feel totally confident about my bro and sis.
  7. Live completely in the moment.
  8. Be in inner peace (despite it vanishes once I come back to Cairo!)
  9. Eat dates tart, apple & cinnamon crepe, banana & Nutella crepe, sugar & lemon crepe, sweet olives jam, dates jam, tuna with melted cheese, Shakshuka (eggs with tomatoes).
  10. Try olive oil with orange flavor, and olive oil with lemon flavor.
  11. Drink dates with milk, mango with milk, Bedouin tea.
  12. Put in Bedouin outfit.
  13. Try sand-boarding.
  14. See shooting stars with bare eyes.
  15. Ask vendors about their names, and trying to remember them.
  16. Talk with a deaf guy.
  17. Express my impressions and thoughts with people I've just met.
  18. Stay in hotels in Egypt.
  19. Stay in hostels.
  20. Try trains.
  21. Eat full Egyptian breakfast food in street.
  22. Do Mandala on a stone.
  23. Panic and be frightened from a new adventure.  
  24. Be into mountains.
  25. Snorkeling. 
That is almost half of what's in my notebook. For a moment I though I'd finish it before the year end! But it still has more space for more and more.. for the coming year adventures ;)

Here, check my "I Was There" album:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

أول مرة المنيا (2): بالصور

حيث إني مصورتش كتير، هاتكلم عن أكتر صور مفضلة عندي:

في المقال الأول قولت إني معجبة جدا بالكورنيش وتصميمه. الصورة دي كانت جزء منه. الساعة تقريبا 11:00 الصبح يوم السبت، والدنيا لسه فاضية، فآباء قرروا يقضوا صباحهم مع ولادهم.

"عندهم مراجيح زيينا!"

ذكريات الماضي البعيد:
أيام المدرسة الإعدادي، كنت شاركت في مسابقة رسم عن ملامح البيئة المصرية (أو ملامح الشخصية المصرية.. حاجة كدا). رسمتي كانت شبة الصورة دي جدا! النيل، المركب الصغير، الراجل والست، الخلفية ملامح بيوت ونخل متداخله وغير واضحه، إنعكاسهم.. بس الراجل كنت رسماه واقف وماسك شبة صيد. 

كل دا مفتكرتهوش وأنا بصورها. افتكرته وقت الـediting.

شارع الكورنيش (أحد شوارع المنيا الرئيسية) الصبح بدري، فاضي و نضيف.. الإتنين!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Promise

Never forgotten you
Never will
And so may all the pain calm
So may all the grieves settled
So may all the un-healable wounds be healed
So may all the lessons learned be carved
I love you
Will always do
Never forget
Never will
The promise is kept
"I trust in stars to guide you home"

From my travel diary, round 2:30am, dawn of 4th day of Eid Al-Adha. Oct. 7th, 2014. Bahariya Oasis desert.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

First Time Siwa: Just Like Shooting Stars

Have you EVER seen a shooting star?

No, I mean a real shooting star, in real life, not in a documentary film, or a fictional movie, or even through a telescope!

I did! They were FIVE. And the moment I though I got a record, I knew that someone else counted till TWELVE!

That was Siwa... Everything happened in that trip was just like a shooting star.. Every laugh, every tear, every cheer, every surprise, every moment of nervous, stress, fear, joy, inner peace, and every moment that took my breath away. Fade in, spark, and fade out in a blink, leaving that spark in my heart and mind.

Blue sky, mountains, desert sand, lakes, and palmtrees, all in one view.
This is SIWA (Click to enlarge)

There are two kinds of places: A place that's special by itself, you'll love for its own. And a place that's special by the people who share it with you; The memory of it is only valued by the moments you had with them. 

Some will love Siwa once they lay an eye on it, but I'm not one of those!
It's a pretty nice and beautiful place. Yet what I really got connected to was the people I've meet and get to know there. Either the group that was travailing with us, the Terhal family (Ahmed, Mahada, Abdelrahman, and Sarah), or those who live in Siwa (Siwe or not), and got the chance to talk with.

I spent almost a week there (from Fri. 31 Oct, to Wed. 6 Nov), which gave me the chance to take a bit close look into the oasis and its people. In Siwa I ate the most awesome food; did couple crazy things for the first time; saw shooting stars with my bare eyes; attended the craziest and most splendid wedding, with black outfit, jeans, and a slipper (a plastic slipper actually, which I took it off in the desert, and then made me spend about 10 minutes tracking my trail to find it); met people who left their homelands and decided to spend the rest of their lives there, and couldn't resist my curiosity to ask them, "Why?", and their answers were quite interesting; met the best and the funniest deaf cook I'd probably meet in my whole life; and get to know things that I never imagined to be in Egypt.

And as a conclusion of that trip, I couldn't find a better quote to sum up all what I've experienced and saw there but this one from Cloud Atlas:
"Fear, belief, love phenomena that determined the course of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue after we perish."

Now I understand why they used a shooting star as a symbol..

More details to come up later on..
More photos to be found here: