Transient Liberté – A Poem about Graduation and Ramadan

Transient Liberté

A. A. Kamalov

Anticipated anticlimax

Arrived, an ambience

Of little malevolence.

Praise be to Allah,

 

Whose spring blossoms

Has fallen on tearful,

Sinful servants, prayerful

Under blessed moon phases –

 

Chanting sacred sutras

Of transient existence.

A pièce de résistance,

A hop, step and splash

 

Of personal pride’s

Unwarranted, poor thing!

You – a weeping weakling,

Succumb too easily to the succubus.

 

So rejoin the path, abscond the past,

An elaborate awakening of future’s been cast.

Author’s Afterword:

This poem is the first one I wrote since completing my exams,which simultaneously meant the start on the road to freedom from school and entering adult life in the real world. I wanted to write something to express this, but to remind myself of who to thank for my success. As a Muslim, I believe that Allah (God) deserves most if not all the credit for allowing me to persevere through the hard times, and my poems have reflected my belief in this regard. The reference to prayer or “sutras” in this poem is also a reference to the month of Ramadan, which is going to begin in less than 2 weeks. This month is considered to be a highly auspicious period where deeds are rewarded in multiple digits. I realised that even though leaving school signifies “freedom” from education, there are still limitations in place with Ramadan, with daytime fasting being the primary activity.

I also consider myself to be a sinful person in need of cleansing, which is what Ramadan is all about. I want to improve myself not only academically or socially, but spiritually and mentally as well, because this will reinforce a more positive outlook in life (at least, for me). I am looking forward to this blessed season, and I wish to all Muslims Ramadan Kareem!

5 Dagen in de Nederland: Land of Polders and Windmills (Part 2)

Photos first, details later…

Please see this post first before reading this one.

It’s been almost half a year since my Dutch vacation, but I still was not able to bring myself to finish editing the entire corpus of photographs on hand with me right now. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, because of the increasing pressure of the new school year. Even though I publish this now, expect further edits to come your way and paragraphs popping under the photos I put in here. WARNING: Long post ahead with very little text! Please take your time to enjoy the flowers and sceneries ahead. Continue reading “5 Dagen in de Nederland: Land of Polders and Windmills (Part 2)”

5 Dagen in de Nederland: Land of Polders and Windmills (Part 1)

Hallo, goede dag iedereen!

About three months ago, I went for my third overseas excursion this year. It already feels like I’ve gone for a world tour for the past four months since 2015 started! This time, it was even more special, because this family vacation to the Netherlands mark my first touchdown to Western and Northern Europe. Prior to this, the only European destinations I have had the honour to visit were Istanbul and Cyprus, with the latter being an island geographically closer to the Middle East than Europe. Therefore, the Netherlands is unlike any other country I’ve been to in terms of architecture, atmosphere and natural landscape. It feels very European in character, but the society is also very multicultural and globalised, especially in Amsterdam. This made me feel more at home, plus I did not feel like I stand out as a tourist as much as other places, even though there were probably hundereds of tourists roaming around the city like I did.

This trip lasted about 5 days and stayed over there for 4 nights in Amsterdam, the “capital” of the country (The Hague is the official political capital). Originally, the plan was to visit Belgium as well, but we cancelled it because it turned out that day-tours to Brussels did not take place on Sunday, the day we planned to visit there. There was a trip to Bruges, but although it is a beautiful medieval city with gorgeous canals, we decided it was too much like Amsterdam and other Dutch cities (which also have a lot of canals).

Due to the richness and wealth of attractions seen throughout the trip, I have again divided this travel article into three parts. The first part will deal with Day 0 and Day 1, the second part with Day 2 only and the rest for part 3. The format of the post will mirror the way I presented my holiday in Antalya. Continue reading “5 Dagen in de Nederland: Land of Polders and Windmills (Part 1)”

Last School Day, Flight and Ramadan

This is a rushed blog post; I am typing this up on my way to the airport. Today can be considered a monumental day in my school career, because I survived one whole year of the IB programme and came out sane and healthy. Thank God also that I received several awards for my academic achievements but that’s a story for later.
Lately my daily life had been extremely hectic because of IB Mock exams, TOK presentations and sheer school/homework. On top of that I am trying my best to observe the holy month of Ramadan to the fullest. The annoying thing is that the school continued for more than a week after Ramadan began, which put a lot of strain on me to balance fasting with Tarawih prayers, iftar, suhoor and school work all within the short nighttime periods and long daytime periods. Hopefully I’ll be able to rest once I return, but I still have a lot of summer school work to do . IB is really not a joke.
In Sha Allah I’ll be able to update my blog much more often than the past couple of months because I have the luxury of time. I really would like to put the Amsterdam posts on by this week at least because I know I have been procrastinating with it since I returned from the Netherlands. Until then, right now, I am almost reaching Cairo Airport for my flight. See you later, beautiful people!

Tomorrow’s Travel to Tulip Country

Amsterdam
A canal in Amsterdam. Courtesy of Google Images.

I’m ashamed that I couldn’t think of a better title; cheesy alliteration is cheesy. It’s already half past ten and I’m already supposed to be in bed so I could wake up early tomorrow for my flight. I’m a little low on creative juice right now so please bear with me.

So I told you all last March that I will be spending my Easter/Spring holidays in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I am actually really super excited about this, not only because I get to go to a new country to add to the list of countries I have visited, but also due to our trip’s itenerary. Only a few days ago, I found out that not only we are going to go to Amsterdam as a family, but also we are visiting Brussels in Belgium for a day tour! Wonders will never cease – I’ll be adding two countries to my list now!

The our general itenerary is like this:

Tomorrow – Flight from Cairo to Amsterdam-Schipol, arrive, check in hotel, do some sightseeing in the evening

Friday – Visiting the Rijksmuseum, Friday prayers in a Dutch-Turkish mosque and taking a cruise in the canals

Saturday – A guided day tour of Keukenhof, a place where lots of tulips are grown in the Dutch countryside

Sunday – A guided tour of Brussels from Amsterdam, including a 3 hour bus trip, visiting the Grand-Place and other Belgian landmarks, return to Amsterdam on the same day

Monday – Flight back home to Cairo

Mind you, I don’t exactly know the details in terms of schedules. I trust that my parents know what and where we should be going, because it was really their idea to visit Amsterdam in the first place. I kept suggesting to go to St. Petersburg, Budapest or Vienna but my mother really wanted to see tulip flowers in full bloom in spring. Turkey is another tulip country, it was the country that originally passed on the flowers to the Dutch anyway, but having visited the country twice already, my parents would like something else for a change.

I have all my stuff ready and packed for tomorrow. I printed a sheet of Dutch phrases ready just in case, even though many Dutch people can speak English. Maybe I should print a French phrasebook too, because I haven’t polished up my French in a very long time. Hopefully, I will write up a great big article or two about this vacay with lots of pictures just like Antalya for y’all to enjoy. I won’t be able to take my laptop with me. Although I’m a little hazy about our activity schedule, I know it will include a whole lot of sightseeing and walking about so I have no time for blog updates there. I will, of course, remain available via social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram providing that the hotel has a free and reliable WiFi connection.

I believe that this whole trip will be a blast, just like the trips I had before or maybe even better! I pray for a safe flight tomorrow. See you after five days!