How Twilight should have ended

{ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 }
Bella: "No, Edward. I do not want to sacrifice my life, body and soul to become a bloodthirsty vampire who never sleeps, has forgotten the taste of ice cream and chocolate cake and has no heartbeat for a man who leaves me in the cold everytime things get a little bit rough, only likes me for the way I smell, makes me feel so inadequate because he happens to be handsome and practical and good in bloody everything, and makes me pregnant with a child that eats me from the inside! I happen to value the life I had before I met you and I'm not ready to drop everything to become a demon and be with you. You make me feel bad about myself and that's a major red flag for me. Yes, you might be dashingly handsome and your eyes may change color at random, but I appreciate the deeper things in a person, like personality,morality and a good character. Oh, and basically you are always ordering me around and treating me like I am a moron. So, thank you for the time we spent together, but I'll go looking now for someone who does appreciate me and is slightly more human and alive. Cheers."

Sorry, I just had to have this little rant. What people find romantic these days! I find  Twilight extremely disempowering to women. It's the same old same old story of the girl giving up everything just so she can be with her one true love, like she has no life or friends or values! On top of that, from the first book, it's very obvious that Bella feels like she doesn't deserve to be with Edward, because he's too good-looking. What is the message that our daughters, or little sisters will get from these books? I don't even want to imagine. I completely don't understand why the whole Twilight saga is such a success. But the fact that it is, is very depressing. 

Sophie and the Spyglass

{ Friday, January 27, 2012 }

Sophie stared at the gift her father gave her, feeling unsure. "What is it, daddy?" 
Her father kneeled down by her side, gave her a kiss on her cheek, and said:"It's a spyglass, sweetheart." He grinned when he said this. Sophie smelled his unfamiliar perfume, and wasn't impressed. "A spyglass? Daddy, I don't spy!" 
Her father was taken aback for a moment. Then he winked at her. "Well, have you never wished to see a bird up close? Or a squirrel? This spyglass is not only meant to spy on humans." This made Sophie's heart beat faster. "I've never seen a bird up close," she muttered. Her father gave her a broad smile. "There you go then! When you spot a bird, just look through the spyglass, and it'll be like the bird is right in front of you!" At that moment, his cellphone rang. He answered it straight away, looking away from Sophie and the spyglass. "Today? Really?...No, I'm not busy, I'll be right there." He put his cellphone back in his pocket, and patted Sophie softly on her hair. "Sweetheart, daddy needs to go to work. You have fun with your new toy." As quickly and unexpected as he had entered her room, he left again. A couple of seconds later, she heard the frontdoor slam. For a moment, Sophie felt like she wanted to run after him, and throw the silly spyglass at his expensive new car. She would be satisfied hearing the glass break, but then again, she had really never seen a bird up close. Very carefully, she climbed on her bed, the spyglass clutched tightly in her little hand. She pulled the curtain away. There was a big oaktree right in front of her window, and she often woke with the sound of birds singing. It made her feel happy, like the birds were watching over her somehow. But they always kept their distance, careful not to come too close to the window. Sophie scanned the tree, but didn't see any movement. She decided to try again tomorrow, right after she woke up. Her tummy was rumbling and she was suddenly in the mood for her mother's selfmade porridge. Just as she wanted to turn around, she saw something move out of the corner of her eyes. A squirrel was sitting on one of the branches, smelling the air. Sophie felt her little heart beat with excitement, the blood rushing to her face. Quickly she did as her father told her, she aimed the spyglass at where the squirrel was sitting and with a little hesitation, looked through it. She jumped back for a moment, amazed by how close she could see the little animal. She let out a sharp cry of pleasure. Then she peered again. She could clearly see what the squirrel was doing, as if it was sitting on the windowsill. She kept looking, until the squirrel turned around and stared right at her. She quickly hit the spyglass behind her back, feeling guilty. She also wondered if she had hurt the squirrel somehow, by pulling it close. "I'm sorry, mister squirrel," she muttered. Without another glace, the squirrel jumped out of sight. Sophie closed the curtain again, feeling dissapointed. Then she saw that her mother was standing in the doorway, wearing a flowery summerdress. Sophie ran to her, and allowed her mother to lift her up. Sophie didn't understand why her eyes were sad, but her lips were curled into a smile. "Time to eat, little one!" Her mother said tenderly. Sophie buried her head in her mother's neck.  She smelled of roses and moonlight. They descended the stairs together, the spyglass laying forgotten under Sophie's yellow pillow. 

Old Friend

{ Tuesday, January 24, 2012 }

You've seen the days when the roads were death,

And the fires burned right to the brim,

And the bike you rode to school now it rests,

Where your story began.

You read your fair share of books,
You tied your lace a thousand times,
And you saw the good in the worst of the crooks,
And your story begins, and your story begins.

The sun it burns so I'll jump right in,
I felt the cold sea kiss my skin,
I turned around and you were gone,
And I'm thinkin' of you, thinkin' of you.

Old friend where you headed for now,
Old friend where you headed for now.

Window frames hold pictures of you,
And the tree outside appears on end,
And you'd seen the good in the seam of the crop,
And your story began, and your story began.

The sun it burns so I'll jump right in,
I felt the cold sea kiss my skin,
I turned around and you were gone,
And I'm thinkin' of you, cant stop thinkin' of you.

Old friend where you headed for now,
Old friend where you headed for now,
Old friend where you headed for now,
Old friend where you headed for now.

Back in Belgium

{ }
So my Egyptian adventure has ended. I returned to Belgium on the 21st of January. I thought I would be happier to be back, but I still don't feel quite at home. I miss Egypt, while I didn't even know I enjoyed being there. I should probably give myself more time to adjust to my old life in Belgium, but somehow I feel I don't want this old life anymore. A life of feeling insecure and dependent on others. Maybe the bad weather has got something to do with it too. 

I was happy to see my friends and family, but somehow I don't like the Belgian atmosphere anymore. I need something different. Now I feel like I haven't felt at home my whole life. Again, maybe I just need more time and everything will be fine in the end. Still, I can't help wondering: do we have a kind of destiny in life? A place where we belong, and we won't feel at ease until we have found it? I don't necessarily feel I want to go back to Egypt, but I do very strongly feel like I need to go somewhere else than my native country. My thoughts now foremost turn to Saudi, because the family of the man I love live there and I'm eager to visit them. Although I find it hard to believe that I could "belong" in that country, I am curious to see how life is like there for myself. 

My future still feels very vague, I don't even know what I want to do next year or where I'll be! If I choose to start another 4-year study, it might seriously delay living together with my partner.  I also don't really feel like studying another 4 years. Maybe I can choose a master after master? But then I have to write another thesis. Another option I was considering is going to Saudi for a year to study Arabic there and maybe work as an English teacher. But then again, the only way for me at this moment to be able to go to Saudi is to be married officialy to my partner, and I'm not. Last time I checked they didn't even issue tourist visas. So this plan might be slightly problematic. 

Anyhow, I want to thank everyone who commented on my previous post about my laptop getting stolen. Your words are greatly appreciated!

I've been robbed =(

{ Wednesday, January 18, 2012 }
About a week ago my laptop got stolen.
I don't know exactly how it happened or who did it.
The laptop was stolen from my apartment in Cairo, but there are no signs of burglary. My charger and an adapter are gone too. It seems like whoever did it had the key to the apartment, although I don't know how that's possible. We changed the locks when we started to rent the apartment, so it can't be a previous tenant.
We changed the locks again now.
Anyway, that's the reason why I haven't been updating my blog. I'll be in Belgium soon and then I'll buy a new one inshaAllah. It put a bit of a damper on my last days here, not to mention I had deadlines for uni to meet.

Hope you are all well!

Ibn al-Qayyim on Bringing About the Love of Allah

{ Friday, January 6, 2012 }

Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) said:

"Chapter: Ways that bring about Love (of Allah) and necessitate it, and they are ten in number:

One: Recitation of the Qur'aan with reflection and understanding of its meanings and what is intended by it, such as reflecting over a book which a person has memorised and he expounds it so that he may understand what its author intends from him.

Two: Getting closer to Allaah with the supererogatory (nawaafil) acts of worship, after the obligatory ones, for they will take him to another level of love that comes after love.

Three: Constant remembrance in every circumstance by the tongue, the heart, actions and (one's) condition, so a persons share of love is in accordance with his share of this remembrance.

Four: Preferring His love over your own when the desires overcome you and climbing to reach His love, even if the ascent is difficult.

Fifth: The heart's comprehension of His Names and Attributes, witnessing them and having knowledge of them, to immerse himself in the garden of this knowledge and its fundamental pillars. Whoever knows Allaah by His Names, Attributes and Actions, will, no doubt, love Him. For this reason the Mu'attilah (deniers of His Attributes), Fir'awniyyah and Jahmiyyah are like highway robbers to the hearts, (they come in between it and) between reaching the beloved (i.e. Allaah).

Six: Witnessing His generosity, His benevolence, His favours and blessings, both hidden and open, for these things call to His love.

Seven: And this is the most amazing of them all, the hearts total defeat and humility in front of Allaah, the Most-High, and there are no other words and considerations which give expression to this meaning.

Eight: Being alone at the Time of the Descent of Allaah for having private conversations with Him, reciting His Words, investigating the heart, displaying the manners of servitude whilst in front of Him and then to seal all of that with seeking forgiveness and repentance.

Nine: Sitting with the truthful lovers (of Allaah) and gathering the good fruits (arising) from their speech, just like one picks out the best of fruits, and that you do not speak except when the benefit of the speech prevails and when you know that there is a betterment for you and benefit for others in it.

Ten: Keeping distant from everything that comes between the heart and between Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic.

So from these ten ways, the lovers will reach the (various) levels of love and will enter upon the Beloved. And the chief and fundamental principle behind all of this is comprised of two matters: Preparing the soul for this matter and opening the eye of keen insight/sure knowledge."

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