Elif Shafak & the Women in Today’s Islamic World 

Encounters: While meeting and getting my book signed by Elif Shafak who is both inspiring and a change maker. She talked about how today is a day when women need one another the most. That one must not be selfish to only ask for their rights and when obtained to ignore the rights of everyone else and to accept them being taken away, that we should fight for our rights all together for our freedom of rights. She also talked about uncertainty, that when we are certain we think we know it all and know no other, and it is always the cause of trouble as we stop accepting the other; which could be different which could be better. She talked about being confused, is being humble is being modest, that when one is always open to new answers for old questions you are not necessarily opposing but just giving yourself the chance for gradual growth. Elif might be contradictory to many people today, she might be controversy, but in my opinion Elif is only in search for unity, for freedom of rights, for opportunity, for being less judgmental and more diverse. I am saying all this because i agree with her attitude towards life, for she is a Turkish woman, who is taking her opportunity as an internationally recognized author to speak and to represent not only herself, but everyone else. She speaks in the name of peace, for everyone and not only for what meets her right, and in today’s world i must say and agree, that people like her, are much needed. And we do not need to like her or like every single thing she has to say, or agree with them, and we do not necessarily have to accept her attitude to life or her beliefs, like we do not have to agree or like anyone else’s, but to live together in peace, we need to at least accept them as human beings and accept their rights to be the human they were born to be, as long as they don’t over cross or step over anyone else. It is my right to have rights but it is also your right to have yours. I truly wish and stand along with Elif for a world to better understand, that in order for me to be happy, your happiness is important too. I think it is about time to realize one’s unhappiness which might cause so much suffering, is causing as well so much violence for their rights to be heard.

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A Piece 

Found this beauty this morning on my instagram (EmergEast) and felt it was worthy to share. Since I have been absent from my blog, I decided why not do simple spreads whenever I could until I can give this blog my time again.

It has been hectic as going back to school after you turn thirty is pretty different than when you go to school right away. It is a different form of decision and will, priorities change and the will to aim high changes.

This on the other hand is a photograph from my weekend of Persian Food that I was absolutely brushed away by their sincerity in giving love and art to their plates. A Saffron Chicken dish sparkled with dried petals, grated vegetables for garnish, colorful spices and yogurt, not to forget some red-hot chilli pepper and parsley. indulge.

And although it was a gloomy weekend, it managed to still be colorful and beautiful.

Anyway have a colorful week.

Why you want to add Ghent to your Travel List

I was going to title this blog post (Ghent is better looking than Bruges) but I felt that would be unfair for me to say. Bruges is beautiful, but there was a little something more to Ghent. Like an unfamiliar spice maybe, that hits you with a spark that does not budge. Seriously, Ghent took my breath away, I think it was above my expectations, maybe I had very little expectations of it, maybe it is underrated. Ghent is so beautiful, it is mesmerizing. I still remember very well entering the city of Ghent, we decided to visit it before Bruges so we get most of the time in Bruges, but I guess the next time I will want to spend a full day in Ghent.

We entered the city, that slowly grew to become more medieval, the castles, and architecture of the middle ages are so loud and enormous, you will find your self in aw. The river is captivating, and you get to see it everywhere you look, between bridges, streets, shops and houses. This city kept surprising us with more beautiful architecture, art on the walls, and energy. There is energy in Ghent that I have not tasted elsewhere. You will find yourself smiling, and maybe dancing between the streets, literally, I did it, I even skyped with loved ones, I had to show them what I was seeing, it is that beautiful. The more you walk, the more you will be captivated by it, the more you will feel drawn to it, and the more you will want to spend more time in it. So visit Ghent with time between your hands, don’t rush it, don’t squeeze it between two cities, don’t underestimate it. It sure is more beautiful than you will expect or see in my photographs.

Enjoy this song while you are at it…

For the full blogpost click here. 

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Art found in Bruges

I am a little late publishing the post about my visit to Bruges… actually, am a little too late. I have visited Bruges last march, yup that is around six months ago, wow, it was at the beginning of the year, and look at us now in September. Well I have been pretty busy discovering more about myself, trying to put my pieces into places, I think I have done a good job, I deserve to celebrate, but I will wait a little more on the celebration.

For now, I will focus on sharing my remarkable experience in Bruges. This city, I must say is not like any other. It is heavenly beautiful. Your eyes will want to pop out from their place, like literally, if you are into architecture as much as I am, or even not so, you will just be crying while you look at the art pieces built together, this place is better than lego land. The houses, the colors of the doors, the way they are so flat and just like a big poster, but a 3D or a 4D poster (whatever makes more sense to you) where you can just open doors, and windows, and live inside them, this place… who lives in Bruges anyway?

It looks like a vacation city, imagine living in a vacation city? Well I guess that option is available. The only thing I did not enjoy, and it is kinda upsetting to have not enjoyed one thing in this pleasant place, is it’s food. The food was pretty disappointing. But I guess this gives you a reason to do prepare a nice picnic or just eat some fruits while you stroll.

A song to enjoy yourself while you look at the photographs

Click here for the real blogpost… or for more pictures of doors.

A song to enjoy yourself while looking at my photographs:

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Click here for more. 

More on Belgium… 

Moving Forward: Recharging my Senses

Finally, I took a move, I left (one of the places I call home) to find another home. But I visited a past home of mine, another place I grew up in, another air I breathed to grow up with, I came back again to Canada. I came to Toronto this time, my home is more in Montreal, where I grew up, but for personal reasons, I came to Toronto. The air is the same here, the people, the atmosphere, the architecture, the spirit, the life, the love, it is Canada, it sure can be home again for me. A beautiful place that brightens up your senses, recharges every little atom in your body, it brings every dead element back into life. A life changing atmosphere, where all you can see is bright, hope written everywhere, hope, equality, respect, people are generous, friendly, giving, welcoming, hugging, you feel hugged, warmed up in between their arms, loved, rubbed, you feel vibrant. A place where I would love to call home, I would run and never run out of my energy because there is always energy being filled back in. A place I am happy to call home.

Today I decided to walk from downtown Toronto to the famous farmer’s market known as St. Lawrence Market, we walked in and walked between every fruit and vegetable color that can cross your mind, cheeses that you never thought existed, like coconut brie cheese from Quebec to a caramelized goat cheese from Holland. We had blueberries and raspberries, mangos and watermelons. Fish market, meat market, chicken market, marinated in spices, herbs and juices dipped in date and fig mustard or something like cranberry juiced mustard, you can buy a bunch of sunflowers for five dollars, roses and colorful floral, you will find people from all age groups and all nationalities, a food market that makes you want to spend the whole day in it. We then walked to a yet better destination known as the Distillery District. A Victorian architecture, a historic site, something like the old side of Toronto, filled with art spaces, art sculpts and art galleries. Cafes, and restaurants, exquisite boutiques and findings, this area is not to be missed. We had Mexican food at El Catrin, an unforgettable Guacamole en la Mesa, vegetarian burritos, Todo Santos Ceviche “lime marinated fish with mangos”, fish tacos and Atun Tostadas “sliced thin raw tuna on crips”, it was all delicious. We decided to have dessert at the Harbourfront where we walked to right after, if you have not tried the BeaverTails, then that is a must. At Castor Patisserie, this mouth-watering fried dough pastry served with spread chocolate or cinnamon sugar and other options is to crave for. Grab some and sit by Lake Ontario. Clear skies, clear mind, people watching, journal writing, mind escaping and filtering, best recharging meditation method on earth. Just let it all out, and let all the new in. A great after noon at the lake view, followed by a great cup of coffee from the Belzac’s Coffee Roasters to end my day with. It is time to stay open for all the new coming in.

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Once Upon a Time in Egypt 

Giza, 1938 when life was about living, people were about freedom, and love was the meaning of everything.

To life back in the Middle East.

Photograph found at the ReOrient MagazineGiza, Cairo, Egypt, Reorient, Orient

Have you heard of Prison Island?

You can also spend a day visiting different Island around Zanzibar, we went to Prison Island (also known as Changuu), which was a prison for rebellious slaves, since Zanzibar was a popular slave market (Zanji in Arabic stands for slave; Zanjibar). It is also a home for giant tortoises (turtles) who have been there since 1919. Four tortoises were gifted by the British, the bred quickly into 200 tortoises by the year 1955.

Click here to learn more about Zanzibar Island. 

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