Arrived 4 hours earlier than planned. This time I didn’t book a room at a hotel. Wanted to give Airbnb a try especially that I’ve no idea how much I would spend in Netherlands during the first month, so I thought it’s time to act like an adult, and think wisely about how I spend money.
Found a family renting a room in their apartment for $40 a night. Best deal I was able to find considering quality and price. It’s possible to find a shared room for $20/night but most probably it would be a rat hole, and I’m not comfortable sharing rooms with anyone. So that room was fine for my needs. Hotel rooms in NYC start at $300/night, so I think I saved a lot.
The family consists of the parents, a daughter, and 2 dogs. The mom welcomed me and showed me around. She talks little bit of English, but more comfortable talking in Spanish. They have a nice house, and the area generally is nice.
The mistake I discovered few days before traveling was that this house isn’t in NY. It’s in New Jersey. I always thought that NJ is a city in NY, but found later that they are 2 close states.
When I arrived to JFK airport in NY, I took the metro to Manhattan, then took the transit bus to cross the borders/river to NJ. It’s a 20 minute trip using the bus, so it feels like I’m still in NY.
Most of my activities will be in NY, so I will keep taking that bus everyday. The bus will leave me at the center of Manhattan where everything important happen. I don’t know why I paid for a $30 metro card if that bus was all I needed. So, here’s a wasted $30.
Till now I don’t have a data sim card for my ipad. I need to have internet access while walking around, but it’s a single week, so maybe I can survive without it.
I survived this morning by taking screenshots of the Google maps directions while still in Cairo. So I didn’t need Internet connection to find my way to home in NY.
It’s still 6:00pm here, so I will stay awake till it’s 10pm at least. I never get jet lag. My friends think my body has something special against jet-lags. I liked the idea of being known to have a kinda super power, so I didn’t try to correct that claim. But the truth is that I adapt to the times of the country I’m visiting during the flight, so when I arrive, my body will be ready to function normally. I can’t claim that I’m good at planning or organizing, but maybe that’s one of the few things I manage to do well.
Ah.. Back to the mistake about NJ and NY. Here’s the real problem. The transit busses are only available till 10pm everyday. This means that whatever happens, I have to be at the bus station by 9pm max to take the last bus heading back to NJ, or I will be stuck all night in NY.
Now I’m hungry so I should go out to explore the area and find something to eat. It’s windy and the temperature is as low as 10 C, so I gotta find something to eat quickly and head back home before it starts to get colder.
My flight with Etihad Airlines got delayed. They offered to book me another one. The options were a direct flight with Egypt Air at 9am, or another flight with Turkish Airlines at 3am that will stop first at Istanbul. I chose to go with Turkish airlines.
I know this choice won’t make sense to most people considering that a direct flight from Cairo to New York is too expensive, and that’s a free offer that most probably won’t happen again ever, but I thought that Turkish airlines would be more comfortable and make me happier, probably.
The problem with Egypt Air is that ..
1. I will stay at Cairo Airport till 9am (7 hours). Which I hate.
2. My experience flying Egypt Air never been good. Flight attendants are rude, and they always make me feel a little bit of guilt whenever I ask them for something.
3. Everything will be Egyptian till I arrive to NY. I have enough of that already.
Turkish Airlines is not the best Airline in the world, but hey.. Few minutes and they will give us those little Turkish bites (malban). Don’t remember what they call it in English or Turkish but it’s called malban in Arabic, and it’s high in quality, not like the ones we have in Egypt.
Anyway, they are asking us to shut phones off. Till later.
2 more hours to be at the airport for a one week trip to USA to be followed by another longer one to Netherlands, my new place to call home for some months or years.
I just waved bye to my 1 bag plan. Looks like I will need to buy one more travel bag when I’m back from this first trip. I’ve grouped everything I’ve in my room into 3 stacks. One to keep, one to throw away, and another to send back to home-base in Alexandria.
A friend will take my bed. Maybe one of his future babies will sleep on that bed.
Would that kid be proud about inheriting my bed, and tell his/her friends that s/he sleeps on the bed that used to be the bed of the great and awesome Shreef?! .. it depends on what gonna happen in my life next.
Don’t worry, I will make you proud kid!
All day of nothing but watching Breaking bad. Other than the interesting story and how it develops, I sympathize with Walter White. The man who knows he is going to die in few months, and wants to secure a better life for his family. All his life was miserable, and full of sacrifices. He was one of the best chemistry scientists, and ended up teaching at a school. All his old colleagues are getting the prestige and money, while he is failing to secure enough money for his cancer treatment.
Breaking bad wasn’t just his way to securing more money for his family, but a way of revolting and expressing anger. He has been always seen as a nice person that’s always taken for granted. He obeyed the law and every other choice or decision made by the people surrounding him. He never had a choice at all. Even when he wanted to not got through the chemical treatment process, he had to change that decision to satisfy his wife who was pushing him toward going through that treatment process that would just make him live about 2 more years longer, but he will lose hair, and feel so sick during those extra months, not to mention that they didn’t have the money to cover all the costs.
It sucks to not have control over your life decisions. Also it sucks to not be able to achieve whatever you want to achieve in your life. You watch the years pass, and you grow older and older, and the older you grow, the more you start to feel the pain grow inside you, and the more you become aware that you won’t achieve anything of what you dreamed of. And come to the conclusion that you’re not that special one, not that smart kid, that can be whatever he wants to be, the hero, the artist, the scientist, the whatever you was dreaming of.
Your mommy, and your kindergarten teachers weren’t right, you’re just a normal person, living in an irrational world, most probably you will end up like everyone else, and even if you achieve your dream, you will find that it wasn’t the best thing to pursue, and start to think about all the wasted years that would have been better spent chasing another dream or a way of life.
So the granted thing .. is that you, like everyone else, poor or rich, healthy or sick, famous or not, lonely or found love .. like everyone else, you will have deathbed regrets.
My wish is to have as few regrets as possible, and to have too many blessings stronger than the regrets.
I don’t know how I will find those blessings, and whether I gonna notice them when they happen or not, so I will keep living and moving forward, hoping that magic will just happen, and that a light will be there to help me find and see my blessings, and put a smile on my face, when I’m there on the deathbed.
Fireworks at 12:20 am?! I wish your marriage will turn to be the worst decision you have ever made, and that you will both suffer till the end of your lives. (silly smile)
So, my birthday went exactly as planned. Nothing productive accomplished. Woke up at 11:30, took a shower, went out for Friday prayers, had breakfast, read some Quran pages, received a short call from mom asking if I’m doing fine, watched a couple of youtube videos, browsed like 5 tumblr blogs and followed some of them, found 2 friends leaving me happy birthday messages on Skype (Yeah, Skype has birthday reminders), so thanked them, listened to some music on soundcloud, went through all the installed apps on my ipad and removed most of them, the ones I don’t use, and the ones I don’t want to use anymore, ordered lunch, started to watch a movie called Wish I was here, now pausing it at minute 00:57:00 as the internet connection started to get slow and I’m tired of watching the movie stop every few seconds to buffer, and now writing this.
I wanted to go out today but wasn’t sure whom should I call, also thought about exploring my artistic skills. I noticed that everyone on Tumblr is either forming poetry or drawing. I know nothing about both, but maybe I should try doing something related to drawing or sculpture.
Sculpture seams interesting as it’s all about removing. You keep removing layers and layers of that material till you end up with something good. If it doesn’t look that good, keep removing more layers. The worst things that can happen is that you will remove all the layers and end up with nothing. Ending up with nothing at all is better than ending up with something bad and ugly. I can’t imagine myself writing poets or drawing, whatever I gonna write or draw will be there forever reminding me of how bad that was.
Maybe I can buy a 3D printer too, but I can’t do that now. That’s my last month at this apartment. I will be moving to another city, so my life currently is stuck at the transition mode. I can do nothing until the transition is fully complete. I should even get rid of most of my old stuff. I’m giving away my paper books, throwing away my old clothes, giving away my bed. expecting to end up with 1 travel bag. 1 bag should be enough to hold everything physical I own. I can have 2 bags, but I really prefer to only have one. I want to always have one bag so it can be easy to leave and move from one place to another whenever I want to.
About leaving, I’m supposed to be moving to another city, to join another company. While I should be happy about the move, still I find myself thinking about when and how I should leave that company. I didn’t even start, and I’m now thinking about moving.
It’s seams like having unstable life is something in my DNA as mom always says. I never stay at a job for more than 2 years, I didn’t even stay at college for so long, even as a kid I kept switching schools many times, still for my surprise - and to my parents’ surprise - each move came with better results. What a crazy irrational world.
When it comes to the irrationality of the world, I can write about that forever, but I won’t write about that now. I’m sure it will happen naturally later when another irrational thing happen in my life.
All I’m thinking about now is how to skip forward .. how to skip life forward like when we do while watching a boring movie. This week, and the coming few weeks will be some of the most boring weeks ever. The days will be long, no body to talk to, and I’ve no interest in doing anything of the things that I used to do before to kill time.
I’m looking for ideas. Hope you have some!