one hundred eighty


September 2015

“We love life whenever we can”

 We love life whenever we can.
We dance and throw up a minaret or raise palm trees for the violets growing between two martyrs.

We love life whenever we can.

We steal a thread from a silk-worm to weave a sky and a fence for our journey.

We open the garden gate for the jasmine to walk into the street as a beautiful day.

We love life whenever we can.

Wherever we settle we grow fast-growing plants, wherever we settle we harvest a murdered man.

We blow into the flute the colour of far away, of far away, we draw on the dust in the passage the neighing of a horse.

And we write our names in the form of stones. Lightning brighten the night for us, brighten the night a little.

Mahmoud Darwish

In honor of my Gran, and my mom as she flies upon the trade winds to be with her; together they will love the light of the Karoo. Poem translation found here.


Kabul in Alexandria

IMG_1143Our lives color the books we read just as much as books color our worlds. Long overdue to read ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, I couldn’t help enjoy stumbling across the occasional Arabic phrase, newly familiar words. Inshallah. God willing. Noor. Light. Whilst listening to the wafting sounds of an unorganized symphony — ‘meeps’ of automatic rickshaws, tinkling bells of horse-drawn carriages, hooting minibuses, the rhythm of the tramway’s clank, the grainy revs of motorbikes, and the raucous taxi horns — I thumbed through my first pages of the novel. IMG_1303My reading of the character Baba’s disdain for his son’s Islamic education was paired with an acute awareness of the real-time celebrations for Eid al Adha awakening through the clatter of the streets of Alexandria five floors below. A mesmerizing live television feed of the Hajj fit the holiday into a broader context, a scene where thousands of bodies clad in white moved rhythmically and organically through a chartered course, like a colony of bees, slowly, methodically. Continue reading “Kabul in Alexandria”

Throwing a Dinner Party

Working from the South African cookbook “Another Week in the Kitchen” by Karen Dudley, I hosted my first Egyptian dinner party. In attendance were Ecuadorians, Canadians, one Brit and one American, while the menu was inspired by a mesh of Italian, Lebanese and South African recipes. My cache of tips for acclimating to new places now includes hosting a dinner party in the first months of settling in. Continue reading “Throwing a Dinner Party”

‘Time to murder and create’

Yesterday at yoga I set the intention to “be kind.” This intention served me as I patiently listened to my body (and my mind fight my body) as I moved into poses that have been archived for quite some time. This intention also serves as reminder to be patient through the process of adjustment into my new surroundings, something my mom is urging me to consider. I took the morning today to observe the findings from my recent desert walks and to simultaneously digest this lovely quote from T.S. Eliot:

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P.S. Apologies for the formerly “empty” version of this post – I have been maneuvering working on WordPress from an app that keeps crashing and posting without my permission!

Not Here Yet

IMG01783-20110329-1805It takes a while to stop dreaming of the last place you were because the soul doesn’t move in real timeI can’t remember where I stumbled upon this notion of our trailing spirits, that take a longer route before catching up. After one month, the closest I have reached Egypt in my dreams was through an experience of rain, where water dripped off dust-caked leaves and I was left delighted in the wake of moisture falling from the sky. Only last week, my mom suggested my spirit had probably only reached Malawi and, I agree, it must be travelling by foot.

Maybe in Kigali by now?
Maybe in Kigali by now?

Is this the mirage of homesickness? Perhaps! I look at street cats and can’t help but see my squint Siamese mutt. I rise early, at a loss for the impetus to paint, usually a happy morning ritual. In my pots and pans I find uninspiring yields. Through the dust storms there are sea mists. While my eyes and brain steep in this richly faceted place, I am not here yet. But I am somewhere, wandering northbound through Africa.

Revisiting Rwamagana Province, Rwanda?
Revisiting Rwamagana Province, Rwanda?

Snails in the Desert of Umm al-Dunya


Breezing down the freeway of the Nile on a water taxi, my long skirt blew up to reveal a sliver of  thigh. The driver politely and deftly pulled down the fabric, a gesture mixed with respect and indignation. My sense of openness within this city, known as “the mother of the world,” Umm al-Dunya, is awakening. The intensity of the world’s 11th largest city exceeds expectations. Between the barking dogs, hooting cars and soft calls to prayer, the days continue deep into midnight, whilst the crescendo of the morning heightens late into the day. 


Continue reading “Snails in the Desert of Umm al-Dunya”

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