I Am Wide Awake

What have I learned so far?

I remember when I was a very young child, every summer my family vacationed at the beach and visited a friend of my father’s who lived there. He was a fisherman delivering seafood for the local restaurants. And as soon as he saw me, he would ask the same question he had asked every summer: “Hey kid, tell me, what did you learn in the school this year?”

Something in the air: empowering women

When recently, and out of nowhere, I received a text from my daughter with the following message: “Hey Dad, check this out, I signed up for a class to learn Arabic,” I thought this was just another line of newsfeed on my Facebook page. 

Remembering Anthony Bourdain

Was it a dream or did it actually happen? Nowadays, it is amazing to realize how news stories, whether happy or sad, are originated and evaporated faster than the blink of an eye. On June 8, we heard that Anthony Bourdain, the famous food critic, flamboyant chef, a man of a unique sense of delivery and the creator of the CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” had committed suicide in his hotel room in Paris. 

In search of common ground

No. This is not yet another self-help manual on how to find harmony and peace in life. It is not a guideline on how despite ongoing uncertainties — which have become integral parts of our everyday lives — we may achieve serenity. This is instead an effort to find that emotional balance between events that fill our hearts with joy and those that cause immense discomfort. 

Humanizing the stereotype

Decades have passed since that peculiar day, but I still remember it as if it were only yesterday. Our neighbor, Uncle Jeremy, was so enraged by the fact that his third baby was yet another girl that he stormed out of his house and shouted loud enough for the entire world to hear: “My God, what did I do wrong to deserve another girl? Why?” And, as the numbers of the spectators in the street became a sizable crowd, he continued to burst out with his insane outrage.

“I would have much rather had a son without a head than another silly girl.”

A tribute to the man who was the master of the galaxies

I would like to formally thank the late Stephen Hawking for liberating me from my mental turmoil and stumbling blocks by offering me something very much needed: a second chance.

Florida teens: We are rooting for you!

I admit that I was totally wrong and biased in assuming that today’s kids, whether they are millennials or the upcoming members of Generation Z, show no aspirations to become responsible adults. After all, I assumed, this is the generation that is obsessed with nothing significant other than the latest trends in fashion, selfies, endless chit-chats on social media and video games. 

I am an American with an accent

I can’t imagine that after living for almost 40 years in this beautiful country of ours, the United States of America, I still feel that sense of awkwardness each time I am asked to pronounce and spell my name.

It all begins when people notice my accent, which after all these years shows no signs of letting go of me, and I am asked to fulfill their curiosity by providing information about my race and heritage.

‘Goodnight Moon’

I have always wondered if there are other parents like me who, after reading a bedtime story to their children, and after kissing them goodnight, look around the room to make sure no one is watching and then reread the same story, this time for their own personal pleasure and fulfillment. 

Yes, allow me to confess that there were many children’s books that I adored and read on my own time, perhaps because they touched that inner child in me that longed for mystery, innocence and pure fantasy. 

From LOLs to Lots of Love

A few weeks ago, I joined a group that practices mindfulness meditation. I have always been mesmerized by the calming effect of this ancient practice, but this was the first time I actually shared that experience while others were present. 

I should note here that the word “shared” should not be taken literally. Let’s be honest, there is not much sharing that takes place between people who spend most of the time with their eyes tightly closed.