Posted by: Mermaid | December 18, 2018

No Regrets

When a dear friend sends me a post saying you should know you’re doing well if you’re paying your bills and that kind of stuff, I instantly reply with a smile: But I know I am doing very well elhamdolillah J I appreciate every moment I’ve had, specially the hard ones. I am grateful for all what God has made me experience; the travels, education, family, work, friends, the heartbreaks, foooood <3, music, full moons, solitude, laughter, and tears. I was just telling a friend a couple of days ago that if I had the chance to go back in life, I wouldn’t do things differently. I have no regrets J

He smiles back and says with some doubts in his eyes: “I have no regrets?! I have met very few people who clearly could claim that. It requires a lot to reach that level ya Mayada.”

I don’t think much before telling him: It requires accepting and appreciating what you’ve reached so far in life. I appreciate the scars I have, as well as the smiling wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. I do regret doing sins. But I don’t regret fighting for people who let go of me eventually. I don’t regret decisions I made about jobs or relationships. I don’t regret not pursuing a Ph.D after my masters. I don’t regret not saving more money. I don’t regret not travelling more. I am not perfect. Actually the farthest from that. But I appreciate the now version of me. I don’t want to change except getting closer to God. The rest I want to keep as is.. including the scars and the smiling wrinkles J

Posted by: Mermaid | August 7, 2018


I have an activity tracker for more than a year with a target to finish 200,000 steps a month. Since that time I got it, I met that target except last month. I didn’t get lazy. I just slowed down. Significantly. I have this feeling that I need to stop walking. I need everything around me to stop moving. I need to rest. Like sit down on the ground and rest my back on a tree or a wall. I feel exhausted. Breathlessly exhausted. I know one day this would happen. One day rest will come. Everything happens in its own time, Mayada. Everything happens in its own time.

Posted by: Mermaid | July 16, 2018

July; on the 7th, 14th and Drugs

It’s July. An eventful month. My birthday on the 7th. And then there is the 14th and all the memories this day holds. And I also fell sick with a merciless flu. One by one.

I was kind of fearing my birthday this year. Last year, it was great. Indian restaurant by the Nile, a lovely silver bracelet with a winged siren sitting inside a heart. Have I told you I am a siren? I am. A very good siren. This birthday, the siren turned 29.. no, no, 39. I did not feel like correcting the “29”… mistakes happen and in most cases you cannot correct them. You try. But you do not always manage to correct them. I don’t feel 29 or 39. I feel 33. I look younger than 33 but I feel 33. I felt 33 even when I was in my 20’s. Now back to my birthday. This year it was just more than I imagined. Nahla called me at 12:00 AM. Her endearing voice sang me happy birthday :) I love her to pieces :) In the morning I went out for a relaxed jog in Maadi. The shaded streets welcomed me. And as always, I followed the trees in the narrow streets. After an hour, I settled in Ovio ordering croissant with scrambled eggs, cream cheese and smoked salmon. It was just delicious. After a while someone joined me for coffee and I received the first flowers bouquet of the day. It was very sweet. Then I headed home, rested and went out again to meet Nahla for sushi. She wore a top I liked and she got me a BIG summery bouquet of flowers in paper wrapping. She knows I love flowers in paper wrapping J We had our fill of sushi and then shared dessert. I love sharing dessert with Nahla. After finishing and waiting for her Uber ride, I checked my phone. There was a message on WhatsApp from an unsaved number. I opened it and had to enlarge to photo to see who that was. The day was perfect. It was like collecting happy moments in a bathtub. Great moments. Till that message came and it felt like someone pulled away that rubbery thing that blocked the drain. The bathtub was getting empty and all I could feel was that pain in my heart. That rupture within. I told Nahla about the message and I burst in tears. I didn’t expect it or see it coming. It was unfair to be caught off guard like that. For the rest of the night I felt broken. Mom noticed and asked me what was wrong. Told her I was sleepy. I was sleepy and in pain. In a lot of pain. To try to get myself in the mood of the birthday girl I started replying to the lovely messages on Facebook. It helped a little. Did I cry again that night? I cannot remember. These drugs am taking for my flu are making me drowsy and my mind foggy. The day ended with more blessings than I can count and a rupture.

It hit me in the middle of the day that it was the 14th. I don’t have any traces of that day except a dress I am hiding in my closest. And memories am trying to push to the back of my head. Am doing well. But I cried when I remembered that day. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I looked beautiful and happy that day. I was scared… and I had a feeling something bad would happen that day but it all went perfect. I was happy. I was happy.

Coincidentally, I started having a sore throat two days ago.. on the 14th. With rapid deterioration, I lost my voice today and was really drowsy. Did I tell you am on drugs? Not drugs drugs but flu drugs which is not very different from drugs drugs. I feel I am a little hallucinating here but I feel good about it. It is good to feel high and foggy. I watched almost 10 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy today since I was in bed all day. And there was this quote:

Beily: Everybody want a life without pain. Pain is there for a reason.

Then Alex and Ezzy say it again.

Alex: Does it hurt?

Ezzy: Yes.

Alex: Where does it hurt?

Ezzy: Everywhere.

Alex: Maybe it hurts for a reason.

What could be the reason behind pain? To feel alive? Human? To appreciate other present blessings or great moments that are yet to come? I don’t want to feel pain… I don’t. Am trying to make me “feel” less. I am succeeding in closing up myself to new people and opportunities. I just want to stay in my shell forever with the people I already know and love. And with “things”… inanimate things that cannot hurt you. Pancakes would never hurt you, you know! Brownies and coffee wouldn’t either.

It’s the drugs talking again. I guess I’ll just go watch another episode and sleep. Before that, there is a ripe mango asking me to eat it. I want to but am too weak to fetch and slice it up. Can someone do that for me?

Good night, world.

Posted by: Mermaid | June 17, 2018


heimkehr hans adolf bühler Homecoming

يقتربُ بخُطُواتٍ أنهكَتْهَا الحربُ. بقدمينِ مثقَلَتينِ بالبُعدِ. يُجَرِّرُ قدَمًا ثم يقِفُ حتى لا يسقُطَ. لم تَرَهُ بَعْدُ. تجلِسُ في انتظارِهِ في مكانِهِمَا. يعلَمُ أنهُ سيجِدُهَا هنا. يعلَمُ أنها تأتي لتنتظرَهُ كلَّ يومٍ منذُ أنْ رحلَ مِنْ عامٍ ونِصْفٍ. وَعَدَها أَنْ يعودَ. عادَ ببقايا إنسانٍ. لكنَّهُ يُؤْمِنُ أَنَّ يدَيْهَا قادرتانِ على أن تُنْبِتَهُ كاملًا مِنْ جديدٍ. خُطْوَةٌ أخرى. تُحَوِّلُ رأسَهَا إليهِ بِبُطْءٍ. تراهُ. تَنْفَرِجُ شَفَتَاها. خُطْوَةٌ أُخْرَى. تَهُمُّ بِأَنْ تَقِفَ فلا تَسْتَطِيعُ. خُطْوَةٌ أخرى. يَرَى تلكَ الطَّبَقَةَ اللَّامِعَةَ في عَيْنَيْهَا الحَبِيبَتَيْنِ. خُطْوَةٌ أُخْرَى. يُصْبِحُ أَمَامَهَا. تَرْفَعُ يَدَيْهَا إِلَيْهِ فَيَتهاوَى. يَسْقُطُ رَأْسُهُ المُتْعَبُ في حِضْنِها. تَتْبَعُ أَنَامِلُها غيرُ المصدِّقَةِ مَلامِحَهُ ويحتَضِنُ بِرِفْقٍ كَفَّاها ثِقَلَ نَفَسِهِ فَيَنْسَلُّ خارِجَهُ. عادَ. عادَ لِيُنْهِيَ شهورًا طويلةً عجافًا مِن ظمأِ روحِها إليهِ. لا يَشْعُرُ بأيِّ شيءٍ الآنَ. ليسَ لديْهِ القُدْرَةُ على أَنْ يُحَرِّكَ إِصْبَعًا. يريدُ فقطْ أنْ ينامَ. أنْ ينامَ طويلًا. وَصَلَ لِلتَّوِّ إلى موطِنِهِ.ا

أغير طريقي المعتاد قليلًا لأمر بذلك المشتل. أدلف داخله فأجده خاوي. أتجول لبعض الوقت قبل أن يظهر عم جمعة. يبتسم ابتسامته الواسعة عندما يراني: “كيف حالك يا أستاذة؟” “الحمد لله يا عم جمعة. كيف حالك أنت؟” نبدأ حديثنا كالمعتاد عن الزرع وطلبي لترشيحه لنباتات مزهرة. لا أتذكر تماما كيف أخذنا الحديث إلى وحدة الإنسان وضعفه. ربما حدث هذا عندما اشتكيت له أن بعض زرعي يهزل ويذوي. فيقول لي الطيب: “لا تحزني على الزرع عندما يضعف ويموت. يحدث هذا لنا.” أتذكر ذلك العضو المنكمش داخل صدري والذي يضخ ألمًا إلى كل خلايا جسدي.ا

يأخذنا الحديث لأكثر من ثلث ساعة وأضطر أن اتركه مكرهة حتى لا أتأخر على العمل. “لا تحزني على الزرع” أذكر نفسي، يحدث أن يهزل النبت. يحدث أن يهزل القلب. ولكنني لازلت أتنفس. الله كريم. أتذكر الآخرين، هؤلاء الذين ألصقوا كتفهم بي وقت التفتت فلم أسقط. كنت أريد في أحيان كثيرة أن أسقط، أن ألصق وجنتي بالأرض وأتبخر. لكنهم لم يدعوني. بقدر ما أذهلني الألم، بقدر ما أذهلني هؤلاء الذين لم أتوقع ذلك الاهتمام المحتضن منهم. الكثير من المحادثات الهاتفية المُلَطِفة، الرسائل التي لا أستطيع عدها، ثم الدعوات التي كانت تنهمر علي بعلمي وبغيره. أراني الله تلك النِعم الأخرى والبركات. نِعم الآخرين. أنا ممتنة جدًا جدًا جدًا.ا

منذ بضعة أيام، أشعر بالثقل. وكعادتي، أنسل إلى غرفتي عندما أشعر بتهديد مالح في الأفق. أستلقي فينبثق نبعان رفيعان من عينيّ. أسمع طرق خافت على باب الغرفة. “دودو، هل أستطيع أن أنام بجوارك؟” “بالطبع، حبيبي.” يستلقي خلفي في هدوء وبلطف يطوقني بذراعه النحيل. يا إلهي، كيف لإيماءة بسيطة كهذه أن تلمم شتات النفس! حمزة، لازال هو الأقرب.ا

اشتريت زرعة فُل منذ عام، أنبتت زهرة أو اثنتين ثم اكتفت ببعض الورق الأخضر الباهت لأكثر من عشرة شهور ثم ذبل. أسقيه لبعض الوقت ثم أستسلم فأكف عن إهدار الماء. أذكر نفسي بأنني يجب أن أتخلص من تلك النبتة حيث أن الزرع الذابل يصيبني بالاكتئاب. بعد أكثر من شهر من الجفاف، ألاحظ ورقة خضراء! ما هذا! أتحسسها لأتأكد فأجد الحياة العنيدة تعلن عن نفسها بكل إصرار في تلك الورقة اللينة. أرويها بحماس وسعادة غير مصدقة! لم أكن آمل في أكثر من بضع ورقات بضة أخرى لكنني أستيقظ في يوم على هذا

IMG_20180615_120536 - Resized

أزهر الفل! لم تتحول النبتة كلها لورق أخضر. ما زال الذبول هناك لكن الأخضر والأبيض ينبتان من وسط الموت كعنقاء تصر على وتتشبث بالحياة. يخطف قلبي اللون الأبيض ورائحة الفل الرائعة.ا

أحمد الله أنه رغم انفطار القلب، لازال هناك آخرون يلصقوا قطعنا المفتتة ببعض فنتماسك، لازال هناك عم جمعة ليقول لي: “لا تحزني على الزرع”، حمزة ليحتضنني فيلملم كسري. أحمده أن الزهر والنبت والحياة بيده. أحمده أنه كريم، أنه الأكرم.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | May 29, 2018

Faking Happiness or Being Alone?

To lure myself to keep jogging on the treadmill, I watch engaging movies or series. I came across an interesting quote in one of the episodes that talked about how some women fake happiness with men for fear of being alone. The quote:

“I decided instead of running away from the idea of a life alone I’d better sit down and take that fear to lunch.

– Waiting for someone?

– No, it’s just me. Thanks.

So, I sat there and had a glass of wine alone.

No books, no man, no friends, no armor no faking.”

I do that! I go out alone; for jogs, movies and even meals whenever friends are not available to join or when I am just in the mood of doing things alone. I do enjoy my own company and “me time”. Don’t I want to be with someone? Of course I do! Very much kaman :D But I can never fake being happy with someone just because I dread the idea of being alone. Ending up alone is a tough and unpleasant idea but the weight of being insincere just to escape this fate is way heavier and tougher.

Since I do not drink, I raise my glass of water. For being genuine. For never faking love or happiness just because we’re afraid of being alone. For never compromising on what is important for us in our partners. For looking for a “reason why” never a “why not.” And most importantly, for being courageous enough to be alone and do things alone when the “right” company is not “yet” around J

Posted by: Mermaid | May 24, 2018

بجوار الحبيبة

أجلس بجوار أمي على سريرها بينما تقرأ الجريدة. باقي على آذان المغرب ما يقرب من العشرين دقيقة. عادة لا أنام إذا أقترب موعد الآذان هكذا. لكن تتآمر عليّ السويعات القلقة من نوم البارحة، درجة الحرارة اللي قاربت الأربعين اليوم، وإرهاق يوم عمل طويل في نهار رمضان فأتهاوى بجانب أمي وأنا اشعر بثقل في رأسي وجسدي. أعتقد أنني دخلت في سبات قبل أن تمس رأسي الوسادة. بعد بعض الوقت، ما بين اليقظة والحلم أشعر بيدها تربت برفق على رأسي وتمسح بتمهل على جسدي المتعب. أسمعها تتمتم. ترقيني الحبيبة. ترتسم شبه ابتسامة على وجهي الناعس وأربت بيدي على يدها. لا أريد أكثر من هذا. أسكن وانزلق في نوم مطمئن.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | February 8, 2018


أستيقظ بعد الخامسة صباحًا بقليل. يجب أن أستعد لورشة العمل تلك والتي سأتحدث معظم الوقت بها. بعد مراجعة عرض العمل، أبدأ في الاستعداد لليوم الذي أعلم أنه سيكون طويل جدًا. في طريقي للفندق الذي تقام فيه ورشة العمل، أنهي الاستماع إلي رواية هاروكي موراكاما. يأتي ذلك المقتطف:ا

“No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.”

تعودت في الأيام الماضية على وجهي المبلل. كلما حاولت ألا أبكي كلما تورم جفناي أكثر. لذا أفتح السدود أمام فيضان الملح حينما يحلو له أن يأتي.ا

ينتهي اليوم الطويل بكثير من الشكر والتقدير من عملائنا. في الطريق لسيارتي أفكر، أأستبدل ذلك النجاح بوجوده معي مرة أخرى؟ أهز رأسي يمنة ويسارًا وأهمس: “لا أرفض نعمك يا ربي وأتمنى استبدالها بأخرى. أرضى بما اخترته لي. رغم انفطار القلب عليه، أرضى بما اخترته لي.”ا

أدلف إلى سيارتي. أتفقد ذلك التطبيق على هاتفي المحمول وأجد أن الوقت المتوقع لوصولي إلى المنزل سيكون بعد ساعة ونصف. ليس بي طاقة للقيادة كل هذا الوقت. أقرر أن أذهب لمشاهدة فيلم في دار سينما يبعد عشرين دقيقة عن الفندق. أرتجف قليلا لأنها المرة الأولى التي أذهب فيها لمشاهدة فيلم بدونك وخاصة في دار العرض تلك المرتبطة بشدة بأوقاتنا معا داخلها. أربت علي وأقول لنفسي: “عاجلا أم آجلا ستذهبين بمفردك. تعلمين أنه يجب أن تقومي بتلك الخطوات المؤلمة حتى يصدق قلبك أنه ليس موجدًا بعد الآن.”ا

أقرر على فيلم مبهج حتى أشعر بالتحسن قليلا. يبدأ الفيلم وتبدأ الأغاني. تتسع ابتسامتي بسعادة وأوشك أن أميل على الشخص على يميني لأخبره كم هي رائعة تلك الأغاني. أتسمر بعد أن أتذكر أنك لست بجواري. تنحدر دموع صامتة. أشعر بالغرابة؛ أبتسم لأنني مستمتعة بشدة بالفيلم وفي نفس الوقت أبكي لأنك لست هنا. لكن جل ما أشعر به هو الخواء. خواء داخلي يكبر قليلا قليلا حتى أصبح مجوفة تماما من الداخل ولا يتبقى منى سوى قشرة خارجية رفيعة. ألا تأتي بعض الرياح الرحيمة فتفتت القشرة لأتحول إلى ذرات تتبعثر في كل إتجاه وتتلاشى؟ا

ينتهي الفيلم بالكثير من السعادة وثقل القلب. داخل سياراتي يخبرني التطبيق أن أمامي 45 دقيقة قيادة إلى المنزل. أشغل أغاني جاز هادئة. أتذكر عندما قدتُ سياراتي من قبل وأنت بجواري ونفس الموسيقى منبعثة من سماعات السيارة. غلبك النعاس يومها فانزلقت في نوم هادئ. طوال فترة قيادتي كنت أختلس نظرات إلى وجهك النائم بابتسامة خفيفة وقلب ممتن لكونك بجواري. الآن، المقعد خالٍ. الآن، المقعد خالٍ.ا

أصل إلى المنزل. يتآمر علي قلة نوم الليلة الماضية، اليوم الشاق، وذلل الإحساس المتفاقم بالخواء والفقد. أندس تحت أغطية سريري وأبعث رسالة لصديقتي المقربة: “سيتركني ذلك الألم الممزق، أليس كذلك؟ سيتركني ذلك الألم الممزق يومًا ما، أليس كذلك؟”ا

Posted by: Mermaid | January 25, 2018

Tomorrow, I Chase the Rain

I wake up with a heavy heart and body but my ears pick up this sound and I instantly feel lighter. It is raining. Like a little girl, I jump off the bed and start preparing to go out with one thought only on my mind; finally some rains! Although I am passing by Nahla at 9:30 AM, I leave the house at 8:00. How can I waste time inside four walls when this freshness is luring me outside? I head to my car and I look up to find a beautiful surprise.

Rains from Car Ceiling

I drive slowly with a light smile at the corner of my mouth. I pass by On the Run and order a medium cappuccino. I take it to my car and inhale that tantalizing aroma. I drive on and park next to a small garden close to Nahla’s home. I take out my hand cream and use a little amount of it. Now my car smells of coffee, warm apple pie and rain. Can I ask for more? I play that playlist and relax in my seat. I think of you. Of the loss. Of the disappointment. I feel okay.

Nahla joins. After the usual hugs, she tells me I look better. I speak with a calm voice and tell her how angry I am. How I find myself sometimes in a state of disbelief. My voice shakes a little but I hold on.

We reach that busy café and have breakfast. We share pancakes. Don’t pancakes exist to be shared? We leave and start our walk.

Maadi streets, so inviting and so peaceful. We aimlessly roam them following where greenery leads. I point out a few welcoming entrances and we pause and smile. We rest a little on empty wooden benches in that quiet square before continuing walking for more than an hour. We talk a lot and we keep silent a lot. Her company is comforting and embracing. I feel at peace. It rains a little but then stops and the sun shines with warm rays. God is merciful and knows I need rain and lots of clouds the most today with a little sun. My wish is granted.

We approach my car and get inside. I play that serene playlist, our playlist. It suddenly rains heavily… inside my car. I try to control it but the silent tears turn into sobbing. She holds my hands and tells me that everything is going to be okay. How life is going to be okay when almost everything is filled with your presence; my coffee, my long walks, the quiet streets of Maadi, my favourite music, movie theatres, and cold weather? It feels like someone is trying to uproot a tree from my chest but while doing so, my soul is slipping away because my veins are the roots to that tree. The longing for that warmth in your eyes, for your embracing presence is unbearable. You are my twin heart. And I lost you. I lost you.

I put on my pearl earrings and a cheerful smile so that mom won’t notice my swollen eyes. I spend some time with her before lunch then head to my room to rest. It is cold. I am grateful. Tomorrow, rain is expected. I will go out again chasing it. Maybe if it pours down on my bare face this heartache will go away. Maybe the pain will leave. Maybe, for a brief moment in time, I’ll be able to tightly hold you again inside before I sit down on the side of the road and let go of your hand … for good.

Posted by: Mermaid | January 19, 2018

حتى أتيتَ أنتَ


كانت صباحات الجُمعة دوما ملكي حتى أتيتَ أنتَ لتزاحمني فيها. فأصبحت تمتلئ بك رغم الغياب.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | September 30, 2017

On Memory, Patterns, and Being Literal

I have a bad memory. Well, not in general. I just fail to remember what is irrelevant to me. I can remember tiny, tiny details or a date that I was told about a month before just because I relate to this detail some way or another. Same with numbers, I am horrible in memorizing numbers. I spent almost a year at work not being able to memorise my 5-digit phone code. I finally succeeded when I managed to find a pattern (divide the first two digits by 2, you get the second two digits, then put 5 – example: 48245). My mind rushes always into finding patterns. In math calculations, my mind has its own way. For example, when I face something like 15*7, my mind finds it difficult to make this calculation. Instead, it makes the below steps:





Believe me, the above would take approximately 4 seconds. Because the process happens sometimes in even less time that this, I find myself unable to identify the steps my mind took. For example, when someone asks me about a math problem, in a few seconds I’d give the answer. When I am asked how did I reach this, I would need a minute or two to concentrate and try to repeat the process again while slowing my thinking process in order to be able to identify the steps. By the way, I am in no way alluding that I am a math genius. I am the complete opposite J Just saying how my mind has its own tricks to find patterns and solve problems.

So, it is obvious how logical I am and how I like facts. I am a literal person. Too literal sometimes for this world. When I ask someone for something and they offer me something else which could be better (in their opinion) or more in quantity, it irritates me because I just asked for what I want! And I mean it! I know sometimes people are generous that’s why I hold my horses and politely ask again for what I initially asked for. Like 95% of people would insist on offering me what they believe is better. I then put a bit of a rigid face and try to mild it down with a gentle voice while saying: “thank you, I only want X.” People usually give me a puzzled look and give me what I want. Same fraction happens when I ask people questions like: “I have given X three bananas, not enough?” While I expect a simple either “yes, enough” or “no, add one or two more” I get a stern moment of silence followed by an accusation that I do not want to give more! I asked a sample question for God’s sake! Why can’t I get a simple answer?! My words do not have hidden meanings! I mean what I say, and say what I mean. People, even close ones, put a lot of pressure on me when they keep ignoring this personality trait of mine.

And that was my morning chatter and also an attempt to get back to writing more frequently.

Have a good morning, world J

Posted by: Mermaid | September 25, 2017

On Remembering Things

By noon today something strange happened. I started feeling disoriented and not focused. I vaguely remembered conversations with people that happened in the morning or even five minutes before. And this was not about one conversation or an incident; it was about almost all the events and interactions that happened today. And this extended to not being able to recall names of colleagues and statuses of projects. That was… I am not sure how it felt exactly. I felt a bit alarmed so I talked to my best friend, briefed her about my condition and asked her to wait for a message from me every hour or else she needed to call me to check on my status. Well, an hour later, I exerted an effort to remember bits and pieces from this conversation but the good thing is that I set my alarm and dropped her a line every hour.

Towards the end of the evening, am feeling better. Not back to normal but better. Now when I think about it, it is a bit scary. What if I lose my memory? Memory of things, people, who I am? I felt lost in the morning, like I was floating in a world I could not recognise. Faces felt familiar but I found it difficult recalling things. No sense of belonging. This WAS scary. Is this what Alzheimer’s patients feel? Do they feel lost or they dwell under the blissful state of oblivion? Do they try to remember things or they just float with whatever memories cross their minds?

I never thought of our ability to remember things as a blessing. Now I know what a great one it is! It is our compass and anchor. Praise to Allah for all his blessings; those we are aware of and those we are not.

Posted by: Mermaid | April 17, 2017


It’s Easter morning. I know streets would be heaven. The only time I enjoy Cairo is during vacations where the morning streets are a bliss. Summer is approaching with a frightening speed. Flowers would fall off very soon, too soon L The best time of my career was when I worked for a few months in Maadi where the morning and evening drives were a source of positive energy for the stress in between. I came to know then that flowers blossom during March and fall by end of April. So, I do not have much time to waste if I want to capture the last smells of spring before the sticky season hits for long months. I got the gear on; comfy shoes, my camera and a bottle of water.

I park my car close to Ovio (great coffee there!) and then hit the roads aimlessly. I assure the child within that panics at the idea of getting lost that I have my mobile on my and GPS (God bless it!) can guide us back to the starting point. The long trees undermine the sun that shines too strongly for 8:30 AM! Architecture in Maadi is not as sophisticated as it is in Heliopolis but it remains my favourite. Greenery is unbeatable in Maadi as well. Maybe this is why it is my favourite spot in Cairo.

I start the walk with a smile. The weather is still nice in this early hour of the morning. Security men idly sit in front of their buildings checking their mobile phones. I keep strolling with my eyes clinging to every colour I notice… and believe me, I notice almost every colour in the street even that red shoes in the balcony caught my attention J I do not mind that I might stumble down and fall because am not keeping my eyes on the ground and I barely looked right and left at crossroads that I was about to be hit by a car twice (I had my earphones on). I like this neighbourhood more and more every time I linger in its streets. There is this embracing intimacy in its quasi-narrow streets. The hanging branches of blossoms and happiness. The short villas with simple, yet elegant architecture with no boastful vulgarity as that can be found in some of the rich neighbourhoods in Cairo. I prefer this simplicity of nature and architecture to the sophistication of other areas like Downtown and Heliopolis (both I heartily admire). Maybe that’s why when I visited Aswan and Luxor long years ago, the grand temples there did not steal my breath as much as the stunning Nile and its marvellous tore formations did. I take my hat off for the human creativity and mastery in building temples and complex buildings but nothing puts me in awe and peace at the same time as nature does.

I continue with the walk with some joggers passing by me. I feel grateful for the colourful surprises I find around the corners.


I come across that specific flower – I do not know its name but it puts me in a nostalgic mood instantly. My school yard was full of it. We used to pick them and have the petals fall off our small hands. What precious treasures wasted!


Imagine having this as your house. Entrances of joy JIf I lived in these houses I think I’d hang a sign saying:

فلتصحبك البهجة أينما حللت


I end the hour walk with coffee and breakfast at Ovio. I playfully dodge the reminder that I should eat diet-friendly food. It is a good day. Let all be good and light J

IMG_20170417_095828_181 - Resized

Posted by: Mermaid | April 1, 2017


برجاء الاستماع إلى هذه الموسيقى أثناء قراءة القصة. ا


يَستيقِظُ في الساعاتِ الأولى مِنَ الصباحِ ويتلفَّتُ حولَهُ بحثًا عنها. يجدِهُا تجلِسُ باستكانَةٍ بجوارِ النافِذَةِ. شغَفُها بالصباحاتِ المُبَكِّرَةِ يسرِقُ النومَ مِنْ عينَيْها قبلَ شُرُوقِ الشمسِ فتستيقِظُ وتشهَدُ تسلُّلَ النورِ إلى الظُّلْمَةِ. قلبُ طفلةٍ ينفتِحُ بشغَفٍ لتلكَ البداياتِ لكنَّهُ ينكمِشُ في زاويَةِ روحِهَا خوفًا مِنَ النهاياتِ. ربَّما لهذا تهرُبُ دومًا مِنْ مشاهِدِ الغروبِ.ا

يتأمَّلُها. مُتَّكِئَةٌ بلطفٍ على وِسَادَةٍ. رأسُها يستَنِدُ على كَفِّها المفتوحَةِ دومًا. شعرُها يفضَحُ الجزءَ الغجرِيَّ في روحِها؛ ذلكَ الجانبَ الذي لا تشي بهِ ملامِحُها الهادِئَةُ.ا

يقترِبُ منها ويضَعُ يديهِ على كتفَيْها. تُجْفِلُ. يُطَمْئِنُها بأنْ يقترِبَ منها أكثرَ. تضعُ يدَها على يدِهِ وتُرِيحُ ظهرَها على صدرِهِ المُرَحِّبِ. يسمَعُ تنهيدةً خافتةً تنفلِتُ منْ بينِ شفتَيْهَا. هِيَ لا تعِي أنها تَتَنَهَّدُ كثيرًا ولكنَّهُ لا تفوتُهُ واحدةٌ.  يحيطُها بِهِ فتُسْنِدُ رأسَها على ذراعِهِ. يعلَمُ أنَّهُ لنْ يستطيعَ فَكَّ طلاسِمِ روحِهَا المُتَعَرِّجَةِ. داخِلَها سُحُبٌ عاصفَةٌ وأبْحُرٌ شَرِسَةٌ تبتلِعُكَ في لحظةٍ. داخِلَها هُرَيْرَةٌ مذعورَةٌ تُرِكَتْ على طريقٍ سريعٍ. وداخِلَها ياسَمينٌ يَسْقُطُ سريعًا معَ أيِّ رياحٍ لا تَقْصِدُ شَرًّا.ا

لا شَيْءَ بيدِهِ معهَا. ولكنْ ألا يكفِيهِ أنها امْرَأَتُهُ – بتلكِ العوالِمِ داخِلَ حدودِ جسدِها وقلبِها؟ فَلْيَنْعَمْ بتلكِ اللحظةِ وهِيَ معَهُ. يرفَعُ يدَها التي يزيِّنُها خاتَمٌ يحمِلُ اسْمَهُ ويُقَبِّلُها. تتنَهَّدُ مَرَّةً أخرى، تُغْمِضُ عينَيْها وتستكينُ داخِلِهِ.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | March 29, 2017

Sa Pa, a City of Mist, Coffee and Longing

Vietnam was never on my to-travel-to list. Two friends encouraged me to go there. Off to Vietnam, then.

Sa Pa was the third stop for us after Hanoi and Halong Bay. Reaching it was not easy; a night 9-hour sleeping train from Hanoi. But honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected it would be. We arrive at the train station a little after dawn. Taking another transportation for 45 minutes to go up the mountain where Sa Pa is. Although it was foggy but still I enjoyed the ride.

The hotel was a beautiful, rustic place and our room had a big window overlooking the mountain. Samar, my friend, always pampered me by letting me choose which bed I would like. And I chose the one next to the big window J


We rested for a couple of hours then got ready to explore the city. First, we headed to a nearby cafe to have our addictive daily dose of the strong Vietnamese coffee. The “Cafe in the Clouds” was its name. It is rightly named for the view from it, specially from the roof, was stunning!

Edited - Cafe 3


Fog and mist put me in this nostalgic mood where I miss him… or rather the notion of him. I miss having a partner the most in winter. When it is really cold. When it rains. Some birds are never to nest into a mate. They are to wander forever till their wings fall off and they drop on the ground for one last breath before they rest for good. I swallow the longing and enjoy the aromatic coffee and the mist.


God bless GPS! We follow the route to the lake passing by the colourful shops in the relatively narrow, winding streets. Some local ladies and children follow us with handmade goods. We smile and gently say: “no, thanks. Not today.” But one of them insists on giving each one of us a gift. I wear it for the rest of the trip.

Edited - Gift

The lake was absolutely beautiful with the French architecture houses images reflected on its surface. It is surrounded with lots of flower formations with lovely colours. We spend a good half an hour snapping photos before relaxing by the lake enjoying the view.

Edited - Lake 2

Locals in Sa Pa look a bit different than the rest of the Vietnamese population. I think this is because the city is on the borders with China. Even the handmade goods are different in material and designs.

There is something special about Sa Pa; the streets with its short houses and buildings, the facades with all kinds of plants and flowers. Wherever I looked, I saw the green mountains in the background, with slowly moving fogs… luring me into joining them… getting lost there. But I get back to my senses and I motionlessly keep watching the horizon.

Edited - Lake 5

It was a long day, we return to the hotel for some rest. Samar prefers to linger there but I feel restless; I want to explore the city by night. So, I head out again. The Chinese lanterns give such a magical yet intimate feeling to the buildings. I keep walking but my eyes check the GPS every now and then to ensure I am not lost. That childish panic of getting lost!


When I feel exhausted, I decide I’d head back to the hotel and stop by one of the restaurants for diner. The winding road up to our hotel was full of goodies.

Edited - Night 2

The following two days are dedicated to trekking. The local guide would meet us in the hotel at 9:30. AM. We wake up early for breakfast in the hotel. I head for the “Cafe in the Clouds” for one final cup of coffee there.

Edited - Cafe 5

Sue, our guide, arrives on time. Then starts a route to remember.

To be continued…

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