Nerdydad's Blog

a nerd dude who happened to be a dad .. duh!

Day +3 Almost out of steam

3 days after missing our flight to Edmonton,  moral regained but we are in the survival mode. It worries me to death that classes has begun already and I am still in Egypt.
We had to split the family trip, one urget trip for me leaving Cairo on September 2nd, but the route will take roughly 31 hours via Istanbul and  Toronto,  and the rest of my family will follow me one week later via London, in a 16 hours trip (Lucky them).
I will try to enjoy the trip and wonder around Istanbul’s airport, spend a couple of hours in the Airport hotel (TAV) and attempt to adjust my jet lag meanwhile.
Here is the tip, Istanbul airport (Ataturk international airport) has a hotel in the duty free area, with hourly rates instead of nightly ones. They have 0 to 3 hours rate, 3 to 6 hours, 6 to 9, 9 to 15 and 15 to 24 hours rates. I believe you need to pre-book before arriving and give in credit card information to reserve your room.
On another aspect, I have stopped reading in the past one week due to last minute pressure at work and instability in Cairo. Now I am trying to pick up reading steam once again because I am quite sure I will suffer in the beginning trying to cope with young graduate students.
I wonder what awaits me over there,  especially I should arrive in a late hour to Edmonton after that looooong flight. I am not sure I can make it to class next day,  but at least I should get my initial paperwork done.
Thank God, I booked a hotel within walking distance from the house we are supposed to rent, so I can go sign the contract ASAP, and try to get a piece or two of furniture to move in at the earliest. Next, is to drop by the school nearby and apply for my children to enroll whenefer they arrive.
Life is tough, but that’s the beauty of it.

Day T – 0 days, the date I missed a flight around the world

Today was the big day my whole family were waiting for.  We were all tensed, we did not sleep since yesterday and we were all set to go.
Our flight was scheduled departure at 10:35 Cairo time,  so we aimed to be at the airport by 8 to 8:30.
Unfortunately,  a chain of delays resulted in the family queuing at the check in area just on time. We were all looking at the clock and spoke tothe guys on counter to inform them we are there in the queue so they don’t close before letting us in. The lady at the counter was so nice, she even asked us to proceed to check in, and while procedding with the process, flight control decided not to take us!
He even claimed that we didn’t show to the flight and they took standby passengers.
I missed my flight,  so did my family.
The good news is that we managed to use the same tickets
The bad news is that I will travel alone 1 week later and over 23 hours flight. As for ths family, they will catch me one more week later.
It is really disappointing what happened today at many levels;   I missed my first class a d the orientation session,  I witnessed a senior official at my national airliner lying in my face and our family will be separated for one whole week. Not to mention the jet lag I will have to deal with by any means,  as my flight will arrive to Edmonton in the evening during the week
We’ve been through many obstacles so far, we should never give up

Day T – 2 Days – A Short “Break”

Tomorrow is my last day in Cairo, next day would be a day stuffed with traveling experience. I tried to finish whatever outstanding business here in Egypt during my short stay, and tomorrow is my last chance to finalize whatever I can.
I have that feeling of insecurity of not going to work and answering 50 phone calls and 250 emails a day.
I was hoping that those four days in Cairo would be full of relaxation and indulgence, alas it was not. Life in Egypt became tough, with obvious lack of unison and harmony among people. It is unfortunate that I feel alienated in my home country as much as being an alien in other countries.
What I should do, is to stop thinking about self pity and focus more about achievements in this short life. Later on, indulgence and relaxation would be abundant in the After Life, if I earned it.
To do tomorrow: finish outstanding business, repack luggage,  prepare for the 16 hours flight and have enough sleep to compensate for the trip and for the 10 hours jet lag.

Day T – 4 days, time to go

Yesterday was my last day at work, so was my farewell event. I never imagined that I would hear such thoughtful comments from my superiors and coworkers. I am glad I left without hard feelings,  and I cherish the period I spent here in the bank.
I am now waiting for my flight to Cairo, where I will have a short break, finish some paperwork then have the 16 hours flight to Edmonton.
Thank God, things are moving smoothly, only my worries makes it hard.

Day T – 6 Days … Yikes!

Oh my God! Tomorrow is my last working day,  not only at this employer, but for the next two years or so as a permanent job!
I have been here for quite some time, I even calculated the duration to find it accounting for 16% of number of years I lived so far. It is not an easy move.
On a different aspect, I woke up this morning for the morning prayer and checked my email out of curiosity to find an email from the Graduate Students Association of the Computing Science department telling me that I have been assigned a buddy to answer whatever queries or concerns I have, and they even showed me where my office will be.
I am not sure why am I assigned an office or what should I do overe there, so I will have to wait and see.
I am at the brink of insanity out of worries,  I hope this week would pass quickly to get into the Frey and stop speculating how graduate school will look like.

Day T – 7 Days – Past the Point of No Return

Two more working days, in less than three days I will be flying home for a short break then a great change is to take place in my life. I know it has been too late for quite some time to change my mind, and I don’t want to change my mind.  But for some reason I keep having such persistent thought; is it too late to call it off? Can I have my old life back with all its cons and pros? How will my new life will look like? Can I adapt to the new routine? What will happen to my unfinished tasks at work? I want to return back to my apartment.  Whare is my key chain?  Where is my car? Was that my mom walking by herself in the mall? Continues stream of unrelated thoughts trying to pull me back to my comfort zone.  Although I never liked what I have been doing for the past few years,  and I have been dreaming of having an academic career,  yet I still have such invisible force pulling me back against my aspirations.
I know things will be hard at first,  but in order to grow, one must take risks and undergo hardships. Working as a banker is not what I want to die doing. I want to leave a legacy while still able to achieve.  With all due respect to bankers and business people,  you might be doing what you believe in,  but for me, I am a scientist,  since my early childhood.
I know my thoughts are conflicting,  I confess, I am confused, and torn apart between my goals and my tendency to be lazy. I am a lazy person who finds laziness wrong and I am trying to get rid of such habit along with other habits such as tendendy to stay safe ane avoid healthy risks in life.
Forgive my confusion,  peace!

Day T- 9 Days

I am not sure what is going on, but it seems life is full of those who struggle to survive while having a forgotten dream in thier subconscinc. This evening I decided to have a cup of coffee while reading a book about Artificial intelligence, it took me around an hour or so, and eventually the waitress asked me about the book. After 10 minutes chat, I learned that she had a college degree in computer related field (not computer science,  but instead computer applications in design and manufacturing). Similar to yesterday’s taxi driver story, she decided to let go her dreams in order to support her family. In addition she thought it’s too late to return back to school.
It was funny how a youg woman almost 10 years younger than me thinks its too late while I am at the brink of retirement thinking of starting an academic career. She asked about local institutions where she can pursue some academic degree as part time,  and I shared some local institution names. In addition,  I gave her the names of some great 8nline resources,  such as and MIT Open Courseware.
I feel humbled whenever I meat those people. And I constantly feel the gratitude to those who enouraged me to make that decision to let go my industry career and start the academic one.
It is never too late to do what you are good at, do not let your financial situation block your vision of your dreams.  Work on it, think of it and encourage yourself over and over to reach there.
You might need to spend some time preparing for it, you kight go through hardships while getting closer to it, but constantly reminding yourself of the ultimate goal will turn the bitterness of such hardships into the sweet taste of accomplishment.

Day T – 10 days

It’s a Friday,  I woke up lazy this morning, it has been almost a week sleeping on cardboard and thin sponge mattress.  I had plans to have my last Friday prayer at the grand mosque, but I ran out of time giving away some excess itemsin our apartment which is almost empty now.
I had the chance to speak to an Ugandian taxi driver for almost half an hour who turned out to have a college degree and who started his CPA! The poor guy used to me an operatitons manager in one of the lending companies in Uganda,  but decided to come here and work as a taxi driver to earn some funds to feed his family and pay for the rest of his CPA. He seemed to be somehow upset about how he turned from a white collar manager to a taxi driver, so I shared with him what I went through since my graduation. I never thought that my relatively boring short life would inspire him, but it did. He wanted to wait for me to finish my Friday prayer free of cost, just to talk about life and hoe to overcome obstacles. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find him after prayer, so I took another cab to work to finish some outstanding tasks and later on to the nearest mall to have a snack at the food court.
It is ironic that this food court I started writing this post in, is the same food court I met some remote friends 6 years back to help me settle in Abu Dhabi!  Today I am in the same place, talking about my experience leaving the place and whatever excess baggage!
6 more days for my flight to Cairo,  and 10 days for my flight to Canada.  Wish me luck

Hanging on

13 more days to go and I should find myself in class with my fellow graduate students. During that period, I should spend one week at work, wrapping up as much as I can and finishing whatever business left at the UAE, then 4 days in Cairo to say goodbye to my family and friends,  and finish some paperwork then finally the long trip from Cairo to Edmonton via Heathrow.
One day to adapt the jet lag and next day to start a 3 days series of orientation.
I can’t explain the conflicting feelings I have right now;  fear, joy, anxiety, regret, looking forward to the future,  all mixed in one little brain. Only when the numb feeling takes place I take a break from such exhausting emotions.
Of course there is one refuge from my fears, to remember the source of safety and nurture, who plans events in a sequence no one would comprehend and eventually things turn way better than anticipated. Praise to God all mighty. I guess I should spend less time worrying about the future and more time asking God for forgiveness and stronger faith.
Today marks a dramatic shift in my temporary state. I left my empty apartment and checked in a decent hotel,  where I can finally lay on bed instead of cardboard or a thin sponge mattress.
I gave HR department my passport and ID to cancel my visa. Now there is less tension about having my exit on time.
I guess it’s about time to resume reading to have my brain warm up for academic life.
I guess there is not much to share today, maybe we can talk later about the journey to apply for graduate school, it was quite a long one worth sharing.  Hoping that someone might read and hopefully get inspired.

Letting go

I can’t resist sharing my current experience with leaving a place I stayed in for 6 years with 5 members of my family.  Everyone of us has a few things so dear to them, and it is not an easy decision leaving behind most of these items. But what to do, airliners has limited capacity for luggage and some of those items may cause trouble on boarders. My wife had to let go some of her books, I had to let go all of my electronic kits including the recently purchased Arduino along with $200 worth of accessories including servo motors, shields and electronic components. The hardest experience was my children’s who had to leave behind most of thier dear toys either for size or weight constraints.
It’s worth mentioning a great service here in the UAE called “Take my Junk”, whom you call on 800JUNK and they collect whatever items you don’t want for free and give it to the needy. I called the guys at 5 pm one day, and they came all the way from Fujairah next day at 6 pm.
I sold both of the family cars and for some reason I feel insecure for the light weight of my key chain after giving all keys to new owners. I returned my 6 years old mobile number, and for the irony I broke the handset next day.
Tonight is my last night in the apartment I have to pack whatever left of my belongings to check in tomorrow in a hotel.
Did I mention that my wife and children travelled last week back to Egypt with 10 large suite cases and left me whatever they could not take?
My middle son gave me one of his toys one hour before he left to take it with me as he is carrying enough stuff.
Not sure why I am bothering you with such story. It is just one hard thing a person would go through with such limited time.
I hope I could make it safely on time and be there on 27 August on my seat attending first class at U of A.
Take care all

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