Nerdydad's Blog

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

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 khanacademy.org 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.
Peace

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

Back to life .. back to school

A couple of years back, I declared that it’s about time to go back to school and do some graduate study, so I attempted to do so, and boy things were never easy to proceed with such aspiration.
First of all I had little time to spare for refreshing my mind, second thing is the lack of funds and lastly I did not have what it takes to get admitted into a decent graduate program. I started to doubt my ability to do so and convinced myself that graduate school is not for people like me.
But things changed dramatically since the end of 2013, when my wife gave me all the support required (and even the pressure sometimes) to realize that dream. In short we passed most obstacles and I am finally enrolled in a graduate program in one of the top 100 universities worldwide.
My first class is August 27 and I am counting one week remaining here at work.
I am really excited and terrified at the same time and I hope I can write more details more frequently.. for the time being,  I have to run to clear some items from my apartment to leave it clean for the landlord.
Peace

حفلة الشكولاتة

لن أنسى هذا اليوم ما حييت! يوم أن خرجت زوجتي في مشوار طويل و تركت الأولاد الثلاثة تحت رقابتي!

تخيلت لوهلة أن المسألة أبسط ما تكون، فالأولاد نائمون، و كل ما علي فعله هو قراءة كتاب أو مشاهدة التلفزيون إلى أن تعود زوجتي من مشوارها.

إلى أن تنبهت لصوت من المطبخ، ذهبت لأرى ما يحدث، و كانت المفاجأة!!

مرت ٥ سنوات على هذه الحادثة و لازلت أتذكر المفاجأة، أرض المطبخ مغطاة بمسحوق الشكولاتة و كل من زيد و عبد الله مغطون بها.

بدأت في نوبة من الصياح المستمر إلى أن تنبهت لألم في صدري، كنت على وشك أن أصاب بذبحة، فقررت الهدوء!

صورت الجريمة، و نقلت المجرمين للحمام ليأخذ كل منهما دش يزيل آثار الجريمة

واضح من الصور إن عبد الله كان عامل دماغ شكولاته و كان سعيد جدا بيها! في الوقت اللي كان زيد مكبوس من التهزيء

حمزة (أخوهم الكبير) كان نايم و ما شاركش في الجريمة، بالعكس، ده كان منهار هو كمان عشان فهم الموضوع غلط لما شاف اخواته بالمنظر ده في الحمام، افتكرهم أكلوا حاجة منه

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معضلة أخلاقية عن أطفال الشوارع

انتهيت اليوم من قراءة كتاب أطفال الشوارع للدكتورة رضوى فرغلي . و بعد الصدمة من هول ما يتعرض له أطفال الشارع، بدأت أتساءل عن حل ما للتقليل من حدة الظاهرة.

مبدئيا، أطفال الشوارع لهم تركيبة نفسية و اجتماعية مختلفة عن أفراد المجتمع السوي و ما يؤذينا لا يضرهم بالضرورة و ما نرتضيه لا يقبلوه؛ فمثلا لا يقبل أطفال الشوارع تقييد حرياتهم المطلقة المتمثلة في بيوت ذويهم أو المؤسسات الاجتماعية، و هو ما تكيفنا عليه كأفراد في مجتمع سوي

في الوقت ذاته، لا يتضرر أطفال الشوارع كثيرا من الانتهاكات الجسدية و الجنسية و تعرضهم للخطر في حياتهم اليومية، و بحسب ادعاء الكتاب  فإن أطفال الشوارع ممن أمضوا أكثر من 4 سنين في الشارع يكاد يستحيل إعادة دمجهم في المجتمع السوي

إذن فأطفال الشوارع رافضين لأسلوب حياة المجتمع السوي و يصعب اندماجهم، و حياتهم معرضة للخطر و هم مشروع مجرمين إن لم يكونوا مجرمين بالفعل

سؤالي هو، هل من الأخلاقي وضع أطفال الشوارع في معسكرات إنتاجية أو معسكرات تجنيد، تستفيد من طاقات الأطفال و توفر لهم الرعاية المطلوبة؟

تمنع القوانين المحلية و الدولية عمالة الأطفال، لكني أرى أن ضرر عمالة أطفال الشوارع أقل من ضرر من تركهم في الشارع

لو تخيلنا معسكرا إنتاجيا لأطفال الشوارع يشبه إلى حد ما سجن للأحداث لكنه أقرب ما يكون لمشغل أو مصنع به حراسة و رعاية و ترشيد نفسي و اجتماعي ، يمضي به الطفل فترة من الزمن للتكيف على شكل المجتمع السوي بقيوده و حرياته و احترامه لآدمية الآخر

للعلم: أطفال الشوارع يتعرضون للاعتداءات اللفظية و الجسدية و الجنسية و لاستغلال ضعاف النفوس و يتعرضون لمخاطر شديدة لا يتعرض لها الطفل العادي، و منظومة أطفال الشوارع الاجتماعية تعمل على تشويه نفسية الطفل و قيمه و تدفعه للتحول لطريق الإجرام أو للتعرض للخطر الشديد؛ عادة ما يُستقبل الأطفال الجدد بالاغتصاب لأسباب عدة منها استغلال الضعف و منها فرض هيبة الزعيم و منها التربح. و عادة ما يترك أطفال الشوارع بيوت ذويهم و مؤسسات رعاية الأحداث لانعدام رغبتهم في التكيف مع المجتمع السوي، بل إن بعضهم قد فقد الثقة في كل من انتمى لأي مجتمع آخر غير مجتمع الشارع!

لذلك لا تنطبق مسوغات تجريم عمالة الأطفال على أطفال الشوارع لأن البديل كابوس مرعب، بالإضافة لذلك، فإن التركيبة النفسية لأطفال الشوارع تتميز بالبحث عن عمل ما للاعتداد به و الشعور باحترام الذات حتى و إن كان مصطنعا
و يصور بعض أطفال الشوارع لأنفسهم التعرض للضرب أو تعاطي المخدرات أو التعدي على الغير جسديا أو الممارسات الجنسية كمصدر للاعتداد و الفخر

طبعا كل كلامي مبني على ما قرأت في كتاب الدكتورة رضوى فرغلي
أتمنى أن نتناقش في هذه المعضلة، و نصل إلى توكيد أو تفنيد، و التوصل لبدائل و بحث آليات للعمل.

المشكلة أكبر بكثير من قمة جبل الجليد التي نراها، فمجتمع أطفال الشوارع به الكثير من المتناقضات و الشرور، و غض الطرف عن هذه الظاهرة لا يتماشى مع ما ندعيه من إنسانية و التزام ديني

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