Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Egypt or UK

Now I've been in Cairo since July and I noticed some changes since my last visit in August 2010.

You would know that you're in Cairo if...

1. You can't cross the street alone no matter how much you try...
Traffic will not stop for you and there is no pedestrian lights like in UK to press and wait to cross- that was one of my favourites when I moved to UK. I kept taking pictures of the button and how the cars stop for you. Ahhh...good days, now in Cairo, I need to have eyes at the back of my head and still won't be able to cross alone. I lost it as my sister laughs at me and says,"give me your hand and cross when I shout now" It still takes a lot of effort and stress me out.

2. You can see the Nile in front of you, but you can't drink from it or from the tap at home either!
I find it insane that I noticed the amount of boxes we go through every week of bottled water when I can see the Nile from my window! Why do I need to spend all this money for bottled water when we have the longest river.

3. You can't stay in the sun for a few hours...
Whoever thought that global warming is a joke, should come to Egypt. According to many here, there hasn't been a proper winter season for some time now. And I can't say I have had any summer in the UK either... there is a pattern here and a strong relation that I am not very optimistic about. I thought as an Egyptian, I would be able to handle the heat, but my goodness I was melting like cheese on toast! and a sudden heat rash confirmed my suspicion- UK ruined my body temp and I can no longer adjust. Very dissapointed at myself indeed, especially at a 38'c temp.

4. You can't break the habit of getting caught in sitting in Cafe(s).
Everywhere I go, I end up in a cafe and ordering drinks or food. People I assume either put on weight or get around this by smoking shisha- which would still harm your health. I couldn't even avoid others' smoking around me and the bad thing is you can't say anything about it. Why? cuz you're in a Cafe!

5. You pay LE 35 for a cinema ticket and another LE 10 for 3D glasses, that's LE 45!
Still cheap compared to the UK cinema ticket of £6 and sometimes more...but my goodness, I recall the cinema tickets in Cairo where once 10 LE!! regardless of 3D or 2D. Why the increase if the service is the same?

6. You stand ages in a que that isn't really moving
Funny enough, this time I had to renew my passport. I stood infront of the office to get in for ages and the que wasn't moving the slightest. The que in fact was not a line as such, but a massive big group gathering that included both men and women together. I was suppose to be able to get in faster if there was a women only que, but that didn't happen. I heard some yelling, some cursing, some arguing and some huffing and puffing....in addition to the fusion of smells that made my stomache turn. Without getting into too much details, I did it and was out of there after "some" hours.

7. You arrive on time for an appointment and you still wait ages to get in.
This happens though even in the UK so I guess its a 50/50 chance and is just the nature of all services and systems. My dentist in Cairo took about an hour or more to see me and my appointment in the hospital in the Uk took nearly the same amount if not more. The only difference is that in Cairo there is a telly in the waiting room with something on! So I manage to distract  myself. But in UK, either old magazines or others staring at you which isn't nice. Oh and I should add that in Cairo, I pay for doctors, but in UK its free so I guess there isn't really room to complain in UK as suchm, but in Cairo at least I could not pay and leave.

So now that the revolution is over in Egypt and the telly has a lot of updates on the xpresident and his trial, people are calm and enjoying Ramadan- the month of fasting- peacefully. But no one knows what will happen on 15th August when he is on trial again with his 2 children.

As for UK, shocking news today of riots, buring and looting. I am amazed and horrified. I thought the police is stronger and able to act faster. I guess the world is coming to an end and everyone is go mental these days...

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