What’s the Story Morning Glory?

Please select a featured image for your post

When watching a movie, there is always that upbeat sound track that starts to play at the exact point when things start rolling positively for the hero. Well, that to me is what signifies the moments when I feel like a million bucks:  I actually start hearing my upbeat theme song playing in my head!


During the course of this past year, my theme song tends to be triggered by very different things than it used to be when I was in Egypt. Yet another aspect of the experience of being away from home, living alone, interacting with a different culture and going back to school!


Until I left Egypt, the list of things that made me feel like a million bucks will probably be very familiar to all of you:  the spas, the special facial treatments at Clarin’s, the pedicures and manicures, the day-long treatments at the hairdresser. Away from indulgence and beauty treatments, there were the irrational impulse purchases, the drive on the open road, a day spent in Alex (including the essential fish meal and ice cream at Azza!), a night of fine-dining, a day lounging about in the club or even a night at the movies with my buddies!  On the work-front of course, there was the elation of delivering an insightful, well-prepared presentation, or making an instrumental addition in a meeting, or simply meeting a deadline.


Today, my theme song plays for very different things:  sunshine warming up the streets of London, walking down a familiar street, instinctively knowing my way around without having to look at the maps anymore or getting to the platform just in time to hop onto the tube and not having to wait 5 minutes for the next one to come in. Discovering a new short cut, sitting in the park, watching the pigeons eat, or monitoring a squirrel move easily and swiftly through tree branches at Hyde Park for half an hour!


Away from the highs that are enhanced by the beauty of nature and other ‘location’ factors, there are more personal things that bring that spring back to my step, that uncontrollable smile creeping to the sides of my lips, and that warmth to my heart.  Such chance events like passing by a man on the street and hearing him shouting (just speaking really) on his mobile phone, as he speaks to his loved ones back home – usually “fil balad!”.  You would be amazed at the reflex reaction you develop to hearing a random stranger on the streets of London speaking in Egyptian dialect!  Coming across a very “Egyptian” brand in a grocery store like Juhayna Guava juice, is an immediate high for most of us here, closely followed by successfully reproducing one of my mom’s exceptionally delicious recipes to share with friends.


Surprisingly, the often forgotten mundane ‘domestic’ activities such as doing your laundry is a rich sources of highs:  starting with actually going to the laundry room and finding a free machine, to completing a cycle successfully without casualties such as shrinking your favorite jumper or turning your whites to pinks!  Also, during the weekly shopping (groceries of course!), getting the exact items that fit into your shopping bag without having to resort to the use of the flimsy plastic bags provided by the supermarket is a supreme high!


“My domain”, “my empire” as we tend to call our rooms at the dorms, is a key source of things that make me feel elated and happy.  The satisfaction of actually putting together a chest of drawers by myself (discovering the DIY part of me) comes on top of the list of my Highs in my little empire.  (Naturally, putting it together CORRECTLY only came after several trials… but as they say, “practice makes perfect!”)  Pinning up picture collages as mementos of good times shared with family and friends, adorning the room with a new hand-made Indian cushion which I found in a small shop in Camden Town at an absolute bargain, and the ultimate kick I get by watching a rerun of “Layali Al Helmiya” or “Raafat al Haggan” on one of the many Arab TV sites on the internet.  Funnily enough, of my greatest highs was finding a bin basket for 1 pound ONLY, instead of the outrageous market price of 14 pounds sterling!  And my all-time favorite was buying that perfect over-the-door hanging unit that perfectly carried all my creams, make-up, brushes and even provided me with an extra towel rack in my ‘cozy’ bathroom.


Still, some things just don’t change, regardless of my designation – a working woman or a student:  the sight of a dog happily wagging his tail… then the feel of his coat & his happiness as we play together (whether I know him or not!), the serene look of complete comfort in the eye of a child with his/her mom, a message from an old friend saying “thinking of you”, answering the phone only to hear the warm voice of my mom taking my opinion about something she is buying, as if I was right there with her; or the comfort of sharing small talk with the old lady in the nearby grocery store that I pass by everyday on my way to class or work.  All are situations that happen in both countries, only the backdrop of the country changes, the faces of the people are different, yet the feeling of happiness is the same.


The range of activities, situations, or even thoughts, that can make one feel like a million bucks are never-ending.  Some change while others stay the same, only becoming more deeply entrenched in you regardless of age, designation or location.  The trick is to stop every once in a while, acknowledge them, be grateful for them, and allow yourself the luxury of feeling like a million bucks, in whichever currency that may be!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.