Monthly Archives: June 2011

For those who have been asking

Hello there!

I haven’t had much time to write this week due to a crazy work schedule – but a few people  in Ottawa have been asking me about the location of the Lebanese Roastery that I wrote about in a post a few weeks ago…

In case you’re interested – they don’t have a website – but here are the coordinates:

Ottawa Roastery:  1221 Kilborn Ave, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L4   – (613) 521-5451

Enjoy your candied chickpeas!

Colour Me

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about becoming a “contributor” rather than a “taker”.

Tonight, I got to experience one of my closest friends making her contribution. And it was beautiful.

Sherien and I grew up together, but have become especially close over the last few years.   We share many of the same interests and ideas and I’ve loved seeing our friendship grow.   Sherien has always talked about one day making a movie – and though I believed in her, I am somehow still blown away that she has actually made it happen.  She started creating the film “Colour Me” two years ago – and tonight, for the first time, I got to see the final product – Sherien invited me to preview her film at a focus group here in Ottawa.

“Colour Me” is a film that explores the tough concepts of race and identity through the life of Anthony McLean. It is a powerful movie that is a great starting point for dialogue (and even though I am biased, I really believe this to be true).  It touched me on many levels, because although the film focuses on ‘black identity’, I think the themes resonate with anyone who has ever sought to explore where they fit into society (which, let’s face it, is all of us).   What I think comes through is that we all have many layers, and that any attempt at classifying a person into one sort of ‘sub-group’ will be a colossal failure.   This failure is perhaps due to the fact that sub-groups in and of themselves are so difficult to define and demarcate.  The movie asks questions such as what it means to be black as well as where our notions of black identity come from.  It was amazing to hear stories not just from Anthony, but also from the youth who were profiled in the movie and who also shared about their journey in trying to answer these questions.

Please check out the “Colour Me” trailer and check the website for info on screenings and on how you can get a copy of this film.  I promise, you will not regret it!

Picture of the Week – One Proud Wife

This week, I have chosen to honour my husband’s most recent achievement: the completion of his Masters degree!   Though I am still unsure about how to refer to him on this blog, I think I will go with “J” for now.

Doesn’t J look handsome?

Picture of the Week – My trip to the Lebanese Roastery

Can you guess what these colorful balls of sweetness are?

When I first saw them I thought they were deformed gum balls.  If you look closely though you can see that they are actually candied chickpeas!

My mother in law gave us a bag of these pretty little chick peas a few weeks ago and ever since that day, I have wanted to go to the store to get some more.  They are so delicious.  I am not sure about their nutritional value – since the amount of sugar probably cancels out the fact that you are eating chickpeas – but they are so good.

So this week I took a trip to the Lebanese roastery, where the chickpeas are roasted and candied.  For those of you who don’t know, my husband is Lebanese.  Being of Egyptian background myself, I did not think I had too much to learn about Lebanese culture. But these candied chickpeas, or kdaameh, are a case in point to show that I was wrong.  Lebanese culture is so different from Egyptian culture in so many ways – language, food, people, history, traditions, pretty much everything. I am learning and discovering more about this culture on a daily basis.  I love being able to pick and choose what I like from both of our cultures, and leaving out the parts that I don’t like as much.  In any case, candied chickpeas  definitely made the cut.

So, back to my story: I took my first trip over to the Lebanese roastery and loved what I saw.  Bins of colourfoul chickpeas, almonds, coffee beans and seeds – all freshly roasted….mmmm.  Lots of fancy chocolate and teas all imported from Lebanon.  The store itself was not very fancy, and is located in a small plaza on a side street.  But I kid you not, while I was in there, I felt like I was in Lebanon.  Arabic music playing, only Lebanese people doing their shopping,  no English to be heard in the store – it was just wonderful and I loved being in there.  I plan on making regular trips to the roastery from now on.  Well, that is, until we move.  But hopefully I can find another one in Halifax.

And that is the story of the how the “deformed gum balls” came into my world.

What are some aspects of other cultures that you have invited into you life?

Taker no more

I am writing this post on one of our many road trips between Toronto and Ottawa.  Road trips have always been a good time for me to think and reflect on whatever is on my mind on that particular day.

I am realising  that a major theme in my life this year has been that of transitioning from being a “taker” in society, to a “contributor”.  For all my life, I have been a taker.  Though I have given of myself and of whatever resources I had in many ways, the net of my existence, if you will, was definitely taking.  I lived with my parents and went to school.  At home, I was in a position of “taking” from my parents, and outside of home I was taking from society by being educated (despite giving back large sums of tuition in return, but this was arguably still “taking” since I was mostly paying by way of loans or money graciously given by my parents).

Getting called to the bar - the day the transition from a taker to a contributor began

Last year was my first year of full-time work.  I opted to live with my parents, putting my student loans and my upcoming wedding as my financial priorities.  As a result of this, I would say that this past year has been my first real year on the “contributor” side of things.  I am now living like a “real” adult – living on my own and working full-time. It’s about time since I’m 28 years old.  In any case, this transition has made a difference in the way I now view the world.  Contrary to the way I thought when I was a student – being told that we were “the leaders tomorrow”, I now believe that this world belongs to my generation, and that today’s students are “the leaders of tomorrow”.  With the recent federal elections in Canada, I felt a lot more involved and affected by the issues than I had in the past.  And nearing the end of a one year contract in my professional life, the idea of getting out there and making my own contribution to society is becoming more and more appealing and exciting to me. At a crossroads in my career, it feels as though it is finally time to make my dreams come true.

This realisation of having become a contributor is also a little scary.  My husband and I have discussed lately the fact that we are inheriting a world that comes with the mistakes (and good contributions) of the previous generation.  In a few years, my generation will be taking over major positions of leadership and the generation above us will be retiring.  Our generation will be making decisions in tough areas like the Arab-Israeli conflict.  I feel as though our generation has been so privileged and had so much more access to education and travel than previous generations.  Because of this,  we arguably have a greater responsibility.  It is all so amazing and scary at the same time.  Definitely a unique place in life.    Generation Y, let’s not disappoint!

First Picture of the Week – Cake & Wine

Welcome to B&B’s very first picture of the week!

I will endeavour to do one of these posts each week.  I like to set goals that are simple and attainable. I also think that limiting myself to one picture will force me to cut the excess, and pick one picture that is actually special – as opposed to many mediocre ones.

My favorite picture from this week is one taken in commemoration of our one year wedding anniversary (eek – the year went by so fast!).  We celebrated with a tier of our wedding cake that was frozen and a bottle of wine that we bought on our honeymoon and saved for this occasion. Enjoy!