October 30

Sandy Testing Canadian Spirit

We’ve been hearing about Sandy, aka ‘Frankenstorm’ for a while; warnings, tips on how to keep safe and survive the worst…etc. But the awesomeness of Canada is the fact that people didn’t really process the magnitude of what could’ve been a horrible natural catastrophe until last evening, before the unwanted guest arrived that is, due to many reasons. One reason is that people here are used to rough weather conditions, even immigrants who landed a few years ago no longer freak out when they see/hear the term: “severe- weather- alert”. Another reason would be the fact that some people don’t know the first thing about hurricanes, tornadoes, or such deadly beasts of nature; their ignorance serves them well as it automatically switches off any fear or even alertness buttons in their brains and this means they either don’t give a damn what would happen, or they were so excited and looking forward to witnessing their 1st deadly storm ever .  I can assure you though, that most  people belonging to either group changed their minds once they saw what happened in the US, and panicked even more when they heard about the 1st death case caused by Sandy in Toronto as a woman was killed by flying debris. And that’s when most of GTA neighborhoods started to turn into ghost-towns.  But before that, I believe most people were just turning the whole thing into a shopping spree: 1st aid kits,  flashlights, candles, matches, water bottles, blankets, sleeping bags, duct tape… some even bought tents (I’m guessing they belong to the 2nd group I was talking about).

One of the funniest things I heard yesterday afternoon was one of my neighbors explaining ‘Sandy’ to her kids and saying: “so, what I’m trying to say is, this is when all your crappy glow-in-the-dark stuff comes in handy”.

From our side of the building you can see Toronto city -usually clearly- so when we heard about the power cuts and saw the lights go off we started to freak out a bit I must admit, especially when we learned from TV & Twitter that sirens were constantly sounding in downtown Toronto to urge people to seek shelter as Sandy actually arrived. That’s when I also learned that among all this madness some people were actually complaining about home delivery services stopping “until further notice”.

Back to our building, in it you could easily tell who’s a new-comer and who isn’t, simply by looking through your window. When you see family members sticking their hands & faces onto the cold window glass trying to capture it all live in action you know they’re new-comers, the longer they stay still in this position, the newer to the country they are, because those who are here for a while know better than being so close to what could be a direct cause of death.
Another sign to distinguish new-comers from the rest is that they tend to turn disaster-times into little gatherings/house-parties. Table full of yummy finger-foods, snacks, tea/coffee/pop and everyone is watching live-news and making long-distance calls  exaggerating things to make their relatives & loved ones worried sick and think they’re brave heroes facing THE STORM 🙂

Kids were hoping Sandy would be more fierce and would stay longer to have the day off of course.  They were all let down when they woke up to what turned out to be a beautiful morning… Passing by a few scattered street & restaurant signs on the way to the school bus stop they were all giving their parents the “puppy-face” look in a last attempt to try to skip school: “but the storm knocked the signs down to the ground, we no longer know the right direction, it’s not safe” they’d say, and before they get the parents’ reaction they’d point to a broken sign on the sidewalk and shout: “check this out, cooooooool”.

Anyway nice weather didn’t last for long; it turned a bit crazy at noon, colder than the morning, more wet, so darn foggy. Now things are getting back to normal I guess. So no need to worry about us, in case you did in the first place!

With all this madness going on, one can’t but respect the Canadian spirit and positivity. On the streets people are all happy Sandy didn’t mess much with Canada, they’re trying to clean up after the storm with smiles on their faces. On Twitter some are tweeting how happy they are the tree didn’t fall on their car/ house instead of focusing on the chaos it left behind.

I leave you with some photos of the super storm as it passed by Southern Ontario.

September 30

International Translation Day

I believe many of you don’t know that translators actually have their own special day to celebrate: September 30th of each year.

Back in 1991 the International Federation of Translators (FIT) launched the idea of an officially recognised International Translation Day to show solidarity of the worldwide translation community in an effort to promote the translation profession in different countries. The significance of the date (September 30th) is that it’s the feast day of St. Jerome (347-420 AD), the Bible translator who is considered as the patron saint of translators, interpreters and librarians.

And each year there’s a special theme. This year’s theme celebrates the professional translators, interpreters and terminologists represented by FIT member associations that build bridges between cultures and facilitate communication that creates prosperity and cultural enrichment. As the Federation note in their press release for International Translation Day 2011:
“Thanks to translators, interpreters and terminologists, peoples around the world can preserve their cultural heritage while being active participants in the “global village”. Cultural diversity makes our world a better place, but we have to understand each other in order to avoid international conflicts and to help each other in times of need. We have to understand each other to appreciate our cultural differences.” Read ‘Translation: Bridging Cultures’ in full…

I personally knew about the International Translation Day only 3 years ago, believe it or not, and I frankly never celebrated it before… until this year that is, when I got a sweet greeting message from a thoughtful friend wishing me a “happy International Translation Day”.

So to celebrate this day with you, I’m sharing some of my favourite translation-related videos , wishing all fellow translators a Happy International Translation Day, whatever language you speak.

Learn a foreign language.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Do you speak English?

Berlitz: Improve your English.

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October 22

On Being A “Desperate” Housewife

October 22

Lesson Of The Day:

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December 18

Problem With Comments

Just wanted to notify you that I’ve been having problems with my comments lately. Some loyal readers sent me to inform me that they’re actually leaving comments, when nothing is showing to me.

Other than that, as many have noticed, there are earlier posts, around 10 or so, that lost all their comments, I have no idea how that happened either!

I’m getting this problem fixed soon, but I apologize for all deleted comments, hoping this wont discourage you from leaving your comments.

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November 13

USA History

In black and white…
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[Via: EnlargeYourPen, Source: Patrick Moberg]

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July 15

Help The Planet in 50 Easy Ways

Just came across this: 5o Ways to Help the Planet [Via: EnlargeYourPen]. Which is a webproject by Wire & Twine.

The listed points are so simple, straight-forward, and really easy to follow and implement.

I also found their shirts extremely cool!

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April 29

It’s All No Good, If It’s Not Meant To Be

Fate; 4 letters combined to form one of the most powerful means of an irresistible interference in our lives, determining events we go through in the most amazing way.

Coincidence; this delightful surprise that brings people together in the most unexpected way, in the most unexpected place, at the most unexpected time.

Technology; this amazing human-created tool that enables you to find people you never thought of finding in the first place just with a click.

These three elements are, in my humble opinion, highly connected and extremely separate at the same time. Fate brings coincidence, coincidence was the birth of science, science led to technology. Technology creates coincidence by making the world a smaller place, and coincidence is part of fate.

Every day people go through a series of planned and unplanned events, all the cause of fate, coincidence and technology. And here lies the irony of life…
We make new friends, and we lose old ones. We fall in love with people we never knew existed, and hate those who never stopped loving us. We remember those who are not worth remembering, and forget all about those who deserve to be engraved in our hearts and memories forever. We get closer to those we don’t like, and get away from those we love. We run after those who ignore us, and let go of those who will always be there for us. We help those who are perfectly capable of handling themselves, and ignore the need of those who strive our help. We gather around those who hurt us, and walk away from those who heal our wounds.

Yes, fate, coincidence and technology throw many events our way, affecting our reactions and directing our choices. They can be the source of our happiness, just as much as they could be the source of our misery. They can conspire to cause this world to be as small or as big as they want, whenever they want. For there are times when neither fate, nor coincidence, nor technology would serve you. And when you surrender to the fact that they’ve all failed to assist you get what you want, they decide to surprise you yet again… could be something good or bad, doesn’t matter, point is it’s all up to them.

You could spend years searching for an old friend, believing that this small world must send him your way, or at least give you clues that would lead to him. But years go by and no trace of that old friend of yours. Yet during your search you stumble across someone you never thought of looking for and you find him instead.  More years will go by, and there’s a chance you might still find that old friend, or meet someone who knows him, but there will always be the possibility of never finding him, or even worse; finding him, when it’s too late, when he’s been gone long time ago.

Fate, coincidence and technology, these 3 magical elements, which affect us strongly, and on which we have almost no control, will either support us or fail us depending on the power controlling them: God’s will.  And so,  it all revolves around one and only principle: whether it’s meant to be, or not.

One should do his/her part in anything in this life, but leave the rest for God. If it’s meant to be you’ll get what you want, but if you do all you can, and spend your whole life in pursuit of a certain dream, and then you stopped at a point where there’s nothing left for you to do, then you have to realize that it was never meant to be… and if it’s not meant to be, there’s nothing in this world that will make it be, and even if you go against the forces to get what you want, you’ll lose it, sooner or later.

April 17

StartUpArabia:Promoting An Arab Startup Culture

I’m proud to announce the launch of StartUpArabia; a project that my husband has been working on lately, dedicating a lot of his time and paying a lot of effort to create with one goal in mind: promoting an Arab startup culture.

StartUpArabia is basically a weblog dedicated to new Arab technology startups and services, profiling and reviewing them, providing interesting market news and information, and sharing tips and advice for the entrepreneurs behind them. It also discusses existing services and companies that are making interesting new changes and big steps in the Arab world.

We have many smart, creative and talented people in the Arab world who come up with really impressive project ideas, but the lack of guidance and coverage causes their projects to sadly fail.
StartUpArabia will fill this need and will provide useful info and guiding tips for all Arab entrepreneurs; it will also shed more light on their projects and introduce them to as much people as possible, thus preventing these projects from shutting down.

I hope that all of you reading this will spread the word and encourage any Arab entrepreneur they know to check out this weblog. And if you happen to know about any startups, don’t think twice of sharing with my husband.

And to my dear husband; I wish you the best of luck with your project, and I’m sure your efforts will pay off and that StartUpArabia will hopefully get the success it deserves.

March 31

Short Note

I’ve been having some technical problems with my blog that prevented me from blogging or even replying to the comments left on my blog for a while. Now the problems are solved and hopefully I’ll be able to post in peace :)

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