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Sunshine or Soulshine?

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I grew up in a very sunny location of our Earth. And once I moved out of my homeland into America, I didn’t find myself in Arizona or California!

In Upstate NY and Chicago, where I spent most of my time in USA, weeks could go by without any significant sunshine. Add to that my current job where I spend the daytime in a dull office, with no view of daylight, and it can get depressing without the life-giving sun!

Is that a good reason for me to be depressed, and blame it on the clouds? I asked myself. And I believe the answer is NO.

There is a physical aspect to this problem, which I tried to solve with supplements. For example, most people living in the north are deficient in vitamin D, so I make sure I increase my intake of vitamin D3 during the winter. The herb St. John’s Wort is also known to help with mild to moderate depression, so I get my share of it as well. And when it comes to the most helpful tool against depression, exercise, I still can’t get myself to be an athlete! However living in the city forces me to walk, which is a great side-benefit to living in a big city and depend on public transportation for my daily commute to work.

The second, and in my opinion most important aspect of the problem resides no further than our own mind. If there is enough sunshine inside, we will be able to handle the lack of it outside!

The question then is: how to make it sunny more often inside?

My recipe is simple:

When we have ongoing projects and a purpose, we have inner sunshine.

When our minds are active and well fed with good ideas and thoughts, we have inner sunshine.

When we have a good and active social life, we have inner sunshine.

When our spirituality is well and alive, we have inner sunshine.

When we live in love (of people and the Universe), we have inner sunshine.

Did I miss any sun-giving techniques? How do you handle the lack of sunshine?

The sun is back!

I spent the majority of my time in America in the northern states. I grew up under sunny skies. A cloudy day in Egypt used to feel nice and different. But the Egyptian sun wasn’t always a good thing, especially in hot summer days, in dusty cities, where the gift of the green color wasn’t that generous.

Now 3 months into my second Chicago year, I’m again rethinking a new relocation. South. Did you notice: South and Sun interestingly share the same first letter!
Today we have a sunny day. The world looks different, alive, and beautiful. Hope is renewed, at least in my heart. My life isn’t going exactly wonderful. Something is missing. Sunshine helps me look for it, well, under better lighting! I might know what’s missing. But knowing is not finding.
I did live in Florida for about a year. I don’t pretend that being in Sunshine State fixed everything. But at least it could help eliminate one mood-related problem!
However moving isn’t that easy. You know why. Job, money, survival issues. I did make a difficult move to Chicago 15 months ago, and it made my life better in some aspects. But I always knew that I belong somewhere warm and sunny, somewhere outdoor friendly.
I should plan my next move. The question is: how to free myself from money, or from having to work for money. I will be thinking about just that!

Turkish Coffee @ Starbucks!

I am a strong coffee lover, that’s why I love Turkish coffee. I have been in USA for more than five years now, and all this time I believed that I can get it only from Middle Eastern grocery stores. It’s imported, so you can’t buy it fresh. Until I made a great coffee discovery! I didn’t make it myself though. My elder brother is visiting, a coffee lover himself, and he was looking around in a grocery store, when he found out that when you grind the coffee, the machine has an option of grinding it into Turkish coffee. So we tried it, but the results were very bad. The outcome didn’t look anything like a real Turkish coffee. I thought the machine must not be that good, and wondered if coffee shops like Starbucks would have this option when you grind your coffee there. I asked, and well, they do! But I didn’t do it at Starbucks, I did it at Gimme, our local coffee place, whose coffee I prefer over Starbucks. The result was outstanding. Real, great Turkish coffee. Next time I will try it at Starbucks, because this way I know I will always be able to buy my Turkish coffee, wherever I move within the US. Only for now you still can’t buy a cup of Turkish coffee at Starbucks. But who knows, may be in the future they will serve it there!

For those who don’t know what Turkish coffee is like, I would say the closest thing to it is espresso. So those who like espresso may very well like Turkish. However I myself don’t like espresso, Turkish coffee is as strong, but it is much tastier!

Blind Visa

Now is the time for those who want to gamble. Not for money though, but for changing the course of their life by changing where they live. For two months, you can test your luck. In this one, the great saying, “The harder I work, the luckier I get” cannot apply. It’s now time for… The Green Card Lottery, which is given the more sophisticated name of “Diversity Visa“.

But it’s no more than a lottery. The United States give out 50,000 Green Cards every year in a lottery. All anyone needs to apply is to be from one of the countries accepted, and to have a high school diploma, or a two-year work experience. No minimum of English knowledge is required. No particular skills or education are given priority. Now let me use my frank words: this practice is a shame. I can even say more, or worse.

Reports say that there is between 10 and 20 million illegal immigrants in the US today. Many of them don’t speak English, and yet many more are unskilled workers. The country needs them, or they wouldn’t be able to live and find jobs. If all of them leave right now, hundreds of thousands of businesses will be stuck. Ok, they fill a need, and the country already has millions of them. So what does this Diversity Visa add? It brings in thousands of legal immigrants, yet many of them “don’t speak English, and many more are unskilled workers”.

As I talk about immigration, I have to mention that I am myself an immigrant. I live with immigrants and know their weaknesses and their strengths. However, immigrants vary as much as their backgrounds. For example, I know the Arab immigrants community well enough, and don’t know too much about immigrants from other backgrounds. But all immigrants, no matter where they come from, have too many things, and conditions, in common.

I have seen how many young people come here, with very good qualifications to benefit both themselves and their new country, yet they had to struggle for many years just to have a legal status. I myself have experienced this struggle first hand. I know many who started this way, then they are now successful business owners or distinguished professors. There are many others who hope for a chance to come to this country, where they think they will have more opportunities. Very bright and highly skilled young people, but they don’t have a way to do it. Wouldn’t it be better to give out those 50,000 Green Cards to some of those qualified individuals, both inside and outside the country?

I respect the Canadian immigration system. They have points, and you qualify according to how many points you score. You get points for fluency in English and French, for age (the younger the better) for education, for work experience. Once you meet these requirements, you have a chance. You don’t need a job offer from a Canadian employer, and you don’t need to marry a Canadian citizen. Why wouldn’t the US try to adopt a similar system?

As an immigrant, I have seen some of the worse days of life. Only hope and advice of friends kept me from giving up and going back home when I so much wanted to. I probably didn’t plan it right, but no good information was made available to help me plan. When you are outside the US, you are made to believe certain things about the way it works, only to find that it’s only in movies, or a good one or two decades ago. I read books back in my country, but when I came, I found that certain things changed. I wasted too much time and energy doing nothing, just suffering and trying to figure out how to just have the very basic, a legal status and a driver’s license! It felt as if I left a prison to another prison. I hated how little freedom I had in my country when it comes to politics. I couldn’t control such things as corruption, and felt unable to help save myself and my country. I thought that I can only help from a position of freedom and power, and was seeking a place where I can rely on myself and not worry about my basic rights as a human being, so I can reach up for what we humans need to focus on. The things that really matter, because we’re all responsible for all. But the more power and freedom we have, the more responsible we are for those who have not!

I asked, and Donald Trump answered!

Remember my post about winning in a Trump Blog contest? Donald Trump answered my questions, not only one, but he actually answered all the three questions that I have submitted, which makes me feel distinguished! Trump has a long experience in business, and therefore in life in general, so his answer, which in fact is an advice, is very valuable and significant. We need and have to listen to successful people, if we are going to live our lives anyway, why not live the best life we can? I remember that in one of Trump books he said that it was better to learn from our successes than to learn from our mistakes, if this holds true for our own successes, then it only makes sense to learn from the successes of all those who achieved it.

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