Tag Archive - My Stories

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.

The list

It’s sometimes amazing to remember our childhood dreams. Yesterday I remembered a nice list that I used to do over and over when I was a kid, it was a list of all the countries that I want to, or would visit when I grow up. I think it included a little more than 30 countries. However my visiting each country of them wasn’t anything like having a few weeks trip. I had my own interpretation of visiting a country. I had two categories, places that I want to know very very well, and others that I just want to visit. I used to say that what I want is to go to every one of the top list countries and stay there for a year, during which I would learn the country’s language, listen to its music, read its books and take pictures of all the beautiful places!

As kids, we didn’t really know what was waiting for us :) We live in a world of boundaries and visas. I didn’t know that to realize this dream, the least I need is to be a multi-millionaire. I also didn’t know that citizens of many countries of the world are not easily welcome everywhere. People are merely papers, it doesn’t matter who you are, your qualifications, your ambitions, you first have to be on paper in order to think of transcending the paper one day, and be just YOU.

It’s nice to go back in memory and see our previous dreams. Even though they might look extremely unrealistic, we might end up doing something that’s close to them. Not necessarily spending one year in every country and the rest of my kid’s imagination, but at least visiting and knowing the world and its people. Learning more languages. That could be possible, I am optimistic still. Even though it took me years just struggling with my “paper self” in the first foreign country I’ve ever been to, USA, I am still optimistic. My hope doesn’t come from how reality is, it’s generated from within myself, from where I know a value in me that’s above and beyond human-created boundaries and obstacles. We can do it!

Winning!

If you live in the United States and watch television, then you know Donald Trump. He is a business man, yes, but he is as famous as a Hollywood star. His show “The Apprentice” must have been a big factor in his becoming a star. I believe he represents a better model of being star. The model of success through intelligence, hard (passionate) work, personal branding, knowledge (continuous learning), and common sense.

Once familiar with the show, I started to look for Donalds’ books. I do declare that I like him very much as a writer. This fact only proves my belief about success: truly successful individuals, in any field, seem to always have a solid intellectual ground. After all, every human has exactly the same form of material manifestation in the world: one anatomy, one body. What we have up there makes all the difference: vague things that reside in our chest, and in our head! When I started this blog, I posted my selected quotes of the following books by Donald Trump, check them out: How to Get Rich, and The Way to The Top. I will post my quotes of his other books soon, insha’Allah (God willing, in Arabic).

Well, I am from Egypt. Trump is not a famous name there. So I knew nothing about him in my first years in the country. Until I met “The Apprentice” on TV. I think the first time I saw the show was in its second season. I am only an occasional TV watcher, but this show captivated me, and it soon became my favorite. May be it’s my business sense. I gradually came to like business. However my interest in business didn’t start early in my life. I grew up in a business environment. My family had a ready-made clothes factory, established by my elder brother, who created this business while he was in medical school. He truly is a multi-talented entrepreneur, and I always believed that if he had come to a business-friendly country like the US early in his life, he would have been a billionaire by now. Even my mother, who has, all her live, been a housewife, never working outside her home, was very involved in the business. Growing up with business all around me, I didn’t really like it. I was more interested in intellectual pursuits. I never even liked to read about business. May be I didn’t like the fact that all my brothers went into the family business. I didn’t want to do something unless it’s genuine and of true personal meaning to me. I didn’t want to be a slave of money. I, as a human being, as a creature of the greatest Creator, am ABOVE money. I can have it as a tool, but I won’t work for it.

Then something changed. May be it was in my genes, hidden there til the time comes. My first personal, or face to face experience with business came my way when I was in my last year of college, studying French literature and translation. One of my professors approached me and asked if I a good Internet user. I wasn’t even a bad one! I had never used it at the time. My professor said that she, along with two other partners, were interested in establishing a translation company, and they wanted me aboard. I was a unique student in the institution at the time (in a good way), which is another story. That’s probably why they chose me.

I immediately accepted. I knew nothing about the business. But I loved the people I was working with, and I was very appreciated in return. In the spirit of a team, exploring and learning about a world unfamiliar to us, everyone took charge of what they knew best. Well, what I knew best was to learn what I didn’t know! And to become an expert shortly after. I didn’t think of what I was doing as a business. I just did it, but I didn’t name it. When I look back, I see that as a revealing of the entrepreneur in me.

See where the chain of thoughts took me! I started this post with the intention of writing a “brief” post about MY WINNING. You still don’t even know what I won! I am going to tell you very, very shortly.

Back to Donald Trump. Well, I didn’t win The Apprentice, otherwise this would have been already known all over the nation! Not that I don’t qualify for it, I know I do. I even qualify for much, much higher things. But my winning is related to Trump… University. Yes, Trump University.

Shortly after I discovered Trump Blog, a contest was advertised: readers were asked to post their questions to Donald Trump, restricting their questions to “success-related topics about personal achievement, real estate investing and entrepreneurship.”

I did post one entry, with three questions. I don’t know yet which question of mine was selected by Donald Trump. I’ve been checking the blog for news about the winners. I had a feeling that I could win. I knew there were hundreds of other entries, but I thought that my questions were well to the point. However, I wasn’t sure. When I saw the post about the winners tonight, my name was eight on the list. As I was quickly getting to the end of the list, without seeing my name, I expected that it wasn’t going to be there anyway. May be after five years of struggling as an immigrant, five years of suffering from not being able to live up to my potential, I sort of got used to losing. I was used to winning back in my home country. My immigration experience taught me that I was wrong when I took it for granted. I won’t say that I wasn’t prepared for that, I did leave my comfort zone to put myself in difficult circumstances. I saw it as a means to build my character, and to teach me more about the truths of life and of living.

I won a free course offered by TU. A new and different chance of learning. The ability to learn is a blessing. I am grateful to God for giving me a mind capable of understanding, and the resources necessary to find knowledge.

See my name among the winners in Trump Blog

“O my Lord! advance me in knowledge.”
Quran: Chapter 20, Verse 114

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