My Journey in France

Exactly one year ago, I travelled to France. I decided to put this video together to reflect on my journey there and share with you a bit of what I learned. 🙂

I don’t usually share personal pieces that I’ve written, but I really wanted to share these. They explain a bit of why France was so special. Enjoy!

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That Last Night

Tonight was my last night at La Roche d’Hys in Burgundy, France. While people were reading at dessert, I kept looking behind me at the vast expanse of land and beauty. Would I eversee this again? I wondered. I hope I do. If so, will it be different? I asked myself. I didn’t know the answer to that. All I knew was that it wasn’t ever going to feel the same. As nothing in life ever really was. The details would all be different. The person reading the poem in the background, the people, and the sound that each of their laughs makes when combined together in mutual joy and smiles.

I started memorizing. I wanted to remember everything. I wanted to be able to close my eyes five years from now and be able to transport myself to this place again. I memorized the hills and how they glided and folded in the landscape like waves in the ocean. I memorized the way the table was set up with bread baskets that stayed full for about three minutes before their contents were devoured and they had to be refilled – and they always were. I memorized Priscilla’s colourful blue, red, and white nail polish, and Lisa’s fuchsia lipstick. I memorized Gillian’s cute, contagious laugh, and the serious but passionate look on Howard’s face when he was telling us an interesting fun fact. I memorized the way Marty told a story, with his wide eyes and animated hands. I memorized our evening readings: iPhones on top of books and journals that lay beside spoons and crumpled napkins; the frantic nerves that I felt right before I read my poem and the huge gust of relief I felt after; the soft voice of person reading with the lullaby of the crickets; the rare chuckle, the smirk, the roar of laughter that filled the air at the end of every hilarious line; the smiles on our faces as we listened to others share a part of themselves; the warm feeling I had in my chest when we all connected…. I memorized everything.

 

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The Moveable Feast: A Reflection

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Hemingway said to write the truest thing you know. And that sentence is what he wrote about Paris. When I first read it, I was a bit hesitant to believe him. But though it might sound cliché, I know now one thing to be absolutely true: This journey will be a part of me forever, for it is a moveable feast. I finally understand Hemingway.

But what makes it unforgettable is not the delicious, natural food or the simple, chic clothes. It’s not even the ancient looking doors and the intriguing windows. It’s the people. It’s their attitude towards the food and clothes. It’s their beautiful, simplistic lifestyle and captivating culture. It’s the way Howard wiped his plate with bread so as not to waste food, and the way Jeannette exercised with her whole body and soul. That’s what will stick with me.

Reflecting back in their books, Hemingway and Callaghan’s most compelling moments in Paris weren’t with French people at all. They were with Americans or Canadians like themselves. I found this to be very interesting because I feel the same way about my most remembered moments in France (my interview with Carly, my conversations with Lisa, laughing with Priscilla, discussions with Jenna and Haley, talks with Gillian, and of course, the evening readings). I’ve come to the conclusion that when Hemingway said to “transport oneself” he wasn’t just talking about writing. He was talking about life. We physically transported ourselves to another country, immersed ourselves in a different environment, and in the end, were able to connect on a raw human level with other people who have done the same. It’s crazy that when we strip away what we’re used to, our surroundings and material items, and really have a conversation that we connect in a way that we probably would’ve if we were back home. There’s camaraderie in travel.

Jim Haynes seems to have already known that human connection is the secret of great memories because his Sunday dinners explore exactly that. He’s an American who travelled and now lives in Paris and has weekly dinners. But he wasn’t meeting only French people at dinner. No, he was meeting Americans and other English-speaking folk that came to visit him – sometimes even from across the world. It’s those people who are traveling in search of something that find that something in others like them who are also searching. The intriguing thing about Jim is that he seemed to already know all of this. It’s wise, fascinating people like Jim that I will remember. And it’s the people I shared my poetry and my thoughts with that one night in Burgundy that I will never forget.

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Check out my France Photography here!

Thank you for watching and reading! 🙂

– Asil

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Editing & Publishing Practica Film

Being a part of University of Windsor’s Editing and Publishing Practica was such an incredible experience. The chance to work as a team and edit, publish, and launch real books that will be sold in stores was unlike anything I’ve done in university. This is the film I made about our process, which was shown at our book launch. Enjoy!

Massey Secondary School Unsafe Traffic

The Vincent Massey Secondary School community has major concerns about their unsafe traffic. Check out this video to learn more about it.

UWindsor Editing and Publishing Practicums

The editing and publishing practicums at the University of Windsor takes practical teaching to a whole new level: students are working together with Professor Marty Gervais to publish two books! Check out this video on it! 🙂

NEW VIDEO: An Introduction of Sorts

Hey everyone. So this video is sort of a “late introduction” about myself, my YouTube channel, and a wrap-up of life since I started my channel one year ago. A few people have asked me what my channel is about, so I hope this video kinda explains that this channel is about the JOURNEY. My journey telling stories in different ways that I love. This was my first time ever talking directly to a camera about myself so filming this was a really interesting/awkward/nerve-wrecking experience haha. But I hope you enjoy 🙂

Lack of Sleep Affects Mental Health of Students

Lack of sleep is a problem among many people, especially post-secondary students. While most people know the physical and emotional effects of sleep deprivation, many don’t realize its effects on mental health.

“Sleep has a huge affect on our mental health,” says Judi Wilson, the University of Windsor Health Promotion nurse in Student Health Services. “Students are prone to [lack of sleep] because their schedules can be off and they not only aren’t sleeping, they aren’t eating right, and there’s a lot of stress at school.”

sleep 1

According to the American National College Health Assessment survey in spring 2012, out of 90,000 students, less than 12% are getting enough sleep to feel rested in the morning. Over 50% of students feel tired, dragged out, or sleepy during the day for 3-7 days that week. Also, over 50% of students rate their overall stress level over the past year as more than average to tremendous stress.

University of Windsor student, Jay Rankin, explains, “I’m just so busy, between school and work, it’s really tough to find the time to sleep. And then when you finally do have the time to sleep, you’re too stressed to actually sleep. You’re too worried about actually getting much sleep or there’s too many things on your mind.”

Clinical Psychologist at the Student Counselling Centre, Dr. Mohsan Beg, says, “It can kind of feed off each other so if you’re really anxious and you’re not getting enough sleep, then you’re sleep deprived, so you’re going to get stressed more easily, get more anxious, and you’ll have even more problems sleeping, and it can become, yeah definitely, a vicious cycle.”

sleep 2

“I’m pretty much paranoid. I feel like the whole day is just gonna go wrong… I just have a really bad day,” says university student Amal Al-Jarousha about how she feels when she doesn’t sleep well.

Many students use caffeine to cope with their sleep deprivation, but caffeine can also trigger anxiety.

Dr. Beg explains, “I would consider [good sleep] a foundational pillar in terms of good mental health.”

Watch the short documentary above to learn more.

sleep 3 again

Previously published on the30.ca

University of Windsor Commercial!

GUESS WHAT!?!?

I’m in the University of Windsor’s new commercial! (See it below)

It was such a fun experience!! I loved being on set and acting it out. I learned a lot, especially about how much work goes into filming a 30 second commercial. Thank you Suede Productions for the incredible opportunity!

UWIN commercial

Windsor Star Article about France!

France
Happy to be a part of this Windsor Star article! It’s so inspiring to see where other university students travelled to and hear about their experiences. I truly believe that studying abroad is one of the greatest things you can do because it allows you to grow so much as a person, and will give you new perspectives on life that you would’ve never experienced otherwise.

Talking to UWindsor about France Trip

france me

So excited to have been interviewed for this article about our trip to France! 🙂 If you’d like to know what our trip was like, check it out in the link below!

http://www.uwindsor.ca/dailynews/2013-08-20/creative-writing-students-find-inspiration-france

My Egypt Article

I wrote a piece for The Lance about my trip to Egypt. Check it out in the link below 🙂

http://uwindsorlance.ca/2013/09/05/a-personal-account-of-egypt/