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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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 🙂

Interviewed for 30Masjids!

Hey everyone!

Guess what?!?

I was honoured to be interviewed by Himy Syed (@HiMYSYeD) for his blog, 30Masjids (@30masjids) Check out the full story about me and making the Muslims of Windsor documentary!!
http://30masjids.ca/day-14-meet-asil-moussa-filmmaker-storyteller-windsor/

Enjoy!!

– Asil

Our Muslims of Windsor Documentary!!

Here it is!!! Our documentary about Windsor’s Muslim Community! I had so much fun making this with Nuha Elalem. We were so inspired by what we learned and we hope you’ll be, too!

Don’t forget to share and comment! 🙂 I’d love to know what you think!

“Muslims of Windsor” on 30Masjids!

Muslims of Windsor

Muslims of Windsor is featured on 30Masjids! Exciting!!

http://30masjids.ca/day-13-video-muslims-of-windsor-an-asil-moussa-film/

“Strings” Poetry Video!!

Hello Everyone!

My new poetry video, called “Strings” is finally here!! The poem is about each and every one of us. It’s about all those crazy thoughts inside our heads that can tie us down and stop us from living the life we deserve. It’s about how we all have the power within us to drown out those words, rise, and most importantly, live freely.

Be confident and be yourself because you have the power to change the world.

— If you have any questions, put them in the comments below (or tweet me)!! I’m planning to make a video to answer all your questions! 🙂

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!! 🙂

Fun Fact: I was in the sitting in the same uncomfortable position on a hard wooden floor for about 5 hours while filming this video. So for most of that time, my legs were numb and the rest of my body was in pain. This definitely made it the hardest video to act out just because I was hurting so much. Somehow, maybe metaphorically, I think that made me connect to the character more. 🙂

Thank you so much Nuha Elalem for filming and editing this video!

“The Choice” Poetry Video!!

Hey guys!

My new poetry video is for my poem called “The Choice.” It was first written when I was in grade 12 about how I felt picking my programs in university, and essentially choosing my career path. It wasn’t easy, but I ended up making the right choice (Alhamdulilah) after my first year of university when I switched my program from studying Biology and English to studying Dear Journalism, English, and Creative Writing. After I made that choice and realized it was the right one, I went back and edited this poem to reflect a bit of my decision-making experience during those 2 years. I hope many people facing a life-impacting choice can relate to the feelings described in this poem.

Fun Fact: It was SO cold while filming this that a few of my fingers were still numb for 2 days afterward. And I was wearing leather gloves!

Thank you so much Nuha Elalem, for editing and filming this video in the freezing cold with me!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel! 🙂

“Masterpiece” Poetry Video!!

Hey guys!

So this poem, called “Masterpiece,” is the part 2 of my two part series of poems about writing. “Masterpiece” is about how I feel when I get an idea and write an entire story all at once. Many people can relate to this: maybe you’ve finished an entire assignment or difficult job in one night. That’s what this poem is about.

Fun fact: All the pages used in this video are actually part of a story I wrote six years ago.

Thank you so much, Nuha, for filming and editing this video and letting me use your room for the setting. Again. 🙂