Ilona Sābera – portfolio

blogging, journalism, semiotics, short stories


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Changing place and people – a solution or an escape?

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I am tired of fighting with people around me. I had a childhood dream to escape to a deep forest and live with birds and goats around me. I could have easily become a crazy cat lady and live happily ever after. I have a friend, a Latvian woman who, while witnessing urban expansion of my hometown Ogre, still struggles to make a living owning a small flock of goats. Every time I meet her, she repeats: “I love to talk to my goats more than to people”.

I need silence around me, a deep silence of a Latvian sunrise over the wheat fields. Just in this kind of silence I can hear my thoughts. Probably it is Egyptian constant fear of silence and empty places that makes living here so hard for a newcomer.

I tried to recreate a glimpse of my childhood memories by taking care of a ‘green corner’ on my balcony where I can lay down on the ground, watch plants blossoming and read a book alone. I can stay like that for days without leaving my flat. Continue reading

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Confessions of a European in Egypt

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Disclaimer: Please note these are my very first impressions of Egypt when I visited the country in 2010. Since then I have gained more knowledge and experience of Egyptian social, political and cultural issues. Still I want to keep this post as it might describe well a Westerners first glimpse on Egypt’s everyday life.

The first comes the feeling of inability to do anything on your own, like all the previously known signs have become chaotic and not interpretable. This absence of so common for me European (“Western”) rules for the first moment paralyses my independency and any individual action in Egypt, part of so called “Arab world”. My first instinct is to compare the different approaches and trying to find a common way out.

“We’ve lost what you still have,” I am expressing my inner doubts to each Egyptian I meet. The sense of unpredictability is so attracting here, that I am beginning to wonder if European rationalism and a cause-effect approach is really the unique way of reading the cultures. Can I really apply my background and experience dealing with so different origins? Continue reading