travelling travelling

stranded in torontosometimes you read the news, and sometimes you live it. like for example the latest news about air travel over Christmas! Last night was the first time I actually got stuck anywhere because of air traffic; on our way to Moncton, my family and I got stuck in Canada’s busiest airport after our 8:00 flight was delayed, then cancelled, leaving us to wait for a flight at 11PM. I’ve got nothing to complain about, really; all we did was hang around at Pearson airport for a little while—I caught up on emails and my mom and sister strolled around doing a little shopping in the duty-free section. Some others didn’t have it quite so easy: others had been waiting in Toronto for up to three or four days waiting for a flight out. Many of the people sitting around us on the flight (once it finally came) had been waiting upwards of seven hours for a plane. I’m just glad I wasn’t trying to get to Vancouver or Halifax; it seems like both airports have been effectively shut down for the past week. Things were crazy enough, though, to have Westjet lose a piece of my mom’s luggage—chock full of Christmas presents, of course—during our transfer in Toronto; thankfully, they just called up to announce that they were able to track it down, and it should be arriving in Moncton overnight, for us to pick up in the morning. I have to say that, for a relatively inexpensive airline, I’ve been pretty happy with Westjet’s service. I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to try flying within Canada for sure.

OK, dinnertime now. No more time for travel stories. It’s time for turkey :3

more holiday

merry christmas to those of you who celebrate it! to all the muslims in reading range, happy Eid! oh, and happy Hanukkah too, but that’s a little late. and happy kwanzaa too I guess. and shab yalda to all the persians. and happy solstice/midwinter/etc to… well, to whoever celebrates it.

i’ve been hanging around at home, resting, cleaning house, visiting family, etc. today (well, yesterday by now) I shuffled down the block to best buy and got myself a new monitor to replace my trusty rusty old apple studio display that has served me so well for eight years. oh, and a new canon powershot A570 IS.

more soon – I’ve been remiss in my blogging lately and hope to catch up at least a little before the end of the holidays.

fyi: i’m out

I’m off to Vancouver tomorrow (Christmas Day – merry christmas!) at 8AM to visit the Talebifards, previously of Ottawa. Then I’m off to Edmonton on the afternoon of the 27th for Misagh and Jamal’s wedding. On the morning of the 29th, after a night of revelry, I’ll be scooting off to Winnipeg, to visit France, Jessika and Patrick, formerly of Drummondville. Then, on New Year’s Day (cue Bono), I’ll be flying back to Ottawa, arriving in the afternoon, at around 1:30PM. Holla back and feel free to wish me bon voyage!

christmas cheer

noel / christmasso the christmas holiday season is finally here, and many people around the world are either freaking out (due to the stress of last-minute shopping and mounting debt), bored out of their minds (because they don’t celebrate christmas, everyone’s away and nothing’s open) or boarding planes to get the heck out. I’ll be among the latter category this year; two good friends of mine, Misagh and Jamál, are getting married in Edmonton during the holidays, so I’ll be flying out to happily attend! Along the way, I’m also planning to visit friends in Vancouver and Winnipeg, returning on January 1. There’ll surely be lots of great photos coming out of the whole trip, so do keep your eyes peeled in the new (gregorian) year.

One of the questions most often asked of Baha’is around this time of the year is: Do Baha’is celebrate Christmas? The answer I usually give is no, we don’t—not as a religious observance, anyway. All the same, Baha’is are very sympathetic to the ideals of charity, generosity, all-embracing love and goodwill towards humanity that are often upheld as characteristic of the Christmas holidays. There are certain Baha’i holidays which celebrate these virtues—the curious should look up Ayyám-i-Há.

Another question often asked around Christmas is: How do Baha’is view Christ? I particularly like the answer given in a news brief published on Thursday by the Baha’is of the United States: that Jesus Christ “is revered in the Baha’i Faith as a Manifestation of God, and anyone who embraces the Baha’i Faith—regardless of their religious background—also confesses the universal redemptive significance of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection”. The article also quotes Bahá’u’lláh’s words regarding Christ, an excerpt of which I’ll quote here due to them being so beautiful and amazing:

Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee.Read more ]

so merry christmas to all my christian friends, and while I’m at it, happy hanukkah to my jewish friends, too. may the spirit of friendliness, fellowship and unity pervade your celebrations, turn enemies into friends, and infuse fresh capacity and new life into your souls.

i’m dreaming of a white christmas

merry christmasToday is Christmas Eve. The children are nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. I know I’m thinking of the sugar-plums. (what are sugar-plums?) Yesterday was affectionately known as Christmas Adam among all the incorrigible punsters out there. You know, since today is Christmas Eve, and according to the story, Adam came before Eve, right? Soooo… you get the picture. Feel free to groan. (Whether or not I happen to share a belief in said story is another story entirely.) Anyway, the weather pundits are predicting “snow or rain” for tonight, so tomorrow may or may not be a White Christmas, depending on the temperature. That kinda sucks.

I like Christmas. I like the thought of new snow quietly falling on grey days, leaving a vast expanse of white sitting like a plush blanket on the slumbering earth. I like the strings of tiny coloured lights that punctuate the human landscape in the darkest days of the year, sending little streams of light out through the gloom, and bringing a small measure of joy into everyday life. I like the way people can be more cheerful, more tolerant – and perhaps, in the way we remember the joy of giving, more conscious of a life beyond the everyday dronery of this material existence.

Generally, Baha’is don’t celebrate Christmas – but I think we can all appreciate the spiritual aspects of the holiday. The challenge for every one of us is to see beyond the materialism that eats at our everyday lives like rust, and to act as if we are spiritual beings with a greater purpose than just making money and spending money. We are capable of great acts of kindness, selflessness, caring and generosity. We just forget sometimes. We are capable of trustworthiness, of forgiveness, of honesty and charity. We tend to forget all of that in between commercial breaks and fleeting distractions. We are capable of not just tolerance or respect – our hearts can burn with loving-kindness for all those who may cross our paths.

Now must the lovers of God arise to carry out these instructions of His: let them be kindly fathers to the children of the human race, and compassionate brothers to the youth, and self-denying offspring to those bent with years. The meaning of this is that ye must show forth tenderness and love to every human being, even to your enemies, and welcome them all with unalloyed friendship, good cheer, and loving-kindness. When ye meet with cruelty and persecution at another’s hands, keep faith with him; when malevolence is directed your way, respond with a friendly heart. To the spears and arrows rained upon you, expose your breasts for a target mirror-bright; and in return for curses, taunts and wounding words, show forth abounding love. Thus will all peoples witness the power of the Most Great Name, and every nation acknowledge the might of the Ancient Beauty, and see how He hath toppled down the walls of discord, and how surely He hath guided all the peoples of the earth to oneness; how He hath lit man’s world, and made this earth of dust to send forth streams of light.

Selections From the Writings of `Abdu’l-Baha, p.21

So— whether or not we have a white Christmas, may you all have a bright Christmas, and may it mean something to you.