One Little Problem…

Solve the following problem and win ¥1,000,000 my admiration —


  • D will go to Japan for  a year.
  • D wants to go to Japan for a year.
  • Things will happen here while D is in Japan for a year.
  • D doesn’t want to miss any of the things that will happen here while she’s in Japan for a year.

It might be useful for you to know that when two lines plans intersect, opposite desires are equal and the sum of adjacent angles wishes is complementary.

Directions for writing proofs:

  • Proofs may be written informally using plain English, Arabic or French (too early to include Japanese).
  • Just be sure to include all the steps in your reasoning, or at least all the key steps.
  • Providing a diagram is very helpful but not required.


Now, seriously, I think when one is embarking on a big adventure or a life-changing experience, one goes through several phases: contemplation, planning, excitement, anxiety, worry, etc etc. And it’s a cycle that repeats itself. One day you’ll wake up worried, questioning whether the choices you’ve made were right or not, the next morning you might wake up with frizzy hair from all the energy and the excitement and the positive charges in your head. In all cases, you can’t really control it.

For the last week or so, particularly since the day I got my visa, my sleeping patterns have not been that stable. I have been an insomniac since I was 16, so when I say that my sleeping patterns are “not stable”, an “I-don’t-sleep-at-all” should be implied.

I go to bed around 2 am, and I wake up around 5 am. I wake up completely fresh, not tired at all, and actually looking forward to spending a good day.


Because the moment I “wake up”, my brain is automatically alerted that one more day of waiting for my Cairo-Osaka flight has been crossed out from the calendar on my wall.

Now, I am slowly but surely entering the I-am-scared-like-shit phase. I am scared things might go wrong. I am scared I might run out of money. I am scared my Japanese skills (?) will let me down.  I am scared I will miss my family. I am scared my friends will forget me. I am scared my cat won’t recognize me when I get back home next June.  I am scared I will NOT want to come back.

Some of these things have never crossed my mind before, especially the “family and friends” part. People close to me know that I’m quite independent and that if there’s one thing I know for sure about my future, it’s that I don’t want to spend it here in Egypt. So to be scared of missing people here, that’s new.

I just did it again. This is supposed to be a fun blog and here I am blogging about non-fun things.

If you read all that and still solve the problem and write a sound proof, I’ll take you out for a drink, after -of course- you’ve won my admiration.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alvaro
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 17:55:16

    maybe I win this one!:

    First: Your friends won’t forget u! take it from me, I just a friend in Shanghai after 4 years since we last met!

    second: your family will always be there, and yes u will miss them, but there is nothing wrong about that!

    third: cats don’t forget!

    forth: your Japanses skills at the start will let u down, but that happens to everybody, so relax!

    fifth: you will not run out of money, if you are a good budgeter (don’t know if that word even exist)

    I know what is to be excited and scared at the same time! just relax… put some music on and just let your worries go to the day before departure! 😀


  2. lorirori
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 03:01:39

    I know exactly what your feeling (at the least I am very close) in the initial stages of this, when I have been planning this year abroad for years, I never thought I would miss my friends of family.

    Back when this process started, I didn’t have any friends that I thought I would miss, and as for my family I just thought “well I will see them in one year, no biggie”

    But now I have some amazing friends that I am going to miss so much, and I will be missing out on some major events and meet ups with them, and I will not be around to support them during important times, and although some part of me is looking forward to a year break from my family, the other part of me is already missing them, plus my father’s health is not the best at the moment, so I feel guilty leaving like this.

    I think we will both struggle with these emotions, but we need to take advantage of this huge future full of possibilities ahead of us.

    We will always have our friends and family, but we will be making new friends in Japan, so we wont be lonely for long.

    (I am also going to miss my cat so much, I worry because in the past, she has refused to eat when I am gone)


  3. Dina
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 12:32:02

    Alvaro and Lori, I owe you drinks, you pick the bar 🙂
    Peterson, try again lol

    I know these are unreasonable worries but sometimes I can’t help thinking that way… I know for a fact that when I am in Japan, I will be completely overwhelmed ( the “good” way!) and all these things that worry me now will be the last thing on my mind.

    I just hope what you’re saying about cats being unforgetful is true!


  4. Nicola Mirams
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 00:02:50

    All the best for your year in Japan. I know you will be just fine and it is always the waiting which is the most nerve-wracking. Do you know your new address? xx


  5. Dina
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 00:50:38

    Aw thank you, Nicki 🙂 And yes, waiting is just… urgh!
    I will post my address sometime this weekend. You too, be sure to update me with your address (assuming the Durham one I have won’t work anymore!) – and expect lots of postcards 🙂


  6. Sebastian Shimomichi
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 02:37:48

    First and foremost, I would like you to know that you are not the only one experiencing these extreme change of emotions. I am also experiencing this. However, I am not too worried about my family and friends because I am well aware that regardless where in the world I am, I will always have my family and friends there for me. Also, considering how long I have known my friends, I am 100% sure they wont forget me. This should be true for you too; Once you have true friends, they will never go “false.” Meaning, there is no way that they can forget you.

    Sounds like a long flight from Cairo to Osaka… maybe 14 hours?
    Looking forward to seeing you @ SH IV

    ヾ(* ̄▽ ̄*)Byeヾ(* ̄▽ ̄*)Bye


  7. Jasmine
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 11:06:40

    Hi Dina!

    Cool blog you have here 🙂 Though you lost me somewhat in the beginning. I’m not a huge math person. So are you from Cairo, Egypt? My best friend recently just returned from a mission trip there! It’s going to be a pretty huge change going to Japan. Prepare for a culture shock, and don’t worry too much about having your Japanese let you down. You’re going to have tons of people who will be more than willing to practice with you.

    I’ll be following you and link your blog to mine…once I get a list going haha 🙂


  8. Dina
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 21:16:12

    Sebastian – My ticket says the trip should be 12:30 hours long…. but with Egyptair, I guess we’ll never know! I’ll see you in SH IV REAL soon, neighbour 😀

    Jasmine – Yep, I’m from Cairo, Egypt. I’m sure it’s going to be a huge change, I think up till now I am convincing myself that all the reading I’m doing will make me prepared to receive the culture shock with no surprise and with arms wide open – which I’m sure won’t happen for someone who’s been living in a third world country for the last….erm….20 years!

    I checked your blog too and I’m definitely gonna follow it and I will be happy to include your link over here 🙂


  9. Unknown
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 00:04:31

    My Dear Dina..
    I think you know me quite well..As having the same experience yet in a different country :).. and it was 2 years not only one..I assure you that your family will be waiting for you unpatiently, and trust me they will be informing you with every single new step being taken here.
    And if they did not do that, you will find in your inbox a daily report on everything happening in the country from A TO Z and it is a promise 😉

    Concerning your friends..The real ones will be the ones waiting for Dina evern if she was away for 10 years and NOT ONLY 1.
    The ones you will not be waiting, won’t be the True ones, and thus they do not deserve to be in your Amazing life..

    I love the way you write, the way you reach our hearts and the way you make us feel while reading your words.

    Dina..Egypt 2011 will be the year when you come back to your home, light it up again and start a change and put your mark in things that in the future we will look back at them and say…
    Dina the girl who spent the year in Japan, have accomplished this change..


  10. agnivedic
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 07:30:57


    I’m feeling the exact same way! I tried to write a post about it but I just couldn’t get out what I wanted to say. I’m currently in the anxiety/worry portion of the cycle, while just a few days ago I was incredibly excited!

    I’m also going to miss my cats terribly! One of them is my baby and has been with me for 18 years. I know they will be well taken care of but I will miss them so much!


  11. Elle
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 08:25:46

    Hey Dina! 🙂

    I have a lot of the same fears that you do…I’m always stressed about money, so even though I’ve been working all summer and saving nearly everything, and will have my meal stipend, I’m still nervous. I’m worried about my friends changing or something while I’m gone, I’m worried about making new friends in Japan, and I’m worried about my language skills! I’m only a beginner, and have never had the chance to take an actual Japanese class, so I know that I will have some difficulty in that regard–though I’ve been trying to learn on my own as much as I can. I even have a cat too, who I will miss immensely!

    However, I think that we are living in a very fortunate age as far as communication goes–thanks to technology, we can talk seemingly face-to-face with our family and friends, something that past world travelers never had the chance to experience. Remembering that I can talk to my mom or best friend or whoever I want to on Skype has helped me cope with the idea of missing them. 🙂

    Your posts are very interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading your blog while our Japan adventure unfolds!


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