My name is Joseph Gobran. I am a Lebanese born Egyptian who has lived two years in Paris, two years in Saudi Arabia, and 14 years in Cairo, Egypt. I have a very strong connection to Egypt; I not only consider it my home, but I consider it my utopia. Everything, from my best friends to my own two cats reside in Egypt, and not a minute goes by where I do not miss it deeply.
Let me tell you that moving from your home is a miserable experience. My friends in Cairo were the friends I have had in elementary school all the way to high school graduation, so making new friends was not a skill that I was notably good at. Yet, I will not be the first to tell you that I consider Manhattan one of my other homes, as twice every year I would come and visit family here.
My father, who unfortunately passed away, was an Egyptian who lived fourteen years in Manhattan to gain an American citizenship and pass it on to my brother and I. My mother is a Syrian born Lebanese who lives in Egypt at the moment.
Did I mention that my parents are the most meaningful people in my life? Even in his absence, my father is still the person I look up to; to call him my role model would be an understatement. If I turn out to be half the person he was, I will be more than proud. My mother is a person who, I swear to God, has never been wrong in her life. I stopped questioning her logic and what she would tell me because I know she could not be wrong. She is also the most selfless person I know, never missing an opportunity to make me or my brother happier. My brother is also the perfect example of the person I wish to be. He’s incredibly smart and generous, and will not hesitate to put my needs before him.
Writing, to me, is very personal. It is not only an escape from the nasty realities of life, but a way to display your emotions without having to embarrass yourself in front of others. You can confess anything, admit anything, and yet, no one needs to know. It is, without any form of exaggeration, something of beauty. I first knew I wanted to write in the beginning of 2011, when the revolution in Egypt began.
Here’s what I haven’t told you yet. You see, I am not the best writer. During high school, I received a lot of criticism from teachers on my pieces of work. They liked my creativity, but say that it could use some refining. But, I loved writing so much. I knew I had to continue.
It was clear that dark times were coming to the city of Cairo and I was frightened. I was not only frightened for myself, but for my family and friends as well. When my parents and brother were out of sight, I would panic, and often times, I would cry. I was stuck in Cairo for a week and a half that seemed like a year before I was evacuated to Dubai for another two weeks. , and there were was an overload of emotions that I needed to get out of my system, and yet, I was too shy to open up to people around me.
With explosions being set off, people screaming, and a government on the brink of anarchy, I knew that I had to record this somewhere in anyway possible. So, that’s when I decided I would write them down. The feeling I felt when that pencil would scrape bare skin of that paper was confusing, yet mesmerizing. I felt a connection with the paper as if it was listening, like a psychiatrist. I was also really young, around 11 or 12 years old, so to this day I’m sure the connection I felt was not as powerful as it could have been. That’s why I continued to write throughout all these years, until today. Yet, this feeling of knowing that my writing could be more powerful bothered me to my core. I always felt, unfortunately, that I was not very good at writing. But I enjoyed writing so much, and that, ultimately, is what brought me to the New School. I’m not a very social guy, so when I don’t have my best friends around to open up to and talk about what I’m feeling, I write. I sometimes attempt to write fictional stories, and I sometimes just write about my life. It often helps me get a lot of things off my chest, and it even helps me get a better understanding of my life. Writing also gives me different and unique perspectives on my life and the way I live it.
Here is what should be clear at this point. I absolutely love Egypt and the Middle East, my parents and brother, and writing. These three things almost make my life complete.
It has always been my dream to be a good writer, and that is what drew me to the Eugene Lang School of Liberal Arts. I know that not only will my opinion be heard, but it will hopefully be accepted.