On Change

I’ve been missing on Consumer Cairo for the past two weeks for a reason, and that’s because I’ve been going through a lot of unwarranted changes, and at times, I find myself barely staying afloat. I feel overwhelmed and as though I stand at the epicenter of a series of turbulent life changes. I’ve come to learn a few life lessons that I hope to share and reinforce in my own mind. Bur first, let me tell you a little bit about these unwarranted changes.

Caveat: This post is a glimpse into the rhetoric between what is my rational mind and what is the incredibly flighty, irrational mind [which is disturbingly always the more powerful mind] 

Housing Home is where the heart is, isn’t that so? Recently, I was deceived by my landlord and was told I had to leave my apartment within a month – for reasons that are not important to delve into here – but the point is, it was uncalled for. I pushed back, but by the time I received a final “no” from him, I had two weeks to find a room in Berkeley’s very competitive housing market. Just in the nick of time, a woman responded to my housing post and offered her extra room to me. Now, I was incredibly desperate and motivated to find a place that I gave the unit a quick glance, and took a leap of faith and hoped the woman I was living with had all of the fundamental qualities anyone would want in a flatmate. I also had to accept having two outdoor/indoor cats as guests in the house as well. The night I moved in, I felt a panic attack was soon to come. I was alone in a new house, the cat fumes glided up through my nostrils and slapped my brain around a few times, and I felt incredibly alone and homesick. No matter how much I tried to talk myself out of the panic attack, all I could focus on were the stale dishes in the sink, the cluttered countertops, two cats peering over at me, and cat hair that seemed to cover just about everything.

Lesson:  Change is hard, change is uncomfortable, and change is more often than not, lonely. However, change is not permanent and it is certain that the byproduct of change is growth. It’s understanding that there is no finality to the now, and that it’s more about how I handle the now, and not so much the permanence of the now. Do I handle change with grace or with indignity? I know myself well enough to say that for me, it’s always a bit shameful how I behave in these fleeting, but strong moments of panic. I call the people I love and I reach out for a savior or some sort of answer that will give me resolution, when in actuality, it is I who holds the keys to resolution. That resolution can always be found in a perspective shift!

Health Last week, I woke up with 20-30 red bumps that I thought were bed bug bites, but a week later, I was diagnosed with impetigo – a bacterial skin infection that causes itchy red bumps to form, and if left untreated, efficiently spread throughout your body. My legs and thighs are covered in these obnoxious bumps that at any time, pus or bleed. I am so used to being in control of my body, that I feel unsettled and upset for having this temporal disease.

Lesson: I have come to realize that I tend to think I am invincible when it comes to my own health, and I find myself neglecting signs of ailment. When you are unhealthy, it really affects the quality of your life and it’s impossible to feel your best self. Be proactive about your own health, no one else can do that for you!

Relationship Now, I hesitate to write about this, because I don’t want to cheapen the very thing that I value, but here we go. I’ve recently met a gentleman whose company I really enjoy. The last time I really enjoyed a guy’s company was in high school, and I can’t tell you how nice it is to share the ordinary parts of your day with someone, and have them become extraordinary moments in your day. First and foremost, he is a dear friend, and after working in Berkeley for over a year, it’s so nice to have someone I really jive with. Of course, this is a positive thing, but it also provokes change. It’s hard to be disciplined about my own life when there’s this temptation of spending all of my free time with this person. I found that I was neglecting myself and I felt as though I was falling apart.

LessonIt’s ok to be a 25 year-old girl who is slightly infatuated with this guy (let’s not fight it, people!), but it’s also important to remember that it’s unhealthy to abandon the activities you did that made you definitively you. These were the things I did daily before I met ‘him’ – critically read the news, run on my own, run at the weekly running club, organize outings with friends, write, and study for the GRE. I haven’t honestly done any of those thing since we met, and I find that I’m starting to resent that. I have to organize my time better. Ladies, you can have your cake and eat it too. I’m sure of it and will let you know how I get along with achieving this!

On being 25 I’ve officially entered my mid-20s, and as it is with me, I find this time to be exciting and also nerve-wracking. Doors are wide open, but I get consumed with the thought that the next decision I make will shape the trajectory of my life in such a major way, that decision-making itself becomes paralyzing.

Lesson: To Do Lists are effective. If I rely on To Do Lists at my job, I should rely on them in my personal life as well. As my very wise friend once told me, “Beyoncé has only 24 hours in her day too!”

These past two weeks have [evidently] been mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. I am actively working on having things looking up from here. I summon a perspective shift!




24 Things I’ve Learned at 24

I will be 25 in a couple of months and I woke up this morning thinking about all of the things I’ve learned at 24. I’ll let you know if I have any revelations on the day of turning 25!

24 things I've learned at 24

1) Being happy makes people happy, and happy people make me happy!

2) Trendy fashion investments = regret. Always.

3) You can do and say incredibly dumb things, and your parents will love you and hug you through it.

4) The frequency in which your parents offer to fill up your gas tank plummets.

5) You rather share a beer with your dad than with a friend.

6) You have legitimate back aches. Mom, I understand!

7) You accept that you won’t meet ‘the one’ casually at a coffee shop.

8) You can spend the whole weekend in solitude and it’ll probably be the best weekend ever. Who’s with me on this one?

9) Good dental hygiene is not only attractive, it’s a bloody turn on.

10) Yes, you are young, idealistic, and motivated, but still, you cannot do it all.

11) Feeling your lungs stretched out after a nauseating run is the best.

12) No, contemporary art and music does not make more sense as you age. I still don’t get it.

13) You’ve accepted your body and have come to terms with how much genetics has influenced your life. Oh, you mean I’m not going to be 5’7”? I’ve gotten over it.

14) You start to look up the definition of words that you’ve frequented for years, but never quite got around to knowing what exactly they mean.

15) You learn that there are too many freak accidents to make you an exception. You’ve just been lucky.

16) It’s not about how hard you work, it’s about who you know.

17) Everyone thinks they know how to “keep it real,” but you think you are the only one who really knows how to keep it real. Truth is, we’re all trying to keep it real.

18) Looking nice makes you feel nice. Invest in tailored clothing.

19) Incredibly smart people can also be incredibly ruthless.

20) Sorting out someone’s taste in music is a reliable way of knowing if you’re going to be good friends.

21) Learn how to mind the gap. Everyone started off where you are. Lost, confused, and slightly pathetic. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that those who succeed know how to mind the gap. Commit to bridging the gap and you will make it to the other side.

22) You have the power to choose how your life unfolds.

23) Everyone struggles. It’s just that some people talk about their struggles more than others.

24) Having small goals leads to big things.



On Monday morning, I went to a career fair. You might assume that the most enjoyable part of my day was meeting CEO’s of innovative start-up companies and brainstorming opportunities to collaborate. Though it was a close second, it was not the most enjoyable part of my day. [A shout out about a couple of exciting start-ups that I think are worth mentioning: NewzSocial – great for your digital archive enthusiast and Pintrips – for anyone who has to board a plane. Ever.]

Actually, the most enjoyable part of my day was printing out my resume. After sending digital copies of  ‘Manali CV’ to hundreds of people, holding my resume was quite thrilling. One piece of paper sums up years of my life as accurately as one piece of paper possibly could. “Pretty nice,” were my exact words as I held warm copies fresh from the printer.

I am a liberal conservative (huh?) when it comes to paper. Don’t get me wrong, I have mad respect for social media and how going digital does leaps and bounds for the environment, economy, etc., but some things are not meant to be digitized. [Tell me you agree!] Newspapers, Books, National Geographic, Notes – it’s just not the same. I like touching the pages I read. I like folding corners of my books. I love checking things off of my ‘To Do List’ with a pen. Highlighting gut-wrenching quotes. I like paper and I like my resume printed, thank you very much. Hours of thinking, writing, editing, arranging, and rearranging were well worth it, because I had a product I was proud to share.

I entered the Career Fair with high hopes and I looked forward to passing out my resume

Work experience was talked about and hands were shaken. I insisted they take my resume. They insisted I send them an email with an attachment. “It’s easier to track.”

I gave them my resume anyways and followed up with an email.

Working at a design and branding company in Istanbul taught me something. Ink and Paper are powerful. Together, they create stories, identities, images, and education. Paper is important. 

The inspiration behind this post – a fortuitous encounter with two very different, but powerful videos about paper. Take a look!

Photographs of the city I ♥


Eminönü, the main port for tourists. Blue Mosque, Aga Sofia, and the Grand Bazar are here.

Ferry - vapur

My daily commute. From Asia to Europe in 20 minutes!

Bosporus Strait – where the Bosporus meets the sky

Pedal boats in Turkey’s rural man-made lake!

Fresh bakeries around every corner in Turkey. Fresh bread is the simplest pleasure in life.

My Turkish family – each one of the Deliers is such a character!

Cappadocia – Inanilmaz (unbelievable)

Turkish tea and simit!