‘’Julia studies medicine in Warsaw and I study music composition here at the conservatory. We have been doing this long-distance-kind-of-relationship for a while now. A while ago, I needed to come up with a new concept for an opera. I couldn’t come up with anything when Julia all of a sudden said: ‘’maybe you should do your next piece about the Albatross birds.’’ I had never heard of this bird but she explained that the Albatross is a very strong an independent bird. It is fine with traveling across the world all by its self. However sooner or later it always returns to their significant other just like Julia and I. The Albatross bird teaches us that we need to find our own paradise first before we can truly commit to someone else. The opera will premier in March and it is inspired by the Albatross, by our story and by Julia.’’

“Last year my wife survived cancer. Unfortunately she still battles with her health. Our son gave us this trip from the UK to Amsterdam. We try to enjoy each other’s company as much as possible because we learned that life is really fragile.
All that walking is hard for her. However she is a tough cookie you know.. She is a fighter. It is the Scottish in her.

“I fell madly in love with a Dutch Man 20 years ago. I’m from Montenegro but I think I can consider myself a local Amsterdammer by now. Together with my husband we have this food truck and we sell fries here at Waterlooplein. It used to be my father-in-law’s business which he opened right after the second world war. He took a lot of pride in running his business so when he passed away we took over to keep his legacy a live. I like the work and I like to keep the business in the family. In my culture that is an honorable thing to do.”

“When I left Egypt I had never set foot out of the country. My dad didn’t like the idea of his eldest son moving to Europe but I went anyways. I was nineteen and I remember arriving at the Amsterdam Central Station. It felt like a warm embrace. I had very little money but soon I found a job and a few years later I auditioned for the theatre academy. It was 1982 and I was the first Egyptian to get accepted into the academy. Back then there were not too many foreigners so coming from Egypt made me very exotic which meant I would mainly get cast for ’‘Arab Roles”. It is still like that and I don’t really mind but it is the reason, I started to write my own plays. My plays are about subjects that keep me busy such as identity. ‘What does it mean to be Dutch or European?’ I, for example was born in Egypt but I am also Dutch, I feel Dutch but I also feel Egyptian. My work is not about trying to convince anyone I’m right. I just want us to be able to talk about these things.“

“I’m both a model and a midwife. Modeling is the reason I could afford to buy an apartment for myself. Being a midwife is the reason I cry tears of joy every time I help to bring a baby into this world.”