Nadia Elkharadly: Summertime…

Happy summer everyone!  This Tuesday morning marks the end of the beginning of summer:  Victoria Day weekend, or May 24 as everyone refers to it, which is odd as it never seems to fall on a 2 or a 4.  With the beginning of summer comes actual summer, and with that comes summer traditions.  Everyone has some; the things they can only do when the weather is warm and the sun is out.  This weekend I completed two summer traditions – a cottage trip with my mother, and my annual rereading of Jane Austen’s Price and Prejudice.

Ever since I can remember, my parents had a cottage on Rice Lake in the Kawarthas.  Family trips to the cottage were both the best and worst things about summer.  They were the best when I was small, and all I wanted to do was play outside and go boating with my dad.  They were the worst when I was a teenager and the cottage messed up my social schedule.  Now, they’re pretty great again, but unfortunately very hard to come by.  My whole family has a hard time getting together for a dinner, let alone coordinating an overnight trip to the cottage, so usually it’s just one or two members spending time up there.  My mom and I try to go up once each summer, and spend the weekend cooking, sunbathing (in my case) or reading (in her case, and sometimes mine).  We’ve had the place for over a decade now.  When we moved a few years ago, we stored a bunch of stuff there, some of which I had the chance to go through while there this weekend.  I ended up finding my journal from the 8th grade creative writing class I took, and man was I a little poet in the making! I loved finding a reminder that even over half my lifetime ago, I loved to write.  I’m not sure why, but it gave me a feeling of comfort.  I guess it was nice to know that there’s one thing that I kept on doing, from that age until now.

Cottage discoveries aside, this weekend was devoted to relaxation.  It was utterly relaxing that I’d do nothing but read and laze around all weekend, and still want to go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 11am.  And at least once a summer, at least a couple of days of my reading are devoted to Pride and Prejudice.

I first read P&P back in grade 11 English class, and from the first read I loved it.  The heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, became an instant hero to me.  She was strong, intelligent, sarcastic and adorable at the same time, and of course, was a dark haired beauty like I never thought I’d grow up to be.  And of course, she wins (and has her heart won by) the most handsome and gentlemanliest man of all men, Mr. Darcy,  It’s a novel about the strength of women, about life, about family, and most of all, a novel about love.  .  It’s the quintessential romance novel, one that is truly timeless.  I won’t bore you with the plot, or the intricacies of the story that make me love it so much, you can Wikipedia that yourself.  In the end, the story is the same, but it’s how it makes its reader feel that truly matters.  What I love the most about Pride and Prejudice is how I’ve literally reread the book over a dozen times, and every time I read it, it’s like the first time all over again.  The dialogue reveals another layer I hadn’t caught before, a description or line of prose appears to me as if it’s the first time.  Most of all, the older I get, I find a new way of looking at, or understanding some nuance of the story that I hadn’t realized before.

My latest reading really showed to me it truly is a timeless story.  First off, I was reminded yet again how much my mother, god bless her, is so much like the querulous, hilarious, and completely insane Mrs. Bennet.  The older I get the more entertaining it is to me, although, the older she gets the more concerning it becomes to her (that I’m not married, of course).  I remember how irritating I found the younger Miss Bennets, and this time around I found myself wishing their father had disciplined them better, had not given in to the youngest, Lydia, in her desire to chase after adventures and crimson coated soldiers.  A sign of maturity, or last of patience with those younger than me?  Maybe it’s a bit of both.

But perhaps the most timeless aspect I discovered this weekend was the manner in which men and women interacted.  Flirtation, game playing, double meanings, as chaste as they were back then, are still nearly the same as they are now.  Even over a century later, women are still wondering why a man did something odd.  Over a hundred years later, women still analyse the words and actions of men in a romantic situation.  I’ll admit, at age 31 I’m guilty of it, and so are many of the women I know.  And now, I finally know that Elizabeth Bennet is also guilty of it.  Oddly enough, it’s kind of vindicating, as of course she’s always been a hero of mine.

The beauty of a favourite book, or film, or piece of music is that you can experience it over and over again, and still find enjoyment in it.  Replicating the enjoyment isn’t the goal, it’s finding new ways, new facets to enjoy, and you learn to love it anew.  For me, summer is about these old experience made new again, and new adventures waiting down the road.  So welcome to summer, DBAWISers.  What traditions will you be unearthing this time around?  Sharing is caring!

Until next time,



Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

One Response to “Nadia Elkharadly: Summertime…”

  1. azia500 Says:

    well done nadia as usual,keep i it up<3

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