Mistletoe

It’s on days like these that I miss the blog the most; when it’s all chills and clouds outside; when I’m fixated on my keyboard trying to get work done, while all I really want is to be out in the cold breeze, sipping hot cocoa and penning down my thoughts somewhere with Sarah McLachlan’s “WinterSong” in the background.

-AUC, December 2015-

-AUC, December 2015-

Things have changed: Life’s different. I see it taking people I love to different places, paths, jobs, countries. I see me and Mr. Love getting immersed in new aspects of life. With a baby girl on the way, I don’t know what to expect (No, I didn’t read what to expect when you’re expecting). I’m ecstatic surely, but also petrified (just a little). Will we be good parents? What defines a good parent? Will she like us? Am I going to balance being a mom and being me? I have no idea what these few coming months will unfold, but I know I want to make my best to make things work, while not losing myself in the process of becoming a mother.

I love our little life. I want her to be part of it. I am excited to make her part of it. She is already so loved; her grandparents and our siblings have never been happier. Yes, our little life’s different, I suddenly feel like it’s “bigger”, but I like that. As life stretches a little, the adult in me grows, but the kid in me waits for Santa still – 20 days to go, for the snow and mistletoe.


The Invention of Women

When the extraordinary is ordinary, it is worth celebrating (and vice versa). All week and in the spirit of the #InternationalWomensDay, I’ve made a more conscious effort to read through articles and watch videos about women achievers who have changed the world (my favourite was computer scientist Margaret Hamilton who discovered the code which got us to the moon), but I had to share this specific 1980 read from one of the very influential authors of my generation (and a Salman Rushdie inspiration), Ursula K. Le Guin who has in her essay “Introducing Myself” explored the complexity of what gender means with great eloquence. Below is an excerpt of her essay, and one that resonated with the man and woman in me.

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– photo courtesy of AFFOB –

“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter… I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. Their distribution techniques were rudimentary and their market research was nil, and so of course the concept just didn’t get off the ground. Even with a genius behind it an invention has to find its market, and it seemed like for a long time the idea of women just didn’t make it to the bottom line. Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was way too far ahead of its time.”

More of her essay can be read here.

It’s Women’s Day everyday, let no one convince you otherwise.

 


More home

My heart’s been itching to write all weekend. There’s so much I want to write about, but sometimes, for one reason or another, I find myself retreating to the comfort of reading rather than writing.

A lot has happened since I last posted a blog post.

I attended DIFF (too late to blog about it now, but please do watch Room and Mustang asap, and NO, Jennifer Lawrence did not deserve a Golden Globe for her non-joyous role in Joy). Mr. Love and I celebrated Christmas in Cairo (which I loved, and more on that in a separate blog post), and then New Year’s in snowy Bekaa (covered in a blanket of snow and much needed family loving). I have counted my blessings, caught the flu, joined a (real) book club, missed Dubai Sale Festival, celebrated two years of squeezing with Mr. Love, and ten years of making Dubai home.

- where is home -

– where is home –

Ten years is a long time. It freaks me out a little. When I first moved here, there was no Burj Khalifa. Mercato Mall was the talk of town, Shocho’s the ultimate outing, Dubai Taxi the only “uber”,  but there were friends who became family, and work that I loved, in a country that treated me (and still does) as its own, and I am so thankful, everyday. But I also want more. Is it the selfish nature of human beings: rarely satisfied, always yearning for more? I would like to think of myself as unselfish, but I do want more of the world.

I want more winter for starters, I want a chimney I can cozy up to, I want a local bookstore (that is not in a mall and that) I can walk into and find any book I ask for (KinoKuniya, I swear I love you), I want a hole in the wall I need not reserve in if I want to pop by for a bite. I also want museums within reach, I want a park, like Safa park that’s been taken away from me, and I want it a walk away. I want tiny shops that I can discover on my own, not from Instagram. I want a bagel shop. I want more randomness, less planning. I want small but big things.

I love #myDubai forever and a day, but on this specific day, I want more. I want more home.

 

 


More Human

I am usually overly excited around this time of the year. Thanksgiving Turkey dinners, UAE National Day celebrations, Christmas in Beirut, Wham! on repeat, Micheal Buble overdose, a new year with Mr. Love, December is a mashup of all my favorite things combined, except this year, I am fearing it.

Stereotyping, hatred and atrocity have plagued our lives and our world this year. Hence, as excited as I intend to be this December, a part of me fears what is to happen to the world amidst all the Holiday cheers.

We owe our world more tolerance, more empathy, more compassion, more solidarity.

We owe our world more love. Please start today #WhatMakesUsHuman


#giveextragetextra

A girl. A boy. A gum. A love story (my kind of cheese)

but the hashtag says it all.

Happy Sunday!

 


On Family

I’ve been having micro-nightmares, possibly implied by all things scary haunting the media on regular basis. Aging frightens me. Not my own aging, but my parents’. Having lived in a different country for the past 11 years, means that- in spite of all my efforts to be as present as I can- I am not by their side everyday. Surely technology is helping, but is not enough. Neither are the 30 days off I get per year (Thank God for the public sector).

- at the Soap House - #AFFOB

– at the Soap House – #AFFOB

As hard as I try to brush the thought of it off my mind, and as true and realistic as I am, aging still frightens me. I know it’s the drill, and the cycle of life (and all that jazz), but these parents made me, and my siblings. Their love created me, and then nurtured me into becoming the person I am today. And as I woke up this morning with these deliberations in my head, I thought of the struggle I’ve been witnessing in the media, of refugees sharing their stories (Humans of New York ‘s Brandon Stanton depicts it best). As difficult as getting misplaced and humiliated is, their biggest ache always comes from losing family, and their biggest relief and hope, despite it all, is having managed to keep their family close.

I am grateful today, for having had my family near (far, but near), and having had the blessing to be raised amongst them, and my hope for me and Mr. Love, for our generation and generations to follow is to be able to give life and love to our children amongst our families, in a kinder and safer world.


Mona Karaoui – A diary in Peru – Travel Junkie DiaryTravel Junkie Diary

“…Peru is a wake-up call, a reminder of “real” things that matter, of the beauty of a universe that we should strive to preserve. No matter what you expect, Peru will give you more: more nature, more beauty, more art, more food, but mostly more modesty, more simplicity, more love and more goodness.”

Mona Karaoui – A diary in Peru

Source: Mona Karaoui – A diary in Peru – Travel Junkie DiaryTravel Junkie Diary