Tag Archives: Christmas

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.


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


I’ve got the Holiday Hippos!

I just turned my out-of-office reply on (yey), and I am about to head home for two weeks. On my to-do list (apart from high flying on a bicyle) is indulging in doing things I love this Christmas (aka digging into mama’s food, for two weeks nonstop!). Also, I’d like to share my Happy Hippos and my Hersheys (or healthier versions of that) over the holidays with those who need them more than I do. It’s a little thing that makes a big difference (please do the same!)

P.S: Holiday Calories don’t count!

Mona Xmas Card

 


Snow Flakes

This is not a blog post. This is a revelation. I’ve been observing my contentment trends for a while, and I’ve realized they’ve somewhat “matured”, probably because this year revolved around grateful living for me, and acknowledging little pleasures that I had long overlooked: visiting with family, watching a genuinely good movie, finding an interesting read, writing on this blog, seeking inspiration in others, dancing till my feet hurt, swinging till my eyes roll, exploring new relationships, building on already existing ones- relatively small things, but with quite a big impact.

(picture courtesy of my mama - Alexa takes on Shtoura)

(photo courtesy of my awesome mama – Alexa in Shtoura)

With all this in mind, I’ve decided to make my one and only new year’s resolution this morning, because December’s clearly all about getting things done, and January resolutions clearly don’t do it for me. Somehow, my mind always gets  tricked into believing the year has just started afresh (automatically granting me at least another 11 months to make things happen)- #error

This December, I’m making things happen. I’m hopping on a bike the minute I land home in Shtoura (for the very first time), and I won’t fall off it.  I’m going to dive freely into my sacred valley of snow flakes, almond trees, and homemade rice pudding, all whilst recapping how life-changing 2013 really was. I rose up a notch this year, set my priorities straight, and formed new habits – of kindness- in a span of 3 weeks only (it’s not a myth), and right now, I am utterly grateful. I’m hopping on a bike and I am owning the world!

TED’s non- cheesy guide to gratefulness here: my favorite is David Steindtl- Rasl!  Stop, Look, and Go!


Fields of Green

I’ve always been a bit “stingy” when it comes to my readings. I tend to dedicate more of my time for works of Arab authors, because naturally, I take part in their cause, relate to their uncertainties, share their sense of belonging, and then every once in a while (just when I’m about to overdo it), my very wise cultural Guru (and dear friend Georges) gently pushes me to indulge in books of different nature. His latest was “The Lowland” by British-born, Indian-American and Pulitzer Award winner Jumpha Lahiri.

A trip back in time to India in the 1960s, the book depicts a poignant story of two inseparable brothers who grow up happily in Calcutta but part ways years later, due to political affiliations, insecurity, and immigration- only to remain bound by an epic tragedy of love and loss and broken family ties,  across four generations and two geographies.

photiopo

I do not wish to divulge further details of the book here today, for I strongly recommend you read it (it was shortlisted for the Man Booker award of the year but The Luminaries just nailed it). I just woke up itching to give credit to authors of the world this morning, and to also give a major shoutout to all Arab and non- Arab immigrants and families away from their homeland this Christmas.

May you live to see your children running happily, and freely, in their homeland’s fields of green.

May you live to see them starting a family- in their homeland- showered with flowers of jasmine, rice, and zaghareet (to each his own)

May you live to see them standing tall- in their homeland-  in times of peace, stability, and goodness, as responsible and compassionate citizens of the world.

Meet Jumpha below- she’s definitely a keeper!


Dear Santa

I’ve been virtually tuning in to the Lebanese Radio station “Light FM” every morning from Dubai for the past four years (that’s the beauty of the Online sphere), so I’m quite used to my morning routine: grabbing virtual breakfast with Tanguy, and genuinely sympathizing with frustrated Lebanese callers complaining about the unbearable traffic on their way to work, all whilst enjoying some of my favorite classic music tracks and indulging in fresh acoustic versions of new hits (that’s what makes Light FM really cool: its love for acoustic).

photo (9)

But Santa, dear Santa, my absolute favorite time of the year to tune in to “Light FM” is December. The whole morning show dynamics change considerably: suddenly, Tanguy is “overly” en bonne humeur (not that he usually isn’t), callers are less frustrated (although traffic is still crazy), citizens are turning a blind eye to the bad and taking note of the good only, political and religious debates are (almost) non existent, and the sole talk of town is Christmas trees, dinners and presents. Suddenly, Wham’s “Last Christmas” is played six times a day on average, and six times a day on average, I find myself wishing I was happily stuck in Beirut’s traffic – rather than in a virtual Chrome tab.

Santa, dear Santa,

This morning, I could almost see life in Beirut bleeping in lights of green, white and red.

I could almost see it peaceful in anticipation of the winter glut of Kodak moments.

I could almost see it smiling…for you are coming to town.

You know I’ve been a (pretty) good girl all year, and if I could make one wish only this Christmas, it would be for you to reside in our Lebanese homes and streets, and on our local radios, TVs and blogs indefinitely…