Tag Archives: family

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.




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.


Mr. Love proposed. He swayed my way like a beautiful tango by the sea. I had been adjourning that moment in my mind- I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know when the “right” time would come. I might have been expecting a poke from the Internet of All Things confirming that the time was right, or a blog post from Susan Miller urging all 32-year old Virgos to get hitched.

"where the magic happens"

“where the magic happens”

But Mr. Love proposed, so unconventionally, so randomly, as he has accustomed me to. And this randomness does me so well. It cools down the blown-out-of-proportion nerves in me, and soothes the train of what-ifs in my head. It gives me a breather, and gently carries me back to the “now”, and the now is a good place. It’s warm in the now. It’s fields beaming with sunflowers; it’s skies pouring tiny drops of glee; it’s rainbows promising more nows tomorrow.

Mr. Love proposed, and my heart and mind, for once, were in agreement. The “right” time paused and it all sank in. I’m right where I want to be. I’m right where I am meant to be. It’s me, the man I love, and that beautiful tango.

She loved the sea

A classmate shared this video few days back and I’ve been meaning to post it on the blog.

The power of words when coupled with strong visuals is mind-blowing.

Gemma brings back the character of her grandmother to life so beautifully, in less than 3 minutes, using a simple and moving descriptive technique.

I know I’m getting a bit “technical” this month, but all for a good cause.

Bear with me while I get through this journey.

But this video’s a must- watch, for real. Thanks Praxia!


I woke up to this view this morning. My family’s been visiting for a week and while I’m greatly enjoying our short getaway, I can see their excitement dissipating as they watch the news of agony and misfortune in Lebanon every night.

- Good morning Fujairah Spring -

– Good morning Fujairah Spring –

Having trained my mind to take a numb bystander position re- regular horrific happenings in Beirut, I can not but highlight how truly fortunate I believe I am to be here today. Dubai has offered me a whole lot throughout the past seven years: warmth, friendships, love, sense of security, personal and professional growth. I have not once felt that I do not belong or that i am treated differently.

With the famous #mydubai hashtag going so viral, my real dubai is actually not a snapshot, or a video. I need not document an aspect of it to remind myself or convince others of its timeless beauty. Mydubai is this calmness instilled in my heart every morning and night, knowing this is home, away from home.

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!