Tag Archives: Lebanon

A Comeback Letter

I make a shy comeback on the blog this morning.

It’s been almost two years. Too much has happened.

I’ve developed an undying affection for Lady Gaga (now always a star in my eyes), I’ve written my first book in Arabic AND for children (can’t get any better), I freelance on full-time basis now (I know, right?), and the most magical thing of all? Almost 1.5 years ago (around the same time I went MIA on the blog), Mr. Love and I were blessed with the most squishable and vibrant little energy ball. Everything I love about Mr. Love, and few things I don’t dislike about myself either, she’s an amalgam of warmth, but saying she’s been keeping me on my toes would be an understatement.

-Zaha in a Bekai field, August 2018-

Life has become, no matter how prepared I thought I was, chaotic. All this talk about making her part of our lives, and carrying on as carefree as I would have liked us to be, turned out to be nonsense. She became LIFE, as simple as that really. And then over a year later, having given her time, love, space to grow, I see in front of me a confident independent (except at bedtime naturally) kind little human, and my heart explodes every single day.

I would like to believe I did a pretty good job, Mr. Love too. He’s been a true rock throughout this whole parenthood journey, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Right now, I want it to bring more squeezing, more winter (Hey Dubai), and surely more writing. I’ve missed you.

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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


Emergence

I’ve been avoiding reading through Marion’s previous adventures. I feel as if I have disappointed her. I left her trapped inside the electronic pages of a fool for words’ blog, from which she never emerged. I tried, but the thing with writing (or with me) is I can’t force it. It has to call for me. It has to come to me. I can’t sit myself down and decide to take Marion places. She calls on me to go wherever she wants, and I take her: to her love and back, to her hometown and back, my words take her wherever she wishes –  the romantic fool in me – and she’s always been happy that way. I always got her, and she got me, never forcing me into an area of discomfort. She’s been one of my realest friends for a very long time, but this year, she is laying so incredibly low, I can barely sense her presence, and it pains me, because Marion and I, we grew older together, we lived each other’s realities and fantasies, whilst always somehow managing to stay side by side.

-courtesy of a first full of bolts-

-courtesy of a fist full of bolts-

I just finished reading Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train, and throughout the whole novel, I kept thinking to myself: how could her main protagonist be so rough of a character? How did Paula manage to bring her into life so vividly whilst preserving her own sanity? She seemed very much alive to me that I’m so envious of them both right now. I’ve got to make this happen, and I will. Hang in there Marion. I am coming for you.


#RedNoseDay

Sam Smith was the biggest winner at the Grammys this year, taking home four awards earlier this month, and John Legend is, well, a living legend. While their music genres may slightly differ, their ultimate faith in one love- that of the world- is the same. And what I really like about these two is how they put it all in action, and collaborated (without breaking the internet) in an attempt to give back some of the goodness they’ve been blessed with this year.

- global citizens -

– global citizens –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far, my favorite collaboration of the year for #RedNoseDay!

 

 


The Big Picture

I sometimes lose sight of “a bit of me” in the process of planning my happy ever after, and I’m not particularly fussy, nor detail- oriented. I like looking at the big picture, but I still lose sight of “a bit of me”, which brings me to the conclusion that the conviction I’ve always had about life remaining indefinitely the same is really a myth. Life changes.

"Meet you halfway"

“Meet you halfway”

It just does, and when you’re planning your happy ever after, you plan for two. You think for two. You live for two. It seems simple in theory, but practice can be tricky, so I’m learning that the key to making ends meet is really to preempt what is awaiting instead of diving into it blindfolded. It helps.

You’ve got to envision the end result, and think to yourself: it’s me, Mr. Love, our warm fuzzy little home, our happy big books, and to get there, there are just a few (transitional)  facts that you would want to come to terms with:

  1. You will prioritise: and by prioritising, I mean Mr. Love will come first, not your reading, not your writing, and yes (sorry to break the news), not your friends. He will (so effortlessly to your heart) come first.
  2. Your social life will take a temporary nap: and that is OK because the truth is: read no 1. again, and you are also constantly trying to find the right balance between you time, you-two time, his friends time, your friends time, and there’s just not enough time in the day, or week to juggle it all in. There is no digital magic wand for that just yet (sorry).
  3. And then there will be those days when you get the urge to flee, and you will wonder (yes, you will) what on God’s (not so) green earth are you doing it all for?

And love will (not so) surprisingly be your answer. It will so uncommonly be your voice of reason, and for the sake of love, you will walk steady and be just fine. You will prioritise. You will be less of a social butterfly. You will (sometimes happily- sometimes less happily) exchange a wild night out with a movie night in. You will introduce a new small section to your wardrobe (for when you meet the parents). You will choose to move into a house with a kitchenette instead of a proper kitchen (because you can see the look on Mr. Love’s face when he finds his dream house). You will do it all, and you will not risk losing any bit of “you”, because you two are meeting halfway and finding a common ground, and once you do (and you will), there you will have it: your happy ever after.


In Retrospect

They’re miraculous, the realizations you make once you detach and give your own self some space. I’ve just celebrated turning a year wiser, in a little piece of land in the heart of Sri Lanka, and being here reiterates what continues to matter and make sense to me most.

Self-worth hits you flat in the face the minute you lay foot on this ground. While we often tend to lose sight of equality when we hire “caregivers” for our households, (because yes they do serve us but no they are not our servants), they tend to treat their peers, their tourists, their family, the same on their land and in their own households; genuinely, generously, respectfully and kindly.

- in the heart of Galle -

– in the heart of Galle –

They’ve gifted me, a stranger to them, papayas from their gardens, curry leaves from their trees, king coconuts and avocados of their own. They’ve made me floral necklaces because I said a simple “thank you”.

I am quite frankly stunned with the goodness that is instilled in their hearts, despite of the poverty and lack of opportunities that surround them. And you know what? They are happy. They are content because they know what matters. They’re not smitten by the world of Glitz. Instead, they cling onto their legacy, their culture, their values- which are all founded on kindness and empathy.

I love being here. I love that Galle’s citizens have unintentionally injected so much love and gratitude into my heart, at a time when the entire world seems to be lacking both. Also I love being here with him. He makes me whole.