Tag Archives: Mona Karaoui

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.


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


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.


Sway

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.


Get Lost!

I met a polymath: a lover of people and cultures, a devoted wife and mother, a bohemian traveler who so happens to effortlessly find beauty and goodness in others, and then log it all in a blog of hidden gems, adventures, cuisines and much more. I am delighted to have had the pleasure to take part in the Travel Junkie Diary blog this week! Check it out Pronto (for you will LOVE it) and get to meet the inspiring citizen of the universe behind it all, one who I truly believe is making a difference.


Stubborn Love

The city is unusually quiet for a sunny Sunday morning. His almond tree has blossomed. The fact that almond trees do grow in the city in this part of the world has always bewildered her. “Only in Lebanon”, he’d always say, and she’d always laugh.

The last time she saw him was in Berlin, over a year ago. He tried winning her back then, to no avail. They haven’t spoken since. What if he’s changed houses? Fallen in love?? Eloped? But his almond tree is here, has blossomed and is fruitful. There must be life here. There’s no turning back.

photoHer bare feet are almost one with the ground. She’s given up France, her (second) engagement, her few but precious friendships, to be here, on a sunny Sunday morning. He loves Sunday mornings.

It’s all behind her now; the manuscripts, the debates. All she sees is this door, not the ripples in the walls, or the dry plants. All she sees is the almond tree.

Her stubborn heart that’s been set on him for over twelve years is no longer petrified by the constant medley of unspoken words racing through her every thought. Her few wrinkles and grey hairs have crossed paths with people of all courses of life, forgotten names and faces (but never his). She’s here, in the now, and what matters is for her to take this one step forward.

She glances around quickly: an 80-something couple are slowly walking their dog outside (or is it the other way around?!), a woman is jogging with an apparent residue of last night’s smoky eyes, and the Ka’ak vendor is here, always up so early, ever so enthusiastic. He recognizes her and waves; she smiles. “He’s always looked so content”, she thinks to herself.  Has he ever endured the same social or religious barriers she’s been struggling with all of her life or does knowing less make him happier? Is that the sight of victory? Is that why they say ignorance is bliss? Either way, she’s not settling for the unknown this time. Not this morning. All she hears is her heartbeat. With all the will and the hope and the fear and the faith and the love in her heart, she walks forward and knocks on his door.

He’s here…