Farewell Baklava?

As I take a bite of a piece of baklava, I try to remember the last time I had one. This isn’t a story about Baklava or about the origins of Baklava. No, it’s not remotely close to that.

Have you ever bought or made baklava for your own pleasure, to enjoy on your own? I know I haven’t. Baklava is made to be shared with family, with friends, with our neighbors. Baklava is made to be enjoyed in the company of other people.

If you compare that to chocolate, which are individually wrapped with a colorful appeal, they were meant to be eaten alone. As you take a bite of chocolate, you’re in pursuit to find that perfect oomf which you usually don’t get.

The different chocolate wrappers have different tastes to achieve the different emotions you want to get as you savor that bite. Baklavas are consistent in taste that fail to surprise you. Baklava being the predictable option.

As our society  is gradually evolving towards an individualistic culture, the less we start seeing Baklavas on tables being shared. People tend to live in their box, pursuing happiness on an individual level, with a twist, rather than share comfort and joy with others.

Will baklava completely disappear from our tables one day? Will it make a comeback? Or will we continue saving baklava for special occassions?

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12 things I’ve learnt in Lebanon

I moved to Lebanon a year ago and here are 12 things I’ve learnt since I’ve moved here:

Everyone’s mother is a better cook
Your colleagues show up to work with tupperwares filled with their mom’s cooking. You’re encouraged to taste their mom’s dish of the day stirring a debate on who’s mother cooks it best.

Your mind excels in currency conversions
When I first moved here, I found myself hesitating at the supermarket cashier for a moment while I mentally converted $ to LL currency, not to mention I would always convert them to Kuwaiti Dinars so I get an understanding of what I’m paying. A year later $ and LL seem to be the same currency in my mind.

Wait before crossing the road
Lebanon might be the best place to teach people not to jaywalk. You learn to stand at the sidewalk, look both ways, and then look both ways again, not because you might get a jaywalking ticket, but to triple check no crazy driver is headed your way.

Road Rage is an Art
You will find yourself adopt the Lebanese style of road rage – honking and getting creative with your screaming slurs.

Seize the Moment
You learn to become spontaneous. I can’t count the amount of times I thought I’d be spending the evening in front of the TV, only to find myself dancing until dawn several hours later and loving it.  I’ve also had quite a few days where I thought I’d be spending it at home doing the laundry, only to find myself spending the day on a road trip.

The Souk El Tayeb Experience
You go to Souk el Tayeb and feel like you’re contributing to local farmers and produce when you purchase a mere half kilo of janarek.  While doing so, you get into a debate on if its janerek or janaring  and find yourself explaining to foreigners what it is.

Seasonal Fruits
Speaking of which, you become an expert on seasonal fruits. You know the season of every fruit and when is the best time to buy them and at what rate

You become patient
You learn to be so patient that even the Dalai Lama can’t compete. Everything takes so much time to get done here whether it’s waiting for the maintenance guy, getting paperwork down, or simply waiting for a website to load.

Survive the darkness
I’ve learnt to continue to do things in the dark. when the electricity used to go out when I first moved here, I used to freeze, stop what I was doing or stop speaking until the generator switched on. A year later I find myself continuing on in the dark.

You’re more athletic than you think
You become an Olympian gold medalist when they electricity goes out – run & jump over obstacles to switch off some electrical appliances before the generator comes on

Everyone is a meteorologist 
You would be chilling enjoying the breeze and everyone at the table starts discussing the breeze you’re feeling “hayda hawa jnoubi. halla2 tet2allab el ta2es w tit7assan”

Can you cook? Really?!
You’re only an expert in the kitchen if you learn how to make ma7ashi from A to Z. It doesn’t matter if you can cook up some real great dishes from anywhere else in the world. Bonus: You will get complimented at how good you hollow a zucchini and rolling grape vines.

 

 

Excuse me while I float in a peaceful sea

He was stunned when I told him I currently do not have any future goals or plans. He stated that I’m not ambitious and that an intelligent person as myself should not just be floating around life aimlessly. I looked at him and smiled, for how could he understand?

How could he understand that for over a decade I was constantly swimming against a tidal wave in the midst of the perfect storm?

How could he understand that for that entire period, I hated bedtime because my dreams exhausted me?

How could he understand that for the longest time, people used me as an example of what ‘bad luck’ is when they tried to console others?

How could he understand that my own dad consoled my brother by telling him that his ‘strong’ sister was constantly aching, in pain, and disappointed?

How could he understand that when I used to dance the night away, I used to dance to forget and vent out?

How could he understand?

Excuse me,

Excuse me while I dance feeling free as if I’ve torn the bandage off,

Excuse me while I shine my happiness onto others,

Excuse me while I forget what pain and disappointment feels like,

Excuse me while I feel blessed for getting a long good night’s sleep,

Excuse me while I appreciate this rare period of peace in my life,

Excuse me while I float in a peaceful sea.