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.

 

 

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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.

 

Turbulence

Four years ago, if you had asked my friends what kind of person I was, they would have told you that I was a control freak, a workaholic, and someone who was extremely busy with life’s flow. That isn’t to say that I didn’t have a social life. I did. I made time for my family and friends. My days were filled with deadlines and my free evenings were full of social events.

One afternoon, on a flight home after a weekend away, it dawned on me that I had the opportunity to drop everything and take a year off. I had been through a tough year  in every sense possible.  I had been wanting to take a sabbatical to do some traveling and learning for a while but never had the courage to do so. It dawned on me, that I was 30 years old, I was done with any financial obligations I had had, and did not have anyone relying on me. When would I get an opportunity like this again?  I thought it’s now or never. Continue reading Turbulence

Everything you need to know about the Armenian Genocide

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With ISIS close by and wars occurring in neighboring countries, I continuously am told that Armenians should get over something that took place 100 years ago, and instead focus on current events that need our attention.  It has also come to my attention that many people are not well informed about the genocide. Hence why I felt the need to write up an informative post  regarding the genocide and the importance to recognize it.

Continue reading Everything you need to know about the Armenian Genocide

I’ve fallen in love with Lebanon… And myself.

When I first moved here, I’d walk in the city listening to music, feeling liberated and light. I’d force myself not to twirl so that people would not think I was crazy. The big smile plastered on my face and my bouncy walk was enough to let people think I was. I remember asking myself, how long would I feel like this? This feeling must be temporary.

11 months later, I’m walking around exploring random neighbourhoods in the city admiring the old architecture and the charm of every alleyway.

11 months later, I still hold myself from twirling.

11 months later, I still have a huge smile plastered on my face.

11 months later, I still feel liberated.

This country has inspired me to do so much.
This country has nourished my soul.
This country has been good to me.

Day after day, I love this country more and more, and with it I love myself more.

 

Coexisting with a New State of Mind

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It’s not a secret that I would have loved for Lebanon to become secular but unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Instead, we see a growing interest and involvement in religion that has been caused by several factors and day after day, we see religion playing an increasingly dominant role in the political sphere. What people believe in has become politics. How people practice their religion has become politics. In short, religion equals politics.

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The Importance of Trying New Things

Ever since I was in high school, I have been creating 5 year plans, which I’d revise according to new circumstances or opportunities. I was a total control freak. I simply liked to envision what my life could possible look like in the future. “Knowing” what the future held for me always made me feel more at ease and a lot more confident.

A few months ago, I found myself without a plan and clueless about where I wanted to head to or what I wanted to do next. Naturally, the control freak in me hit the panic button but I soon realized how liberating this was.  I also remembered that I promised myself to hit the cruise control button this year. 

I am simply floating around aimlessly, waiting for something to appeal to my senses so I’d head in its direction. Continue reading The Importance of Trying New Things

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