Tag Archives: funny

Do you know your neighbor?

Do you know your neighbor?

There was a point in my life when I walked down a street filled with people that knew me.

Not only did they know who I was, but they greeted me into their homes, made me coffee I don’t drink and served me little bites of food which I ate a little too much of.

Not only did they greet me with food and drinks and even more food, but what was important was that they greeted me.
Point barre.
They did not simply, politely invite me into their homes; they yelled it out from the 7th floor.
Come up!
They would say
Their hands almost reaching down to the street, their electric voices stretching down, swooping the floor and scooping me up.

Not only did they do this to me, but I also did it to them. I learned to do it to them, and embraced their presence when they came by.

I walked down this street for three years, and everyday I would get the same overwhelmingly warm welcome. Women were on their balconies, their arms moving frantically side to side, yet in perfect harmony, hanging shirts to dry and clipping things onto strings as tiny drops from the wet clothes sometimes landed on the top of my head.

I looked up to see men sitting outside in their sleeveless white shirts in the summer, and long sweaters in the winter, resting their arms on the balcony side, watching people go by on the street, drinking their third cups of coffee of the day.
When I was young(er), I used to think that most of the people that lived on my grandmother’s street were actually related to us. I used to think they were family because they’d spend time at our house and we’d visit theirs. We saw them everyday and they all knew me, my brother, both of my parents, my grandmother and grandfather, and every human being sprout from that family tree, their background stories, current struggles and little victories. They knew us all and treated us like their own. It is only when I grew up that I discovered that we did not have any kind of real connection with their family whatsoever; and anyway, there was no possible way that my family could be this gigantic, but we were part of their joys and their cries. We felt it all, and they felt it with us too.
When I come back from travel I am treated like one of their own, and I am lucky enough to get an abundance of kisses and tight squeezes and questions and concerns and good wishes.

Lebanon, I’d run out of words if I’d written you poems, but I’d write you everyday of my life until my return.

And now, stranger living abroad, do you know your neighbor? Come to Lebanon, they won’t be neighbors for long.

And person possibly reading this in Lebanon, fine e3zom 7ale 3al ahwé bas ta erja3?



If you’ve ever felt like a complete and utter failure of a human adult; i.e if you ever feel like you really, truly, unquestionably suck, don’t you worry! You’re not the only one that does 🙂

To those who have snoozed the alarm over four times in the morning even though they mentally promised themselves the night before that they were going to wake up at 8am and run to the grocery store. I salute you. 

To those who have had different flavors of chips as their balanced meal for breakfast. I salute you. 

To those who wore the wrong attire to a business event, those who wore mismatching socks because they were too lazy to do the laundry for two straight weeks and now have to deal with what’s left in their drawers. To those who tried sitting on their shirt to try to remove the wrinkles instead of ironing it because they do not have an iron and absolutely need that one shirt for this one interview, I feel you. (no, mom, I did not actually do this one.)

To those who pretend to forget to brush their teeth at night, you know who you are!

Those who pretend to like children but actually try to scare them when their parents are not looking.

To those who have never even used a treadmill in their lives, and are constantly surrounded and reminded of their lack of physical movement and health awareness. I am here for you. & I hear you. I’m also here to those who promise themselves they are going to sleep at 11:30 max and end up turning off their laptops just around 3am.

To those who have been having the same meal for the past couple of lunches just because they don’t feel like learning a new recipe, and to those who sit WAY too long under their hot shower and even WAY longer in their bath robes just contemplating life and scrolling through their newsfeeds, naked. Rolala mais comment j’vous feel! 

To those who break half the egg on the table and the other in the pan, those who forget the oil on the pan for too long, and those who forget to turn the heat on altogether. I’ve recently realized that you can mess cracking an egg open and heating it up even if it’s not your first time making an omelette! Life is really full of wonderful surprises, so let’s just hug, right here, altogether and embrace our mutual suckiness. Take it all in. Take a napkin if you need.

The list goes on and I feel it, because (truly sorry mom and dad, but especially mom, who struggled to make me wear slippers around the house; which I still sometimes don’t.). I really try to “adult” but there is just so much to do and I cannot thank you enough for not loosing your marbles on me (most of the time). Thank you for your patience, and I promise I will try to adult better; but for now, it’s pretty much trial and error.


I walked around Beirut with a hula hoop around my arm

Why? You ask

Why not? I protest.

I’ve recently started going to the gym, after roughly 20 years or less of debating whether attempting physical torture was worth it. Turns out it was, so I started using all sorts of machines that would “tone” and “perfect” specific parts of my body, and running on the treadmill for some time, although I didn’t fully enjoy the process or the experience in its entirety. To my surprise, I was not a gym person.  Right until my friend brought a jump rope with her, and the rest was history.

I would jump that rope for hours and it would be wonderful. I would feel powerful because with enough practice, I was able to do fast normal and crossed rope jumps, back rope jumps and all that jazz, and soon enough, maybe double rope jumps? The possibilities were endless, and it was glorious.

So I thought, why not keep this up? Why need to force myself to work with cold machines when I can enjoy a light jump rope? I can even start hula hooping on the side. So I went first thing this morning to get a hula hoop from the shop down the road, I found one and bought it, I was happy with my purchase, right until I physically left the shop.

So I rested the hoop on my shoulder and continued my shopping spree as I needed to get a lot more things today, and I don’t know how I thought purchasing the hula hoop should be first on the list of many things to get, as it needed to accompany me wherever I went.

I started noticing how people would look at me as I walked down the road. People of all ages gazed at the girl holding a giant flashy pink and silver hula hoop, just casually walking around. I realized that when people saw this, they immediately expected you to do something with it. It was almost like they’ve imagined a whole new different past for me. Suddenly I wasn’t just a college student in Marketing anymore, I was the hula hoop girl, chasing her hula hoop dreams since she was a couple years old. Her mother, graceful and accomplished hula hoop champion, passed down the hula hoop that made her win the championships to her lovely daughter, who now works 24/7 to reach her dream, and to make her mother proud, reigning hula hoop champion, it’s in her blood, and she will win this. The girl was preparing a hula hoop flash mob with her hula hoop friends. This was her life, quite literally wrapped around her arm.

You know you’re winning at life when this many hula hoops are needed in one sentence.

It was funny to watch these reactions, as I literally did nothing but walk around from a shop to another, minding my own business. But my hula hoop was screaming and people were listening, as the colors and the size were disruptive to the usual, boring, ethical, colorless, shapeless mundane. Old women were startled, older men were intrigued, little girls were excited, and so was I.


A cup a day: Rosehip Peach

On the second day of sickness my auntie gave to meeeeee

a Rosehip Peach tea by Lipton!

Now here’s an interesting one.

First of all the design on the packaging is pretty normal. Twinings’ tea design (reviewed yesterday) basically set the bar very high, so Lipton falls on that, as the design is not very recherché *holds tea in hand and inspects it professionally*.

The bag smells just like Amar el deen (basically dried apricot with sugar stretched out as a sheet) we used to eat as kids in Lebanon, mostly during Ramadan time.  Amar el deen tastes too good, it was the ultimate candy back then (and still kinda is), because it’s healthier than any other candy-related product I know.


So anyway back to our tea: this was a weirder experience than usual because the herbs and things that were in the tea bag, once soaked in hot water dissolved in a bright fuschia pink color, probably  because of the rosehip infusion.  It was visually very pleasing, resembling  fuschia watercolor.


The taste however was very tangy, almost citrusy. It was too strong for me so I added a teaspoon of sugar to ease things, iIMG_1315.jpgn vain. The taste remained piquant and quite acidic. Needless to say, the visual vibes and the smell were far better than the taste.




Have you ever tried it? If so, what did you think of it?

Tell me if you have any recommendations!

Get well soon cookie 🙂

A cup a day: Patience & Pomegranate

Is your nose running faster than Usain Bolt? Do you feel like your throat is planning on killing you in your sleep? Have you been feeling small-scale windstorms in your head?

If your answers were mostly YES OMG #relatable then fear not soldier, as you are probably experiencing the *far too* common cold, and so am I; so I hug you tight my equally contaminated friend, and I am sorry for your loss. Mainly your loss of smell and taste. I know I miss them too.

So my aunt came by to my lair today to check on how I was doing, and mainly make sure I was still alive. She bought with her a small pack of six differently flavored/infused teas, and it brought joy to my heart. So I’ve decided to review a tea bag a day because I will probably be gobbling down gallons-worth and keeping you company, as I won’t be planning an outing anytime soon in this weather.

So the first one I’ve decided to try from the bunch is the White tea & Pomegranate by Twinings of London. 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 7.32.00 PM.png


Now I’ve never tried pomegranate infused tea, but I’ve decided to be a little rebellious and start living on the edge (of the bed, that is) and gave it a try. (Also, The bag reads “By Appointment to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”, so that made me even more excited to try it.)


It smells heavennnnly, and it’s like drinking water that’s been soaked in roses and candy, which is marvelous. I also recommend you add a teaspoon of sugar if you don’t like your tea sharp.

The color of the tea is a light orange, infused with a bit of red echoing the pomegranate. It tastes really good. It’s usually hard for me to find really pleasant tasting tea because it’s not usually my preferred drink, but this one is definitely one of the most interesting.

Have you ever tried it? If so, what did you think of it? My description is more feelings-related I know, but it’s all in the feels right?

Tell me if you have any recommendations!

Get well soon cookie 🙂


8 things you learn from re-living in Lebanon

I’ve lived a good part of my life in Dubai, and when it was time to start university, I’ve made the decision to come back to Lebanon to study.

That was three years ago; and now I only have a few months before graduation and yet another new adventure awaits somewhere else. So I want to share some insight with you on what to expect from re-living in a place you used to call home, and still do.

1.*Obviously* The Tabboulé, and all its derivatives. Yes. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But for real though, the food is as amazing as the pictures Google shows when you type in “Lebanese food“. Tabboulé is life and if you haven’t tasted this lebanese dish in Lebanon YOU. HAVE. NOT. LIVED. *I say this as I stuff my face with a giant spoon of wonderfully garnished parsley*.

Tabboulé is not the only thing to go crazy about; there’s the Kebbé, the Shawarma, the wara2 3enab (Sidenote: Shoutout to lebanese grandmothers who excel at creating these glorious rolls of bliss) (Sidenote- au carré: Special shoutout to my own grandmother, Teta Chafika, who makes the best wara2 3enab the entire universe has ever seen – and no, I’m not sharing 🙂

So yeah I was lucky enough to eat lebanese food all-day-erryday and it was magnificent.

2. Labneh or Labaneh?

Contrary to my previous belief, lebanese varies quite a bit depending on the area. -Mind you I had absolutely no idea that I didn’t speak arabic the way everyone else did in Lebanon. In Zahlé for example, people might refer to a cushion as a “Rékkeyé” (What?), while I would refer to it as “Tékkeye”. Okay it might not seem a major difference but IT IS, OKAY? Imagine referring to a pillow as a Millow all your life without anyone telling you anything was wrong with what you were saying, and then all of a sudden being hit with a brick wall. && that’s not even the worst part: see the lebanese also tend to create words depending on where you are. What in the world is Asabé and Atrmiz? WHYY. When has Mortbèn not been enough? (Yet another Sidenote: if you’re not lebanese I am very sorry this might seem like gibberish to you, and I do apologize. But I too, felt same as your lost soul, desperately gasping for air and answers. no joke I feel you).

3. Would you like to smell the air?

Can you smell that? (there’s nothing there just FYI).

Ah yes, the famous Kazdoura (i.e Shamm el Hawa – literally translated to smelling the air, becausewhynot). Going on a kazdoura means going on a promenade somewhere, whether that being by walk or by car. There are a lot of places to go, and it is because of those Kazdouras that I fell shyly but surely in love with the little corners in Lebanon. My friends and I took road trips to the south when we were feeling bored, and it was life. The sun was out and the weather was just right and we were able to “nkazdir” all day long. Gloriously.


Taken in Zahlé- Lebanon

4. Family first

Lifestyle in Lebanon isn’t always friends and parties, family is always there, and their presence is always warm and fluffy. (Sidenote: I love you Teta). For me, growing up in Dubai meant occasional phone calls home and very little big-family gatherings. It was a bit lonely family-wise, so old friendships nowadays feel like home. Coming back to Lebanon made me realize how much I actually missed my family when I was away, everyone remembers me as a tiny human way-back-when landlines were still a big thing (they still are though, in my homeland).

Anyway family loves family, and it doesn’t get truer or more unconditional than this. They are tied to you, by blood, for like, evar 🙂 Ugly duckling? Don’t worry your Teta probably thinks you a hotshot, and will inevitably set you up with Tante Émilie’s daughter. Teta got it covered, don’t you worry habibi.


5. Becoming BFFs with taxi drivers

Because not all superheroes wear capes.

But most of them have large white mustaches and successful children all over the world. They’re almost literally all very successful men who’ve saved lives and and YOLO’d in the past; and they’ve finally decided to start wasting some time by driving a cab around the different areas in Lebanon. My friend and I always use the same company for taxis in Lebanon (YetAnotherOneOfThoseSidenotes: because we’ve got just over 74826 taxi companies in lebanon for some reason). So most of the taxi drivers we’ve met now know our names, last names, where we’re from, what our ambitions and dreams are, and roughly our university schedule; and in exchange, we know about their hopeful children studying political science in France, and daughters who just gave birth to the most adorable twin babies, who look more like their father.


Taken from Google, because I don’t have an endless supply of old grandpa pictures on my camera.

6. Tishtik-tam tam

I was never really a big fan of lebanese music, but listening to it on the radio, in the car, on TV, in restaurants etc. kinda makes it grow on you and eat your soul alive. Moeen Shreif is bae. I feel the need to apologize for the use of the term, but I can’t describe my weird attraction to some of his songs. Some.  Aguilera Ima let you finish, but Moeen had some of the best belt-outs of all time.

KanyeSwift2 copy.jpg


7. Dark lipstick and perfect cat-eyes

Trends in Lebanon tend to happen, because it’s a small country, so you’ll be in 10 452 sqkm of trendiness and buzz. Everything and anything that happens around Lebanon will be known and talked about, endlessly. Whether it happened in the North, the South, Beirut, your aunt’s house, quite literally anywhere, people will eventually find out and it will be talked about.

So the trend there, for now, is dark lipstick and perfect cat-eyeliner (and I’m pretty sure that’s a worldwide trend for now), but in Lebanon it is stretched above&beyond; so are the wrinkles on tante Dina’s face.


8. Waynik ma 3am betbayyné?

-Translated “Where you at? We’re not seeing you that often”.

Probably the most heart-warming thing I’ve experienced in Lebanon is the genuine concern and affection people show towards each other. The first time I’ve made friends in Lebanon, I was surprised at how much people were concerned about each other, they show you affection and help you when you look like you’re in a pickle. They’re not ones to leave you hanging; they’ll make sure to knock on your door if they haven’t seen you out, and will inevitably ask if you’re okay or if you need anything, and that, in my opinion, is nothing short of a blessing.

There are many other things I could talk about, but these were the most prominent of the bunch.

If you’ve never been, go; and if you have, visit. Because the air still smells the same, and the smiles remain, regardless of the situation.

The couple on the plane

I’ve recently come back from a trip to Dubai where I spent half of my days sick, and the other drowned in studies and projects and everything you don’t want to be doing on a ten-day breather.

But yes, I was, as I usually am, immersed in my own personal puddle of stress.

As the last day had arrived I hurried to the airport, hopped onto my plane and still managed to work on my project that was due in a couple of days. Yes, I did my project eleven thousand kilometers off the ground. I DID IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS.

Back to my reality: I read what was written on my boarding pass


7F, okay, great, it’s right here.

I quickly sat down and waited for the pilot to mumble incomprehensible words into his microphone to tell us he wishes us a very pleasant hsfdkbbkhzhdi.

Just as I was getting comfortable in my designated seat after I’ve put my handbag in the designated area and almost everyone on the plane was doing their designated things, two people approached my row and looked at both the empty seats next to me, recognizing that these were in fact, their designated places to be, so they said hi, sat down and immediately attached and tightened their seat belts.

They were a cute couple, both a little over 60 something years of age; they both looked pleased to be traveling back to Lebanon, but there was a hint of blueness and not-wanting-to-go-back that I recognized immediately.

After a few moments of being in the air, and after the seat belt sign was switched off, sure enough, I had gotten out my notepad and my laptop to carry on with my project.

The woman next to me started talking to her husband, and then looking at me; then talked to her husband again, then they both looked at me discretely and smiled. I felt like she’s been wanting to say something so bad, and she finally did.

“Are you studying?”

There it was, the moment of truth.

“Yes” I smiled.

“We saw you working when we were in the waiting area, it looks like you have a lot to do!” They both looked at me and flashed a warm smile.

The conversation went on, and after a few “my biggest hopes and dreams in life are” and “where I’m heading with my life” questions away, they told me I had reminded them of their eldest daughter back when she was in university. Her two, back then was  drenched in her puddle of stress.

“She now lives in Dubai.”

I quickly understood the reason behind their bittersweet return.

“We miss her already.”

The conversation ended after they wished me lots of success in my projects and my life, goals and dreams. They also provided me with an endless supply of cookies and Panadol, which warmed my heart. The cookies not the Panadol. Although I was grateful for both.


Right before we arrived at our final destination, the woman next to me says “Yalla?” to her husband. Asking him if the time has come [to do something].

I patiently awaited his response with excitement, to see what she meant.

Her husband nods, and she takes out literally the biggest bag I have ever seen someone stuff under their tiny plane seat. The bag was overflowing with medicine for everything and anything you can think of.

She quickly looked through her giant magical well of a bag and grabbed the eye drops. She turned around, facing her husband to ask him if he was ready. I saw him prepare himself (mentally and physically), as she reached over his head in order to drop the liquid into his eyes.

It was literally the cutest and most disturbing thing I’ve seen happen on a plane. I urge you to imagine the scenario of a sixty something year old couple next to you on an airplane; the woman hovering over her husband, preparing him mentally for eye drops she’s about to give him.

He giggled as a tiny drop slid down his cheeks, and she sat back down in her seat. He thanks her and she smiles back.

The plane had finally landed, and after wishing each other “Al hamilla 3al salémé“, we all ended up going our separate ways, but it’ll be hard for me not to remember this little couple and their little moment. I hope they won’t easily forget it either.