Tag Archives: writing

Paris isn’t the city of love, it’s the city of lovers


I sit on the upper deck of a train going from la Défense to Saint Germain en Laye, the sun had already set on a Sunday afternoon and people and their families were on their way back to their homes to prepare for Monday.

I look down the Ground deck of the train and I see a couple that had just walked in. She had blonde hair that she tied in a ponytail, and he was wearing a grey t-shirt with the Monsters Inc. logo on the back. Both standing, he had wrapped his arms around the metal bar on the train, and she had her arms wrapped around his waist, although her grip was much tighter than his, she held on better than he did the bar.

This was usual, but in Paris you get to see each couple metamorphose into a complexe sculpture. The girl on the train had fit her neck under his chin, no space in between, and you could see the curves they formed together, and how closely they could turn into clay or solid granite in the Louvre Museum, where you see the rest of the curves and structures, solid; immobile.

Paris isn’t the city of love, but Of lovers who have found their cities and homes in each other. They are each other’s light and tunnels, their streets and their highways. They are their red-bricked houses and the bars they grip onto tightly. Paris is the place, but the city resides in her eyes, and his smile. Paris surely isn’t love, but all the roads they crossed to get into each other’s bodies, they all live in little mobile cities of their own.


Why I took the escalator on a very rushed morning

It’s 9:15 am, I’m already late. Even though I was clearly told many times that I don’t really need to arrive in a particularly early time. No one is monitoring, but I still hurry and run past the people I see on the street.

I’m late, once again, I tell myself annoyingly. I woke up an hour earlier just to NOT be late and here I am scolding my own time-unaware existence, running through the streets of nearby Paris with an umbrella in my hand and croissant in the other. I check if my work badge is well around my neck and waltz my way on the crosswalk prudently, it’s red but we all cross anyway; prudently.

I see everyone in a similar attire with little to no difference in style or color walking at my pace. For the first time in my life I’m actually not behind, I am fast-walking, riding this wave of focused humanity flooding its way into buildings much like ships tracing lighthouses.

This stream of people crashes into the long structures, ready to ignite them, ready for labour. As we outpour onto the streets and up staircases I stop and take the escalators, I move to the right because silly you if you stand to the left the waves will literally crash into you and you’ll be lost at sea, so I hang on to the armrest belt beside me, making sure I stayed afloat. I took the escalator to take a moment to breathe and to look around me and feel how crisp and cold the morning air was even though I was mid-journey to land.

Particulars; and why you need to surround yourself with them.

Think about how much more wonderful life would be if every person on this earth did what they were passionate about and pursued it ’till the very bits of its end. Think about the outcome and how much positivity you will be surrounded with. How great it would be to be courageous and driven enough to run after what you want (and, in a perfect world, conquer all obstacles thrown in your way and find long term success, whatever that success may be.) How much more clear laughs will sound and how truer words will be spread.

Sometimes it hits me late at night (as it did now, I’m afraid), right as I’m trying to draw a close to my day for a few hours before I begin again; I really start to think (and I know you did too, at some point in time, think my exact thoughts), that time is running by. I don’t want to put it harshly but there is a finish line and sooner or later everyone will cross it and that’s about as clear as day. But unlike usual marathons, this one counts on what you actually accomplish on your way to the red band you will tear, because everyone will reach it; and unfortunately the faster you do, the worse it will be for you, because the saddest part about the marathon is that there are absolutely 0 winners. You won’t be given a trophy for finishing first or arriving a few seconds after the winner, what will determine your “success” is how you ran (I hope I haven’t milked this metaphor too much, please tell me if I did).

My mind was wandering around ideas like how much less weight there would be over our tired little shoulders if people really dug deep to find what truly and unquestionably motivates them and makes them happy, and went after it.

Throughout my (still pretty short compared to others) life, I have met a wide range of people, and I have realized why it is that I am attracted to those that I will from now on forward call “particulars”. They are the particular souls that you just feel are different from the rest of the bunch; and that difference usually comes from them being open about what they like, what motivates them, and generally who they are as people. They are the ones who are unafraid to question themselves repeatedly and fearfully (yes, fearfully), but they do, and they try as much as they can to do what they love in a world absolutely filled and overflowing with judgements and pre-judgements and pre-pre judgements and doubt and the fear of what will happen if I do what I actually love doing. These particulars inject what they love doing in their daily lives and you can just feel their presence when they walk into work or when they get back home. They are the artists who, even if they did not become artists, ended up injecting art in their lives so well that they never needed a canvas.

If you know these particulars/ if you’ve felt their presence before, you will know who I’m talking about. These are the people who are not just “good” at what they’re doing, they are the change and the difference. They are what makes this life extremely enjoyable in all its mundanity and unpleasantly usual routines.  They can be that teacher you had that really, really made an impact on you, a person you met in the office that does their job so absolutely brilliantly that you start questioning what you really got from your Masters Degree. They can be a classmate that teaches you so much more than what’s written on the slides, and who knows? It can even be you, particular person. (Because I’ll let you in on one last little secret before I literally fall asleep on my keyboard: we are all f***ing particulars! In our own ways. But for your own mental health, stay around these people, learn from them and let them influence you in the best way possible and let them make your brain itch sometimes because the clock is still ticking! and you’re still running, but by being more particular, in your own way, you’ll learn to forget that there’s a finish line.

*Sidenote forgive the cheesiness in this post if you smelled it, it’s 2:33 am and my brain may be farting bubbles. Hope you enjoyed the read 🙂

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. 

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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 🙂


حكم أم خالد and long camel necks

a compilation of meaningfully random short stories experienced with أم خالد herself. 

So I might not always say the correct things at the correct times sometimes. Slip-ups and whoopsies happen. More often than I’d like to confess. Especially to me, and that’s something I had to admit to myself heavy-heartedly. Writing what you want/need to say down always helps, as you can scribble and mark-off and take back and erase anything at any time without having to face judgement from your laptop or eye-rolling from your pencil. Regardless, knowing your weak points and trying to understand how to better them is a tough challenge to face, and finding yourself in an awkward situation where you just want the ground to swallow you whole is a feeling I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

أم خالد is usually good in those kinds of situations, she somehow always knows what to say. She says just enough and weighs it just right it’s surprising. I really don’t know how she does it, but she never sounded too-much, and you can always count on her knowing what to say when you feel like you want to disappear, and as I curled up next to her that day confused about everything at that moment, she puts her hand on my head and says

” ليت عنقي كعنق الجمل لأعرف ما أتكلم “

literally saying “I wish my neck was as long as a camel’s, so I would know what I’m saying”, kinda meaning that I should take more time before I spoke, I should think before I act and understand first what I need to say before I blurt out whatever I felt like saying. She was right, as أم خالد usually is, but I didn’t even have to think once before thanking her.


You’ve heard of the “apple a day keeps the doctor away” saying right?

Well how about two apples? Three? fifteen?

I’ve decided it was a good idea to get a crêpe au chocolat today, that *chocolat* being Kinder bars in particular and therefore being delicious enough to bring meaning back into my life. I’ve also decided to get a 7UP can along the way to stock in the company fridge until I felt like drinking an ice-cold beverage during the day, as I hadn’t had the chance to drink anything fizzy for almost a week, so my body wanted it shamelessly (yes, I might have a slight addiction, no judgies.) Now the streak of thought started happening right around when I had opened the fridge to introduce my 7UP can to its temporary accommodation before it met its final demise, and there I was attacked  saw not one, but at least 3 protein smoothies, a couple of healthy bars lying around with a sure presence of granola nearby, 4 to 5 boxed salads and a long violet grape twig. Suddenly I felt ashamed of my grande 7UP, that now mammothed all over the place. I closed the fridge door silently hoping no one had seen me can-handed.

As I came back to my little office everything started making sense and coming in strong, one of my colleagues was talking about starting a diet after seeing her dietitian and evaluating her BMI and everything in her body, while another colleague was telling her about how great her diet was going and how to order the perfect combination from her already-prepared meal of exactly something calories while the other part of the agency decides Kcal *healthy fast food* is the way to go. Every. single. day. Well almost, and apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed, another colleague looks at the two girls bonding over low calorie food and  comes to the realization that “this is not a trend, it’s a revolution”. He was right, there is a green revolution happening that is so in vogue that it redefined vogue altogether, and the eerie part is that the people practicing and sharing this trend are mostly very young, starting from the ages of 18 and 19 (maybe a little younger, too from what I’ve witnessed in Lebanon), to full on twenties and very early thirties. I’m not talking once-a-week smoothies and cereal every morning, or an apple a day. I’m talking hardly any sugar in food whatsoever, no snacks without the trace of granola or wheat somewhere, and meals picked out for you from a diet company that tells you you need enough calories to be this great, just in the middle, on the perfect line, and at the limit of a 100% healthy and uncorrupted human.

Okay so I know that this trend might not be the worst out there, it’s actually not that bad.  A snack enthusiast myself, I do have to admit *with a heavy heart of course* that eating right and switching from chips to cereal bars and fruit really refreshes a person. But apart from that, I feel like this is a trend taken a little too far, detoxWater pictures flooding Instagram are really irritating , like it’s literally water with slices of fruit/mint/whatever in it that sat for a day people, seriously no.

I don’t know maybe it’s just the fat kid in me crying out, or maybe I’m still a little too immature young to care for it this much just yet, although 20’s a couple of months away. Who knows I might start ordering KCal when I turn 25, but for now I’ma just appreciate my crepe’s presence and hope diabetes won’t be in my future.

Mon Amie la Rose

À l’aurore je suis née
Baptisée de rosée
Je me suis épanouie
Heureuse et amoureuse
Aux rayons du soleil
Me suis fermée la nuit
Me suis réveillée vieille

Pourtant j’étais très belle
Oui j’étais la plus belle
Des fleurs de ton jardin

This song literally translates to “My friend the Rose”, and holds a dear place in my heart.

I remember being at the edge of eleven years old, right at the start of awkwardness and weird crushes on boys just because they had short bright hair and pretty hazel eyes. Back when I had an assigned desk that I couldn’t leave, one which I would try to discreetly write on, to then again see my scribbles wiped away the second day, never knowing which hand scrubbed them off, and why.

One of the things that instantly bring me back is this tune in particular, and the singer’s thick accent. I never knew her name until I searched the song today, although I always knew the name of the song, which seemed pretty obvious after the 12th time she says Mon amie la rose me l’a dit ce matin.

The story behind my little memory can be summed up with only a few details; me standing up, looking at my empty but very cluttered classroom. The tables and chairs slightly and un-accordingly moved, tilted, disrupted as if some kind of mild hurricane forced through only the four walls of our little chambre de travail.

My friends, aligned next to me, all of us tightly gripping lyric papers with our little fingers, trying not to mess up the words or fall behind, because messing up did show, very fast, and listeners follow the slightest hiccup to the point where one little girl who might skip or add a few words to the chorale could mess up the entire presentation, and be blamed for the global dysfunction of 11 year old choir. But not me. I was a proud double-pony-wearing music and song enthusiast at the fragile age of 10/11. I would make sure to learn all the words and was usually careful to avoid any unnecessary slip-ups.

I’ll show you a metaphorical polaroid picture of how things would go down in my old Lycée’s CM2 class.

It’s morning in honk-filled Beirut, twenty six agonized and slightly excited ten and eleven year olds stand one after the other in line with very heavy bags on their backs, going from ranges of princess-pink accessories to power rangers and Batman backpacks; we await the blue door to open. And it does, in which we hurriedly walk through to sit in our little chairs and arrange our little desks to start the day with “Une Dictée!”

-Noooooooon! Is usually said/whispered simultaneously, protesting the teacher’s decision to give us a dictation on the first day of the week. But we still prepared our pens and minds to listen carefully.

Our teacher was no normal teacher, and that’s probably why out of all the classes I had, hers was the only one I could recall after years of finishing school. Her name was Miss Lama, I think she was a French teacher. And I do mean I think, because I remember all CM2 courses being taught by one major teacher for every class.

Miss Lama had long red hair at the time. She would come in full makeup, and was usually in a black top and baggy army pants that would crumble up by her ankles, paired with black high heels. I don’t know if it was the fashion at the time but this is the only remaining image of her in my head.

Miss Lama would usually arrive and give us coursework to agonize us with, but I have to admit she was a pretty cool teacher.

The first time we started realizing her special-ness was right about when we started hearing music in the classroom while we were busy scribbling down everything we had learned on our exam paper. She started gently putting soft songs (to test the waters, in my opinion), until we were fully on board with it, and even tried suggesting it a few times, and getting mentally ready for it.

She would usually play old French classics mostly of Charles Aznavour and another tune that particularyly stuck with me;  Roxette’s Listen to your heaaaaart, when it’s calling for you! , I don’t remember what else played but she did have distinctive taste, both in Arabic and non-arabic songs.

So why else was Miss Lama so special? Probably because she would encourage us to sing while we were doing course work, and would make us stand in a line, short people in front (as I always was), and the taller kids in the back, as they always were, and we would sing, loud and proud, to Mon Amie la Rose and Listen to your Heart like our little lives depended on it, like we were making the world a better place and if people actually concentrated on us they will probably end up listening to their hearts after our earth-shattering (and also imagined) performance.

We were the rock stars of Room 12, the musicians of the furture, who had no professional vocal training whatsoever but sung anyway. In fact sung enough that we were heard by our neighbors in room 13, who were lead by the most strict human being I had ever seen in the past eleven years of meeting people and living on this earth. She was shorthaired and short-tempered. She was French, cold, and usually frumpy. She would sometimes give Miss Lama sturdy looks of disapproval when she would hear us sing while doing coursework, and would often judge our activities as “time-wasting” and unethical. We never cared for what that meant anyway, and we knew how jealous the kids from the other classroom were every time they heard the radio playing English music from our room while they had to stare onto a green board with numbers all day, watching miss Old-frump wipe white chalk off her hands and fingers.

All that was good and fun until one day, one usual practice, and one comment; that spiked my love for tunes, music and voices. Miss Lama was making us practice “Listen to your heart”, as we were finally going to be able to present it as an end-of-the-year concert to our parents. And as my little self sang “Listen to heaaaaaart” Miss Lama looks me right in my eyes and gets closer to me “When he’s caaaling for youuuu” she calmly says “raise your voice a little higher”. Only to me, while others continued, I flushed and raised my voice a little higher like she asked. She then told me to stop for a bit and continue to follow, which I did without hesitating, and that created the first layering I had ever heard, which I, apparently and quite surprisingly created. My friends would sing “Listen to your heaaaart”, and I would follow about a second later with the same verse, my own “Listen to your heaaaart”, and by the time we got to the end of the song she would tell me to make my last words longer so that the last tune would be heard from my voice while the room slowly went quiet, I was starting to feel a little stress and a little chill run up my spine, as pure excitement and rush-like feelings built up in me. The last thing she told me on that day was “You’ve got a nice voice girl”, in a hybrid French-Arabic language spoken only by the the truest Lebanese at heart. I smiled and she smiled and it was just the best day to ever happen to me. After school I rush home to tell my mother every detail before I started forgetting little parts of the story.

We ended up having a great show by the end of the year, and we all bowed down like true professionals of the business as the cheers erupted in the big gymnasium, but I knew what Miss Lama had given me was something much more precious than a memory of a school chorale, that deserves much more than a simple blog post.