Monday, April 23, 2012


I was having dinner tonight at one of the restaurants in the trending Zaitunay Bay. The music in the background was at a comfortable volume - low and just how I like it. This song came up and I remembered one of my favorite sounds ever. There are some things that we love but for some reason they slip into the back of our minds...

There is something about this song (and the video) that arouses this need in me to love, and to love more, the land of my fathers - a little country amongst several countries that form the Levantine region. I love the dabke but there was a time many long years ago when I was more westernized and thought of our culture and traditions as unsophisticated and unrefined. I remember my father would explain to me the beauty of the dabke: this noble act of holding hands together and feet stomping the ground in accord as the ultimate expression of unity and harmony. I never understood what my father was trying to tell me. I continued to listen to rock music.

But then, living as an expatriate in London made all the difference. I studied at a school that encouraged all things Arabic and I saw our world from the perspective of an outside observer. And then I went deeper into the study of our history and that's when the search for my identity took a different turn. Arabic is a beautiful language, Umm Kulthum is a great singer, and the dabke is a magnificent dance...

They say time changes us - sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. I still listen to rock. But I am not that person anymore who thought that I was above the dabke (or what it represented)...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some dreams I had...

I've been having really strange dreams. I want to write about them some time later. But for now I will write about a dream I had last night. Actually two.

I was driving my car through an empty and winding road in what seemed to be somewhere back in Africa. It was in the night and my grandmother and her sister (both had never been outside Lebanon) were in the car with me. I felt terrified because it was absolutely dark and the road was unlit. For a second, I thought I was going to crash into a tree or something due to lack of visibility. But then we all ended up safe and drinking some tea in a kitchen - a kitchen that felt familiar but I don't really recognize it.

Then in another take, I was being chased by a man in his mid twenties. I think I'd seen him in a previous dream and in that dream, I must have done him some harm. I must have really done something bad because in this dream, he was after some revenge. He chased me into a dead end, maybe a cliff. And he got out of his old jeep, and shot at me. He aimed at my left leg and at my right hand. He obviously did not want to kill me. He just wanted to hurt me and have me live through the pain. Maybe I'd be able to understand the kind of pain I'd inflicted on him...

These images are all metaphors for situations that happen in our lives when we are in a state of wakefulness. Do we always know where we're headed? And do we not sometimes find ourselves in the dark and challenged to search for the light? Do we not hurt some people when we don't mean to? And do we really understand what we've done to them? And is this not part of this human life that we live? - to do wrong and be wronged, to hurt and be hurt, to lose and be lost. We are never always winners, but we are also never always losers. We eventually have to find a way back, there is no other way...

Monday, April 16, 2012

I love black. It's me. But, at the same time, my eyes are tired of the black background and white text. However, this doesn't feel quite right yet. So, this is only tentative for now.

I'm also having my eyes checked. For me to be getting tired of the black background on my blog after five years, then something must be wrong.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Almost twenty years ago, when we were still living in Africa, we would often visit Lebanon in the summer - usually leaving my father behind because he had work. My mother, brother and myself would stay at my grandparents'. I would often sleep with my grandmother in the same room. Every night before I fell asleep, she would tell me a bedtime story. Then she would draw the peach and beige quilt over to my chin. She would turn the lights off and leave the room to finish her chores.

In the morning I would wake up to an empty room. My grandmother was a teacher and she would remain at school until the early afternoon. I would spend the early morning in bed and then leisurely rise and rush into the kitchen. I would find hard-boiled eggs, white cheese, labneh, olives, zaatar, bread and a glass of orange juice that my grandmother had carefully arranged on the rectangular table. My mother would be running around after my toddler brother. Or she would be reclining on the red and white striped sofa watching television with baby boy on her lap.

I spent some of my time playing with my grandmother's cat. He was a German Rex and his name was Minouche. He would usually repose on top of the wooden chiffonier in the dinning room. I would call out for him, "Minouche." And with an air of arrogance, he would emerge. Foolish as a little girl, I would sometimes pull on his tail or wash him with soap and lukewarm water. I am sure he did not take pleasure in my ways. Little did I know. In my defense, I petted him more than I did my baby brother and he always followed me around - me and my white stuffed cat that I often carried under my arm. He passed away not many years later.

I remember one afternoon he was nowhere to be seen and I started crying. I wanted to see Minouche. I loved him too much and he had become my one dear friend. In the late afternoons, I would curl up on my grandmother's bed and watch cartoons with the cat resting in the space between my bent knees and chest. But that very afternoon, he was gone. I asked everyone about him but they all told me the same story: he had traveled. I believed them. And with time, I got used to his absence... And I lost my white stuffed cat. But I never forgot what they both looked like.

How time flies...

Monday, April 09, 2012

"عندمـــــــــا تعجـــــــــز النفـــــــــس عـــــــن رؤيـــــــــة  الأحبـــــــــة

فإنــــــــها تشتـــــــــاق لهـــــــــم بصمـــــــــت مؤلم ..

إيـــــــــــاك أن تظــــــــــن أن الصــــــــمــــــــــت نســــــيــــــــــان ..

فــــــــــاالأرض صامتـــــــــــــة ولــــــــــــــــــــكــــن

فـــــــــــي جوفهــــــــــا ألــــــــــف بركـــــــــــان .."

Friday, April 06, 2012


وعينا أبي.. ملجأ للنجومِ

Tonight at one of my favorite restaurants in Jbeil (and probably all of Lebanon), I was telling my friend about this sad but beautiful poem...

I love this performance by Taim Hasan.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

And it's been four years...

April 5, 2008.

I had my last cigarette. Then I threw away an expensive Marlboro Lights cigarette pack.

April 5, 2012.

It has been FOUR YEARS or half a decade minus a year since I had that last drag. I cannot believe it. It has become part of who I am to not be a smoker that I almost forgot this date. But, I had made a mental note and it only took the Posh inside my head to give me a little nudge to look at my watch.

Yes, it has been this long. I am a very passionate woman and I go by my whims and desires, by what my heart wants, so to speak. Not to say that that's good or bad... But quitting cigarettes is probably the only thing that I have done wholeheartedly from a place of forethought and logic and prudence and will and strength of character. I say this because I am still tempted to smoke. To light up a little one whenever the going gets tough. And the going has been tough, I feel depleted. I want to be saved, but I know that a cigarette cannot do that...

There's this little secret. I actually tried quitting in January 2006 following a very serious ENT illness that had me in a hospital for a week. I managed to quit for a few weeks after that and then I went and bought a pack in secret and I hid it in the drawer. I was living in London and on my own so I think I was hiding it from myself, mostly. I would steal a cigarette or two every day and it felt great. But then I felt silly for lying to myself, and so I gave it all up. I went on to smoke for another two years until I left it in 2008.

I can never say for certain that this is final. We, and life, are unpredictable. But I know that this is a decision that I choose to honor this time around. I guess I'll eat a cake or have a chocolate bar whenever the going gets tough. That'll do for now...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

This evening I stood in front of the mirror - a mirror that I have looked into for over a decade. I looked into eyes that seemed empty. I could not see myself in them... And I listened to a voice that seemed hollow... I could not hear myself in it. I feel like someone who had a life and then left it. And it is this feeling of imminent loss that humbles me, to a point where everything becomes blurred in my mind.

But I have also just been on a plane and I am short on sleep. And you know what they say: "there is nothing that a bit of sleep can't fix". I am going to do just that. I should be fine.

Warda is with me tonight... Habibti ya Warda, how I love this song Fi Yom We Leila.