BankMed or MotherCare?

A couple of weeks back, streets of Beirut were being bombarded with an intriguing advertising (no not the black cat ad).

Giant panels bore the letter “YOU”. I instantly realized that this is the sort of advertisement that unravels with time, today is ‘YOU’ , tomorrow might be ‘HIM’ ..etc… I was curious and could not forget about the whole thing since the ‘YOU’ was following me everywhere (and I was following it as well). However, with time it bore me and started gazing at other offers. I mean, come on whoever is behind this thing, you are killing us with suspense!

One day while driving I noticed that the ‘YOU’ had invited an odd word to join its new home, ‘COUNT’. I was not expecting this turn of event. I mean, ok its normal to have a verb after a pronoun but I thought some grammar freak was reminding the rest of us the personal pronouns of the English language… My mistake.

This turn of of events made me think deeply and took me to question myself, my existence and analyze some deep philosophical thoughts. I count!!! Some stranger was telling me and the rest of the population that we counted!!! When did that ever happen in a country like ours? We have a voice, we count, we exist… (ok Im going to stop, too much excitement!!). Now I was even more curious to see the man behind this strong statement.

My shock when it turned out to be the new logo of BankMed. I have never been a fan of banks. Working in one scarred me for life. Moreover, the tactics they use to lure clients disgust me. But I admit each and everyone of us needs to hold a bank account.

I did not do any research about this specific bank because honestly speaking it does not interest me. However while I was driving yesterday with my sister and we stopped at a red light (yes we abide by the new law, thank you!) the main headquarter was glowing its new logo. My sister and I tried to remember the old logo but in vain. One funny remark from her made me question the intention of this new geometrical form “Hey Pat! this new logo reminds me of the one of MotherCare no??”

What do you think? Doesn’t it a bit???

4x3_envvvvv

VS

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The Story of an Armenian Genocide Survivor; my GrandMother.

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Tomorrow is the 24th of April 2015.

Tomorrow, Armenians from all over the world are commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

A hundred years ago this day, began the persecution of the Armenia Community by the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire.

A hundred years ago, my grand mother, along with her mother, started her march to the unknown.

News broke that Armenian men were being arrested, imprisoned and executed. Women and children were being exiled from their homes. My grand mother is one of the many who escaped the massacre thanks to the helpful warning and care of the Kurds.

She passed away in 1995 at the age of 95, however never forgot to share her story with me and my brother.

Here is the tale of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.

The persecution of the Armenians had already began in the Empire. One night, their Kurdish neighbor, a Sheikh, woke them up and told them to leave all their possession behind and proposed to take my teta and her mother with him and pass them as members of his family. They were fleeing Bitlis as well, scared of the unknown future.My great grand father could not leave and was left behind not to be seen again.

During their long march, my grand mother was a 15 years old young girl. Her mother was concerned of her fate knowing that her advanced age and ailing health will not permit her to continue for long. When the convoy arrived in Syria and knowing her time was up, she grabbed the Kurdish Sheikh’s hand and made him promise to never give his child away to a non- Christian man. She promised to haunt him if he ever broke his word. She passed away a couple of days later. The Sheikh being very superstitious and having in his hands a young Armenian girl started looking for a suitor. He took care of her as her own and a year later introduced her to an Armenian man, himself from Bitlis. 

My Grand parents got married and established themselves in Beirut. As any immigrant who had lost everything and left their dear ones behind, they worked hard and succeeded in establishing themselves within the Lebanese society. They embraced Lebanon, its culture and its society. They became part of the Lebanese history of Genocide survivors.

 Then followed the next generation of the KhanA family.

We are proud of our heritage. We are Lebanese of Armenian origin. Lebanon is my country. I was born and raised in Beirut. However, as any other person of Armenian descent, I will never forget the Armenian Genocide. I will never forget my history and where my ancestors are from.

I am a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.

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My 1st Day driving under the New Traffic Law.

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Today is an important day in the modern History of Lebanon.

Today is the day that comes to effect the long awaited Traffic Law.

Unlike any civilized country in the region, we waited till the year 2015 so as to enforce strict basic regulations of the transport system.

As I have been blessed with a lot of luck throughout my life, today is the day that I have innumerable errands from one part of the city to the other.

While I was waiting for the slow elevator, my mind was rushing a million; did my car abide by the safety rules?

I came to realize that I took for granted minor details; the presence of the fire extinguisher, which I remember the car dealer pointed its presence somewhere (yet I couldn’t find of all day today), my spare wheel being flat (thats what happens when you delay important stuff for for never ending ‘tomorrows’) and the triangular sign which warns drivers that your car isn’t working at this moment (till this day I thought that sign, which most of second hand car dealers strap on top of their cars, meant for sale) was in the compartment under the flat tire. Don’t ask!

It is under such circumstances and the state of mind it ensues that I drove to my first destination. Traffic was slow. I figured people are scared of driving today. The number of police men had increased at intersection and main roads. On a red light, they were walking between the cars. I did not realize they were handing out pamphlets until one of them reached me. For a split second I thought there was a control and I was to be handed my first fine. Since I was wearing all black, the officer didn’t see my seatbelt on so in a very low voice he whispered to me “put your seatbelt on”. I was dubious at his kind gesture and showed him how buckled up I was. He was kind, don’t you think?

That was my only alteration. However I was mostly surprised and shocked at the law- abiding citizens that my country holds:

First of all, for the first time in Lebanese Social History, cab drivers were wearing their seatbelt.

Second of all, motorcycles were waiting the red light to drive away.

Thirdly, honking was not heard the whole three hours I was on the road.

Fourthly, people were waiting in queue and not trying to infiltrate in front of you through a second line.

And for the first time in my life I thought, there is hope. Lebanese people can abide by the rules when facing harsh sanctions for breaking the law. Now of course, there was a couple of cars in the downtown area who had double parked. These cars belonged to the politicians who, I heard, were having some sort of a parliamentary session. As you may know , for security reasons obviously (….), I couldn’t snap a picture.

I got home safe and sound awaiting for my second round of roaming the streets of Beirut. However, first thing on my agenda tomorrow, get that tire fixed and find the damn fire extinguisher!

Have a safe drive everyone and mark this day down your calendar.

Lebanon is adapting to the civilized world.

xo

Men- Commitment- Relationships.

Disclaimer: I am writing to you this post baring in mind that I am not generalizing the male gender, yet we can all agree that more than half of them behave one way or another. 

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First of all, I want to clarify that I can not be more than happy when an old flame, an ex-boyfriend or a crush finds his soul mate and commits to a serious relationship with her. Truly, I am happy for him. I believe that if we were meant to be, we would’ve worked out at some point over time, but we did not and someone is out there to become my life long partner.

In our lifetime, we have come to accept that the normal path to take is to be in a monogamous relationship, that eventually will lead to marriage and the beginning of a family with one or more offspring. Totally normal, right? right!

I believe that any relationship should be, foremost, based on mutual trust and honest communication between both parties. Of course, what first attracted these two people is physicality. We are humans and what is appealing interests us. One conversation, or one date, can set the beginning or the halt of a future relationship. That feeling of Love develops. A beautiful thing to experience I am said. My tone may reflect that I have not experienced love and I thought I had but it is lately that I have come to term that I did not fully live that emotion maturely. Most married couple will assure me that love fades away after the years. I can not agree nor disagree with that statement since I have not been married yet but I will have to shed a light on the roots of such statement.

I have witnessed that many of the married couple (and those is a serious relationship for more that two years) grow apart after sometime. They take their situation for granted and let themselves go. They do not put the same amount of effort they used to when at the start of their relationship and blame one another for any differences. Compromise is no longer part of their vocabulary. How did that simple important fact disappear in thin air? What ensues is the lingering eyes of men towards the rest of the single female population.

Social media interaction has and still plays an important part in pursuing a love interest outside the confines of a steady relationship. A simple hello from a past love triggers question marks. I am sure you agree with me when I say that a re-connection from ‘in a relationship’ men is not as innocent as they try to portray. In my opinion, it is best to cut short this sudden caring concern catch- up session as early as detected. Personally, I feel sorry for that person’s girlfriend and thank God I am not in her shoes. Married men behaving this way ( whether he is my friend or not) just disgust me. An ex- boyfriend you ask me? Well I am grateful not to have been legally bound to him.

Men, if you are not happy in your current situation, which you are not since you are taking the time and effort to establish a connection with the rest of us, one solution comes to my mind; switch to single hood. That way, you are not being the hypocrite you are towards your other half and mostly to yourself. As for those who are bound by marriage, I would direct your attention to the many ‘hoes’ out there that are gladly happy to welcome you in their lives (and beds) with no question asked.

Most of the single women I know have not completely given up on love and marriage. And all of them respect themselves so as not to be entangled in a triangular love nest. Now there are surely those who take upon themselves a challenge to snatch you away from your woman but I won’t get into that debacle. If you find yourself suddenly in love and cannot go on without that person in your life than better break off your current situation for the new one. Girls whoever, do not forget one important fact; Once a cheater, always a cheater!

Ideally speaking it is a known fact that most of the successful relationships’ root is an established friendship. I am not saying that everyone should marry off his/ her best friend but one should ponder on the fact that ‘we were friends who developed mutual feelings outside our capacity’.

How many of you can assuringly tell me that you would blindly commit to your other half and make things work?

Many of us, single women, do not linger on our past relationships because we know that we were not fully happy and ready to commit to that person for the rest of our lives. Yes I said it once more. Those failed relationships made us the person we are today and paved the way to know what we want in life and from our future partner and most importantly how to handle a given situation.

I know that ‘I would bleed my self dry’ (Coldplay- Yellow) for my man and he would do the same to me.

XO

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Some Things Post- Mortem.

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A loss is a tragedy that can befall on anyone, anywhere and at anytime. The loss of a dear  family member as well as that of a close friend is a fact that we are all going to go through at some point in our lives. This tragic episode of one’s life will never be understood by your friend, especially after months of mourning.

I lost my father a few months back and although they tell you time heals everything, I can rest assure you that it does not. Unfortunately, one can not wish this tragedy upon the other for some empathy. Only you will sympathize with yourself. Unconsciously along the mourning process, you will be faced with life changing questions. Without even realizing what is happening, you will wake up one day after a few months a new you.

Here are few of the irrevocable changes that a person in mourning goes through unconsciously;

– You wake up one day with all feelings drained out of your body. You become numb. You can not differentiate between love, loss, happiness and sadness. You do not know what to feel and you lack reaction to situations, conversations and people. Days pass with ups and downs. You don’t lose hope. You hope one day to regain your senses back.

– You do not tolerate being around other human beings. Sometimes seeing a friend is an ordeal while other days it is what you have mostly been awaiting for. Some friends will never hear from you again while others will be happy with your increased presence in their life. Reasons for maintaining old friendships and developing new ones will be based on a different and new out look on life (no harm nor offense to be taken).

– You might have become the numb version of yourself yet you can be fascinated by the ability of seeing things and people through. Your whole system has not shut itself down. You still have control of your defensive senses. No one can take advantage of you. Let them try and all hell will be unleashed.

– You lose some of that joy of life we all have within and take for granted. You might still go out for a drink or two with a restrictive party of two or three close friends but you can not tolerate the big party spaces with abundant alcohol and ear damaging music.

– You invest your time in pursuing and developing new/ old passions. No one will understand your sudden interest in solo times off. They do not need to. You will work hard in silence and let someday success make the noise. Suddenly, ‘Me, Myself and I’ make complete sense.

– You lose any sense of security. Hence for a person who never stayed at home, you find yourself more indoors than outdoors.

 

Your life has changed 180 degrees and will never return back to the way it used to be. The tools that were there to make you function everyday will suddenly break down and the arrival of the tool man will take forever. Rare are the ones who will be patient and tolerant of your mood swings and apathy. You will sleep everyday praying that this period ends the next day. You will wake up everyday and realize that you still are not there and might have a long way ahead.

Life is a mystery one should hang on to. One day all be back to normal. Yet not quite so.

 

Traffic law Violations!!

 

 

 

Driving in this country is a hassle. Traffic Laws are not implemented but a few, and that due to the harsh measures that were adopted back in 2008 by the Interior Ministry regarding seatbelts and traffic lights. Eureka!!! Now we know what the red, orange and green lights at every corner and crossroads in the city stand for.

However over the years, as any novelty decays, people started violating the law hence endangering not only their lives but lives of those abiding by these simple rules. Sadly, the number of road death increased and many NGOs started spreading awareness on the subject matter. Even sadder turned out to be that in my country, people believe they are immortal and continue till this day to break the law so as to get to destination on time.

Throughout 2014, the Interior Ministry concocted a new up-dated version of a the Traffic Law to be implemented in April 2015. This new law saw the introduction of harsh fines to be paid in case of violation, the point system that is already in use in most of the European countries and even the renewal of the driving license every ten years. As any law that is about to be launched and not of taste of the mass (remember the indoor smoking ban!?) Lebanese growled and took a stand. The exorbitant amount to be paid for simple violations were not to the taste of many, for the simple fact that they were, well as I said, exorbitant and not within budget.

I am one of the few who embraces this law with open arms.

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of implementing the law but due to technical pre-launch failures (as usual with anything related to the confinements of politic) was postponed. I roamed the streets of Beirut in order to take pictures of a few of the violations going around and these are the most popular and repetitive ones;

 

1- The double Park: 

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Let’s face it, the country lacks public parkings and the ones that are available are either full during the day or prioritized to those who pay a monthly fee (generally next to universities and office buildings). Hence, where to park? Pull aside, turn your flashers on and there, you have created your own private parking in the middle of the road. And with that comes a huge traffic jam with the narrowing of a two car street to one.

2- Park in the middle of no-where:

 

parked in the middle of nowhere

 

So, what you can not see in the picture is that this is a two way road (the line dividing the road is next/behind the cab). This cab driver strategically parked his car knowing that he is not hindering any cars trying to go up or down the road next to his. By strategically I mean that he is close by to the hotel (the building behind him) he tries to snatch clients from. Trying to make one’s job does not mean to violate any law (in my books that is!). Oh yes you also noticed the other cab (again) parked half on the pavement….

3- Am too cool for the road:

 

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Most Lebanese come to the seaside to have a walk, jog and even cycle (notice: the bicycle line needs a fresh paint!). It is supposed to be a car- free pedestrian road in front of the sea, listening to the sea waves or your ipod. However, with some works being done further down the walk, a tractor decides to take the quick and easy way from the road to the pavement towards destination. Seriously!!!!

4- The crossroad Drama:

 

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This is every driver’s nightmare (especially in Verdun!). As you can see this crossroad, although equipped with traffic light always creates havoc. No one abides by the light, especially when it switches from orange to red. It is at that exact moment that every driver tends to transform himself into a formula one driver (living the dream with his 1.6 engine). My light is green, and the bus is still crossing the road even though it turned red (for him) 5 minutes ago. This only creates more traffic and honks from every unsatisfied driver (even those that are not concerned, yet angry for waiting the green light like civilized people).

5- What is a queue?

 

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I am within the queue, standing behind the gentleman driver, patiently waiting my turn to cross. However, not everyone feels the same way. Some, like the car to the right, cannot tolerate the wait. When the light turns green, you suddenly see the likes of those drivers pass by you and try infiltrating into the lane. Some of them create a second lane and wait as if nothing, realizing that they have created traffic jam behind them by their sudden stop and narrowing of the street. All the roads lead to Rome and eventually all of us are going to arrive to destination. I do not understand the low level of patience within such beings.

I know that there are many other violations and to be honest I witnessed a few but did not have time to snap shot them. I know we can not omit the motorcycles who zig zag their way, the cars and bikes who make sudden U-turns and enter roads fully aware that they are in the opposite direction of the right way.

I have presented you a very chaotic scene (especially those who are not familiar with the Lebanese way of life) yet a real scene of our everyday struggle. In such circumstances, I only blame the un-educated Lebanese citizen. If it were not for the laziness, lack of patience and constant violations of the road circulation, there would have not been as much traffic jam in the country. Next time you are stuck in traffic, look around you and try to find  that moron who is angrily yelling at whomever wants to listen, fully acknowledging and aware that he is the cause of this riot.

xo

ps: Please let us not blame the roads, the lack of light and so on and so forth. Do not find excuses. Start changing from within first.

pps: Now for the tags, quick post and off before the beginning of rush hour!!!