“I do” ; The Lebanese Way.

Disclaimer: The following post is not directed to the many billionaires of Beirut. Feel safe and spend your money away. To the other segment of the population, the following is for you.

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Summer is officially starting in less than a month yet the country dived in its spirit heads on a couple of weeks ago.

Rooftops and beaches officially opened.

The weather has gotten a few (many) notches up.

(I AM SUFFOCATING…)

To mens’ delight, women started showing skin and parading in summer dresses.

And most importantly, the long awaited and year-long prepared Lebanese wedding season launched itself a week or so ago.

Many of you are surely attending a couple of weddings this summer (as every summer) and have prepared yourself psychologically as well as financially to the sacred one in a life time (hopefully) event of the year of your friend.

A few years back I wrote a post on the “Fairytale” Lebanese Wedding. However as the years passed by I noticed that there has been a change in the aesthetics of the Lebanese- made weddings.

Before I start, please let’s shed light on the meaning of a wedding ceremony:

A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of wedding vows by the couple, presentation of a gift (offering, ring(s), symbolic item, flowers, money), and a public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure or leader. Special wedding garments are often worn, and the ceremony is sometimes followed by a wedding reception. Music, poetry, prayers or readings from religious texts or literature are also commonly incorporated into the ceremony. (Wikipedia)

This definition, as any other definition or statement is embellished on the Lebanese scene.

I have noticed that in the Middle East, a wedding takes disproportionate forms and sometimes gets out of hand whether its the guest lists, the venue or/and the selection of entertainment & food. In Lebanon, particularly, weddings are no longer considered a sacred union blessing a couple to no longer live in sin but under the welcoming hospice of God. Weddings are a new form of entertainment outing, a crossroad between Broadway and a Circus show. It seems that couples think that the more you decorate the tables and ceilings, the more the years of marital bliss is secured.  If this statement were true, the divorce rate would not have escalated alarmingly these past couple of years. Tough luck to this niche and its financial stability.

However, lets not deviate from the subject in question.

The last couple of years a new trend emerged. Lebanon is no longer considered a cool location for weddings. I understand that civil marriage is taboo and more people are flying away to tie the knot in neighboring countries, among them Cyprus & Turkey. However, more and more couples are flying their families and friends to remote islands and cities for their dream weddings. Whether its in Italy or France, competition is at its fierce as to which couple would boot the previous ‘most talked about’ venue of the season. So now guests are not only taking into account the ‘Liste de Mariage’ but the plane ticket, accommodation and many garments to wear (because you can’t be seen wearing the same outfit two days in a row, God forbid). Some invitees, more generous, at least secure the accommodation of air fare. But most do not. Dig in your saving accounts.

Further more, I have mentioned it before and I will mention it now; marriage is developing into a business. Smart couples would know how to plan it whether the rest would entangle themselves in debt. I am not talking about the ridiculous Wedding Loans many institutions are offering future brides & grooms (as lame and tempting as it seem). I am talking about the wedding planning institutions and some of the ridiculous services they offer. While I was attending a few years back a wedding themed venue that brings under one roof all the services available for the perfect wedding, one man approached my friend and explained of a one of a kind service his company has launched. The online wedding album (say what?). For a fee, they would prepare your wedding album and posted online for the world to see. The point of it? I don’t know yet some people would go for this novelty. More and more wedding planners are offering their services. Competition is fierce especially that these days the economical situation in the country is leading to future spouses to re-consider their budget. In the end, some would prefer to be caught dead than downsize their fairy tale wedding.

Ten years ago I dreamt of my fairy tale wedding. I wanted it to be in the poshest venue with a guest list exceeding three digits. I wanted it to be the most talked event of the year. Flash Forward five years ago, I realized that a wedding is a day whether a marriage is a lifetime. Details do no longer interest me. My dream wedding would be in Cyprus at the beach. I opt for civil marriage for personal reasons. My clique; my closest friends and family. My honeymoon spent with my friends having fun.

I would rather invest my time and energy in building my happiness and that of my future husband than taking into consideration society and its never ending gossip and nag.

Consider the following;

The more the flowers, the merrier the couple?

The bigger the venue, the more successful the wedding?

The more invitations sent left and right, the more liked the married couple?

The more mini- bridesmaids, the higher chance of fertility?

The more remote and exotic the location, the more chances of locked love for ever?

The more money spent, the more God will bless the couple a return on investment the following years?

I do not think so.

Next time you are at a wedding, look around you and tell me; the above mentioned points were they exaggerated or not? And if you just flew on a plane to attend your friend’s wedding, then just scratch the mentioned statement.

Enjoy the festivities and drink the night away…

xo

 

 

 

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Beep Beep; Make way… The Sukleen way!

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Winter 2015 has been a hell of a season. The Mediterranean coast finally witnessed the real sense of rain & cold with three unforgettable storms and non stop thundery skies (yes Im a winter person!).

Summer season started and with it came the burning Middle Eastern sun and stuffy weather that lingers more than four months long (unfortunately).

You might start asking why am I reminding you the job description of the main seasons of Beirut.

A few days ago, I posted 15 pictures that showed the decay that littered our famous coastal line .

In winter, the rain usually washed away the man made garbage left by the ignorant passer by. However in summer, the task of keeping the coastal line is much more challenging. Let’s face it, the citizen of this city is careless and ignorant when it comes to cleaning after his mess or/and obeying laws (and common sense in this case). Yes I agree, the appropriate municipality should be keeping up with the city’s infrastructure and restore everything that is wrongly right. However I believe that it is the citizen’s role to take into his own hand some aspect of preserving the urban structure. Alas, we have a long way to see that happening.

Every morning, around 7 and 8am, I witness the workers from Sukleen cleaning and picking your trash from public areas. They are civil servants from many neighboring countries, from different nationalities and age and their working hours stretches all day long (because obviously you litter the streets at any time of the day). They silently do their work under the enquiring eyes of the passers by. I have a lot of respect towards these workers contrary to many people I have heard along the years dismissing them with disgust and even bashing at them for no valid reason. Their line of work might not be tasteful to your standard, however without their presence Beirut would be a big giant garbage pool in the middle of Lebanon. No Lebanese would be caught dead working in those green overalls. I remember when a summer not long ago, the workers had to escape the war and that the city was literally filled with garbage and cockroaches. Few were the Lebanese that went down the street to help clean the mess. Even those who offered their services didn’t really do it from the bottom of their heart; it was a way for them to brag about their sacrifice at the next friendly gathering.

Let’s face it, summer is here. The Corniche is filthy and God knows when it will be restored to its initial glory days. In the meantime it is your job to further not litter that public space with your waste. My deepest sympathy and round of applause goes those foreign workers and I am thankful that their presence beautifies the city I live in. Who would have known that it takes a foreign presence to embellish the country you live in.

 

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To My Exes…

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DisclaimerWith all due respect to my ex- boyfriends, the feelings that I share in the following post are regretfully true. 

Last week, I realized something very important. I, Patyl, have never ever truly felt Love. The love that I am talking about is the love shared between a couple, not the one that you feel toward your parent or your pet.

First of all, what is love? Love is a feeling that you share towards a person regardless if it is returned or not. You feel compassion, infatuation and a desire to become intimate with the subject of your love. If we define love this way than we all have felt this feeling more than one time in our life. After many failing relationships, I came to notice that love is not only about the above mentioned feeling. Love is greater and more complex. Love has many definitions and it all depends on the person’s interpretation of it towards his partner. That is how I came to the conclusion that I never experienced love before.

Many married couple have told me that love fades away after a few years of marriage. I did not want to believe this statement because for me it is unquestionable that the man that I am going to marry will eventually stop loving me one day or I for him. I still believe this statement to be absurd. Love does not diminish nor disappear with time. You (and you partner) make love work and you make the love sparkle. Marriage is hard work I get that, but marriage is what most of us women have dreamt of since childhood. Each and every one of us dreamt and believed in our prince and we found him and married him. However not every one of us have been blessed with common sense and brains to live within the boundaries of a successful happy marriage. Yes I am not married yet but I see how married couple tackle their daily routine.

I came to the following conclusion :

Those who are disappointed by their marriage are the ones who did not think it through seriously. They either rushed into it based on love only or believed that it is the same thing as being boyfriend/ girlfriend but with an official signed paper and living under one roof. Those are the ones that once married do not believe in making an effort towards maintaining the happiness of their partner. Those are the ones that have lingering eyes towards the opposite sex and envy towards their single friends. And most importantly, those are the ones that will start having extra marital affairs hidden from their spouse.

On the other hand, there are married couples who are still happy together and much in love after a 5+ years of married life. I can see through their social media account, through their posts and pictures that the love has not died away even with the presence of their kids. The secret behind this kind of marriage? Well if you ask me its the mutual respect and trust that is shared between the spouses. First of all, both have shared a couple of years in a relationship before tying the knot. And both dived heads on in this sacred institution fully aware of the ups and downs, vowing to one another that their story will mostly be composed of ups. I respect these people the most and place them as my role model when embarking in life as a married woman.

When I said at the beginning that I have never really loved any of the men I met in my life I based it on the fact that I would have never been able to pull off a married life with any one of them. Hence proving to myself that I never truly loved. To love someone truly, deeply, madly is to first of all compromise, respect and trust blindly and fully one another. Yes I am guilty I never felt that towards any one of you (even to the couple of ones I blurted love yous in the past). To add salt over injury, I don’t think that any of you would have even made me a happy woman on the long run.

Love is not complex. It is a state of mind. I love Love. But I have never Loved You!!!

xo

 

The Corniche Beauty raped in 15 pictures.

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Everyday when I wake up I have either a session at the gym for an hour and a half or a cardio session of walk/ run in a very natural setting; the Corniche.

The Corniche Beirut is according to Wikipedia a “seaside promenade in Beirut Central District, in Beirut, Lebanon. Lined with palm trees, the waterfront esplanade offers visitors a magnificent view of the Mediterranean and the summits of Mount Lebanon to the east. Corniche Beirut has its foundation in the Avenue des Français, which was built during the period of the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon along the seafront that extended from the old town.”. 

The description above is beautifully written and engages whoever has never visited Lebanon to dream of having his walk of fame moment along the mediterranean coast. Nevertheless, the reality of this magical scenery is far from the above mentioned. The following are 15 pictures I snapped this morning and represent the Corniche Beirut in reality.

1- The Bicycle Line:

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Like anything else, this line starts and finishes at some point. Little drawings show cyclists where to ride. Divided in two lanes, you have to be riding next to another straight ahead. This is where you start so before heading to the spot, you have to be dragging your two wheeled vehicle by both hands. The finishing line is at the other end of the coast and you have to abruptly stop since as i said earlier it  finishes at some point.

2- Fresh Paint Must:

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Don’t you think? I believe that a fresh coat of paint is needed every year to renew and give it a clean appearance. Anything beautiful is appealing to the eye!

3- Puzzle to Walk:

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Usually walking should be done without taking into consideration the technical overall of your setting. In Lebanon, walking is rare hence keeping up with infrastructure renewal and repair is not a concept Lebanese are aware of. I have no clue how some tiles have been pulled out from the pavement however it is important to notice that it stands in the middle of the bicycle track. Wear a helmet please when driving.

4- Polka Dot Dressing:

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One question only: can someone explain to me what are the dots that are everywhere on the coast line? Thank you!

5- The Trashy Trash Bin:  

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The role of a public trash bin is not appealing. Its role is to embrace your trash so as to keep everything spick and span. Although their presence is abundant on the coastal area, its surrounding vicinity less to be desired. It looks like the bin has had an internal explosion of its own. Personally I wouldn’t even go near it to throw my garbage. Ill just keep it in my hand till I reach my car.

6- When the Polka Dots have a reunion:

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It is best to give these famous dots some privacy when gathered and not go near them. If disturbed they might hang on you and dragging them off your heels is a bugger!!

7- Where art tho Tree?

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Looks like there has been another Dot invasion leading this time to the disappearance of the tree. I am staring to believe that these weird looking Dots presence is the cause of our corniche’s decay. What do you think?

8- Care to join me for a rest? 

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Seriously, we can still manage to have a 2 second break in between jogging on those lovely welcoming benches. At least it would be a good sport for our backs to sit straight up and make our parents finally proud.

9- Ok I give up no Break:

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The corniche is made for walking, jogging and biking, You have the right to continue with your exercising and only exercising. No rest is encouraged (clearly).

10- Man Made Litter:

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They love to come in groups. Different ages, different sexe. Sit back in front of the sea and immerse in the calming and soothing scenery. Smoking cigarettes kills time (only) and the lack of smoke- friendly bins leaves them carelessly throwing their cigarette butts on the floor. No worries at dawn, public servants are cleaning the dirt after them.

11- When Dots meet Butts:

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A little party is scheduled under the newly art furnished venue till the early dawn before the police (Sukleen) comes and shuts down the party.

12- Art Restoration:

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I love Art and everything creative that beautifies any given landscape/ infrastructure. However, keeping up with the art after a couple of years is the challenge that any given artist should show know how to handle. Art is constant and preserving it is a challenge. An artist who know how to maintain is a master and considered a true artist. I love those creative benches placed in front of the sea. However sitting on one of them leave me with a question: will my “derriere” further hinger the piece of art?

13- Lamp Post Vintage:

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Doesn’t look that good under this light, right? I don’t know if the decay is supposed to play a role in the adopted vintage look. Let’s just hope for now that at night, they religiously lighten up the walk side.

14- I don’s see no Line:

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Yes people till this day think that the line is made for them to jog or walk next to one another, to the frustration of the avid cyclist. Any collision would be severely punished as you, a pedestrian, will deal with the physical painful consequences. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

15- Round of Applause for the Savior: 

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This last picture is an exception and not to be categorized within the 14 former spectrum of picture/ notes.

They are there on time every morning to clean after you. They witness many disgusting and unappealing trash. I am sure that they wonder what kind of species would litter a beautiful coastal side walk like in the above shown pictures. They should be the most appreciated and given a round of applause for their line of work and courage.

 

To the citizens and officials of Beirut- Lebanon: Clean, restore and preserve this seafront gem. You both are responsible for the deterioration of this landscape. Act now or forever hold your breath and clean running gear.

 

Thank you.

 

Political Perks? Stop generalizing!

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In our society people tend to criticize every single subject matter. Whether its about politics, society or the latest trend, we, as human beings, are wired to criticism whether constructive or just for the sake of it. Many discussions are based on hearsay and give way to useless gossip and baseless stereotypes.

Within a year, the number of people frustrated against the governmental institutions increased. The lack of a presidential figure did not help. The postponed parliamentary elections gave way to many groups of people to express their rage freely. We should note that these are the same people that, for years now, have been electing these same candidates back to their seats.

This post is to set some things clear about the misconceptions that many of the Lebanese citizens have towards their representatives and the benefits they receive for their time and work towards the sake of the country at retirement.

During late President Frangieh’s term, a bill was passed to guarantee the ongoing flow of salary to retired members of parliaments. Sonia Frangieh Rassi narrates in her book “Ma Patrie a toujours raison” about an incident that happened during her father’s presidential term. On the 1st of January 1971, people rushed to the presidential palace to present their wishes for the up coming new year. A taxi stopped at the palace entrance and came out the Emir Khaled Chehab, previous prime minister, who lost his fortune during land passover transactions with the jews. Witnessing such a scene propelled the President to pass the bill guaranteeing half of the salaries to retired governmental officials for the rest of their lives. During those years, governmental officials used to sacrifice their time and family to the well being of society and especially the people who elected them to higher office. Most of them were lawyers, doctors and merchants who put aside their everyday job so as to focus on their mission as members of parliament or government.

I remember clearly when I was a kid, some women used to ring the doorbell every other Friday to have a talk with my father. I never understood why he would be giving them money every single time. He explained to me that being a representative of these people who elected him to office, it was his job to listen to their demands and help them the best way he could. I am sure that there were many other officials who performed their duty the same way and still do.

Whether you like it or not, the following is true behind people holding the political torch in their family.

First of all, family will always come second. The ultimate goal is to help and reach to the population whether you are aware of it through the news or not. See every single politician helps his electorate but does not need to quote it in the media. Most of them spend their time on the road, at office or abroad working towards enhancing their country’s image, infrastructure and laws.

Second of all, diplomatic passports are issued to every single member of the family. Men after 25 years old have to renounce it whereas women when they are married. I have not asked properly what are the advantages of holding the passport, however I have noticed that some countries, like Cyprus and Egypt do not require visas on entrance. Although, there is a special queue in the airport for diplomats, we all have to wait together for the luggage arrival.

Thirdly, yes the government covers our insurance expenses, however with limit. Men are stripped of it at 25.

Yes you are going to point out that even at the death of the retired politician in question these perks continue. Well not really they don’t.

There is an investigation that goes on and the governmental officials, that you all tend to form a cliche in a work setting, sets to work heads on the portfolio. I have seen with my own eyes how they are serious about their jobs and put the time and effort to legalize your paperworks and explain to you the steps that should be taken later on. They are serious about their work. It isn’t another paycheck for them while attending office hours and not do anything.

First of all, the half salary the retired politician used to receive is diminished as well to a mere normal salary (you all tend to make monthly) and divided between the female members of the family.

If you are working and your company has admitted you to social security, you are stripped from your private health insurance and the salary ratio that is directed to you. Even if you haven’t been put through social security and withhold such information from the government, the punishment is serious.

And of course, your passport is stripped from you when you get married.

I want to direct my attention to the people who love to criticize the government, the members of parliament/government and even the clerks behind the scenes in those institutions. Before bashing and generalizing a whole institution because of some mishaps and major incidents committed by a few money eager selfish business men, take a minute or a paragraph and mention those who have sacrificed their lives and everything in it to try and make it a better Lebanon for us. As you have noticed, those perks offered to politicians’ family members are bound to expire one day or another. And I want to stress on the fact once again that many politicians nowadays perform their duty towards their citizens yet you do not need to be aware of it. I have met a few of them and I can say they are genuine people like you and me, caring for your well being and their country’s state being constantly in their worry.

I believe you should stop ranting before you put yourself in one of their shoes literally…maybe as a candidate at the next parliamentary elections!!

I’m Perplexed!?! You???

Good Afternoon

 

I thought I’d share with the following picture. Its located in Clemenceau underneath BBAC’s main headquarter building.

I do not know if all of a sudden, your fellow citizens have become illiterate or completely blind (although driving the engine itself).

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Now for you to judge… Let me know!

 

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Thank you!

 

Live or Die? Lebanese style.

Quite frankly, I am shocked at the lack of the Lebanese people’s conception of the medical system. We are a country that, set aside the nightlife, is proud and famous among its neighbors of its established medical institutions, private clinics and hospitals. Be assured, medical institutions are abundant and cater to the demographic that is able to pay for its services, either by cash or through insurance.

The medical staff and body has dedicated time and money studying in the prominent universities of the country, and abroad, to get to the positions they proudly brag within their social status. 
However, one major notion that most probably is not written in any textbook and lacking among our genius scientists is common sense.

Let me elaborate. 
A hospital is by definition “an institution that caters the needs of the sick and injured”. So far we agree.

This establishment is supposed to be a germ- free place for the fast recovery of its patients especially when interacting with the above- mentioned medical geniuses. So far agreeing again.

We as, visitors, try our utmost to take care of our hygiene and limit our contact with the sick so as of course not to complicate his recovery. Agreed again.

On the other hand, I presume that doctors, nurses and any other medical staff, should double- take attention to their hygiene and limit their contact with the outside world when in duty and especially when in contact with patients in an intensive care unit or similar. Right? Yes.

My question is; why then knowing that your job is very important and critical, do you like to parade outside the confinement of the hospital wearing your famous white jacket attached to by your numerous nametag chains?
 I mean it is only logical for a passer- by to realize that while you are trotting to your lunch break in the neighboring street, carbon monoxide is puffing out of the dozens of cars stranded in the traffic jam and beggars seeking your attention by caressing your garment to make a few pounds.

Yes as a visitor to a hospital, we are as well faced by these challenges. However, medical students and staff should set an example at least of how serious they perceive their jobs and the well being of their patients.
Lebanese are by far the most snobbish and show- off set of people I have encountered in my life, each one of them thinking he is a God sent disciple at the top of the hierarchy. When I look a group of white jackets parading the streets head up high, the only thought that comes to my mind is; God help the sick that is supervised by this bunch of morons.

Furthermore, cleanliness surrounding the medical institution in question should be taken seriously not only by the security guards standing at the door supervising potential bomb threats but by the visitors of the so- called hospital. “No smoking” signs are hanged outside the revolving doors yet not applied by the illiterate citizens. If one thinks that the medical staff or guard upon noticing this breach would inform the visitor, he is down for a surprise. Most of them are careless and go on with their job eyes wide shut. 20150512_115127_resized

 

I am aware that a lot of other points should be discussed concerning this subject. I am sure that many of you have remembered some personal episodes when being treated at a respectable medical center or visited a loved one confined within its walls.

The Lebanese Medical Facilities are all alike except for a couple of well- known establishments, reachable to the few who can afford its services. I believe that there should be a shuffle of medical staff and a renovation on the aesthetic and personnel level.

In the meantime, pray harder before proceeding into entering any medical institution.

Amen