What I learnt from Beirut in between my relocation: (drops mic..)

As you may recall, last year I travelled back to Canada in order to get a feel of the country that was going to adopt me a second time round.  After three months of stress-free bliss and peace of mind, I went back to Beirut, determined and eager to pack my bags and move out. Little did I know that i’ll be stuck another ten months before setting foot in Toronto again.

Beirut, the city that everyone is in awe with. The city at which expats reminisce their good old days.

Beirut, the city everyone longs to visit for the wrong reasons and any Lebanese living abroad thinks would come to the glorious state they left it behind.

Beirut, the city that turned open minded adults into bigots and sank most of them to their lowest level in order to survive among the majority of the liars & cheats.

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Who runs Lebanon? The liar, the cheater, the whore & the money launderer.

Who succeeds in Lebanon? The hypocrite, the mistress and the corrupt.

Who suffers from the above mentioned? The law abiding citizen & the one who fears God only.

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I faced all the above mentioned entities my entire adult life in Lebanon, however within the bracket-ed ten months in & out Lebanon, I felt a level of frustration towards society itself that compelled me to share it with you all. Hell, I am NOT going to be seeing any of you soon (nor ever, even when i’ll be obliged to come for a visit) top to that, the whole society that is slowly sinking itself to its own expiration, I wish you hit rock bottom quickly.

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Ten months in Lebanon made me realize how much people changed. Maybe it’s the fact that I was surrounded by genuine people and a helping community back in Toronto, that its lack in Beirut shocked me even further.

Let me develop my point in this order:

About the prospect of work >> Do you know how many times I heard people wanting to genuinely help me ground myself in Beirut by promising me introductory meetings with X & Y for a job, a freelance project? And I will leave you guessing at how many of those people followed up on their promises. If I wanted to re-enter the corporate world I would have done it easily. I have the qualifications and I know the right people within that sector.  But setting foot in the tight knit world of blogosphere? Thankfully, I soon realized that I did not want to be part of a virtually pathetic hypocritical circle whatsoever when I can write and voice my thoughts far away from the influencers and their blind minions. I am more than happy to interact with people that relate to my content and me as a person. You don’t like what I am saying just now? Please go and Instagram caption your whiny remarks. I just love seeing people adopt two different personalities, one for the real world and one for the virtual one, different from each other as black & white. The virtual world in Lebanon? A pathetic scene in which every influencer badmouths the other yet comments lovey dovey remarks under each others picture.  Alas this world is attracting the next generation of 13 year olds (I do not want to imagine the future of such society..).

Let’s proceed.

How about liberal workers >> Lawyers, doctors and contract workers have stooped to a despicable level. You want to reach an agreement with one or close a deal with the other, then you will need to lie and make promises up to your teeth to reach a quarter of your (legal) demands and come out a sore (loser) winner. And then everyone wonders why court dates take decades to be resolved and infrastructural projects years to finish. Where are the workers that used to put their conscience first and ahead of their selfish gains? None existent. Dead. Literally.

Now my favorite >> Friends. Let’s just say that I no longer trust anyone I felt at some point in time close to and friendly with. You see, some people might think that because I am quiet I do not realize that I am being conned out of something and/or into something (depending on the situation). But I do realize the unfairness of being used out of my kindness. And I shut up. Why? Because I am better than that; that being fighting in settling a fair friendship with anyone that is not worth my time and kindness. Anymore.

No wait this is my favorite >> your ex want to become a part of that life of yours. Haha! Now that’s a funny turn of events. After being broken up for 5-7 years, the ex return with force trying to sweep you off your feet. Seriously? I am going to give up my future in a decent powerful country to stay in Lebanon and end up marrying you for all the wrong reasons that I can think of? I am not even going to answer that…. 

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Seriously, look around you, who is happy and living la Dolce Vita in Lebanon?

The lying and conniving businessmen (mind you, we have no clue what import/export or business consultant implies here…) and his possy

The dolled up thirty year old who is the proud owner of the latest Range Rover and condo in the downtown area (Mmmm..)

The proud mama smiling and obliging to everyone at face value yet bickering at those same persons behind their backs

The peoples’ pet  who trot their behind everywhere trying to please just anyone so as to be included in some sort of superficial circle and claim they made it (doing what? I think they themselves never figured that one out)

Those who put themselves first and the rest (every single person they know) later

and every single fearless Godless cheat in the city.

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How about us law-abiding respectful citizens of Lebanon?

We are scattered worldwide making a life for ourselves in a country that respects its citizens and a society that embraces and puts one another at a pedestal we would have never imagined coming from our closest friends back home. 

We have crossed out Lebanon from our mind and heart, its corruption, its people and the jungle way of doing things because being successful without crossing a dark passage leads 3/4 of the time to failure.

We succeed without our last name, our family ties and monetary influences. And most importantly we succeed and are recognized for our own merit not bedroom escapades.

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You can raise hell and object to every single thing I mentioned above, but deep inside you know that I am right. What I just wrote is thought by almost everyone, except you, living in La la land, I mean Lebanon.

Tough Luck with that!

Cya

ps: my deepest and outmost respect to the couple of people still believing in their Lebanon and striving against all odds to make it through bad and badder. Respect to you and keep on writing and voicing yourself (for your countrymen).

Being an Introvert; a blessing or a curse?

Well to be honest that is somehow a difficult question to answer to.

You see I am an introvert, yet sometimes, regarding the situation I find myself in, I feel I am open to others.

However deep down, I carry the introvert flag (loud & proud).

Is being an introvert a blessing or a curse? In total honesty, it is both.

What is an introvert? According to our faithful search engine, google, an introvert is “a person that tends to turn inward mentally. A person that avoids large group of people, feeling more energized by time alone”.

Guilty as charged.

In short, the days that I go MIA, are the days that I am on a me-time spree #MeMyselfandI and you should all respect that and not judge (especially something that you are not fully acquainted about).

 

What are the blessings tagged to an introvert?

  • Keeping far away from drama >> picture yourself being far from girlfriends bickering, gossiping/bad mouthing, nagging about some nonsense or the other. Peaceful isn’t it? Why waste my breath on useless conversations I might add…
  • Focusing on Your Self >>mentally, spiritually and physically. Learning on being your own person and relying on yourself, because not everyone is going to be there for you, despite their assurances.
  • Developing your selfish/me-time hobbies >> reading, writing, drawing.
  • You become a professional in behavior analysis >> I know that I can easily decipher hidden messages, furtive glances and failed secret mimes between parties at a social gathering (because I watch behaviors rather than immerse myself into conversations).
  • You have a tight circle of friends >> quality over quantity and real over fake friends.
  • Let’s be direct, every social outing becomes appreciated and looked forward at.
  • You develop your personality traits a notch further >> I know I became stronger and determined thanks to my introvert-ness.

Routine bores me. By being an introvert, one would assume that all that me-time would drain me. Surprisingly, not at all. Being away from human interaction, empowers me to continue doing the things that make me happy. Isn’t it a known fact that most of the time one is unhappy by his interaction with other people. Deceit, jealousy are just simple examples of the point that I am trying to convey to you previously.

** Do take in account that I have the just number of friends that I do interact with, enjoy my time with and vice versa. I am not a hermit after all (with all due respect).

I just don’t like to waste my time within large groups of people and push myself  into useless conversations just because it is the norm to do so. I, specifically, hate being dragged to dinners parties knowing that more than half of the people there are talking superficialities. Why waste my breath I say, and tend to sip on my drink while analyzing the hidden glances between two people on the left corner of the room. I remember a few years back I was going out with this guy who when breaking up accused me of being anti social with his group of friends. Well if not talking to a bunch of late thirty year olds acting as teenagers working at their daddy’s company and laughing like a bunch of airheads is anti social, then be it. Oh yeah and let’s not forget the joint passing drama along the way. Haha? I kid not!

**Most of the time my analysis of the situation, without being part of the circle of people and part of the conversation, tends to be 100% accurate. Watch out!!

 

Now, is being an introvert a curse?

  • Acquaintances will no longer include you in their plans >> a blessing in disguise really (said the introvert in me!)
  • Awkwardness when attending obligated social events >> sip on those cocktails and time will fly (said the introvert in me, again!)
  • If you are not a 100% introvert, you will be labelled as one despite your claims on the contrary >> you will spend your time trying to convince and prove them wrong (now that is a pain!!)
  • You might lose interesting job opportunities that require some social interaction (because as mentioned above, they are labelling you, misunderstanding your whole trait…I mean come on I used to be a customer representative at a bank, now would I have been able to manage that position if I were a 100% introvert?)
  • You will feel an unspoken pressure,of constantly being misunderstood because of your characteristic.

 

To be completely honest with you, being extreme about everything is bad. Am I an introvert? Yes I am. I enjoy myself, my person, more than I do anyone else? Again, yes I do. Say what you like, think what you like, but I know that’s a logical thing to feel (although a lot of you won’t admit because Awkward!!)

With time passing by and circumstances changing (worldwide), more and more people are becoming hypocritical of one another (especially behind their backs) and fighting for their survival (even if it means crashing their friend on their way to success).

I am an introvert with a set group of friends (who shrunk even further after I left Lebanon). I enjoy going out whenever I want to, meet new and genuine people in interesting settings / parties, and I am in no obligation of defining and proving my extrovert-ness to anyone’s peace of mind.

You like my company? Tag along.

You don’t? What a bliss (says the introvert in me, again & again & again!!!)

xo

**My next post is going to be about what I LEARNT from being in Lebanon 10months in between my relocation to Canada. Stay Alert!! 

 

Small habits that can change your life goals.

 

Today I decided to share with you some habits that I have adopted not too long ago and that have considerably changed my outlook on life. These behavioral changes might have crossed your mind from time to time. You may even have adopted them on the short term, however have you tried on implementing them on the long run?

Well I have and for some time now I have been feeling at ease. Not only because I am religiously abiding by them, nope. But because with it came a sense of peace and acceptance of who I am and where my life is leading me. Such changes led me to re-inspect my life and the person that I am becoming irrelevant of my surroundings’ approval or not. One word of advice; we are the generation that is always blooming compared to our parents’ generation. Hence we should not let past generations keep us from going further.

Now to the subject matter in hand, the following is for you;

Less social media when you are out socially . Focus on the present and not past and future digital content on your phone.

Read Everyday . I am old fashioned and I love reading books. So should you. Reading expands the mind and enriches your vocabulary. Try it. And no, articles on some shady websites are not considered reading material.

Make your health a priority . By eating healthy and working out daily. The world (pollution) has changed and we no longer have the strong immune system our grandparents bragged about. Make time for your health.

Learn from people you admire . And that I say literally. When you are with the person you admire, pay close attention to his/her body language, communication skills and get motivated by that person’s positive push and accomplishments. If he/she succeeded, why can’t you?

Plan your day the night before . What works for me is writing down on a piece of paper next day’s tasks. Ticking them off one by one along the day motivates me to further end the day with everything I set my mind, to be done.

Take action, even when it’s scary . Nothing is scary in life. Being scared is a state of mind. Have faith in your self and bare in mind that you need to work a lot to make it happen in this world.

It is okay to be introvert . You don’t need to always be out there surrounded with people to make a statement. Sometimes it is okay to shy away from your friends. I happen to have a lot of those me, myself and I times and I quite honestly love them. These are the moments that are productive for your inner peaceful self.

Invest your time in the arts . Art, music, dance soothes the eye, the mind and the body. Try once in a while listening to an old record, going to an art exhibit or take some steps with the melody on the record player. Let me know what state of mind you will be afterwards.

You are your number one priority . Not your family nor your friends. You are. Never forget that.

We are already in March within the new year. Last year passed far too quickly. I vouched not to let 2017 pass quicker without putting myself on my top priority list. This behavioral decision might come as a shock to some people who always relied on my compassion and patience. This time round however, my adopted habits are staying on the long run and as an arabic saying goes “eza mich 3ajebkon, balto el ba7er” .

Thank you!

If you decide to do it – Don’t be AFRAID.

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This blog post goes out to all of you who are indecisive in taking the next big step in your life.

I know the struggle.

You want to spread your wings and fly away towards new horizons. Those, you have been dreaming for the last couple of months, if not years.

You want to become independent from the gripping hands of your surrounding.

You just want to get away from all the negativity and discouragement the ones around you have inflicted upon your person.

What’s worse in this dilemma is when your closed ones are those that will pull you further down instead of just giving you that extra push to let go and grasp your future.

Hereby I am writing to you, as I have experienced it first hand, why and how you should let go of their pettiness and jealousy and just throw yourself into oblivion.

  • Every one has a goal in life (those who don’t, well seriously, jump off a cliff). Your goal is yours. It is your baby and only you will work it, manage it, excel in it so as to succeed in it. No one will as they are not you. And thankfully will never be you.
  • A purpose in life is part of the cycle of life. You are put into this world to achieve something. Never underestimate your goal, never put others’ feelings about your purpose before your gut feeling.
  • Speaking of which, gut feeling is important. Gut feeling never lies nor unbalances you. It sets you straight towards attaining your goal and sometimes even better, abstain from certain decisions for better ones.
  • Critics are everywhere. And thank God for them. Never take them seriously, sometimes their reaction, behavior and opinion is what will let you remodel your purpose to excellency.
  • Jealousy? Well let’s face it, when a person is remotely jealous from another person’s vision, it is because he cannot relate. You will be surprised to notice that this same person has nothing going on with his own life, no goals, no achievements no nothing, hence that negative reaction. Logical right? (take a min and remember + think what I just said).
  • Always compare yourself to a successful friend, acquaintance or a family member. Their success will pave your way into the right direction.
  • Surround yourself with positive energy. If the household is pulling you down, grab your things and go work outside, in a coffeeshop or a co-work venue. You will surely be more focused, meet new people and get that pumped up energy into realizing you goal.
  • You don’t have your family support, fuck it! Haven’t you heard of the “friends become your chosen family” saying? Well now you have.
  • You have to, need to shine and make an impact in this life. Remember you are leaving a legacy behind , regardless its size. You are proving that the sky is your limit.
  • Most importantly, time is key. Stop delaying. Start.

My friends, the most important thing that I have learnt about achieving a long lost dream, is the effect of the reaction of your closed ones to it. I let discouragement and negativity affect me for a long time. But no more. Pursue your goals everyone. No one fails. because even if the outcome is not spectacular, but good, you know that the mere fact of daring and putting yourself out there is the most spectacular achievement of them all.

Love you all ❤

Exes; those that cant be tamed.

disclaimer: Remember that ex you couldn’t live without? Well look at you, living and shit!!

Ex, is a word we are all too familiar with because, yeah, we all have a minimum of one in our drawer (if you don’t have an ex, then girl, have you been living under a rock?). Kitchen Drawer? Closet? Cabinet? Hell any restrained rectangular shaped space would do, as long as it doesn’t open by mistake (that cabinet holding all those old tupperware would do). So within these space you would toss an ex or two and try never to slide the door open, and if, God forbid, those damn sized tups’ burst the door open, shut it back firmly and tightly. You do not need an old junk when you have collected new gadgets in the cabinet next door. Why am I comparing exes to in-animated object? Well do I need to remind you what they talk behind our back to their home boys? Guess not, so tups they shall remain. And between us, sometimes they do deserve that adjective…

So I am writing about this topic because as a woman I relate to those who are weak when their ex tries to catch up with them out of the blue on a Tuesday afternoon, season being winter at best (you know in winter everyone is relatively in a hibernating mode and seeks his selfish comfort). I am reaching out to those women who are in doubt of themselves when an ex pops back in the picture. I am reaching to the women who I am warning not to cave back in. I admit and its human nature, I caved in and so did you. And we most probably learnt our lesson I know I did. 110%.

A decade ago we would have given our bone marrow to our partner. A decade ago, we were ready to be tied down and faithful to his (sorry) ass. We were patient and caring to his mood swings and depressive state of mind. We were taking care of his every whim. We put our 200% into the relationship only to be given the boot because he was not ready to settle down. Picket fences and all that shebang. We grabbed our hearts in our own hands, a few teardrops here and there for a couple of weeks and we moved on. Apparently, men (boys, to be more precise) do not move on as easily as we thought they did. When he came back, we gave him the benefit of doubt and rekindled the relation. Only to have the same problems resurface and ended with another break up in our hands. Not the fairy tale wedding we were imagining, nope. Flash forward ten years, give or take, and you have EX trying to infiltrate your life again. Apparently you turned out to be the one who actually did M.O.V.E  O.N. and you’re happy and you know it (clap your hands!!!). Ok, sorry I’m being too merry about this, I just felt like tuning, its the season to be jolly, lalalala you know!! (ok apparently you don’t, i’ll stop).

When a person becomes an EX, that word not just labels him, it defines the boundaries and sets the tone for any further relationship. An EX is a person that was once close to your heart. A person you shared everything with baring in mind of a possible future together. However, the WE became EX and your roads diverged. For the better, trust me. When an ex pops back and tries to cave you back in, try not to remember the good things. Remember the bad things. Remember why things never worked out. Remember the tears. Remember the broken promises. Remember the lies. Remember the drama. Do not set yourself good enough for the promises. Do not be content with his just words. Do not fall for the petty act. Do not fall again because of your pure heart. Do not fall because you think that he is the only one out there for you. Do not fall for the comfort of the relationship. Do not fall back into his comfort zone. Do not fall back because you are scared of any future uncertainties. Do not fall back into his arms because of the society’s pressure. NO!! You deserve better. No. You deserve the best. And the best is not hidden in that EX. It is hidden in your future. And that kind of future awaits you. That kind of Love is out there. Do not settle for less. Trust me (again).

There is a french saying that goes like this “Chasse le Naturel, Il retourne au galop” (shoo away human nature, it comes back naturally)and that is what happens slowly yet surely.

Now let’s toast to those who put their clingy exes in the in-animated tupperware closet and drink a couple of bubbly to the every woman in us!

Chin (up) chin (up)!

xo

 

 

From Bentley to Uber; an upgrade!

I was 18 years old when I started taking driving lessons with my father’s driver. I was not to keen to learn ‘manual’ and opted for the easy ‘automatic’ because like most Lebanese drivers I wanted to buy my license. However to clear my conscious (and that of the driver/teacher) we decided that I would get my license only after he didn’t feel threaten for his life on our daily lesson. And the day came and I graduated from “Anto’s Driving Academy” with flying honors and started cruising in the city in my mom’s car (to the rather arched eyes of hers).

Flash forward 13 years, after three car change and a promise of a Bentley Continental GT as my wedding gift, I made the drastic decision of selling my car as I was moving out of the country for good. For someone who has, all her life, been used to being chauffeured around and driven herself from a place to another, the mere thought of being car-less brought a panic attack onto my pampered ass.

Abroad we are all use public transportation whereas in Beirut we do not acknowledge them, which is understandable when looking at those filthy buses roaming the roads of the capital. Thankfully, the ‘service’ has upgraded itself from the famous 1980s Mercedes. But then again, we think twice before riding one (rather I do).

I learnt a lot from letting go of my comfort (place/toy/zone) and here is what I have come to realize:

We are way too attached to material things. We think that we will not be able to survive without them in our life. That they are what keep us going everyday. Slight wake up call guys! We can do without them and there are alternatives to ease us around (Uber? Private cab?).

We only acknowledge BMW, Audi and Mercedes in this country. These cars bring status. As a previous owner of one of this brand, I admit that was my sole reason behind owning one, although the gift came unexpectedly one spring day 6 years ago. I realize now that this is so over rated given the number of people who can afford one if their credit history permits them through the bank. + you cannot buy class through material things (thats a proven fact. Look around you!).

The country’s infrastructure is not too well developed to be parading with the latest model of any given high end car. I know too well how many times I had to change a tire because a nail had ruptured it. It is only these past couple of years that I came to realize how much money is thrown on unnecessary luxury when we can all do well without (what if you owned a Honda?). Here it is wise to mention that with each passing year, the price of your car depreciates. My 51K straight from the dealership merely brought me back 13K. Talk about fairness (and another panic attack).

Too much traffic. Yes. Too much due to unnecessary cars on the roads. Carpooling anyone? Or has that concept not reached the shores of Lebanon? I guess it hasn’t yet.

Now that I am back for a couple of months I am happy that I do not own a car. Why? well for the simple fact that I got my sanity back from this stressful sport. I gotten used to being driven around in Canada, (hey!!) subway station everyone. Buses too. More importantly I walk walk and walk. Just a few days ago, I walked under the rain to get to my appointment. 40min walk daily > what better way to keep your blood flowing. And I realized once again how shallow and Lebanesey I was by driving from X to Y instead of just walking the 15min trajectory (and instead of drowning in traffic for 30+min). If those reports of 500K tourists visiting Lebanon in a few weeks true, I wish you luck my fellow people.

Btw did I tell you how addicted I have become to Uber? Yeah that too.

Good Week to you all 😉

 

BookReview: Honour by Elif Shafak

It hasn’t been long since I started reading novels from Middle Eastern authors, among whom Turkish writer, Elif Shafak, my first read being “The Bastard of Istanbul”.

“Honour” is my second read from the author and to be honest I was not 100% sure I wanted to tackle a subject that is controversial; honor killing. However, I slid the book among a couple of other, bought it, got it home and left it on my bookshelf for a few weeks before grabbing it for a night read a few days ago. Contrary to other books, I felt I was pushing myself to read the first couple of chapters before the plot started to unfold and the story behind the characters started to interest me.

“Honour” is the life of a Turkish/ Kurdish family who immigrated to London in the 1970s. The book is divided into different time span and space. We have a remote Kurdish village in Turkey around the 1940’s, London during the 1970’s. And at last, 1990’s London within the confines of a prison cell and the home of one of the characters, Esma.

The story is summarized as such:

Pembe and Adem Torpak leave Turkey for London. There they make new lives for their family. Yet the traditions and beliefs of their home come with them – carried in the blood of their children, Iskender and Esma. Trapped by past mistakes, the Torpak children find their lives torn apart and transformed by a brutal and chilling crime. Set in Turkey and London in the 1970s, Honour explores pain and loss, loyalty and betrayal, the clash of tradition and modernity, as well as the love and heartbreak that can tear a family apart.

The book narrates the murder of the mother figure of the Torpak family by her eldest son, Iskender, who in turn is paying for his crime in a prison cell and voicing his story through written letters (1990’s). If you have noticed I unconsciously wrote murder and not honour killing because that is what I believe it should be labelled. I, being firmly opposed to any kind of violence when diplomacy is an available option.

“Honour” further paints the level of intolerance of western countries towards immigrants. Something that is not far-fetched from modern day society. Moreover, it shows the resistance of full integration and clash of values between the immigrants and their adoptive country.

This book affected me. Born and raised in the Middle East, I have seen the importance of the role of the Arab man in society and especially within his family. I have seen the acceptance of the Arab women of their limited role as well. This model of upbringing clashed with my own upbringing which was a blend of Middle Eastern and western values (having lived in Canada during my childhood and stayed in the UK during my adulthood).

And like any story the end plot surprises the reader with a final twist. I am not going to say more. Grab the book and have a good read!

Yours truly,

Bookish Bookworm.. xo