Defining ourself


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Before I got to university, I had this idea that I think a lot of us have, the idea that once I would be done I would have found myself. I don’t know exactly what that meant but I went with it. There’s this preconceived notion, which I hypothesize is from the movies, that university is a time where we get to know the most about ourselves. By going abroad, university for me meant being away from my family, my friends but mostly being away from who I knew myself to be.

In high school, I was the cheerful goofy girl with maybe too good of an English accent compared to my fghench (french) classmates. I was friends with everyone,  I was a confidant, an advise giver and mostly a bubbly personality to be around. I could be weird at times, I blame that on a quirky sense of humour. I was sold on studying fashion and pursuing my interest in the field. I was a lot of things. That all faded when I got to university. I was now one tiny, tiny speck in a sea of international students where no one knew me. I was very far away the secluded and exclusive environment I lived in. At this point I was lost. I now had to create a new space, a new definition of who I was in this new and foreign place. Now the fun part about that is that you can literally be whoever you like, it’s a chance to start over to do things differently. I see nerds become social butterflies and popular kids lose their sass.

This chance we are given to alter who we are in university is that what defines us? Or it is the unlimited freedom we are given and how we choose to act upon it that really shows our true colours? It’s a complex question to answer but it is one we rarely discuss.

when I ask people to describe who they are some tell me they are students, some tell me they are sons and daughter, some give me their names, some say I am so and so’s girlfriend or boyfriend. My question to them then is, so what happens when your no longer a student, when your family is no longer around, when your name changes after marriage or when you dump or get dumped by your loved ones? Is that the end of you as you? Is it at that cross point that we have to redefine ourselves..but then aren’t we stuck in vicious cycle of defining ourselves in impermanent things?

University has only given me a further glimpse into who I am, but I still cannot answer that question, can you?

Je vous souhaite…

A poem by Jacques Brel

Je vous souhaite des rêves à n’en plus finir,
et l’envie furieuse d’en réaliser quelques-uns.

Je vous souhaite d’aimer ce qu’il faut aimer,
et d’oublier ce qu’il faut oublier.

Je vous souhaite des passions.

Je vous souhaite des silences.
Je vous souhaite des chants d’oiseaux au réveil
et des rires d’enfants.

Je vous souhaite de résister à l’enlisement,
à l’indifférence,
aux vertus négatives de notre époque.

Je vous souhaite surtout d’être vous.

Get to know me from ME, not from my Facebook


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In these modern times we live in, you might meet someone at a bar or a club or even in class. If you get along, you add them on facebook or twitter or some other social media. You get your friend request approved and start looking, maybe more creeping through the profile (don’t be shy, we all do it). You learn where they are from, where they go to school, where they work, how often they party and the list goes on and on. By the time you see them next, you already know way too much about them for the second meet. It forces you to ask the very same questions you have answers to and the conversation is so blah compared to the first time you met.

Sadly it’s what we have come to. No one is really to blame it’s just the way things are.

But the most amazing thing is happening. I’ve been hanging out with these 2 girls from one of my classes, we met by randomly being assigned to be in a group for a 35% presentation. Needless to say we have been spending a lot of time together writing up the report and setting up the presentation. Oddly, we still haven’t added each other on Facebook, I really don’t know why. And it hit me today, that we are getting to know each other(dare I call it) The Old Fashioned way, no Facebook, no Twitter, no social media. And I cannot tell you how refreshing it is. It hit me that we never have a bland conversation because we have so much to share, all the freakin’ time. There is so much for us to know about each other and the process is hilariously fun.

Just today a friend of mine was asking me why my facebook is so empty and how I don’t post any pictures or update it frequently, and I guess it’s because I don’t want people getting to know me through my profile and my updates. I would rather sit somewhere in a cafe and carry a real conversation than have my life layed out on the internet. Don’t get me wrong, my Facebook is very helpful for staying in touch with my friends from all around the world. But I think putting in the extra effort and interest of wanting to get to know someone in their own words is priceless…

Maybe that’s why so many people are starting blogs, to give you a deeper sense of who they are as individuals.

The Lorax: a movie review


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The thing I love about Dr.Seuss is the moral he places in each of his stories. Of course they are hidden behind the amusing rhymes and lyrical writings but they are there ,somewhere (see what I did hihi). I’ve loved his stories ever since I was a child but it seems that the older I get the fonder I become of them.  I pick up on new elements that I hadn’t payed attention to or I start understanding things in a new light with a fresh perspective.

I went to see The Lorax tonight. For one it was so refreshing to watch a movie that wasn’t a love sick comedy or action packed flick. This movie holds a very important message set in the fantasy world of Dr.Seuss. I don’t want to give too much away because I want you to go see it. Of course those of you who have read the book already know; but basically the story revolves around Ted (Zac Efron) a young boy trying to impress his neighbour Audrey (Taylor Swift) by trying to find her a real living tree: her one and only wish. Ted sets off on an adventure that along the way tells us what has really happened to the town of Thneedville. The movie is so heart warming and genuine, it might have possibly made my heart smile. It keeps you hooked and entertained to the last minute. You experience great laughter and sadness all in one. Go and take your younger siblings or children, not only will they love the cute characters and animation but it will also enlighten them about things we might not talk about everyday, such as how fragile our environment is and the importance of keeping it protected. It’s never too early to raise awarness about these things.

It’s the kind of movie that makes you think about where we have come to as a modern society and what we really deem important might not be so.

My criteria on whether a movie is good or not relies on whether I check my phone at all during the show, suggesting I’m a bit bored. I can assure you I didn’t look at my phone once, it was stowed away under my seat while I was emersed in the IMAX 3D experience of the movie.

Go see it, tell me what you think  and here’s the trailer for you:)

You are beautiful like demolition.

“You are beautiful like demolition. Just the thought of you draws my knuckles white. I don’t need a god. I have you and your beautiful mouth, your hands holding onto me, the nails leaving unfelt wounds, your hot breath on my neck. The taste of your saliva. The darkness is ours. The nights belong to us. Everything we do is secret. Nothing we do will ever be understood; we will be feared and kept well away from. It will be the stuff of legend, endless discussion and limitless inspiration for the brave of heart. It’s you and me in this room, on this floor. Beyond life, beyond morality. We are gleaming animals painted in moonlit sweat glow. Our eyes turn to jewels and everything we do is an example of spontaneous perfection. I have been waiting all my life to be with you. My heart slams against my ribs when I think of the slaughtered nights I spent all over the world waiting to feel your touch. The time I annihilated while I waited like a man doing a life sentence. Now you’re here and everything we touch explodes, bursts into bloom or burns to ash. History atomizes and negates itself with our every shared breath. I need you like life needs life. I want you bad like a natural disaster. You are all I see. You are the only one I want to know.”

— Henry Rollins

The power of football


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It is almost unheard of for Lebanon to act in one unit, one entity and one country. Each citizen would rather identify himself with his religion or political leader than as Lebanese. Many campaigns have urged the Lebanese to look beyond their differences and co-exist as one. To me most have failed, since the setbacks Lebanon experiences on a day to day pace is brought on by the walls it creates for itself. No one is interested in the good of all, not even our politician, the very people responsible for this task.

However, somewhere along the way something like football and World Cup qualifications comes along and this melting pot of religions and political parties come together to cheer on our beloved country.  Your BBM is flooded with pictures of the red, green and white flag; expats and locals are urging for the win and cheering the players on. Today, no one cares if you are Shiites, Sunni, Orthodox, Catholic and so on all that matters is that you cheer for Lebanon. Days like these you see our potential as a country to come together and how it is possible to set aside differences.

If only that energy could be harnessed towards making a difference and improving ourselves and mentalities to build the Lebanon we are meant to have. I have never been a fan of football myself, not even during the World Cup, a shame I know. But it wasn’t until today that I truly understood the power it has. Someone once told me football is a universal language and I only believed it today. Something that can bring together a population that is so unstable, so rooted into its personal political agendas is truly, truly remarkable.

I recently read an article by Fadi Bitar called The currency of hope. In his post he says the solution to the Lebanese dilemma is leaving the country. I understand his point of view and all but days like these we regain that little bit of hope and see the potential to better our self as a nation. Now what is left to do is capture that electrifying energy and put it to good use. That though, might take some time.

This post was featured on LBCBlogs.

something more

If you are reading this you have access to electricity, some sort of computer or device to access the internet from and you are most probably sitting somewhere, I’m going to guess indoors. These are only some of the few luxuries we enjoy every day. Luxuries that many people from different parts of the world don’t have access to. So it humbles us to know we are surrounding by these things that most of the time we take for granted. I have many things: I have a collection of shoes, a fairly sized closet, jewelry, a smart phone, a laptop and many other material things. I could go on for awhile about those, but as not to sound conceited I’ll stop there. I also have an amazing family and a bunch of wonderful friends scattered all around the globe. All things that I think I might share with you my dear reader.

We Lebanese place a big emphasis on our societal image. We reflect it in the brands we wear and the cars we drive, the clubs we go to and the places we eat. It takes up a lot of our time and energy.  To me it’s ridiculous. Going out of your way to impress people you don’t like with things you can’t afford (I read that somewhere and never forgot it). There is no real point to it. We end up in a miserable place, living for others, losing ourselves along the way. I feel it deviates our minds from what truly matters. Any internal depth disappears and puts our minds in rigid social moulds formed of superficial materials.

The thing is regardless of all those things and the awareness of the blessings I’ve been handed and reflecting on my society’s ‘standards’ I realize a big part of me hasn’t been fulfilled. Something is missing, something important. I just can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what it is. Maybe it’s that self-actualization need that Maslow was talking about or my thirst for humanity.  Do you feel that way too? That you are not content with what you have? It’s not that I want more; Not at all. I’ve grown accustomed to my life and my surroundings. I know that they are there. What I want is something that has greater meaning than buying something designer from Aishti, find something I am passionate about and pursue it. I want to find something that will make my heart sing. I want to wake up every morning with an action plan. I want to do something that will lead to a greater or higher purpose; Something beyond me. I just don’t know what it is yet.

Do you have that?

* This post  was featured on LBCBlogs

A virtual whirlwind of a week

I have been indoors all week. Well except for back and forth trips to classes I haven’t left my house. Living on campus, you could imagine how depressing this became. Not only that, but I have midterms right now. But that’s beside the point. With studying comes procrastination and I might as well be the Queen. I have been constantly navigating between Facebook, Youtube,9gag, Twitter and Blog readings. A 5 min break turns into 2 hrs, just like that.

My surfing the web has led me to a really startling discovery. There is a whole other world in here. A whole different, enormous other world. And I got sucked into it and I got hooked. Of course I knew this, I just didn’t know to what extent it was gigantic. People who have blogs, have twitters and have Facebook pages and with them is a sea of people that wait at their every written word. It’s like we build a whole new kind of virtual friendships. We slowly learn about these people’s lives and their likes and dislikes and where they go and what they do. I find it kind of stalker-ish, really. I was just about to tweet one of my favorite bloggers but had commented on their post the night before and felt kind of pushy for doing both, so I didn’t. Is that odd?

I find it weird that we get to know these people without really getting to know them. I know we are all aware of the insane amount of time we spend online but the extensive range of human connection that happens here is dumbfounding. People are more honest here, are more open and vulnerable. They share parts of their lives that maybe only a few of the people around them know. Heck, I’m doing that. But it doesn’t feel wrong. Although many could be reading this it feels safer to put it out on the web than to say it to someone face to face.

And just like in ‘’our human life’’ we start looking for validation in our ‘’virtual life’’, a following. Do people like what I write? Is it enjoyable? Helpful?  And if you thought social acceptance is difficult, check out the internet. IT IS RUTHLESS. You are one tiny dot among the millions if not billions of people. Your page, tweet, image is just one miniscule footprint. Getting global recognition online is close to impossible (unless you get all of your friends to ‘’like’’ it but then again we know our friends like us, right? And it doesn’t really fit the description of global)

Out of my procrastination I started a twitter account just to see what the fuss is about and a Facebook page regarding cultural similarities. I immediately found myself wanting to be ‘’liked’’ more and more as my range of connections grew a little bit more every day. I became greedy, so greedy. The problem is I’m not like that.

 I just realized today how consumed I have been with this idea, and it scared me it really freaked me out. I haven’t had proper human contact since Monday (BBM really doesn’t count). I’ve been glued to my laptop since Monday. Midterms can take over your life like that.

As silly as it is I realized I had to snap back into reality, I had to phase myself back into my real, un-virtual life. I had to realize that it wasn’t so important and say to myself that what I have built over the years outside the internet is of greater meaning. It has been one of those eye opening weeks.

Today I am turning my laptop off and going out.

Brace yourself: Valentine’s day is coming up


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Soon our facebook feeds will be flooded with pictures of roses and fluffy teddy bears with comments like; I love my baby, you are my world or something of the sort. The battle of the two camps also start…

-‘’ It’s a commercially invented holiday,
– No, it is THE most romantic day of the year,
– Please, love shouldn’t be dedicated to just one day’’

…and back and forth, and back and forth. I love examining people in anticipation for the event and reminiscing on old stories.

The Romantic:
The poor thing plans months and months in advance making sure every single detail is perfect, plans every aspect of the day from breakfast in bed to a lace trimmed heart-shaped card on your wind shield wipers to find after work. The candles are strategically placed in their initials as he walk into the house for a home-cooked meal of his favorite dish. They get into the most miniscule of aspects and make sure their partner is bombarded with shows of affection all day, every minute of the day. She’s thanked with a kiss on the forehead and a card he picked up on his way back from watching his team kill it on the field. (Do I need to mention the UEFA Champions League starts on the 14th? Ladies, this is serious competition) 

The I-don’t-really-care but then again:
”Yeah Valentine’s whatever, it’s not really my thing.  Let’s not celebrate this year, having you in my life is enough babe. Don’t get me anything, really… but if you do could you make sure it’s the chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva? Not in the paper cone ‘cause the chocolate just gets everywhere…get them in a box. Yeah. But I don’t want anything, really.”

The Singleton:
The Singleton, just laments her situation: ”Why does the universe insist on reminding me I’m alone? This day is the worst, life is just so unfair”. ”Ugh, I can’t believe SHE has a bf, have you seen the way she dresses? My God, I can’t even look at her… how did she catch him?” ”Where is my prince charming? Am I going to die alone? Is there anything wrong with me? PFFFT, you know what I’m too good for any guy out there anyway”. And so rounds up her single girlfriends and they all end up watching some sappy-mushy love story each imagining her own perfect happy ending.

The I’m-single-and-loving-it:
Valentine’s Day I’m partying my night away with my girlfriends.  I am celebrating myself.  We are getting dolled up and hitting the clubs. Who needs a man anyway? I don’t want anyone telling me what to do, denying me all my freedoms. I am an independent woman, capable of handling myself just fine. Result? Drinks her night away, ends up calling up her best friend overseas sobbing at her loneliness.

 Hey, I’m not saying I’m any better. I think we all have embodied at least one of these personas at some point, depending on our relationship status at the time. It’s funny how from one year to the next we can become completely different people. This was all in good humour but the end point is, V-day isn’t just for love drunk couples. Appreciate those you love and that love you back it is a day about love isn’t it? As far as I’m concerned love comes in many colors, shapes and forms. So plan it out and spend it with those that are most important to you.

Beirut Summers

I am already eager for the summer to start poking through the naked white trees.  Winter is at its peak with no signs of slowing down. Everything joyful about it has already passed. Christmas is very much behind us, and the whole festive cheer of the holidays is long over. The routine starts to kick in again; lectures, assignments and midterms right around the corner. After all the crazy family gatherings, parties and aimless hangouts with your friends, it seems like days have flat lined in terms of fun. I’ve switched my sparkly dresses and revisited my sweats, put away my flirty heels and said hello to Uggs, yet again. Temperatures are well below zero there no motivations to even leave the house. Packed with layers of clothes, hats and scarves, all hoping the groundhog will peek out of the burrow, signaling a shorter winter. 

I miss summers in Beirut. I remember sleeping over at my cousin’s cozy apartment in hamra, right behind Lina’s. I would wake up at my own pace, tip toeing around the house to avoid her insanely hyper cat. I would sit in the living room, turn on the AC to counterbalance the scorching July heat. I would flip through countless books and movies. When I got bored I would descend the disheveled five story steps and go for a walk around the area. Grab a waffle from right next to De Prague, try on some antique sunglasses at Scoop and I always manage to buy something from Henry’s Handmade; a personalized leather keychain or chunky bead bracelets with that ever famous 3ein zar2a (blue all seeing eye). Days I would spend on my own others I would with friends hoping from Classic Burger Joint in Ashrafiyeh for lunch to the Corniche for relaxing and some fun people watching.

You get noticed everywhere you go because that’s the way it is in Lebanon. Sometimes it’s flattering and quite funny like hearing: ‘ Shu el ashta sar 3inda ijreen timshi’ (I promise those were the actual words). Other times it’s just borderline violating and dirty. People around you are cursing about the traffic, cursing about the prices, cursing about the electricity that keeps ruining their refrigerated merchandise. That’s the bitter sweet beauty of Beirut. If one would make a list of good vs the bad in that city, the bad would win by miles. But despite that, it’s still charming and so magical.

The busy streets of the day get packed up into little pubs and extravagant clubs all around. You put on your best outfit, leave your worries at home and party/talk/dance/chill the night away. Because no matter what’s going in your life that’s messed up, there’s nothing Beirut can’t fix (if only for a night).